Finding opportunity in our reality

Life rarely goes according to plan, does it? This is especially true in our careers. As we move up the ladder, we gain more influence but our widening scope includes more variables that can steer our ship in unforeseen and unwanted directions — away from our intended targets. The position we dreamed of doesn’t materialize. The project we heralded gets bogged down in politics and bureaucracy.

There’s an old adage — don’t waste a good crisis — that encourages us to take those moments of chaos to usher in change faster than we could during more stable periods. I’d argue that we don’t have to wait for crisis to find our opportunities. We just have to effectively see the opportunity in our reality, even when that reality isn’t what we envisioned.

Continue reading Finding opportunity in our reality

Starting the day with intention

When I was apartment hunting in 2014, east and west facing windows were high on the list of requirements. I need to clearly see the crack of dawn and end of light of each day. It’s an important time for me, rejuvenating and restorative. The morning light stirs my mind and spirit as I grind the beans for my morning coffee. These moments are an alignment of sorts where I decide what kind of day it’s going to be. Yes, the events of the day may collude to collide with that decision, but my intention prevails more often than not.

Over the threshold of a new year

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Back in October, K and I celebrated my 46th birthday watching Matt Nathanson and Matchbox Twenty perform at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Matt opened with the perfect blend of concert, revival, and comedy jam that energized the crowd for Rob Thomas and crew’s last stop on their 20th anniversary tour. The arena went completely black at the same moment a single white spotlight illuminated an empty microphone stand.

Continue reading Over the threshold of a new year

Renewing my energy for life in 2018

“Closing your heart does not really protect you from anything; it just cuts you off from your source of energy. In the end, it only serves to lock you inside.” — Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

I visited Seattle this past June to attend a work conference, and was lucky to extend my trip on both ends to see two close friends who moved to the city years ago.

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Ajith and I worked together while he was a student at University of Illinois, but we hadn’t seen each other for a good part of a decade.

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Dave and I were college roommates, the best men at each other’s weddings, and our sons were born five weeks apart, but we’d only seen each other once since he moved to Seattle years ago.

In the collective 72 hours I spent with these two old friends, there was a lot of catching up to do. It’s always an interesting experience to try to encapsulate long periods of time into shorter conversations. What do you chose to share? How do you paint the picture of your life?

Continue reading Renewing my energy for life in 2018

Being intentional about personal effectiveness

I manage my time and balance the activities in my life perfectly so that I can achieve my goals.

Does the above statement ring close to true for you? It certainly doesn’t for me.

Despite that, I found myself in front of 30 or so professionals last week talking about time management. It’s funny how we become expert at things, isn’t it? Not in a thousand years did I ever think I’d be the expert in the room when it comes to using time effectively. If those in attendance could see the amount of wasted time in my daily life, they’d have demanded the impostor leave the room.  Continue reading Being intentional about personal effectiveness

How to keep your rockstar employees

Great employees (the rockstars) come and go all the time, because they have the talent and motivation that make them marketable. To keep them in the fold, organizations need to ensure two things: 1) the rockstar feels their value in the form of influence and opportunity to succeed and grow and 2) the organization has to show that poor leadership and lack of initiative aren’t tolerated.

When either of these things is violated, your great employees will fly the coop.

Challenging power

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” — Lord Acton, 1887

When the collective we gives too much power to individuals through blind hero worship, that power is almost certainly going to corrupt. This is the case for athletes, celebrities, business leaders, and, most dangerously, politicians.

It’s time for us as individuals, the actors within the collective we, to chip away at and challenge that absolute power wherever it exists.