Celebrating Patriot Day


How Our Focus and Framing can make All the Difference 

Many remember September 11th as the day when terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York, sparking the “War on Terror” in the U.S.  I choose to remember September 11th as “Patriot Day”, a day that brought all Americans together in support of families of victims in New York City as well as the police officers and firemen who fought and lost their lives to save countless others.   

“Patriot Day” was a day that brought our country together no matter what the political affiliation, socio-economic status, or heritage.  Patriotism was in full swing, and we all wanted to support our brethren in the North.  I’d like to see us all come together once again in support of a common cause.  Movement toward this can be celebrated again, if we choose to focus on the gains that we make together. 

We also celebrated the Volunteers victory over Virginia Tech in Bristol Tennessee a few years back on Patriot Day.  It was a day to feel “Proud to be an American” as Lee Greenwood sang at halftime to the largest crowd ever assembled for a college football game. 

Read more about being “Proud to be an American” by clicking here. 


The GAP and the GAIN 

I’ve been involved with Dan Sullivan and his Strategic Coach Organization over the years.  One concept that has been foremost in my mind lately is the concept of the Gap and the Gain.  Dan and Ben Hardy wrote a book about this a few years back and it is one that I have encouraged many to read over the last couple of years. “The Gap and the Gain” is all about how we process our progress toward our goals and ideals in life and allow ourselves to feel good about the experience. 


We all know people who we could consider perfectionists.  These people are always striving to attain more and make things better, but never seem happy with what they have accomplished.  Some of us may know these people intimately.   

Entrepreneurs, professionals, and other high achievers are many things, but one thing a lot of us are not as good at is keeping score.  “The Gap” is the permanent distance between us and our ideals.  Our ideals can be useful for stretching ourselves and identifying goals but falling into “The Gap” can have demotivating and depressing effects.  Those of us who many would term perfectionists or who we might consider having very high standards are unintentionally playing a game that we make impossible to win. 

So, what game should we be playing and how should we be keeping score so that we can always come away with wins whether they be small ones or huge, significant game-changing wins? 

What many of us do is continually measure ourselves based upon where we are compared to where we want to be.  The only problem with this is that we are always going to find ourselves disappointed with our results by measuring our results in this way.  I very rarely find someone who consistently exceeds all his or her own expectations, goals, and ideals.  By continually measuring ourselves and our results against perfection and idealistic visions of the future (focusing on how far we are away from where we want to be) we unfortunately put ourselves in a state of perpetual disappointment and feelings of failure. 


What is the difference between those who achieve more, grow continually over time, and feel successful versus those who continually feel like a failure?  It’s all about their frame of reference.  Those who continually feel like a failure are always comparing themselves to where they would like to be in the future while those who allow themselves to feel success find ways to celebrate what they are doing right and focus on the progress they have made from where they were to where they are today.   

Those who feel success allow themselves to be happy by changing the lens through which they see the world.  I’ve written many articles over time about gratitude and happiness.  One of these was an article entitled “What Comes First, Happiness or Success?”.  We even sent out a “Happiness Package” with a workbook to maximize happiness during the pandemic in 2020.  I would encourage everyone to read the article or ask us for a copy of the workbook to embark on a journey that allows them to feel happiness.  In his book “The Happiness Advantage”, Shawn Achor details five easy habits that everyone can practice daily to increase their happiness.  Why not take the time to do a few simple things every day to increase your happiness and feelings of success in life?   

To see Mr. Achor’s recipe for happiness, click here . 

In my business and personal life with employees, my wife and with my children, I sometimes look at a project, a result or a report card and point out what can be improved before taking time to praise and engage in the celebration of their accomplishments.  This has been made more evident to me when I’ve chatted about this with friends in Strategic Coach over the years.  I continue to work on finding something to praise and later come back and engage in dialogue about how much progress they have made but also ask them “If you were to do this again, how would you do it better?”   

What do we do if we are stuck in a rut and cannot seem to make any progress toward our goals?  Change the goal to one we can make progress on.  In life, we make our own rules for how we define success, what we are grateful for and how we perceive the world around us.  Why not change the rules if we have made them so that it is too difficult to be successful?  Why do we want to create a game for ourselves where it is too hard to score, much less win? 

The easiest way to set up ourselves for success is to measure our progress from where we were to where we are today.  We can always strive for the ideal, for perfection and heaven on earth, but if we are not there yet why not enjoy the journey and take time to celebrate our accomplishments. 

So, in choosing to play a game that is easy to win, we do not want to focus excessively on the problems or on rules that make things too difficult for ourselves.  Instead, we want to be focusing on personal, financial and business improvement.  Going for growth solves an incredible number of problems.  It allows us to play a game that is about the future and enables us to evolve, respond to and transform any situation. 

Forbes Recognized Joe Franklin as one of the Top Advisors in Tennessee

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