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Showing posts from 2014

Hello 2015

It feels good to have 2014 behind me and time this week to reflect on the past and the days to come. It has been my practice for many years to use the last week of the year for goal setting and planning.
Life is better with a plan for the future that when examined closely fills you with excitement.
Very few people have powerful goals in writing and even fewer have these detailed in such a way as to serve as leverage for success. To write them down and not immediately execute with action to make them happen is a complete formula for failure.
I know this as fact as each goal I do not meet each year is the result of a poorly executed plan. Time, failure and success are great teachers. I have learned to chunk my plans into categories. They are: Faith Family Finances Health Career Service Misc
My goals within each of these categories are as specific as I can make them. They are not a write down once a year, tuck away and go kind of thing. They are an in my face challenge me every day kind thing.
On…

Goodbye 2014

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As years go, 2014 is going to go down as one of my most challenging yet. It began in early January as I stepped on the scale and came to the stark realization that my weight was right at the tip of my limit. The preceding months had been difficult with work experiencing a time of layoffs again and my health being impacted by pain in my knees which in turn had led to a complete lack of exercise and a visit to the cellar off my internal motivation.
Looking ahead to the New Year, I knew I had to take control of my life and not let another 12 months go by that I would look into the mirror with regret. I had great optimism knowing the year was set to be full of several wonderful milestones. This was the year we were going to be debt free, experience high adventure in Canada, see the start of Conner’s senior year and begin the transition to being an empty nester. I had no idea at the time that it would bring another layoff at work and a family crisis at a level we had never experienced befo…

Time to burn the boats?

Ever seen the movie Hunt for Red October? It is one on my favorite of all time.
Early in the movie Captain Ramious during a gathering of his officers rather casually informs them that he has left a letter with the Soviet high command informing them of their plan to defect to the United States and turnover their high tech submarine. The officers are enraged as they know this will bring the entire Soviet fleet down on them in an effort to destroy the ship and prevent the defection.
Next, Sean Connery in that famous accent of his tells the legend of Cortez and his arrival to the new world. As the story goes, in 1519 Cortez with 500 men and 11 ships traveled to the South America intending to conquer and capture treasure.
Cortez knew this was going to be a great challenge for his men and decided to take action in a way that would ensure complete engagement of his army. He left them with no alternative other than complete success. He ordered them to burn the boats. As Captain Ramious so …

Hello Senior Year

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Well here we go. It is the start of the senior year for Conner and of course I know it will go by fast. It is almost cliché to talk about how time flies but these 17 years have gone by in a blink of an eye.
I am little reflective now thinking back to the parent I have been for him. Regrets? Yes I do have some and can think of many ways I could have been a better father.
I do not regret for a moment the choices we made to live our lives centered around being as good of parents we could and supporting our child with time together. Sure, Michelle and I could have thrown everything at climbing the corporate ladder and chasing stuff. The result may have been a bigger house, fancier vacations and newer cars. But at what price for these things? 
They mean nothing if it leads to a debt of regret for missed opportunities in the short 18 years we got to spend time with this great guy. 
Having lost our father's at young ages, Michelle and I both have fully understood the privilege of being…

Get over it: There is no such thing as work/life balance

“I am so sorry. I was off a few days on vacation with my family and did not keep up with e-mail.”
This was the opening comment from a manager I met with recently. Later in the day while in another meeting I asked a manager peer about her recent time off.
Me—“How was your vacation?”
Person—“Good but I did not do any work!” “I am so behind!”
Such is the life of exempt level employees and especially managers. We find ways to leave work but work never leaves us.
Our competitive work culture creates added pressure as time away can mean missed opportunities to contribute to key projects. This can lead to a perception of low value which in turn later can lead you to being the person selected for the next layoff. Not necessarily true but that is what many people think as they ponder time away from work.
Now let’s add to all of this the new hyper connected world we live in. Thanks to phones and tablets we are now connected to work 24x7. There is no excuse at all to miss that important e-m…

Is college required for you to find "it"?

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You always have some students who say, ‘I don’t want to go to college; But they don’t realize whatever it is in life, they need to go to college for it.” Martin Copland (no relation to me)
This is a quote I read recently in an article about plans to encourage more students to attend college out of high school. The quote was from a high school guidance counselor.
First as a parent of a high school junior I want to make it very clear that we strongly believe the path to our son’s lifelong career success will pass through college. We are blessed that he already has decided his future career and is working now to ensure he is gaining skills that will help him in college and beyond.
I also understand and recognize that the evidence clearly shows that college graduates over a lifetime will have a higher income and experience many other benefits.
With all of this in mind, I nonetheless could not help but get angry over the quote. I just hate to think of the poor kid with a dream to work w…

Cubicle Man!

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I am not much of a TV watcher and it seems when I do take time to flip through the current cable offerings all we seem to have any more are reality shows. Interestingly, many of the popular shows are about people that have jobs and lives of danger and excitement.
Who would have imagined years ago that there would be an audience for shows about fishermen, lumberjacks, Alaska cabin dwellers, and redneck country folks.
I spend my day in a cubicle. The overall level of excitement of reading e-mails, attending conference calls and enduring endless meetings is somewhat lacking.
Perhaps I need to star in my own show. “Cubicleman!?” “E-mail Dynasty!?” “Conference calls: The Last Frontier!?” I could set up a GOPRO camera and record every exciting moment.
Up at 530! Work by 0700! Lunch at desk while working! Out by 530! My day would be riveting I am sure for others to observe.
Most if these shows are popular because people long to escape their own mundane and sterile lives to have adventu…

Words

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How we became 100% debt free

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Last month our family achieved an important milestone in our lives. We dropped in the mail our final house payment to become 100% debt free!
I have to be honest. Much of my obsession over saving and being debt free has been driven by a fear of the future.  What would my family do if the cancer were to come back? What burden would I leave them? How would my son go to college? What happens if I were to lose my job?
Sometimes fear can be a good thing if in end the end it brings hope.
So how did we get here?  It is far easier than you might think.
Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford! 
Sounds like common sense doesn't it? Common sense unfortunately is just not common practice for most people.  Key here is having discernment between what you need to have and would like to have. If you don’t have the money just don’t buy it. Pretty simple huh?
Live below your means! 
When we were looking for our house I remember seeing many homes for sale from people our age who were clearly over their he…

The Power of Encouragement

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One of the things you hear marathon runners talk about is “the wall”. This is the moment around mile 20 or so when many people reach that critical point where a physical and mental choice is made. The choice revolves around continuing to run, walking, or for some just plain quitting.
I can remember hitting this moment during my fist marathon several years ago.
It was somewhere around mile 22 and after three and a half hours of running. It seemed most of the people around me at this point were walking or doing a little run/walk combo. To say we were running at this point was a bit of stretch.
Oh how I longed for the pain end and to join the comfort of those who were walking. One cool thing at the Dallas White Rock Marathon is that if you are a first time marathoner you have a different number you wear so that anyone will know you are a first timer.  
Here back at the end of the pack there were several of us first timers.
As my desire to stop was reaching a crescendo, a first timer t…

Hello My Name Is.....

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Hello my name is…..
Regret, stupid, mistake, loser, ugly, fat, defeat
For many people the labels we wear in our hearts about who or what we think we really are can be completely debilitating. Many are self-created for no real reason at all while others are the result of false assessments placed on us through the ignorance and meanness of others.
I am 46 yet in my head on bad day I can see very clearly the time as a second or third grader when in a moment of self defeat I etched “dummie” on  a brick outside the west side of our house. That moment and that word haunted me for years as not only did it continue to echo in my head but later I realized it would not come off the brick. I had created a false label. 
I think we all do this. We etch labels so deeply in our hearts that we just can’t seem to remove them. Then for some to feel better they transfer these labels to others in an effort to feel better.  I know way too many people that hate themselves and then in turn spend too much…