My 3 Favorite Pieces of Advice from 2013

Management/Leadership

This has been “the year of the mentor” for me in 2013.

30 for 30: 30 Lessons I Have Collected in My 30 Years of Life

Growth/Learning, Tales

This entry was inspired by the 30 for 30 documentary series on ESPN. In 2013 I turned 30– and for me this meant time to reflect, minimize mistakes, and accelerate—in theory. So, in no particular order you will find 30 lessons and pieces of wisdom I have gathered over the past 30 years. I had a lot off fun adding and deleting ideas and advice I felt was worthy of consideration.

  1. A healthy perspective is invaluable. With one, life becomes a manageable maze as opposed to a series of dead ends
    1. Understand what others value

    2. Relationships in all forms equate to a healthy balance of giving and taking. Be aware of which of the two you do most.

4. God is in control. We are sitting in his lap steering while he works the gas and brakes.

5. Living for the experience will minimize the pressure when it’s time to perform. Soak it in.

  1. Responsibility breeds humility. You realize in most instances you drive the outcome and or experience for the benefit of someone besides yourself.

  2. My sincerity is best expressed in written word versus spoken. I need to write it down in order for it to be received the way I want it to be.

8. Exposure is everything. Maximize it. The people that are most successful have several instances of exposure through tireless work.

9. Accountability is the key to growth, respect, and peace of mind.

10.Be a resource personally and professionally and you will always have worth.

11.Consume media that helps you get to who you want to be and where you want to be.

12.Listen and try not to diagnose.

13.No matter how much money and success you amass, if you can’t work with your hands. Eventually realize you are worthless in a post-apocalyptic society. Note to self–learn to build something!

14.Food is my friend, supporter, and enemy.

15.Life is more about positioning yourself for quality choices than about an actual choice that yields an outcome

16. In the bible love stands for sacrifice, therefore I believe love should be a competition of selflessness

  1. You will make mistakes and disappoint others. The goal is to avoid the same mistakes and avoid disappointing the same people the same way.

  2. Never take yourself too seriously. Life is about course correction and not perfection.

19. Seek arenas that allow me to be vulnerable. Create that type of space for those I care about.

20.To be my best self I have to know and neutralize what contributes to being my worst self. Self-awareness is important.

21.There’s nothing new under the sun. Look for different ways and situations to apply what’s been done.

22.Find different ways to express thanks

23. God’s favor is the only thing I have found that trumps hard work and talent. Pray and work hard.

24.Ask better questions. Master asking quality questions.

25.You must understand people’s motivations to understand their behaviors. Take time. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.

  1. The slower the better is true for most everything….yep most everything

  2. 50 plus guys will shoot you straight when it comes to opinions. Keep access to them. It’s valuable to know truth.

  3. My music must always be close by in order to immediately improve my state of being.

29.I have yet to regret not getting more sleep…At some point I know I will.

30.Think less, feel more.

My Movember Moment: Man At His Manliest

Tales

In a world of consistently evolving norms of gender, power, and influence (men should be more sensitive, women should take charge) and a desire for most all groups to be more diverse, I have arrived at the single distinguishing trait for men to have to ourselves. Hair—facial hair. Yes I am centuries late—and no I have absolutely nothing against the much more lovely and many times more strong and fierce Venus associated creatures ( Venusites? Venitians?), but it seems with all of this debate to uncover the perfect human through a blend of gender traits (many serving only as shots at the traditional male), a man can get lost in who he should be. But, physically there is no challenging the presence of unkempt facial hair. The beard. The mustache. The goatee. Patriarchs such as Ron Burgandy, Ron Swandon, Kimbo Slice and even Mr. Magnum PI himself dare not grapple with these conflicting physical identities– due to their follicle superiority. You see, regardless of social progression (and hormones) facial hair is ours. That is partly why this November I grew facial hair for a good cause and learned to my surprise it was my missing link to my manhood.

So that you are aware, I enjoy fishing, camping, the outdoors, and I love sports. I guess what I’m basically saying is despite not being a “car guy” or hunter, my manhood has not been in limbo or in question, but at the same time not maximized with a certain itch around my neck and cheeks (facial to be clear).

So after just over a week of neglecting my stash of ‘dollarshaveclub’ razors, I had to ask myself, why have I been wasting this gift to showcase facial greatness? Why had I not embraced an opportunity to shave less, to be different, show maturity, and style. I took my God given ‘manhood right’ for granted. I had been missing the opportunity to play with my own canvas. A canvas that lets me regret shaving parts of my beard in favor of a goatee (that makes me look like a Disney villain), but rectified by growing back a beard in a redemptive fashion.
I’m not sure how long the beard will exist— on me, but every time I see another Martian (we’re supposedly from Mars) who has neglected his razor, I know I belong to the club. I now have this conviction to make up for lost time despite the Houston, TX humidity.

Goal Seek: 4 Reasons Why You Should Work Backwards to Better Decision Making

Direction

How many times have you seen leaders, peers, and direct reports struggle through decision making or arriving at solutions in a timely fashion? How many times have you seen a select few seem to get to the same solutions quicker, and sometimes with better judgement and greater sense of conviction in their choice?

This latter group of people are what I deem to be “goal seekers”. As opposed to starting at the beginning, they start at the end, or their conceptualized result and work backwards. It is a method of thinking that comes more natural to some than others, but it can be taught.

I chose the term “goal seek” to describe this thought process because it is an effective function in the Microsoft Excel data program that allows you to enter your desired value, and the program will make you aware of what it takes to get there. This is commonly used for understanding payment amounts for money down, interest, or installments.

‘Goal Seek’ is somewhat of a forest before the trees method of visualizing a solution before understanding the steps involved. This is effective in freeing oneself from constraints, overthinking possibilities, and losing course to the goal in mind.

Rule #1: Know What You Want and Need
Consult at least one other trusted source to be sure your list of wants and needs are both honest and objective driven. My after taught me from the bible that their is “wisdom in many counselors”. Be sure that your counselors are wise.

Rule #2: No Constraints/Creative Freedom
Depending on your mindset, when we work through most issues we quickly begin to take into account what is and isn’t realistic. This can sometimes be driven by items such as budgets, ability, or even sometimes science. That being the case, when you start with the end in mind, you skip self imposed obstacles and traditional notions. Ask yourself ” what does my result look like if I had full control”; or “In a perfect setting how would this exist?”. Questioning that is positive and forward will help you arrive at your goal without initially compromising possibilities.

Rule #3: Avoid Over Thinking Possibilities. Maximize.
If you are an over thinker, working backwards from the end is crucial in getting out of your own way. The idea that you envision a desired result without ever challenging its merit is a wonderful way of efficiently arriving at decisions. This will maximize the effort you spend on ways of working as opposed to whether it may work at all. This is because it will force you to poke holes in your own ideas. Now all you’re missing is the courage to step out and execute.

Rule #4: Stay on Target
The last important asset to this approach, is that it helps you to avoid losing course to what you are seeking to achieve. While this method is not rabbit hole free, it does limit the number of side doors you duck into that draw you away from your solution. This approach should have you coming out on the right side. You set the destination—stay the course.

The ability to effectively arrive at your desired solutions free of self imposed obstacles will help you to establish a belief in yourself–while unlocking creativity you may have never displayed before. Ideas and solutions that come from constrained free notions lead to the ultimate in progress and satisfaction.

Now practice is in order…

Ex-Stretch Yourself: 3 Exercises to Extend Your Professional Development

Growth/Learning

For the record–This post is not a “get out of your comfort zone” pep rally of pieced together “you can do it” speeches. This is about recognizing opportunities to express
or stretch (Ex-Stretch) your professional experience. You may want to consider downloading the Labrinth song “Express Yourself”–it holds some responsibility for this insight–plus it will put you in a good mood.

1.Know Thyself

EQ-Emotional Intelligence is key to understanding who you are, what you do and don’t do well and what is missing from your bag. EQ will also help you alleviate certain levels of anxiety that will help you commit more to fight than flight. This is key when your defenses trigger –you can recognize them and move forward to navigate through the dark. Commit to vulnerability.

2.Know Thy Neighbor-Resource
Who do you know that has the experience or skill sets you wish to have? How can they help? If they are not expressive or articulate in helping you understand what you would like–ask them “what motivated that choice?” or “what two things I expect to encounter”.

3. What are You Stretching Towards and What Do You Need to Express?
Ask yourself if what you are pursuing is value adding? Try to envision what you look like afterward, and how the experience will change your current state. Does it help you get to a desired state? Less fear of expression. More confidence in front of others. Making tough decisions on the fly.
Commit to the experience and the vulnerability required. A senior leader at my firm shared the idea of “becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable”.

Exercise this logic with a heavy dose of positivity and a dash of realism to become your best self.