Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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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Don’t let the crisis go to waste

In art,Books,business,culture,design,faith,family,Friends,Fun,Theology,Uncategorized on August 12, 2016 by mstevensrev

2012-11and12-tt-03-ia-to-the-fire-a-firefighter-searches-for-possible-survivors-300x200In The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, there is case study after case study on how organizations unwritten rules led to crisis at the time when the organization needed to function optimally. The King’s Cross fire in the Underground is one example where all those in authority were occupied with their kingdoms and no one was focused on rider safety costing 31 passengers their lives.

Every organization functions with a “common grace” approach that keeps rivalries in check and the orders shipped. During crisis is when the unwritten functional rules of the organization can be re-examined, when great scrutiny is on the operation unproductive power structures can be address. It is even said that in some crisis great leaders prolong the crisis in order to get the greatest positive effect of the change. Great wisdom is required to pull that off.

Is it possible to address this change without the crisis?

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Rahm Emanuel

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Living with the drip

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2016 by mstevensrev

faucetThe drip of a faucet can be extremely distracting and often events outside of work or small things in work distract us from our goals, the way a faucet can be distracting.

Throughout my life I have tried to fix the faucet. Sometimes it works and that is great, other times it doesn’t and I need to get a professional in to fix it.

Life’s distractions cannot always be fixed even if you call in a professional, there are times that you have to wait out the drip. In these moments I’m working on recognizing how annoying the drip is and in the best of times it makes it less distracting. At other times it just leaves me grumpy and annoyed. One other practice is that of gratitude, when I recognize all that I have to be grateful for I’m less emotionally influenced by the drip. It’s like blasting Hamilton to drown out the drip of the faucet.

“The faucet leak, and learn to leave them so.”

-Marya Mannes

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Coleman Sweeney’s Apple Tree

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2016 by mstevensrev

This is a follow up to one of my posts,  Recommendations are like the apple tree. The language in it may be salty for some, so you’ve been warned. Just remember there is always at least one good thing you can find in a persons life…or in this case maybe their death.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

Martin Luther

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What kind of proof do you need?

In Community,culture,exercise,olympics,Uncategorized on August 8, 2016 by mstevensrev

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Headlines that have caught my attention today from the Olympics have to do with cupping. Cupping: (in Chinese medicine) a therapy in which heated glass cups are applied to the skin along the meridians of the body, creating suction as a way of stimulating the flow of energy. This is becoming a trend with some athletes and with Michael Phelps majestical return to the Olympics it has everyone’s attention.

It is something that I looked into with my training. Since having a shoulder injury in college I have regular pain when starting new exercise routines. For the time I decided against  using cupping, but not because I don’t think it works.

The truth is that from what I read it is very difficult to say without doubt that it is effective, results may vary. This sounds like most of what we use in life. Even the best of medicine has that caveat. There are things that may work for you but others may not have the same experience.

So before trying something new, what proof do you need? Are you someone that is willing to kick the tires and try it out? Do you like being first in trying the new and experimental? Are you just fine where you are at? Personally when I do try something I’m uncertain about I want to give it the best effort, my full attention and the best people in the field I have around me to help it be successful. Perhaps sometimes my willingness and those great people are the only reason it works.

I have always been more interested in experiment, than in accomplishment.

-Orson Welles

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In person makes a difference

In advertising,business,Community,culture,Evangelist,principles,Uncategorized on August 5, 2016 by mstevensrev

When I first entered sales my goal was about using the phone to get in front of potential customers, after years in non-profit world I returned to something very different. Web meetings, conference calls had taken the place of most in person meetings, much of the sales process was done this way and I had to learn a new set of skills.

One interesting I have found after doing this for awhile. When it comes to new sales the likelihood of winning goes up when I meet folks face to face. As I have talked with others about this I found that it holds true for them, so it’s not just my in person charm.

People still buy from people, the more human experiences are…the better they are for everyone involved. With that enjoy the inspiration from David Brent today!

There’s no lotion or potion that will make sales faster and easier for you – unless your potion is hard work.

-Jeffrey Gitomer

 

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Just because it worked once

In art,Books,business,design,faith,leadership,principles,Uncategorized on August 1, 2016 by mstevensrev

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Just because it worked once doesn’t mean that the same actions will have the intended effects now.

The expression is that you cannot step into the same river twice, and that is true. Both you change and so does the river.

In reading “What happened to WikiLeaks?“, I was struck with how something so important could with similar actions to the past act so poorly in the moment. “The WikiLeaks project has fallen far from the lofty heights of its founding a decade ago, when Julian Assange promised to “facilitate safety in the ethical leaking movement.””

We all have success, just don’t think you can do the same thing this time.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. -Herman Melville

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Race Lesson 3: Double down on strengths

In exercise,Fun,leadership,Sports,swimming,Uncategorized on July 28, 2016 by mstevensrev

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Running is the place where I excel, and over the years it is also the physical activity that I have found the most enjoyment in. The SeaFair Olympic Triathlon only confirmed that running is the most fun I have all day, when compared to swimming and biking. In addition to finding someone to help me with my incremental improvement in swimming, I also am convinced that nothing will get me to my goal faster then more running. So I immediately signed myself up for the Carkeek 12-Hour race which I ran a few years ago and wrote about here. There are a few other races I’ll compete in, but for the 12-hour I’d like to complete 40 miles this year.

There isn’t anyone in the world that has been created the same as you, many people spend their life looking at what they don’t have and how to improve their weaknesses. The opposite approach is more fun, go out and enjoy your strengths!  There is a really fun book that highlights this that I read years ago, American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China. I believe focusing in the one area where you can shine makes you better and has a larger impact in the world. Well roundedness is a myth and can often weaken your position in life when it comes to using your gifts. 

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.

-Matthew Arnold

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Race Lesson 2: Get expert help on your weakness

In exercise,leadership,quote,running,swimming,Uncategorized on July 27, 2016 by mstevensrev

035sports-coachIn Race Lesson 1: Go beyond your desire to quit, I mentioned the challenge that the swim leg of the SeaFair Olympic Triathlon caused me. It was great to get through that experience but it immediately led me to action for improvement. The number of years that I have dedicated to running and the expertise that I have gained in that area cannot be duplicated with swimming. Therefore my goal is not to make swimming my strength in triathlons.

To date the gains I have made in swimming have been through self study and practice, there are a few fundamentals that I understand about good form. Now that I have more experience it is time to find an expert to help me incrementally improve that area of my race. As I mentioned my overall race time was respectable, middle of the pack for my age group and the swim was exactly what I expected it to be. Therefore if I can make moderate improvements in swimming I will advance up the ladder in my age group rapidly. My self education in this area has gotten me as far as I can go, therefore it is time to seek an expert. Since my greater goal is to move beyond the middle of the pack for Olympic Triathlons and complete an Iron Man.

Over the years I’ve come to the reality that I cannot be an expert at everything, it is not realistic and therefore there will always be weakness in my life. Working in teams and the management has taught me to seek those who challenge me in my weaknesses, these are people that are key to success. For example, one area you may notice is in my blog, I need an editor:) This is key when I’m developing captivating materials in my work for clients, if quality assurance is my sole responsibly we have not developed the strongest possible team.

Having people around me that are experts where I am weak is not easy on my ego, therefore I’m learning how to continue to listen and take in their perspective. Often these experts are not even directing their talking at me but rather what we are working on. When they are talking to me, they are inviting me to expand my mind and see how the world can be better because of what they uniquely bring to the table. This place of humility and openness is often more easily said then done, but even as I write about it I get excited.

In my next lesson I’d like to explore doubling down on your strengths, so pay attention for Race Lesson #3

“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig. (150)”
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

 

 

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Race Lesson 1: Go beyond your desire to quit

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2016 by mstevensrev

imageThis past Sunday (7/24), I completed the SeaFair Olympic Triathlon and ended up having a blast. Now it wasn’t easy, and there are a few lesson that I’m taking away from this race.

My weakest event is swimming, the brief history of my life as a swimmer is that I have been average to slow. When I took my lifeguard test I completed the swim section but just within the allowed time. Therefore I have very low expectations of my accomplishments in the swimming section of the race. Last weekend was an one mile swim, the longest I have ever completed in open water.

When it started my heart rate and breath were completely out of control. While training I have mastered relaxed swimming through the Total Immersion technique, this allows me to swim much further distances then I have before in my life. With the crowd and the excitement of the race I lost it and half way through the first lap was sure that I would not complete the race because of the swim section.

I then decided to take my time, and when I had just about lost it I swam past one of the lifeguards who encouraged me. The way I felt was terrible but when he said, “Keep it up, you got it.” that gave me rest. If he didn’t think I was losing it, then I must not be…it was a case of some very positive mirroring. At that point my heart rate came down and I was able to get moving. The rest of the swim was very enjoyable, I resigned to myself that I might be there for hours and all hope of a respectable race time was lost. I just enjoyed it, in looking back I think a good description of my swimming is like a Golden Retriever.

There are appropriate times to quit, I’ve learned this through racing. Also professionally I have found wisdom in Seth Godin’s book, The Dip. Then there are also times where you just have to keep going in spite of the feelings inside, sometimes they are fear, sometimes the fear is justified as I knew I did now train enough for the swim, and sometimes they are just wrong. While running I have never experienced what is known as The Wall, which many runner wills say they experience while distance running. They are left with pushing through it. Sometimes pushing through it is very much worth it.

Since I have good experience in distance running and I’ve updated my bike (it flies!!), my time was respectable. Actually my pre-race expectations were right in line with my swim time. If I had been able to remain relaxed from the beginning I may have exceeded my own expectations:) This experience was a reminder, and watching the night before The Good Dinosaur, both were helpful in reminding me that sometimes you just keep moving forward past the desire to stop past the fear.

In daily life there is often little choice but to continue…so then having such a weakness exposed needs a strategy which I’ll look at tomorrow with Race Lesson #2.

“Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.”
Amby Burfoot, Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life