Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Reflecting on Thanks and Giving

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I am sitting here at Albany International Airport with my flight being delayed as a result of the “Standby Horizon Indicator” instrument failing. This instrument is the primary back up to the “Main Aircraft Attitude Indicator” that displays the “Attitude” of the aircraft. Attitude is, “the orientation of an aircraft or spacecraft, relative to the direction of travel.” Interesting how attitude in aviation jargon is aligned with attitude in ones personal life, i.e. relative to a person’s direction of travel. I would surmise this is a critical component to safe air travel and personal success. A change of planes is now necessary to eventually transport me to St. Louis to share my message with a group of CEO’s. Considering this instrument failure occurred on the ground, I was inspired to reflect on the approaching holiday of Thanksgiving Day. It is a day to be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us, and appreciative of those we love around us.

Reflecting on current events in recent weeks, it occurred to me again how difficult being thankful can be for many. The Ft. Hood terrorist massacre, the loss of three young adults from South Glens Falls, a fallen soldier from the region, and the GE dredging worker drowning, are just several tragedies families of those lost, and we as a society, have witnessed. With the advancement of technology increasing the speed and amount of information we are exposed to, the daily happenings of the world can become overwhelming and discouraging. This Thanksgiving Day let us all take a break from the disappointments of a world that seems in disarray, and celebrate the simple things. Let us all extend kindness and generosity to those less fortunate on a day where the word “giving” is attached to being “thankful”.

Throughout my life, I have understood the simpler life is the happier one tends to be, because the less we have to be responsible for. It is critically important to reflect on the amount of responsibilities we have chosen to carry, and ensure those burdens are not released in destructive ways to those we care about. Let’s take a deep breath and appreciate the good we have done as individuals, families and community. Personally, I am thankful for the opportunity to live in a community with thoughtful, talented and generous citizens. This is a day not to reflect on what we have been through, but rather on those who have helped us persevere what we have been through. Who have been your mentors and role models? When was the last time we took the time to demonstrate appreciation for those who have given to us not just material things, but life altering and life learning insight? My mother has taken ill over the past several months and it has been a challenge to share the many personal emotions I have for her because of my vulnerabilities to emotional intimacy, resulting from losing my father at an early age. Of course, that is no excuse for not sharing the love and appreciation for the many value lessons she has taught me throughout my life, for there will come a time when there will no longer be the opportunity to share those thoughts which will be so meaningful to her.

I recently conducted a presentation for a school district in Long Island, and the following is an email I received afterwards, I was in your November 3rd audience. Your message changed my life...I have now contacted my biological father, half sister and cousins that I haven't spoken with in 10yrs due to fear of the unknown and what others thought of me. Your message has forever made an imprint on my soul...you spoke about not having regrets and forgiveness being like bad renters...it resonates through my mind each day and my heart as well....I am looking forward to having my family reunited soon...thank you...I hope to meet you again soon...this time with my family with me...sincerely Danielle Eskedal”. Take time to show those you love, love. Wake up every day knowing there is a reason why you are here, to be thankful for you, and those around you. May God bless you, your family and our community of Saratoga Springs. Happy Thanksgiving!



Sustaining Self-Discipline - The Backbone of Achievement

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I am frequently asked during the course of my travels and “No Excuse!” speaking engagements, “What elements of your character were developed while attending West Point? “. Two that come to mind consistently are performance under pressure and self-discipline, and both principles are interdependent of one another. Having to perform under pressure ignites the practice of self-discipline. I believe societal changes, including the pampering of our children, and the relinquishing of holding individuals accountable has played havoc in understanding the benefit and implementing the execution of self-discipline. Self-discipline is defined as, “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.”

Have you ever abandoned a task or dream because of the overwhelming feeling of stress, self-doubt or awareness that an alternative course might be easier, but less rewarding? Self-discipline mitigates those feelings, weaknesses and temptations. Increases in alcohol and drug abuse, acting upon temptations for personal gratification, and the willingness to violate one’s personal core values for self-serving financial gains are all results of a loss of individual self-discipline in our society. The ever-increasing advancements in media and internet technology only fuel the exposure to the lure of being distracted from one’s primary focus, a proper life path, and a difficult task at hand; only to fall prey to what is easier and less stressful. A lack of self-discipline tends to always align with taking the “easy way out”, or caving to temptations of personal gratification.

For example, as a student would it be easier to continue to work on a research paper, or social network on MySpace? Is it easier to sit down and watch the “boob tube” (literally), or work on developing one’s mind through constructive reading and intellectual engagement with others? Is it easier to eat cake, or say “no” and eat healthy to maintain proper weight? Is it easier to sit on the couch and vegetate, or exercise to improve one’s health and fitness? Is it easier to be ill learned, or develop professionalism and pursue further education? Is it easier to be ill mannered, use profanity, or to utilize proper etiquette and speak succinctly? A lack of self-discipline is a, if not the, primary factor for the hindrance of personal growth and professional development.

Five steps to strengthen ones self-discipline are: *reinforce an understanding of the core values that you believe in and reflect who you are. Define those values and incorporate them in the process of accomplishing the task at hand. *Take “baby steps” when beginning the pursuit of a new endeavor. It is imperative to not look at the entire vision at hand, but approach the task day by day. The old adage of “do not bite off more than you can chew” is essential. *Establish a moral compass that is in alignment with the core values you espouse too. A clear sense of your morality will subdue the temptations of the deadly sins we are exposed to every day. Personally, I define morality as how I treat another human being, and I believe we should treat one another with dignity and respect. Take the time to assess how you would want to be treated if you were walking in another’s shoes. *Manage your time and effort by planning properly and executing the task efficiently. Prioritize the elements of the task at hand to best reach that goal in the most efficient manner possible. *Finally, visualize the light at the end of the tunnel, and anticipate the satisfaction of the successful completion of that goal. Concerted Effort + Determination = Self-Discipline. There is nothing more satisfying and self-respect developing than the knowledge that your efforts and determination were the primary factors in the achievement of your success. Successful leaders are always self-disciplined in the pursuit of their passions, dreams and goals. Be that leader and set a positive, self-disciplined example every day for those around you.



Monday, October 23, 2017

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