March 01, 2024

Face the Pressure

“People talk about pressure. Yeah, there’s pressure. But I just look at it as fun.”
― Derek Jeter

Some people face the pressure and run away.

Some people face the pressure and freeze.

Some people face the pressure and fight back.

But some people face the pressure and get stronger, shine brighter, and emerge transformed. They use it as fuel to push boundaries and break barriers. They redefine their limits and achieve remarkable feats.

February 23, 2024

Do What You Can't

“Somebody said that it couldn’t be done…”
― Edgar Albert Guest, It Couldn’t Be Done

Do what you can’t.

Do what you’re afraid of.

Do what you’re not qualified for.

Do what’s impossible.

Do what’s difficult.

Do what challenges you.

Do what pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Do what others say can’t be done.

February 16, 2024

Good Days

“There are good days and there are bad days, and this is one of them.”
― Lawrence Welk

Often, at the end of the day, I find myself metaphorically battered, beaten, and bloody, but still standing.

Those are good days.

Those are the days when the world keeps hitting, but I stay in the fight. Sometimes I fall, but I get back up. I take the hits and keep moving forward. I refuse to quit.

Those are good days.

February 09, 2024

Modern Luddites

“Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.”
― Alan Kay

Once upon a time, assembly language programmers feared Fortran. Then Fortran programmers feared C. Then C programmers feared Java and Ruby. (Nobody feared BASIC or PHP programmers.)

In each case, the best of the best kept their jobs because the old tech didn’t just disappear. Those who adapted found new jobs because the new innovations drove demand through the roof. The rest became “back in my day” curmudgeons.

Now we face modern innovations like no-code platforms and artificial intelligence (AI). Once again, many people are worried about job security. However, history has shown that every technological shift brings new opportunities.

So, become exceptional in your core skills. Develop fundamentals that transcend the era, like leadership and communication. Learn to adapt and adapt to learn. Move forward and embrace change.

February 02, 2024

Water of Life

“The fall of dropping water wears away the Stone.”
― Lucretius

Our ancestors understood that flowing water is a source of life. Stagnant water is death.

Like a life-giving stream, you can be a source of life for your family and friends.

But only if you don’t stop moving forward.

January 26, 2024

Never Tell Me the Odds

“Never tell me the odds.”
― Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back

Probability can seem weird and counterintuitive at times.

For instance, what’s the probability that a fair coin flipped 10 times will land on heads exactly once? Well, that’s simple enough. It’s 10 in 1024 or about 0.977%.

But what are the odds that the first 9 flips are tails and only the last flip comes up heads? Okay, that’s also simple. It’s 1 in 1024 or about 0.0977% — 10 times less likely than our first probability.

Now, let’s get crazy. What are the chances that each flip alternates between heads and tails, starting with heads? It’s 1 in 1024 or about 0.0977%. That’s right, it’s the same as the one above. Why? Because when there are 1024 possible patterns, the odds of any specific pattern is 1 in 1024.

Now here’s the interesting part. If you flipped a coin 10 times, whatever pattern you saw had a probability of 1 in 1024. So even though that specific pattern was unlikely, it was just as likely as any other specific pattern.

How does this bit of high school math help us?

It gives me a sense of appreciation for everything that happens around me. Everything I experience is a rare and precious gift. Every challenge is a special opportunity to drive a positive outcome. I have an immense sense of humility and gratitude for the blessings I’ve received.

Our lives are more than the sum of random outcomes, but we can find meaning and beauty in all the seemingly random events that occur.

January 18, 2024

More Valuable Than My Job Title

“The one guiding principle over my 23-year career in TV has been as long as I’m having fun, I really don’t care what the job title is.”
― Andy Cohen

To be clear, I’m only writing about business here. I’m not listing the obvious priorities of faith, family, etc.

People throw around fancy job titles like they’re a big deal. A good job title communicates something about what you do and your responsibilities to yourself and others. In practice, many people want a job title they can brag about to their friends and family. They want a job title that gives their frail ego a boost.

I get that, but your job title doesn’t change your job; your job is to do whatever is necessary to help the team succeed. That’s why I prioritize so many other things over any job title.

For instance, and in no particular order:

  • Winning

  • Trust

  • Work that matters

  • Getting things done

  • Remote work

  • Asynchronous work

  • Honest and open communication

  • Working with a good team

  • The opportunity to learn

  • Sincere gratitude

  • Flexibility and adaptability

  • Making money

  • Having fun

An impressive job title is only a good thing to the extent it helps you understand and communicate about your role.

January 12, 2024

Give Them Both

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
― Peter Drucker

I have a kid currently working on their Eagle Scout project. Now, an Eagle Scout project is a challenging service project that provides an opportunity to demonstrate leadership. It’s not an easy task, and the difficulty is one of the reasons why so few scouts achieve that top rank.

I’m an Eagle Scout and remember the challenges I faced years ago, so I’ve tried to impart wisdom about how to lead as a prospective Eagle Scout. I’ve stressed the importance of learning and demonstrating leadership throughout an Eagle project, and I want my children to view these situations as opportunities to grow as leaders.

The other day, however, my kid told me something interesting about the people who will evaluate the project: “They say they want leadership, but they’re looking for management.”

My response: “Give them both.”

Most people don’t understand the difference between leadership and management, but both skills are essential for success. Good management is foundational to project success and it’s a great skill to develop.

So give them both.

As a leader, you must inspire, encourage, and empower others, but don’t avoid owning whatever needs to be done. If your evaluation is based on how well you manage the project, then as a leader, be a great manager. Leaders aren’t worried about who does the “lesser” tasks. They’re focused on winning. Sometimes, that means leading from the trenches and working alongside the people you lead. Sometimes, it means stepping in with a clipboard and managing tasks and resources.

Another way to see this is by flipping it upside down. Leaders don’t have to be managers, but managers should always be leaders. Managers who possess leadership skills are more effective in their roles and can inspire their teams to achieve great results.

Leadership and management go hand in hand. If you can develop both skillsets, you’ll set yourself apart and demonstrate your readiness to take on any challenge.

January 05, 2024

Management vs. Leadership

“Management and leadership are separate roles but they aren’t necessarily multiple people.”
― Dr. Dean McCall

The other day, I was asked, “Aren’t leaders managers?” Often, but the skills are different. Let’s talk about it.

Leadership is about inspiring and empowering others to achieve a shared vision.
Management is about maintaining order and efficiency within existing structures.

Leadership is about taking responsibility and making decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Management is about following orders and executing tasks efficiently.

Leadership is about building trust and fostering open communication.
Management is about setting goals and holding people accountable.

Leadership is about creating a culture of innovation and taking risks.
Management is about optimizing existing processes and minimizing errors.

Leadership is about inspiring people to go beyond their perceived limitations.
Management is about providing clear direction and feedback.

Leadership is about building a team that can operate effectively in any situation.
Management is about planning and resource allocation.

December 29, 2023

What Does It Mean to Work From Anywhere?

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
― Stephen Hawking

Work-from-anywhere means more than just sitting at your kitchen table with a laptop. It requires a fundamental shift in how we perceive our professional life. It’s about empowering individuals with the freedom to decide their working environments — maybe that’s a café in Paris, a beach house, or just a cozy couch at home.

This fluidity can enhance productivity, creativity, and work-life balance. But, it also demands rethinking communication protocols, collaboration tools, and management styles.

The future of work is anywhere and everywhere, and we’re all pioneers.