All posts filed under: Gratitude

Chosen Family

We were at a NYC afternoon get together for friends that support the arts and formed a non profit during the pandemic. It was my wife’s group and I was tagging along to keep our 3 year old Tess amused.  It was a beautiful brownstone with a big wall of books all the way along one side and brick on the other.  My goal was to keep Tess from disturbing the adults and make sure my wife could have a good time. I’m on the introverted side by nature and pull myself across to the extrovert side for work and get-togethers. It takes (and uses up my energy) to build small talk with groups of people.  After a number of puzzle games and Tess and I grazing on snacks, I picked her up and brought her into some conversations. She’s a natural connector! I found myself getting re-acquainted with small talk and finding out how people spend their work weeks and what brought them together as a group. Good people, wanting to give back to …

The Right Trail

I spent the last week hiking 100 miles through Death Valley with my running Mentor Ray Zahab and 4 other hikers and a support guide.    “Keeping on the same trail with easy terrain can seem like the right way, but you need to have the courage to follow your way points, what you know is true and take on tougher terrain to prioritize safety, hydration and success. Committing to the wrong path can be deadly.”   Ray crossed the Canadian Arctic three times, the landmass of Antarctica and ran 4,500 miles across the Sahara Desert in 100 days in 2009, which was turned into a film “Running the Sahara” narrated by Matt Damon. In 2011, 2014 and 2018 he crossed Death Valley North to South and East to West at the hottest time of the year, in July. Death Valley is the lowest altitude on earth, down to 250 feet below sea level and has been measured as the hottest place on earth. Earlier this year 134 F!   Ray is the only person …

I visualized being at the top for three years 

“I visualized being at the top of Everest for three years until I was.” Ricky Singh (Indian / American Entrepreneur) We sat around the dinner table talking about our first day on the expedition and someone ask Ricky “we heard you climbed Everest in 2019, tell us about the experience.” He said “I climbed for 6 weeks every spring in Nepal with the team I assembled over three years. We practiced our skills and build trust constantly. When back in the US I spent a little time each night visualizing success. I saw myself at the top. I saw through any obstacles. Skills will only get you so far in Everest. You need belief in yourself, confidence you can handle anything that comes your way.” As we hiked Death Valley this week he got me thinking about my values. Trust, learning, exploration. Trust and learning have always been my top two. For me part of exploration is courage. Ricky exemplifies courage and learning. To be different, think differently, challenge boundaries. He was one of the most curious …

Welcome Unanticipated Problems

“Anticipate and welcome the unanticipated problems and permit an exercise into transcendence vs. tragedy. Take out the negative energy and turn it into action.”   I have been listening to Ken Burns interviews as he prepares to launch his PBS 4 part series on Muhammad Ali!  I can’t wait.   From a legendary documentary filmmaker, words of wisdom on how he prepares for films for life.   Defeating Average.   Colin

How do you retain top talent

25-40% of people are thinking of quitting their job in the next 6-12 months! Are you one of them? In a recent article published in Axios titled the Great Resignation Wave, surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs. Similarly, a UK and Ireland survey found that 38% of employees were planning to leave their jobs in the next six months to a year. Why is that? I’ve read and heard from many people:   The pandemic has really spurred people to think deeply about what is important to them and how they prioritize that They want to be aligned to a company or organization that meets their values They want to be inspired on the mission of what their company does The job market is very hot right now and will no longer will tolerate working for a bad boss   If you are a leader of a team or an aspiring leader, here are some things to think about: People want to know where they …

I used to collect stickers…business stickers

Passion, joy and something to look forward to is an anecdote to anxiety. When I was 8 years old, a couple friends and I would call up local businesses and ask if they could send us a few of their business stickers. We got a lot of – what? Pardon? You want what? When I think of it now, it sounds a little absurd. On the other hand, we were very committed. We repeated exactly what we were up to and why we wanted the stickers with no apologies. “We collect business stickers. We have a big album. We have them from all over Alberta.” (My home province in Canada). Shiny ones were the best. Often long haul trucking companies had sparkly ones, even better. Some people would take our address and pop them in the mail. Others would ask us to send them an envelope with return postage. Either was good.  We ended up getting a surprise in the mail and split the stickers. Maybe I am thinking about it more as Tess starts …

Rock Tumbler

I had a rock tumbler when I was younger. For those who have not heard of it, it’s a small cylinder that spins or tumbles. You put stones in it with some small pebbles that wear down and smooth your stones.   You leave it running for a few days. When it’s done you have some beautiful smooth stones and you add to your rock collection. I was thinking of this lately and why I enjoyed it. Taking something from rough form Investing in it over time The anxiety and excitement of what will result The reveal and pride in what you produced   It made me think of how people invested in me and now transitioning to how I invest in other people. You have a valuable rough young resource you are responsible for You listen, you coach, you advise  You ride the emotional coaster of some success, failure and growth You graduate someone you manage or mentor into the next state of their career   The stone continues to tumble, get smoother and shine. …

I’m back from PTO and I slowed down!

“Pay attention in the present moment. Drink your tea slowly and revelry, as if it’s the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly without rushing towards the future. Live the actual moment, only this moment is life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh   It took me three days on a week-long vacation to SLOW down, rest and restore.  I had naps in the afternoon instead of writing. I meditated longer in the morning instead of rushing to get a workout in. I played in the ocean longer with my daughter Tess, instead of heading to the beach and chunking through the book I was reading. I was less achievement oriented and I feel like I am coming back more rested! I lived more in the moment. I did less, and went deeper.   In the end, what’s it all for? This is one of my daily questions I answer. I spent some time documenting good moments during the days. Something I can refer back to. Hopefully I can bring at least 2%+ more …

Here’s the rarest type of employee—and why they outperform everyone else

It was after two years of really great success for me and then two years of failure that had me look in the mirror and reevaluate how I approached business. My secret sauce of being a great hardware seller hit a wall in 2008 when every purchase by customers was scrutinized to the nth degree. I realized I need to learn more…myself, from my peers and other people in the industry. I had some solid skills and was not sharing what I knew freely with other people. One day I decided I was going to give away my best ideas to my peers (and who I somewhat saw as competitors), pay it forward, and ask for help in the process. What I quickly realized is my two hot pieces of secret sauce were dwarfed in a good way by the 10 nuggets of wisdom I quickly got back. From that day forward #growthmindset was my number one focus. I believe we are at this inflection point again. The world is too complex and companies are …

My Stressful thoughts overtake my ability to focus

I was listening to a podcast last weekend as the guest was answering a passage stuck out. When I am overloaded, “my stressful thoughts overtake my ability to focus” and I thought yes, that is how I feel some days! The good news is those days are infrequent and I find it’s helpful to watch for the queues and have a plan Queues: When I feel like I have so much to do and don’t know where to start When the same single keeps playing in my head about things I can’t control Negative thoughts in general Antidote: Go for a walk outside and get fresh air Take a breathing or meditative pause and break Write down all the things I have to do, get them out of my head. Circle the Top 3 and work on the first one first.   Defeating Average through stress.   Colin