WALLY AMOS: BE POSITIVE
Wally Amos is the
founder of Uncle
Company. You can
reach him at
Focus on what
RECENTLY I’VE BEEN seeking an answer to the
question “What really matters?” The e-mail below,
from my friend Barbara Stewart, answers that question. I share it with her permission.
While officiating a track-and-field meet at a
school in Rochester, New York, I watched a talented
young triple jumper take off from the toe board and
suffer the most horrific accident. There was a noise
like gunshots and she pitched forward in agony. She
fell onto the runway, her leg destroyed and useless.
She remained immobilized on the runway for nearly
an hour, until they could move her to the hospital.
For her, it was excruciating pain and a traumatic
event that changed the course of her life forever.
For the rest of the athletes and personnel, it was a
shocking reminder of how fragile life can be—one
moment youth and strength and the next mortality. I
was struck by her courage to remain calm, although
in obvious agony.
Later I was told she had surgery and would
remain in the hospital a few more days. The sharp
noises I heard were her Achilles tendon snapping,
then her femur fracturing. In my 25 years in track
and field, I have never witnessed such a thing.
Realistically, she will never again participate at full
capacity as an athlete, so she needs to apply her
character and abilities to other pursuits. I sent her a
card and a book to wish her well.
Now comes the most coincidental part. I suddenly experienced extreme pain in my leg. I was
sent immediately to the hospital for surgery on a
massive, life-threatening blood clot in my leg. My life
path, too, is forever altered. I am reminded each day
and each hour of the wonder and gratitude in each
moment of life. Now I must continue to use it wisely.
I later had further news of unfavorable hospital
test results, which momentarily unfocused my attitude. Once again, I was reminded of what matters:
The mail brought this incredible thank-you note
from the athlete.
She wrote, “Wow! Your gift caught me off-guard
because I wasn’t expecting it. Thank you so much!
My leg is getting better every day and I cannot wait
to walk again. The fact that you didn’t even know
me but saw all of these positive qualities in me and
thought enough about me to send me a card and a
book is really touching and inspires me to do bigger
and better things. As long as there are people like
you in the world, I know I’ll be OK. I’ve been walking.
They told me six to eight weeks. I did it in five!”
This outstanding young woman has all the elements for success in life: indomitable spirit, talent
and excellent skills in literacy. Above all, she has
awareness of others outside herself. What more
could we ask for in the next generations?
I am having a positive day, remembering
what matters. C
A look at
Bill and Dave
AT A TIME
more news for
it’s refreshing to
read about a pa ir
of industry icon s
who got it right .
Bill & Dave: How Hewlett
and Packard Built the World’s
Greatest Company (available
at costco.com) accomplishes
that in a book by Costco member and journalist Michael
William Hewlett and
David Packard were business
innovators, not just in the
products they made, but in the
way they ran their company.
Many of their innovations
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employee continuing education and no-layoff policy.
This is a book for students
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Poll outlines pressing issues for small businesses
WHAT’S ON THE minds of
America’s small-business owners? According to a recent survey
conducted by Public Opinion
Strategies on behalf of the National
Small Business Association (NSBA),
the costs of health insurance,
obtaining capital and the future
of the economy top the list. Here’s
a look at the highlights.
< While the national economy
is growing, America’s small
and midsize businesses are
facing challenging times.
Thirty-six percent believe the
economy is getting better, 43
percent believe it’s getting
worse and 21 percent believe
it’s about the same as it was
five years ago.
< Economic uncertainty, the
cost of health benefits and
the lack of available capital
are the three biggest concerns
facing small businesses today.
< Fewer and fewer companies
are offering health benefits.
The figure is 41 percent today,
down from 67 percent in 1995.
< Most companies can get the
financing they need, but 39
percent of companies with
four or fewer employees cannot obtain adequate financing.
< Businesses would make
changes if capital were more
readily available, including
adding advertising, hiring
more employees, purchasing
new equipment and/or
increasing employee benefits.
< The Web presence of small
businesses has significantly
increased. Sixty percent of
the surveyed businesses have
Web sites, compared to 31
percent 10 years ago. More
than one-third of the
companies use e-commerce.
< Businesses express strong
support for health-care
reform, but reject a government mandate for businesses
to provide it for their
< Asked what issues they woul d
like to see the presidential
campaigns address, the tax
burden and health-care costs
top the list.
The complete report can be
found on the NSBA’s Web site,
MORE FRESH VIEWS ON PAGE 11