Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday Night Classic Music Video

From my disco days:

Fort Wayne Site of the Day-Trolley Tour

One of my families favorite events is the annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley Tour.

Every day leading up to the event, I am featuring an organization associated with this years tour.

Get details by going here, and to visit today's site click on pic.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fort Wayne Site of the Day-Trolley Tour

One of my families favorite events is the annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley Tour.

Every day leading up to the event, I am featuring an organization associated with this years tour.

Get details by going here, and to visit today's site click on pic.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are you Really More Productive?

I worked for a few years as a thermoformer operator in a plastics factory.

My job was to produce the maximum number of parts in a 12 hour shift while keeping quality within the spec guidelines.

I kept records of "recipes" that I used for setting oven temperatures, water cooler temperatures, cycle speeds and factored in external factors such as room temperature and other variables.

My creativity was used in a semi-scientific process with an end goal in mind. I was pretty good. i was promoted a few times. I was a mentor and teacher to others. But eventually I quit.

I wasn't passionate about plastic.

I returned to the marketing world where my creativity involved writing ads and advertising campaigns and all the other stuff that wasn't as easily measured. Formulas were more theoretical and less concrete.

Now I work in a combination of those worlds, with my position in sales as a Solutions Consultant for a website development company.

There is the creative marketing/sales side and the hard numbers analytics provides via the actual web technology.

DLM has some thoughts on the subject:

Is Your Passion for Productivity Hurting Your Career?

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 11:21 AM PDT

Confession: I’m a productivity junkie. I love the “more with less” mindset. There isn’t a time management technique I haven’t tried.

But, as a career coach, I’ve seen many cases in which passion for productivity has actually been a hindrance to career success

What do I mean? Well, being productive is obviously a good thing. We all need to get stuff done. But an over-emphasis on doing can sometimes cause performance problems in the professional world.

To help you understand what I mean and figure out if your passion for productivity is harming your career, take a look at the statements below. Do any ring true for you? If so, it may be time to focus on doing less—and thinking more.
  • You’re dividing your attention.
    Multitasking sounds great in theory but it doesn’t really work. When we attempt to split our attention between tasks, one—or both—will inevitably suffer.

    When we multitask at work, we end up making mistakes that ultimately have to be repaired. It’s a time suck and it’s also a poor representation of your capabilities. Multitasking can also be downright rude. People feel disrespected because you’re not giving them—or the work—its due attention.

    The real skill to hone in the workplace is concentration. Improve your ability to focus on the task at hand and then smoothly transition that concentration wholly to the next task. Avoid the temptations of multitasking and learn to engage fully in the moment.

  • You’re rushed.
    The “go, go, go” mantra of corporate America keeps most professionals in a permanent state of urgency. With an ever-growing to-do list, they feel compelled to constantly rush through their work and get to the next thing. In the process, careless errors happen. This mentality also contributes to huge amounts of stress, which can end up damaging your professional relationships and reputation even further.

    Never sacrifice accuracy and good work for speed. Moving quickly is not the sign of productivity. The faster you move, the more potential there is for trouble. Slowdown. Pace yourself. Be intentional in your actions.

  • You’re focusing on quantity over quality.
    All too often, productivity junkies get into a mindset of “more is better.” The more time you put in, the more successful you’ll be. The more you do, the more you’ll achieve. However, this isn’t always the case.

    Productivity is not about doing everything. It’s about doing the right things well. It’s
    not about working all the time; it’s about using your work time wisely.

    It’s far better to complete just a few important items on your checklist rather than tons of unimportant ones. It’s better to work really productively for a shorter period of time than semi-productively for a longer period of time. In the workplace, it’s always smart to focus on quality over quantity.

  • You’re doing too much.
    Productivity junkies like me are notorious for biting off more than we can chew. But systems and time management techniques won’t help you if you can’t help yourself. Say “no” once in a while. Set limits. Establish realistic expectations. Stop accepting more and more work just because you want to prove that you’re productive. We get it.

    I’ve seen it time and again: Taking on too much inevitably leads to anxiety, stress, missed deadlines, and mistakes. It’s a sure-fire way to perpetuate the negative productivity cycle. Break out of it. Use your passion for productivity in the workplace for good, not evil. Get it under control so it doesn’t accidentally drag your career down as it has for others.
Written on 8/24/2011 by Chrissy Scivicque. Chrissy is a career coach and the founder of She helps professionals develop strategies and take meaningful action toward achieving career goals. Pick up a copy of Chrissy’s FREE career workbook to find out just how nourishing your career really is and how you can make it even more so.Photo Credit: orcmid

Fort Wayne Site of the Day-Trolley Tour

September 22nd is the date for the annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley Tour.

Every day leading up to the event, I am featuring an organization associated with this years tour.

Get details by going here, and to visit today's site click on pic.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Are You Making a Difference?

First of all, you are.

Unless you have absolutely no friends, relatives, communication with anyone what so ever, you are making a difference.

I define difference as influence.

You are either a positive, negative or neutral influence.

Truth be told, no one is really a neutral influence.

Last evening I was invited to a working, brainstorming dinner with "101 Connectors".

While all the details are not important at this moment, towards the end of our meeting, I realized that we were a small handful of people who connect, influence, and make a difference .

Your words, your actions, your appearance, your attitude, your willingness to give and to take are all being observed.

Not by big brother, but by strangers whom you may never meet face to face.

You have the power to (be):









Change a life

Save a life

These items and the dozens more I could list do not require money, lots of time, or anything more that what you currently have.

It's a challenge to you and to me to take an additional step out of our comfort zone, open our eyes a little more, listen a bit louder, and make a conscientious decision to make a difference.

Join me, won't you?

Fort Wayne Site of the Day-Trolley Tour

September 22nd is the date for the annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley Tour.

Every day leading up to the event, I am featuring an organization associated with this years tour.

Get details by going here, and to visit today's site click on pic.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bad Words

I admit it.

I've used them.

Not regularly, so when I do, if there is someone around, they know I must be really upset.

Harvey has some wisdom on losing our temper:

A person who loses his temper usually loses

By Harvey Mackay

Lately it seems like every night when I watch ESPN to get the day's baseball scores and highlights, I see another pitcher throwing a temper tantrum in the dugout after a poor performance.

brian wilson

San Francisco Giants star relief pitcher, Brian Wilson, had one of the more visible meltdowns when he was pulled from a game in the ninth inning. He proceeded to storm into the dugout where he picked up the water cooler and heaved it against the bench. Then he grabbed a bat and pummeled that same water cooler, and then punched a cardboard box.

What was more alarming was what Wilson said afterwards, "Give yourself 30 seconds to completely lose it, then come back and be part of the team."

Did I hear that correctly?

Does that mean that it's okay for your teenager to come home and trash the house after a rough day at school -- just for 30 seconds? Or should the employee who blows up at work be forgiven for knocking over the water cooler? That only takes 5 seconds. How about people who go crazy verbally and cuss a blue streak? A lot of very nasty and damaging words can be uttered in half a minute!

Is this out-of-control behavior acceptable?

Absolutely, definitely, positively, most certainly NOT! When you blow your stack you add to the world's pollution. These hotheads don't understand that every time you lose your temper you advertise yourself -- and you're not selling a positive. Nothing cooks your goose more than a boiling temper.

I spend a lot of time on the golf course and I've seen more than my share of temper tantrums on the links. As an avid golfer, I understand frustration -- and a temper is the first thing a golfer has to control. A little white ball shouldn't tee you off to the point of ugliness.

Since golf is half mental, those who take a grim delight in being temperamental usually are more "temper" than "mental." I always say, if you lose your head, what is the use of the rest of your body?

Maybe this is why baseball Hall of Famer and Cubs great Ernie Banks said, "Baseball reveals character; golf exposes it."

But back to work. Keeping your temper in check is not just essential, it's the mark of a professional. Where two or more people work together, disagreements are an ever-present part of the landscape. There are plenty of ways to be unhappy about a situation without being unpleasant. Consider these ideas:
  • Figure out what you're really angry about. Are you upset at the current situation, or is your discontent a carryover from previous events?
  • Count to ten -- or twenty or thirty if necessary. Just as you can't un-ring a bell, taking back angry and hurtful words is next to impossible.
  • Excuse yourself for a few minutes if possible. Walking away from a volatile situation gives you a chance to collect yourself and measure your reaction.
  • Take care of your health. Studies show that people who eat properly, exercise and get enough sleep are better equipped to handle stressful situations.
  • Share your concerns calmly. It takes two to tango, but things slow down if one of them does a waltz instead.
  • Give the other side a break, even if you think they're wrong. You may discover there are other unrelated factors at work that are guiding the discussion. Diffusing the tension can lead to a better resolution.
  • Choose your battles according to how important the outcome would be. Never fight a battle just so you can say you won. You won't be perceived as a winner, you'll be labeled a bully.
  • Accept that some things are just beyond your control. As competitive as I am, I have come to realize that I can't have my way in everything.
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry and tempermental. The other wolf is loving and compassionate."

The grandson asked him, "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?"

The grandfather answered, "The one I feed."

Mackay's Moral: When a person's temper gets the best of him, it brings out the worst in him.

Fort Wayne Site of the Day-Trolley Tour

September 22nd is the date for the annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley Tour.

Every day leading up to the event, I am featuring an organization associated with this years tour.

Get details by going here, and to visit today's site click on pic.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Your Life

I wrote this two years ago:

My wife and I have talked about this.

My best friend Ron and I have talked about this.

And I've talked to my own kids about this.

The person who gets ahead in life is often the person who has earned it.

And one way to earn it is to do what others are not willing to do.

In my line of work, I come across men and women every year who are creating their own future, perhaps by starting a business, or by taking advantage of the opportunities that are available.

This isn't luck, this is more than that.

When I was a senior in High School, there was another young man that worked at the grocery store at the corner of Anthony and Crescent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, whose name was Dave.

I worked there too as a carry out, over 30 years ago. But I had dreams of working somewhere else too. I wanted to work at a radio station and by the time I was 19, I had launched my full time radio career as a disc jockey which later led me to the advertising and marketing business I am in now.

11 years ago, I moved back to Fort Wayne, and just last weekend I saw Dave at the grocery store. Doing the same job. I hope he is happy. If I needed a job, I know I could do that job again, but I have other ambitions.

The advice I gave my kids, is the first step is to get a job. Any job, as long as it is legal and not harmful. Next, you learn that job and gain skills and either discover you like that type of work, or you hate that type of work.

I was a bus-boy and dishwasher as a kid. Hated it. Liked having money, but it motivated me to try something else. So I applied and was hired elsewhere, then quit the restaurant business.

The Art of Manliness blog wrote recently on this subject:

The Importance of Paying Your Dues

Posted: 30 Aug 2009 09:19 PM PDT


As a member of a Generation Y, I’m always on the look out for articles about people my age. While many sociologists and employers have very positive things to say about my generation, they also make critiques. A common criticism that many employers have about young people entering the workplace is that 20-somethings want all the trappings of a successful career but aren’t willing to put in the work needed to earn them. Young people just don’t want to pay their dues anymore.

Which isn’t surprising. Many members of Generation Y grew up getting trophies and accolades just for trying. In high school and college, many of these young people (and their coddling parents), demanded they receive good grades even if their work was shoddy. Consequently, the idea that you might actually have to earn success through hard work has gotten lost on many “millennials.”

Lifestyle pundits encourage such an attitude by saying that paying your dues is an antiquated idea. That really depends on how you define the phrase. If it means slogging through 80 hour weeks to move up the corporate ladder to a position that pays well but you hate or if it is used to make you jump through pointless hoops for no reason other than your higher-ups had to, then yeah, it’s not a very helpful philosophy. But to me paying your dues means putting in the time and work to attain your dream job.When you’re moving from point A to point B, it doesn’t matter if B is being a CEO or a rock star; you’ve got to pay your dues to get there. Here’s why.

You have to start somewhere. I know a couple of guys my age who are unemployed and living with their parents because they can’t get the job they feel they deserve, and they refuse to work a “menial” job because they think it’s beneath them. They expected to jump into their dream job right out of college. But you have to start on the “bottom” in every job, not only if you’re looking to move up the corporate ladder.

Reading through our “So You Want My Job” interviews, a common theme has emerged. The men who now have their dream jobs often started out working at the “bottom” to get the experience to move into what they really wanted to do. Jason Stoltzfus, started out as a regular roadie, and learned the trade and skills needed to become a guitar tech. Eitan Loewenstein put on sketch shows for an audience of two in a dingy theater above an ice cream shop before getting roles in national commercials. You’ve got to start somewhere and pay your dues to move up in the world.

Success comes from years of hard work. Not only do many millenials expect to land their dream job right away, they also expect to immediately live the same lifestyle they had when they left their parents’ house. They want nice clothes, nice furniture, a brand new car, and a nice house the moment they set out in life. Of course, in order to do this right off the bat, these young people have to take on huge amounts of debt.

I’ll admit that I get to thinking like this sometimes. I would love to have the same lifestyle I had when I lived with my parents. It was nice! But then I remember something my parents told me one day when I was moaning about not having money to buy some frivolous thing, and it put everything in perspective for me.

They said, “Brett, this house, the cars, the nice clothes, and the video games for Christmas we were able to buy for you and your siblings are the result of years of hard work. It didn’t happen overnight. We started out living in a one bedroom house with a metal roof in the middle of the New Mexico desert. But with patience and perseverance, we were able to make a life for our family.”

That shut up my whining.

In the age of seemingly overnight Internet millionaires, it’s easy to forget that success comes from years of hard work. Even the overnight successes weren’t really overnight. Take Facebook for example. Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook back in 2004. In just a few years it has become one of the most trafficked sites on the internet and has made Zuckerberg a millionaire.

While it seems Facebook is your typical overnight success, it was actually years in the making. Zuckerberg started programming back in middle school. While most teenagers were playing video games and watching MTV’s Total Request Live, Zuckerberg was hammering out code. Consequently, when the muses visited Zuckerberg in his dorm room, he was ready with the knowledge and skills to build Facebook. Even after Facebook launched it would take a few years for the site to grow to where it is today.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he posits that greatness comes through adherence to the “10,000 hour rule.” Pointing to people like the Beatles and Bill Gates, he argues that their success came from practicing their skills for 10,000 hours, not through some inherited genius.

We’d all love to be rich overnight, but unless you win the lottery, it just isn’t going to happen. The path to success is hewed through years of dedicated and relentless hard work. In short, you have to pay your dues before success comes.

Recognize tradeoffs exist when you live by your values. In news articles and blog posts discussing Generation Y, employers gripe that these young people don’t want to work as much, but they still want the high salaries and cushy benefits. As a law student, I heard about this a lot. Senior partners at firms complained that new associates were demanding lower case loads and fewer required billable hours, yet they still wanted the nice six figure salary so they could have the freedom to have a life outside of work.

I understand Generation Y’s desire to work less and have more time. Many from this generation came from homes where their Boomer parents were workaholics and hardly spent anytime with the family. But time is money. If you value your time, expect to earn less. If you value wealth and money, be prepared to put in a lot of hours at work. The key is to figure out what you value and accept the tradeoff.

Some might argue that there are plenty of people out there who make lots of money, but aren’t slaves to work. I’ll concede that such people exist, but would follow up with inquiring on what that person had to do to get to that position in life? More likely than not, they had to hustle their butt off. Exceptions exist, but I’m pretty sure most of these types of people spent years investing all their free time and money with the hope they would have more of it in the future. They had to make a trade-off: less time and money now, for more of it later. In other words, they paid their dues. Which takes us to our next point…

Be willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term goals. I like to study the lives of successful men to see if there are any principles I can glean from them and apply in my own life. A common trait among successful men is that they were willing to make short-term sacrifices, for long-term goals. They were willing to pay their dues upfront in order to reap rewards later.

My dad is a good example of this. His goal starting off in life was to be a federal game warden. After he graduated college, he started looking for a job as a state game warden so he could get the experience he needed for the fed job. But no job openings existed for a year. So my dad worked in a liquor store to make ends meet until an opening came up. It’s not the most glamorous job for a college graduate, but my dad was hungry and humble enough to do whatever it took to reach his goal.

Albert Einstein didn’t become a world renowned physicist right after he got his diploma. He graduated college trained to become a professor, but like in my dad’s situation, there weren’t any job openings. Did Einstein whine and complain that because he finished college he was entitled to a job? Nope. Instead he got a job as a clerk in a patent office in order pay his living expenses. In his spare time, Einstein continued his real work as a scientist and developed the special theory of relativity.

If you have a great goal, be willing to make sacrifices for it. If you want to start your own business, you may have to moonlight it a few years until you can quit your day job. Spend all your free time getting the skills and putting in the work to make your dream job a reality. If you want to get out of debt quickly, you may need to take on a second job delivering pizzas or working as a coffee barista. Whatever your goal is, you’re going to have to pay the piper upfront before the dance begins.

DownloadThe Art of Manliness Free Man Cookbook DownloadThe Art of Manliness Guide to Being a Gentleman

Fort Wayne Site of the Day-Trolley Tour

September 22nd is the date for the annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley Tour.

Every day leading up to the event, I am featuring an organization associated with this years tour.

Get details by going here, and to visit today's site click on pic.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking Forward

This weekend has been a time of looking back on the past 10 years since 9-1-01.

As we reflect and talk about that deadly day in our history, remember to also look forward with these words of wisdom from Harvey:

Identify and develop your greatest strengths

By Harvey Mackay

hulkI have had the privilege of mentoring hundreds
of people over the years. I always ask them two questions: What do you like to do? What are your strengths? Most have a good idea of what they like to do, but you wouldn't believe how many people don't understand their own strengths.

One of the secrets of success is making the most of your strengths. First, though, you have to determine what your strengths are -- and that may not be obvious, especially if you're just starting out or looking to make a career change.

Your strengths develop from a variety of sources: natural ability and aptitude, formal education, job experience, internships, research, hobbies, volunteer involvement, and so on. You may not realize the depth of your knowledge or expertise, and that can seriously limit your job search or career path.

If you are in college, by all means take advantage of some of the aptitude and career placement tests to determine your strengths, weaknesses and hidden talents. If you are not in school, you can find tests online or at your local library. Industrial psychologists are also most helpful in identifying areas that you should consider pursuing -- or avoiding.

A recent article in Classroom to Cubicle, an online magazine for college students and recent graduates, cites a list of the 10 most sought-after skills assembled by Quintessential Careers:
  1. Communication Skills (listening, verbal, and written)
  2. Analytical Skills/Research Skills
  3. Computer/Technical Literacy
  4. Flexibility/Adaptability/Managing Multiple Priorities
  5. Interpersonal Abilities
  6. Leadership/Management Skills
  7. Teamwork
  8. Planning/Organizing
  9. Problem Solving
  10. Multicultural Awareness
And you thought that all that mattered was your college major or your last job!

While it's tough to possess all those skills, especially for someone just entering the job market or switching careers, chances are past experiences will lend themselves to developing specific areas of strength. Zero in on the skills that make you special by looking for these clues:
  • What tasks attract you? Think of the types of jobs that you look forward to, that you'd find some way to do even if you weren't paid. Research companies that employ people in those jobs and start your search there. If you are passionate about a specific cause, that's a good springboard as well.
  • What tasks do you lose yourself in? When you're involved on certain tasks, do you forget what time it is and how long you've been working? These will usually be the jobs that use your skills best. As crazy as it sounds, I recently spoke with a new grad that got his job in part because he was able to reach a specific level in a video game. The employer interpreted that as a sign of creative problem solving. By the way, he also had demonstrated communication skills.
  • What do you learn quickly? You probably struggle with mastering some skills, but others you pick up effortlessly. That's because you have some natural talent and a deep desire to learn more. My readers have heard it a million times: You don't stop learning when you finish school. Be a lifelong learner.
  • What do other people ask for help with? Pay attention to the jobs you're assigned and the favors people ask you for. They wouldn't come to you if you weren't good in those areas. An insurance company customer service rep recently shared with me that she has been promoted to a key IT position, working as a customer liaison to help the computer jockeys develop consumer-friendly programs (which often generated a lot of customer service calls.)
  • Where do you succeed? This may seem obvious, but some people miss the forest for the trees. Take a look at the tasks you've done best; they'll use your most important skills. Don't confuse activity with accomplishment. What you are best at is not necessarily what you spend the most time doing.
  • What brings you satisfaction? No matter how tired you are, some tasks make you feel good at the end of the day. You'll do better in life and on the job by concentrating on work that you find fulfilling.
Mackay's Moral: It bears repeating: Do what you love, love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life!

Fort Wayne Site of the Day-Trolley Tour

September 22nd is the date for the annual Fort Wayne Museum of Art Trolley Tour.

Every day leading up to the event, I am featuring an organization associated with this years tour.

Get details by going here, and to visit today's site click on pic.