Appreciation… A Matter of Perspective

Greetings from Russia!  Yes, that’s correct Russia, the former Soviet Union.  It is summer time here and I am here with a collegue on business.  This is not our first time here, but each time we come here I am reminded how fortunate we are to live where we live and to have the life we have.  The people here are very friendly and make us feel like “family” in many ways.  They also really make the most out of everything they have, which reminds me of the story my martial arts Master shares with us quite often.  Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim’s story of making the most out of every aspect of life growing up in war torn South Korea and taking the initiative to look at everything with a positive attitude (especially the really tough stuff), is reflected in what we see out here in Russia as well.  The people we are workingn with here really don’t have a lot, but they are very creative and resourceful and make the most out of what they have… and don’t complain about it.  Like Dr. Tae Yun Kim’s story, their attitude and actions are inspiring.

So the next time you find yourself thinking “dang, why is my life so challenging”… take a moment to think about the good stuff… and think about the people who have far less than you have and make the most of it.  Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim shares her story with students not to illustrate how difficult her life was, but to offer a perspective of taking a different attitude towards a life that may have been perceived as difficult and rising above and making it better.

“Have a Positive Mental Attitude”…


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The “I” in “Team”

Every day I learn how the power of teamwork and unity brings so much more fulfillment to life than trying to go it alone just focused on personal needs and desires.   Whether it is in a business situation as part of an engineering/management/sales/accounting… whatever team, part of a sports team, or part of a team we call “family”; life is so much richer being part of the team and not as a lone lobster (a phrase often used by our company CEO, Dr. Tae Yun Kim, Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions).  Being a contributor to a team effort means that every success that is achieved can be shared with others, and likewise the challenges as well.  The most empty feeling I can think of is to have achieved something great, but have nobody to share it with.  Even a athlete in an individual sport is part of a team in the sense that they include a coach, fellow athletes and even the fans…if they take that “team” based attitude with them.  “Team” is not just a quantity, it is an attitude.

The “I” in “Team” is that “I” am part of it, “I” contribute to it, “I” make a difference in it… and “I” can celebrate being part of it with those around me. 

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“Be Positive”

The other day I passed by a visiting co-workers cube and saw a newly posted sign above her computer monitor.  In big pink outlined letters with a decorative pink floral border were the words “BE POSITIVE”.  I thought to myself, “wow… that is very cool!”  Here was a visiting team member who was really making an effort to carry a message to herself and all those that might see it that would help keep the day on track.  The CEO of our company (Dr. Tae Yun Kim) has made this and a number of other core concepts part of our company culture (Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions).  Dr. Kim doesn’t just say the words either, she walks the talk and does everything she can to help others do the same.

This sign may just be a simple thing, but to me it spoke volumes about the power of carrying the message with you; and not just in one’s head.  This particular co-worker does in fact maintain that credo and she is really a pleasant and nice person to be around and to work with.  It makes a difference and it was inspiring to see how she made the effort (both internally AND externally) to make the statement.  I know she has this some thing posted at her desk at her home/local office, but she went to the effort to bring that same attitude and message with her on her short visit to our HQ as well.

I know personally that it had an impact on me just seeing it… and I really admire and respect the effort made to share that with others.  It makes a difference and she promotes our company culture and the message that our CEO strives for every day.

Other References: Life Story, Workface

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I Am Not My Job

Pretty much every day each of us leave our home in the morning and head out to something we call our “job”.  These “jobs” are what we do to keep a lot of things going in our lives, things that can range from the obvious (such as a source of income), to the intangible (such as providing a sense of fulfillment or purpose). But for whatever reason we do our “job”, be it noble or banal; I am reminded that no matter what happens… I am NOT my job.  

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Real “Space Cowboys”

There’s a new gang in town and they go by the moniker of the “Space Cowboys”!  So who are these inspiring gentlemen and what are they doing?  The Space Cowboys are three black belt warriors of Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim and her Jung SuWon  Martial Art Academy in Fremont, California.  The Space Cowboys range for age 60 to 72 and each of them is in preparation to test for their first Dan ranking; the first time a black belt tests for rank as an actual black belt.

So why the moniker “Space Cowboys“?  Of course it makes reference to the movie of the same name in which a group of retired and aging astronauts get the opportunity to take another ride into space (Tommy Lee Jones, Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner).  Similarly we have three real firecracker warriors all of whom are of retirement age striving to do something most people in society would not expect.  But like the characters in the movie, these seasoned veterans are ready to go for the gusto!  This attitude did not come by chance though, as they share a common mentor and motivator in Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim.  We all need someone to push us towards our dreams in some way or another, and Dr. Kim is a true Master at providing not only the motivation and support towards that end but also the training to back up effort.

I have witnessed over the past few days as Great Grandmaster Kim has shared and shown each of these aspiring warriors new levels of personal power, both physical and mental.  It has been nothing short of awe inspiring to watch these gentlemen perform and even more so to witness the actions of our common Master and Life Coach (Dr. Kim) showing each of them how to tap into abilities and confidence levels that shock even them.

I was participating in a special pre-dawn training session that Great Grandmaster Kim held recently (another blog topic), and was really touched by one of these gentlemen’s summary comments about the class.  This particular warrior is a decorated soldier and who served multiple tours in Vietnam as part of an elite fighting force; a chapter in his life that may be long past but certainly not forgotten.  You would be hard pressed to guess his age of 72, a visual that most people would not tie together.  But it is not just his physical abilities and condition that I am impressed by, but more so his attitude and character.  As he spoke today and compared the sensations of the aftermath of the vigorous training session we had just shared, I was really struck by his comparison.  He mentioned how the feeling he had was really similar to that of having survived a battle and the utter joy and appreciation for life and knowing that he had been given another opportunity to see another day.  This feeling was very real to him and it showed in his delivery.

So I was inspired.  It reminded me that life is something to be cherished and certainly lived to the fullest no matter how many laps around the sun we have taken.  Great Grandmaster Kim got this motivation as a small child growing up in a war torn country, and it is her mission to share and spread that motivation with others.  I am honored to be part of that process, to share the same vision and goals, and to share it with the “Space Cowboys” of whom I am duly impressed by.  Life is good.

References: Life Story,

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“Walking On Water” and other mind stretching activities…

I was in a business meeting recently with Dr. Tae Yun Kim (CEO, Martial Arts Great Grandaster, Motivational Speaker…) where the meeting participants were asked to come together as a team and “walk on water” together with our CEO as we lay out some aggressive goals for our business and our future.  For the most part my basic understanding about “walking on water” was from the Bible (Matthew 14:22… also referenced in an earlier post) and the story associated with that passage.  I thought of it for the most part as another “miracle” story from the Bible and not much beyond that.  Whether or not one chooses to believe in the actual story or not, the message taken from it meant something different to me that day.

So how does this concept of “walking on water” apply to a business meeting?  Is Dr. Kim literally asking us to perform a “miracle” with this request?  No and Yes.  “No” if you consider a miracle as something unattainable and literally impossible to achieve (as I think most people define it), or “Yes” if you consider a miracle something within our reach (like the 1980 USA Hockey team winning the Gold medal in Lake Placid and the movie title that followed).  Here’s where the comparison really helped and I’ll use the 1980 USA Hockey team example because I was actually there.  The “miracle” that Dr. Tae Yun Kim was asking us to participate in was to put forth a belief level, a unifed effort, and the dedicated work effort to stretch our business to the next level.  I had seen the young men of the the 1980 hockey team do just that on the ice, and seen them do what everyone thought was impossible.

Dr. Kim was using the passage from the Bible as a clear example of the importance of faith in each other and making the effort to act on that faith together.  The lesson goes beyond “religious” faith, so don’t get stuck on the source.  It’s about extending our thinking and understanding beyond our own limitations and making something happen that is likely beyond the boundries we each set for ourselves.  It is a very cool concept to digest and I like the new motto is has formed.  Everyone got it… and the water is ready to be walked on!

Other references:  Life Story, Sports-Squido, CEO, Workface, TKD Hall of Fame, The martial artistWoman’s Summit speaker, Martial Art Demos, Biography, Dojo Review, Achievements, Special Student blog, Celebration blog, Jung SuWon blog, Business Card, Pictures, Director, Recent Press Release, Amazon, Search, …

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Living your “dash”

I heard an interesting saying the other day that really made me think about the life’s lessons my martial arts Master Dr. Tae Yun Kim has been sharing with me for over 30 years.  I can’t claim I came up with this saying, but the roots of it’s meaning are part of what the art of Jung SuWon and Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim’s basic philosophy.

“Live your dash”.  When I first heard this it made very little sense to me.  What is my “dash”?  Is it some synonym for running or “dashing” which in turn might be a metaphor for life’s “purpose” or my goals?  Nope.  I couldn’t understand what “dash” was and what it meant to “live it”.  Back in the day I didn’t really know my place in this world and really didn’t “live” my life to the fullest.  Instead I let time pass without any real purpose or goals in mind other than getting to the next day.  This was a LONG time ago, but I still remember the feeling.  I began martial art’s training at the age of 16 (that was 34 yrs ago) after a major inflection point in my life (another story for another blog).  I had no idea at the time that this decision would set my life’s journey in motion, but it was certainly a major event in my life.  Anyway… back to the “dash”.

So what is the meaning of this simple yet ultimately profound word and phase?  It’s really quite simple.  Since the beginning of recorded history a person’s life span is most often recorded as two things; the date we are born and the date our earthly existence ends (our passing).  In the written form these dates show up  side by side, start date and end date separated by a simple form of  punctuation; the dash.  This “dash” that separates these dates is what symbolizes the time between these two dates, in essence it is your life.  I never thought of it that way, but once I understood the words… wow, how true it is.

Dr. Tae Yun Kim has a very powerful and meaningful credo that is an integral part of Jung SuWon martial arts training; “Live each moment as if it were your last”.  This is of course easier said than done, but like anything if you practice it does make a difference.  Looking at the “dash” it really become clear how fleeting life can be, so yes, absolutely… Live your dash.

Other references:  Life Story, Sports-Squido, CEO, Workface, TKD Hall of Fame, The martial artistWoman’s Summit speaker, Martial Art Demos, Biography, Dojo Review, Achievements, Special Student blog, Celebration blog, Jung SuWon blog, Business Card, Pictures, Director, Recent Press Release, Amazon, Search, …

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