July 29, 2014

Living in New England just went south

Boston
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My family and I live up in southern New Hampshire, about 1 hour north of Boston and the mayhem that followed yesterday’s race. My wife and I moved here in 2002, after we met in Washington, DC and live there for four years. We left the busy-ness of DC and made our way to northern Massachusetts, where my wife grew up, when we decided to have children and raise a family.

The city has always been a place to go when we need a break from the comforting slowness of New Hampshire life. The ability to get a taste of the city is great for both my wife and I as adults, and the exposure to everything the city has to offer, good and bad, is important and necessary for raising kids. Unfortunately, the events of yesterday afternoon have changed what visiting Boston means to us. [Read more]

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Five types of toys, and a lesson for the grown-ups

toys in a pile
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Like most parents, I buy my kids toys. I buy them mostly for Holidays and birthdays, and sometimes just because I can, and sometimes because I can’t listen to the begging any more, too. On top of that, there are the presents from other people, the junky things you get from Happy Meal boxes and the things they save up their allowance for, too.

Of course, the intrinsic value of the toy has nothing to do with the importance of that toy to the child. Through the years of watching my kids play with, discard, or completely ignore their toys, I have come to realize their toys fall into just a few categorie [Read more]

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It’s just a half glass of water.

glass of water
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The old question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” draws the line between optimists and pessimists. Deciding if the glass is half empty or half full, however, is more about seeing the future, or believing that you can, than it is about seeing what’s right in front of you.

Why must the glass be on its way to gaining or losing? [Read more]

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Training and Education – What is the correct value for you?

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As Continuous Improvement practitioners, it is natural (even a passion) to always seek ways to improve ourselves and the value we drive to our colleagues and the companies for which we work. During our quest for this personal and professional development, sometimes we know precisely which areas we wish to improve our skillsets and where we need to concentrate our efforts, and sometimes we seek to satisfy a curiosity of some subject matter.

Once we decide on what we wish to learn, we need to decide on what level of knowledge and competency we wish to possess at the conclusion of our being taught and, most importantly, we need to ensure that the method we select for conveying of that knowledge and competency to us will yield those expected results. Therefore, during this evaluation process, we must always remember the following corollary; the level of effort required is directly proportional to the depth of the knowledge and competency acquired.

We must also evaluate the “Comparative Value” of the efforts and results, with Comparative Value being defined as; “the investment requirements associated with gaining the knowledge versus the benefit gained to oneself and one’s company.” [Read more]

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Pushing through disillusionment

Struggling Tree
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Achieving a goal is often just about working through the grind. There will be disappointments and more than enough rejection, and dejection to go around at times, however, that’s when determination comes in to play.

Humility is necessary, because when you fail, you have to recognize that it’s not everyone else who is wrong, short-sighted, stupid, ignorant or lazy. They simply have a point of view and a set of preferences, as well as maybe a few bad habits, that you haven’t yet figured out a way to overcome. The problem might not be with your message, but with your ability to deliver that message. Understand that there’s something in your ability that’s lacking, which is why you’re unable to penetrate theirs. [Read more]

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The Easter Egg Hunt and perfectly normal disorganization

easter eggs
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Our small town up here in New Hampshire hosted an Easter Egg Hunt and, of course, with a couple hundred children between the ages of 2 and 10 milling about, things went along….well, let’s just say they went along.

The organizers of the event scurried to and fro to make amends for oversights and, since they were clearly working very hard to make the event enjoyable, no one was pointing a finger. The thing that I saw, that was truly bothersome to me, was the indifference and acceptance of such near-pandemonium as normal. It is that acceptance of disorganization as normal, [Read more]

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Career advice? Listen to yourself and believe in what you believe in.

Four Hands
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TweetI was approached by someone recently who was seeking some career advice.  Worn out by the politics of his current environment, he felt under appreciated and at serious risk of being put out to pasture, mostly for trying to do his best, yet misinterpreting the daily “bring me a rock” exercises. His questions clearly caused [...]

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Things I hate: “Too Busy to be Bored”

bored gargoyle
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TweetI hate when people say, “i am too busy to be bored.”  Just because I have something to do doesn’t mean that it is the cure for boredom.  In fact, many of the things I have to do are the cause of boredom, much less the antidote. What is even worse is when someone with [...]

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Snowy boots: A reminder that enjoyment enhances skill

snow covered bridge in the woods
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On a walk in the woods this weekend with my sons we discovered the trails were still covered by a good foot of heavy, compacted snow. I contemplated turning around but the boys were having a blast and convinced me to just keep going. Falling into the snow up to their knees at times didn’t sway them in the least. We worked much harder than was needed had we decided to walk on an asphalt trail in a park, but we carried on just to enjoy the day and be near each other.

While you can do work for money and do a fine job, imagine how much greater of a job you could do for a belief in addition to a paycheck. As my boys demonstrated, even children will work hard for something they believe is worthwhile. If you can combine that kind of belief with a skill so well developed people are willing to pay you for it, I can only imagine the degree of success that could be attained. [Read more]

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A powerful habit: commit to being a better person

climb
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You are flawed.

Accept it.

I don’t care what age you are, or gender, or what you’ve accomplished in your lifetime (or not) – you are flawed. There are things about you people don’t like, even if you’re unable to admit that that is true (which is a flaw) or you don’t see yourself the way those people see you (another flaw).
Here’s the truth: you’ve got problems and things you really need to work on, personally and professionally. We all know that’s true, so here the real question: What are you doing about it? [Read more]

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