The 8 Life & Business Lessons My 4 Year Old Little Buddha Taught Me

boy swingingNext door to me lives a precocious four year old who I am convinced is more wise than many of those I have met throughout my career journey.  Instead of calling him my buddy, I might just have to start calling him my Little Buddha, although I am not sure how to explain that one to him.

This week his mom and dad needed a little help in adjusting to dad’s new job.  He does not get home by the time mom needs to leave for her job so this is how I get to help. It has not been for quite an hour each day, but boy, can that kid pack a lot in an hour!

“I have to fart”

My buddy is a huge car guy, he loves to climb in and pretend he is driving. The other day he abruptly stopped while we were ‘driving’ and looked at me and said, “I’ll be right back” I asked where he was going and he told me he had to fart. He then got out of the vehicle, pointed his little butt away from the car and then hopped back in to continue driving.

Be kind and respectful to others

“I’m sour”

As we were sitting outside there were a few bugs that were swooping down on us. He swatted at one and told it, “You don’t want to eat me, I’m sour”

We are not all the same – accept yourself just the way you are

“I’m scared”

I have three dogs, two are pretty good size. Luke is his favorite, and the biggest. Luke is a Lab mix who we have decided bounces like Tigger. Every day we come in the house and are greeted by three exuberant dogs.

Every day he huddles behind me when we first get in the door and the pack runs toward us tails wagging and says, “I’m scared”. Every day he then comes out from behind me and giggles when Luke gives him a puppy kiss.

It is okay to be afraid, come out from hiding anyway

“Can I have a pickle?”

He has been helping me feed the dogs. After he counts out the food scoops, puts the bowls down and gets them all settled, he asks for a pickle. He loves to eat a sweet pickle that I have stabbed on a fork (so he doesn’t get pickle juice running down his hands and arms). I am not sure if it is the pickle or the neat way of eating it that he likes, either way, this is a new tradition.

Define your own rewards

“Can I do that?”

He has helped me feed the dogs, fill up the fountain, pull weeds and fill the bird feeder. He has asked me if what he can do that day. He loves helping – plus these are all short little tasks perfect for our short attention spans. He takes great delight in performing these tasks and makes sure he does a good job.

Look for something new to do, even if it is work, you might just enjoy it

“I love you Lisa”

Yesterday we were in between driving (him driving us to the drug store for cough syrup, then the store for dog food) and I found a sheet of bubble wrap. He popped it with his fingers, twisted it with his hands, stomped on it with his feet and even tried to elbow it to pop all the bubbles. In between the fun his little voice said, “I love you Lisa” and then went back to bubble destruction.

Take the time to say nice things

“When I am a dog I can eat that”

When he was helping me feed the dogs he asked that when he is a dog, would he be able to eat their food. When we were filling the bird feeder, he asked that when he is a bird, would he eat that bird food. When watching the bees on the flowers – you get the idea. I never questioned when he was going to transform into these things or why he thought he would, I just enjoyed the imagination and his process of learning.

Put yourself in new situations and take a look at the world from there

“It’s gone now”

He was telling me about a recent injury and trying to describe it in as much detail as possible. When it got to the point of showing me the “owwie”, he could not find it. He looked and looked then simply said, “it’s gone now, it does not hurt”

Let go of the past, it is gone now, it does not have to hurt anymore


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I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.


Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at colleges, professional organizations and companies around the US speaking to leadership, sales and athletic teams; transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Not Reaching a Goal – Maybe You Need a Change to the People in Your Personal Environment

Me and Frank out Dancing
Me and Frank out Dancing

You have all the right tools, knowledge and ambition yet you still can’t reach that goal.  Whether it be landing the right job or client – it just seems out of reach.  So what are you missing?

It may not be a question of what you are missing, rather what you need to subtract.

If you feel you have all the right pieces put in place take a look at your personal environment; more specifically the people in your environment.

Do you have a bunch of Debbie Downers or Doubting Thomas-es?  Do the people around you invite you in with their energy, make you laugh, support you, inspire you and just generally make you feel good?

Have you ever heard the phrase you become the people you associate with the most?  There is a bit to that, you know.

If you are surrounded by “poor me” and “it will never work” attitudes you are naturally going to get the happy, positive, encouragement and quite frankly life sucked right out of you.

One person is probably not going to represent all the above mentioned positive qualities.  It is the lovely combination of unique individuals in your life that bring in the sum whole of a can’t-fail environment.

If you have ever read any of my blogs or know me personally then you know about my main support system:

Jackie: my bestest friend, confidant, twin, co-conspirator and kicker-in-the-butt.

Jake: my son, the center of my world, the one that can make me the most proud and most angry in a matter of seconds, the young unrecognized philosopher and the one that keeps me centered.

Jeff: a best friend who has known me for a quarter of a century, the one that sees the world in black and white, point A to point B and keeps me on my toes by always allowing for another viewpoint.

My parents: my dad who passed 18 years ago but impacted me, along with my grandmother, more than any other person in my life, my mom who supports me by allowing me to make my own way and Jim, my step-dad who brings balance to the very strong-willed women.

But there are many others that I can’t possibly go into, friends and family that give something of themselves to me through their friendship for which I am eternally grateful.

One of those friends is Frank.

Frank and I grew up in the same neighborhood with him being a year (or so) older than I but his brother and I were in the same grade.  Talk to anyone in my town and just say “Frank” and they knew exactly who you were talking about – not Frank who or which Frank – there is only one Frank.

He is, in a word – infectious.  His laughter, smile, wit, intelligence and amazingly positive attitude about life and appreciation for each and every day.  Frank is the guy that men instantly bond to and women fall in love with – yes, Frank is that guy.  Because he radiates life.

Here is the thing about Frank, it is not just that he makes you feel good when you are around him; he is inspiring.

Frank doesn’t have goals.  Frank has missions.  Come hell or high water if he sets his mind to something he is going to do it, and by God, do it well.

When I talk to people who bemoan that they can’t do something because they don’t have the skills, abilities, physical traits, blah, blah, blah – or –because they have always been stuck in a certain typecast, position, industry, blah, blah, blah – I think of Frank.

Frank is the epitome of no boundaries.

Here are a few things about Frank:

He is a world-class Olympic Athlete.

He hit on Natalie Cole.

He was pretty much told by Stevie Wonder once not to sing his song on an elevator (great story).

He is a former DJ and Bouncer.

He is a poet.

He is an inspirational speaker.

He is a highly sought after ballroom dancer.

He is an ADA Employment Consultant at a major university.

He’s a chick magnet – just ask any of his male friends.

And he is just getting started…

He has never seen himself in a box or only as one type of person, job, task, performance.  He makes a determination to try something new and off he goes with boundless energy.  Shortly thereafter we begin to get a stream on Facebook about how is accomplishing this task.


He inspires me because he refused to be classified, stop reinventing himself, giving of himself to others and appreciate every opportunity whether it presented itself to him or he had to knock the door down to go get it.

When I think I can’t – I think of Frank.  I don’t know that can’t exists in his vocabulary.  Having someone like this in my life keeps my personal environment nothing short of positive.  So no matter what is going on in my personal or professional life, he is always there as a supporter, inspiration and source of complete positive energy.

It is because of my support system that my personal environment is fun, full of energy, inspiration, accountability, excitement, joy and love.  With this type of environment any hurdle isn’t a monumental task, it is merely a challenge that my friends encourage me to conquer.

Oh, and one more thing about Frank: he was born with a condition that resulted in him being a wheelchair user for life.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW