Monthly Archives: December, 2014

What are you doing next New Year’s Eve?

Happy New Year! Happy 2015, or 2016 or whenever you will read this post, I say Happy New Year. I sit here on the Eve of another Year, not reflecting but looking forward. Not look forward to next year, but where will I be the year after that? I used to not look forward. I used to just live in the now. Now I ask not what are you doing New Year’s Eve, but I ask “What are you doing next New Year’s Eve?”

Every year that I have asked this to myself, I have never got it right. I have not been one of those people who can plan out my steps and then live those steps. Life happens; life gets in my way and changes things in ways that I could never predict. But still I hope that I am tending toward the things that matter most to me. I hope to keep learning and keep having faith and keep trying to give back and make a difference. I would like to be a part of something that will live on after I am gone. A system that will live and on and help others help each other.

So I ask not what are you doing New Year’s Eve? In this case for me it would be like asking what are you doing tonight? I ask “What are you doing next New Year’s Eve?” What are you building this year that will pay off next year? What are you doing to build something that is sustainable and bigger than yourself and will help others? Those are the questions I ask myself, so those are the questions I will ask you or ask in general.  I don’t think you are reading this post by accident. I think you were meant to read this post.

This Christmas I did my best to give to others and help others. I was able to mop the floor at a homeless shelter and give out little bags of treats my wife put together. I was able to play guitar and sing songs of hope with two of my friends. This Christmas I was able to do little things that mean a lot to me if it means nothing else to anyone else. I know that I tried. That is enough for me. It is enough, but it is no enough. I want to do more. I want to show others that if we work together we can accomplish more than we can do alone, and we can accomplish more than we have ever dreamed. It has been easy to find people who agree, it has been hard to find people who will do the work.

So I will keep trying. I will keep blogging. I will keep inviting others to join me when I volunteer. I will continue to ask others if they want to be a part of something bigger and better than the life we are living now. I hope to build a system that will help make a difference; one person at a time. Giving back and serving the community first. Working as a team and developing leaders based on sweat equity. Doing more with less and thinking of others before ourselves. Not what are you doing New Year’s Eve, but What are you doing next New Year’s Eve!

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The Importance of Hope:

The Importance of Hope:

Have you heard it all before? Do you agree? Without hope all is lost. I am starting to believe this more and more. As I look back over my life, I think the one thing that has kept me going through all the ups and downs is hope. Hope coupled with faith means all things are possible. Action coupled with Hope and Faith increases the odds of the impossible actually happening. So at the end of the day, every day, every lesson seems to be to continue to have hope no matter what is going on around you. Everyday reminds me of the importance of hope.

So sometimes I wonder if I am the worst team builder of all time. Almost everything I have started came to an end. Almost every team I have ever built has folded. And yet here I am, still believing that I can reach my dreams if I can just become a better leader. I still have hope. Each lesson in life has taught me to maintain hope for a better tomorrow. That and maybe I could have done better in my team building if I was a better leader. So I take another chance, present another idea, share another vision and try yet again to build a team to bring the vision closer to reality.

So what have I done well, and what have I done wrong? I think I have always tried to make sure everyone had a voice, that everyone’s opinion mattered. I think maybe I was always rooting for the underdog and the outsider and the loner because I could relate to them. And what could I have done better? Maybe I could have used a more gentle touch, maybe I was a little too brute force and a little too arrogant in my approach. Maybe my biggest mistake is thinking that people will actually stand up for themselves. Sometimes I have believed that when people say they want to do something, it meant they would actually follow through.

So I live and I learn and I still have faith and hope. I have seen many people follow the lie they want to hear over the truth that they do not want to hear. I have seen people time and time again say they want to do something and then do absolutely nothing to follow-up on it. So here I am believing that if you can just find the right group of people who are searching for the truth and will stand up for what they believe in that you can be successful.   I want to be a part of that success. I still have hope that I can be a part of that success.

Does my faith get tested? Absolutely it does. Which seems to get me even more convinced that good things are right around the corner. I ask myself one bottom line question. Why learn to stand up for what is right and do things the right way if there is no pay off? Why don’t we just devolve into a state of anarchy and chaos? I think it is because no matter how bad things may seem, there is good out there that is stronger and holding this entire world we live in together. I believe there is a greater good that keeps us from coming apart at the seams. Maybe that greater good is hope, maybe that greater good is faith in the truth.

So all of my failures have taught me to get up and try again. And all of the times I have won, no matter how fleeting they may seem, keep me believing. So if I can believe, you can also. All it takes is hope. I believe there is a truth that is good and pure; it only takes faith. My life has taught me that we all need to have hope in something. We all need something to believe in. I believe in hope against all hope.

It all sounds so good in my head. It all seems so clear in my mind’s eye. I only hope it comes through clearly for you. I have hope for you even if you don’t have hope for yourself.

Top Ten Most Found Motivational Mojo of 2014

Top Ten Most Found Motivational Mojo of 2014

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of this journey.

1: Standing up for what you believe in is the right thing to do.

It can be scary sometimes.  Is it the peer pressure or the fear of being rejected?  Maybe it’s the fear of losing your job or losing your friends.  Standing up for what you believe in can be a scary thing, but it is the right thing to do.

2: Why the easy way out is the hardest and worse option.

Imagine for a moment you are confronted with a situation.  You can either take one of two choices, the easy way or the hard way out.  Whenever possible do not pick the easy way out.  Before you choose, stop for a moment and realize there are actually three choices; the easy way, the hard way and the smart way.  See who ever is giving you the choice is saving the best option for them self.  Don’t be fooled.  Look at all the facts and ask a few more questions.  The best way is not always the most apparent choice.

3: The Selfless Leader:

Ask your self these defining questions.  Does your Leader actually care about you, and hold themselves to the same standards or even higher standards that they expect of others.  Does your Leader seek to help others first or help themselves first.  Does your Leader try to set up the best deal for as many people as possible regardless of who gets credit, or are they seeking more credit for themselves?  Let me ask you, who are you following?  Seek to follow or become a Selfless Leader.

4: Why Teamwork sometimes doesn’t work.

We hear it all the time; teamwork is the magic cure to everything that goes wrong in a business.  Well sometimes teamwork does not work.  And of course everyone is ready to place blame.  I can give you 4 reasons why teamwork some times does not work.  Time, Energy, Attitude and Management will make or break a team based on one condition.  If you want to know more, keep reading.  If you just want to place blame, you can stop and find your answers somewhere else.

5: T.R.U.S.T:

Con Men try to gain your trust through a series of lies.  Trust needs to be earned through Truth, Responsibility, Unity, Service and Transparency.  Take your time and check your facts before putting your trust in anyone.

6: Don’t let your mistakes define your future.

Con Men try to gain your trust through a series of lies.  Trust needs to be earned through Truth, Responsibility, Unity, Service and Transparency.  Take your time and check your facts before putting your trust in anyone.

7: Confidence, Determination and Will Power:

Can you discipline yourself to operate at your highest levels, and then influence others to operate at their highest levels, all the while finding common ground, common goals and common purpose?  Can you get people to apply their time and talents and resources to follow a common vision and reach a new level of reality that never existed outside of a dream?

8: Birds of a feather flock together.

We have all heard that before, haven’t we?  So, why do birds flock together, and why do people flock together?  Do we just say birds of a feather flock together because it rhymes and we have heard it before?  Do we study the simple things we have said our whole lives?

9: Thank you for being patient with me.

Thank you for looking past my typos and seeing my meaning behind my mistakes.  I have heard we live in a Universe built on Laws of Intention.  I think I have made my Intentions clear.  Chase your dreams and learn by doing.  Get off the couch and go after making your dream a reality.  Use your talents and find your purpose.  This blog is part of me finding my purpose.  This blog is part of me using my talents.  This blog is part of me chasing my dreams.  This blog is me learning by doing.

10: The more connected we are, the more disconnected we become.

I can blog, tweet, chat or text and reach literally thousands of people in an hour.  The problem is that in that same hour, thousands of others will blog, tweet, chat and text also.  I will get more status updates on Facebook than I will ever read.  No I don’t blog about what I had for lunch or how cute my cat is… I want to believe that if I have hundreds of friends out there that I can get a few to show up to help out a charity or clean up a park.  I don’t have a problem with lots of connections; I have a problem with lots of disconnections.  We spend some much time trying to connect on-line we don’t connect in person.  I mean I want more out of cyberspace than keg parties and random who’s zooming who.  I want to believe we can connect online and then connect offline and make a difference in this world.

Some of my favorite Holiday Songs / Videos

1:  Do they know it’s Christmas:

Do they know it’s Christmas:  This Instant Classic from a British All Star Group for Charity is still one of my favorite Holiday Songs.

2:  We Three Kings:

Speaking of Super-groups: This Jazz Super-Group of Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Larry Carlton and Paul Shaffer even had a quick cameo in the “Scrooged Moive”  Who can argue the amount of talent on this track.

3:  Frosty the Snowman:

Usually with the Cocteau Twins there is no hope of understanding what the lead singer is saying.  This Dreamy Alternative Pop is your once chance.

4:  Christmas Time is Here:

Even though this is a cartoon, this is a very lounge-y feeling classic.

5:  The Grinch Song:

Sorry, I have a thing for these cartoon classics.  Maybe this one stretches it a bit, but it isn’t Christmas without the Grinch and Scrooge.

6:  Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy

David Bowie and Bing Crosby, it doesn’t get any better does it?

7:  Last Christmas

Wham was about to split up, but not before dropping this Holiday Favorite.

8:  All I want for Christmas:

Say what you want about Mariah Carey, this one is as good as it gets.

9:  Happy Xmas / War is Over

John Lennon, enough said.

10:  Wonderful Christmas Time

Can’t have John without Paul

11:  This Christmas

I quickly find myself running out of room.  I could go on and on, but I think I am going to leave you with this one.

From Loner to Leader:

From Loner to Leader:

Can you really make the jump from a Loner to a Leader? Yes, you can; but not in one quick step. I have been a loner in the middle of a crowd my whole life. I have study, reflected on and challenged myself to become a better leader. I think anyone can make the transition; you may have to ask yourself a few questions and overcome a few hurdles; but let me say it again. You can go from Loner to Leader.

So I totally understand why people become and consider themselves “Loners.” Maybe you feel misunderstood? Maybe you feel like to do things right you need to do them yourself. Maybe you feel frustrated by everyone talking and no one acting so you are tired of waiting around and you go it alone. Either path can lead to becoming a loner. So “Why” you may ask; “Why then become a Leader?” The answer is simple. Teams get more done and birds of a feather flock together. Sooner or later if you are doing anything worthwhile, you will get noticed. If you want to increase your chance of success, increase your leadership skills.

Let me say this again; this does not happen in one quick step. Here are the steps I have discovered along the way. The first Step is to believe that you are doing something worthwhile. What you think matters. What you are doing matters. If you are not thinking or doing anything then even that matters. If you are not thinking; start. If you are not doing; start. Think and act upon the things that you believe are worthwhile. You may feel all alone in the beginning; this is OK, we all don’t think alike. Just get started and believe in what you are doing regardless if anyone helps you at this stage. I beg of you, do something positive. Don’t let life pass you by and all you are left with is sour grapes.

Step Two is to learn more about what you are doing. Search out information from experts. Scour the internet, go to the library, read a book, watch a “How to Program;” do what it takes to increase your knowledge of what you are doing! This is a very important step. You need to know when someone is snowing you, you need to know when someone is scamming you or promising you things they cannot deliver. This may have been one of the reasons you became a loner in the first place. Don’t be the person who talks without knowing; know what you are doing and what you are talking about.

Step Three is to get around people who are doing the things you are aspiring to do also. Learn from them and talk to them face to face. This is why Step One and Two are so important. You have to know that you are bringing your unique skill and style to the table and that you deserve a place at the table. You will become known for what you know and what you do. Do you better than anyone else can.

Step Four is to practice, practice and practice some more; both in a group and by yourself. Practice with the intention of continually getting better at what you do. Again, you must believe that what you are doing is worthwhile, and that you are good at what you do. You do not have to be perfect, you just have to be good and have your own style and your own ideas.

Step Five is to accept the fact that you need a mentor. This must be someone you can trust, and the best way to trust them is to know what you are doing and where you are going and to get around enough people so you know who is serious and who is just faking it. Find a mentor who is the real deal. Find someone you look up to and is not trying to feed you a line. This will help you grow even faster.

Step Six is to in turn mentor others. This is where you will really see why being a leader matters. You will get more done and you will learn more. Being a loner means it is harder to find new information and you have to learn by trial and error. Trial and error is an ok place to start in a safe environment, but you really want to excel, a strong team environment is the best place to learn and grow. Being a Leader inside of the group means you can help shape the vision and direction of the group and you can also help protect the group from people who are there to take advantage of others or to waste time.

Be the Real Deal. Know that what you are doing is worthwhile. Sometimes it seems like being a loner is the faster and easier way. It may seem like it at the start, but in the end; team work wins out. A strong team can carry a heavy load, can cover more ground and in the end will thrive. You can go from Loner to Leader; just follow the steps!

You can go from Loner to Leader!

Step One is to believe that you are doing something worthwhile.

Step Two is to learn more about what you are doing.

Step Three is to get around people who are doing the things you are aspiring to do also.

Step Four is to practice, practice and practice some more; both in a group and by yourself.

Step Five is to accept the fact that you need a mentor.

Step Six is to in turn mentor others.

From Loner to Leader:

The people you need in your start up!

The people you need in your start up!

So you decided it is time to go out on your own.  The dream of all dreams is to start your own business.  It doesn’t matter if it is online or in a store front or in your basement or in your garage, these are the people you are going to need to be a success.

The Moral Coach:  This is the most important person you can add to your startup.  Hopefully it is you, if not find the person who always wants to do the right thing and keep close.  I am not talking about a person who pays lips service with a wink and a nod; I am talking about the person who refuses to take the easy way out when it comes to ethical decisions.  Set the highest possible standards and do it for the principal of it all.  The first person to add to your start-up is the Moral Coach.

The person who is doing it for the love:  This is the second most important person and they should walk hand in hand with the Moral Coach.  This is the person who loves what they are doing enough to make you want to leave the comfort of your full-time job to go into business with them.  It could be you.  It could be the person who inspires you or amazes you.  There will be good times and bad times, breakthroughs and setbacks.  Every start-up needs someone to turn to in crunch time who truly loves doing the work.

The person who is doing it for the money:  If you want to start a business and stay in business, you need someone who will make sure the bottom line adds up.  Now doing it only for the money is a dangerous thing; that is why it is important not to go after the money person first; but it is also dangerous to get too far down the road and not know if there is any money to be made.  Find a good accountant who wants a bigger piece of the action down the road, and not just getting paid up-front.  This might be you, it might not be you, but you need this person in your startup.

The Morale Coach:  Ever know someone who can seeming walk through hell while singing show tunes?  You know the person who can make anything seem like fun?  I am not talking about someone who says, “Let’s do some team building!” because they read it in a book.  I am talking about the person who gets their work done and everyone still wants to be around them.  This person actually likes making other people enjoy themselves without tearing down others or creating unsafe environments.  The Morale Coach knows how to have pure and innocent fun and knows when everyone else needs to take a break.  Great Morale Coaches can use a light touch to lighten the mood, but still make sure you reach your goals.

The Moral Coach, The For the Love Guy, The Money Guy, The Morale Coach; these are people you need to be in your start-up.  The last person you need is the person who can transfer the vision.  The person who can tie it all together so everyone stays on target.  They will have a sense of balance so that you can work hard, make the hard choices, make money and still have fun without taking advantage of others or taking shortcuts or burning people out.  Now if you are starting your own business, you need to be one of these people; and you also need to bring these other people to that table.  Keep a good balance and you will be successful, lose your balance and your start-up up may come crashing down.

How do I know this?  I have seen others start their own business and be successful.  I have seen others try and fail.  I have tried and been successful for short periods of time.  I have tried and failed.  So I have tried to learn and I am trying again.  I am convinced these are the people you need to surround yourself with, the people who coach others at the things that come naturally to them.  These are the people you need in your start-up!

Take your time, plan your work and read the manual.

Take your time, plan your work and read the manual.

Whenever I want to get something done, I take my time. I plan things out. And when all else fails, I read the manual. It is amazing how much you can learn, when you set aside your pride and admit that you don’t know everything. Now, if I read the manual and still don’t get it, then I ask for help; but that is another topic. For today: Take your time, plan your work and read the manual.

Welcome to 60 Seconds Of Motivational Mojo. I am here to entertain and enlighten you. I am here to make you laugh once and think twice. All of my advice is currently free, but you know what they say about free advice. Verify before you trust it. If I get good at giving advice it will no longer be free. I will be selling it to you not giving it to you. So, my only litmus test for advice is that I only try to give advice that I will follow, or give advice that I do follow. Basically I blog my own rules of thumb, so today I say: Read the manual.

I am going to let you in on a little secret. I do not know everything. I try to learn by doing. I am a guy who says, “Hey that is neat, let me try it.” So I try and sometimes I fail. So I try and sometimes I succeed. So I try and sometimes I scratch my head and things don’t make sense to me. So then, when all else fails, I break out the manual and read it. So really, I think maybe I should read the manual first and then give things a try. Hey, wait a minute. I am a man and real men do not read the manual, “Right?”

“Wrong,” Real Men read the manual. Take the time to know what you are trying to do before you do it. A well written manual can teach a lot. A poorly written manual can teach you what not to do. I have blogged about being an amateur musician and how I was going to try my hand at working with the people who run the sound system at the church I attend. I learned what the people who were running sound were doing first; I had them explain to me how they set up the sound system. Then I asked about the owner’s manual. I learned more about the system by reading the manual than by guessing what all the rows of knobs did. There is a difference between kind of knowing and know for sure. I kind of knew what everything did, but I read the manual to make sure.

The first week of helping out with the sound system I spent my time learning. By the second week, I was spending more time teaching. I was learning to teach and I was teaching to learn. Again this is another blog post, for now “Read the manual.” The first week I was behind the sound board, one side of the speaker system died. I did not know what happened, so I got out-of-the-way. Low and behold, the guy who was teaching me checked the manual I had left on the counter next to the mixing board and flipped a switch that solved the problem. When in trouble, “Stay Calm and Read the Manual.” By the second week, people we agreeing the system sounded better than it ever had before.  Not my words, I was going off what people were telling me.  We still have a way to go, but we are better off because we read the manual.

I was also working with some Music Production Software I have loaded on a laptop that I have not used as much as I should. I learned some basics and was playing around with some Low Budget Sound Controllers. I plugged them in and fiddled around a bit and could not get them to work with the Music Software. I asked myself a few times what I was doing wrong. Then I swallowed my pride and broke down and ran through the tutorials. That is a fancy way of saying I read the manuals. Things seemed to work a lot smoother when I took the time to read the directions. I also have found that I need to upgrade the laptop and maybe get the hard-drive scanned (Beware Free Drivers and Software Updates!)

Again, reading the manual was one of the keys to learning what I wanted to get done. Why are we so stubborn? Is it Pride and Ego and Arrogance? Are they not basically the same thing anyway? Don’t be afraid to ask an expert, but also don’t be afraid to read the manual. I have heard through the grapevine that some companies put new software techs on the help desk and give them a manual. They get paid to answer the phone, answer people’s questions and read the manual. How do you think they figure out who are going to be the next experts? It is the people who are quick studies on the help desk. So, I challenge you to become an expert, read the manual.

Learn by doing, learn by helping others and learn by reading the manual. I can admit it; when I really what to get things done, I keep the manual close. Now I can also admit that there are plenty of things I am not good at, manual or no manual. So, I ask for help, and sometimes I do just not understand the manual. So it is ok to ask an expert and it is ok to say you do not understand. It is not ok to not try; reading the manuals just makes thing easier. The best way to get everyone on the same page is to have a page that everyone can start from; usually that page is a good book. Some may call that book a manual. Anyway, I digress. Real Men take their time. Real Men plan their work. Real Men Read the Manual.