Showing posts from 2020

Making An Impact By Observing

With my job there are at times late night calls to execute a change to minimize the impact if something goes wrong. One of the benefits of this is you can learn some new and interesting things as you are talking with people outside of normal hours. This week I learned about something called the Observer Effect which is my new favorite concept.
The Observer Effect is a theory in physics that by simply observing a phenomenon you are impacting the phenomenon. A great example of this is checking the air pressure in your tires. When you check the air pressure you let some of the air out in the process to get the reading of the air pressure. It is a miniscule amount but it is there none the less. 
If you want to see this effect in real life, pick a friend or spouse and observe them. Don't say anything, just sit down with a pen and paper and take notes about what you observe. I guarantee that you you will have an impact on them, simply from your observation. 
The reason I love this concept …

There Are Times The Smart Thing To Do Is Work Harder

The old saying telling us we should work smarter not harder is great, and we all want to do so whenever we can. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to.
For instance, I've been doing some landscaping, and that has required a lot of digging and hauling of decorative rock. Now, that whole process would have gone a lot faster if I had a skid loader. But if you look at the time it would take to be proficient to dig up what I wanted to and not hit what I didn't, it might not have actually saved that much time overall. Plus there is the cost to rent the machine and the risk of actually hitting something by accident and causing more work. 
So sometimes you just have to pick up a shovel and start scooping. 
There are lots of tasks that require hard work to get done. There are better and smarter ways, but we don't always have the luxury of being able to develop the skills needed to operate at a more efficient level. So we do the work, learn our lessons and prepare ourselves for th…

Surviving The Day Is Also A Victory

Tough situations happen. Work gets crazy. Kids schedules get hectic. You figure your only options are to figure out how to clone yourself, invent a time machine or give up and sit in the corner crying. 
The actual solution is to get through it. Sometimes we just get through it, barely, and that is okay. One step in front of the other. Being able to say you got through another day is a victory. Celebrate that as a small victory and sooner than you think a big victory will come along.

The Lost Art Of Thinking Before Speaking

I wonder what it was really like during World War II in our country. Reading the history I know that most Americans opposed entry into the war until the attack on Pearl Harbor. Even after we were drawn into the war there were groups of people that opposed the war thinking Nazism was preferable to Communism as well as other more racist stances. Amidst all of that the overwhelming stories handed down were about the Greatest Generation and how everyone did their part, no matter how small, to support the war effort. Everyone knew that sacrifices had to be made, even the sacrifice of so many lives.
I think about that generation, trying to understand how in 80 years it has become hard to find a similar spirit of unity. We are a divided country and I see no desire on either side to try to reconcile. The concept of evaluating the words you say before you say them has been lost with the anonymity of social media. Asking ourselves, "Is it helpful? Is it kind?" before speaking to someon…

If You Have Free Time Prepare For The Unknown

One of the great questions out right now is what school is going to look like in the fall. There are still a lot of unknowns around COVID-19 and what the right decision is. Education, mental health, social growth, nutritional well being are all factors that need to be weighed along with the health risks of the virus. 
Parents know the end of the school year was not great. It was pure survival mode for everyone, trying to make the best of a situation we were thrown into. There has been a lot of grief given to teachers and administrators expecting a rock solid plan as we approach heading back to school, which is too bad. The problem is there is still a number of options on how it would look. Each option would require a different structure and game plan for teachers. They need to prepare for all of the scenarios, and also the possibility of having to switch to a plan B over the weekend multiple times throughout the year. 
It reminded me of how hard it is to plan. We all get thrown into sit…

Maintaining The Status Quo

One of my favorite movies is National Treasure. I am a history fan and enjoy stories that involve solving a puzzle so it is right up my alley. Towards the end of the movie as the cat and mouse game with the bad guys comes to its climax there are a few lines about maintaining the status quo that have always stuck with me. The good guys and bad guys are working together because they both have a piece of the puzzle. Patrick: Look, cooperation only lasts as long as the status quo remains unchanged. As soon as this guy gets where this thing ends, he won't need you anymore. Or any of us.
Ben: So we find a way to make sure the status quo changes in our favor. Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs. This idea of maintaining the status quo to retain your position, or your bargaining power is all to common. Individuals want to maintain everything  they currently have and expect in a negotiation the other side concede to their wishes. Of course the other side is als…

The Energy You Give In Every Interaction

Most of your interactions with people generally go in one of two ways, those that give you energy and those that suck the energy right out of you. The same person might do both depending on the circumstances. Anyone that is a parent knows this because there are times that your kids just lift you up and bring you so much joy. There are those times though they drive you to the point of demanding that your spouse find a babysitter for the night before you lose your mind.
This is likely the case at work or school also where there are those people we struggle to be around when they get in a mood. 
Have you ever wondered what type of a person you are to other people? When you are talking with someone and the conversation has you energized and motivated, have you ever wondered if the other person feels the same way? Communication is more than just the words we say. You can tell by someone's tone and their responses if they just want the conversation to be over with. 
We have to remember tha…

When You Have A Chance To Make Someone's Day - Do It

There are a lot of things going on in the world that can bring a person down. If you took a poll of everyone and had them rank on a scale of 1 to 10 how good they feel life is at the moment, what do you think the average would be? Lower than any of us would like it I'm sure.
You see things opening back up, the talk of sports finding ways to return and seeing more people out and about. It is a good thing but then we hear the rise of more cases and the unknowns of what we are truly dealing with. 
It feels gloomy right now. Like you are either waiting for a rain storm or it starting to lighten up. Off in the distance you can see sunshine trying to peak through and you wonder which way the wind is blowing. Does the future bring sunshine or more storms? 
It is hard to find the sun at times, so we need to be the sunshine in each others lives. Little gestures, to make someone smile is that first ray of sun poking through on a rainy day. We need to ask ourselves every day, with every person …

What Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us About Risk

The standard view of entrepreneurship is someone who starts businesses, taking on a higher level of the risk and therefore being entitled to more of the potential rewards. This idea of taking on the risks is interesting, because what is a risk to some people isn't true for others. Risk is like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. I believe someone who is a small business owner probably takes on more risk than an entrepreneur. 
Entrepreneurs look to fill a gap they see in the marketplace. The often aren't the inventors, they are the people who see different inventions and advancements and can apply them to different situations. An entrepreneur is able to take a set of processes and apply them to a wide variety of businesses. They often look at how they can start different ventures with the least amount of risk. They aren't risk takers, they see the risks and figure out how to mitigate them.
For some people the thought of opening their own business or being an entrepreneu…

The Cost Of Bad Curb Appeal

My project of late has been updating our landscaping. We've been in our house over a decade and things were definitely starting to show their wear. We started with the front of our house for the whole curb appeal and all. Things were nice, we had a nice layer of mulch and a variety of plants. Time went by and some plants died, some plants spread like crazy and some areas had far more weeds than we could keep on top of. As for the back of the house, just never really got around to it. So when a pandemic hits and you find yourself with more time on your hands than normal, it is decided it is high time we did something about it. It isn't the most fun job in the world, it is pretty physical and you are hot, sweaty and dirty. But the payoff is what it does to the value and appeal of your home. 
Thinking about the value of good landscaping got me thinking about the value of good design in anything. Having a pristine, well manicured yard might increase the value of your house, but you…

History Has Its Eyes On You

Hamilton is coming out on Disney+ tomorrow and I am so excited to watch it. I've been singing along with the album for the last 4 years and have never had the chance to see the show. I remember when I first learned about it I started reading more about the history behind the musical. I had heard about the famous dual and knew Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers, but there was a lot that I didn't know.
I've been learning some new things, doing some new research lately as I have have once again realized how little I really know about the history of our country. I've heard the terms before but didn't really know much beyond the surface of the Reconstruction era, Jim Crow laws and the Civil Rights movement. I was this many years old before I had heard about Juneteenth, celebrating the actual end of slavery in the United States. I grew up knowing about Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, and that was in the middle of the Civil War, but I'm still s…

What To Do With Your Great Idea

Most organizations will put out the claim they want your feedback and your ideas. If you have a way to make it better they want to hear it. 
The culture dictates what the picture looks like in reality, how people truly share those ideas and feedback. Are ideas received well? Even if you don't do anything with it, thanking the person for the idea and what you like about it.Are ideas shot down nicely? Not all ideas are good. Sometimes they won't work, but explaining why, laying out the obstacles or flaws in an idea so that the idea can be improved upon. Are ideas shared and discussed? Most ideas are not home runs on the first presentation. An idea has to be cultivated, discussed and enhanced to formulate a working plan. Ideas require a feedback cycle to take them somewhere.Are ideas implemented recognized? Do you publicly appreciate those that share ideas, no matter how small, when they benefit your organization?This is true in all levels too. Most think the problems with idea sha…

The Voice We Hear The Most

All of us have flaws. All of us have things we want to improve on. It is a slippery slope we too often fall into where all we see is what is wrong with ourselves and we forget or overlook the things that are great about the person we see in the mirror.
God created you and He doesn't make mistakes. When you believe you are less than what you truly are, it is the same as telling God He doesn't know what He is doing. God doesn't make mistakes.
We need to change the words we tell ourselves and ensure there is a positive undertone. We need to be our own best coach because the voice we hear the most is our own. Instead of saying, "I'm bad at..." we need to tell ourselves, "I want to get better at..." The first one is just complaining, insulting yourself. The second one is an action plan, a goal, something to work towards and achieve. 
If the voice in your head was a person, do they act like a best friend? Someone to tell you the truth in a kind way but is al…

Sorry To Break It To You, You Aren't The Best

I play a variety of roles in my job. Roles like project manager, business analyst, solutions architect, application administrator, integration analyst and tester. Every day you can find me in at least one, but likely all of those roles to some capacity. Some of those roles I'm better at than others. Each of those roles I could improve on, there is always room to get better. 
One thing I've learned over time is to accept the fact that in any one of those roles there are thousands of people that are better at it than me. There are people who also have to play each of those roles in their job and they are better overall than I am. Somewhere in this world there is someone who is the absolute best at any given subject or activity, I'm pretty sure it isn't me.
Does that mean that I'm bad at my job? Of course not. I can still be very good at my job even if I'm not the best project manager in the world. The fallacy we fall into is to believe that if we aren't the bes…

Play As A Team But Don't Follow The Crowd

To be a good team member, you have to adapt and be willing to help the team succeed. Sometimes it means doing things which aren't your strengths, or even things you don't like to do. If there is a process in place everyone else follows it is important as a team to follow that process.
It is also important for you to remember you are a unique individual. You have different strengths and talents. You might have a different approach than others do. You see this a lot in sports where someone has an unusual stance or throwing style. Everything says it shouldn't work but it is effective for them. The same is true for you, you bring a unique view of things. 
You also may see something that is a problem that others don't. Even if you follow the policy you know you are still going to have an issue. You need to be able to speak up, take a stand when something is not right.
It is one of many dichotomies in life. You need to be a good team mate, but you also need to be the best versi…

Life Can Be A Battle, Just Keep Fighting

I know every day feels like a battle. That is because it is true. Every day is a battle. When you are in a battle you get tired. Sometimes you feel like you are winning, some times you feel like you are losing. There are even times it feels hopeless, that a part of you just wants to give up.
We want to win a battle that is super easy and straight forward. When there isn't a lot of thought or energy needed to coast to victory. But those aren't really battles, those are just practice. Championships are rarely the contest when you are able to put in your second string. Complex problems don't have easy answers, otherwise we would just call them simple problems. 
In life you are going to have battles and there aren't going to be easy answers. So you have two choices, you can quit, or you can keep fighting. Fighting, learning, and adapting until you find a way through.You will find your victories, your moments of joy, and then there will be another battle. It may sound pessimi…

To De-escalate You Have To Want To

One of the joys of having multiple children are the fights that inevitably happen. I have to admit it annoys me far more than it should. I know when I was younger I had dumb arguments with my sister or other kids too. I just want them to see what took me a long time to learn, how it doesn't do any good to dig your heals in and try to prove you are absolutely right and the other person is absolutely wrong.
When you are in a disagreement with someone, if you want it to end you are going to have to find a compromise. Or at least reach an amicable end so nobody walks away bloody. To reach an agreement there are going to have to be concessions on both sides of the table. If you want to win, your actions typically escalate the tensions. If you want to de-escalate the tensions, if your goal is to actually resolve it, then maybe you will have to be the first to compromise.
If you are arguing a point and end up proving yourself right, but in the process you humiliate the opposition you are g…

Observation Is Key - To Change It You First Have To See It

I will admit, there are things around the house which aren't as apparent to me as they should be. My wife used to get upset because I was oblivious to things that needed to be done. I'm sure I'm not much better but I do know I try to be observant. Now when I go to put my dirty dishes in the sink and there isn't room, I can usually recognize I should load the dishwasher.
I knew that I wanted to make a change, and that didn't just magically happen. I had to choose to be more observant. I had to notice things lying around that needed to be picked up. I wouldn't act unless I was able to notice that something needed to be done.

Observation is the key. We can't change anything if we don't open our eyes to see it. If we aren't looking for the items that we want to change we are not going to see them. That doesn't mean we are ignoring it either. Ignoring something means you are aware of it but you are refusing to acknowledge. Sometimes it just doesn't…

Before The Last Buzzer Sounds - We Can Still Win

I write and think about leadership a lot here. It is because I believe we are all leaders. We might not be in high profile management type positions, but we all have a sphere of influence which gives us the opportunity to be a leader. We are in great need of leadership because this year has been crazy, and we aren't even half way through it. That is a huge opportunity for us to change the narrative on the rest of 2020. But we need leadership.

I saw this quote by Doc Rivers and think of the times we've seen great second half comebacks, maybe you've even been a part of one. When you are down at halftime the coach needs to lead, but you also need the players on the team to step up. Everyone can't just throw up their hands, assume the game is lost so try to not to get hurt or have them laughing at you. There are plenty of teams that have that attitude, and we would label their coaches as bad. The great coaches, the great leaders, inspire us to give everything we can to turn…

It Is Time For A Change

Every month that goes by in the year 2020 we continue to think that the world can't possibly get any more screwed up. We need to all stop saying that because there is always something worse. In May it got worse when we all saw the senseless murder of George Floyd. I was sickened, outraged, and scared. I knew what the state of the country was. I was scared because I knew what the reaction was going to be and we've all seen how that has played out.
I never would have thought I would have to be teaching my children about the difference between protesting, rioting and looting. The words come up as we try to explain why the black community is angry and why they have the right to be. Explaining how this problem does not have a simple solution. How there are people that are trying to manipulate the narrative to make us think something other than the truth. How there isn't one problem to solve but a complex web of interconnected issues that have been built up over time and contribu…

When You Are Learning To Dance, You Might Step On A Few Toes

The phrase, "I didn't want to step on your toes" has been said a number of times at my work place lately. I find it interesting that in our society we don't seem to care who we offend, but at our jobs we try so hard not to offend we become more passive then we need to be at our job. 
You need to have good working relationships with people so it is right to try not to offend anyone. We don't need to be scared so we aren't doing what we need to though. If we are focused on the same goal, I should never be offended by someone trying to get some work done. 
When you are learning to dance, there is a good chance that you will make the wrong steps, even step on your partners toes once in a while. If you are dancing a cha-cha and your partner is dancing a waltz it is going to be ugly, there is even a chance someone could get hurt. But if you are dancing the same style, your goal is the same. It might be a little rough at first but with practice and learning about each…

So You Don't Agree? Try Anyway

You have likely been in a situation where your boss, teacher, or coach gave you a task or exercise which didn't really make sense. Your first thought is it feels like a waste of time and you immediately gripe to your friends, co-workers, or teammates. None of you can make any sense of it. You believe it will turn out as a disaster and secretly hope the whole thing blows up so you can confirm your dissenting view.

We often don't have control of the things we are assigned, but we are in control of how we react to them. If you don't agree with something, rather than complaining maybe what you need to do is put all of your energy into figuring out how to make it work. It might turn out you were right and it was a disaster, but by putting your energy into making it work you are going to learn more and better understand where things fell apart.

Even when we know something isn't going to work, we try anyway. There is a reason for the assignment you were given, you might not s…

Multi-Sport Athletes And Polymaths

There had been a trend in youth sports I'm happy to see finally start to shift. When I was growing up if you played sports you played many sports, you didn't play just one. There wasn't specializing. Somewhere along the line that changed and if you became good at a sport it became all you did. You have your in season team, your off season traveling team, your camps and workshops. If you wanted to be great you had to have a singular focus.

Today you see more emphasis from college and professional coaches and scouts talking about multi-sport athletes. Most professional drafts have some mention of the percent of first round draft picks who played multiple sports in high school. If you are a great athlete you can still be a kid and try lots of things. You don't need to cut every other thing out of your life if you want to go pro, from the numbers, it seems like that hurts you more than it helps. Which makes sense, because how many kids probably burnt out playing one sport …

The Difference Between Fear And Respect

As we've been in this global shut down for over 2 months now you can tell people are getting restless. We continue to learn more about the disease, how it spreads and how deadly it is, yet we still have much to learn. We don't have a vaccine and won't have one for at least another year, and then the questions will arise on how much testing has been done and how safe it is. There are doubts and questions and endless opinions (oh so many opinions) of people who aren't experts pointing to articles by theoretical experts or actual experts who share their opinions based on what little data they have. Too much of the information we are being fed is meant to generate fear.

The problem that is going on right now is a divide between keeping things shut down for safety and opening things back up to get businesses moving again. The issue is both things are true. The disease is deadly, though not as deadly as once suspected. Just because it isn't as deadly doesn't mean we …

Learn The History Of What You Love

If you are a sports fan you've probably heard about The Last Dance, the documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls currently airing. Anyone who saw Jordan will tell you he is the greatest basketball player to have played the game. That has come under debate recently with many current NBA fans claiming LeBron James is the greatest ever. I'm not hear to debate who is better, what interests me is how much people, especially young people, only know of recent players. It happens in every generation to a degree but I think as time goes by people get less interested in the history of the thing they love. Because of the documentary many people are listing their top 5 or top 10 players of all time, and they are listing Jordan but they are leaving out greats of the past. To appreciate LeBron you need to understand what Jordan did. To appreciate Jordan you have to understand what Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell did before him.

The Obstacles That Block Our Path

If you are in a state of being motivated to start something new, but haven't started it yet, I have a warning for you. You are about to get hit by every obstacle imaginable.

You are wanting to spend some time working on a project around the house, or maybe read a book that has been sitting on your shelf. Some sort of family situation will pop up that consumes your weekends. Back in the day this would have been kids sports and activities, now it might be homework and meal prepping for the week.

You are have an idea you want to put some thoughts together on for work. You get hit with a project, report or presentation that you are spending every extra minute on to get it done on time.

You want to start exercising, you get injured or sick. You want to start eating healthier, someone brings donuts into the office, or worse the employee fun committee plans a potluck/goody day.

The obstacles are real and challenging, but if you want something nobody said it was going to be easy. There is…

Strive To Learn Something In Every Interaction

Learning and teaching. I think most of our interactions with others can be summarized that we are either learning or we are teaching. One is primarily about listening, one is primarily about talking. Of course during a conversation you can flip back and forth between talking and listening. Both are necessary, but which one do you primarily operate from? Where do you naturally go first?

One of my triggers I've developed to help me starts withe the feeling of having to argue more to make a point, or just generally feeling like people aren't getting what I am saying. It is a pretty clear indication I need to stop talking and listen more. I need to go into learning mode so I can understand the other position or what details I'm not understanding. If people aren't getting what I'm saying, and it seems simple, I'm probably missing some details that are making it less clear for others.

The alternative is spending more time coming up with strategies and bullet points o…

Nobody Cares, Work Harder

I'm human. Just like everyone else I can get in those down times where it feels like nothing is going right. There is the ever expanding task list at work and at home. The joy of crossing an item off your list disappears when you realize three new things came in. Dealing with uncertainty and unknowns but trying to move forward. Stressing out about how to figure everything out. Dealing with people and answering questions that do nothing but slow you down.

When you are in these situations many of us feel the need to vent or complain. It can be a good outlet, just letting off steam. But at the end of the day it is up to you to figure out a solution. Sometimes you just need to work harder. Working harder doesn't mean putting more hours in, it means working harder with your mind to find a solution. Work harder at organizing your priorities better. Work harder at delegating things that others can help you with. Work harder at learning to communicate clearly and succinctly. Work hard…

Life Is Like Learning To Ride A Bike - Part 2

In my last post about bike riding, I talked about when you are first learning to ride a bike you have to figure out how to go in a straight line. As we progressed in our bike riding proficiency we realize that going straight is important, but just the start. Once you learn how to maintain balance and keep it straight, you have a whole new set of challenges. Those challenges and how to deal with them contain more lessons for us.

The first thing you need to do is learn how to stop. I swear every kid I've ever known, no matter how many times you tell them how to stop their bike, when they start going where they don't want to the feet go down. Pedals get tangled with feet, falls happen, things escalate quickly. You have to learn how to break safely, when you get into a situation that isn't safe you need to slow down or stop. If you don't know how to break things can get very dangerous. In life we have to learn to recognize when we need to slow down or even stop. People can…

Life Is Like Learning To Ride A Bike

Stuck at home, finally taking the big leap with my youngest to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. The beauty of having three kids is you've cut your teeth on teaching the first two how to ride, this one is feeling like a piece of cake. A friend of mine gave me the best advice when I was first teaching my kids to ride, and I continue to use it. To balance better you need to go faster. Your natural instinct is to try and go really slow and balance the best you can. But balancing is a lot harder when you are going slow. When you go fast your momentum keeps you up right.

The other piece of advice that I repeat often is to make little adjustments, not big ones. To go in a straight line, when you feel yourself starting to go left your instinct is to jerk it back to the right. Which is always an over correction and quickly turns into what looks like someone emphatically shaking their head no as the wheel jerks back and forth. To keep it straight it takes just the slightest of …

Each Day Is Its Own Victory

We have been at this shelter at home stage for 6 weeks now. We've settled into a pretty decent routine with work, home schooling, and when the best time to venture out for groceries and other necessities is to limit exposure. We have our days that we order takeout that we look at as a reward. Do the days feel like it is the same thing day in and day out? Certainly. Do we try to find different activities to break up the monotony? Of course, with what limited options we have. Still the repetitive feeling doesn't go away. Many others feel the same way, some feel like they are going to lose their mind if something doesn't change.

All we can do is keep on moving forward. Each day its own little victory. Another step forward and closer to the finish line. We don't know how many steps there are but we know each step is progress. We don't have to be a superstar every day, we just need to take a step.

In a year we will look back and be amazed at how far we've come.

If You Went Viral, What Would People Catch?

Does anyone else find it ironic we are dealing with a pandemic when our social medial culture talks so much about going viral? The number of people who have a hobby or even make a living trying to get TikTok famous is ridiculous. Frantically checking back on their posts to see how many likes they got.

Seth Godin has talked for years about how ideas spread much like a virus. It doesn't matter if the ideas are good or bad, it is a matter of if you can get people to talk and share it. There are people that will try to share anything, just to get the likes and clicks. We all have a voice. We all have a choice on what words we share. If you went viral what would people catch from you?

Financial Literacy - Something Everyone Needs To Understand

There are two main topics at the top of everyone's mind right now with COVID-19. The first is obviously the health and wellness of everyone. The second is the economy and the elements related to it. With good reason as unemployment rates soar to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Many predicted we would be heading towards a recession in 2020, long before the economic downturn from the pandemic. If you've looked at your 401k lately you'll know things have taken a big hit. (If you haven't looked, don't, just know that it is a long term investment and look in 2022.)

All of this is just another reminder of our need as individuals to have a solid foundation in financial literacy. Most people are finding more time on their hands, what better way to spend it than to figure out how to understand your personal financial situation and what you need to do differently for the next crisis. There might not be a global pandemic but there will always be job losses, medica…

Spend No More Than 5 Minutes Per Day On The News

I heard recently all you really need every day is 5 minutes of news. In just 5 minutes you can be updated on the key items going on in your community and world. The key is stopping at 5 minutes because the rest in my opinion is propaganda that media tries to drive home and stir up more clicks and viewers. It doesn't matter if you lean right or left, there is a news source that will bend the narrative to fit whatever picture you want to be painted.

If you stop at 5 minutes you have a lot more free time every day. If you have time you aren't reading the latest doomsday or conspiracy stories what can you do with your time? We are going to look back at this time and the level of innovation, art, stories and new ideas that come from this time where we are locked inside will be one of the greatest in history. The reason I know this is it has happened before.

This pandemic isn't the first plague that has swept over the world. When you look back over history,  during some of the g…

Control The Things You Can Control

I feel like I have written about this topic before, but given our current situation in the world I think it can't be stated enough. The only things I should worry about are the things I can control. If I can't control it, no amount of worrying will change things so it is wasted energy. If I can control something there isn't any point in worrying, I should take action.

I also realize that I don't have a lot of room to worry. We have been lucky in our house that our jobs haven't been impacted. Yes it has been annoying and there is a fear of what happens if we were to catch it, but when I think of people working in hospitals and other high risk jobs my problems pale in comparison.

There is a big difference between a less than ideal day and a bad day. For most of us our days are less than ideal now. Life is too short to waste time worrying about things that aren't that big of a deal, even in the middle of a pandemic. Stay safe, be smart, but make the best of each d…

On Not Vilifying Someone Who Doesn't Think Like You

It is interesting to see how people react to the new world we live in. Even more interesting is how people react to others reactions. Social media is an interesting space, it always has been. You have the people who seem to rip on everything and love to argue without facts. A time like this, full of fear, anxiety and a host of questions has only compounded the problem. You also have many people who try to spread positive or uplifting quotes and nuggets of information, just trying to help people make the best of this terrible situation. Sometimes those paths cross and it is an interesting look at human nature.

I was reading a post from an author that is known for being very positive, some might even say he is over the top, he's a Pollyanna. He shared a post about how we have a choice in how we react to the situation we are in. Someone came back at him and vilified him for stating such a thing. When there are people losing jobs, getting sick and losing loved ones to tell them it was…

Today Is Unique, Special and Beautiful

Today is trash/recycling day and I'm oddly excited about it. Partly because we've been doing some cleaning and finding things we just need to get rid of, which fills up the trash can pretty quickly, so it needs to be emptied. The other reason, I have been looking for ways to be excited and thankful for the little things that make each day unique. 
When we are in a time like this where the days start running together I find it important to look for little things to break up each day and have something to make each day unique. I know I'm not alone in this based on the number of times I talk with others and somewhere in the conversation eventually the question is raised, "Wait, what day is it today?"
If all we talk about is how it feels like the movie Groundhog Day then that is what we see. If we talk about the uniqueness of each day and the joy of it being trash day each day becomes unique and special. 
When we consider that most people will have 25,000-30,000 days…

We Are All In Marketing

I was reminded of a book by Seth Godin recently called All Marketers Are Liars. If you are in marketing those might be harsh words to hear but I would encourage you most of all to read it.

The reason I've been thinking about it is because of some of the different messages I've been hearing lately. These messages are all stories. Everyone has a story to tell. Every person, every team, every company and every organization has a story. Everyone is in marketing trying to make their story sound as good as they possibly can. The issue is when you start manipulating the story. You are sharing feedback from the handful of customers that applaud a decision and ignoring the hundreds of complaints you've received. When you start altering the story so far from the truth, yet you've repeated the story to yourself so much you honestly believe it is the truth.

We need to listen to our audience and we need to be authentic. If you don't like your story, don't make something up,…

Boredom - Surprisingly A Word You Don't Hear A Lot Right Now

I find it interesting that as crazy as our world is right now, one word I'm not hearing a lot of is boredom. My kids know better than to say they are bored to me because I can find them something to do so fast it gives them whiplash. Beyond that I have talked to more people that are doing things they've put off. Watching some of those movies they haven't had a chance to see that everyone has talked about. Reading a book that they haven't had a chance to start. Working on a project around the house. I've heard more people talk about painting something in their house I wish I had bought stock in Sherwin Williams.

I've spent more time on framing my basement. The kids are spending time going through areas and rooms of the house that are desperately in need of organizing and cleaning. Toys that have been forgotten about have been rediscovered. Countless art projects have been done. We've watched a couple of movies together as a family.

Yes, things are different …

Flexibility - Or Adapting To The Way Things Are

Being able to go with the flow is generally a pretty good quality to have. Circumstances change, information changes, people leave companies or move away. As things change having the resiliency to adapt to the new circumstances is an important quality.

Now more than ever we need to be flexible. We are having to live in new and different ways. People learning to work from home, do online school, figure out ways to stay in shape and able to perform in their activity of choice.

Challenges are nothing more than learning opportunities. The key is to accept things aren't like they used to be. Complaining about it doesn't change any of your current circumstances. So often in life the only thing we can control is how we respond in various situations. The situations we can rarely control, but we can always own our response.

We must also remember that not everyone faces the same challenges. While some of us are complaining of having to work in the same room as our spouse every day, othe…

Sometimes There Is More Than One Lesson To Learn

I try to always stay positive and look at the good in the world. Recently it has been a lot more challenging to do so. It is certainly a time where there is a lot of fear and anxiety, yet I believe we are going to look back on this time and recognize the impact it had on us as individuals, families, communities, nations and the world. I've shared before that many of the worst events in my life have had the most positive change. This virus is tragic, it is killing people and wreaking havoc on economies. At the same time we are also being presented with things many of us haven't seen in our lifetime.

Air quality numbers in many cities have dramatically improved in just a few days.The water in the canals in Venice is clearer than it has been in decades.Marine life is approaching shores like Sardinia they usually avoid due to the abundance of water traffic.Companies are learning how to operate with people working from home. Some companies have embraced a work from home culture but …

What Is Needed Most During A Global Pandemic

Five months ago I wrote a post about propaganda. The whole idea was around how companies, governments, organizations and institutions create propaganda and how we need to be knowledgeable about the methods used. We need to seek the truth. Fast forward to today when we are in the midst of the largest global crisis since World War II. Most of us (90% or more of the world's population) were not alive during that time, we just read about it in history books and learn about it from Steven Spielberg movies. We are living in unprecedented times, dealing with something of this magnitude with access to the information that we do is new territory for us.
There are countless, news stories, eyewitness accounts and "facts" shared from people that "know someone" in any number of epicenters around the world. Whatever your view is on the situation, no matter if you believe everything happening is an overreaction, underreaction, or just the right reaction, you can find informat…

There Are Two Types Of Businesses - Which One Are You?

I am convinced there are basically two styles of running a business.I'm going to speak in some extreme generalizations here, but stay with me. I know there are infinite ways to run a business and there are nuances within each of these groups, but I think you will agree with me.
Businesses are either customer first or business first. 
In a customer first business you adapt and change your business based on the needs of your customer. You gather feedback on how they feel, you listen to them, and you do everything you can to accommodate them. Of course you can't do everything they want, but then you explain it, you help them understand why things are the way they are. If you can't give a good explanation on a policy, you will change it.
On the other side we have the business first organizations who act like the customer doesn't matter. There is an air about them of believing the customer should feel privileged to be paying them for their product or service. The biggest si…