To Strive

There is something beautiful about these words. Such angst and sadness in this ambition.

Below is an excerpt of Tennyson’s “Ulysses.” I was honestly unaware of the full version of this until this evening. How uneducated I would  be without wikipedia.

Full version here

“…Come, my friends,
Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

 

Preparing for my son’s future

Despite the fact that I am a father of a almost two year old boy, I find myself looking back on college, high school, and even middle school through my own eyes more than I can picture what it will look like through my son’s. For one I can’t imagine how the world at large will have changed by the time he is making decisions like where to go to college. Secondly, since he is only two years old, there are still so many years for him to live before he develops a personality, passions, or even preferences.

As much as I want to prepare for my son’s future and our conversations around that future, I am still in a season where I am fully recognizing the consequences of my own decisions. I am still trying to learn from my own missed opportunities. I am still trying to figure out what decisions have led to where I am currently, so I can continue to shape the man that I becoming.

But one thing is becoming more clear, the days of theory are over, and the principles that I believed in high school and college have had an effect on who I am today. They are having an effect on who I am becoming.

No matter how many books I read, case studies I work through or interviews I listen
to, there is no substitute for walking through a situation personally. In fact the only real exception is having a coach or someone with a better vantage point lend you their per- spective. That third party perspective, around pointed questions has helped guide me in difficult work situations better than walking through them blindly.

It is this type of perspective that I wish to give my son. Because the most arrogant and idealistic version of myself believed things in those formative high school and college years that now don’t seem as important to me. In fact they now seem downright trivial to me. It is that kind of perspective that I wish I had during my formative years. The perspective that I didn’t always believe from my parents despite our great relationship and their incredible wisdom. It was something I thought anonymous advice from pul- pits and podcasts could better deliver. But as it turns out, having someone who knows me and has my best interests at heart is pretty invaluable.

I must find a way to cultivate a conversation in our house where I speak life into my son on a daily basis from age two till age twenty-two, to show him that I have his best inter- ests at heart, and beyond all of that show him through my vulnerability that mistakes will be made but those mistakes won’t define him. Like, hopefully, they haven’t defined his father.

Good enough to share – Saturday edition

I don’t know about you, but for me, Saturdays are about rest and refueling. I would hate to imply that I don’t work some on Saturdays.. far from it. But, I have found that if I don’t get some inspiration, and some refueling on the weekend, then it kills my Monday and Tuesday productivity.

With that in mind; here is my list of what worked today.

 

People doing remarkable things:

1. Imogene + Willie – http://www.imogeneandwillie.com/
2. Falcon Motorcycles – http://www.falconmotorcycles.com/gallery.html#0
3. Confederate Motorcycles – http://confederate.com/motorcycles/existentialist/
4. The Forgetful Gentleman – http://forgetfulgentleman.com/home

Beautiful things:

1. Stag – (great men’s retailer in Austin, TX – Tumblr) – http://tumblr.stagaustin.com/
2. A continuous lean – http://www.acontinuouslean.com/

Thought provoking:

1. Bearings Guide – http://www.bearingsguide.com/
2. Advice to Entrepreneurs – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbfscLCOuW8
3. Amy Poehler’s Harvard Speech – http://jezebel.com/5805927/amy-poehlers-awesome-harvard-commencement-speech
4. Triangle Startup – Pitches from the weekend event – http://triangle.startupweekend.org/

#enjoy

The grid


I shared this with someone recently and thought it would be good to post here as well. DISCLAIMER:: I don’t remember where I heard this first but it is definitely not my own…

There are three types of goals when looking for a career.

1. Doing something you love
2. Doing something the world will pay for (that they value)
3. Doing something you can become the best in the world at

Most people accomplish one of these, and land in a career for the rest of their life, but the people that you know that are really happy have found the magic place where they are doing all 3.

It is tough to find, but if you ever do, hold on.

Road Rules #1

Ever since moving to Birmingham to work with Avalaunch, I have had a few more chances to travel than I did while I was in any of my previous roles. The newness of flying and renting cars has worn off and now it is more of a game. Maybe it is the strategic planner in me, but I really like to travel for the game of it all. The game of getting off the plane as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is a challenge, similar to picking the quickest line at the grocery store or getting out of the HOV lane in traffic at just the right moment. Hard to describe, but none the less satisfying…

I have picked up some tips from other folks along the way so it only feels right to share them. So here you have it. My top 10 keys to sanity and overall kick-ass efficiency on the road.

10. Starbucks Iphone App – Not only does this handy guy tell you where they are, but it tells you if they are open at any given moment. Of this, I am a fan.

9. Southwest Airlines – Talk about a fun game, there are no assigned seats, and if you play your cards right, you might have the chance to have no one in the middle seat between you and a colleague? What about that isn’t fun..? Also, they have by far the best website for booking flights that I am aware of.

8. Orbitz.com – Really handy when you have all of the information already saved in there. (Credit cards, birthdays, names, airline frequent flyer miles..)

7. Passport – Traveling with a passport is completely unnecessary when you are flying domestically, but I swear you get treated better in security when you flash it around. Try it and tell me I am crazy..

6. Twitter – If you are married, you are more than likely not traveling with your spouse on trips for work. But, when you both tweet all of the stupid trivialities of your day, it helps you not feel like you are as far away. Before you go saying that I am a bad husband for not calling, I do still call, but this just helps in the times when you aren’t on the phone.

5. iPhone – I can’t imagine traveling without an iphone. Not to be overly dramatic, but I always struggle to remember 5 years ago when you had to print confirmation emails and had to write down phone numbers in your journal. Throw on top of logistics ease the fact that you can throw in headphones and bounce back and forth between music, TV shows, and phone calls with the touch of a button on your headphones and not even take your phone out of our pocket. All that to say, I think we take smartphones in general for granted.

4. Netflix – Streaming access to your favorite shows and movies without having to pack DVDs in your bag.

3. Blazers – No, this is not the name of a fancy app that keeps up with your information for you, I am referring to a good old fashioned jacket with an inside pocket. 9 times out of 10 they keep you the right temperature, and like the passport, I am convinced that people treat you a little nicer when you have on a nice coat.

2. Beat Headphones – But not the kind that make you look like you are a record producer, but the kind that fit in your ear like normal ones. These guys not only sound pretty tasty, but work with the iphone. Add to that noise canceling powers and you have a pretty good bargin for the price.

1. Tripit.com – This thing is amazing. Truly. When you make any plans, just add them to your itinerary by forwarding your emails to plans@tripit.com. That is it… that adds them to your iCal, Tripit Iphone App and keeps up with confirmation numbers, dates, departure/arrival times, the local weather and directions in a taxi as well as connecting you to the other people on the trip. There is a PRO version of this program that in my opinion is overpriced, but I have no problems with the free version. Check it out, and if you are disappointed, I will buy you a cup of coffee.

There you have it. Got any tips that I need to hear?

The Tension is Good | Catalyst 2010

Catalyst this year was phenomenal. Great creativity, amazing speakers, great music, and spaces to connect and interact with friends and strangers. I was fortunate enough to have the ability to go and even meet some of the team that spend all year preparing for the event.

The theme this year was The Tension is Good. I can’t tell you the sigh of relief that you could hear in the crowd when the host explained this concept. The concept of we all have a place we are heading, and yet, we aren’t there yet. We have a lot of work to do. For some of us, a lot of work.

I was blown away by Seth Godin’s talk, I am sure you are not surprised, which was a combination of his new book Graceful, Linchpin, Purple Cow, and Tribes all in one. I really liked hearing Daniel Pink rehashing a lot of his book Drive. He is such a good writer, and that book will change the way you think about the world.

I am sitting is Starbucks writing this, and I can’t help but think of my all time favorite quote (on my about page) by Goethe. The quote is simple but much harder to actually live out…

“Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it now. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

The challenge here isn’t coming up with an idea, it isn’t finding the right people to surround yourself with, it isn’t finding the funding or capital needed, it isn’t finding and identifying your target market. It is just getting started right now. “Begin it now”.

For some folks with all the resources in the world and all the confidence that one could ever need, this might not be an issue. For the rest of us, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the fact that we can do it. It really comes down to believing in yourself enough to get started… You don’t have to finish right now, but you have to get started.

Do it. Start. Today. Now.

NOTE: I realize that there are lots of things that can keep us from getting started and I really only mentioned one or two. (maybe that deserves a full post in itself)

Matchstic – New site. New look.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the new Matchstic.com website. Remarkable in every sense of the word. If the goal is customer engagement, then here is someone doing it well.

Let me throw this out there. For a branding company, the majority of your business is project based. Most clients are one time clients, due to the fact that you typically aren’t rebranding everyday. (unless you are doing something very wrong) So to keep a dialogue going with clients, to keep a relationship going, and even more to keep your customers (or friends as they would call them) engaged, is a huge challenge for a firm like this. In my opinion, not many people do it better than these guys.

I must admit I am biased, but I will say that there a few days where I don’t mention something that I learned while I was at the stic. I am therefore very appreciative of the guys that took a chance on me, and have connected me to every employer that I have had since. (all former clients, and now friends)

#kudos