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Today Is the Day

by on November 27, 2018 5:00 AM


Today is the day! That’s right. Today is THE day that will change your life forever. How can I say that with such confidence? Because after you read this column, and IF you act on what you read here, you can start to change your life for the better.  

But why today? I am still recovering from Thanksgiving and now I have to get ready for the holidays. Can’t I wait until New Year’s Day?     

Sure, you could, but why wait until New Year’s Day? We already know what happens to most New Year’s resolutions because we don’t put real time and deep thought into what we want. The reason today is the day is because it is the day that you resolve to make 2019 the best year of your life. How? Because you are going to start planning for it TODAY.

So now that I have your attention, and before I get too much deeper into this week’s column, I wanted to let you know some exciting news. I will be the featured guest on "Career Talk" on SiriusXM Business Radio 132, powered by The Wharton School, at noon on Nov. 29.
The show is hosted by Dawn Graham, career director of the Wharton MBA Program for Executives. Career Talk is also on Soundcloud, PlayerFM and iTunes.  

Dr. Graham just released her new book, "Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers -- and Seize Success," and I love it. She and I are kindred spirits in our desire to help others.

So back to the task at hand. Immediately after reading this column, sit down with a pad of paper or get on your laptop and write down the three most important goals for 2019. Not task-oriented goals like helping your kid to apply to college or your parents to move into a retirement village. I am talking aspirational, life-changing goals that you have found a way to procrastinate or worse yet, never given any real thought. You will do this by finding a quiet, private place devoid of digital devices and interruptions, because this really is that important. If you have a spouse or significant other, you should repeat this process only after you have done your own personal deep dive into what you want to accomplish in 2019.

When I look back at my goals for 2018, I am thrilled that the top objectives, becoming a published author and making my business profitable, have been achieved. That didn’t happen by accident, and it wasn’t easy, but it got done because there was a goal with a deadline. A short-term goal that aligns with a legacy goal of helping others to make more informed decisions about life and career choices.

In Chapter 9 of my book, "The Power of Pragmatic Passion," I challenge the reader to apply the 7 Common Sense Principles to think more deeply about what legacy they want to leave behind. I am confident that if you give this the proper time and make it a priority, you too can come up with a plan to address your own legacy goals. Again, I am not talking about selfish, material goals but transformational personal and professional goals. In his Goalcast video, "How to Achieve Your Dreams," Academy Award winner Denzel Washington says, “You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.” It isn’t about self-serving and selfish wants. I challenge you to be more and to serve the greater good.

Do you know what your legacy is meant to be or are you leaving it up to chance, like playing the lottery? Hope is not an effective strategy, just like playing the lottery is not a dream; it is a fantasy. 

Perhaps you have already done an intentional and in-depth self-analysis of what you want your lifetime goals to be but haven’t made progress. Ask yourself, what is holding you back from fulfilling your legacy? 

I was inspired to write this column because I recently lost two great friends and mentors who leave behind wonderful personal and professional legacies.

Jim Meister, who many of you may know for his loyalty and his service to the local community and to Penn State, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 81 last Wednesday. He was a very successful executive with Alcoa and Cressona Aluminum Corporations, a Bryce Jordan Center Founder, a special assistant to the AD at Penn State, a former State College Quarterback Club president, a Lions Paw Award recipient, and a trustee for his synagogue. I worked with Jim on the Athletic Fundraising Committee and knew him as a can-do and get-it-done guy. He wasn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers while doing what he felt was the right thing to do.  I also had the pleasure of tailgating at PSU football games with Jim and his family for the past 12 years along with our good friends from the Stine, Bauer and Imanuel families.

Paul Fatur passed away at 89 and was a consummate professional who was beloved by so many in business, golf and hockey. He was an entrepreneur, executive in the lumber industry and sat on the executive committee of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association. He founded the Westmoreland Youth Hockey Association and Hempfield High School program, was an officer in the Western PA Golf Association, president of Greensburg Country Club, and president of the Penn State Icers Booster Club. I knew Paul simply as “Papa” Fatur. 

Jim and Paul were devoted to their family and friends, both served our country in the U.S. Army, and both will be remembered for their dedication to their many charitable and civic causes. They leave behind personal and professional legacies worthy of our collective thanks as they put the service to others above service to self.

A different kind of legacy was established by our Penn State football program. Coach Franklin and his staff, and quarterback Trace McSorley and his teammates, helped “restore the roar” and continue to heal some of the wounds that still exist within the Nittany Nation.

They have added to the legacy left by Coach Bill O’Brien, Michael Mauti, Michael Zordich, Jordan Hill, and their 2012 teammates that helped save a football program and all the players who, in my humble opinion, were unjustly punished by the NCAA.  Likewise, O’Brien’s Lions built on the legacy left by legendary coach Joe Paterno and the thousands of players who came through his program. I will not debate the scars of the scandal here as that is worthy of more than a column.

But the legacy of the football program that I want to focus on goes way beyond anyone’s loyalty and obsession with a game. The young men have already left a football legacy, but I believe they will leave even bigger ones as they mature and go through life. They have set the bar high, but I wouldn’t bet against them. They will add to the legacy of so many others who were molded by the “Grand Experiment” and have gone on to be successful off the field.  Just check out my National Athletic and Professional Success Academy colleague Michael Robinson’s profile as an example.

For every sports figure, entertainer, artist, celebrity, entrepreneur or CEO that leaves a more celebrated legacy, there are many other “common folk” like me who are building legacies of their own every day. It may not be because of a singular moment or a short public career as an athlete or celebrity. It may be a lifetime of being a great spouse, parent, colleague or friend. Perhaps a member of the local fire department, a public servant, an educator, a missionary, an activist, a volunteer or a fundraiser for a non-profit.

It could be the personal legacy of rising from a fall, whether it was deeply personal or played out in the court of public opinion. It can be a legacy of someone who went on to finish the race and to find redemption by serving others in some way. It’s never too early and never too late to get started, and today can be that day.

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”  You just need to believe that, today is THE day. Now get it done!


Joe Battista has been an integral part of the Penn State and State College communities since 1978. He is best known for his effort to bring varsity ice hockey to Happy Valley and in the building of Pegula Ice Arena. “JoeBa” is the owner of PRAGMATIC Passion, LLC consulting, a professional speaker, success coach, and the vice president of the National Athletic and Professional Success Academy (NAPSA). He is the author of a new book, “The Power of Pragmatic Passion.” Joe lives in State College with his wife Heidi (PSU ’81 & ’83), daughter Brianna (PSU ’15), and son’s Jon (PSU ’16), and Ryan (State High Class of 2019).
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