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Posts Tagged ‘Impressions’

…gentle reminder

March 23, 2015 Leave a comment

I spent a few hours with an individual this past weekend that inspired me to remind myself (and of course anyone reading this) of a few things;

1) As cheesy as this is, this quote from a sad attempt at sustaining a franchise says it all. “We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” Now that’s powerful stuff! Now, I’ve always told folks to remember that work/life balance is not a balance – it is a choice. I am sure I stole that from someone, but if I cannot remember who from – then I think it is okay. Enjoy the good, the bad and in-between as there is a point in everyone’s life that whatever plasticity exists – decays.

2) All of your problems will still exist the next day – trick is to figure out what you need to do to work smarter and solve them rather than carrying them around like rocks in your pockets. I do not like rocks in my pockets as they make funny sound when I walk. The next point speaks to this, but made a conscious decision not to carry rocks, by creating measurable chunks of achievable deadlines. Try it until it becomes a habit, like it you will. Repeat it, you shall. Yes, I was channeling my inner Yoda.

3) I was deftly reminded of Parkinson’s Law. It states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Holy crap, that is an oldie (’55) but goodie! There are some insightful corollaries, applying to task management as well as technology use – very durable thought construct. Draw lines, meet them (make sure you define done) and find closure…move on to the next line.

Just a few random thoughts.

…make wise choices,

-sk

 

…the claw

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

This past weekend, I spent some time with the family at a beach town in NJ. It was a great time to reconnect with the little ones and spend time relaxing a little. During the course of our wandering on the boardwalk we came upon the usual kids games (skeeball, air hockey..etc). Usually, the kids gravitate to the magical claw games in the hopes of scoring some overpriced shoddy toy. I end up paying a small fortune for this accomplishment.

This time, things were different when we walked up to the machine. First, they were much more expensive than the usual $0.25 – $1.00 range. Second, the cause for the price increase was a guaranteed winner every time. First blush, I was happy as I would avoid the temper tantrums and overspending. Thirty minutes later, all three kids had their toys as the game allowed them to grab until they secured a toy.

As we walked away, I was satisfied that time/money was well spent and kids were happy. That was, until we walked up to another bank of machines after lunch. These were only $0.50 a try and were the traditional claw games. Traditional, in that the claws had weak springs and the toys were heavier than what the claw can lift. Thereby, greatly reducing the chance for a successful toy recovery.

So I watched the kids as they walked up to the machine and popped the money into the slot. No surprise that the claw did not grab a toy…but what happened next was a surprise. Kids were upset because “the machine was not as easy as the last one…and they should all be this easy”.  They actually commented on the toys in this machine were better than the easy machine. In fact, they were the same crappy quality and same thematic design.

I was definitely not looking for a life lesson for the kids here, but certainly found more than a few that day!

Yes, I spent more than the $3 I did on the previous machine with the new machine (a lot more). Yes, the toys attained were basically characters from the same story line as the previous machine (same toys). Yes, the kids were frustrated, angry and wanted to give up. But they did not…they kept on trying, learning from their mistakes and making decisions that ultimately lead to a favorable outcome.

…make wise choices,photo

-sk

…everything ends

May 20, 2014 1 comment

As I have written here before, being a parent affords me the opportunity to see behaviors and reactions of my children at various stages of development. One of the most interesting, and yet saddest behaviors I see is the dichotomy of a new experience and its, sometimes too rapid demise.

Recently, we took a trip to a fair – kids love fairs…love them. For me it is always a great mix of people watching, eating and watching poorly constructed rides shake and rattle with every new group of brave riders. In case you were wondering, hell no – would never ride one of those rides.

So the entire day before we go, the extensive car ride over and while standing in line for the tickets – I hear the same thing over and over. This merry go round has apparently been beckoning my kids since they visited it last year. I cannot understand what, specifically attracts them but they named the horses and remembered them! For the record, I do not count merry go rounds in the above references to potential death-trap rides. Worse case, we can jump, tuck and roll…all good.

We get on the ride and I watch as they take take care to find their horses and jump on and get ready. Camera in hand, I started snapping away at the joy on their faces as we began the even tempered revolutions. Three turns is all it took…all it took for them to look for me, at me and through me to the exit rotate past them. I had witnessed the actual moment that great joy turned into melancholy…it was swift. The moment was over.

I am not preaching nihilism (at least not in this case) – but reflecting on the fact that the awesomeness of the events leading up to the ride was the ride. The punchline for this story? Simply put, enjoy the journey. Whether we are visiting far off lands, building teams, delivering products/services to customers, spending time with family and loved ones…savor the journey.

Once you finish, you are done…until you start again!IMG_5356

…make wise choices

-sk

 

…woohoo

December 30, 2013 Leave a comment

As 2013 comes to a close, I have come to think back to the many things that I have learned in the past 12 months. Learning is growing – and the moment one has nothing left to learn, they have failed. Yes, it is my opinion and sure I could be wrong. If I was going to sum things up and extrapolate one massive lesson what would it be, that would have created such a strong impact?

I thought about this for a few minutes and it popped into my brain…well, after the dancing Steamboat Willie. So much of this blog, and my personal ethos is about delivering on commitments, service and pushing oneself past the proverbial comfort zone. The capstone of this would have to be the notion of taking a step back, reflecting on accomplishments and recognizing when something has been completed. From that, taking away what was learned as a result.

For me, that clarity is accomplished by celebrating what you have done and not who you are  – yes that’s deep (well for me it is). It is so easy to look at factors that you cannot easily control  and either over/under emphasize those elements that you feel have either contributed your success or failure. Almost everything is malleable, however, some things are vastly simpler to manipulate. One thing, in particular, that most have direct control over is the setting and completing of personal and/or professional goals.

Whether large or small – those goals are yours to own and yours to execute! Embrace the action of achievement and cast aside those that would dilute your accomplishments by placing you in a category.

…make wise choices,
(Happy New Year)

-sk

BTC

 

 

…wear a hat

November 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Today is a day of thanks to our Nation’s Veterans, past and present. It so happens that I’m travelling today and passing through Charlotte, North Carolina. This airport is usually a hotbed of activity for military personnel as they transition to and from duty stations and/or rotate overseas. I’m sure to the workers here, it is normal for so many Army and Marine personnel in uniform to be walking about.  After I bought a young Marine and beer at the airport bar I walked to my gate to crank out…this blog. On my way, I saw a more than a few uniformed military personnel walking by and you know how many people I saw shake a hand, say thanks or nod?

Not a single person.

All were too busy with their phones, conversations and general disengagement – walking from point A to point B. I sat by a few older guys wearing Vietnam Veteran and Korean Veteran hats. They intimated to me they felt compelled to wear a hat on certain occasions. To no surprise, they wanted to celebrate their service – proudly and outwardly. Some wear their badges and patches on the inside and choose only to share with those most intimate to them – for various reasons.

I thanked them and walked away…

…make wise choices,
-sk

…the clipboard

November 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Ever see someone wandering the hallways, standing around with their hands in their pockets, or fiddling with their phone? I have…there are plenty of them around, in many cases, too many.

Now compare them with someone walking around carrying a notebook, tablet or clipboard. Now there is someone that is going somewhere and doing something!

For all we know the person with their hands in their pocket just won the Nobel Prize…and the person “going places” just has to go pee….reality is that we don’t and won’t.

What we do know is perception is often reality – so carry a friggin notebook….

…make wise choices,
-sk

…the worm

May 15, 2013 2 comments

I was sitting in my backyard sipping some rum and enjoying a nice cigar the other day. Enjoying the signs of spring, I spied a bird swoop in and peck at a worm on the ground. It had rained the night before so food was plenty and the birds were having a great time feasting. As I watched the bird take the worm and start to eat…another bird swooped in on top of the first one.

It basically thumped the bird and took its worm.

The message of the day? The early bird may get the worm, but it takes a whole lot more to keep it.

Don’t get hung up on acquisition only…retention is equally as important.

…make wise choices,

-sk

…importance of autonomy part deux

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

So here we sit in the remnants of one of the most ferocious storms in recent times…Sandy. Many things transpired since last I spoke on this topic. Last year water was our nemesis (at least where I live), this year it was the mighty wind! I prepared the basement over the past year with foundational repairs, primary, backup sump pump installations and we refinished the basement to its former glory!

So what happend this time and what did i learn?

For starters, I lost many trees and thankfully no damage to the house came to pass. The big issue to tackle this year was no city power since 10/29…and counting! In preparation, I had stocked up on gas, sustenance essentials, purchased a generator and had a transfer switch installed inside so that all I needed was to fire her up, plug into the house and i had the critical (vs. whole house) stuff running. Good plan? Well almost…one minor issue that turned out to be the sticking point of the lesson from this storm.

Turns out my grinder pump (all the wastewater from the house gets macerated and pushed into the public sewer system due to the house being below the sewer line) has too high of a wattage surge. This meant that we could not use the water in the house! Lesson of the day is don’t rely on electricians to do your calculations for ya! Good news was that a porto-potty and pilgrim methods of water use saved the day until another generator was delivered by family from Ohio!

Some items outside my control that all folks were dealing with…and how adapted;

  1. Crap communications from utility companies and local government (used neighboring Mayor’s updates and extrapolated my situation)
  2. Cell towers were down for 4 days so zero comms due to cable/phone outage (going back to a copper land line and purchased a multi-network burn phone)
  3. Gas rationing and massive lines (20 minutes from PA, no lines and nighttime runs to refill 5 (5 gal) containers at a time.
  4. Physical security of the home (let’s just say that this former Marine has that covered..close quarters and distance)
  5. Closed schools (good ol Xbox and Wii…not to mention lots of screaming)

So…all in all, not terrible compared to many. I actually (well mostly) learned from my mistakes the last time! Always stuff to learn, I suppose so we’ll see what happens next disaster!

…make wise choices,

-sk

 

 

…the straw

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

In previous blog posts, I have shared my thoughts on drive, discipline as well as what I feel contributes to success. Not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination – but key as far as I am concerned.

Upon some of these foundational elements, is an interesting point that I do not believe I have ever explicitly mentioned.

That one thing

Recently, I was having a discussion with someone on the topic of switching jobs/careers and the merits, pros and cons of that decision. After a few minutes of discussing various scenarios, risks, and rewards – I asked a simple question (simple in my mind).

“What is the one reason that you want to leave and will your new job/role address this reason?”

In my brain it is a simple thought pattern. When someone wants to make a change (no matter what it is), they often create a list, weigh choices and start to take a micro-view of the issue…almost to a fault. I am not saying that is a bad thing, just not the first thing that I believe should be addressed.

Sometimes we get too involved in the answer and do not spend enough time on the question. Answer the first question and you may find that there is no reason to continue down a path that will ultimately leave you in a similar position…just in a different location.

Noodle on that!

…make wise choices,

-sk

…this is the business we’ve chosen

October 6, 2012 1 comment

A few days ago, I was pruning some Facebook friends away (my curiosity wore off) and caught up on a few dozen posts from folks. I do not do much with/on Facebook anymore (link to twitter, msg random strangers…etc), it’s just not as fun as it once was and I’ve moved on to something else.

What struck me as interesting was that a decent number of posts I read are folks complaining about work, travelling to/from work or about people at work. The jobs that these folks have range from blue collar to white collar – whatever that differentiation is anymore…

For some reason, this ticked me off – not sure why – it just did.

Despite recent unemployment news and a slight (ever so slight) uptick in our economy, things are still pretty bad for most people. More so, we live in a country where we can choose where/when to work. This is, of course, assuming we have something to offer to an employer that separates us from those that are competing against us…yes there are lots of folks competing. More than you realize.

I get that not all days are full of awesomeness at the office, road or wherever one calls their workspace – but ultimately it’s a choice. Choice is a wonderful thing…and even when we think we have no choice…we ultimately do – it’s just a matter of accepting the consequence.

Too all those that do nothing but complain, you are of course free to do so…just be aware of how your are perceived. You do what you do because you have chosen to do so (say that 3 times in a row)…embrace it or make a change.

…make wise choices.

-sk