Thursday, December 31, 2009

4 Things to Experience in 2010

Here are four things I would like you to experience in 2010.



1.  Find a Great Goal. Even if you have a Laissez-faire attitude, there is a special joy in discovering some spectacular thing you want to have, do or be.  Fill yourself with that positive yearning.



2.  Set at least one Great Goal. Make it a SMART Goal and better to set three.  Short-term, mid-term and long-term goals can keep your momentum -- and if interrelated can help you achieve each of them faster.



3.  Get a Great Goal. Meaning, achieve it.  Making your goals a reality is seldom easy and that's good.  Great goals give our life a sense of personal purposefulness.  Don’t you want to live your life on purpose?  Stick with it.



4.  Celebrate. Let's get rid of the long bovine expressions that have plagued us for too long.  The good and bad things in your life are tied more to your attitude than anything else.  Want more good things?  Celebrate every positive thing that happens. If you’re the reserved type, this will feel odd.  Why celebrate things that are supposed to happen?  Because they worked!  We mourn loss we must celebrate achievement.



Have a happy, safe and enriching new year filled with meaningful goals.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Write it Out and Let it Go

Are you carrying an anger, sadness or fear that is immobilizing you or holding you back?  The New Year is a great time to let it go, regain control and invest in you.  How would you like to do that in just seven days?

You know that writing is a powerful tool.  Did you also know it’s therapeutic?  Studies show goals have a greater likelihood of being achieved if they are written down.  Problems are also more likely to be revealed and resolved if taken from the head and placed on the page.  Below are three of the seven thought provoking questions you can find in the Disposable Journal.

Before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind.  The answers are just for you.  You’re under no obligation to share it or any of the insights you discover with anyone.  It’s your private exploration.  Also, your answers needn’t be perfect.  You’re working on improving your attitude – not your grammatical prowess.

Day One - Think and then get it out.
What’s troubling you right now?  Is it a fear?  Are you angry or perhaps sad?  Think of your journal as a trusted friend whom you’ve not seen in a while.  What do you want to tell it?


Day Two - What’s going on with you?
Describe your current state.  What are your thoughts and feelings?  Who’s to blame; and why do you feel that way?  Put it out there and write for a solid twenty minutes.



Day Three - What do you call it?
List several words and phrases that describe how you feel.  Circle a few of them; connect any similar words or phrases with arrows.  Put a star next to one or two that really speak to you.  If the words escape you, draw a picture.

Your commitment is all it takes for the full seven-day Disposable Journal program to work.  Simply find about twenty minutes each day and expressively write your answers to the questions.  Imagine what it will feel like in a week when you’ve written it all out and let it go.

For more information, or to get your own Disposable Journal please visit http://www.disposablejournals.com/

[caption id="attachment_95" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Disposable Journals"]Disposable Journals[/caption]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There's Still Time

Was this your best year ever?  Most people would probably say no.  Maybe you lost your job, money is tight, or you unexpectedly lost a loved one.  Maybe the year has been sprinkled with health scares and economic uncertainty.  All of these things are significant events and life is full of them.  However, events are inherently neutral.  Some may feel terrific, some horrible and some may just suck.  That's life.  It doesn't matter because the only important factor is our response to those events.



We cannot control events no matter how hard we may try; there are too many outside variables.  The only thing within our control is our response to them.  Do we respond or react?  Reaction takes its cue from forces beyond our control while responding takes deliberative thought.  Both paths influence the outcome of the event.  Wouldn’t you like to have a say?  It's the difference between shriveling up and choosing to blame the government, big business, family and even God, or straightening up, grabbing a broom, and cleaning up the messes in life.  It's about taking personal responsibility.



You could wait until next year.  Next year is full of potential.  It's also full of procrastination.  “Next” is a comforting place to be because you don't have any of the responsibility of being “it” yet you get to enjoy the feeling of anticipation.

January 1st is an arbitrary date.  You can begin a goal at any hour of any day.  Why wait?  There are things you wanted to accomplish this year.  Get started, there's still time.

Take the 10 question, 2009 Goal Survey and tell me about your success or failure in finding, setting and getting the goals that are important to you.

If you need help finding, setting or getting your next great goal, give me a shout.  Strengths based Personal Development is what Karl Bimshas Consulting does.

Friday, December 11, 2009

2009 Goal Survey

There's very little more invigorating than pursuing a worthy goal.  We carry out goals all day long, based on the decisions we make.  Think about the last thing you accomplished.  You did it through clear vision, a desire if not a burning passion, and you took some action to complete it.  It could have been as simple as discovering a new place for lunch or finding a perfect gift for a friend.  The good news is the formula works the same for those “great goals” in life that require you to put in some effort, planning and collaboration with others.  Like starting a business, going back to school or learning another language.

These things don’t happen in an instant, but your decision to pursue them does.  It's that one magical moment when you know for sure that this is what you want to pursue.  I love that moment.  I'm addicted to that moment.  They don't even have to be my own goals; I get jazzed learning about other people's goals.

At the risk of being an enabler, I'd like to learn about your goals.  Take my 10 question, 2009 Goal Survey and tell me about your success or failure in finding, setting and getting the goals that are important to you.




Click here to take survey

Remember, if you need help finding, setting or getting your next great goal, give me a shout.  Strengths based Personal Development is what I do.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

After Action Review of Writing Project

I’ve seen many “winners” post war stories from their recent NaNoWriMo experience.  I thought I would let the din of it all settle down a little before sharing my reflection on why it was a good experience for me.

NaNoWriMo.org was explained in an earlier posting.  I participated this year for a few major reasons.

  1. I felt the need to expand my creative writing.  I’ve been working in the Non-fiction and business realm for a while and needed a diversion.  I’ve not attempted a piece of fiction other than my screenplays so I wanted to test myself as a writer.

  2. With the exception of my poetry experiments, I edit my writing constantly, so the thought of writing 50,000 words before touching any of them was intriguing and would stretch me.

  3. Frankly, to accomplish something, that many people talk about, but few do.  Write a novel.

  4. Finally, I have built my life around helping others achieve their goals.  If I couldn’t publicly declare a goal of mine and successfully achieve it, what right would I have in helping others?


Writing about one’s writing experience has a megalomaniacal feel to it, so I’ve decided to frame it within an After Action Review.  The format is a good one to follow when it’s time to reflect on your recent projects.

What was the objective?

I’ll explain it by way of a SMART Goal

  • Specific.  Write a first draft novel of 50,000 words or better in 30 days or less

  • Measurable.  A binary result, are 50, 0000 words written, yes or no?

  • Attainable.  According to the projects’ organizers it should be.  I have a comfortable writing pace of essentially 1,000 words per hour.

  • Realistic.  By sparing about two hours each night and securing good family support, it appeared realistic.

  • Timely.  The timeframe was predetermined; November 1 – November 31.


What happened?  (Facts only)

  • I achieved 51,266 words in 25 days.


What do you need to do more of and why?

Making the time to think about and carefully setting SMART goals works.  What I underestimated to begin with was the value in creating and maintaining a support structure.  I had several communities of which to share the experience with.

  • The NaNoWriMo.org community provided success measurements and pep talks,

  • My family, a supportive group of writers in their own right provided shared excitement and understanding of “sequestered” writing time,

  • My offline writer friends, some of who wanted to write but couldn’t,

  • My online writing friends, assorted groups of writers I’ve met via social media particularly via Twitter and Facebook.

  • Offline friends who didn’t participate but were encouraging.


Each community provided support in their own way and I called on them, as I needed them, for ideas, pep talks, validation or inspiration.

What do you need to change about your approach or goals going forward and why?

Accountability is so often uncomfortable.  It needn’t be.  It’s the thing that keeps us on track.  With all future goals, writing or otherwise, it’s important to have an accountability partner or system that keeps me focused and moving forward.

What worked and why?

Prior to beginning the project, I was open to ideas of what to write about, but I was not in the mindset of having a story that NEEDED to be told.  I was open to whatever came me.  I decided to capture those nuggets on index card throughout the day.  Over a few days, I had a stack of cards.  I reviewed them and organized them into a loosely thread story.  That served as my outline prior to writing.

When I began, I was not looking to achieve the highest word count of my buddies and eventually learned to not be looking for much quality in my first draft.  I also was not looking to be the first in meeting the word count goal.  My two biggest fears were falling too far behind and not finishing.  Not finishing was not an option.  That spurred the desire to not fall behind, which certainly aided the friendly competitive spirit with other writers.



What didn’t work and why?

I had scheduled time to write, but it didn’t always work out.  For some reason the majority of my writing occurred between 10:00pm and midnight.  I would post my word count on the NaNoWriMo website and then, if still in the mood continue writing -on a few occasions until 3:00am.  This was never the plan, but inspiration and desire do not always work to plan.

Whom do you need to recognize?

My family and numerous members of the communities mentioned above provided a lot of support.  At the risk of leaving people out, I will provide an honorable mention to just three in particular.

Bill Siderski, a fellow writer from Emerson College days, kept the competitive spirit fueled.

Unbeknownst to them, twitter’s @bookoven provided just the right random encouragement that kept me going the one time I nearly sabotaged myself.

And a huge shout out to Lia Keyes and all the active writers at her site Scribbleratti, which provided so much humor, encouragement, competition and praise for every writer.

In conclusion, pick your goals wisely and set about accomplishing them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Goal Season

As the year begins to wind down Goal Season begins to heat up.  Goal Season is the period between Thanksgiving Day, when people swear that next year they won’t eat so much, and continues through January, when people beat themselves up for not keeping their young resolutions.

Today, you may be feeling business or personal pressures to finish the year strong.  If you already did your planning for 2010 in October, good for you.  For the 97% of the rest of us, this is the time to plan anew.

What are you going to do make sure you achieve your next goal?  First off, you need to want it, badly.  If it’s not motivating to you, just how fun do you think it’s going to be to achieve?  If you’re working on a goal that’s not fun, you should probably stop.  Life is too short.  So, what is it you want to do or have?  Avoid mediocrity by making it a great goal.  You should never be without a great goal.

It’s been said many times and in many ways; be sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T.

S - Make it specific.  Broad goals decay quickly.  Vague goals get vague results.

M - Make it measurable.  You won’t achieve your goal with one grand action.  It will take several little actions.  It’s those little actions that you’ll want to measure.  A little now, leads to a lot over time.

A - Make it attainable.  Americans are an optimistic lot and think that anything they want is attainable.  Because of this mindset, they nearly always get what they want.  Stretch yourself, like a rubber band – but don’t overextend or you’ll snap.

R - Make it realistic.  This has a direct correlation to your motivation.  If you’re not realistic about your current skills, the resources you have, and what additional things you’ll need to reach your goal, you’re destined for some disappointment, and that would break my heart.

T - Make it timely.  Getting squishy with time commitments will serve no one.  Time is the silent accountability partner.  It steadily ticks along, whether you’re ready or not.

Here’s a bonus tip.  Make your goal positive in nature and phrase it in a way that causes the creation of something.  Think about it; a goal to lose ten pounds sounds silly.  Who makes it a goal to lose something?  A goal is about scoring points.  Get enough successful goals and you have a winning streak.  It’d be better to be specific about the realistic and attainable weight you want to be on the date you think you can achieve that weight.  Soon you’ll be creating a brand new you!

Okay, here’s another bonus tip.  You could call it a “Bim-Bonus”:  Having a goal to stop doing something will be less successful than a goal of starting to do something that is more important to you.  Eventually the more important goal will replace the less important one.

If you need help finding, setting or getting your next great goal, give me a shout.  It’s what I do.

Video:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Will You Do with Your Extra Hour?

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between Sunrise and Sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.


-Horace Mann



Did you do it?  Did you “fall back” and recalibrate your watches and microwave oven clocks back one hour?   Psychologically we feel better in the fall because we feel, albeit fleetingly, like we've gained an upper hand over time. By autumn we forget how robbed we felt in the springtime when we lost an hour in this manmade biannual dance with the sun.

It's a rare gift to find extra time. It's a great equalizer.  At any time, we all share the same few seconds, but we know they’re not in limitless supply.

Budgeting your time is more important than budgeting your money.  If you lose money, you can always make it back with some effort. Time does not play by the same rules.  Once it’s spent, it is unrecoverable.

As you begin to value time, you also begin to value other scarce resources, like time with the people you love, quiet moments of reflection or study. For some it may be extra sleep or working on a project, while others may party a little harder.  It’s your time; you get to use it as you wish.  In football, those who manage the clock best tend to win the game.  It’s true in life too, though it’s not really time that needs management – it’s your priorities. Use your time.  Spend it on your goals.  Squandering it, will serve no one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shifting Over

Readers, I've started using Word Press. Visit and subscribe to Relectionsonleadership.com

Challenge Yourself From Time to Time

nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_1.pngIt's important to challenge yourself from time to time.  Sometimes I challenge myself too much, by making things harder than I need too, but that's for discussion another time.  Just as we need short-term, medium and long-term goals, we need small medium and larger challenges that test our assumptions, and maybe our abilities.  There are two challenges I'm embarking I thought I'd share.



The first is, you are reading this blog via Word Press and via my site "Reflections on Leadership".  I've never used Word Press before.  I had been content with Blogger for several years.  But it's time for change.  I want this blog to be more accessible.  I want more people to find and comment on it and learn how I think.  When I first started blogging it was because I had the goal to "go public" with my writing.  It's been rewarding thus far.  Now it's time to step it up.  My goal is to blog more frequently.  My posts may not all be gems.  Some things people will disagree with.  A few may find inspiration.  All of that is good.  It lets me know I'm doing something right.  Those who know me know I like to tinker with things to try to make them better.  That will be very evident with this site as I continue to learn and grow.  What you see today is likely to change.  So subscribe and check back often and share your feedback.



The second challenge is a medium one.  I've decided to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo.  You can read about it here.  Essentially, it's a way to challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in one month.  That's approximately the length of a short novel.  I have not written fiction of any length for a long time.  It's a daunting task when you consider I still have no plot, character development nor theme defined yet.  Also, I've trained myself to make most of my non-fiction writing to be "sound-bite size".  There are many other things I could and some my say should be focusing on that would be a better use of time.  Maybe.  But what fun is that?  Remember, I tend to make challenges for myself.  Already the experience has exposed me to other writers I may have never met, and within a month, if all goes well, I'll have the first draft of my first novel.



What about you?  Have you set a challenge for yourself?  Something a little off the norm that you want to accomplish in 30 days or so.  Think of something that if you're successful will make you beam with a sense of pride.  And if you fall short, you still will have gained knowledge and experience that can help you with other endeavors.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Giving Thanks Freely

There's been no shortage of bad public behavior in the last few weeks. From civic events and sporting matches to awards shows, few have been immune from ill-conceived and embarrassing outbursts. If rudeness is a pre-existing condition, it may be time for some preventative behavioral medicine. Too often, we forget to show gratitude or kindness.


Some people don’t get excited by the Kumbaya moments of life. Their philosophy is “Just do your job.” If someone does more than they’re supposed to – that’s when you tip your hat with thanks.


While I agree we needn’t throw a parade every time we tie our shoelaces correctly, I sure would have liked one the first time I did! We need to praise progress. Encourage each other. Recognize what’s right. This is basic stuff. Saying please and thank you, being polite and showing gratitude.


Being in a state of gratitude is good for both giver and receiver. How many ways can you say “Good Job!” Here are 132 to start with, so no more excuses. Look over the list and find the phrases that you’re most comfortable with and use them often with your family, children and colleagues.

Giving Thanks Freely

There's been no shortage of bad public behavior in the last few weeks. From civic events and sporting matches to awards shows, few have been immune from ill-conceived and embarrassing outbursts. If rudeness is a pre-existing condition, it may be time for some preventative behavioral medicine. Too often, we forget to show gratitude or kindness.



Some people don’t get excited by the Kumbaya moments of life. Their philosophy is “Just do your job.” If someone does more than they’re supposed to – that’s when you tip your hat with thanks.



While I agree we needn’t throw a parade every time we tie our shoelaces correctly, I sure would have liked one the first time I did! We need to praise progress. Encourage each other. Recognize what’s right. This is basic stuff. Saying please and thank you, being polite and showing gratitude.



Being in a state of gratitude is good for both giver and receiver. How many ways can you say “Good Job!” Here are 132 to start with, so no more excuses. Look over the list and find the phrases that you’re most comfortable with and use them often with your family, children and colleagues.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

100 Days Left

There are 100 days left in the year. How does that make you feel?

Are you thinking, “good riddance”? You can't wait for the arbitrary turn of the calendar; you know 2010 will be better. Really? Are you going to throw the towel in already? Maybe you’re anxious, with fourth quarter jitters. You could be excited about the holidays or dreading them.

How has the year been for you so far? Have you achieved everything you first set out to do at the beginning of the year? Looking at your resolutions, are you frustrated or recommitted?

Have you made your mark on the year yet? Just 100 days left. What will you do with them?

Don’t give up. Focus on what you want to accomplish. Determine what resources of time, money and/or people you need to help you achieve your goal and then get to work.

In 100 days, you could make a positive contribution to the world, to your health, your outlook on life, or your family. You need to begin and you need to have a deadline.

Today, you commit. 100 days from today, on Thursday December 31, 2009, celebrate your achievement. Time will not wait for you. Either way that date will arrive. Ready or not. Be ready. 100 days. What will you do between now and then? Begin. Today.

100 Days Left

There are 100 days left in the year. How does that make you feel?

Are you thinking, “good riddance”? You can't wait for the arbitrary turn of the calendar; you know 2010 will be better. Really? Are you going to throw the towel in already? Maybe you’re anxious, with fourth quarter jitters. You could be excited about the holidays or dreading them.

How has the year been for you so far? Have you achieved everything you first set out to do at the beginning of the year? Looking at your resolutions, are you frustrated or recommitted?

Have you made your mark on the year yet? Just 100 days left. What will you do with them?

Don’t give up. Focus on what you want to accomplish. Determine what resources of time, money and/or people you need to help you achieve your goal and then get to work.

In 100 days, you could make a positive contribution to the world, to your health, your outlook on life, or your family. You need to begin and you need to have a deadline.

Today, you commit. 100 days from today, on Thursday December 31, 2009, celebrate your achievement. Time will not wait for you. Either way that date will arrive. Ready or not. Be ready. 100 days. What will you do between now and then? Begin. Today.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hug more.
Hug more.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

RE: Summer

It’s a weird time of year. Although the heat continues, the summer recess that many people enjoyed often gives way to restlessness. It’s a period of transition as we wash the sand between our toes and slip back into our socks and shoes. Partly we want the relaxation of the season to continue a while longer, yet we also want things to get back to “normal”. Brisk air, turning leaves, kids back to school, new projects, preparation for the fourth quarter; the hours before Labor Day weekend create that tension.

It doesn’t matter if you're raring to roll up your sleeves and tackle something new or longing to keep your pant legs rolled up for another week of vacation, take the time to work on your “RE’s”; the first of course being, Reflection. Here are some others to consider during this time.

  • Reevaluate your goals, your progress, and your beliefs. Revisit each of them to make sure that you’re acting authentically and still believe the things you're telling people.
  • Renegotiate contracts that no longer work for you. People's expectations change over time. There’s nothing wrong with that. It exemplifies flexibility. So does collaborating to review the terms of long standing agreements you have in place.
  • Repair things that are broken. Spend time cleaning up the little annoyances of your life. Fix the squeaky door, an out of control junk drawer or leaky faucet. This applies to relationships too. Everyone has a friendship that’s been neglected, even with all the social media tools available. Forgive, forget or apologize and send them a thoughtful card.
  • Rejuvenate. You may have had a vacation that did the trick or maybe you feel like you need a vacation from you vacation. Get to the place that energizes you and just be there and enjoy it, even if it’s only in your mind for twenty minutes or so.
  • Renew. Decide on the things you want to keep in your life and physically or metaphorically dust them off. Put them in a different shelf so they stand out. Make them appear new so you can appreciate them again.
  • Reapply. Did you fail at something recently? Does that mean you should quit? Take a different approach or just show your grit and try again.
As we get anxious to start new projects, we tend to neglect the things we have for things we want. Often this involves a lot of daydreaming, wishing and yearning. Sometimes this causes the complete abandonment of one goal in pursuit of another, and then another and then another. Reexamine how you are living your life. You may determine you’re good to go and wouldn’t change a thing, or you may uncover a clue to greater success. Either way look, otherwise you will never know.

RE: Summer

It’s a weird time of year. Although the heat continues, the summer recess that many people enjoyed often gives way to restlessness. It’s a period of transition as we wash the sand between our toes and slip back into our socks and shoes. Partly we want the relaxation of the season to continue a while longer, yet we also want things to get back to “normal”. Brisk air, turning leaves, kids back to school, new projects, preparation for the fourth quarter; the hours before Labor Day weekend create that tension.

It doesn’t matter if you're raring to roll up your sleeves and tackle something new or longing to keep your pant legs rolled up for another week of vacation, take the time to work on your “RE’s”; the first of course being, Reflection. Here are some others to consider during this time.

  • Reevaluate your goals, your progress, and your beliefs. Revisit each of them to make sure that you’re acting authentically and still believe the things you're telling people.
  • Renegotiate contracts that no longer work for you. People's expectations change over time. There’s nothing wrong with that. It exemplifies flexibility. So does collaborating to review the terms of long standing agreements you have in place.
  • Repair things that are broken. Spend time cleaning up the little annoyances of your life. Fix the squeaky door, an out of control junk drawer or leaky faucet. This applies to relationships too. Everyone has a friendship that’s been neglected, even with all the social media tools available. Forgive, forget or apologize and send them a thoughtful card.
  • Rejuvenate. You may have had a vacation that did the trick or maybe you feel like you need a vacation from you vacation. Get to the place that energizes you and just be there and enjoy it, even if it’s only in your mind for twenty minutes or so.
  • Renew. Decide on the things you want to keep in your life and physically or metaphorically dust them off. Put them in a different shelf so they stand out. Make them appear new so you can appreciate them again.
  • Reapply. Did you fail at something recently? Does that mean you should quit? Take a different approach or just show your grit and try again.
As we get anxious to start new projects, we tend to neglect the things we have for things we want. Often this involves a lot of daydreaming, wishing and yearning. Sometimes this causes the complete abandonment of one goal in pursuit of another, and then another and then another. Reexamine how you are living your life. You may determine you’re good to go and wouldn’t change a thing, or you may uncover a clue to greater success. Either way look, otherwise you will never know.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Remembering Kathi

It has been one month since I unexpectedly and very suddenly lost my sister, Kathi. The days between then and now have been filled with confusion, pain, sorrow, and profound grief. They've also been lightened by laughter, education, friendship, reverence, and a strengthening of love among family.


My sister touched so many lives during her too brief time with us. We were all awestruck to see three full rooms and the foyer of the funeral home filled with well-wishers sharing their respect and humor-filled memories of her.


I was asked to prepare and deliver remarks at her memorial service. Although I don’t entirely know why, I feel compelled to share those words here, on this date. I continue to grieve and like many who lose a loved one, I sometimes wonder if I’m doing it properly.


I suspect there will be periodic dark days ahead. I take comfort in knowing that for me, a lightening sky is emerging from the bleakness of the past month and the ray of light, undoubtedly fueled by Kathi’s laughter, is shimmering on the horizon.



Remembering Kathi Bimshas

November 6, 1956 – July 24, 2009



Today, we celebrate Kathi’s life. Her unexpected passing has left us all in shock. By now she is in the protective arms of both her grandfathers; listening to a lullaby from her grandmother, Ana and sharing jokes --some of which make her giggle and others that produce her trademark burst of laughter, the kind that made her double over and brought tears to her eyes. She has likely offered a wager with someone up there as to which brother will be the first to remind everyone that she was the oldest. A fact she liked to lord over each of us until she turned 29, at which point she claims to have stopped counting the years.


There is a surreal quality to all of this. Kathi would be thrilled to have everyone here and to catch up and share a story of some adventure or misadventure. She could be counted on to attend every family function. I suspect, she always will.


She became the family historian, partly because of her role as the eldest, but mostly because of her love of a good story. And did she love to tell a story. Over and over … this would drive me crazy as a young teen. We did many things together, from running errands to doing laundry to playing games. Knowing Kathi, you know that some event always took place on her outings. It could be a driver who cut her off, or how she burnt water trying to cook hot dogs, or her spotting one of her elusive hawks. Often I would be with her and witnessed whatever happened. She would immediately recap it to me, then she would tell the story to Mom, and then retell it to each subsequent relative she saw, then to friends at work and then, on the anniversary of the event, she would tell the story again. What I came to realize in later years, was that each time she told it, there was no variation. She delivered it pitch perfect every time and with just as much passion or humor the 40th time telling it as she did the first. Today, I long to hear her recite just one more story.


Kathi always had a childlike curiosity that never went away. She had a tremendous thirst for knowledge, particularly on the subjects she already knew pretty well. If I told her of a bird I saw, her eyes would widen and she would ask, “Was it a Wren or a Finch?”

“I don’t know,” I would shrug, “It was red.”


She loved her books, like Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, the wit of Ogden Nash, or a good pulp mystery. She was extremely intelligent, and if you weren’t sure, you could ask her, and she would tell you she was.


Before Wikipedia, there was Kathi. She was a great resource for information, but playing Scrabble was a nightmare for both of us. She would arrange her tiles to spell something like, “Loquacious” to which I would place an “N” under an “O” to create “On”. Her scores were typically triple digit and I was lucky to break into the low twenties.


Kathi loved a good puzzle and liked to be stumped. Never mean-spirited, she hated being tricked, but appreciated wit. I think, our favorite story of each other is when I was three or four years old, at a party, and people were popping balloons with pins. A little later, I was running around and somehow she “accidentally” poked me with a pin. I apparently screamed very loud and was terrified. She comforted me on the foot of the stairs until I regained my composure. It seems my young mind was afraid I was going to pop like one of the balloons. She felt horrible and was worried that she had traumatized me for life. She held me in her arms and I promptly deflated, complete with the whooshing sound and wiggled to the floor. We laughed together. And so it was for many years.


Her taste in music ranged from The Cowsills to Kenny Chesney, From K.C. and the Sunshine Band to Alice Cooper and Barry Manillow. This of course inspired her beloved Mandy, the caramel colored Pekinese that was part of her life for so long.


She loved animals of all types. Cats, dogs, snakes, birds. Domesticated or wild, she appreciated them very much. Except for spiders. Otherwise, she had a certain affinity for wildlife. It dawned on me that this past March marked the 30th anniversary of Kathi’s and my first trip to California. Dad brought us along on a business trip, first to San Francisco and then to San Diego, the place I now call home. While there, we visited the Zoo and Sea World. It was these two place in particular that I think cemented Kathi’s resolve to love animals, no matter what, because they did not treat her very well on this trip. A walrus sneezed on her, and a camel spat. She witnessed the cloud created by a beluga whale and the pile deposited by an elephant. She averted a stream from a Clydesdale horse, and whatever it was the monkeys were throwing. She was finally able to see real live Koalas, who were sound asleep. She was also the first to see a newborn polar bear emerge from its cave. Through it all, she was able to find great humor. A trait that was often repeated in her life. She didn’t take herself too seriously.


But sometimes she did. Although she was not often afraid to try new things, from exotic foods to rafting down rivers, to line dancing or skiing, or should I say, attempting to ski. She was open to experiences and didn’t like giving up. Her interests never really waned as much as were replaced by something else.


She fought demons with that same determination and resolve. Kathi could fight with passion and hold a grudge, but she also made peace. She was complex. Sometimes like a jellybean, she had a tough shell but a mushy center. To some she was more like a peach, soft on the outside with a hard to crack solid center. Either way, with Kathi, there was always sweetness.


She loved her family, particularly her nieces and nephews. She spoke of her friends often, and to her friends, she spoke of her family. Her career, as with many people, was a source of elation and frustration depending on the circumstances. Her 33 years at SunLife (an aptly named company for her disposition) provided stability, as did the countless coworkers she interacted with daily. She felt a sense of responsibility to family members, often helping with taxes, acting as chauffeur and offering her home for visits. Kathi was also an artisan who enjoyed painting, ceramics, and intricate needlework. She adored nature and frequently photographed flowers and birds. I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on her photographs of nature. I think we have all see the hawks, the seals, the buffleheads that looked suspiciously like specks of dirt on the lens. That was the dues paying, because she improved with each shot. Many of her pictures taken from the last five to ten years have been spectacular.


Kathi had fears. Spiders. Flying. Driving in Boston. And yet her fears did not prevent her from fulfilling life-long dreams of trips to Europe and Australia. Nor did it prevent her from racing me to Logan Airport during Friday rush hour on more than one occasion.


A well-wisher, in an attempt to comfort me, reminded me that Kathi’s work on Earth had finished. I disagree. I think it’s just begun. I think what she leaves behind is a catalyst for us to live a little different. We have come from distant places to be here to honor, remember, and celebrate Kathi. And to those distant places, we will return. But I can think of no reason why that means we should return to the status quo. Although in some areas of her life she was a private person, Kathi was terrific in sending a quick email or handwritten note to stay in touch with people. Let’s follow her lead. No matter how busy you are, make the time to tell others what you are doing. Send a Christmas letter, send an email, have a Hallmark moment. As our family and extended family of friends grows, let us ensure our roots are not shallow. We are often polite and don’t want to interfere in each other’s lives. I think we can stand to be a little bit nosy, and show interest. Stay connected.


Kathi, even when not at her best, was always able to find humor. I will forever remember her spontaneous joy each time she saw a hawk. I suspect she is soaring on the backs of them now, watching over us, contemplating dropping a little something on a few of us just for a good laugh.


Though she was taken from us too soon, she has given to each of us great gifts. Her humor. Her love and friendship. Her love of God’s creatures. Her spirit and passion. Smile when you think of Kathi, and grace others with kindness, as she has graced each of us.


Prepared remarks

by Karl Bimshas

July 31, 2009



Remembering Kathi

It has been one month since I unexpectedly and very suddenly lost my sister, Kathi. The days between then and now have been filled with confusion, pain, sorrow, and profound grief. They've also been lightened by laughter, education, friendship, reverence, and a strengthening of love among family.



My sister touched so many lives during her too brief time with us. We were all awestruck to see three full rooms and the foyer of the funeral home filled with well-wishers sharing their respect and humor-filled memories of her.



I was asked to prepare and deliver remarks at her memorial service. Although I don’t entirely know why, I feel compelled to share those words here, on this date. I continue to grieve and like many who lose a loved one, I sometimes wonder if I’m doing it properly.



I suspect there will be periodic dark days ahead. I take comfort in knowing that for me, a lightening sky is emerging from the bleakness of the past month and the ray of light, undoubtedly fueled by Kathi’s laughter, is shimmering on the horizon.





Remembering Kathi Bimshas

November 6, 1956 – July 24, 2009





Today, we celebrate Kathi’s life. Her unexpected passing has left us all in shock. By now she is in the protective arms of both her grandfathers; listening to a lullaby from her grandmother, Ana and sharing jokes --some of which make her giggle and others that produce her trademark burst of laughter, the kind that made her double over and brought tears to her eyes. She has likely offered a wager with someone up there as to which brother will be the first to remind everyone that she was the oldest. A fact she liked to lord over each of us until she turned 29, at which point she claims to have stopped counting the years.



There is a surreal quality to all of this. Kathi would be thrilled to have everyone here and to catch up and share a story of some adventure or misadventure. She could be counted on to attend every family function. I suspect, she always will.



She became the family historian, partly because of her role as the eldest, but mostly because of her love of a good story. And did she love to tell a story. Over and over … this would drive me crazy as a young teen. We did many things together, from running errands to doing laundry to playing games. Knowing Kathi, you know that some event always took place on her outings. It could be a driver who cut her off, or how she burnt water trying to cook hot dogs, or her spotting one of her elusive hawks. Often I would be with her and witnessed whatever happened. She would immediately recap it to me, then she would tell the story to Mom, and then retell it to each subsequent relative she saw, then to friends at work and then, on the anniversary of the event, she would tell the story again. What I came to realize in later years, was that each time she told it, there was no variation. She delivered it pitch perfect every time and with just as much passion or humor the 40th time telling it as she did the first. Today, I long to hear her recite just one more story.



Kathi always had a childlike curiosity that never went away. She had a tremendous thirst for knowledge, particularly on the subjects she already knew pretty well. If I told her of a bird I saw, her eyes would widen and she would ask, “Was it a Wren or a Finch?”

“I don’t know,” I would shrug, “It was red.”



She loved her books, like Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, the wit of Ogden Nash, or a good pulp mystery. She was extremely intelligent, and if you weren’t sure, you could ask her, and she would tell you she was.



Before Wikipedia, there was Kathi. She was a great resource for information, but playing Scrabble was a nightmare for both of us. She would arrange her tiles to spell something like, “Loquacious” to which I would place an “N” under an “O” to create “On”. Her scores were typically triple digit and I was lucky to break into the low twenties.



Kathi loved a good puzzle and liked to be stumped. Never mean-spirited, she hated being tricked, but appreciated wit. I think, our favorite story of each other is when I was three or four years old, at a party, and people were popping balloons with pins. A little later, I was running around and somehow she “accidentally” poked me with a pin. I apparently screamed very loud and was terrified. She comforted me on the foot of the stairs until I regained my composure. It seems my young mind was afraid I was going to pop like one of the balloons. She felt horrible and was worried that she had traumatized me for life. She held me in her arms and I promptly deflated, complete with the whooshing sound and wiggled to the floor. We laughed together. And so it was for many years.



Her taste in music ranged from The Cowsills to Kenny Chesney, From K.C. and the Sunshine Band to Alice Cooper and Barry Manillow. This of course inspired her beloved Mandy, the caramel colored Pekinese that was part of her life for so long.



She loved animals of all types. Cats, dogs, snakes, birds. Domesticated or wild, she appreciated them very much. Except for spiders. Otherwise, she had a certain affinity for wildlife. It dawned on me that this past March marked the 30th anniversary of Kathi’s and my first trip to California. Dad brought us along on a business trip, first to San Francisco and then to San Diego, the place I now call home. While there, we visited the Zoo and Sea World. It was these two place in particular that I think cemented Kathi’s resolve to love animals, no matter what, because they did not treat her very well on this trip. A walrus sneezed on her, and a camel spat. She witnessed the cloud created by a beluga whale and the pile deposited by an elephant. She averted a stream from a Clydesdale horse, and whatever it was the monkeys were throwing. She was finally able to see real live Koalas, who were sound asleep. She was also the first to see a newborn polar bear emerge from its cave. Through it all, she was able to find great humor. A trait that was often repeated in her life. She didn’t take herself too seriously.



But sometimes she did. Although she was not often afraid to try new things, from exotic foods to rafting down rivers, to line dancing or skiing, or should I say, attempting to ski. She was open to experiences and didn’t like giving up. Her interests never really waned as much as were replaced by something else.



She fought demons with that same determination and resolve. Kathi could fight with passion and hold a grudge, but she also made peace. She was complex. Sometimes like a jellybean, she had a tough shell but a mushy center. To some she was more like a peach, soft on the outside with a hard to crack solid center. Either way, with Kathi, there was always sweetness.



She loved her family, particularly her nieces and nephews. She spoke of her friends often, and to her friends, she spoke of her family. Her career, as with many people, was a source of elation and frustration depending on the circumstances. Her 33 years at SunLife (an aptly named company for her disposition) provided stability, as did the countless coworkers she interacted with daily. She felt a sense of responsibility to family members, often helping with taxes, acting as chauffeur and offering her home for visits. Kathi was also an artisan who enjoyed painting, ceramics, and intricate needlework. She adored nature and frequently photographed flowers and birds. I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on her photographs of nature. I think we have all see the hawks, the seals, the buffleheads that looked suspiciously like specks of dirt on the lens. That was the dues paying, because she improved with each shot. Many of her pictures taken from the last five to ten years have been spectacular.



Kathi had fears. Spiders. Flying. Driving in Boston. And yet her fears did not prevent her from fulfilling life-long dreams of trips to Europe and Australia. Nor did it prevent her from racing me to Logan Airport during Friday rush hour on more than one occasion.



A well-wisher, in an attempt to comfort me, reminded me that Kathi’s work on Earth had finished. I disagree. I think it’s just begun. I think what she leaves behind is a catalyst for us to live a little different. We have come from distant places to be here to honor, remember, and celebrate Kathi. And to those distant places, we will return. But I can think of no reason why that means we should return to the status quo. Although in some areas of her life she was a private person, Kathi was terrific in sending a quick email or handwritten note to stay in touch with people. Let’s follow her lead. No matter how busy you are, make the time to tell others what you are doing. Send a Christmas letter, send an email, have a Hallmark moment. As our family and extended family of friends grows, let us ensure our roots are not shallow. We are often polite and don’t want to interfere in each other’s lives. I think we can stand to be a little bit nosy, and show interest. Stay connected.



Kathi, even when not at her best, was always able to find humor. I will forever remember her spontaneous joy each time she saw a hawk. I suspect she is soaring on the backs of them now, watching over us, contemplating dropping a little something on a few of us just for a good laugh.



Though she was taken from us too soon, she has given to each of us great gifts. Her humor. Her love and friendship. Her love of God’s creatures. Her spirit and passion. Smile when you think of Kathi, and grace others with kindness, as she has graced each of us.



Prepared remarks

by Karl Bimshas

July 31, 2009





Monday, July 20, 2009

What Challenges Are You Willing to Accept?

Today’s moon landing anniversary seems as good a day as any to share a little of what makes me tick.


Forty years ago, man landed on the moon. Although far too young to notice (not even a year old at the time), notions surrounding the moon have captivated me. For thousands of years prior, people would look up toward it as it hung in the sky, a symbol of our collective dreams. Early on there was fear, but soon it was replaced by wonder, imagination and greater understanding. Now, for many who look at the moon it symbolizes accomplishment. A feat our forefathers couldn’t imagine but many a grandfather got to witness. This huge achievement, not just for the United State in the midst of a space race, but for mankind with the creation of new technologies, possibility thinking, ingenuity and the celebration of success.


The moon program has shaped me indirectly in other ways. My father headed a group that worked on guidance systems. He was passed over for the Apollo assignment, something I did not know until many years later. Obviously, he felt disappointment he diligently headed a less glamorous group. In time, that group grew in influence, budget, and prestige. Eventually the Apollo program ended and members from that team joined his organization, illustrating that sometimes the less glamorous route can be more fulfilling and rewarding in the long run, despite initial disappointments. You never know.


In 1962 President Kennedy, who helped bring out the best in people by having a clear goal, uttered one of my favorite leadership quotes.


"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because that challenge is one that we're willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win."


Every generation of humankind had been staring up toward the sky wondering about the moon. Then not too long ago, one of us says, let's do it, let's go there within ten years -- and we did it. A fascinating feat that illustrates just about anything is possible with vision, passion, action and a deadline.


I enjoy inspiring people who in turn inspire themselves; to help others find their strengths and see what they have to offer our joint endeavors. I help others find their vision or purpose and help them clear the path to their achievements by tearing down obstacles that are in the way. I do this partly for selfish reasons. I like how it recharges me and gives me energy, forcing me to take the focus off myself, and put it on others. It gives me the opportunity to combat the damaging effects of poor leaders, influencers, and others who abuse their power either through ignorance or through intent.


I also like measuring things. Not to see shortfalls but to see what we're capable of doing. I love to see the charts and graphs of goals and measurements of success. To see the results of common things in uncommon ways.


All this leads me to ask, on this day forty years after one of our greatest achievements. What current symbol surrounds us collectively, that can organize and measure the best of our energies and skills? If that is too broad, think of yourself and ask, what do you need to work on that is not easy, but will serve to organize and measure the best of your energies and skills? What challenges are you willing to accept, unwilling to postpone and intend to win and how can I help you?