Monday, October 31, 2016

Family: The Joy of Parent’s Weekend

Coming off back-to-back parent’s weekends, both Debbie and I felt great!  Both Gab and Bec traveled to each other’s school so that we had the chance to spend both weekends as a family.  It is amazing to see our little girls growing up and becoming young women, meeting their friends and roommates, and seeing them in an environment of their creation (as opposed to our creation).  As parents, we would do anything to spend time with our children, and now are happy to find out that they enjoy spending time with us.

One interesting observation - When the girls were in high school, they always had a say on what we did, but kind of let Debbie and I take the lead on planning whatever family activity we are going to do.  They have matured to the point where they have become active participants in planning.  While we knew what they were interested in, it is great seeing their interests develop to the point where they put forth their thoughts and, in some cases, want to share with us the things that they are excited about.  Case in point, we went to Bec’s parent weekend the day after our anniversary, so I wanted to go out for a nice dinner as a family.  I asked Bec if she had any thoughts.  She in turn asked a culinary friend (thanks, Zoe) if she had any recommendations.  Bec then called me back, told me she had a list and then proceeded to give me one restaurant’s name.  I trust both my daughter’s decisions, so we went it – a Spanish Tapas and wine place.  We had a great meal, a great time together and great fun!

We also realized that this past parent’s weekend for Gab was her last one, as she graduates in the spring.  We have always enjoyed the college trips to visit our children, have some appreciation for the areas that they (temporarily) live in, and getting the opportunity to see life through their eyes.  We know at some point the girls will move out permanently (hopefully not too far away), but for now, we are grateful for them and the times we spend together.   Family rocks!

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Man of Many Hats

James Collins and Jerry Porras, in their 1994 book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, introduced us to the phrase Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG for short.  The BHAG was the HUGE vision that a company followed, in some cases to extreme successes.  The book is written comparing two companies in the industry, one with a BHAG and one without.  Having the BHAG, meant that the company had a focus, all of management were generally groomed from within (development of a corporate culture) and all decisions made had to be in alignment with the BHAG or was discarded.  One of the clear points is not to go after everything and it is OK to say no.  As Steve Jobs put it, “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”  Great, that is a good corporate philosophy, but I am just Wayne, and while I understand this in terms of a business, does this thinking apply to me?

Simon Sinek, in his book Start with Why, he clearly makes the point that “People do not buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”  This is a philosophy, or belief system, can apply to businesses, people and ideas.  Understanding one’s WHY can lead to a personal BHAG.  When I was involved in network marketing, they taught that your WHY should be so big it makes you cry, it should be what motivates you to achieve the success we all dream about.  As Darren Hardy puts it, this should be what gets us out of bed in the morning.  I believe that there are events in our lives that help us to find out WHY / BHAG.  The WHY is never about me, but about a broader service to other people. 

I know that I am a man of many hats – work, volunteering, family, writing, music, etc.  I am not alone in being involved in multiple things.  I have recently realized a coalescing in my universe, an overriding feeling that there is a thread that joins my different activities together and a larger picture that I wish to move towards.  While I attempt to put my finger more firmly on the definition of this, I believe that my next WHY and a BHAG are standing just around the corner of the building – close enough to feel its presence, but I still need that step or two to see it.  Maybe, just maybe, I really only wear one hat, it just seems to come in different shades depending on the circumstances.

Monday, October 17, 2016

...Do you take this woman as your bride?

This upcoming week marks a milestone in my life – I will be married for 25 years!  For a little less than half of my life, I have spent with the person that is special to me.  On the day you get married, you believe that it is forever, but do not really comprehend what that means (meant positively).  We wanted to be married and spend our life together and I remember clearly standing under the chuppah when Rabbi Krantz declared us husband and wife.  For 25 years, my life feels like it should…

In the ensuing years, besides for a few tough patches, life has been great together…we are truly partners in this venture together.  I am grateful to Debbie for many things in my life.  While it is always a good time to show ones appreciation, here is a rare occasion to publish some of them:

  • I am grateful for a friend asking me if I was looking for a “nice, Jewish girl.”
  • I am grateful for having the courage to make the call
  • I am grateful for you allowing me to be late one time (a bad habit at that time in my life)
  • I am grateful for having someone that I wished to excel for
  • I am grateful for you saying yes to marriage
  • I am grateful for you being a GREAT mother to our wonderful children
  • I am grateful for the children we have
  • I am grateful for the times we get to spend together
  • I am grateful for having our lives together
  • I am grateful for finding someone that “gets” me
  • I am grateful for finding someone that “puts up” with me
  • I am grateful for finding someone that looks after my family (sometimes better than me)
  • I am grateful for someone teaching me to say “I love you”
  • I am grateful for sharing our lives together
  • I am grateful for you being you
  • I am grateful we are different
  • I am grateful we still like to travel together
  • I am grateful for us
  • I am forever grateful you said “I do”

Here is to many, many more years of a happy marriage, continuing to make memories and living our lives together.

Monday, October 10, 2016

You Think This Is So Simple?

Attending a recent seminar, the speaker, Darren Hardy related a story where he went to meet a successful man that had just turned 100.  He asked him in advance to write out a bunch of points and paragraphs to explain how he was able to reach this great point in his life in preparation for their discussion.  When they sat down to speak, expecting a volume of pages to greet him, Darren received a single sheet of paper.  Dumbfounded, he asked why so little? The man explained that not being well educated as a lad; he always had to take the simplest route to achieve his goals.  The point of the story was that when presented with something simple, we tend to nod our head then go and find the most difficult way to achieve the same ends. 

If you have worked with programmers, there are those that tend to write direct code that achieves the applications goals in the simplest manner.  There are other programmers, that will achieve the same outcomes, but tend to write code with, shall I say, more finesse leading to more lines of code and the process more complex.  For whatever reason, this seems to be part of our human nature.  I remember reading the comic strip Family Circus growing up, which demonstrated this attribute every so often as follows:

Variations of this cartoon were repeated every so often, where the quick, easy and direct path was forgone for the more adventurous one. 

For a time, I was involved with one of the top 20 network marketing companies.  When you join, you pay a fee that provides you an ID, authorization to sell products and the methodology.  Basically, you have purchased a license to be part of a company’s distribution network.  The methodology that you buy is simple, but not easy.  Simple, because the business model has few steps - talk to people, invite them to a meeting (pick up the phone), have someone present the opportunity, sign them up, teach them, repeat the process.  The steps outlined do not take a rocket scientist to follow.  However, we tend to get in the way of ourselves.  I made lists, I spent time thinking about the products…like the cartoon above, instead of walking out to the curb, I followed Billy’s path – I over complicated the process, got frustrated and, in the end, failed.

Jim Rohn stated it best when he said, “That which is easy to do, is also easy not to do.”  It must be part of being human, and having this wonderful organ called a brain.  It helps to set us above all of the other living entities on this planet.  Given the ability for free will and thought, we feel that we must constantly analyze everything.  Even when presented by a path successfully taken by others, laid out in simple steps, we tend to think we can improve on it.  Here’s to moving towards finding the simple ways to accomplish our goals.  

Meeting Darren Hardy

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Accountability: Goal Checkup after 9 months

First off, I will spare everyone an updated photo of my bare body.  After the last accountability blog, someone told me that the visual burned their eyes out.  Here is the warning – pictures return at the end of the year post.

In terms of posting numbers – they were not as good as the last quarter.  I put on a few pounds, as I realized that I was less diligent in my eating than the prior months.  Nothing extreme, but instead of one day a week having a treat food, it was more than once a week.  NO EXCUSES. I will not blame the summer, I will not blame business travel, I will not blame other people.  My choices in what I put into my mouth took me off target.  My choices.  No one said creating new habits was easy.  As different mentors have pointed out, what is easy to do is just as easy not to do.

While I was away on business, I went out one night to an Irish pub for dinner.  The food was good and I enjoyed a tasty IPA called XXXX.  Afterward, I decided to check out a local brewpub, as this was a chance to try a local beer at the place where it was made.  While I strive to constantly work on myself, I found out I am human.  Below is an excerpt of what I wrote while I sat there…

Serious versus fun

I have to confess, my life is a struggle between being seriously focused on success and having fun.  If I swing one way or the other, I feel guilty.  Sometime times I wonder if all work and no play is true.  Sometimes I wonder if work hard, play hard is true.  I work hard at being good, but sometimes the "guilty pleasure" feels so good.

Deep fried Twinkie or deep fried devil dog, if I could choose only one, which would it be to accompany the taster porter I am drinking?  I poll my family.  Between the three of them, I get one of each and one that was not even in the running. 

Guilty pleasure - I have both.  Debbie warns me that whatever I order I have to finish.  I will take, two for the team.  OMG!  I am in sugar heaven.  Being totally glutinous, I first order the deep fried twinkles. Oh, so good.  Not being able to control myself, I order the deep fried devil dogs, covered in chocolate sauce.  I think that I am in a sugar comma with my eyes wide open.

Tomorrow I will ride the stationary bike for longer than normal.  Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to let your hair down. 

After I was done satisfying my base human desire, I asked the waitress if I was the only idiot to order both desserts and finish them.  She said, “In the one year that I worked there, you were the first…and you are not an idiot.” 

As we head into the last quarter of the year, it is time to refocus on the goals, strive for our targets and be diligent in our efforts.  I am so close to my end of the year target, I can almost see it…but one does not finish the race, until one crosses the finish line.  Here is to a strong quarter not only for myself, but for you as well.