Why IT? Keynote in Wisconsin
February 25, 2015 as part of the Why IT? Conference hosted by Moraine Park Technical College and Waukesha County Technical College.
I provided more details at The IT Career Toolkit website; including a discount code Pearson provided for my book.
I also get to play some music at the conference! Love when that can be arranged! Continue Reading →
One of the “Amazing!” things I was blessed to see this week.
Apparently, I’m known for saying, “That’s Amazing!” often. Whether it is what I see in nature, in music, in business, with people, etc. There are just a lot of amazing things out there.
The image below is part of a birthday card my youngest daughter made for me several years ago. It depicts me, looking at a sunset over some mountains and exclaiming, “That’s Amazing!” It related to how I see life, people, and my clients. Click on the image to read more about being AMAZED and how it related to the coaching I do.
Want to achieve more? Want to have greater success? Want to have more confidence?
I’ll assume you are nodding yes. Or struggling not to.
If you want these things, you need to stop lying to yourself.
One of the pet phrases I believe hinders people’s growth is, “You did your best!” Or perhaps you’ve said it to yourself.
“I did my best.”
A variation on this is when I speak about some past failure, a time when I did not reach the goal I’d set, someone is bound to say..
“You did your best at the time.”
I understand the sentiment. People want to build you up. They want you to feel okay – that mistakes or missed goals are a “part of the process.”
Here is the problem with that phrase and sentiment.
In many case, I didn’t do my best. I did far less than my best. I, quite frankly, blew it!
And it doesn’t matter what the reason or excuse is. Perhaps I didn’t have the talent or I was too ambitious/far-reaching given my current resources, or I was lazy. Or I lost interest.
Whatever the case, there are times – many times – that our failures are caused by us failing to do our best or even close to our best.
When we “fail” to recognize this – when we gloss it over with pet-phrases like:
“I did the best I could at the time.”
or, when someone wishes to explain away my failure (or their failure) they offer…
“Everything happens for a reason!”
Yuck!! Yes.. there was a reason. The reason is often that I (and you) DID NOT do our best! Sorry.. you didn’t!
Personally, I hate the pandering comments that people use to try to make me feel better about those times when I did not do my best. It feels so dishonest. I’ve spoken to others who feel the same.
I don’t believe that such comments really help you feel better about yourself. In fact, I am certain of it. I’m certain it feels a sketchy and dishonest. A little bit slimy.
Now, of course, you might be saying, “Umm.. thanks Matt. I feel lousy about myself or this failure and you don’t want others to encourage me?”
Au contraire my friend. I do want them to encourage you. I want you to encourage yourself. I want this blog to encourage you!
Part of recognizing that you DID NOT do your best when you, in fact, DID NOT do your best means you recognize clearly you could have done better. That you have the capacity to do better. That’s awesome! That means it is just a matter of resetting and executing!
Sometimes the truth is, what we need to hear the most is that we didn’t do our best and need to plan and execute better. The honesty is refreshing! It removes excuses and give a much clearer and honest perspective on what needs to be done!
Below are some steps for when you next blow it; when you next “fail!” at a given endeavor
[….and I can hear someone getting ready to quote Thomas Edison about not failing but finding 1,000 ways to NOT build a lightbulb.. Shhhh.. stop… I get it. But the truth is, he had lightbulbs that clearly failed and he knew it. He then went back, planned, executed, and improved! HE KNEW HE COULD DO BETTER!!!]
What to do when you didn’t do your best:
Recognize it honestly as a sub-par performance
Don’t excuse it.
Determine why (lazy, poor planning, failed execution, etc.)
don’t disband your goal and do not give up!
Plan for the new goal (quickly – read why action beats analysis)
Execute better and more consistently.
The truth is, you probably still won’t do your best. It’s hard to sustain the energy to do your best every day at every moment. But doing your best occasionally and doing “well-enough” or “really good” most of the time is probably going to result in great success!!
By the way, this blog entry was not my best on the subject but I did execute and get it done! And I believe it is good enough for human consumption!!
I know.. a lot of people do their year in review around this time. I didn’t. I know what I achieved and what I did not. We can summarize big things quickly:
2013 Rapid Review:
New Book – Building Your I.T. Career
This is a rebirth of sorts for me.
New Business – Pulse Infomatics, Inc.
Much greater focus and a more concrete action-plan.
This will make it into the preview as well.
A big move to Los Angeles
The girl is attending a performing arts school. She was commuting an hour and fifty minutes by train – ONE WAY – high school. Now we are 4 miles from the school. Very exciting!
There were other significant events mind you (songs and other writings). But I’m going to stop at those as having the most concrete set points. I can sort of hang my hat on those accomplishments and say, “Well done!”
January 1st, 2014 (er.. January 2nd), the question becomes, “Now what?”
I’m not asking this question today. As indicated in my prior post, The Resolution Farce, January 1st is not a day for making resolutions. It is a day to reflect, assess, and refine motion forward. The items I cover in in the preview of 2014 are things I’ve been thinking about and working on for some time.
I’ll break them into personal and professional – although for some things, the lines can get a little bit blurry. For instance, relationships often cross over between personal and professional. My work at learning to draw as well.. it is primarily a personal endeavor but I do, at some point, wish to create a book of sketches and writings.. ala Eric Sloane or Shel Silverstein.
Important to note: I have not put the items in either category into order of priority or importance. Also, I reserve the right to alter/adjust this list and perhaps add new items as needed.
Personal Items to Work on/Achieve for 2014
The following is a sort of FILDI manifesto!
I don’t often write about my divorces. Yeah.. that’s plural kids.. I’m obviously not very good at this marriage thing. But an interesting thing happens when you married and when you are divorced.. Many of your relationships are part of, or built into, the marriage. Other married couples, etc. And one person in the marriage often runs the social calendar.
Post divorce, I discovered that people take sides or don’t really know what to do with you. Also, I have been out of circulation for a bit of time. I don’t really have people I hang out with.
My youngest daughter asked me why I don’t hang out with friends more often. And then I had a conversation with the older daughter about this as well. She and my friend Mike from high school both said something like, “Invite to be invited.”
So, don’t be surprised if you get invited to something I am doing.
Oh.. and officially, I don’t date so it isn’t that kind of relationship I am talking about. As I like to say, “My daughter is my girl and music is my mistress.”
The other part of this relationship thing is family. My children, my siblings, my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. I plan to work on these relationships too. It could be an even scarier piece of the puzzle – but I plan to enjoy it.
I’ve always wanted to draw. I’ve spent 30 years telling people I cannot draw a straight line. Low and behold, in speaking to some pretty good artist, I’ve discovered that is a bad way to determine if you can draw. Straight lines are no small feat. But in general, I’ve always had an affinity towards pencil or pen drawings.
We were at the bookstore and there were sketchbooks on sale. My daughter wanted one so I bought her one but also bought one for myself. The above image is one of my first sketches. I’ve put it under “personal” items because, at this point, it’s a bit presumptuous to roll it into my professional life. Future goal, however, is a book of writings and sketches. I’ll post occassional sketches on my blog.
I went to the doctor back in 2013. When they took my pulse, they took it a second time to be sure. 49 bpm. That’s pretty low for 47 (now 48). And low in a good way – good blood pressure, etc. He said, “You are in pretty good shape for a 30 year old.” Hee hee. I thought that was pretty funny of him.
I do plan, however, to drop some more weight – mostly through portion control and upping my veggie to protein ratio. I also plan to start doing Yoga. I keep being told I would like it and it would help bring my fitness into a more rounded and emotional space. I am not sure what that means but, sure, we’ll give it a try.
I used to read a lot! But the truth is, I haven’t read a complete work of fiction in more than 10 years. As I plan to start on a novel this year (see writing below), it would probably be a good idea to read a couple. I have one sitting on my bedside table that my daughter asked me to read. I started it and am 10 pages into it…. after 3 months. Hmm…. Yeah, more reading is in order.
Professional Items to Work on/Achieve for 2014
Writing (books, articles, blogs)
My heroes have also been authors and now I am one. I sometimes forget this fact although I LOVE bantering around phrases like, “I was talking with my editor and…” It doesn’t matter what comes after that. The “and” is incidental. It is the fact that I used the phrase “my editor” in complete honesty. That means I have “an editor” that I can somehow lay claim to. She’s mine! (hi Mary Beth).
I have some other editors too but she’s my first.. sort of de-virginized me into the publishing world. And your first holds a special place right? She does for me!
I’ve been blessed to be published in book form, articles, essays, and even some poetry. I plan to do more of this for 2014. And across multiple disciplines. In fact, blogging is a big one. I have been negligent and half in/half out, for the most part of 2013. There will be a schedule and there will be blogging.
Finally, I have an official treatment and some notes on a novel idea that has been running around my head for several years. Sort of a Southern lit/John Grisham crossover novel. There is some family history in the story and then some embellishment.. and even a murder or two. I will start that novel this year.
Consulting & Coaching & Speaking (oh my)
Pulse Infomatics, Inc.
I launched Pulse Infomatics, Inc. this year. I already linked to it above. Basically, once we decided that we were moving into the heart of the beast (downtown Los Angeles), I figured I was near a LOT OF BUSINESS. Burbank, Pasadena, Glendale, and surrounding areas.
I’ve got some aggresssive goals with Pulse and have a new sales director working with me. What we do at Pulse is create custom reporting and document assembly systems. Basically, we consult companies and customize software to pull data from multiple systems into a single, consolidated series of reports. We also do document and contract assembly.
However, much of year 1 will be focused on helping small businesses connect Quickbooks to SQL Server and other databases.
CIO/CTO/I.T. Departmental Coaching
I’ve been asked to coach a couple small I.T. departments on better business communications and more proactive I.T. solutions. This is far less technical and more about business acumen and recognizing how and where they are valuable to the organization. There is also a solution design component that requires the I.T. group to be more aware of (empathetic) to how their users actually work. How the business actually makes money.
This is fun work and there is a lot of self-discovery. There is also some weird push-back from I.T. professionals who feel you sacrifice technical skills to be a better communicator and to better understand the business. I could not disagree more… and that is what makes this fun!
Music / Songwriting
I write some good songs! There! I said it! It’s not arrogance to say that. It’s a realistic self-assessment. In the same way that I knew/know I could write for pay, and did in short order once I started, I know this about my songwriting.
I have some wonderful connections into that community and plan to both record my own songs and also place my songs with younger, prettier, and more talented people. I was asked whether it would bother me if someone else took one of my songs and it went big! I was like, “Yeah.. that would be awful. I would cry with every royalty check deposited.” NOT!!
And lest I forget, I’m starting the Hillside Village House Concerts. This is not so much a professional item for me – I won’t make anything with them. – In reality is is more a relationship item but it falls under music as well, so that is where I’ve put it.
Video & Audio Podcasting/video updates
I’ve been half-in/half-out of this world for too long. I’ve had a couple well-received podcast and won business through my tech and business update videos. But I have a more lofty and aggressive agenda in this area.
Basic updates and music
I started last year (and even the year prior) at consolidating my online presence. I’ll be updating the MatthewMoranOnline youtube channel more diligently. I’ll also post general updates, rants, technical tutorials, and information about and for songwriters and artist. And if that doesn’t cover enough, anything else that comes to mind.
Documentary style production
I’m going to start small here. But, I’m a HUGE fan of This American Life on NPR. I think it is the most well-produced and interesting radio show ever!!. Ira Glass has some great storytelling resources online. I’m not sure what I’ll produce but some of it will be autobiographical. They say, write and produce what you know.. and I’m getting to know me. Other topics include: dogs, parenting, music, and whatever else catches my eye.
So, there you have it. 2014 neatly bundled and wrapped, ready to be devoured and shared all at the same time.
I would love to hear what your 2014 plans are. Even a single item you are going to put into play! And I mean Play!!! Let me know in the comments below!