Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Real-life Conference Call

I saw this video yesterday and thought of all the times I've been involved in conference calls. While humorous, this video absolutely nails many characteristics of conference calls!

Have a look and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Winter as it ought to be

In this deep freeze of winter, I understand why some of you may be ready for a few degrees more heat. But, like Calvin, I think snow should cover the ground from October to May. Here's my fellow true believer putting it out there. This is how winter ought to be.

praying for snow

Monday, January 6, 2014

Agile Means Letting Go

I've written an article titled "Agile Means Letting Go" and posted it over on my company's web site. Take a look and feel free to discuss.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Get outta the way!

When the large junk truck ahead of you on the interstate suddenly drops large rocks and dirt clods, do as the title of this post says and get outta the way! If you can't, your windshield may look like mine does now.

Thankfully only a few pieces of small glass made it into the car with me but the impact is right at the same height as my head. That's a bit scary, I must say.

Guess who's calling the auto glass guys in the morning?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Scouting has Advantages

I have often been asked about why I am such a fan of Scouting -- both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Well, tonight I learned about a research study conducted by Baylor University titled, "Merit Beyond the Badge," that is really worth a read. You can find the study by going to this BSA web site.

Among other things, this study says Eagle Scouts are more likely to:
  • Exercise for 30 minutes each day
  • Attend concerts, plays, or live theater
  • Read books
  • Be involved in their community, neighborhood, and church
  • Have good relationships with family and co-workers
  • Donate time and money to various organizations
  • Vote in elections
  • Treat people with respect
  • Show respect for the American flag
  • Be leaders at the office or in the community
I could go on, but the point is that Scouting has definitely prepared these young men and set them on a different path than those who do not participate. I think that is well worth my time and energy. Plus, I get to know these young men and build relationships with them and their families. That, for me, is one of the best aspects of Scouting. I have met so many great people through this organization.

So, if you are at all interested in Scouting or you question if it is right for you, I urge you to check out or any of the links I have placed in this article. These are good places to start learning about Scouting. 

And if you have any questions, please let me know. I will answer what I can or point you to those who know more than I do -- and there's a lot of those people out there.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A new vantage point

My family had a really good time in Chicago last week. It was fun to get away from our usual routines of life and spend time together. I know I can still remember many of the vacations I took with my family as a kid so I hope my children will reflect on these trips with fondness in the years to come.

One of the activities we had told the kids about was going to the Skydeck. For those who do not know, this is a glass box which is extended roughly four feet out of the Sears Tower ... er, the Wilson Tower ... and is located on the 103rd Floor. That's 1,353 feet in the air!

Did I mention this is OUTSIDE the building!!?

You can look straight down to the ground!

All the way below you ... down there ... 103 Stories! Yeah, you're really frickin' high!

Sorry, my personal phobias of splatting on the ground are getting to me again. I handle ladders and getting on my roof just fine; it's not the height that bothers me. It's the thought of splatting on the ground that bothers me.

Anyway, we told the kids about going to the Skydeck and somewhere along the line I mentioned that I would have to overcome my own fear of taking that first step into the glass box. From there, I was sure I would have no problem. But that first step? Yeah, that was going to take will power.

The kids thought this was great. Seeing their father afraid, even a bit, was funny. Can you believe that?

So after an express ride to the Skydeck level and looking out at the Chicago skyline, we arrived at the actual glass boxes. Thankfully there was a line of people waiting to take their turn.

When my family was about five feet from the box, I felt my stomach flip. "You have to do this!" I thought to myself. I couldn't let the kids see me be afraid, even if they were kidding me about it. Laughing about being afraid is one thing, actually showing them I am afraid should be reserved for the truly scary things in life. "This isn't one of them," I told myself. But my palms were sweaty and I really didn't want to go any closer.

But our turn came and I was first in line. So I took that step without too much hesitation.
My shoes at 1,300 ft. above the street.

The glass held! I didn't fall!

And looking around me was beautiful.

The camera will not capture the feeling. It can't capture how looking around -- over your head, beneath your feet, and to your side -- is awe inspiring.

Then it hit me -- I wasn't afraid. In fact, I really hadn't ever been afraid to be in this spot out here in the glass box. It wasn't the end result I was afraid of, but the transition to get there.

In short, I was afraid to take the first step.

How many times in our lives are we afraid to take that first step or to make that initial transition to something new?

I realized I am not usually afraid of the transitions at the office, in the community groups I am involved in, nor in many other areas of my life. But I was afraid of this one. So I learned something this past week: having a reason which is larger than yourself is important when you're afraid to take that initial step.

In my case, this was being able to show my kids that you can overcome a fear of heights; that you can push through this to enjoy the moment.

And perhaps that is the greatest part about being 103 stories in the air -- from that vantage point, most of the other stuff looks pretty small.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lightsabers and Life Lessons

It's early summer and once again my "To Do" list is getting way too long. It seems like things keep being added faster than I can remove them. Every time I turn around, I feel like I have forgotten something, not scheduled enough time for an activity, or let someone down by not completing my responsibilities.

Do you feel this way sometimes as well?

Today a friend of mine said I had to read a blog post titled, Facing Your Darth Vader. She knew the Star Wars geek in me would be interested right away ... and she was right! I am sure she liked the article content too or she would not have taken time to share it. The author has told a really nice story but don't miss the powerful lesson contained in the story.

He says we need three things when facing the monsters of our lives:

  1. Friends who will take us to our monsters
  2. A Master to guide us when it gets tough
  3. Courage to face the monster on our own

This sure helped me to clear my mind and look at things a bit more directly. I realized that I sometimes need to wear the blast helmet so I don't look at everything else buzzing around me. Obi Wan was right ... my eyes can deceive me.

I am blessed to have good friends who join me in my endeavors, a wife who believes in me, and mentors around me who continue to teach me well and challenge me to do even greater things than I thought possible. And mostly, I have a God who has promised to be in my corner and never give up on me.

So it's down to point three. I have to do some things on my own to battle the monsters. But I have remembered today that I am not in this entirely on my own.

Time to light the sabers and get going!

May the Force be with you.