Last Call: Closing Words from Chris in a Speech to MMWUC Graduates

As we noted last week, this will be my father’s final Monday Morning Wake Up Call. My father’s content on his website, including this and other Monday Morning Wake-Up Calls will continue to be available via this website.

Growing up, my father typically had the last word. And though as I child I hated to admit he was right, the fact remains that he almost always was. So, it is only fitting that my father has the last word on the morning message that he created. 

The following text is from the address my father gave at my high school graduation in June 1996. To this day, I can hear my father’s voice and see him standing at the podium on the stage looking at the graduating class of my high school.  He was 47 at the time and at the height of his career at USLIFE as the President and COO.    

When he wrote and spoke these words, the only people who referred to him as “The Coach” were those kids that played on his Little League baseball teams (myself and my brothers included). But, if one reads the words, it is impossible not to notice that they bear striking resemblance to the messages he conveyed later in life via his writing and work as “The Coach.” Most importantly, these were not merely words; rather, both before and after this speech, my father practiced and lived every lesson in his speech for the entirety of his lifetime. 

In closing, on behalf of my mother Paula, my brothers Christopher and Andrew and our wives Mary, Chinda, and Gina and Chris’ 8 grandchildren – Jonah, Olivia, Bennett, Sophia, Alexa, Christina, Allie Kate, and  Laynie – we wish to thank you all for supporting our family as well as following my father’s emails.

–Steve Continue reading

From the Ruisi Family

On behalf of my entire family, I would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of love and respect for my father, as well as support for our family. We also very much appreciate the stories that many of you have shared; they have brought us comfort during this difficult time.

We initially planned to do one final Wake-Up Call email and prepared the below accordingly. However, upon re-reading words my father wrote and spoke long before he became “The Coach,” we have decided to do the final note in two installments. Unbeknownst to him at the time, these words would serve as the blueprint for his writing later in life. Next week’s note will be his words from almost 25 years ago.

Please stay tuned for next week’s message; in the meantime, I wanted to share my perspective on my father.

On the morning my father passed, while I packed my bags, my children surrounded me doing their best to put on their “brave” face and help me. But I could see through their façade. To calm them and me, I kept asking them, “What would Papa tell me to do?” Invariably two things kept popping into my mind and I could hear my father’s voice telling me, “Take things one step at a time,” and “Take care of your mother.”

As we drove to New Jersey from Massachusetts, I again asked myself what my father would say to me, and the answer was simple – make a list of the things you need to do. He was often bewildered as to why, when packing for a trip or anything else in my life, I didn’t work off a list. So as my wife Mary drove, I made an imperfect, fragmented, and rambling list.

Like many of you, my father was the one I turned to for advice as well as be a sounding board.

And, now while I regret not taking more advantage of his wisdom, I continue to ask myself what my father would tell me, particularly as a father trying to help his children through a challenging time. I realize he would tell me to keep it simple (one of his frequent comments to my brothers and me when we had tough decisions to make). So, when my children look at me with their teary eyes, I do just that and tell them that all they need to know is that Papa loved them very much and that he will always be with them.

To say my father had an accomplished professional career is an understatement and I realize that his shoes and success are impossible to replicate. But that is not my father’s legacy. Like his father (my Papa), my dad’s legacy is the lives he touched and invariably improved; me and my children are no exception.

Despite my regret about the lost opportunity for his sage guidance, I laugh because I can hear my father jokingly asking me if I ever listened over the years. And then I smile a much-needed smile and realize that though he didn’t think I ever listened (what child really ever listens to their parents; mine ignore me), I did listen and learn a great deal more than he realized. Like many people, I did not realize my father’s wisdom until I entered parenthood. As my children have gotten older, I often hear my father’s words in my own voice.

Taking a cue from one of my father’s favorite things – checklists – I decided I would do well to make list of the things I learned from him. And, in keeping with his frequent advice, I kept it simple. Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Overwhelm

It’s Almost Crunch Time!

We’re getting close to that time of year when many of you begin to panic that time is running out.

Right after Labor Day, you realize that you still have a lot of things on your “to-do list” to accomplish before the end of the year. Some of the things on your list are valid and important while others can best be described as make work or busy work. Only you know the difference.

Your work habits go out the door, you enter crisis mode and forget about the importance of continuing to work on just the key tasks.

Here are several steps you can follow to make these next several months productive, setting you up for continued growth into 2020. Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Bucket List

Question: What’s a Bucket List? Answer: A Stupid Activity!

I sometimes hear people say, “Well, scratch that off my bucket list.”

From what I understand a “bucket list” is a list of those things one has not done before, but wants to do before dying.

I’ve wondered, what happens when your bucket is empty? Do you just collapse where you are and a “ready for pick-up” alert goes out via your iPhone to your funeral director of choice? Or, how do you pick something to go on your list; what’re the criteria you use? If you’ve done something that you’ve enjoyed, can you go back and do it again? Or is that a violation of bucket list rules (and who makes those rules) prohibiting you from any further selections? Continue reading

Do You Try or Do You Try?

The title as written is not a typo! It is meant to demonstrate that the word “try” can have two very different meanings and outcomes depending on how it is defined in your mind.

For example, on the “plus” side of the word try, is the recognition that to succeed at anything, one must take action towards a goal or outcome. Before we take the action, we go through a mental process evaluating what needs to be done and any risks associated with what we are planning to do. If it all makes sense, we start the process by “trying.” And this requires that we have a healthy mindset set evidenced by our courage and commitment to act. Also factored into this equation is our willingness to make a mistake and learn from it.

The other side of the word “try,” like Star Wars, has a “dark side.” Here, “try”… Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Trusted Leader

Consistency: The Path to Becoming a Trusted Leader

It’s a known fact that consistency builds trust and trust is one of the key attributes a leader must have. Leaders need to demonstrate consistently to their teams that they can be trusted. When people trust someone, they tend to listen to that person and are willing to follow them.

Let’s look at five simple “consistent” actions a leader can take to build their trust factor: Continue reading

Chris Ruisi on Failure

Are You 100% “All In” Every Day?

I find it interesting when someone says that they “know what they need to do.” You can almost see them patting themselves on the back for having recognized their need to act. Unfortunately, their recognition never turns into action and they continue to struggle with making the same mistakes, never progressing beyond their own self-imposed status quo.

Taking “knowing what you need to do” and translating that into specific actions is where many stall and fail. Why? Because they don’t realize that the required actions have as their foundation the clarity on what needs to be done; the self-discipline to actually do it; the persistence to work at it until they’ve succeeded; and the resilience to push through any barriers or obstacles they encounter. In other words, they lack the mindset to be 100% All In.

This 100% All In mindset allows you to take full control of your life or as I say to Step Up and Play Big and be the master of your circumstances. Here’s what a 100% All In mindset looks like: Continue reading

Chris Ruisi on Failure

Are You a Failure at Failure?

Failure is a fact of life. Failure happens. When it happens to you, you can lament about it and look to blame someone (other than you) or something. When you follow this approach, the next step is to throw up your hands in disgust and frustration, walk away and quit.

Or, you can make the conscious decision to take a step back, evaluate what happened and learn from the experience. And as you might suspect, this is the preferred action. In this regard, I stress a 4-step process that when things go wrong and you fail, you own it, fix it, learn from it and move on. And when you do fail, fail fast. I follow a simple rule: “Fail your failures fast,” so that you can get back on track and keep moving forward.

Taking a risk is the decision that sometimes leads to failure. To minimize the possibility of failure, learn to take calculated risks. Many of you have heard me say, “A turtle moves forward by sticking its neck out.” Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Success


Much has been written about how one can achieve success. The vast majority of what is out there is very good. However, to be a success, in whatever you do, you have to start acting like you’re a success – now. I have yet to find a “success switch” that when flipped, one automatically is successful.

Despite what you might believe or have read, you can control the majority of your destiny. It all starts with making a choice; deciding what you want, and then taking the necessary steps to achieve your goal.

Before you go out and buy all the books and videos about success (and you should buy the right ones), start with these four simple but yet important actions to help you experience the essence of success and get you on the right path for the “journey”— Continue reading

Chris Ruisi Knowledge

Well, If You Ask Me…

As some of you may know, back in 2014-2015 I hosted a weekly “live” Internet radio show on Voice America. What follows are some of the key learning highlights from these shows. The learnings then from my great guests are just as valuable now as they were then—read, learn and apply. Continue reading