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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

…going dark

May 19, 2014 1 comment

Last week, I attended an IT leadership summit here in NJ. I attend a few of these a year, as time permits, as I like to stay connected to peer groups and thought leaders. The typical schedule tends to balance content, sponsor presentations and peer networking. Usually, I tend to focus on the areas that interest me and catch up on email during the ones that may not. In previous events (in some cases), out of an eight hour day – I might focus on only  few hours worth of content.

This time, something different happened…something very different. My phone died a few hours into the conference as I neglected to charge it on the drive down to the event. While I did bring my trusty battery pack, I was determined to travel into the event light and left it in the car earlier.

Of course, two choices were before me….walk 10 mins and get the kit – or engage in the event. I was too lazy to walk and had a great seat right next to one of my favorite speakers . I was not about to risk losing the spot.

Needless to say, the content (most of it) was very relevant in ways I had not originally anticipated and I walked away with some great ideas. At each break, I met someone new and after the event chatted with some of the organizers to provide some feedback and ask follow up questions.

Now, I have been to more than a few of these in the space of just the last three years. I can honestly say that I have never done this before. It took something relatively silly in order to broaden my perspective. I am not going to pretend like I am some genius here…but in this case, I was habitually myopic.

It took a short departure from technology to realize it.

…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

 

 

…grand resolutions

January 1, 2013 Leave a comment

As I sit here, watching the final remnants of the Twilight Zone New Year’s Marathon, I reminisce about the previous year and the things that have come to pass. Every year seems to bring both wanted and unwanted adventures. Positive and negative experiences, some rich and fulfilling and others wasting time that I will never recoup.

One thing is pretty consistent, my personal drive does not change, diminish or falter (save for purposeful course corrections). It is not triggered by calendar events. Some of the most annoying things that I have read via various social media outlets, hell, just about everywhere…is the notion of starting over or beginning something wonderful in the new year.

Now, I can understand the advertising aspect and timing to merchandise products/services…etc – I get that. What gets my proverbial goat, is the fact that so many folks actually use Jan 1 as a catalyst to start something different, better…etc. Such ferocity and drive, much like a grand flame – burning with a bright light – very admirable concept. How many measure and push themselves after the temporal novelty has given in to the mundane drudgery of everyday life? I think you know the answer to this question.

I am not perfect, not even close. I have no desire to be, quite honestly. However, when something needs to be improved, augmented and/or ceased – it is done when it needs to be done, not when it is a certain time of the year.

Maybe in 2013, I’ll change my mind and do something different – or maybe I won’t.

…make wise choices.

-sk

 btw. Odd advertising, in every commercial break during the 24 hour episode marathon…Cialis, Sonic & Furniture stores….I don’t like the target demographic that  I have been placed into…not one bit!

…oil and water

December 17, 2012 1 comment

I often think about the impact technology has on our lives. The fact that we are constantly connected to one another, whether we like it not, can be a daunting one. Digital peer pressure and the expectation for prompt answers (regardless of time) to various forms of communications seems to be increasing.

What was once a notion of work-life balance has become a concept of work-life integration. In some cases, there is a clear line when one is “off” from their job. That being said, in many careers in globally connected companies – that line has become nothing more than a gradient.

We should accept this new normal and its impacts our lives. We must learn to ensure that we maintain a vigil in under/over commitment towards one end of the extreme or the other. It is no longer enough to balance. I believe that balance assumes a fulcrum of some sort exists as well as a clear understanding of the “weight” on each side. This is largely a fallacy.

I’ll argue that the weight is continuously shifting so much as a focus on balance has become a source of conflict. If we focus in integrating the two, I believe that allows for less personal energy expenditure on a perceived balance.

This allows us to focus on what’s important at the moment while operating within a larger context.

…make wise choices.

-sk

…no one likes a quitter

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I had some interesting conversations with people recently regarding some personal and professional issues. Most of those centered around conflict resolution as well their ramifications – one of my favorite topics. We eventually gravitated to the concepts of giving up versus surrendering. Initially discussions were centered around both terms having the same meaning and the debate was lively to say the least.

In my opinion the two terms could not be more different – and yet they are very tightly coupled to one another. The simplest way I can differentiate the two is that a person can surrender without giving up…but not vice versa. Giving up involves compromising principles, admitting defeat and one of the most serious transgressions (in my opinion) – quitting. Surrendering means compromising (temporarily) and/or putting yourself in control of someone (or something) else’s will.

Never Quit

…make wise choices,

-sk

…double tap

November 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Two days (among a few others) that remain etched into my mind are before us. Yesterday, marked the 237th Marine Corps Birthday  and today marks Veteran’s day here in the US. One is a joyous occasion celebrating the continued existence of the most fierce fighting force in the world. The other, a day of reflecting on the past and present men and women that gave service to our Nation.

Both events have an underpinning that I have discussed a few times in this blog – the notion of service. Doing something beyond yourself, and in many cases with no personal gain as a motivating factor whatsoever.

We do what we can so that others can do what they must.

Actively support organizations that help our warriors return to civilian life and contribute, to return to whatever normalcy they can and help support the families that they leave behind.

http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

http://www.taps.org/

http://www.fisherhouse.org/

…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

…strategic failure

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I was discussing work life balance and professional/personal workload management the other day, and an interesting question was raised. What happens when your proverbial plate is literally running over – and no one cares?

I have not experienced this situation – yet. Perhaps I had, and just did not realize that it was happening? Interesting question none the less. I believe that different individuals handle varying degrees of situational stress based on a number of factors (nature, nurture..etc).

This is part of who we are and also where we are in – in terms of being on target with our life goals. What – you have no goals?

This conversation brought up another chat that I had a few months ago on the notion of chess strategies. I am not very good at this game, but that does not stop me from playing. Plainly put, you have pawns that you sacrifice, at times to gain the upper hand in the game by moving into a better strategic position on the chess board. Simple stuff. You have lots of them (pawns), in relation to other pieces, which inherently makes them expendable.

So what if you were to treat your workload as a series of chess pieces? I’m sure that most individuals prioritize their work and I am not making reference to prioritization. I am talking about straight up failing on efforts that have little real impact in order to illustrate a point made above, when all else fails.

It should be noted that I do not subscribe to this ideology, but its notion as a method of sustainability in the professional workplace is nothing short of fascinating!

So the advice to someone that is in the situation referenced above, depending on personal risk factors and overall degree of confidence is simple. Sacrifice your pawns

Victim of circumstantial whims or an agent of change…albeit at a risk. Interesting choice.

…make wise choices,

-sk