Eve Annunziato

Live It Up & Lighten Up June 30, 2008

Filed under: Just thinking... — Eve Annunziato @ 3:35 pm
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Charlie and I spent a wonderful week on vacation in Philadelphia and New York (my two favorite cities!).  While visiting my 92 year old Grandmother in her Assisted Living facility, we decided to turn on the video camera and capture these invaluable moments between Nan and her great-grandkids playing, interacting and talking.  For posterity purposes I even started to conduct an interview about my Grandmother’s thoughts on life- lessons and just living.  My Nan, a woman of great faith, integrity, and generosity, talked about loving everyone then proceeded to introduce us to her best friend there, Anne, who is 100 years old.  Being the producer that I am, I decided to turn the camera on Anne who is of strong mind, body and soul – and asked her the secret of her happy and healthy decade long life.  Here are her profound words of wisdom:
“Eat healthy, live it up, lighten up and drink whisky!” (you’ll have to excuse Anne, she was born in Ireland!). 

Live it up and lighten up – a useful philosophy for both life and leadership.  I feel as if I have really grown in this area lately.  I’ve been quite focused on all of our blessings and have felt more joyful in my personal and family life than in years past and I’m enjoying every minute!  As for my professional life, I’ve stopped taking my work so seriously and realized my career, although is valued, isn’t as important as my personal life (I had to learn that lesson the hard way!).  Funny thing, when I don’t let my work define me or become top priority, work is more enjoyable and I’m more productive.  The 100-year-old Irish woman reminded me that life is short and there’s no need to sweat the small stuff.  After all, we can’t control everything.   Try letting go a bit and being more carefree and see if that doesn’t result in more LAUGHS!

My practical husband, Charlie Neese, teaches how worry is a waste of time and robs us of joy if we don’t guard our heart and mind from this temptation.  Charlie points out the following truth about the number #1 theft of happiness:

Author John R. Noe, among others, wrote that out of everything we worry about, only eight percent is real and legitimate.  The rest won’t happen, happened in the past or is out of our control.  That means 92 percent of our time spent worrying is wasted.  Considering that most of the 60,000 thoughts we have each day are repeats from the day before, that’s a tremendous amount of time we just throw away.  (Charlie will share more about this subject on my post next week!).

Thanks for the reminder, Anne!  We’ll be sure to eat healthy, live it up, lighten up and well – let’s just leave it at that!


Building Fences and Patience… June 23, 2008

Filed under: Just thinking... — Eve Annunziato @ 2:13 am

I saw something this weekend that made me think a lot about how I handle patience. For the past six months or so, a neighbor of mine has been buiding a wooden post and rail fence around part of his property. It’s been quite a bit of work for him. He started by first digging the post holes. Next came the setting the posts in the ground. Now he’s working on attaching the rails. This hasn’t been a simple job. It’s taken six months to get to this point because he’s building it by himself. Oh, and it’s about 1000 feet long…

This weekend, I saw he had finished a small section of the fence line. I gotta tell you, it looks great. I can now picture in my mind what the whole thing is going to look like when he’s done. It’s going to really serve to dress up his property. He’s done as good a job as any crew from a fencing company could have. He should be proud…

This gentleman has worked a little each week on this fence for the past six months or so. He’s getting closer and closer to finishing. When he’s done, probably in about another month, he will have a functional and attractive fence that he built with his own two hands. Also, I’m sure he saved quite a bit of money doing the job himself. This project has taken a lot of planning, work and patience to get it where it is today. He’s come a long way from digging that first post hole.

What could have messed this project up? Without the proper planning, he could have built a crooked, ugly fence. If he had skipped corners in the work, he might have a fence that wouldn’t stand up to the elements very long. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a lack of patience could have derailed (no pun intended) the whole project.

So many self-improvement projects require the same three elements to complete: planning, work and patience. Have you ever lost patience trying to lose weight and quit your program? Have you ever stopped exercising because it seemed like too much work? Have you ever come up short with money at the end of the month because of lack of planning in the budget? These situations are pretty common. But, if we work on these elements, like my neighbor has with his fence, each time we try something new to improve our lives, we drastically increase our odds of success.

Are there any projects you’re working on right now that could use a little more patience? Could you use a little more with your kids? What about your spouse? What about in your job or with that new exercise program? With more patience, there’s no telling what great things you can build in your own life!


Overreact & You Underachieve Part 2 June 16, 2008

Filed under: Leadership — Eve Annunziato @ 2:03 am

Last week we talked about the vast differences between reacting and responding to every life situation.  If we make a concerted effort to remain calm at all costs, especially when managing a team of people made up of very different personalities, we win.  In leadership, this can be a demanding exercise but worth the extra effort.   When the situation heats up, my challenge is for all of us to take a deep breath and try not to overreact.  This will prevent you from underachieving at home and at the work place. 


The person in my life that practices this discipline better than anyone I know is local TV meteorologist, Charlie Neese.  Charlie is a weatherman by day, but also a passionate public speaker who has dedicated many hours to teach leaders how to balance, prioritize, and live life to their fullest potential.  Charlie is also an amazing man of principle, wisdom and integrity and has dedicated his life to being an incredible father, husband, friend and professional.  I know first hand because I have the privilege to live with him as his wife! The following are Charlie’s words of insight from his own blog about the subject of responding with great honor:

Snow in Middle Tennessee is a rare treat so when it’s in the forecast, lots of people wait with bated breath for the first few snowflakes to fall.  Kids pray all night that they’ll be able to trade a ride on a school bus for a ride on a sled speeding down a hill   Folks in this region get very excited about the white stuff.  A few years ago, a forecast for snow didn’t quite pan out.  The next day, I had several e-mails waiting for me from disappointed viewers. But one was particularly harsh and personal.  It said, in part, that I was the worst meteorologist she had ever watched and she was never watching again! As I read, it made me angry. I started to fire back an e-mail, but then I stopped… I tried something different. I thought there must be a deeper issue; this woman was way too upset at me for what actually happened.  So, I decided to write back a note and told her that I, too, was disappointed with the missed forecast. I remembered how let down I felt as a child waiting all night for a snow that didn’t happen. Finally, I told her I appreciated her taking the time to write, whether good or bad, and that I hoped she would again one day give me and my forecasts a try.

Later that day, I received a note back. It was a note of apology. She thanked me for responding and went on to explain she was sorry for what she had written. She wrote a story of some very tough times she has been experiencing, and that she was just taking out her frustrations on me. Last, she told me that she would certainly watch again.

I learned a big lesson that day. What if I had reacted and fired back an angry note to her? Where would that have gotten me? I could have made the situation even worse. This is the way a lot of arguments with spouses start. Someone has a short fuse because of a bad day and then the other decides to overreact because of other frustrations. An argument escalates and by the end of it, you don’t even remember what you started arguing about in the first place. In the meantime, a lot of pain has ensued.  Sometimes it just takes stepping back and asking, “How can I respond in a composed and mature manner?”

So, watch out for those times when a situation seems completely out of proportion to the truth. There’s generally something else at work here. Try to remain calm and show a little grace. This could save you, especially in your close relationships, from some very hurtful and unnecessary arguments…

Thanks, Charlie, for talking the talk and walking the walk and for teaching me the lessons of grace you so commonly extend to me and our family. 

Friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed my husband’s thoughts.  You can check out more of what Charlie has to say about life balance, life lessons and leadership on my favorite blog at http://lifebarometer.wordpress.com

And, good news –   Charlie has generously offered to be my weekly summer guest blogger for the next few months, while I focus on an upcoming three month project.  I hope you enjoy reading more of what Charlie has to say – I know I’ll be tuned in!


Overreact and You Underachieve June 11, 2008

My daughter is quite spirited, head-strong and doesn’t appreciate the word, “No!”  Honestly, not a word I’m very good at accepting either.   I specifically recall an incident last year, in front of my girlfriend and her daughter, my then 3-year old had an absolute meltdown. There was screaming, crying, and a ton of drama


My response – remain calm, let her go, and ignore the big scene.  Once she finished her fit, I proceeded to explain to her in a low voice, that she made a poor decision.  I expressed to her I was disappointed and consequently she lost one week of gum privileges (it’s her favorite snack!).  Although disappointed, she stopped and began to apologize.  I obviously accepted.  Because I’m a bit of a softy, I informed her that when and if she started to make good decisions; she would then earn her privileges back.  Let’s just say, it took several days, but rest assured she was once again smacking on her “sugarless” gum before too long!


One of my friends who witnessed the entire situation was a little shocked.  A bit taken aback at my response to the embarrassing situation, she asked, “How can you be so laid-back with her?”  She exclaimed, “Don’t you ever loose your cool?”  Yes, I do, but I try REALLY HARD not to react and mimic that type of behavior.  Instead, I purposely respond composedly.  It’s not always easy, but reacting can make the situation worse.  If I did get excited and yell and scream, it would only fuel my strong-willed child’s fire.  Trust me I don’t ever want to justify that type of behavior.  


In the book, Scream Free Parenting, the author, Hal Edward Runkle, challenges all parents to transform their family dynamics:


“Every kid wants to have “cool” parents.  This does not mean parents hip to the latest styles, or parents with no rules whatsoever.  What every kid really wants are parents who are able to keep their cool no matter what.   Kids want parents to remain unflappable even when they flip out….  The ScreamFree way compels you to focus on yourself, grow yourself up, and calm yourself down.  By staying both calm and connected with your kids, you begin to operate less out of your deepest fears and more out of you highest principles, revolutionizing your relationships in the process.” 


There’s a huge difference between reacting and responding to every life situation.  I make a concerted effort when I deal with relationships personally and professionally to try and remain calm at all costs, especially when managing a team of people made up of very different personalities.  In leadership, this can be a challenging discipline but worth the extra effort.  Take a deep breath and try not to overreact.  This will prevent you from underachieving at home and at the work place.




My Leadership Crush Part 2 June 2, 2008

Filed under: Leadership — Eve Annunziato @ 1:03 am

Last week I made a public confession. I have a major crush; an affinity and admiration for any leader who possesses the virtue of humility – a rare find and not a feature I personally possess. I am drawn to people with authentic humility (aren’t we all) and I constantly aspire to embrace and acquire more of it as I grow as a leader.

The bible, what I consider the best-written guide for teaching and strengthening your leadership skills, puts it this way:

First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. Proverbs 16:18 (The Message)

Leading a flock has a way of exposing the flaws of our own personal vanity. But learning the lesson that, “pride goes before destruction” can be a revolutionary discovery. If we can adopt a teachable spirit, we can begin to shift our management focus away from exalting our own successes, importance, accomplishments (or however we refer to our self promotion and security boosts). Trust me, everyone else embraces, expects, and celebrates your individual and unique gifts and skills. It’s why you are where you are and do what you do! I’ve learned (the hard way, of course) intentionally elevating team members channels motivation, confidence and wisdom to others. Promoting our own significance leads to stumbling.

“Focusing on glorifying God and meeting the needs of others gives us the perspective of the wise.” Dennis Fisher  Currently, we’re reading the C.S. Lewis Narnia Chronicles with my son, an allegory full of symbolism and positive life lessons. While focusing my effort to “teach” my 8-year old about effective human behavior, I myself am unpacking a ton. In “The Horse And His Boy” I was once again reminded of this illusion of arrogance. Bree, the intelligent horse, is condescending toward the main character, the young boy Shasta. Bree considers Shasta a “foul” and underprivileged kid well beneath himself. This self-proclaimed war-horse with great skill and courage gallops with conceit. Yet, when Bree hears the strong roar of the notable lion, Aslan, (considered the Christ character) he runs for the hills out of panic and ignorance. The horse was frightened and his failure, he soon admits, was a humbling experience. Yet Shasta, unafraid and in his unassuming fashion, proves his faith and courage therefore earning the respect of the tribe.

Proverbs advises that when pride comes, shame follows; yet when humility comes, wisdom follows. That’s the path I’m striving, earnestly, to pursue during my leadership trek.