By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

We had all just come off of a challenging Christmas, and Mayor Marks made us laugh with the story of a tussle he had had with a tube of Super Glue which had been stuck to the bottom of a drawer, and then it became his worst nightmare. It was a laugh we all needed. He then proceeded to tell me about a guy who had changed the culture of his family by getting with his kids in front of the bathroom mirror and doing zany stuff, telling jokes or stories, until laughter became so contagious and deep that before anyone was cut loose for the day, the entire tribe had experienced at least 30 seconds of a good belly laugh. It has become a part of that family’s morning ritual. It has been shown that successful, productive people typically embrace and empower themselves by using only a few minutes at the beginning of the day to do something consistently that gets and keeps them going. “Laughter is healthy,” said the mayor. He then continued, “Not laughing at someone, of course, just finding good things to laugh at.” A desire to improve the effectiveness of the morning ritual is what inspired Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author Robert Glazer to write the book which will serve as the first 2021 Ronnie series of discussions on how to build community, strengthen a team, and become one’s best self. It is called Friday Forward. Mayor Ronnie heard about the book at a conference of the League of Municipalities, and felt like this one was “next.”

Some of the best ideas are those upon which one just stumbles, and Glazer had attended a leadership conference which stressed the importance of the morning ritual. In his case, it meant getting up 30 minutes earlier every day to read something edifying, but the problem was that most of what Glazer explored just wasn’t “working for him.” He did, however, have a fat file of all kinds of inspirational stories that he had collected; so he started there and found his mornings and productivity were improving. Eager to “pay it forward,” on Fridays he would send one of them to his team to send them off for the weekend, and they loved them. The team then began to “hit forward” to people they felt could benefit as well, and the “Friday Forward” movement was born. Now Robert Glazer has around 5 million readers, podcasts, and more, and is a strong example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Glazer’s original goals had been to be true to his commitment to improve himself and to bless his team. The result is now described as Inspiration & Motivation To End Your Week Stronger Than It Started, and God knows, we could all use that!

Years ago, when Mayor Ronnie was still a part of DHR for the State of Alabama, he would tell people that most parents can sleep well at night if they know that their children are well -- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Interestingly, Glazer sets up the book with the idea of there being four capacities, all of which need to be built. The categories are spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual. The goal of the book is what is referred to as “capacity building,” i.e., intentionally and consistently fill and strengthen all four, and watch what happens. Liz Wiseman, herself the NYT best-selling author of Multipliers and Rookie Smarts, describes it this way: Friday Forward is a rich collection of stories and essays that burst with insight and wisdom. But don’t just read this book—savor it and share it. Let it inspire you and all your colleagues to live and work at your very best.”

“This is a wonderful book, and I encourage everyone to read it,” said Mayor Ronnie. He then added, before we prayed, “Stay safe and healthy—we’ve got to flatten the (COVID) curve. And then, once again it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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