Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fits like a...sock?


Did you ever get new socks for Christmas?

I did this year.

They were dress socks...so I wore them to work on Wednesday and I thought to myself how good they felt.

They had more than enough cushion and support and when I compared them to my old dress socks...they were hands down...the winner.

They were new...but really comfortable.

So I started thinking about how we typically look at those two choices as either/or's. We usually have to sacrifice one for the other. I am comfortable here...but over there is something new...that actually may be better...but I really don't want to take that chance.

Comfortable v New.

Nope...not going to fall into that trap.

Don't think you have to lose one for the other. Make it work for both. Stay in your comfort zone...but bring a new element into it. Challenge the comfort zone without breaking it. Stretch it..without ripping it.

Comfortable and new. It does work...and it feels pretty good.

Remember Mikey? He tried new things...and always liked it. What was the name of that cereal again? Oh yeah...Life. That's it.

Writer's note; Did you know the Life cereal campaign was one of the longest running consistent commercial themes in the history of television. They were on to something. But...I digress...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Shaken...not stirred



You've all done it...

You've made it snow inside a snow globe.

You shake it vigorously and the snow flakes explode and create a virtual whiteout of the scene inside the globe.

Then what happens?

The flakes settle...and the scene is even more beautiful than before.




More often than not...that summarizes our life. Every once in a while, the flakes explode all around us. Creating confusion and apparent disarray. But eventually, the flakes settle...the picture becomes clear again...and you see the scene for what it really is. But...probably even more beautiful than before because you appreciate it more.

Don't be afraid of the whiteout...embrace it because what follows is actually quite nice.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Your steps





Writer's note: Today...my "little girl" graduates from college. This post is dedicated to her.



I remember the first steps you took when you were just a babe.
Exploring. You were alive. They were tiny steps but you went so far.
So careful, so trusting, so new.


I remember the first steps you took when you chose to run.
You had a goal, a dream to chase. They were bigger steps, but not large.
So focused, so determined, so you.

I remember the first steps you took when you danced to a song..
They were synchronized steps, but not planned.
So delicate, so beautiful, so blue.

I remember the first steps you took when you started to learn.
Yearning. Growing. Knowing. They were scary steps, but good.
So brave, so noble, so do.

I remember the first steps you took in the fields of play.
Not winning, not a care.. They were awkward steps, but forward.
So striving, so reaching, so few.

Today, you reach and take another step. There will be more. I promise.
Some good, bad. Some small, not all.
Some with promise and some nay. Some to move to and some fro.
But, the one thing to count on,
I will take these steps too as I have for all of the past.
To catch the tears and share the laughs.
To open your doors and to close your wounds.
I will be there too.

With every step,
I look back and forward and can’t help but smile with pride.

Every step you wish can be yours.
I am so proud of you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Are you painting in color or B&W



Writer's note; Huge movie buff...so every once in awhile I am going to reference movies or lines from movies that I feel have made or continue to make a difference.

Writer's note #2; You ever read or hear something where you just say...WOW...that really speaks to me...I wish I would've created that.

Think about this...

We all paint our own surroundings so use the brightest, boldest, biggest colors you can find. Fill the canvas. Make it scream and yell.

That's what this is all about...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What really counts?


OK...I am going to sound like a scrooge on this but really am not...

At this time of year...we hear this phrase a lot; "It's the thought that counts."

WRONG!

It's NOT the thought that counts.

Let me repeat it if you didn't catch that.

It's NOT the thought that counts.

It's the DO that counts.

We have a lot of people who have great intentions and thoughts...but not a lot of people who put those thoughts into action.

"I'd like to do this but..."

"We could accomplish this but..."

The next time you have the thought...make it real.

Give it life. Get it done.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The more things change...




We talk more and more about how technology is changing the way we live our lives.

I disagree.




When you really look at it...technology changes how we do things in our lives...not why we do things.

We used to call people on the phone or write them letters so we can stay connected.

We now text, poke, post, tweet, update...so we can stay connected.

We used to read to be entertained, informed and educated.

Now we not only read...but we contribute so we can be entertained, informed and educated and entertain, inform and educate.

We used to build relationships with our neighbors so we can grow our trust network.

We now build relationships with our communities...so we can grow our trust network.

We used to go door to door before we buy something so we don't make a bad purchase.

We now go site to site before we buy something...so we don't make a bad purchase.

Tradition and technology.

It's not reinventing the wheel...it's just replacing a spoke.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

That kid has some talent...


Our start up company is in full swing right now...and so far the results are outstanding! The human puzzle pieces have fit together perfectly.



I was sitting down talking with one of my key people on the team last week and I was talking about the individual talents that we have assembled. The collective heads, hearts and souls of the team are incredibly impressive. It's one of those cases where the sum of the individuals is equal to the sum of the whole.

Do you have someone in your organization who is really good at collecting talent and putting the pieces of the human puzzle together? If you do...you are already half way there to success. If you don't...find someone quickly who can.

Collect talent. Always. Everywhere. It can't be looked at as a hobby or part time thing...it's a passion and it has be a full time focus.

Look at the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Their General Manager Ted Thompson did a masterful job of collecting talent. He took a lot of heat on some of his decisions but he stayed the course with his plan to collect talent...and look at the end result.

What's the measurement of success for you? Whatever it is...it starts with your talent collection. Envision the goal...and then find the people who can achieve it. Everything else...will take care of itself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Have it...eat it...do it up man!


Time to debunk a myth...

You not only can have your cake and eat it too...but you should try and make 14 cakes and eat all of them.

I am serious...

OK...it's human nature to want to eat the cake we make. We should enjoy our creations to the fullest.

If we are passionate about something...then eat it up.

Go for it!

Now...granted...you might not get the opportunity to do it all but you should shoot for that.

Make it...eat it. Make more...eat them as well. Don't go away hungry.

Do it all folks. Trust me...you will regret it if you don't try.

Now...whether or not you deserve to get the opportunity to eat it??? Ahhh...there is the question. Only you can answer that one.

For the rest of us...

Dig in!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Koi Therapy



A while back...I talked about a watering hole in the Cayman Islands called Calico Jack's.




Time to pull up a barstool and pop a squat so I can share another little diamond in the rough...or as I say...top shelf amidst a sea of rail.






The Atomic Koi Cocktail Lounge. The name invites questions...but the bar gives answers. It is Atomic...and serene all at once.
Cocktails? Over 100. Lounge? You bet.

On the website, it's billed as an “Asian Infused Retro Lounge." I just bill it as the place to chill.

It's Winston Wolf. It solves problems.

It's Frank Sinatra. It does it it's own way.

It's Charlie Mackenzie. It is poetry in a glass with a slice of a jazz infused beat underneath.

It's Roger Miller, Elvis, the Fonz and Samuel L Jackson all wrapped up in a tumbler of cool.

It's underground but above water.

It's the four minute offense in football. Just running out the clock baby.

It's the milk mustache...it does a body good.

Doctors. Lawyers. Accountants. Consultants. All be damned.
They've got nothing on the bartenders at the Koi.

Relax. Sip. Take it all in.

Lost something...find it again at the Koi.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Morning over a Cup of Joe



Yesterday...an 8 year old friend of the family said "that's the spirit" when one of my sons did something nice. I thought about that phrase ever since and I think I am going to adopt that one for awhile.




Good managers are easy to find...not so with good leaders because we can't see behind the title.

We sure do love the underdog, don't we?

Six degrees of separation? Wholeheartedly believe in it.

Favorite quote from my Dad..."smile and the world will smile with you...frown and you are all alone."

Feels good to be a bucket filler, doesn't it?

Someone find a better way to describe the situation we are in when we can't control the outcome than saying "it is what it is" and I will stop saying it. Until then..."it truly is what it is."

There is no other team sport than football that truly takes all players playing as one to be successful.

Turning a culture around is like turning a sailboat against the wind. It's hard...but sometimes necessary.

We define who we will be as young adults in our 20's. Something defines us again in our 40's. Not sure about the 60's...not there yet. I will update you on that when I get there.

I really like October and December...glad there are 31 days in each month so I can enjoy them as long as possible.

Flat Stanley is one lucky dude!

Great chemistry and balance between two or more people can move mountains.

A well placed and timed day off can pay huge dividends down the road.

Passion is the one emotional gasoline that drives everything.

Didn't feel like writing today...glad I did. Feel better for it.

"That's the spirit!"

Monday, October 24, 2011

I got a bone to pick with you

To invent...or reinvent.

What's harder? What is more rewarding?

Creating something out of nothing...or recreating something out of something?

The risk is greater to the individual with the latter because it involves leaving a comfort zone. Leaving the established boundaries. Breaking the rules.

During the invention phase...rule breaking is not only accepted...it's expected.

During the reinvention phase...the perimeters have been set.

Remember...if it's not broke...don't fix it. Right?

But...experience can teach us how to not only break rules but to make new ones in the process.

The reinvention takes greater strength, conviction and risk.

What about the reward though?

Greater during reinvention? Possibly...but not guaranteed.

So if the risk is greater...and the reward is the same...why reinvent?

Because...you can't stand still...and things never improve without reinvention. What once was new...is now old. So how do you make the old new again. It's not a coat of fresh paint...it's a complete redo.

The old dog with the new trick can accomplish a lot more than that new pup with the same new trick because the old dog has seen the old tricks already.

Now go fetch yourself something...and reinvent.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Failure IS an option



Gene Kranz got it wrong.

History has not been rewritten...Apollo 13 did make it back but Gene Kranz did miss the mark.

It's not "Failure is not an option" it's "Because of previous failures, we are now able to succeed."

To fail...inherently means to try.

Failure should be welcomed, embraced and employed because it means you are putting yourself "out there"...taking chances or risks that will eventually improve your mission, product or service.

There was obviously something wrong with the Apollo 13 mission. There was a failure somewhere along the way.

The key is to identify when failure does not mean the end of the trail. What is the ultimate goal? If you really think about it, your failure is just a step in the process...a link in the chain.

Ever hear the saying "lose the battle...win the war?" Same principle applies. In other words...fail first but ultimately succeed.

Don't lament about your failures. Use them to help you achieve success later.

Remember...failure is an option. We may not like it...but we sure do need it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moments of Clarity "The Sequel"

Writer's note; You ever have a thought and write it down somewhere so you can remember it later? That happened to me with my previous post regarding Moments of Clarity.

I have been thinking about this concept for awhile and wanted to get something down on paper about it. After re-reading my post, I realized this topic needs...well...for lack of a better word...more clarity. So with that...comes the sequel. By the by...this one will truly be better than the original...at least in my eyes.


No matter where we are in life...we are always going to have to deal with the "grass is greener" syndrome. I don't have to explain it...you feel it, know it and have lived it. Whether it be relationships... jobs...houses...financial statuses...health..etc. The grass does look pretty green over there.

That's where Moments of Clarity come in. These small droplets in a given point of time give us the vision or foresight to realize that your own grass is pretty green. It could seem insignificant at the time, but carries so much weight in time. A small success. A move in the right direction. A shared laugh, look or touch. That's all it takes. The picture becomes clearer.

We spend a lot of time looking for the one seismic event that says "it's OK right here where I am" but we miss the impactful 20 others that happened already.

Moments of Clarity. You don't have to be a Sherlock to find them. You probably have several everyday. Easy to find...if you are looking in the right places.

We clear?

PS; Several posts ago, I came up with a pretty humorous way to look at your own grass. It involves cathartic acts. I might have to pull that one up again soon. I kinda liked it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

They are everywhere...


Time out.
Start looking for them.

I call them moments of clarity.

It's when everything comes into focus. Everything makes sense.


They are all around us but sometimes we are too blind to see. These moments seem small...a ripple on an ocean. But look deeper. They bring us back to today. They bring us back to what we have.

Look for them. They advance the process...move the ball down the field...they make sense of things.

They truly...make us smile.

Keep looking...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dad...you want to have a catch?



I'm a lucky man.

This past weekend I went to Lambeau with a couple of buddies (no matter how often I go up there, I am always taken aback by those trips up north). We went out to the hotel parking lot so we could throw the pigskin around. Three good friends...three great friends. One of our friends is still learning how to "have a catch." See...his dad is a great guy but just didn't play ball with him as a kid and he is an only child so he just didn't get the chance to play catch.

Fast forward to tonight. My oldest son's football practice. Now...his football practice field is not in the best area in town. There are always lots of kids running around while my son practices. Not many parents though...especially dads. I was standing around watching practice just tossing a ball to myself when 5-6 kids came up and wanted to play catch. I started thinking to myself...when was the last time they had someone to play catch with. I played catch and then went on my way.

On the way home, I started thinking...how lucky I am. I had a dad who would play catch with me for hours. Now mind you...my dad was 44 when he had me so he was logging a lot of catch time in his 50's. Pretty impressive. Every time I am out with my kids...I think of those days with my dad. We stayed out until the last possible drop of sunshine shut down for the evening.

There are days I don't feel like playing catch. I always figure I do it enough. But to my kids...they probably wish I did it more.

Now that I think about it...they are probably right.

Thanks for the catch dad...

PS; Sorry for the "me" memory focus lately. I guess it's that time of year.

PPS; Next one...I have to tell an amazing story about my dad that one would only think happened in the movies. But it was real.

PPPS; Sorry for the google ads and the movies clip propaganda on the Youtube video...was going to do the blog without the video but it's a pretty powerful scene.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ends...Beginnings...Questions and Answers.

The dawn of the day brought thousands of ends.

The dusk of the day prepared us for one beautiful life and a new beginning.

9/11/01


No one will ever forget how this day began. Thousands of lives were taken before their time. Mothers. Fathers. Sons. Daughters. Thousands of families forever impacted. The day was filled with pain...hurt...fear and uncertainty.

We will never forget.

I will never forget how this day ended. It was the first Lamaze class for my wife and me...preparing us for bringing our newborn son into the world. I was going to be a father again. My wife...a mother for the first time. My daughter...a sister for the first time. The evening was filled with excitement...trepidation...wonder and uncertainty.

I will never forget.

Journeys ended. Journeys began.

Yesterday...we watched the memorials with our son who is now going on 10. So many questions. Some answers. Blessed to have him with us on this day. So very blessed.

One day in our life that forever changed how we lived.

One day in our life we will never forget.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I am a faithful person...but not a religious one


Writer's note; I usually don't write about hot topics like religion or politics because my blog is not designed to initiate debate. It is designed to make you think.


I am breaking my own rule with this one because it has been weighing on me for quite awhile. I welcome disagreement...but not debate...at least not in this forum. However, if you want to buy me a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and discuss the topic, I am all for it.


Writer's note #2; I usually don't refer to myself in my blog because it is inherent by nature that my posts are my opinions. This one has to be delivered from the "me" perspective because it is my unique experience.

I am a recovering Catholic.

I say that partly in jest but it does convey the feeling I want to create when you hear it.

I was baptized into the Catholic church...raised Catholic...went to Catholic schools...and married into the Catholic church.

I feel like the Catholic church turned its back on me twice during my life. Two very important moments that defined my life forever.

First of all, I had a daughter out of marriage. She is a beautiful part of my life. I don't know what I would do without her. After we had my daughter, we were planning to have a big traditional Catholic wedding. My fiancee and I decided it would be not only fun but logical to get married through the courts before our wedding. Nope...bad idea according to the Catholic church. We were told we couldn't have a traditional Catholic wedding because by getting married in the court, it publicizes the fact that we had a child out of marriage.

Strike One.

Secondly, my first marriage ended with divorce and I was told by the Catholic church that if I wanted to stay Catholic, I was going to have to pay money to the church and have my marriage annulled. Which in other words means that my marriage never happened. When I asked the question...how does the church explain my daughter then...the Catholic church responded with...we can't(don't even get me started on the topic of Catholic priests trying to give marriage counseling).

Strike Two. And in this case...you're out!!!

The Catholic church is fundamentally flawed. I understand the practice of respecting tradition but traditions can evolve while still respecting the initial purpose of the tradition itself. The Catholic church's takes on women, the priesthood and celibacy, divorce, confession and the sacraments are outdated and have created true and real problems in our society.

When I first approached the Lutheran church about making the switch...I started explaining my divorce. The Pastor stopped me and said...I understand...I too went through a divorce. At that moment, I achieved religious clarity. This Pastor understood me and welcomed me into the church with open arms.

That is what religion should be about. Finding ways to accept people rather than creating rules to keep them out.

It's about the Christian faith...not about religion. Faith was created by God. Religion was created by man.

Final point of clarity...don't ever confuse God with religion.

May peace be with you...



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jeff Goldblum? Ain't no thing...


They annoy.

They irritate.

They bug you.

They...are flies.




In the heat of the fly attack...it's one of the most bothersome things around. You swat...they keep coming back. You gyrate your arms wildly...they keep coming back.

It stops...you silently stalk your little nemesis and with one bold swipe...you violently swing your wadded up newspaper...only to miss badly.

And you do this again and again...

It truly is the most frustrating thing that you have ever encountered.

But then...you leave the room or the fly goes away...and you completely forget about the tiny pest. Life is good again.

Hmmm...this kind of sounds like most things in life that bother us...doesn't it?



Friday, August 19, 2011

The cry you want to hear...


It is piercing.

It hurts the ears.

It is frustrating.

It reminds you of your sleep deprivation.

It is exasperating.

It's a baby's cry.

99 times of out of a 100...it is that wail in the middle of the night that can leave you searching for answers. Wondering to yourself..."when will it stop" or "what am I doing wrong".

But then there is that one time...that singular moment in our life when it is the most peaceful, comforting and reassuring noise you would ever want to hear. That one time makes you feel alive and engaged in this thing we call life.

That one time...is the first time.

It's the screech your child lets out when he or she enters this world for the first time. It's their way of saying "I'm OK". When you hear it...you exhale, smile and express your tears of joy.

Recently, good friends of ours had their third son. They didn't hear that noise for a full two minutes. It was the longest two minutes of their life. He is still fighting for his life today.

Whether or not you have already been there...or if this moment in your life is still to come...remember...it is the sweetest sound you will ever hear.

"I'm OK."








Monday, August 15, 2011

Tick...tock...tick...tock...

Writer's note...how ironic that I started this post several days ago but ran out of time to finish it. It's been a "draft" for quite awhile. The irony will hit you pretty hard once you read on...

I don't have time to workout...

I don't have time to start writing that book...

I don't have time to play with my kids...

I don't have time to tackle that project that has been on my to do list for months...

I don't have time to do the little things for my wife...

I don't have time to stay connected with my old friends...

I don't have time to take time out...

I don't have time to write personal notes anymore...

I don't have time to...

That beginning sound familiar?

The next time you find yourself saying this...make time.

It's about time. Always is...



Saturday, August 6, 2011

Drives me nuts...

What drives you nuts?
Here's my list...

Micro-management

Too many cooks

Cancerous attitudes

Passive aggressive behavior

Wasted talent

Big fish small pond mentality

Self pity -- "Poor me"

Hearing but not listening

Know it all attitude

Posers

People who aren't living...just existing

Tattletales

Indecision

Unappreciative actions

Hidden agendas



Yup...that about sums it up.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Who are you?


Before you can be successful in any relationship or business venture...you need to realize what you have to work with. And what you have to work with comes down to one thing...self awareness.

Now by self awareness...I do not mean what the Al Franken character; Stewart Smalley was selling you on SNL. I mean a real hard core look at ourselves from a strength and weakness perspective. What are we good at? What do we need to work on? What are our potential personal potholes and where can we excel?

Have you ever taken a personality profile? How did you incorporate that knowledge of yourself into your life moving forward? Did it affect how you deal with the people or tasks in your life?

You are the base. Nothing else can happen if you don't know what you have in your base. Once you have that down, find the balance. I am a big fan of balance. I think you have the best chance for success if you have it. But it sure is a helluva lot easier just to sit down at one end of the teeter totter isn't it. Problem is...you don't get anywhere by just sitting at that one end do you?

Realize the base...and then build around it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vision Funnel



How do you create?

If you choose to do it alone...you are missing the boat.

If you choose group think...you are steering the damn boat.

Plug in...un-plug...whatever you need...group think can accomplish it.

Some people use the term Think Tank when referring to group think. Not a big fan. A tank has no opening...it's a trap.

I prefer Vision Funnel . With Vision Funnel you start wide with hundreds of ideas and bring it down to one focused solid direction. Things go in...some things are left out. And what you have left is amazing.

Vision Funnel . Get a group together and think about it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How to do a start up...at warp speed.

Gene Roddenberry was a brilliant CEO and could write a book on how to manage a start up. Seriously.

If you look at the crew (not the cast) of the original Starship Enterprise, you would see a talented team of people who brought in different strengths and balanced each others' weaknesses.

Kirk = Passionate Inspirational
Spock = Logical Driver
McCoy = Emotional Caregiver
Scotty = Creative Problem Solver
Uhura = Caring Listener
Sulu = Stoic Facilitator

Everyone had a role and expertise and the puzzle pieces fit together.

Same principles hold true when putting together a team for a start up company.

You need clearly defined roles and the talent fit to match.

You need to make sure there is some creative and talent tension that will push people so that the bar is continually raised. But too much tension...will break it apart.

You need to find people who have the ability to do more than the job description. They must have the ability to break glass ceilings.

You need innovators and adapters.

You need people with passion, ownership and integrity.

You need to be able to look before you leap and shoot from the hip at the same time.

You need someone who leads as a conductor does with an orchestra and you need very talented musicians.

You need people who will push each other and pull people through.

You need people to be able to wear multiple hats without losing their head.

You don't need titles. You need leaders.

One final thing to remember with your start up...unless your names are Uhura or Scotty...no one should wear red...because no one is expendable on any given mission.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Random thoughts on a Saturday night...

First of all...I usually reserve these random thought..."on a tangent" posts for Sunday mornings on my deck.


Ain't going to happen tomorrow.


So...here is the virgin voyage for the SS Saturday night Randomness.

If you think about it...every individual day of our life is a microcosm of life's long term roller coaster nature. Think about it...it's true.

What is it about the piano that makes you turn introspective?

"I love you" is a the most powerful thing to say in the world...especially when the right person says it.

Getting old really does suck...no matter how truly young you feel. I don't consider "sucking" a permanent thing though. It seems more temporary...especially on this subject.

Everything in life depends on how you react to things.

Kids truly do need to be told things several hundred times before it sinks in.

I like lakes and oceans more than rivers. What about you?

There are people who are title chasers. You know the kind. They define themselves by the label on the business card. There are other people who are result chasers. No business card can define them. Thus...the difference between managers and leaders.

I truly believe people come into your life for a reason.

Final thought...take a page out of electricity. Plug into something and feel alive.

Last call...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make a big splash...

Ever leave your comfort zone?

I'm not talking dipping your toe in the water. I am talking taking the plunge...head first...sans floaties.

Most of us do not leave our comfort zone on our own.


Most of us need outside encouragement (prodding and pushing works too).

How does it feel when you are out there? Scary? Intimidating?

You bet.

But what happens when you start getting more comfortable in that new uncharted territory? Guess what...your comfort zone moves out with you and becomes bigger. Your boundaries grow...your ability to "do" grows...and your reward usually grows as well.

I'm not saying you need to completely throw all logic out the door. Calculated risks are OK. Actually...the more you take...the more calculation comes into play and the variables actually lessen.

Do your research...remove the variables and do it.

When was the last time you took the plunge? If the answer is too long...jump in. The water's nice.

Friday, July 8, 2011

No such thing...


A good friend of mine who coaches baseball talked about his team's "ugly" win last night.

I just got done running 4 miles this morning and felt like it was a "bad" run.

Debunk the myth...

There is no such thing as an ugly win in sport (life wise...that's another blog for another day) and there is no such thing as a bad workout or run.

Sure...there are things you can do better and you can learn for the next time. But...for God's sake celebrate the victory...whether that's a final score or just getting out of bed and kicking yourself in the butt and getting moving.

Enjoy it! We have enough losses in life...make sure you celebrate the victories...no matter how small they seem.

Style points...nope. Winning points...yup.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What catches your eye?


Painting or photography?

Perception or perspective?

I started thinking about which form of visual art I appreciate and enjoy more...



They both have the ability to stimulate the senses.

Painting is inward out focused while photography is outward in. Let me explain...

A painter's vision starts inside of him or her. They are able to put on an easel what the mind or soul sees first. The photographer takes the object he or she sees and personalizes it....brings it inside.

A painter looks at their creation from the mind's eye. A photographer sees it through their camera lens.

A painter paints time in a moment. A photographer focuses on a moment in time.

A painter sees the shape. A photographer sees the angle of the shape.

A painter paints to his or her idea of perfection. One painting at a time.

A photographer takes pictures to invite imperfection. Hundreds of photos to find one that works.

For me, it's photography.

What sees you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

To or fro...



Bear with me...gotta ask some questions on this one. Trust me...it's worth it.

So why do you run?

Let me guess...when you really break it out...and you really think about it...you are either running towards something or away.

You are running to find motivation or you are running to escape.

It's that simple...

Second question...what music do you listen to while you are running?

So if you run for the reasons I laid out earlier (and I think you do)...you need the right music to match the run...right? So I decided to give you the ultimate playlist perfect for running for motivation or for the ultimate escape. I didn't put these in order because reasons for running and music are individual things. I can't make that choice for you. For me...I like motivational at the beginning of the run...escape in the middle...and then end with motivational again. Think about it this way...sprint...pacing...sprint. The order is your choice...the choice of music...I would take a hard look at my list. I think you will like it...

And now...musical intervals...

Violent Femmes Add it Up
Boys N' the Barrels The Catnip Rag
Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun
Keith Richards Make no Mistake
JoBoxers Just Got Lucky
The Atomic Fireballs Man with the Hex
The Devlins Crossing the River
Loose Nuts Wishen
Kid Rock Rock N' Roll Jesus
Survivor Eye of the Tiger
The Cranberries Linger
Los Lobos Viking
Little Steven Inside of Me
Smash Mouth Walkin on the Sun
Louis Armstrong What a Wonderful World
Simple Minds Don't you Forget About Me
Mumford and Sons The Cave
Simon/Garfunkel Sounds of Silence
Outkast Hey Ya!
Simon/Garfunkel Scarborough Fair
Pete Townshend Face the Face
Rip Off Artists What Just Happened
Real Life Send me an Angel
Pearl Jam Just Breathe
Joan Jett Light of Day
Adam Ant Friend or Foe
Iz Kamakawiwo╩╗ole Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Barenaked Ladies One Week
Hypertrophy Beautiful Day
Bill Conti Gonna Fly Now
House of Pain Jump Around
Black Eyed Peas Electric City
Greg Kurstin Action Figure Party
Blink 182 Mutt
General Public Tenderness
Brooklyn Bounce Get Ready to Bounce
Florence/Machine Dog Days Are Over
Burning Sensation Belly of the Whale
Cream I Feel Free
Far East Movement Like a G6
Dave Matthews Crash Into Me
Don Henley The Boys of Summer
David Bowie This is not America
Devo Whip It
The Doors Break On Through
Elvis Costello Complicated Shadows
The Killers Mr. Brightside
U2 Beautiful Day
The Killers Somebody Told Me
U2 Pride
The Killers All These Things I've Done
U2 Vertigo
The Members Working Girl
Tom Jones I'm Alive
The New Radicals You Get What you Want
Them Mystic Eyes
Mumford and Sons Little Lion Man

There you be...

Enjoy.

Now go run.

Friday, June 24, 2011

You got a problem?




Are you unhappy at work?

If so...you need to ask yourself one question...





Are you unhappy/uncertain about your company's/boss's strategy or philosophy?

If you have problems regarding the strategy...that's a good thing. Challenge it all you want. That's what a good employee should do. A good boss should welcome it.

If you have issues with the philosophy...then you have a problem. Philosophy runs much deeper than strategy. Philosophy points back to a core belief system and if there is a disconnect there...it will probably never get to a point where you are going to be happy or successful

Case in point...

I was recruited for a position with another company about ten years ago and I was pretty sure I was going to take it when I was asked one question; As a manager...do you manage people or do you manage the business? I said you manage people...the business will follow. The CEO responded...no...you mangage the business...people are interchangable. I knew right there...that company was not for me.

So ask yourself...am I unhappy with the strategy or the philosophy. The answer will tell you what you need to do next.

If it's not the strategy...or the philosophy...maybe it's you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's not easy being green...






Ever have those moments in life when the walls are squeezing you and you just want to yell and be done with it all?

Guess what?

We all do...



It's those moments in life when we go from Dr. David Banner to the Incredible Hulk...in our own minds.

Nothing seems to go right and there is a new frustration around every corner. The balance in our life is gone and we just want to give in and let go. And then...a moment of clarity...and balance is restored. Everything falls into place and you have enough strength to go on.

Don't feel bad about hulking out. We all do it...just don't let it hang on for too long...you could do some serious damage with that shit if you don't let it go.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Death of Monet

Did you hear the news...
Monet is dead?














Went to a work thing this past weekend...but it certainly wasn't your typical work thing. This was a session on creative writing in the advertising world and "speaking" to today's consumer.

Around the turn of the century, we learned from great writers and trainers like Roy Williams and Chris Maddock to "monet" or "seuss" our commercials. To "monet" an ad was to paint an impressionistic picture that created theater of the mind for the listener. To "seuss" an ad meant to use rhyming and to invent new words that evoked the feelings that you wanted the listener to feel.

Chris taught this session over the weekend and he discussed the fact that today's consumer is all about truth, black and white propositions and reality. The consumer of today's BS meter is at an all time high. They don't want to be told how to feel...they want to come to that conclusion themselves. They don't give points for creativity...they give points for credibility. They don't want flowery or fluff...just lay out the facts...let them do their research and then they will make the call.

Pastels are out...black and white are in.

I do not like green eggs and ham...just leave them the way they are...thanks.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Don't lose your marbles part 2...



See what you are capable of...when you think happy thoughts.

Don't ever lose your marbles...

Don't lose your marbles...



Remember when I talked about how important it is to cherish the "real" people in your life? I have one of those who is a dear friend who is now fighting for his life due to colon cancer.

He updates all of us through his wonderful writings in his CaringBridge journal.

Yesterday, he went in for a very painful treatment and happened to mention the movie "Hook."

It made me think of "happy thoughts"

It made me think of my "happy thoughts"

Take time out today to think of yours...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

This one is a tough one...



There are two kinds of death...

People who still have a lot of life left who actually pass away and those who don't live anymore but are still alive.



I have been thinking all day long which one is worse. The more I think about it...the more I think the latter.

The first kind of death makes me sad...the second makes me mad.

The first kind usually is selfless...the second usually selfish.

The first kind hurts...the second kind frustrates.

This one hits close to home...and I have to say...they both suck.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things to think about...



Smile. A lot of good things happen when you smile. Smile and the world will smile with you...frown and you are all alone.






When you are good at something...and know it...it is easy to just get by. If you want to be great at something...you need to work harder.

Trust yourself. Don't rely on others to validate your stance.

Your world starts with you. Everything else revolves around it.

Things that are worth it...are worth worrying about.

In life...doors will always close. We spend too much time looking at the door that closed to see the ones that are opening around us.

No matter what the past is...no matter what the blueprint is...you have a choice to change it.

You are to blame for your life failures. You also are the reason for the successes.

Take care of your body. Your mind usually follows.

Life is all about perspective.

Life is too short.

Don't look at your life as settling...look at it as adapting.

No matter what you choose to do...do it well.

Life is truly a roller coaster. Don't get too high...don't get too low.

Religion and faith are not always interconnected. Matter of fact...they usually aren't.

If you are going to take a chance...take it with someone you trust.

We don't know what we have...until it is gone.

Unconditional forgiveness and unconditional love are two of the most powerful forces in life.

Be kind to everyone.

And finally...

It is what it is.

PS; I am not taking any credit for any of these. These are lessons I have learned from others. To those...I am eternally indebted to and I say THANK YOU.

Friday, May 27, 2011

So...about last night...





So...was it good for you...






Remember a while back when I talked about "Field of Dreams" and how so many business owners took up the "if you build it, they will come" philosophy for promoting their business? Basically saying they don't need to advertise because all they have to do is put up a sign and customers will flock in.

The same holds true for your website. You can have the best looking, most functional website in the land but if no one knows you are there, what good does it do? Sure, there are ways to help you get found...search engine optimization...google places et al. But the best way to not only get found on-line but to help build your brand? SMM. Social Media Marketing.

We are talking your blogs, your tweets, your posts, your podcasts, etc. SMM deepens the relationship between you and your customer. It builds a wall around your customer. It turns your transactional customer who buys on price into a customer for life who buys because they really care about your product or service. SMM gives them the why and leads them to your website which explains the why, gives the where...the who...the what...the when...the everything.

To be blunt...SMM turns a one night stand into a life long partnership.

So...want to do this again sometime???

Monday, May 23, 2011

Coaching....

I've had a hard time getting over my son Jack's football game this weekend. Not because of anything my kids did...because of what I did.

2 minutes to go...up by a touchdown and driving. My son Jack had played a brilliant game up to that point. A TD run...A TD pass and a two point conversation. Plus, he made several stops behind the line of scrimmage on defense. All in all...a great game.

I got greedy at that point. Instead of playing it safe and running out the clock...I called a pass play. Jack felt pressure from behind and threw a pass that was intercepted. Pick six...we end of tying. I know...not the end of the world...but it has been bothering me.

I got an email from one of my parents last night. Here is what they said...
"Colin is having a ball! He is skipping his entire soccer season to concentrate on football. He was so thrilled to contribute last Saturday with his first touchdown...I wanted to thank you again for volunteering and doing such a good job job with the boys."

One of my favorite players who I have coached over the years was a little boy named Joey. He had such a great attitude. Here is what his parents said at the end of season; "we also want to thank you for coaching but even more for the kind words you always had for us about Joey. It is the first time he has participated in sports and you certainly made it a great introduction for him!"

I am not reciting these so I can brag...I am recalling these so I can remind myself the true meaning of successful coaching. It's not about the wins and losses in the standings. It is about the small wins (and learning lessons) that the individual kids have. It's about parents sending me pictures of my players not letting their footballs they get for being the game MVP's out of their site for days. That's the real win.

Best coach I ever had...my dad. Others who I will always remember...Monahan, Hessenberger, and Crivello. Also...kudos to Tom Miller...for introducing me to the power of the game ball!

PS; You still won't see me throw in that situation again...at least for awhile.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another Sunday morning of random thoughts....



Yesterday was interesting...

Discontent...elation...frustration...happiness...love...exhaustion...all in one day. It truly needs to be called "A Day in the Life". Ever have one of those days?

Learning something new is exciting...applying what you learned is scary.

I don't like commas...I like using the three dot method. Not sure why...

Living life is like coaching football, there are times to play it safe and times to take a risk. Problem is...you are not going to get it right all of the time on when to pull the trigger and when you need to put the gun back in the holster.

A deck in the summer time can be home to spirits and high spirits. It can be home to reflecting on the past and envisioning the future. It is a launching pad of many things. A place to commiserate or celebrate. An extension of your house but a home on it's own.

Moving your children into their own places is like watching a movie.

Getting good news at a physical is a pretty cool thing.

No matter how much technology has improved our lives...there is nothing better than a good book. I don't just mean the content...I mean everything about the book. You can't beat lying on a beach somewhere with a book in hand. Sand on the pages...maybe the remnants of some sun tan lotion or a cocktail on it as well. Falling asleep on page 42 at 2 in the afternoon. Waking up at 3 and on to page 43. That's one thing I will never leave behind...no matter how cool a Kindle is.

Since the world didn't end...I've decided to celebrate...Sunday morning Bloody Marys on my deck. Yup...that's a good place to be.

Peace.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Magic Pill



Okay...I've done it. I have found the magic pill. The ultimate pick me up. The answer. The one thing that will get you through anything.

I am talking about confidence.

Not over confidence...not cockiness...good old fashioned confidence (we are talking self confidence and confidence in others...they both are needed).

Let me tell you a story...I was playing high school football and I was playing Right Guard. The coach called the same running play...play after play...right behind me. My responsibility on the play was to block the inside linebacker. If he was shading inside...I blocked him inside and the back ran it outside of me. If he was shaded outside...I blocked him out and the back cuts it back inside. We must've ran that same play 20 times that game for about 150 yards. I couldn't figure out why the coach was calling the same play...play after play. I didn't mind though because I was absolutely schooling the linebacker. He had no chance. I knew play after play...I would win the one on one battle. It was all confidence.

If you can set others up in life to be successful and build their confidence...kudos! They will do great things. Once you do that...guess what...you can be CONFIDENT...in knowing that you are a great leader.

Build someone else's confidence and your confidence will grow.

It's the confidence quid pro quo! Pretty cool stuff!!!!

X's and O's meet the three R's



What makes a really good coach or teacher....

A really good coach or teacher leads by example...doesn't show examples as a sign of leadership.

A really good coach or teacher knows how to pull people through...not push them.

A really good coach or teacher celebrates on the path rather than just at the end of the path.

A really good coach or teacher wants to positively affect every student or athlete...not just the good ones.

A really good coach or teacher admits mistakes...not runs from them.

A really good coach or teacher teaches or coaches you more about just the subject or sport you are in at the time.

A really good coach or teacher feels success when you are successful.

A really good coach or teacher embraces questions...not just answers them.

A really good coach or teacher knows when to learn from his students/players.

A really good coach or teacher knows how important a pat on the shoulder really is.

A really good coach or teacher demands respect from his actions and not his words.

A really good coach or teacher is a student of this profession.

A really good coach or teacher...is pretty cool.

Know some in your life? Think about them often? I do...

How are your positives and negatives?



When was the last time you recharged your batteries? I gotta say...if there was snow on the ground...it's been too long. I took an opportunity this week to take a time out and recharge my batteries. For some people, recharging the batteries means taking a mental health day...hanging out at home and vegging. Nothing wrong with that approach. I took it in a different direction this week. I went back to school and engaged in higher learning. I audited a class that I had taken before in the Exec Ed program at the UW. It was the perfect prescription for a little battery re-charging. First of all, the instructor was fantastic...secondly...I am engaged with other like minded people who want to improve and learn. Vertical and horizontal engagement with positive people...now that is what I am talking about. Plug in...unplug...doesn't matter which you choose...but to quote Yoda...choose you must.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Outliers and Cosmo




First of all...if you are in the mood for a really good book about life and business...check out Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. In Outliers, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success in all walks of life. Great life lesson stuff that can help improve the quality of life and work.

The first story of success is "The Roseto Mystery"

Roseto is a city near Pennsylvania, USA. Stewart Wolf was a physician. Different with other places in the US, he rarely finds anyone from Roseto under the age of sixty-five with heart disease. Heart attacks were an epidemic in the US. They were the leading cause of death in men under the age of sixty-five. It was impossible to be a doctor, common sense said, and not see heart disease. Wolf decided to investigate. With support of his students and colleagues, they gathered the death certificates from residents of town, going back as many years as they could. They analyzed physician’s records, took medical histories and constructed family genealogies. The result is astonishing. In Roseto, virtually none under fifty-five had died of a heart attack or showed any signs of heart disease. For men under sixty-five, the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the US as a whole. There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and very little crime. The Rosetans didn’t do diet and exercises and has no relation with genetics. Roseto was an outlier.

Always met with another dead end, Wolf began to realize was that the secret of Roseto wasn’t diet or exercises, or genes or location. It had to be Roseto itself. As Wolf and his colleague walk around the town, they figured out why. They looked at how the Rosetans visited one another, stopping to chat on the street, say, or cooking for one another in their backyards. They learned about the extended family clans that underlay the town’s social structure. They saw how many homes had three generations living under one roof, and how much respects grandparents commanded. They went to mass at church and saw the unifying and calming effect of it. They counted twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town or just under 2000 people. They picked up on the particular egalitarian ethos of the community, which discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures. The Rosetans had created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world. In the medical world, none was used to thinking about health in terms of community.


I couldn't help but think of my Dad after I read this. He had an uncanny ability to bring a smile to anyone's face who he encountered. He was one of the most unselfish, giving people I have ever met in my life. My dad lived the life that Gladwell discribed...my Dad lived the life of a Rosetan. At my father's visitation a little old lady walked up to me and told a story about how my father befriended her son when he was young(who had lost his own father). This little boy would come out to the baseball fields to watch the team my dad coached. He loved baseball. It turns out that my dad made this little boy the team manager and bought him his first glove. Many years later in life, this boy had become a highly successful member of the armed forces and was talking to his mom about the most influential people in his life and the number one name at the top of his list was my father.

If you ever met my dad...consider yourself blessed. If you haven't...read the book. Actually...either way...read the book.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yeah...yeah...yeah...I know...



It is one of the hardest axioms for me to follow. "Don't cry over spilled milk." I know it...I remind myself all of the time but sometimes it is really hard to put the "spilled milk" into perspective...especially if you have OCD tendencies like I do. I think the problem is that the spilled milk tends to not be the only thing that happened around that moment. There might have been spilled juice, coffee or soda that happened earlier that accentuates the negative of the spilled milk. Just a thought. I need to remind myself...what is the worst thing that happens as a byproduct of the spilled milk. I need to start thinking about the life lesson quicker picker upper. Remind myself that I was lucky to have the milk to begin with and move on. Yeah...definitely going to try to work on this one. How about you?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The rediscovery of my inner geek




Are you a manager of people or a manager of things? Do you live in the subjective grey area of people or the objective black and white world of things? One of my strengths is my ability to be able to coach individuals to help maximize their individual potential which facilitates team success. Conversely, I have always considered the management of things as one of my weaknesses. In my current career role, I have been pushed out of my confort zone and I have become more of a manager of things rather than of people. I have to say...I am actually enjoying the new toys at my disposal in the ever changing world of new media. I am actually getting geeked out by SEO, CMS, SMS, and HTML. Acronyms are actually kind of cool. I still love the design...but I am realizing the potential of the development. Zuckerberg better watch out...

PS; I say rediscovery because anybody who played Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, has a good amount of geekdom already in place.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This is no average joe....




Ok...first of all...I have to admit...I have been horrible in getting out some new blogs. I really enjoy writing so I don't know why I haven't bared my soul recently but...oh well...here I am again (I will come back to this point).

Recently, I noticed the new Starbucks' TV ads. I did not like them. I am being too kind when I say that. I found them downright embarrassing and condescending. I am paraphrasing but they started talking about the fact that Starbucks is more about just the coffee and that it is some type of life ritual and shared experience we all need in our day to day lives. I YELLED AT THE TV...IT'S JUST COFFEE. Well...

At the beginning of this post, I started talking about why I haven't created anything new on this wall recently. I woke up early this morning and I was bound and determined to start typing something again...I didn't have a topic in mind but I was going to write something. I looked at some of my more recent (but still old) posts and I realized I promised one on friends. I literally stared at the computer for ten minutes trying to find a creative burst. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. So I decided to go get a cup of coffee. I got one and sat back down and whether it was the ethereal effect of the coffee aroma or the quick jolt of caffeine...I was suddenly stimulated to write. It wasn't my best work but I got something out...

Not sure but I think this coffee thing may be here to stay. Maybe Starbucks is on to something with this "more than coffee" thing or maybe it is just the caffeine. Either way...I am hooked.

Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall...



It's strange to think about. We go through life and at different times, ages and stages we make some really good friends. We consider them our best friends. They help us get through the sad times and help shape us as to who be become later in life. When we lose them, we think it is the end of the world. As you age, you start to think about all of those friends in your life and you realize that there are a handful that you keep going back to. Cherish and celebrate all of your friends. They all are needed to help you get through and the handful that stick...they are priceless.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ZZZZZZ




Recently...I started using Breathe Rights. They rock. I sleep better and longer...feel well rested in the morning.

Nights are much better...

I think I will start using "Live Rights"

That'll get me through the days.

Feist got it right




1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...

Sorry...don't mean to be rude...just counting my blessings. Done it lately? You should.