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The Hi-Tech Hippie

Experience Life

Start with “Why”

It all started a couple years ago when I was working an internship in San Francisco. I was making great money for an intern, living in the suburbs of the city, and having what the recipe for previous generations “happiness” was defined as. Good job, good area, routine, etc…. it wasn’t enough though. I wasn’t happy.

So, I started a self-discovery journey. I started reading books and started listening to podcasts to help find out what it was I wanted from life. Then, I found the Ted Talk from Simon Sinek, which I will attach, called “start with why”. It was so moving that I have easily watched it over 50 times now. It talks about how businesses today don’t know why they do what they do, which brings to question what is a why?

A why is a vision, and a purpose that continues to drive a company and bring it closer to reaching its goals. It is some crazy idea one of the founders had that first began the business or what a group of people all believe in. Do not be confused though, a why is not a result. Often times we say that why we do business is to make a profit, which leads me to my last point.

“Humans need to product red blood cells to survive, just  as a business needs to make profit to survive. Is the only purpose of humans to product red blood cells? Is the only purpose of businesses to make profit?” A quote from Ed freeman that really talks to finding your purpose. Yes, we need red blood cells to survive, but we were put here to do more than that. I challenge you to begin a journey of self-discovery and to find your why… Remember focus on a concept, an idea, a belief that is more than just result.

On purpose,

Matt

Featured post

S#%@ Happens

The crazy thing about life is… that it is always moving forward.  Whether you lose a loved one, get a ticket, have a child, get fired, whatever it is…life keeps going on. Yet we are constantly beating ourselves up over the little things that happen and bring us down, that drive us to live in the past and forget about the now. Sometimes… s@%*t happens, let’s talk.

So I started out this week on a bit of a bad note. I woke up Sunday to find that my car window had been broken into. Two days later I woke up to a citation for parking on the wrong side of the street during street sweeping hours and then today I got pulled over on an exit ramp for following too closely behind an undercover cop. Yet here I am enjoying a cold beer from a new customer of mine in which I had an amazing three hour meeting talking about how we can make their lives easier. I remain an undying optimist amidst these things, why?

You have to realize that shit happens. Bad things are going to come your way. Tickets for seemingly unknown laws, people breaking into your car, parking citations for street sweeping, it’s all going to happen. Life is going to happen. Life doesn’t slow down though; it’s not about living in the moments that bring you down. Life is about living in the moments that make you feel alive, that make you feel emotion, that make you feel HUMAN. Life doesn’t wait and why should you? If you want something go after it. The rule to life is simple, that you can go after whatever it is that you want, but you cannot stop someone else from going after what they want. Chase a passion, follow a dream, live in the moment, because the now is all we are guaranteed.

Life is going to throw challenges your way. You’re going to have good days and bad days. Some days may bring you to tears, some days may challenge every fiber of your being and make you question your beliefs and highlight the doubts you have in your life… but it’s not about how hard we hit, it’s about how hard we can get hit and keep moving forward (Thanks Rocky). Life isn’t going to pause to help you along the way. Life isn’t going to stop to pick you back up, which is why we NEED each other to survive. To get through the storms, to not fear life, but embrace it.

We all share one thing in common. We are all HUMAN. What does that mean? What does that mean to you?? As humans we are not defined by the moments of struggle and pain. We are defined by how we get through it. We are better together. How do we each day get better for each other? How do we start helping one another instead of trying to be better than one another? When you look back on your life in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years… I can guarantee that the moments that you remember most will be the ones spent with people. Not the ones spent staying late at work, getting that bonus check, or climbing the corporate ladder. You can find short term feelings through accomplishment, bonuses, and promotions, but if you want to feel true satisfaction and true fulfillment it is in the relationships that you build and actually helping one another.

Stop getting caught in the weeds of the bad. Don’t waste time on the bad and the ugly. Don’t stop living. Life goes on. Shit happens. Keep moving forward. We need more optimism in this world… and the amazing thing about optimism? It’s infectious… and it can start… with you.

On purpose,

Matt

What does it mean to be human? – https://youtu.be/xPGREQvK-dQ

What do you desire? – https://youtu.be/012-61RWnjE

 

Presence ≠ Production

Whether you like it or not change is coming. Instead of trying to avoid it, why not help improve it. Millennials are often getting “blamed” for things now a days and one of them is definitely the workplace. Now that this new generation has taken over the workforce some things are changing such as; pay and compensation, office culture, and even work hours and location. No longer is it required for you to be in the office. No longer is the 8-5 a way of life. Presence in the office doesn’t always mean production, lets talk.

For generations the standard of work was 8-5. You came in in the morning, had your morning coffee and water cooler talk and then headed to your section within the cube farm to punch away on your keyboard while trying not to fall asleep looking at your eggshell white walls and computer screen. You count down the hours until 12 so you can take your corporate allotted hour for lunch in the ever so refreshing break room that smells of stale morning coffee and Tina’s tuna salad she forgot in the fridge last week. Following the break room boredom you head back to your cube to then count down the hours until 5’oclock hit and you can stroll back to your Toyota Prius and drive home only to await another day until the weekend. Blehhhhh.

This methodology has been in place for decades. Being at the office meant you would be productive, most often because the manager was there to breathe down your neck. The problem with this is that what happens when the manager is not around? People would slack off or work would not get completed thus making the manager look bad, which is why we need firm management to hold our people “accountable”. How can we hold our people accountable if we are not watching them? This is the old mindset. Management through authority, they relied less on the environment and culture they have and more on the power of the individual. This is why the people slacked off, it is the same as your children. When kids are young, they are very impressionable, similar to a new employee at an office. When mom and dad are around they are upstanding citizens, picking up their toys, washing their dishes, and even cleaning their rooms! Then when mom and dad are gone havoc breaks loose, this is often when things get broken (including bones), messes are made, and chaos is the standard. The problem is we often blame the children (or employee) for the problem, when really… we should be blaming ourselves.

It is not the employees fault for needing to take a mental break. It is not the employees fault we did not meet the “numbers” just as it is not your kids fault for not being able to drive a car at 10 years old. As a manger and a parent it is not our responsibility to hold our kids/employees accountable. It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to grow and learn, to foster an environment where they don’t feel threatened, and give them the tools and knowledge base to begin to excel at life/work. Again I don’t blame the managers, I think that this goes higher. It starts at the executive level.

As I have said in the past I am not a huge fan of numbers. I think numbers are the easy way out, and the true measurement for companies should be based in their glass door reviews just as often as their bottom line. Numbers are “easy” because the structure of our brain. Our frontal cortex is massive which is what separates us from other animals allowing us to have capabilities to speak, dissect, and analyze massive amounts of information and data. Which is why we have companies that are designed around it, humans are liquids we take the path of least resistance (see people are liquid blog). Managers are bred in this culture and are promoted because of the numbers. When we get hired for a job, over time we become proficient at that job. We then become an expert on that job and even train people to do that job. Then the mistake happens… we promote that person to manager. The reason this is a mistake is that this employee understands how to do the job of the people he is managing extremely well, but what he lacks in understanding is how to manage the people. This will lead him down the path of micromanaging and having people come to the office and so on and so forth. It is not his fault, it is the executives for putting him in a position in which he was not trained to do a job, he was promoted based on presence (or tenure) and his productivity levels.

When we promote a manager we need to first prepare them for the role. They are no longer responsible for the numbers they are responsible for the people. Managers must understand how people work and give help them not by telling them how to do their job, but giving them the tools and learning opportunities to do the job, just as a parent give their children the opportunity to learn and grow. This way when the boss is on vacation or the parents are away you no longer have to worry about what is going on at the office/house. The environment that you have built along with the culture your people believe in are what hold your standard in place. So why do you need to be present to have production?

Presence does not mean production. For so long we have thought that since employees are at the office we are getting work done. It is not about our presence in the office it’s about the environment in which we thrive. Give your employees the opportunities to grow and succeed by learning about them and how they function, not just the numbers they are producing. Find out where they work best, and how they work best. Numbers are the easy route. We can always manipulate the number, choose the path less followed and truly understand your employees. We can talk about how work fills time, we can talk about numbers, but at the end of the day we need to embrace the process of change and how the new workforce is shaping out. Focus more on the process of getting better each day and how you can help your people. Managers are responsible for the people who are responsible for the numbers and its starts with one person heading down the path. How do we get better today? Maybe it’s a remote office, maybe it is work from home Fridays, but in the end it’s a change that needs to happen, because if you’re not willing to change the structure of your company somebody will, and one thing is guaranteed as more millennials come into the workforce… change is coming, will you be ready?

On purpose,

Matt

What Wrestling, Dating, and Business have in common…

How can three completely different arenas have such a similar commonality? Why should we care? Wrestling, dating, and business. Let’s talk

The beauty of wrestling is that it combines two different aspects of a lot of different sports, the team and the individual. What I mean by that is, that we have a team that can go to a tournament and dual other teams and build a bond together, yet when it comes time to compete each individual contributes at a different weight class to then score towards the overall goal. Not very many sports have both aspects, which is why I love the sport so much. When you are at a high level of competition and you have two very equal competitors facing each other the stakes are often very high, whether it is for a state, national, or international title. In this scenario we often see a battle of wills hoping for the moment where the other competitor slips up for the slightest chance at an opportunity to get in to make an attack on an opponent. One moment, one shot, one opportunity.

Now not to talk about my love life, or lack thereof, but dating is also an interesting “game” of sorts. We have two sides, one often competing for the love and affection of the other and hoping to say the right thing or have the right moment to present oneself as a potential suitor for the other. While dating is not something I would try to manifest as something you can “win” in, I would say there is a competition aspect to it. Often men and women are faced against many men and many women to try and find a mate of sorts and we again are trying to “win” that person over. So, often we may spend days, weeks, months, becoming closer with someone, going on dates, meeting families, and other activities to prove our worth so that we can find the one opportunity where we can risk it all to ask that person to be our significant other. One moment, one shot, one opportunity.

Lastly, in business, but of course we save my career as the final topic. I am in territory sales which means I cover a large portion of a state going out and prospecting new accounts, developing relationships, and finding new customers to do business with that we had not done business with in the past. I often spend my days cold calling, knocking on doors, and searching for peoples time to sit down and learn more about the business they are in to then find out if we may have an opportunity to work together. I am often left with a voicemail box, a business card with the receptionist, or a “we’ve moved” sign. Yet, I too am continuing to search to try to find these opportunities to get just that one meeting that will get me in front of the customer to then show them the amazing capabilities we have to help make their lives easier. This is not specific just to electrical distribution, all sales people are looking for these chances, whether your selling Tessla’s at a dealership or socks at a retail store. It comes back to one moment, one shot, one opportunity.

So WHY does any of this matter? It comes down to the sheer fact that so often in life we may only have that one moment, that one shot, that one opportunity. Sometimes you chip away and get it, sometimes it’s the right timing, and sometimes it’s by pure luck. It’s not about the opportunity though, it’s about being ready. One of my favorite quotes is “fortune favors the prepared mind” by Louis Pasteur, because just finding the opportunity is not enough… it is knowing what to do with the opportunity that matters. When you see your opponent fall for a fake, being ready to shoot a shot to take them down, when you see the cute girl who asks you your name, being able to not choke on your own tongue and manifest an answer, and when you do finally get the meeting with the big client, to bring in the right resources and be able to diligently respond to his questions. Getting that one moment to show your skill, that one chance to make an impact, that one opportunity to be remembered. Be authentic, be real, and find these opportunities, but more importantly be prepared… you never know when that moment will come, but you know that you will have controlled the things you can control and have prepared to be the best that you can for the moment that your currently in.

On purpose,

Matt

Metrics – It’s a love/hate thing

On the topic of running organizations from last week, I want to touch on an often talked about subject this week. Metrics and numbers are typically the foundation of the executive level in which they utilize their magnifying glass and are how we hold people “accountable”. I am here to challenge this notion. As I discussed last week, people are liquid. They take the path of least resistance and for most people, numbers are the easy way out. We should be holding our managers accountable for employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Metrics, it’s a love/hate relationship. Let’s talk.

First, the love. Metrics are a key thermometer of a business. Looking at financial statements and understanding if your business is healthy is extremely important. These different documents allow you not only to see where the business may be hurting, but also where you can utilize different resources to improve. Overall they also give you different types of feedback, not just financial. You can use surveys to talk to your customers, employees, and even suppliers. Not only can you get a lot of information in a short period of time, but it also allows you to have a diversified look at your business or a potential business you are looking to invest in. The numbers are very crucial, but as I said earlier it’s a love/hate relationship. Here comes the hate.

“Just as businesses cannot live without profit, humans cannot live without red blood cells. The sole purpose of humans is not to just make red blood cells, just as the sole purpose of business should not be to just make a profit.” This is a quote from Edward Freeman and the conscious capitalism model. As I said earlier people take the path of least resistance, which typically in business is the metrics. We have so much information and different ways of slicing and dicing it that we can paint any type of picture we want. That is one of the problems of metrics. We can manipulate the numbers to show what we want, whether it is stagnating opex, sales growth, or justification for expansions in the business. Another problem with metrics and numbers is that they only show one level. Simon Sinek talks about this in more detail in saying that we do not know the impact past the metric. An example would be that we could see that sales have grown, but what you didn’t see was that because we had a training that grew our people. They then became more knowledgeable to then sell better to our clients who in turn became more loyal. We only saw the number, not the trail that led to it. The last piece I dislike about numbers is that it affects the people. At the end of the day people are the most important asset a company has, yet the easiest way to justify the numbers is by sacrificing the people. This mindset has led to many people losing jobs, careers, and affected more than just the company’s bottom line.

At the end of the day we need to switch our focus, we need to change the perception of how we run our organizations. We are more than just a bottom line. I just finished reading a book I  mentioned in the past called 12 Elements of Great Managing and a quote from the book goes as follows; “…business tolerates interpersonal incompetence, where it would never allow financial malfeasance.” How often do we see this in an organization? Where people in managerial roles care more about the number rather than the people under them! Simon Sinek also talks about this subject and says that we need to change the way we promote within our business. We give our employees that get groomed for upper management financial training from day one. The area we are lacking in is the people side. Our employees get really good at doing the day to day operations it takes to run our individual businesses. After years of doing so they get promoted into positions where they are no longer responsible for the numbers, but responsible for the people who are responsible for the numbers, resulting in a micromanage environment that creates hostility in the work place. We need to train our people to understand people, not just numbers.

Choosing the path less traveled is never easy. I understand that, but the problem is that this is something we cannot continue to sacrifice. We need to have an understanding of our financials and how to utilize them, but we need to have a better understanding of how our people work and how we can offer them the opportunities to get better, grow, and learn. Just as you want the best for your children at home, we should want the best for our employees at work. At the end of the day if we take care of our people, our people take care of our customers, and our customers take care of our shareholders.

On purpose,

Matt

People Are Liquid

The definition of a liquid is as follows, ”A liquid is a nearly in-compressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container…”. Taking water for instance, it fills to the shape of the container in which you pour it and does not compress well in that container. How can you relate this to people? The organizational structure as well the culture and environment of your company is your container. While the rules and regulations you place on your people are the compression you place on the “container” itself. Let’s talk.

I was sitting at work one day thinking about company culture and it’s impact on the people. The way I look at it is the following, you need to set a tone and clear understanding with your people about what you believe and value as well as clear expectations for all your employees. This is actually the first element of the book I just finished called The 12 Elements of Great Managing, which states that you know what is expected of your at work. The culture and environment drive those expectations. So, first as a manager you must build your container. Set and establish the expectations and the tone you want to run vibrant through your team. Most often as managers we forget that we hold the power to shape our container and we also forget that people are liquids.

When you look at a group of people within an organization we find a multitude of different personalities as well as age ranges. Now that the millennial generation has begun to take over the workforce we see that the “container” has been overlooked for quite some time and we now place more value on the result, rather than the people. I think this is one of the reasons why millennials leave companies early on in their career. I also think this is why most workforce’s, including millennials, break rules and regulations. When a culture or environment is tolerant of any and all things the container then becomes bigger. Then when you add the pressure to try to confine this behavior the liquid simply moves to another area of the container. Then next thing you know, your trying to put a twin sheet on a king size mattress. Maintain your container!

The pressure I’m talking about are the rules and regulations that you put in place for your people. They do not need to be a long complex list of HR policies that often send a mind numbing chill down your spine once year when you get the email telling you to read the code of conduct that has turned into a small novel pontificating about the dos and donots in which you must abide for the next decade of your life. These are simply rules that are checks to keep your container intact. What you allow to happen in your place of work defines the shape and size of your container, often alleviating the pressure you try to place on it. This is why companies that have poor culture often see high attrition rates and the “siloing” effect on departments and divisions.

Let’s recap. You as a manager set the culture that is allowed in your company/branch/region/lemonade stand. That culture is your container. You have the visions and the values that you instill in your people through training, workshops, etc…That allow you show your symbol to attract similar minded people. All things that you say and do are symbols of what you believe. Ensuring people understand that is very crucial to you maintaining your container. Not only because people will then support your beliefs, but also because then you are no longer the only one holding the group accountable. The second part is setting the right pressure. Allow rules and regulations that can be easily understood and well received by the group. You don’t always have to be the bad guy, but you do need to maintain some pressure or the container may become useless. Use your symbols to inspire people to join your cause and mold the culture you desire in your companies.

People take shape to the culture that is allowed, just as liquids take shape to their containers. Instead of griping about the problems about your company or complaining about your people not taking care of customers, start molding the shape of your container. At the end of the day we as managers think we are responsible for the result. Not only is this a flawed logic it also creates a repetitive cycle of our managers managing numbers and bodies rather than lives and people. I’m here to challenge the status quo. Do your part as a manager and do the same. People are the most important asset to a company and we need to start treating them like a heartbeat instead of a number.

On purpose,

Matt

The Measuring Stick of Expectation

We all have an idea of what our expectations of what our ideal life is. We try to define what happiness and success mean to us, and translate that into our actions and daily lives. The problem is that we aren’t always the one to hold ourselves to what we believe and use other people, our family, friends, the media, and other areas to measure our lives against theirs. It’s that damn measuring stick of expectation, let’s talk.

Ronny was a running back for a local high school in Denver. He was coming into his senior season and was on track to break most of the school records this coming season. He had already had interest from multiple Division 1 schools and was looking at having his entire school paid for through a football scholarship. Ronny’s father was also a football star. During his career in college he tore his ACL during his freshman campaign leading him to eventually step away from the sport due to complications with his knee among other injuries. Ronny has always wanted to learn about getting into the travel and tourism industry, but the schools he is looking at do not have a program for it. Ronny’s father continually pressures him into looking at following in his footsteps to play Division 1 football, yet Ronny is torn between his father’s expectations and his own aspirations.

Sammy was a successful student and entrepreneur all throughout his academic career. He started his first business in high school doing lawn care and landscaping. He then started his own fraternity and raised all funds to support it including finding multiple sponsors for all events held. Sammy then became a salesman at a successful fortune 500 company upon graduation. Sammy and his college girlfriend moved to Minneapolis where he would be covering the entire state of Minnesota to support his customer base. He quickly became successful, to no surprise of his peers, family, and girlfriend. One day Sammy was heading to work and was thinking about how as a kid he had always wanted to be a teacher and realized he got lost in making money and being successful along the way. Sammy knew he could not talk to his girlfriend about this because if he were to pursue this career path their lifestyle would change drastically. His girlfriend would not take too kindly to the sudden drop in income that she had become accustomed to from Sammy’s success as a salesman. He also knew he could not talk to his mother, who raised him as a single mother because she worked so hard to get to where she was at and expected Sammy to work as hard as she had to become the VP of her company.

Margaret was a stay at home mom who had three beautiful children and a very successful husband who worked as a travelling consultant for mid-sized manufacturer based out of the Midwest. Margaret was responsible for taking care of the kids and getting them to all their respective practices, recitals, and games. She also had to keep up on the housework and preparing the meals for the family. One problem she ran into was that her husband often would not be home for weeks at a time as his job covered the Midwest. When Margaret was in college she had gone to a meeting for a photography club and had aspirations to start her own small business for different types of events from graduations to weddings. This got put on hold as she met her husband and before she knew it had three babies and a family to support. Her husband expects her to take care of everything while he is on the road, but she is starting to feel overwhelmed and is starting to not be able to keep up. She wanted to talk to her sister who was in a similar position, but her husband made more money and was able to hire additional help so she couldn’t relate to her struggles nor her passion for photography as her sister was happy with where she was at.

Sammy, Ronny, and Margaret all are struggling with that damn measuring stick. As humans, one of our faults is that we seek acceptance for the decisions we make and reassurance that we are going down the right path, even when we don’t think it’s the right path for ourselves. We hold ourselves up to the measuring stick of other people’s expectations rather than our own. Ronny was facing his father’s expectation of following in his footsteps to chase football rather than his own passion of travel and tourism.  Sammy was faced with his girlfriend’s new found expectation of the lavish lifestyle they were leading with his profound success at work instead of pursuing his love for teaching. Margaret was stuck in a cycle of falling farther behind on keeping up with her kids. She couldn’t split the work load with her travelling husband and was beginning to regret never pursuing her interest in photography. People are afraid to step out and make a decision that other people may not agree with, even knowing they may regret it. The weight of regret on one person’s shoulders can lead you down even worse paths. Fear is temporary, regret is forever.

Never put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket. The expectations you hold yourself accountable for are your own and no one else’s. The decisions you make are not measured against anyone else’s beliefs about how you should live your ideal life. Too often we get stuck in trying to make other people happy and we don’t find time for our own happiness. Find what makes you happy, fulfilled, excited, and overjoyed and pursue that. In life, people may not always agree with what you want or where you want to go. People will always be there to throw shame, hate, and blame on what you do… but the people who truly love you and care about you will not hold you to their own measuring stick, but know that you are doing what you think is right and are there to help where they can. Don’t look back on your life and think I wish I would have pursued it and say I’m glad I choose this path.

On purpose,

Matt

Transparency

As we all sit in our cube farms and work vigorously, making the machine that is corporate life slowly chug on down the road, we sit and wonder what is it that we are not seeing? Hearing? The things that continually go on at the executive level that we don’t know about, or even at the regional level that we don’t hear about. Why is it that we don’t have open communication? Why is it that we have to have an “inside man” or a “leak” in the system to get information about what we are doing as a company. This week I’m focusing on transparency, or a lack thereof in corporate companies, let’s talk.

There a few big takeaways from being transparent to your employees. The first reason for transparency is trust. If a husband is out doing something and he doesn’t tell his wife, she will begin questioning what he has been doing in his spare time. When the husband is honest and candid in relaying the information, she becomes relieved. When she senses that he is lying it begins to damage the trust that was once between them. The same happens in a business environment. When a company is open and candid with their communication their employees will not be able to foster a trusting and open relationship with upper management. The same happens with customers, which brings up reason two, loyalty.

Loyalty between a customer and a business is built over time. It is not something that manifests overnight, but through repeated successes and wins with a customer and company. What companies are you loyal to? Why? Customer service? Products? Think about what keeps you coming back and think about how you can replicate that in your respective jobs.

The third takeaway we have with transparency is cooperation. When people know what is going on, they are more likely to work together. This is out of trust for one another, respect, and in general being on the same page as all other groups in your organization. Being transparent in your actions not only increases cooperation, but it improves culture and environment. People are more willing to help each other and grow the group as an organization rather than as an individual. As I have spoken on in the past we must rely on each other if we want to survive as a species. We are better together (Simon Sineks new book).

The problem with transparency is it’s not easy. Upper management is who controls where “important” information goes or does not. They control the flood gates. Through transparency we can see that we function better as a group. We can focus more on helping each other rather than helping ourselves. Upper management is also the one who set the vision of where the company is headed. So ask yourself, in a company lacking transparency, do you want to continue walking blindfolded?

On purpose,

Matt

Mindset – The Easy Fix

Simon Sinek was talking about a story in one of his talks about a time where a friend and he had just finished a race. After the race, they headed to the line where they were handing out different “freebies” from different vendors, one of which was a large myriad of bagels that had Simon’s name all over it. He told his friend that he wanted to get one of the bagels and his friend responded with, “but Simon look at this line, we will have to wait forever.” This drew him to the conclusion that there are two ways people see the world, some people see what they want and some people see what stops them from getting what they want. It’s a belief or a perception of how you see the world. It is how you think, your mindset…and it’s the easy fix. Let’s talk.

As I have said in the past, your perception of the world is built and based upon the previous experiences you’ve had and the values your parents instilled in you as a child. These are what can lead to the two aforementioned mindsets of seeing what you want or seeing what stopping you. Each of these mindsets are both understandable and have benefits to each, but in my opinion we need to have more of people who see what they want and go after it.

People who have the perception of seeing what they want are often optimists. They have a more positive outlook on life. They are the type of people who have large networks, but may not always have the deepest connections with everyone in that network. These are more often the dreamers and creative people, who think outside the box and dabble in the unknown. The people who have the perception of seeing what is stopping them from getting to what they want are often realists. They bring balance and sanity to the world. They bring the people above back to reality. They are often looking at facts, figures, and ROIs of projects and investments. As I said above there is no problem with either, but I think we don’t have enough people who go after what they want.

We all have different definitions of success, failure, love, happiness, and all emotions as I talked about in my article about SDTR (self-defining terms of relativity). I think the problem is that we don’t figure out what that truly means to each one of us until it’s too late. We get stuck in this ideology of if I get something I will then feel this. Then by the time we figure out what we want it’s “to late”. We continually search for what society, our parents, or our friends deem as the definition of these words. We never define it ourselves. The problem then begins to show as debts rise, relationships fail, addictions increase, and people become less fulfilled by the things they are doing. How do we change it?

Start early. Head down the path of finding out what these things mean to you. Try a new sport, chase a dream, find a new hobby, and meet new people! Go out somewhere and be alone, step outside your comfort zone. We so often get caught up in these definitions of how our lives should look based on our surroundings and never take the time to figure it out by ourselves. The sooner you can start looking into how you define these beliefs the sooner you can go after that bagel, or find that career you love, or travel the country you’ve always wanted to see. The first step to getting somewhere is not finding the final destination, but taking that first step.

Find out what is important to you and take the first step. See what you want and go after it. You can continually look at the million reasons why you’re not able to or what it is that won’t allow you too, or you can find the one reason why you should. Don’t look back at your life and wonder what if, look back knowing you have a story to tell about a journey and a path that allowed you to become that person you are today.

On purpose,

Matt

More than a Resume

In the world of business, you are defined by a few things typically. Some people look at the title you have behind your name. Some look at the years of experience you have. Some look at the degrees and plaques you have hanging on your wall. Some people even look at your company name, yet while all of these things are admirable… there is still more to you than the plaques you get and the years you have under your belt. You are more than what you can fit on that 8.5×11 you give to your potential employer, let’s talk.

I began thinking about this topic again as I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am finishing up a 2 year training program with a company called Rexel. After this program I will be moving into a more permanent full time role in which I am currently interviewing for. While preparing for my interview I began to think about all of these things and thought about some of the intangibles that you can put down on a piece of paper. I wanted to outline them and truly show that it shouldn’t always come down to your resume.

First up is character. Character is about what you believe, how you were brought up, and your “moral” compass. It is often overlooked until it bites you in the rear. We can find this information out about a potential employee by talking with previous employers and the associates he/she had worked with in the past. People with similar beliefs and values allow teams to be more cohesive as well as trusting in a shorter period of time. You may see similar beliefs and values, but you don’t want all the same people doing the same thing. This is the beauty of trait number two, Perspective.

Perspective is the way you perceive and interpret the world and its inhabitants. Perception is based on the summation of your experience in life and is different for all people. We often forget that all people are different and don’t “walk a mile” in their shoes. It allows us to not only diversify our problem solving abilities, but also creates an opportunity for learning. Someone who sees all the details in a problem may not understand the big picture. Someone who is used to the creative process may not be able to stick to a strict schedule. This is why humans have survived for so long. We were meant to work together. We don’t need to be good at everything. This is why we need to have trust, transparency, and build strong relationships with the people we work with.

The third thing we can all bring that is hard to measure is energy. One of the things I pride myself on is to get people energized around an idea and I do it through my own excitement for that idea. I remember going to one of our leadership trainings and talking with a few of my coworkers about the karaoke event we were going to have at the end of the training and how many of them were dreading it. I kept talking with them about how excited I was for it and how great it would be and brought my excitement level up to try to rub off on them. Then after a couple beers… and my persistence we got them up on that stage! It’s not only about me being energetic, but it’s also showing that we can be vulnerable. If you are willing to stick your neck out, to make a fool of yourself, to show your people that the environment they are in is safe. Safe environments allow us to begin building trust among one another. If you don’t have the energy, then use your passion. Passion shines through and you can tell when people truly care about something. Speak openly, honestly, and with energy about the things you care about and you will see the reciprocity not only in growth of your company, but in the togetherness of your team.

The last thing that we often talk about yet is not measured by your resume is leadership. Now, I know you want to argue with me. “Matt…. I was the team captain of my college sports team, I the head of the outdoor recreation group, and I started a volunteer team to raise money for local charities”… and so on that you have listed on that paper. I understand that you have been in a role of managing people or resources, but leadership has nothing to do with your rank in a company or a title behind your name. Many people who hold high positions in companies are not leaders, while some of the lowest level employees possess amazing leadership skills. Leadership is a choice and that choice is self-sacrifice. As I was touching on earlier, sticking your neck out for people shows that you care. People often mistake leadership as something we can learn just in a classroom or after a week of training. If it was that easy then why do we not have leaders running around rampant in our companies?? It’s because it’s not! We know that working out for an hour a month will not get you a six-pack. Yet we think going to a leadership course for a week prepares you to be a leader for the rest of your career. Evolution not revolution, sustained change is not an overnight process. You must work at it just as some people work on their fitness or their sport or whatever facet of life you are trying to improve upon. Every single day getting one percent better and improving while focusing on the process, not the result.

I have said it before and I’ll say it until my time is up; it’s not about the result. The 8.5×11 sheet of paper will tell people all about your results. Then employers will compare you among the 500 other candidates and see how your results stack up. It’s not about the result, it’s about the process. Focus on getting better each and every day in order to see yourself continually grow. This will also begin to open up your mindset which will take you beyond that piece of paper. So, I hope when you sit down to talk about your next career opportunity with your future employer, you can say I understand I may not have the most experience. I know I may not know everything, but here are some qualities about me you don’t see on that piece of paper…

On purpose,

Matt

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