Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

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Think about the process

In art,blogging,Books,Localization,mission,Money,Technology on September 13, 2016 by mstevensrev

dominoesThe process is worth thinking about. Not merely the process that your employer has set up to make sure you are meeting each performance metric, but rather the process that makes you successful. Here are my questions:

Where were you the most productive?

What led to your wins? 

Then look to see if your activity is supporting productivity and wins. Here is how I try to evaluate:

Can you make a small adjustment that will lead to getting you the information more easily, or with less distraction?

Are there steps that keep you from acting on new information in an efficient manner?

Can I make it easier for people to find me?

I think of the leadership book by Marshall Goldsmith, What got you here, won’t get you there. The first time I read it I thought, Wow it is really important to re-evaluate. Now that it has sunk in I realize that this is almost a continuous process, one that we regularly need to address.

“People will do something—including changing their behavior—only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own values.”
Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

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Finding my own and inspiring others voice

In art,blogging,Community,culture,leadership,Uncategorized,work,writing on August 18, 2016 by mstevensrev

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Over half way through this year I would say that has been the biggest change in my life, finding my own voice. A big part of it has been the Globally Speaking Podcast. Blogging and stand up comedy have also been a part of the process as well. Pretty fun and I’m excited to see where it leads.

The second half of the title (inspiring others voice)I’m not so sure about, but I’ll take some credit for it. Two co-workers have published on LinkedIn, if you have a chance check them out:

When (not) to be helpful, Tucker Johnson

Career 3.0 – The climbing cage, Juliette Tanarro

Check them out!

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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I’m all about that GROWTH

In art,Bible,blogging,Books,business,journal,PCA,Presbyterian Church in America,prophet,sermon,writing on February 12, 2015 by mstevensrev

As I’ve reflected on my life as a whole trying to find a unified theme that connects all the seemingly random events and achievements, that one piece of yarn that is the thread through the entire story, providing some sense of unity, I have often come to the theme of relationships. In addition to being an extreme extravert, I also find the deepest joy (and pain) while looking into the face of others. The principles I use to guide my life contains one principle dedicated to this, “Relationships are what matter in life, so value them.” So for years this I thought that this was my theme and my motivating factor.

Then I was writing this week in an attempt to help me focus with my work, and something kept popping up. Then this morning I realized that I had stumbled onto something significant to understanding myself. I value relationships, yet I clearly have let many fade away or have had to break relationship with people. Why? Because (for the most part) these were not healthy growing relationships, not moving toward life. Therefore relationships are part of what brings my life meaning, yet only from the perspective of growth.

Note: For anyone reading this that believes I am only referring to positive growth in a constant directions for good at every moment, that is not what I mean. Often the hardest circumstances and relationships provide the opportunity for the most growth. Growing a baby is an incredibly positive thing in pregnacy but any mother would say that it is not all “positive”, “easy” or in a “constant direction”.

So hear are a few items broadly where I have identified this GROWTH in my life:

Professionally: My career has taken the eclectic experiences I have had and put me in a place to use my talents and continue to evolve to be more of a person then I ever imagine. Throughout life I have sold, but now I am growing in international business, technology, management, and client delivery.

Relationally: Growing up in Baltimore it was common to see neighbors in the front lawn fighting to settle a disagreement, my instinct toward aggression has lessen and a world of non-violent communication has opened up to me. Thankfully this is the case because the most important relationship in the world to me, my wife, would not tolerate the primal dualistic ape that roamed my psyche.

Spiritually: God reached out to me very young. Most of my spiritual development took place in a fundamentalist power driven women hating sect of Christian spirituality, and I was a professional with them. This is the place where I can see how much growth has been the theme in my life. Thankfully as the feminist father of three daughters I can know stand open minded filled with love as I engage the world.

All of this reminds me of a passage from The Books of Bebb, by Frederick Buechner. Bebb a wild evangelist has a man in his office who points to a Bible and essential asks how can this thing make my life Bebb.  And Bebb knowing that there is no magic answer that he can provide by pulling out this book then goes on to share with him. (please mind this is my paraphrase, not a direct quote)

growth-chart1-handmade-charlotte-notonthehighstreetSo Bebb asks, “Do you know the passage John 3:16?” The guy nods as just about everyone does. “For God so love the world that he gave his only Son..” pausing “you know the rest. The thing is that passage talks about sin and most people these days don’t even know what sin is. So instead of sin I like to talk about shit. For God so love the world that He sent His only Son down here into the shit with us. You see people can understand that, it something that we all relate to. And God did this, sent his Son into this because shit can be deadly. If it piles up too much in one place it will kill everything. And yet if you take it and spread it out something happens. You see God sent his Son down here with us, so maybe a little green can GROW.”

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Vision: further reflections on the corporate mystic

In art,blogging,Books,business,Community,devotional,Fun,generosity,leadership,principles,Theology on December 5, 2012 by mstevensrev Tagged:

“One can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age I always did it for a half-an-hour a day. Why, I sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -Lewis Carroll

The first time I heard this quote was at least four years ago when my oldest daughter was doing Through The Looking Hlass at Stone Soup Theater camp. Even as I read it I hear her voice from practicing the part, still causes me concern that it was the Queen who said it, such an angry ambitious woman sure for it right when it comes to vision. Perhaps that is why she was as successful as she was.

Science fiction is very helpful to me in this area of vision. An exercise I attempt daily is to think about something I have seen or read about that I want to become real. One example from my work is translation via telepathy. That one should be able to merely think of the words desired to be translated which would be shared telepathically with the translator and returned. Wrestle through this long enough and other creative interesting ideas and new methods will emerge, and perhaps one day it may be possible.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” -Albert Einstein

There must be space in our lives carved out for this purpose. For me it begins with having daily goals clearly defined, if the minimum requirements for success in a day are not defined by me early in the day I will find time for nothing more then trying to remain busy. Once I know the three to five things I need to accomplish in a day I feel the freedom to dream. Whether I have scheduled that half hour or more does not make a difference and as a matter of fact often I cannot schedule it because the time is inspired from ideas that I a playing with related to other more concrete tasks.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

There are so many wonderful things yet to be done in this world, why not be a part of it. It begins with your thought life. It is hard to battle through the negative records that play in your head as Anne Lamot says, One tells you that you are the greatest thing in the world and the other tells you that you are worthless both are lies and the truth exists in the silence. Discover who you really have been create to be, take a moment to dream about be the world could be better, then prayfully move into a world that is waiting for your unique contribution. We all will be better for it.

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Starbucks’ amazing marketing and happy election day

In advertising,art,blogging,Blue Monster,Community,culture,design,faith,familiy,Friends,Fun,mission,politics,principles,publicity,Theology,Uncategorized,work on November 6, 2012 by mstevensrev Tagged: , , , , ,

Living in Seattle I am very accustom to hearing people criticize Starbucks, my thoughts on the topic of coffee are that I prefer how other companies roast their beans. Therefore it is aesthetic not cynical in my critique.

ImageOne thing I am blown away with regarding Starbucks is the sophistication with their marketing.  Today I am in Redwood Shores, CA working at a Starbucks before my appointments.  The baristia offered me a ‘free’ bracelet that clearly has $5 donation marked on it, my defenses went up and I started trying to uncover the angel.  The bracelets are for Let’s Create Jobs for USA, a campaign sponsored by Howard Schultz and others that has raised $15M and leveraged $105M, estimating 5,000 jobs created for small business in the USA.  Since it is election day they are giving the bracelets away for free.  This ‘gift’ took me from being someone who would never donate to the cause to someone not just interested in donating but blogging on it.  Brilliant.

This is a corporation taking advantage of a term I learned from Hugh MacLeod @gapingvoid, check out his article on “Social Objects are the future of marketing.” Hugh states:

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the rea­son two peo­ple are tal­king to each other, as oppo­sed to tal­king to some­body else. Human beings are social ani­mals. We like to socia­lize. But if you think about it, there needs to be a rea­son for it to hap­pen in the first place. That rea­son, that “node” in the social net­work, is what we call the Social Object.

I’m wearing my bracelet, talking with those around me at Starbucks about it, and will wear it to my appointments this afternoon sharing my experience.  The ‘gift’ Starbucks provided me today is not only the bracelet but the opportunity to be part of a story that is larger than myself…that is impacting the world for good.  This is something that we all should inspire to provide the people around us. There is a place for companies to provide something for free, if that is all you do you are not a company rather a charity (and that is good too).  Starbucks used a social object to engage me on a cause but also it helps change a brand that I do not have the most favorable feelings toward.

So on this election day that is filled with disgusting shit on all sides, make a positive difference.  Inspire something larger than yourself to impact the world for good.  Perhaps it means not having the shitty conversation with someone who may think differently then you, or maybe it is something else.  Do your civic duty and vote, then go hug someone you love and let them know how grateful you are for them.

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Seth Godin & his talk on revolution

In art,blogging,Books,Evangelist on June 25, 2011 by mstevensrev

Stevens & Seth Godin, he complained about the lighting the entire event...I see why

Yesterday I spent half the day listening and talking with Seth Godin at his interactive session in Seattle.  Okay perhaps I was just listening but there was plenty of questions being asked and thoughtful wrestling going on.  Much of what Seth shared was wisdom from his many books, especially Lynchpin, The Dip, and Poking the Box.  The only one I had not read was Poking the Box and I’m excited to get to it.

The event open with the gospel music of Fivacious!  They were beautiful, of course ended up sitting behind us and Karin and I totally chatted them up.

The highlight from Seth’s comments was about being in a project world, not a factory world.  The factory places people at companies that have the right skills, the project knows the goal of what is being accomplished.  This fits into my understand of sales, consulting and ultimately what I want to do regarding business.  My ability to quickly assimilate information, high emotional intelligence, and natural curiosity makes this very good work for me.  Seth’s encouragement is that we are to draw the map, rather than merely follow it.  This reminds me of a post from my friend Dick Staub, check out the post here.

Another great encouragement from Seth was to challenge our kids with problems to solve, and let them enter into the big problems we are thinking about whether it regarding politics, healthcare, faith, or whatever.  He mentioned bringing the toy drinking bird and getting kids to talk about how it works.  When talking about this it was a personal challenge for me to continue to feed my curiosity and that of my kids.

Overall what made the event so great was who I was there with.  Of course having my wife gain some insight into the world I feed myself on by listening to Seth was wonderful, we had a date night that night so we were able to really bat around some good ideas and thoughts.  I invited another friend who immediately seemed to catch a fire.  Then a husband of a old client ended up attending with us.  They are not only involved in very cool vocational work, but are deeply thoughtful about artists and children and trying to change the world through their work both in their jobs and outside.  My goal for the event was to take people with me that would be the most inspiring folks in my network and who I would most want to spend a morning with.  I am grateful it ended up being that!

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Just in time for a blog push

In blogging,business,Microsoft,Uncategorized on June 14, 2011 by mstevensrev

Currently my new job has lots of great things going on…and I get to have my fingers in many pies. Of course selling is at the core of what I do but my hiring was because of my marketing background as well. So I’m beginning to make a push for Averro, and going to the current website you will understand why.

Just in time for this Hugh Macleod from the gapingvoid.com reposted, The Porous Membrane: Why Corporate Blogging Works with some new thoughts:)  ALIGNMENT is what I am thinking tons about right now.   As a small company much of what is done is on the reputation and relationships of individuals.  This is good, because we have great people.  But as we all know to say in the tech world, err “it does not scale”.  So let’s bottle what we do as individuals and let the world know we care about the work we do.

Hugh also sent me on to Sarah Dopp, “Can I have a witness?” Enjoy.