Saturday, December 15, 2012

Embarking on an Epic Adventure

Have you ever found yourself on the edge of a great adventure....one where you are anticipating all of the twists and turns and unknowns?  An anticipation so palpable and real that you have to catch your breath and pause for just a little bit before jumping right in?

I find myself in just such a place today as I begin research on a book that will tell a story, a real-life story, so inspiring and thought-provoking that it will make a difference in the lives of everyone who reads it...and everyone it is about.

Have you ever been told "you can't," but did anyway?  Have you ever felt you weren't good enough, but proved the naysayers wrong?  Have you ever wondered how some people just seem to follow a call to something greater and can push through all the obstacles and challenges, heartache and pain, to emerge victorious, despite the odds being stacked against them?  Have you ever wished you had the strength to do that yourself and prayed for someone to show you the way?

I hope I have whet your appetite.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

West Point Renewal


The image above is one of respect....and awe....and thankfulness...just the beginning of the emotions that flooded through me as I returned to my 25th reunion at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  As my fellow classmates and I stood in the reviewing party together, it was hard not to remember just how it felt to stand in formation on Saturday morning before a home football game.  It was hard not to remember how much we thought it sucked....even as much as we thought it was beautiful and impressive on this day.

I would hope that each of you has a place you can go to and remember....a place that, like West Point, you can point to as your "watershed moment" in your young life.  Please feel free to share that here if you would please honor me with that?

For me, The Academy will always be my watershed moment.  I learned so much about life there....about myself, my friends, The Army.  I finished my 4 years there so much better than I started, but not the best I would become.  That happened with marriage to my wife and our raising of our five wonderful children.

Like my Cadet days at West Point, life has had its ups and downs.  And I have learned and adjusted and learned some more....only to find they keep changing the rules!  And still we adapt and overcome.

West Point taught me that my life, to have meaning, could not be just about me.  I am thankful for that.  Leadership, in all of its forms, must be about those we lead.  Be it your family, your team at work, a client team, or the local Rotary club....leadership is focused on the led.

So, I thank God for the opportunity to renew, recharge, and go forward, thankful for being blessed to have had the opportunity to know such great people in such a truly special place.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What Does Crush It Mean?


I gotta tell you all I have recently been working on how to monetize my blogging efforts as I believe much of what I have shared here, and will share, is really pretty good and, with the right effort to drive traffic through link-backs and great content and keyword optimization, I can drive the traffic here, and on additional blog topics, through the roof!

So, as we have all rightly or wrongly learned, I have been working to understand just how to do that.  God knows there are an incredible amount of folks out there willing to "share" their knowledge of how to do this.  Two I have become very fond of over the last couple of years (okay, yes!  I'm a slow learner!  I'm okay with it...or I was okay with it...) are, in my view, at polar opposites about how to get this done....Gary Vaynerchuk, and Tim Ferriss.

If you know anything about either, you are already more tied into how to make your life so much better than 85% of the population.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the author of Crush It! and the purveyor of tv.winelibrary.com , a site he used to build his personal brand and he is no longer doing since episode 1000 in March of 2011.  These days, he is writing, loving his family, running VaynerMedia with his brother AJ and making a killing as a public speaker.

Time Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek  (also on CD at  The 4-Hour Workweek and "The 4 Hour Body" and author of the The Blog of  Tim Ferriss , which I am glad to say Tim has remained faithful to this element he has used to build his personal brand.

Gary is all about "WORK YOUR A$% OFF, PEOPLE!  IF YOU'RE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO, YOU WON'T MIND WORKING 10 HOURS A DAY TO CRUSH IT!" (yeah, Gary is that loud and passionate...it's why I love him!) and Tim is all about "Chill...work smart....test, verify, set it up to work hands off, repeat as often as necessary then take yourself out of the equation as quickly as possible so all you have to do is cash the check as a member of the New Rich.  With enough continued effort, you will be able to escape the work-a-day rat race and reduce your workweek to 4 hours or less."  Both of these guys then give you the roadmap to get there.

While the approaches, on their face, seem to be at odds, they are definitely not.  They are complimentary views of the same idea....do whatever it takes to use the proliferation of the internet to create, as Tim Ferriss puts it "freedom of time and place."  That means the freedom to do what you "want to" instead of living your life doing what you "have to."

Here's to the beginning of seriously pursuing what I have learned.  Great learning must be followed by great action if great results are to be achieved!  I leave you with a classic from Gary  from a WEB 2.0 conference in 2008...and today...he is the real deal:




Friday, August 10, 2012

Some Folks Who Should Think Twice About Consulting



In the business of consulting, I have observed that to be successful, there needs to really be a sense of commitment to others....the company, the client, the team....the "others" who have really nothing to do with your personal life.  That being said, it also takes a certain type of person and life experience to be able to balance the demands of being good at consulting and being a good father, husband, friend, etc.

Consulting is an attractive profession for reasons too numerous to define here, but, I submit that you will become frustrated and eventually fail at this gig unless you can truly look in the mirror and make these statements honestly to yourself:

1.  I have a mature relationship with my wife and family and they support me 100%
2.  I am strong enough to put the team and the client ahead of myself when I am on assignment
3.  I can handle the stresses and frustration of full-time travel without taking it out on others
4.  I am okay with not being allowed to engage in the self-serving whining of "having a bad day."
5.  I can honestly approach mistakes as an opportunity to improve myself and my team without judgement on a personal level
6.  I can honestly listen to the feed back of my team and make an honest effort to improve, without judging them
7.  I have weighed the benefits and the costs and the benefits outweigh the costs

I see, time and again, people who are not cut out for this business, struggling to try and make it work.  They are bright, energetic and capable of many things.  Often, though, they refuse to answer these questions truthfully.  They take constructive criticism as a personal attack because they are incapable of this level of self-awareness and do not value anyone else's position on their performance.  This is often a problem with the "type-A" personalities drawn to the consulting gig.  Particularly disturbing to me are the personalities that put themselves ahead of their team and young, inexperienced consultants who think they can do this with a young marriage or young children (12 or younger), at home.  I am not saying it is impossible, but I would venture to guess...and it's just my observation, that more of these folks have wound up failing in this business than succeeding.  I applaud those who, when faced with the challenges of personal situations that can only be harmed by this gig, make the right decisions for their families.  The consulting world I have seen is littered with wrecked relationships of all kinds as a result of a lack of balance and true self-awareness.

I should know....I could not answer all of these questions truthfully when I began, but have learned to listen better and and think more about my team than myself.  I also have had the love and support of a wonderful family and we are living life to the fullest.....in balance.