Trick or Treat?

It’s gloomy outside, I had a random black cat show up at my door, the leaves are changing, traffic is terrible and a chili cook-off is on the dinner menu tonight.  Yep, it’s Halloween.  I don’t have a costume, but the Mrs. is dressing up as Samantha from Bewitched.  She even changed her ring-tone to that cute twinkle sound she makes when she does her witch stuff.  We have candy to hand out, but no tricks up our sleeve.  I don’t think tricks have ever been part of my Halloween tradition.  Ding-dong…Trick or Treat…TRICK!….watch me juggle!  Geesh, that sounds terrible.  Although it might be entertaining to see the look on the kids faces.  Pretty sure that might result in a few eggs on the house.  Happy Halloween!

What’s your itch?

I believe that humans are designed uniquely and have value to offer the world.  Somewhere deep inside is a desire to create change, to help others and to make a difference.  There are many ways to discovery around your own passion and unique ability, but I would like to discuss one clue here today.  That idea is what raises the hair on your neck about the world around you.  What injustices do you see? What change and impact do you wish you could make?  How do you want to make things better for those around you?

I personally have epiphanies on a occasion, but fail to write them down.  So here are some challenges I see and wish I could solve.

  • Ants marching.  Work should not suck.  I agree, work is work, but it we bring to it a positive attitude and real personality to the table, things get more interesting.  We are individuals, bring your whole self to the work place.  I can complain here, because I am quick to be the chameleon.
  • Teaching to the test.  Our education system is flawed.  Something bothers me deeply about the trajectory of students.  I loathe teaching to the test, while our children fail to learn to think, how to relate and how to add value.  I also find it unsettling that the cost for education is huge.
  • Littering.  It may seem petty, but for some reason it really gets under my skin when I see someone throw trash out the window.  I mean come on!
  • Sitting on the sidelines.  I have kids and they are involved in a multitude of activities that require volunteer leadership.  It bothers me when I see the volume of complaints and chatter towards these leaders.  If you want to see change, step up.

These are all large challenges and when I look at making a difference, it feels a bit like trying to solve for world hunger.  Yet, the words of Andy Stanley, pop into my mind when I think about this stuff, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”

What about you?  What do you wish you could change? What’s your itch?  Now go make a difference for one person.

 

How to win

It’s world series time.  The Giants and the Royals are going to game 7 tonight.   I am not a huge baseball fan.  I know, it’s “un-american”.  I chalk it up to a childhood injury on the ball field. I caught a ball with my face instead of a glove while playing first base.  Ouch!  I am, however, interested in and curious about game strategy.  I am pretty sure the players and coaches set their lineups early in anticipation of going to a game 7, so that they had their strongest hitters, pitchers and fielders ready and fresh.  Earl Weaver, hall of fame major league’r, has a great quote, “Nobody likes to hear it, because it’s dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same..pitching”.  I think the same is true personally and for businesses.  The pitch is your key to winning customers, friends and differentiation in the market place.

Personally, I struggle with my own pitch, “personal brand” and general value that I offer to the world.  It’s a nebulous squishy thing.  I know it needs firming up.  The best most successful companies have this nailed.  Just do it, 1,000 songs in your pocket, Refresh the World, I’m sure these all flash images in your mind.  Which is good.  The pitch is strong.

So me, what am I excited about and why?  Who do I help and how does that tie to who I am as a person in talents, passions and experience?  and Why should the world care?

I love start-ups, product management and the process of creating new things.  I want to make the world around me work better so that others can be more productive, creative and free to accomplish their goals.  I envision a world simplified.  I deal well with chaos.  I can adapt, adjust and blend in.  I can help disorganized teams focus.  I can bring order, but in a pragmatic way.  It’s not a full pitch, but the seeds are there.  I can feel it, but it’s not strong yet.

I will be watching the game tonight to see how things play out.  You can bet I will be paying close attention to the pitching!  While I am it, I will be paying attention to my own pitch, perhaps there is a nice parallel in there somewhere.

How about you?  What’s your pitch?

*****Update****

Giants Win!  Check out this write up from CNN.com, Pitcher becomes a World Series Legend.

Pride comes before the fall, unless you do these 2 things

Everyone has accomplishments they are proud of.  Things they have done that make them smile.  Me included.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them, but every now and then I reminisce on the successes of my past.  I am careful not to relish in them or boast of them, as attention to self tends to start a downward spiral.  I have found that a different tact doubles the dopamine kick that one can get from you success.  It’s simple.

  1. Be grateful.  Rarely does our success come at the feet of our own doing.  Typically there is someone or something(s), that if not present, would have allowed your success to pass.  So, next time you feel your pride and reason to celebrate, stop and think about how you got there.  Who helped you?  What circumstances were present?  Say thanks for those things.  I guarantee you will get a different perspective on you.
  2. Be valuable.  More than likely your success benefited someone else.  Don’t you love it when someone else solves your problems or adds value to your life in some way.   How have your accomplishments lifted others up?

Two simple words that return huge dividends

The English language is powerful.  According to languagemonitor.com there are over 1 million words to choose from.  With so many words to chose from, the combinations of meaning and communication are endless.   But, these two words, when used genuinely create connection, understanding and appreciation. The words are “Thank you”.  Take a minute today to express thanks for the people and things that add value to your life.  It will free your creative energy and open your eyes to all the amazing things surround you daily.    It’s simple, but it’s powerful.  Give it a try.   I promise you won’t regret it.  Here are some to get you started….

  • Thank you Apple and Steve Jobs, for putting 1,000 songs in my pocket.
  • Thank you Delta for making it possible to fly anywhere in the world.
  • Thank you Google for putting the internet of things at my fingertips.
  • Thank you Mom for teaching me to eat with a fork.
  • Thank you Nike for comfortable shoes.

These may seem silly, but think about the amazing conveniences that are all around us.  When you are tempted to complain, turn it around and say thank you.  There’s always something to appreciate.