We Live and Work in Amazing Times

Recommended song: Life in Marvelous Times – Mos Def

Wherever you ride, whatever your name,
This raw cold life is a beautiful thing.

Today I had the pleasure of working with a good friend on requirements for an analysis tool. The outcome of this project will lead to significant improvements in patient experiences. Making something that impacts someone’s life? That’s amazing!

Earlier this week, I worked with two other friends on visual design for an elearning project. The goal is to improve the amount and quality of investment for an entire segment of employees. That’s amazing!

Currently, I’m sitting at a coffee shop designing a presentation for tonight’s rotary meeting. I am speaking about the impact rugby has had on my life, and how we can grow the sport in the local area. I am enjoying the good weather while I work. That’s amazing!

As we sit (or stand) here cranking out work, I want to remind you all about the amazing time we live in. Think about who you get to talk to, work with, and learn from on a daily basis. Think about the people you are helping. And give yourself credit for making things people need.

If you think this doesn’t apply to you, maybe it’s time for a change. Is what you’re doing having the impact you want to have? On your life or the lives of others? Is what you spend most of your time doing resulting in the outcome(s) you want? Do you get to work with the people you’ve always wanted to work with? Your mentors? Your heroes? Your friends?

You may not love your job, but it gives you the money you need to travel. Cool. There’s your win. Maybe you hate your job, but you get to work with cool people. Okay. Another win. The job is decent, but you don’t feel like you’re having an impact? Change the job or add an activity outside of work where you can see that impact. Volunteer. Donate. Make something. Start a group project with friends or mentors and see where it goes. You’re in control.

Want some help? Let me know. I love talking to people about their passions and how they can make them a larger percentage of their time.

Most of all, be well. Be generous to yourself and to others. And be thankful.


Carousel at Fairgrounds

Step Off The Carousel

Marcia Conner shared this yesterday, and the timing was perfect.

Finding direction in your life instead of moving along aimlessly will make everything that is attained along the way more meaningful. But first you have to step off the carousel so you can plot a course for moving forward.

The One Thing

There is no chance for real progress unless you find your purpose and prioritize. The hardest thing for us to do is stop. But when you step off the carousel, you can see the entire ride, and figure out which horse you want to be on.

I’ve been trying to step off for a while. Over the past few years, several of my friends have heard me say I’m taking the month of ___________ off to organize, prioritize, and plan. But it never happens. A week in the mountains with little connectivity was nice, but I was still going 100 miles per hour coordinating family activities and navigating snow storms.

I’m taking a day off next week, completely off and away from my house, jobs, commitments, to think and write about my purpose. I encourage you to find time — maybe not a day, maybe just an hour or two — to find clarity about your purpose and direction for the year.

Be well. Be nice. Do good work.

Coffee Beans

20 Things I’m Thankful For #4 – Coffee

Oh, man. Coffee. You knew this was coming.

I never drank much coffee until college. And then, it was crap like Denny’s. Strictly caffeine injection so I could “cram” for tests. Yeah, that didn’t work (the coffee or the cramming).

Somewhere along the way I started drinking better coffee, but still needed to “doctor” it up with a bit of cream and sugar. Two things moved me to switch to drinking it black. First, my father-in-law is a big-time coffee drinker. Bold and black. Starbucks, mostly. Hanging out with him more led to better coffee and finding what I liked without having to add anything. Second, I was eliminating unnecessary sugar from my diet.

Then I went to Blue Bottle when I was at DevLearn and observed some bad ass techniques for creating a tasty hot beverage. Around the same time I was hanging out with too many people who were starting to geek out about coffee (Mrs. Rimmer, Mr. Silvers, Mr. Early). Then I bought an AeroPress and a Chemex.

I don’t roast my own beans or buy artisan coffee, weigh my grounds, or even grind my own very often. But I do know flavors and styles and what I like and don’t like (no citrus, please).

Coffee is how I start my day. Coffee keeps me going. Not so much the caffeine as the process. 4–5 times a day I get up, turn on the kettle, clean out the AeroPress, and get to work creating a nice strong cup o’ joe. I enjoy the process. It’s a nice break and the results are consumable.

Like music, it’s a reason to gather with others and create something, have a conversation, or just sit and ponder life.

So, thank you, coffee.

This is #4 in my 20 Things I’m Thankful For Series


Record Player

20 Things I’m Thankful For #3 – Music

I love music. All kinds. Live. Recorded. Analog. Digital. Rock. Blues. Rap. Country. Classical. It doesn’t matter. I just love music.

I’ve played the clarinet. I’ve sung in choirs. I’ve tried to learn the guitar and the ukulele (though to be honest, not very hard). I can occasionally be coerced into singing karaoke with the right group of friends.

In 2014, I found live music again after a long time away. I went to a variety of incredible live music events and venues: Soulshine Pizza (Nashville songwriters), Blind Bear in Memphis (Eric Hughes Band), Humboldt Park (RiotFest – OMG CLUTCH!), Fitzgerald’s Upstairs (Shovels and Rope), Gruene Dancehall (Seth Walker Band, Trombone Shorty), Crystal Ballroom in Portland (Lily Allen), Roseland Theatre in Portland (DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist – Renegades of Rhythm Tour), House of Blues Houston (Pretty Reckless, Adelitas Way) and a few others. It was an amazing year of live music.

Somehow I’ve lost my way and have only seen Clutch in Austin in January and a concert in the park this summer. But I’m getting back on track before the end of the year and will catch at least one more show.

Music ignites you. Music informs you. Music inspires you. Music stirs your soul. Music brings people together. Music makes people move.

Road trips. Workspaces. Coffee shops. Bars. Clubs. Parties. Video games. Movies. None of these would be the same without music.

Sometimes, I love silence. Sometimes, I just want to sit and listen to the world. Sometimes, I want to hear everything that’s going on around me. Mostly, though, I want music.

Music helps me work. Music helps me write (Buxton is on right now). Music helps me cry. Music helps me learn. Music helps me cope. Music helps me teach. Music helps me communicate.

Music helps me live.

Thank you, music.

This is #3 in my 20 Things I’m Thankful For Series.