Monthly Archives: February 2012

Optimizing Your Typical Day

Have you ever considered what your typical day really looks like? Or how it may change somewhat systematically based on week, month, quarter, or even season?

I’ve been more interested in these types of things recently as I’ve entered into a familiar season of life and am beginning to exit one that’s lasted for 7 years. The point of attempting to take a step back explicitly and intentionally is to log these changes in my own rhythm of life so that I can not only document them but begin to optimize them.

You see, these seasons have come and gone more than a few times and although I feel like I’m getting better at managing them, working in them, and expressing them to those that matter most (like my wife who has to “deal” with me the most) I still know that it’s not enough to just muck through it and expect the very best.

As I result I’ve been detailing in my notebook what my days look like, attempting to discover patterns that work and the environments that I find myself in when I really begin to hit my stride.

Have you ever considered doing this for your work? Continue reading

A Few Reflections on Nearing the End of my 7 Year Masters Degree

I started soon after being married. Wow...!

I spent the weekend in Dallas putting behind me the last physical in-person class for my double Master’s degree at Dallas Seminary (Masters in Biblical Studies, Masters in Christian Education with a focus on Person Theory) – I have literally dreamt of that moment many, many times for the past 7 years. I couldn’t believe it was finally here.

As life has shown me plenty of times it wasn’t exactly like I had planned it to be. In fact, I’m not even sure what I was planning and/or hoping it to be at all – I just thought it wasn’t going to be like “that.” You’ve probably had similar experiences – it’s not that it was a disappointment and it’s not that it was the best experience you’ve ever had in your entire existence – it was just, well, not supposed to be like “that.”

But I tried – as I sat in class I waited for one of those “Aha!” moments, or some new truth to suddenly dawn on me and for me to gain that new incredible perspective – nothing like that happened. I attended the class, worked on the assignments, finished my exams, just like I had done a hundred times before. I said “Hi.” to a few people that I had met along the way and shook a few hands with new classmates, many of whom were very “green.”

In the end it was entirely rote. The clouds didn’t part and it didn’t rain so no random lightning strikes were apparent. Heck, I didn’t even get a burning bush – what a rip…! And so as I closed out the last class I began to ask myself what it had all meant – the last 7 years and what I had learned from the experience.

I was still thinking about it as I drove to the airport and even as I boarded the plane – it was rather difficult to come up with anything conclusive! Perhaps it was all still too fresh, but then one small truth hit me: I realized that it was what I have been continually doing for as long as I can remember: Execute. Do the work. Get it done. Do it with excellence. Find the next adventure and challenge.

That was lightly comforting and at least it was a starting point.

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Thoughts on Leadership in the Context of a Team

Have fun. Do work.

It gets more and more difficult to find the right talent to match the right team every single year – I’m not sure that it’s the talent pool necessarily but rather my maturity as a leader that demands the top-bar of talent that comes through my doors.

Actually, nevermind – the moment I wrote that I knew the answer already: It’s me.

You see, the challenge is that appearances are so darn convincing these days – the internet allows me to see all that a person is capable of, but there are only a few that can really operate out of their strengths and pull magic out of the proverbial hat – there are too many frauds – well, that’s probably too harsh – there are too many people who believe they have figured out what they do and who they are and who they want to be (and can have mediocre execution) when they are actually not operating optimally at all.

There is no greater playground for this test than in computer programming and software development – true engineering is more than pushing code and making things happen – it’s a way of seeing the world, turning real life challenges and problems into viable solutions.

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So, What Exactly Are You Saying with Your Business Blog?

I spent some time in airports and planes this past weekend and I hope it to be the last for a while (probably not, but here’s hoping). I have found that I don’t mind traveling as long as there’s someone good to talk to – I used to double-down into my notebook computer and try to cram as much productivity as I could while on the road but I’ve recently reversed this and keep the notebook in the bag and just appreciate the time away from it all.

And I I’m not so much interested in spending any more money on the WIFI when my flight is only 90 minutes and it’ll cost me $15 for the time. Ah, what a rip.

What I do now is actively look for someone to talk to – anyone, to be honest. It’s a strange thing to change so dramatically my traveling experience from trying to avoid every single person, including those that have to handle the ticketing process, and instead finding a good conversation. I also prayed (literally) to sit next to someone who would just sleep through the flight so I wouldn’t have to say anything and now I anxiously hope that the person I sit down next to is a conversationalist and has something interesting to share or a story to tell.

The more different the better – like Ellis, the Stuntman.

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Don’t Quit Before the Fruits of Your Labor are Revealed!

Dum de dum... Zip!

The biggest challenge that most bloggers have isn’t the creation of content, choosing the right WordPress Theme that best showcases their personality, or even getting traffic to their blogs via Facebook or Twitter – the biggest challenge is simply not quitting.

You’ve probably experienced being a victim of your own blog’s demise already – perhaps more than a few times over already. You started that new blog with defiance telling everyone you know, and especially yourself, that “this” is the “one” and that you’re going the distance and that you’ll blog every single day because you’re so gosh-darn passionate about this particular subject (with even a bit of focus perhaps!).

Three months later you’re scratching your head and you don’t even want to boot up the blog to look at it much less the back-end administration panel to write anything. You’ve quit. You’ve become depressed and it’s most likely because you weren’t seeing the results that you had expected to see.

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The Cost of Entrepreneurship

If you’ve been following my Twitter feed for the last few weeks you would have noticed a number of tweets referencing travels to such exotic locations like Savannah, Greenville, Charlotte, and even the amazing gem of north Atlanta, Gwinnett County.

Ok, I’m just kidding, those places aren’t exotic – in fact, they are incredibly normal places (although very pretty in their own right) and I haven’t been traveling to see the locals or the surrounding sites anyways – I’ve been on a mission to raise investment capital from Angels and VCs.

This is the “season” as I call it often to my significant other – heck, she’s the one that has to deal with me being gone so often and extremely cranky and tired to boot. But it’s an important an absolutely necessary part of being an entrepreneur.

Sure, not every entrepreneur needs to raise venture capital to get their projects into the air but there are times when it’s absolutely required and there are times when going bootstrapped is really the better choice.

I’ve done both: I’ve gone through some significant funding rounds for previous startups and I’ve bootstrappped even more than you can possibly imagine – there’s a place for both in the world of entrepreneurship.

But the point of this blog post isn’t to share the pros and cons of raising capital (perhaps another blog post for another day) – the point is to share with you the challenge and the cost of becoming an entrepreneur – a reality that many people either were never told or seem to consistently forget.

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Your True Fans

Occasionally I’ll get an email in my inbox that looks something like the email screenshot above – where my mother is forwarding an email subscription that she has from a blog that I manage to her entire email network.

This is, at the very same time, incredibly embarrassing but also very exciting – she is, and has been, one of my truest fans. Sure, we all know that our parents are, for the most part, our greatest fans and our greatest supporters but it’s neat to see it in action every once in a while.

I started ChurchCrunch (now ChurchM.ag) back on 2008 and she was one of the first subscribers, and definitely the first email-based subscriber (she asked me to add her since she didn’t know how). She wanted to know about what I was doing and what the heck I was writing about. Although she still has a bit of difficulty describing to her friends what “exactly” her oldest son does with himself every single day (“he works on the internet”) she faithfully reads my blog posts, every single day.

And she obviously goes one step further: She shares them with family and friends.

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