Roll with it

Rolling with the punches – Attitude is everything


I wanted to shoot a quick video based on some of my experiences in the past couple weeks. The underlying point is the importance to take some things as they are, and that sometimes you need to roll with the punches.

A week back, I flew down to LA for a one hour meeting. The only flight I could take which would get me to LA in time was ridiculously early, as such I had a lot of downtime before the meeting. Then the meeting, we got to the designated office, set up, and waited. 5, 10, 15 minutes later, we are now 5 minutes past the start of the meeting, and no one!

Then we get an email, due to a miscommunication, the meeting is now in another building 10 minutes away.

We scramble and drive over only to get to an empty room. Opps, the meeting location changed again!

Another example that happened to me this week. We were hosting a client workshop in Miami, focused on how emerging technologies like wearables and IOT can improve the customer experience. The meeting started at 9, and included a number of important stakeholder. At 8:30, we ask valet to get our car. 8:35, 8:40, 8:50, valet hasn’t brought out our car. Finaly at 8:52 we get the car, and of course the office is 15 minutes away…

Walking in, I immediately made a joke about how the valet provided us with a bad customer experience, and that this is exactly the topic we are here to solve. And I rolled right into the workshop. And you know what, so did the client.

Why am I telling you this?

I could’ve easily gotten upset, stressed out, angry even, but I didn’t, I looked on the bright side, kept a positive attitude, and turned the situation around on to a lighter note. As a result, we succeeded on both meeting. In fact, when I left LA to wait for my flight, I managed to hop on an earlier flight right away, for free, getting me home 3 hours early.

AND in Miami, I got a free upgrade to first class.

The point here – there are things that are going to happen which you can’t control. Your job, is to figure out how to spin it and make it positive, not just to keep clients happy, but more importantly, keep YOURSELF happy.

My mom always told me – Attitude is everything.

UPDATE – So I have an update to this story. Quite literally right after I filmed and wrote this, my flight from Miami was delayed by 7 hours. SEVEN hours! Man people were angry. Because of who I am, I started running around and trying to talk to people, make them laugh, and general lift spirits. Surprisingly (or maybe not), people actually took their frustration out on me!

That’s alright, I can tough it out, the poor flight staff was getting it from everyone.

The result was, I did make it to my destination eventually, I got a free flight, and free drinks the whole flight!

Look, this just helps solidify my point. Control your reactions to situations, it’s the ONLY thing you have control over.

Framing the conversation

The importance of framing your conversation

The importance of framing your conversation

Have you ever had a conversation with one or more people, and feel as if you point was completely missed? Chances are, you answered yes to this question. We’ve all be there, and the fact of the matter is, communication is difficult.

Our ability to understand what someone is saying is based off of our own set of experiences, knowledge, and even emotional state. Except for some really impossible occurrences, no two people will have the same set of experiences, and as a result, if you are trying to convey a message, you need to understand how to communicate your ideas in a way that your audience understands.

In this weeks video blog, we look at the importance of framing your conversation to the people in the room.



Be yourself

Who’s expectations are you living up to anyways?

Are you living up to someone else’s expectations?

To change things up a little bit, I’m going to start with this quote from Richard Feynman


“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.”

Last week, I wrote about blocking out the noise, and made points about not being distracted while working towards your goals.

Richards quote touches on the importance of working towards your goals. Identifying what your specific goals are, is the first step to being able to block out irrelevant information. As humans, we find it easy to begin comparing out progress against our peers, friends, and people we read about. Comparing ourselves to others is a really bad thing, because unless you are targeting people you look down on, you’re going to have a bad time.

Figure out what your own goals are and write them down, ignore what other people think, and try not to compare your progress to other peoples progress. Instead, only look at your progress towards achieving what you want.

Short post for today! Happy Wednesday.

Shut up and do it

Shut up and do it

Hi there! Remember me? Maybe I forgot for a little while. Perhaps it hasn’t been a priority. But what matters is what I’m doing right now. This summer has been long, there has been a lot of ups and downs, and unfortunately over the past couple months, I’ve strayed from the goals I have originally set out to accomplish.

But you know what, that’s OKAY.

It isn’t the things you did not do that defines someone, it is the things they do. One of the easiest things I’ve found is how easy it is to STOP doing something. How inviting the couch is, how nice it is to sit down, TV? Yes please!

So I regressed a little bit, but the important thing is, identifying the areas you want to change, and make a conscience effort to change them.

This past Saturday I gave my first presentation. The topic, Exploring Fear, the place, Bar Camp Philly 2013. I’ve written about fear before, it’s a big topic, and one I was excited to talk about. And  by excited I mean nervous and sweaty. Good thing I wore a black shirt.

But! I have a goal in mind of taking my experiences and lessons, and becoming a presenter. What better way then to get up and do it. I decided to do the talk late in the came, after the first session was already complete. I really tried to convince myself that I wasn’t ready, but then I forced those thoughts a side and scheduled the session. Now I was committed.

Jump to the session, it’s 4:15, only 2 people in the room. Wow, now that would be scary, what’s worse than a room full of people? A room with no one showing up. But in a few minutes, there was a good 30 people there. I started my talk, and it was great, I didn’t even have to picture anyone sans clothing!

The talk quickly moved to a discussion, where to my surprise, people really opened up about some of the things they are afraid of.

It was nothing short of amazing. I really can’t express my appreciation enough to those who shared.

As I was talking, I remembered some of the lessons and challenges I face in the past couple years, and I need to remind myself, there is no RIGHT WAY, simply taking action, no matter the path, will eventually get you to where you need to go.

Taking action… This is harder than it sounds. Many times, we jump to far, and do too much at once, other times, we are easily distracted and don’t even realize we are back sliding to our old habits.

So what are my actions? I started biking, my goal is 290 miles biked before my 29th birthday. I’m at 260.5, and my birthday is next week, better get on it!

I also made an at home standing desk. Looking back, I realized much of my energy in the beginning of the year came from me standing most of the day. Two days in, and I’m already feeling positive affects.

Next, I started to revisit the goals I had at the beginning of the year, and see where I stand with them. Turns out, I need to get to work on that again. But That’s OKAY

Truth it, everything is OKAY, as long as you are comfortable with the decisions you make. Jobs come and go, relationships start and end, but at those final moments, you only have to answer to yourself. So if you’re putting off doing something, start, even if it’s the wrong way, you do it backwards, or upside down. Things NEVER get easier, you only get better at handling it.

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”

― William James


Engineering success through inspiration

Inspiring passion and engineering success

Being a leader requires many, many, skills. From managerial skills, to people skills, leaders need to be able to juggle a multitude of tasks. But one job trumps all the others.

Leaders need to inspire passion.

Today we hit a new record at Squadron 102, we have 33 listed members in our group, 20 of them active. Wow! Now, not only do I manage a squadron and all of the logistics that come with it, a 1 ton van, and brokering the procurement of an additional 8 people, plus a plane; but at any given time, I am managing 20+ people!

I’ve thought long and hard about what my responsibilities are. And the honest truth. I can’t do it all myself. Question, how do you get others to willingly volunteer their time to an activity full of red tape with very little physical reward?

Engineering Success

Over the past couple weeks, I have been exploring the idea of engineering success. Success isn’t some myth that only few happen to catch. Success is calculated, planned, and executed upon. Granted, this all depends on your definition of success, not every one is going to have a $100 Million dollar exit. But something that seems common, success is built from the support of a team of people who are all emotionally vested in achieving a common goal.

As part of creating a successful execution plan, it is extremely important to rally others to the cause. We all know we work harder when we are passionate about something. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent on my hobbies. Civil Air Patrol gives me energy, it fulfills one of my passions, that of teaching and mentoring others. So finding a basis for my passion is easy. When a leader inspires passion in their team, something magical happens. The energy coming from the top is multiplied, suddenly the power of one becomes the ability of many, anything is possible.

Therefore, a leader must Inspire Passion 

 So how do we start moving things forward. We have a team, and we have passion, now we need a plan. I see over and over again that people work best when they have achievable goals, both internally and externally. If you haven’t been introduces to the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals, here is a crash course. SMART goals stands for

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound
  • (For more information see Wikipedia)

By creating goal lists that focus on an individuals work AND personal goals, a strong tie is connected between personal success and group success. Team members are held accountable for their goal by the team, and together, they are motivated to continue improving.

Let’s look at a real world open ended example. At Squadron 102, I am instituting a requirement that each and every member, seniors and cadets, including myself, come up with a public list of SMART goals. This will lead to us building an action plan for each person. My goal is to combine the internal and external goals of my members to bring them closure together as a team, motivate them to progress through the program, and most of all, let them have fun while doing so. We’ll see how that goes…

My thinking is, by setting goals for people within CAP, as well as within their own lives, I can convey my belief that success can be engineered, and together we can achieve more. I will follow up as time goes on, but so far, everyone seems open to the idea.

I love what I do, and I’m filled with passion. If I can transfer my passion to another, inspire them to explore, create, or do something good, then I achieved my job as a leader.

“Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow.”

-Vince Lombbardi