Freedom Rings Deep

4 07 2016

We are living in one of the greatest times the world has ever known.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask your parents, your grand or great grand parents, a former military vherdet, even a person who has successfully battled their demons and won.  We enjoy the freedom of choice, the freedom of speech and expression. We enjoy freedom of connectivity from the best technological advances the world has to offer and we are living at a very peaceful time with abundance and opportunity.  We literally have the freedom to become anything we want to be.

So I ask the question.  Do you enjoy freedom?  Are you free?  I’d argue that you aren’t.  I’d bet my paycheck that if you really thought about it and answered truthfully, your answer would be a softly spoken no.  Oh sure, you could answer yes and I would easily challenge with a rebuttal.  Yes, you are free to make bad choices just as easily as good choices.  You are free to gorge on the drive through value meal options, free to gossip, be judgemental or critical of other’s freedom to choose.  Believe me, it is easy to use the wonderful gift of freedom in ways that are uninspiring and unempowering.

If you want to look deeper into the word, freedom is having the courage to bust out of the mediocre majority.  That safe place where we choose to stay captive and enslaved.
That place from which many of us escape only to return for periodic vacations.  I admit, it is hard to choose to break away from mediocreville and your band of buds.  To break the chains of fear. To be the exception.  It is even harder to do it with any consistency.  People love people that freely choose the status quo and remain fearful inmates.   They like you so long as you do the bare minimum in order to get a paycheck or gain approval.

Don’t believe me?  Then break away from the migratory path of the herd and see how people start acting.  It’s nothing personal against you, other than you freely chose to design a grander plan for yourself, and how dare you by the way?  You freely chose to be your own architect for change instead of living in the poorly constructed, over crowded box of the mediocre.

Take the emotional risk.  Put your ego in jeopardy.  Don’t do what the mediocre do.  Do More.  Be More.  Live life on your terms.  Stand strong.  Be free.  And, don’t ever look back.  It will be hard at times, but it is your responsibility to show people what IS possible. Remember, only your opinion of you is what matters.

Today is truly your Independence day.  Take off the shackles.  Be THE exception.

 

 

 

 





Friendship is Clairvoyant

1 07 2016

friendsIt is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.  The unknown author of that quote truly deserves accolades for perfectly describing those special and rare someones that come into our lives deserving a much higher distinction within our world.
With that said, I write to you today from my office.  Yes, we’re closed for the long July 4th holiday, but those who really know me understand why it is I sit here: the kitchen in which my secret sauce is made, never closes.  Today however, productivity in that kitchen seems to be at a standstill.  My 9am conference call with a client went by quickly and I have done little else since.  That was over 3 and a half hours ago.  I literally can do zero work until I bulldoze through what seems like a mountain of feelings.  Thus, I write.  This day and this particular blog site, will be where the rubber hits the road.

As we know, the nature of life is change.  It sucks, it stinks and most times it’s a bitch.  But, you embrace it to the best of your ability and muddle through.  My entire professional career has been built upon change and I’ve learned to smell it coming, grin and bear it, and know that long term, good things shall come from each change. However, I can’t seem to apply this same thinking to my personal life.

For the last 6 1/2 years, I have had a kindred spirit in my corner.   Let me go on record by saying that this is six and a half years I wouldn’t trade for the world.  Our relationship started out as personal trainer and client.  On day one, as the good student “want to be”, I handed her a photo of a woman from her neck to her waist and said “I want to look like that”.  “I want her arms.”  She piped back ever so confidently “Oh, we can do better than that!”

So off to work we went.  Two hours a week, 52 weeks a year for the next 6 1/2 years my kindred spirit spent breaking me of bad habits, steering me back on course when I’d driven off, and listening to me mumble underneath my breath, saying no to her commands, knowing full well I would comply with her wishes.

As with any smart investment plan, one expects a respectable rate of return, right?  I hit pay dirt with this one.  Not only did I end up getting better arms than the picture I idolized, but my kindred spirit taught me to take better care of myself, make smarter choices when eating, mentally understand that I can’t handle the sinkers, sliders and knuckle balls thrown at me if I’m not as strong on the outside as I seem to be on the inside.

And then the curve ball came.  “Hey, how do I handle the curve ball?”  My kindred spirit announced she was moving to Texas with her husband.  This was a topic she talked about now and then over the span of our 6 1/2 years and like the boy who cried wolf, it never came to fruition.  But this time, her voice was different.  The tone in which she spoke had a matter of fact authority to it and I smelled change in the air.  The change I was told, would go into effect June 30th.

That leads me back to the beginning of my story.  I’m mad (at myself).  I’m very happy (for her).  I’m sad (because I won’t have her here).  I’m regretful (that I didn’t make more of the time).  Hell yes, I’ve shed tears over this and I’ll continue to do so.  In time, my tears will be of the joy I’ll have from seeing her excel in this new chapter of her life.  I’ll laugh till I cry when she tells me funny stories from her new job, about her new friends and how she has taken on a new personal training client that is as big of a smart ass as me (like that’s possible).

One thing is for certain.  I gained more than I ever set expectations for during this time.  I’ve learned from Kris priceless lifetime lessons.  Habits, philosophies – things I can build upon to improve my emotional and physical foundation.  I’ve gained new friends, that were her friends, and became mine as well.  Most importantly, I’ve gained a lifetime friend in her that no distance will ever come between.

People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.   And when we come across those truly special ones (the life timers), it is our responsibility to take a teaspoon, tablespoon or heaping cupful of their secret sauce and add it our own recipe.  I am so much better because of Kris and every person she’s introduced me to over time will say they are better as well.  I hope she knows just how special she is.  She’s the money and she doesn’t even know it.

I love you my friend and I will miss you immensely.

 

 

 





Times Are A Changing

31 10 2013

dashboardMaybe I should have used the title – Habits Are A Changing instead.  You see, I work in the radio industry and I spent the last 2 weeks in two different cities for two very different reasons and only one of which I will talk about in this blog.

My first stop was for a 2-day conference in Detroit, Michigan called the DASH Conference.  Why on earth would any one in their right mind attend a conference in the Motor City?   A city that earlier in the Summer filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. History?  Because it’s the motor city.  Home of the automobile.  The capital of innovation for the dashboard.  In attendance at this conference were car manufacturers, a few car dealers, radio broadcasters, media agencies, internet radio, technology and electronic companies.

The entire conference was planned, orchestrated and executed by the radio industry.  Now I have been to many a conference in my 14 year radio tenure and have seen plenty of ostriches with their heads in the sand.  I can say that there were no ostriches at this gathering. How refreshing to see that the majority of people in the room FINALLY, and collectively acknowledge that things are changing rapidly for radio and our average listener’s consumption habits.

Let’s begin with the catalyst for the exponential change we are seeing – mobile devices. Mobile devices have changed everything about our lives. They are able to provide us with content, when, where, and how we want it and they have changed and raised the expectation level of every other electronic gadget in existence – including the automobile. The expectation for connectivity in the car from a consumer standpoint is exponential. We want to be able to consume content nestled inside our mechanical cockpit on 4 wheels and we want it to be at the touch of a fingertip or upon the sound of our voice.

So what happens to radio? Well, for starters, it won’t be called radio in the future. Calling it radio will date you. The in-dash hardware once called a radio will be called something more encompassing such as a content management system (CMS), or car-puter, or a name yet to be dreamed up. The sound that once emanated from our car speakers and once called radio, will just be audio. Audio that competes with many more audio platforms within the dash.  Radio or should I say broadcast audio, will be an icon, or an app – an election within this new “infotainment” area where many more content choices live.

Currently, broadcast radio dominates all listening (92.4%)* with Pandora Radio (4.4%)** and Internet Radio (excludes Pandora, includes AM/FM station streams at 3.2%)** rounding out the remainder of the pie. Hands down, radio reaches more people and serves up more ad impressions than its closest competitor (Broadcast Radio – 3.7 trillion ad impressions vs. Pandora Radio’s 66.2 billion). But as cars get smarter and the connected car becomes the norm and not the exception, I again ask – what happens to this beautiful invention called broadcast radio?

While the DASH conference is a few years late in taking place in my opinion, at least it did happen. Kudos to the brain trust that pulled this conference off. And like any conference before this one…it isn’t just about what you learned while you were there. Your main focus should be on what you do with what you learned and how can it be used as a springboard to take broadcast audio where it needs to get in order to be a formidable future player.

I’m suggesting radio broadcasters move in with car manufacturers. We’ve all heard about extended families and how single family homes in many cases are multi-family dwellings now. I’m specifically talking about crawling in bed between the car and electronics manufacturers and creating a love child. If we don’t get close to them now and become part of the planning and conversations about the automobile dashboard, our future will become more challenging. I said challenging – not extinction. We absolutely have no time to sit on our laurels – we must collaborate and innovate.

Radio must take its best attributes and make certain they are a part of the DNA (gene pool) making up the future automobile dashboard. What I kept hearing over and over at the conference was that LIVE and LOCAL will be what brings listeners back when they tire of Pandora, Satellite or iTunes. But, that LIVE and LOCAL needs to include on-air talent that are recognizable, have ties with the community, who drive listeners to action, who have engaging content to share on-air and on-line, and who provide bullet-proof companionship. What will be less memorable and magnetizing to a listener will be syndicated shows and radio stations that focus on just the music. After all, you can get all varieties of music in the connected car – thousands of songs, artists and genres. Content will also be forced to extend beyond just audio and be a touch away for the listener.

Broadcast audio has a bright and exciting future in the connected car if we can become publishers and shed our one-dimensional “station” skins. Our localness and great content will keep us relevant. We have to also remember that the end user will determine if our content is worthy. We won’t get to make all the choices – the consumer is in charge, and we have to be great at everything.

*RADAR 115 (Dec 2012, for period Oct 11 – Sep 12
** RADAR 115 (for period Oct 11 – Sep 12); Triton Digital Audio Top 20, Oct 11 – Sep 12;





Are You Replaceable?

11 10 2013

I sat in a meeting recently with my boss where twice during that meeting he made the statement “Everyone is Replaceable”.  I don’t recall what we were talking about or in what context he made the statement and that part is really irrelevant to the conversation that I’m about to have with each of you.  Replaceable_300x200

In all honesty, I want to be replaceable and we should all strive for that.  Why on earth would we want anything different for ourselves or those we manage?  If we aren’t replaceable, that makes us irreplaceable and what a lonely, stagnant place to be pigeon-holed into.  If you can’t be replaced, how do you get promoted?  You don’t.  Do you find yourself hoarding knowledge, information or skills that you aren’t willing to share with others?  If so, break that habit.  Trying to protect your little island at all costs does not equal job security in the long run.  You will eventually fall victim to automation, a reduction in force, or your employer’s need to replace you with someone who is replaceable.  

What we should work hard to accomplish is becoming indispensable to our organization.  Being indispensable is a mindset coupled with attributes and skills versus the functions of a job title or role.  It is about delivering big time impact no matter where you are.  An indispensable person is one you can hand any type of project, put in nearly any role, give a challenge to and they just go and make things happen.  They understand what needs to get done and adapt on the fly.  They love to learn and even more so, LOVE to teach.  

An indispensable person wears many hats, bringing something powerful, unique or pivotal to their work. They then carry and apply this approach to EVERYTHING they do.  We should ALWAYS strive to be indispensable rather than irreplaceable.  We should coach and train our teams to sail the ship without us.  We should hire talent that are strong in the areas where we are weak…people smarter than we are. 

Yeah, indispensable is the adjective we want used to describe us.  By being indispensable, we can be assured of one thing:  Few businesses can thrive for the long term without us.

Choose wisely between the two camps, my friends. 

 





A Full Plate Doesn’t = A Stomach Ache

8 09 2013

FullPlate_final_wtag-02-1-295x300
I honestly wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “You have way too much on your plate”.  If I did have a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I no doubt would be able to buy that Rolex watch I don’t need. 

I would agree that if a person were burning the candles at both ends, missing deadlines, not responding to emails, or phone calls, making costly mistakes or decisions and just sucking hind tit in their position, that yes, you have way too much on your plate and it would probably be a good idea to divest, digest or do a little portion control.  If that means speaking up to your boss or supervisor before you implode or explode, then please do.

However, some people are just good at being a “professional” over-eater.  If that individual is able to manage all the things on their plate, hit deadlines, exceed budgets, ask for seconds, and know when to ask for thirds, then don’t make it your business to worry about what is on said plate, especially if their (digestive) track record is a winning one. 

Your view of their plate could be a deceptive one so don’t be judgmental.  Also, evaluate why you actually feel you can make this statement.  Does it boil down to how you are interacting with this person?  If your idea of communicating is a “drop by” meeting or “shit on demand” (I need this yesterday) type of interaction, don’t be surprised if the red carpet isn’t rolled out for you.  They honestly aren’t sitting at their desk waiting for you to need them each day.   In almost every case, they have planned their work and are currently busy working that plan. 

Net, net…everyone is wired differently.  Some people accept their full plate and suffer in silence, there are those who piss and moan about their full plate to anyone that will give them an audience, and others who simply bite off more than they can chew.  But, there are a handful that are pretty darn good at digesting what’s on their plate plus welcome an additional trip to the buffet line.  For those rare few, don’t be so quick to think they are moody and stressed – think instead they are focused and flourishing.  There could be the chance that underneath all that food, they actually have a bigger plate than you.  And you know what, that’s ok.

   

 





A Heavy Heart is Tough to Lift

1 09 2013

heavy heartAs I sit here nestled in the solace of my favorite thinking spot, I am reminded of how when things get tough for me, I need to turn to that special little therapy that pulls me through.

Sweating through high intestity cardio on a treadmill, pressing some iron, hoisting kettle bells, or concentrating through a yoga class, while helpful for the physical me, just doesn’t cut it for the spiritual side…or should I say, my soul.  Sadly, none of the above can lift a heavy heart.

Sitting here composing my thoughts in writing is the only outlet I truly feel I have.  Many of my personal posts are marked as private, but there are the occasional few (like this one) that I will let slip through to a public forum.  I do it because I hope it helps others realize that things happen in this life, whether you percieve or judge them as good or bad.  These “things” that happen are important in our growth spiritually and emotionally in becoming and being in touch with who we really are.

I am of the utmost belief that things do happen for a reason.  And while they seem or feel devastating at the time, bad things in reality, could be good things as we are being given an amazing opportunity to grow and evolve spiritually.

While I won’t go into details the series of “things” that have occurred over the past several months in my life, I can say that I am fully conscious of the synchronicity of each and that there are important lessons to be learned on this path called “Who I really Am”.  In 2013, while I have my health, wealth and family, has proved extremely challenging in the area that gets the most of my focus.  Those who know me understand exactly what that is.

New realities unfold all the time.  I have to learn to accept the new reality.  Take my heavy heart, decide how I will improve my attitude and my belief system knowing “it is what it is.”  One thing is for certain – Now is real.  Accept it.  Do not judge it.  Evolve with what you have now.





When Your MOJO Is M.I.A.

9 07 2013

mojo-sdkIf you’ve ever been to the horse races, it wouldn’t take many visits to notice that thoroughbreds don’t run every day.  As a matter of fact, they run every 7-10 days at best.  Stop and think for a minute how that formula might work in everyday life.  We probably wouldn’t get much accomplished, now would we?

In the real world, we are expected to perform like thoroughbreds every day.  Bring our “A” game to the table and have laser focus.  But again, I say that is the expectation.  The reality is that sometimes we don’t have the same intensity day in and day out.  Whether it is a negative environment, a business deal gone sour or personal issues, nothing seems to be going right, you don’t feel like you’re growing and your mojo feels distant.

Who’s responsibility is it to bring us out of this funk?  Does that job fall on our friends, spouse, co-workers, relative or boss?  Honestly, these people can help us realize what is important, only as an individual can we really impact the results.

So how do you motivate yourself when your mojo is M.I.A.?  First, begin by understanding that this is a natural experience to go through and one that needs to be the exception and not the rule.  At the end of the day, there is personal accountability to inspire and motivate one’s self.  It is not your boss’s job to keep you psyched up every hour of the work day, nor your family or friend’s responsibility outside of the office.

Here are a few things that I do when I feel the anxiety or angst starting to affect my mojo:

  • Breathe…and embrace the fact that I feel a rut coming on.  I don’t fight it as it will make things harder for me.  The faster I try to dig, the deeper the hole might get.  If I don’t battle it, it will not gain more power over me.
  • Get Clear On My Vision – Truly visualize what it is I am hoping to achieve.   I focus on what needs to be done and helping others that rely on me to achieve their goals.  Without a clear vision, it will be one distraction after another.
  • Focus on one element of a project, complete that and move on from there.  Don’t make a huge list of to-do’s for yourself.  Even more angst and failure.
  • I work out and I don’t mean a stroll to the fridge and back.  I do cardio, weight, and core work every day.  I can’t imagine not having exercise as an outlet.  Things are a heck of a lot easier to tackle and look much different to me after a work out.
  • Examine my perspective.  I try not to hold onto an old perspective.  I try to watch how others look at things in order to help myself.
  • I make an extra effort to steer clear of the whiners and associate more with the people I view as winners.
  • Review my past successes and remind myself of the good things that I’ve achieved and that my next success is around the corner
  • I try to not procrastinate and associate pain with what might be the obstacle in my path.  (I’ve improved significantly on this one)

I can honestly say that I avoid many a rut by implementing the above.  I have the discipline necessary to stay on track.  At the end of the day, discipline is merely the motivation to stick with something.  That ongoing motivation is what keeps the proper level of mojo in place and allows me the ability to do my best work personally and professionally.








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