Life Happens. Write About It.

On Turning 44, Flipping Switches, and Finding My Voice

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Last month, I turned 44. Yep, I’m that old. 

The past year was surprising and a bit different than others. Stuff happened. Personal stuff and professional stuff. Overall, things changed in a big way. I flipped the switch on a few ideas that have been swimming around in my head for decades. I took risks uncharacteristic of me. I made new friends who helped me think differently about work, faith, and priorities. I laughed a lot (this is not uncommon). I faced some fears and ran from others.

I’ll tell you about all of it on another day.

So perhaps I’m kicking off a mid-life crisis, or simply have my eyes more open to how people and life impact my actions and reactions.

Along my clichéd path of rediscovery, I’ve neglected my blog and personal writing. Oh, I wrote a few things here and there, but it was mostly uninspired and predictable dribble. Blek. I lost track of the thing I wanted it to be.

So I’m finding my voice again and remembering how easy it is to lose. Continue reading

How To Pack for a Trip

How to Pack for a Trip

Ever find yourself at the airport baggage claim holding your breath as the bags start to arrive? One by one they come, one black bag after another. Before yours rolls out onto that rotating belt, it’s easy to believe it’s likely lost forever.

After years of business travel, I have figured out how to pack for a trip and do everything possible to avoid checking my luggage. For a few logical reasons.

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Stop Making Excuses and Do Something

I’ve just kicked off a project that was a long time coming. Its history is littered with a long list of excuses and misplaced blame. But when the project is completed, a big problem will be solved.

So why did it take so long to get it started? Excuses.

Before a workable solution started to take shape, an ah-ha moment made me realize if I care enough about this, I need to make it happen. By shifting the mindset of our project team, a fix emerged in a format previously unimagined and largely considered impossible.

Excuses are so easy to fall back on. They are an escape from hard work, critical thinking, and problem solving. They give us reasons to avoid tackling the seemingly impossible. They are enablers of procrastination and the damaging outcome of misguided groupthink.

The truth is, excuses are absurd and stand in the way of us changing our circumstances for the better.

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6 Tips to Better Vendor Management

If vendor management is part of your job, you already know the challenges of getting the most out of product and service partners. Some third party partners are inherently awesome. Others take a little time to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.

When it clicks, the lines of “external” and “internal” disappear and teams emerge that get great work done. It’s rare and magical.

Use these tips to get the most out of partner companies. Continue reading

The Realities and Blessings of an Autism Diagnosis

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Fourteen adults sit in small grade school chairs around a rudimentary table. We are here to discuss the results of an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS).

One-by-one, educational and social work experts provide commentary on, observations about, and test scores for a nine-year old boy.

The meeting lasts two hours. About half way in, the results come. The ADOS indicates the student is well above the thresholds of autism. It’s a detailed description with a clinical name: Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). Sometimes it’s referred to as atypical autism. The discussion happens with carefully chosen words and appropriate empathy. After all, the student’s parents have seats at the table.

And we are the parents.  Continue reading