Friday, February 25, 2011

My Love Affair! w/ tea

I have been cheating on my wife for 3+ years. It feels good to get that off my chest. My affair has been one of intense loyalty, disciplined engagement, and constant sharing. It has been daily. Often more than once a day. This relationship has changed my life in ways I could only dream of. I am of better mind, body and spirit. Let me start at the beginning.

Three and a half years ago I was entering into a time of my life where the whirlwind was beginning to get to me. I was often sick, moody and confrontational. My career was going fine, I was making money but the end game was very blurry. My spirituality was dull at best. I made a decision to take some small step to transform. I wanted to feel better about myself, thus be a better husband and father. Searching for something to begin with, enter GT.

GT was easy, available and made me feel good. I became almost addicted immediately. I began to read about all of the benefits of this arrangement. Before I knew it it was a month, 6 months, a year.

Green Tea......every day. That's it. I drink at least 1/2 gallon of Bigelow Green Tea everyday. You can pull up all the research you want but here is my results. During that time I have not been sick. No colds, flue, major headaches, GI problems......nothing. I do, however, know when my body is being infected by something. I begin to get symptoms, but they are gone within a couple of hours. My family will attest to this. It works.

Here is how I do it. I buy a box of 150 tea bags at Bj's Wholesale. It costs $7.99. I have not been able to find that particular quantity anywhere else. I open 16 bags, place them in a 4 cups of cold water in a Pyrex glass measuring cup and microwave it for 5 minutes. I let it stand for 3 minutes, then pour it into a gallon container. I then fill the cup up again with cold water making sure I run the water over the bags. I then pour that into the container. I fill the cup up again. this time I micro it for 5 minutes. Then repeat the above steps. I drink the tea iced like I would water. That is it.

My wife recently gave me a gift of Teavana's tea of the month club. This was an amazing gift. Once a day I brew this tea and have it hot.

So, what is the science behind this? I have not a clue. I know it has to do with antioxidants being removed from your system but I really don't care. And when I say I don't care, it is merely because for me, it works so there is no value in understanding the science behind it because I am not trying to sell it.

My wife still comes first, but the kids better watch out cause the tea is closing in!

If you decide to give it a try, please stop back and let me know your experience.

Basketball Coach Suspended and Resigns- Overtime- The I in TEAM

He quit.....there is so much wrong with this story I really don't know where to begin. I am going to focus on the downstream affects of this outcome from my perspective.

I have now seen the video in real time and in slow motion umpteen times. The coach in no way shape or form tried to hurt the player, period. I now understand that the coach apologized to the TEAM after that practice. That should have been the end of it. However, this player decided to put an I in TEAM. By putting his feelings above the overall good of the team, this player failed in his duties as a teammate. The player failed, his parents failed him, the lawyer representing him failed, the media who slanted this story failed, and finally after all is said and done, the coach failed.

In team sports the collective goals of the team always override individual aspirations. Many times an individual must sacrifice for the good of the team. Sometimes that hurts. Sometimes it is embarrassing. However, in order to develop into a good leader one must follow at sometime. By following we learn humility, compassion and conviction. The greatest leaders all possess those qualities. It is not genetics, it is learned. Social skills are developed through a young adults life. We have begun a process of sheltering our kids from these valuable lessons because we are too selfish and do not want to feel the pain with them. Everybody wins!!!! If everybody wins, how will they know how to react when they don't!!!!!!

The only thing hurt on that player were his feeling and pride. The greater concern I have is the snowball effect. Will this now change coaches approach to teaching? Those with conviction won't even blink, the ones who aspire to the popular approval, will change. That is sad!

We need to begin to take back the values of this country. These values have nothing to do with Elephants or Asses, but rather passing on virtues that will allow our children to succeed. I think we forget as parents that our job is to prepare our children for an independent life. Give them the tools to deal with the bad and show humility towards the good.

This young man has just been robbed of a valuable lesson, there is no I in TEAM!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Inside the Cubical: Part 2

I ended the last post with:
If you hear these to aronyms run, I will explain later......COM, COL
So what do they mean? COM, customers own material, COL, customers own leather. Why do I say run? Increased cost, unsustainable maintenance. Of the thousands of workstations and hundreds of projects I have been involved with, never has the fabric or finishes led to a decrease or increase in productivity. Money is money. Apply the same principles that you use personal for procurement as you do for commercial purchases. 

Any increase to cost without a direct, hard benefit to the business is a waste, period.

All manufacturers of office furniture have fabric and finishes that are offered at no additional cost. Hundreds if not thousands of choices. If something can not be selected within that offering, then fire your designer. When they push back claiming it will make a difference, then ask for the data to support that!!!! It will be a quick discussion.
At one time or another many of us will be sitting in an office environment. When I tell you that thousands of dollars are spent on   the design , it is an understatement. The more time spent discussing, the more the price goes up. If ever there were an application of KISS(keep it simple stupid) this is it. Furniture, fixtures and equipment need not be liabilities. If these simple rules are adhered to, then you can be confident that you will get value.

  1. Ask for the care and maintenance documentation before you purchase. You can gain insight into whether they truly believe in the product by how much they invest in documentation. If it takes more than 24 hours to get it to you, then beware.
  2. Ask for the warranty statement with every option. Also, their competitors warranty statement for competitive product. They have it.
  3. Ask for a written statement on the turnaround time for warranty parts. In other words, a detailed timeline of how long it will take to get something fixed. It will break!
  4. Keep ergonomics and safety resources at the ready. Let them evaluate. Do not let them lead! 
  5. In this case, smaller is better. People 50+ want bigger workstations and higher panels, people under 40 don't really care. They want teaming space, small touch areas and lots of caffeine
  6. When it comes to privacy here is my statement. Unless you are in HR or VP or above, then privacy is irrelevant. If you can't say it out loud than chances are you should not say it at all
  7. Always ask for thorough documentation of pricing. Furniture has the most insane method of pricing. Off list. There is an inflated list price then discounting off of that. Way to confusing. Look for cost plus. How much does it cost the seller and how much profit are they making. There will be push back, but it is the only way the ensure accuracy
  8. Whenever possible buy direct from a manufacturer. It eliminates a layer of profit that may not be needed. If a dealer pushes back, offer to pay the professional services separately to them. This really cleans up the value analysis.
  9. Never, never, never buy anything from the furniture industry that has not been out in circulation for at least 12 months. If it is under 3 years in production ask for detailed manufacturing data and warranty claims!!!!!!
Always keep this in mind when planning a project related to office space. Keep people honest. Don't try and steal something. Value brings Value.

What the Hell is Social Media Anyway?

So my little experiment has landed me here. Social Media! A year ago I cursed everything but Linkedin as trash, rumor mills, enabling evil. I was not on Facebook. I kept my kids off Facebook(or at least tried). Twitter was a fad. From a personal standpoint I saw no reasons to publish my personal "stuff". Most interactions I heard about regarding social media always lead down the same road, he said, she said. "I can't believe he/she posted that". It was mind numbing to me. I took a stance that the younger generation was socially inapt. The did not know how to communicate. They just sat there and pushed buttons. When we were kids we were out in the streets, playing. We policed ourselves. Our fights and disagreements usually stayed on the playground. What happened on the street, stayed on the street. Good or bad, I am not quite sure.At 41 I am aware of the generational divide and how it is gifted through the years. From music to fashion, we all can recall being involved in discussions surrounding "the kids of today". After 6 months or so of interaction on various social media platforms I can at least admit to this; it is pure and simple innovation.

Social Media platforms are nothing more than a direct reflection of society. If your an asshole in real life, more than likely you will be a perceived asshole on social media platforms. If your real, present and open, you will be reflected accordingly. If your trying to make a fast buck, it will be flushed out. Sure, there are some example of people who may not be who or what they seems, but that is just in life as well. The wealth and speed of information is exciting. The platform for small business to grow their business is overwhelming. I have come to the conclusion that if you use simple principles to guide you on any platform you will gain a trusted resource. These are the same principles we use in life.

  • If it seems to good to be true, it is.
  • People are people, they make mistakes
  • If it is automated, it is cheap
  • Greed is Greed is Greed
  • Speak with conviction or defer to someone who can
  • If you would not want someone to judge you on it, don't do it
  • If you could not follow up with a one on one conversation, then don't start it
  • The amount of followers, friend or network members is irrelevant, how much their engaged is
So, to close, I have become that Dad who tweets. I now use Facebook to communicate about things I am passionate about. I use LinkedIn the same way. I am not trying to promote anything other than me. Yes, I said it. I am promoting myself. Is that selfish? No. I am branding myself just as you would do on a resume, only broader, deeper and in real time. We are all responsible for ourselves. Our thoughts, passions and beliefs are to be expressed. What better way to do that then these platforms. I gain just as much from logging my thoughts via a blog as I do from reading someone's expressions of their ideas or passions. Now I have a way of passing them on instantly. 

Do you want me to help you compose a tweet? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Basketball Coach Suspended - The Bigger Picture

I felt compelled to chime in on this topic because I both played basketball for many years through college as well as coached at the high school level and now for my daughters traveling team. I watched the video, listened to the player and his attorney and read as many opinions as I could. Knowing the history of the coach I do not think this was meant in any way to injure the player, therefore the quick rush to judgement was wrong. The player choose to go public with the issue and that is his right. It is also his right to now deal with the consequences. My interpretation is this; it was a contact drill, the player was not executing the drill properly or to the coaches standards, the coach was making a point to create contact with the player thus exposing him to how it would or should feel to execute this properly. It case you have not noticed, basketball is a contact sport, period. You can't play the game at that level and not get banged around. Even at the level I am coaching now, it is very physical and I facilitate contact in practice. It is part of the learning process.

All of us have been intimidated, harassed or embarrassed at some point in our lives. The strong ones learn from the experience and improve on whatever was the task. The weak ones make excuses, point the finger at someone else and thus learn nothing. Learning is about communication and communication in sports sometimes becomes physical. Would the same level of attention be given if a teammate had pushed him down? The answer is no, or there would be no one left to compete.

The best teachers are the ones who leave us with an experience that helps guide us. My 5th grade teacher used to yell and scream and kick tables all the time. Was it right for him to do that? It really is irrelevant. No one was hurt, but we all learned to complete our tasks in a timely manner. My first trip to visit a college I was asked to play a pick up game with some of the then current players. Within one minute of starting I was met with a deliberate elbow to the mouth. The message was your not in high school anymore. Message received. I ensured that I never received on of those again.

Whoever consulted this player to go public was wrong. Life is full of obstacles. Our experience guides us through or around them. The real issue here is not how the player reacted to the coach, but how is this young man going to react to the next elbow to the mouth, or other challenge he may face.
The coach was handed a judgement that I feel was completely out of line with the action, but this is  really par for the course with the direction of our society.

I truly judge situations like this by asking what my grandfather would have said. He was a Great Depression child, worked in "labor camps" in West Virginia at 14, fought in the Battle Of the Bulge, was a POW in Germany and a Teamster for 30 years when he returned. He would have told me to work harder so that it did not happen again.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The New Old Economy

After 3 years of listening to bullshit I have decided to chime in on the economy debate from a suburban married guys point of view. If you take all of the Ivy League theoretical economic crap and throw it out your left with the values that built this country. Freedom, Liberty, Honor and Humility. There is no quick way to the top that is sustainable. Growth needs to be in terms of tangible assets not deferred options. Businesses are formed to create profit for the owners who took the risk to begin with. That profit is to be used at their discretion. If they choose wisely they will build a solid company that will outlive them. If they are greedy and unwise, the company will implode and fail. That is what was wrong with the bailouts. Those companies should have failed or disintegrated into smaller manageable pieces. We failed our own system. When you make solid, conservative business decisions, you will succeed. When your greed gets the best of you, you fail.

Our economy is progressing well. We will not recover from where we were because it was built on false pretenses. If profits are up, growth will follow. The growth may only be 2-3%, but it is positive, sustainable growth. This will lead to healthy businesses that will be built to withstand an unforeseen threat to our economy. Profit is good when it goes from innovation, production and sustainable processes. Profit coming from destruction, oppression or misrepresentation only leads to failure.

We as a society tend to try to get to cute for our own good. Our country was founded on core principles of civility. The government should be the guide, not the leader. Natural selection will always prevail. A fundamental shift in the public perception must be towards a common good, not individual success.(read that again without your political antennas up) Working for a living is a honor, a privilege. Yes, there are some who do not have to based on the success of their families or by luck. For the rest of us, we need to get back to working to live, not living to work. Our lives should not be the pursuit of riches, but rather finding the riches in everyday. Would I like to have 1 million dollars, yes, just like I would like to have a pool in my yard, or a vacation home. These are things that I did currently have and I think they may provide riches in my everyday life. Truth is, I do not know. One million dollars may pay off my current liabilities but it also may provide more.

Quality of life is measured within. Jobs comes and go, kids grow, cars fail, real estate is cyclical but what is now is all you have. The moments make our quality of life. These moments do not have a price tag. The impression of that moment is not based on location, Paris, Rome or New York, it is based on the intensity of the focus and clarity of the interaction. Our economy gives us the power to control our destiny. It is voluntary. You can work 80 hours a week or not at all. Your choice. That is liberty. When you are able to control the true meaning of "The American Dream" you will notice that the race dissolves into exploration.

I was taken back a bit by the message in the Chrysler commercial during the Super Bowl. Finally, somebody gets it. I am not saying it is the leadership at Chrysler, but somebody in that process understands where value lies. I find it interesting that most people who speak of global expansion and less regulation are the one most leveraged here in this country. They need somewhere else to make profit dollars. This basic principle should always prevail, more should export than import. If we continue to be a plus 70% consumer society, we will always be at the mercy of our lenders. Hence, where we are today. Our companies should first take pride in being American, that is why they have opportunity.

We are always in changing times. That is one thing that will never "change". Each generation misunderstands the next. What we have lost is the values of two generations ago. Humility and honor. If you need to be reminded simply read or watch accounts of WWII. That is what sacrifice is. For some, that will not blend with their entitlement platform, or it is too easy a solution. Whether your liberal or conservative, white, black or blue this country and the economic platform is ours. We as a people have allowed it be what it is. We the people need to take it back.

I went on a family trip to Puerto Rico a few years back. I was lucky to find a house for rent outside the usual tourist areas. Before I left a coworker who was born and raised in Puerto Rico told me that most people there were lazy. I remembered that as we went about the small towns and villages. We had a great time on that trip. People we friendly, sites were memorable, very relaxing. When I returned back to work I sat down with my coworker and talked about the trip. She again stated how lazy people were. My comments to her were this, they live in a paradise. Most don't seem to mind that they are living in what we consider to be poverty. We stopped at many roadside food stands and talked to many people. All happy, engaged in the discussion. I don't think a million dollars can replace stillness and humility.