Author Archives: Rho

Who Suffers Most From Travel Stress?

​Mo' Travel Mo' Problems.

Do you think travel stress increases with the number of trips per year?

Only half the time.

​Stress can increase or decrease with frequency of travel. It normalizes over time. Infrequent travelers show a wild variability in the amount of stress they experience. Some experience a high level of stress while reshuffling home and work responsibilities whereas others who rarely travel may view the experience as a treat.

Regardless of where they start, most people's stress normalizes over time. The novelty wears off. Reshuffling gives way to routine.​

And God Wrought Special Miracles

Last week in an interview Senator Rand Paul dismissed criticism of trump as being holier than thou and warned people who live in glass houses. He justified this position claiming such criticism makes healthy discourse impossible.

That is odd defense when the definition of healthy discourse is the ability to speak openly, even critically.

Contrast Senator Paul's position with the words of Spencer W Kimball, discussing his duty as a church leader to admonish others.

In writing about sin and repentance, no intent is implied that [I] or any of those quoted, except the Lord himself, is without fault. But we would not have much motivation to righteousness if all speakers and writers postponed discussing and warning until they themselves were perfected!

To take a position that in order to have meaningful communication you cannot criticize is juvenile. It is the antithesis of meaningful communication. In his seminal book, How to Win Friends And Influence People, the first principle Dale Carnegie offers is “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.” Sounds like Senator Paul is right, doesn't it? It does, if you only read headlines. This ideal Carnegie goes on to teach us is to be kind, thoughtful, and considerate of others. Show respect to get respect. This principle encourages empathy when talking other people.

Senator Paul makes reference to the adage: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." Another less common but accurate meaning is: One who isn't open to criticism should not criticize others. Senator Paul's takeaway: don't throw stones. President Kimball's takeaway: don't live in a glass house, be open to criticism, or rather be mindful of your own imperfection.

I'd rather have Kimball on my team. I'd rather have someone who is mindful of their own faults while striving to better all of us. Throw stones . . . gently.

Representative John Curtis On Net Neutrality

Yesterday I called my congressman, recently elected, John Curtis. I spoke with a member of his staff and let them know I support net neutrality. I then asked what Representative Curtis’ position was on this topic.

I was nervous about calling, even though I volunteered with John’s first campaign for mayor. We have crossed paths since then on a few occasions. I’ve always been happy to see him. And . . . he has been happy to see me. That always feels good, to know someone important knows you. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

I learned that John has received hundreds of calls and emails from Utahns like me about net neutrality. Silicon slopes is in his district, Hello!
               <Sarcasm> I’m sure it’s gotten a little attention. <Sarcasm>
He has taken the time to personally read each and every message. He has also held a series of Net Neutrality discussions in district 3, and will continue hosting these listening sessions during the coming weeks.

Little did I know while I was calling his office, John Curtis was on the house floor sharing his views on net neutrality. Here is a link to the video (it's short). Here is what John said:

John CurtisHouse of Representatives, District 3 Utah

I am a very strong supporter of a free and open Internet. 

The Internet is one of the most important technology advancements of our time and has become a critical component of the overall growth and strength of our economy. I support the principles of net neutrality such as

  • no blocking
  • Throttling
  • or paid prioritization.

That said, I'm concerned that heavy-handed regulation of the Internet will stifle innovation and economic growth.

As a Member of Congress, I take my oversight responsibility very seriously and will continue to closely monitor the FCC's decision making on net neutrality. Ultimately, I believe that Congress needs to take steps to modernize the statutes that govern how the Internet is regulated. As you know, in April 2017, the FCC began a rulemaking, Restoring Internet Freedom (17-108), to revisit the Open Internet Order of 2015. The FCC is scheduled to make a final decision on this rulemaking before the end of this year.

You can file a public comment on that rulemaking by visiting www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.

You can follow John on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @RepJohnCurtis for updates on this issue and his work in Congress.

(His social media is actually really good. Other politicians would do well to follow his example.)

The Drip – [by Seth Godin]

Change, real change, is the result of focused persistence.

It's easy to get a bunch of people sort of excited for a little while.

The challenging part, and the reason that change doesn't happen as often as it should is that we get distracted. Today's urgent is more urgent than yesterday's important.

The concept of breaking news and the crisis of the day proves my point. If the world ended every time Wolf Blitzer implied it would, we would have been toast a long time ago. The organizations that actually change things are the ones that have a time horizon that's longer than 36 hours.

There are very few overnight successes. Very few entrepreneurs, freelancers, non-profits, candidates, spiritual leaders, activists or people in a successful relationship that got there with thunder and lighting. It happens with a drip.

PS this post is intentionally disfigured in honor of Break the Internet. I'm annoyed that we have to continually fight this fight, but it just proves my point. Drip by drip.

Keep showing up. If it matters, keep showing up.

Thanks Seth, for showing up. For inspiring us to show up.​

Notes On Motivation

Business Acumen is one of four Aspects of Leadership. Motivation is a competence of Business Acumen.

Foundations of Motivation:

1. Before anything else, people need physical survival & safety. If you can help someone with their health, wealth, or their kids you are setting a foundation of loyalty and trust. By helping with these foundational needs you free them to pursue higher needs.

2. Need to belong.

3. Need to achieve their full potential. To become the best they can be: autonomy, mastery, and contributing to a larger purpose.

Top 10 Causes of Disengagement:

Engagement is the level of positive attachment employees feel toward their job & org. These are the top contributors to employees becoming dis-attached or unengaged in their roles. 

  1. Feeling Invisible.
  2. Efforts are not measured or recognized.
  3. Work seems irrelevant.
  4. Job or workplace is not as expected.
  5. Job doesn't fit talents or interests.
  6. Little to no feedback or coaching.
  7. No access to professional development.
  8. No viable career path.
  9. Overworked & Stressed out.
  10. Lack of trust or confidence in senior leaders.

Best Practices for Staffing Teams.

  1. Hire people into the right positions.
  2. Match job descriptions to real work expectations.
  3. Provide training & development.
  4. Accurate performance review system.

Best Practices for Building Relationships.

  1. Know your people individually.
  2. Use OOO meetings to support professional dev.
  3. Provide coaching and training.
  4. Look for growth opportunities

Best Practices for Engaging Teams.

  1. Be clear about events and goals.
  2. Communicate the business case for why things are happening.
  3. Express your faith in the team.
  4. Help team identify what support they need.
  5. Celebrate successes, large and small.

Notes On Leading with Vision & Values

​Self Awareness is one of four Aspects of Leadership. Leading from Vision & Values is a competence of Self Awareness.   

Definition of Integrity:

  • Adhering to your Values.
  • Quality of being trustworthy.

What people look for in their leaders?

1. Someone who leads from their values.

2. Someone who shares an inspiring vision of the future.

Be clear on your values.

Share your values.

Let your values lead your vision.

Be relentless in pursuing your vision.

Reading List​

How Great Leaders Inspire Action​

Do You Work Too Hard?

Do you get in early? Stay late? Eat lunch at your desk? Check email from bed? Do you take a lunch only when you’re drowning and just need to get out of the office? Is a burger, fries and a shake a reward for a grueling morning? Have you ever said, “I don’t want to live like this. This isn’t me."

Do you have more than you can reasonably fit on your plate? Do you basically handle whatever falls off? But only if it explodes? If you have ever asked,

“How do I deal with one thing after another blowing up in my face?

I need . . . something . . . because I am drowning. Wave after wave of work is knocking me down and the tide is coming in.”

I’ve been there too.

Over a quarter of a professional’s working day is spent emailing, 28%.

28% is spent emailing and email is open the rest of the day in case something potentially explosive comes through:

  • A short reply from the boss, asking about that deliverable
  • An unhappy client
  • Last week’s fire rearing its head, creating this week’s emergency

A study of employees at Cisco revealed that failing to respond to an email can lead to a swift breakdown in trust. Are you sitting on an unexploded time bomb?

The research: Major source of work related stress is the pull for timely response to emails.

Is email killing you? That might read like hyperbole; read on and decide for yourself. A study of British civil servants found that the rank and file employees were at greater health risk than higher ranking administrators. Chronic stress was the culprit. These employees were accountable for outcomes where they had little authority, influence or control. Negative outcomes appeared, as if at random, outside of their control and influence. The result, chronic stress.

Often the sources of stress are small and varied, but chronic stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death, a slow death by a thousand papercuts. It’s not a huge leap to see that many of those small and varied stressors are coming from your inbox.

How does our work culture respond to this threat? Researchers have coined the term telepressure to describe the urge to respond immediately to email. I guess you can’t cure it ‘til you name it first. This urge includes thinking about emails that need to be written. As a result, says Larissa K. Barber, an assistant professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University, “You have trouble cognitively letting it go.”

I've been there. The research is helpful. But it only confirms I'm not the only one that struggles with email, but that is not a solution. Managing email is a significant part of work. For my own sanity I went looking for a process to get my inbox under control because there had to be an easier way.

Getting Things Done.

Have you heard of David Allen’s Getting Things Done? GTD for short. I’ve never read his book because my first exposure to his material was an MP3 download of the GTD LIVE Two Day Seminar. David Allen offers an introductory GTD course thru LinkedIn Learning. It’s an introduction to the theory and general practices. It’s not bad. But if you want to really master the skill, it will only get you started. You will need something else to get into the details and best practices. If $99 and two days is too much, an alternative is this Inbox Zero course from Udemy. I like it because it is highly specific, actionable, and it’s video instruction. This course wasn’t around when I was figuring this stuff out, but this is exactly what I did in my gmail.

The GTD LIVE Two Day Seminar is fantastic! Skip the book. I highly recommend this seminar. At $99 it is pricy but, I have listened to it again and again. As David Allen says, the process is iterative. It isn't all or nothing. You can apply parts of it. You can learn, apply, and grow. Then repeat. I've taken a lot of notes.

The Two Minute Rule

One of the biggest takeaways from David Allen is the two minute rule. Do anything that takes less than two minutes right away the first time it is in your face. It’s surprising how many things you put off that can get done in two minutes or less. For example, wash your dishes immediately after you eat, toss the laundry in the washing machine, take out the garbage . . . invest in yourself . . . invest in your time.

Buy the seminar. You have two minutes.

Thanksgiving: An Attitude of Gratitude

This is a holiday about gratitude, about family and about possibility. It brings people together to celebrate the harvest, to look each other in the eye and share something magical.

What is Gratitude, really?

Gratitude is a virtue. Gratitude is a habit. It is the virtue that Job leaned on during challenging times in his life. Gratitude is a catalyst to all christlike attributes. A thankful heart is a parent of all virtues. Practicing gratitude allows you to experience more happiness, improve your mental health, and be more productive. It is a choice. It is not difficult. But it is easy not to do. You can choose to develop a habit of gratitude and gain the benefits. Or you can allow yourself to slip into negative thoughts, walking around muttering to yourself, “I hate my life.” Gratitude is a disposition. A way of life that stands independent of our current situation.

How does Gratitude Help You . . . At Work?

Those who are happy experience 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales, 3x greater creativity and 23% fewer fatigue symptoms. Happy people are also up to 10x more engaged, 40% more likely to receive a promotion, and 39% more likely to live to age 94.

Master this one skill and you become invincible! When something bad happens in your life, look for three great things in your life. If you can learn how to position your mind in gratitude, things cannot hold you down. It’s impossible to take a grateful person and beat them down! It’s like a superpower. You can become invincible just by being grateful. As you build this muscle of gratitude, you’ll begin to even feel grateful for the hard times. The hard times make you tough. The hard times tear you down, so you can build a stronger you!

Take Advantage of the 2-20 Rule.

Shouldy Thinking. There are two forms of “Shouldy thinking”. Shouldy is a play on words: it sounds like sh*tty and is at the core the first type. If gratitude develops happiness, then entitlement develops depression. Entitlement is when you believe something should (shouldy) be happening that isn’t. You are not owed anything. Step out of expectation into genuine appreciation & gratitude.

That is not to say that there are not real injustices in the world that should be remedied. But let me ask you, would you be better prepared to tackle these injustices with a clear positive mind, or a crippled negative mind? This isn’t about the world and what everyone else does, this is about your inner place.

The second form of shouldy thinking is (are?) automatic negative thoughts. Or ANTs. Like real ants these just creep up on you. And there are more than one.

Did you know your brain is 2% of your body’s weight but consumes 20% of the calories you consume. This thanksgiving think about that. Seriously. One fifth, that is 400 calories, or a piece of pumpkin pie. What you eat affects what you think, that is the 2-20 rule.

It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.

What do I have to be grateful for when my world is falling apart?

We can choose to limit our gratitude, based on the blessings we feel we lack. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding. It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God.

It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going your way. But what do you do when what you wish for is far out of reach? It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is proportional to the number of blessings we can count. Instead of being thankful for your circumstances, focus on being thankful in your circumstances.​

In times of distress expressing gratitude does not require you to also be pleased with your circumstance. It does not stop you from looking beyond present-day challenges and seeing through eyes of faith what can be. This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.​

Develop Gratitude with this ONE simple tool. And it’s FREE!​

Write down three new things that make you happy. Each day, see if you can rewire your brain’s for greater optimism and benefit from a boost of happiness. By actively finding ways to practice gratitude, joy and social connection, your brain will retain a pattern of scanning the world for the positive first rather than the negative. You can also use journaling time by recognizing negative thoughts (ANTs) and challenging their validity. Recognizing them for what they are is 70% of the battle.​

There are some common results you will experience by doing this simple gratitude journal. Many experience feeling calm, re-energized, and more ready to tackle the day; the ability to see things more clearly, feeling grounded, seeing opportunities rather than limitations; and the joy of spreading positivity to others.​

References & Additional Reading:

I straight up stole most of this blog from different sources that are greater than I. If this was a school assignment I’d get hit for plagiarism, no doubt. But this isn’t a school assignment. If I was a better person with more time I could write something more original. The reality is my deadline has passed and frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.

Here they are. Happy Thanksgiving.

Grateful In Any Circumstance - Dieter F Uchtdorf

The Thanksgiving Reader - Seth Godin

The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor

Hume’s Turkey: A Tale of Thanksgiving.

Like most turkeys, Hume's turkey lives on a farm. From this turkey's perspective life is good. Of course, there are bad days: the weather might turn cold, the older turkeys might box him out from the best seed and grass, a fox might get into the coupe. Life is good because of the farmer. The farmer loves his turkeys.

The farmer keeps the coup, which protects the turkey from the weather. The farmer defends the turkey from the fox. The farmer makes sure the turkey gets enough to eat. The turkey is happy because the farmer loves him.

The turkey lives his life, without concern for the future. The turkey has no way of knowing, based on experience, that he will soon be dinner.

We put ourselves at risk when looking to the past as a predictor of what will be. That is the problem with knowledge gained from induction, that is the turkey's dilemma. 

Bertrand Russell is credited with the idea of the turkey's dillema in highlighting the holes in David Humes arguments about knowledge gained by induction.

Adapted from The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Often I get a question that reveals a fundamental mistake we all make every day.

This is my answer.

It gets asked a lot. Maybe. Maybe it's just that to a hammer everything is a nail.

This is my hammer.

You might be leading a team, crafting the bullet points on your resume, making a recommendation on Facebook. What do you say to persuade others to take action?

What do you say?

Jamie Dimon puts it like this, "Leadership is relentless storytelling. We all forget. We all need to be reminded of our purpose." So,

What's your story?

​The Mistake That Is Costing You

​See if you catch yourself doing this the next time you have to write a performance evaluation. Do you focus on what you did? Take a look at your resume. What is the focus? Is it on what you did? Think of the last good movie you saw or book you read. In the comments below, write me a recommendation for why I should see / read it.

Are you tempted to give away the plot? You (and just about everyone else) is focused to much on the what.

You need to start with Why. Simon Sinek wrote a whole book on why. But you can get away with just watching the TED talk.

Anyone (and everyone) can tell you what they do.

Some can talk about how. This is 90% of what marketers will focus on: differentiating value proposition, proprietary process, secret sauce, or USP (unique selling proposition).

Very few people will talk about Why, Purpose, Cause, Belief. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why should anyone care? People don't buy what you do they buy why you do it. And the what serves as the proof of what you believe.

The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe. It is not making money; that is a result. Start with Why, then follow it up with How and What.

How to Start with Why​

​I bought Start With Why hoping to learn how to start with Why. It's a good read. I've read and re-read it. The book comes up short at the end where Sinek up sells a $100 course to help you find your why. I opted to figure it out on my own. It took a little over a year to nail down a repeatable process. But it was free! If you are interested in learning how I did it, keep reading.

Articulating your Why is difficult. It's innately fuzzy. Your goal is to bring it into sharp focus. That might take some time. Just keep coming back to it.

My first attempts were heavily influenced by the Strengths Finder 2.0 Assessment. I highly recommend this exercise. It's free when you purchase the book, Strengths Finder 2.0. This is a great tool if you are looking for an objective measure of your innate strengths. Here is the catch, even as I explored my strengths I knew that strengths are not the same as purpose. This answers the question How, not Why. And that is valuable. Your strengths set you apart from the crowd, they are your USP, your secret sauce. So the exercise is worth taking the time to do. It's just not the final destination.

It's ironic that the question Simon Sinek leaves unanswered in his TED talk is answered by another TED talk: How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes by Adam Leipzig.

I'm sure you have heard of the idea of an elevator pitch. Adam goes through a series of questions so you can articulate yours in under five minutes: your own elevator pitch that starts with why. You can check out mine on my LinkedIn Profile. Or my Instagram Bio. Even the intro of my Facebook page.

​But that is not going to be enough. It isn't going to weather the storm. And the storms will come. Believe that.

What's It All For?

What's it all for? Tour bus, studio, and the fans

What's it all for? Chicks and whips with twenty inch rims

What's it all for? To feed my family and my friends

What's it all for? To change your world the best I can

~ What's It All For​

Bazaar Royale

The final piece came after I read Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. I think he is a terrific writer. He utilizes a strong voice (and language, consider yourself warned).

I could not have come across his book at a better time, it was actually one of the most awful times in my life. I was suffering from shouldy values. One in particular, which I'll call "big house nice car." The house wasn't even that big, just bigger than mine. The car wasn't that nice, just nice to have. And somehow this justification made it less shallow. Have you ever heard someone say,

"When I'm done with school . . . "

"When I get that internship . . . "

"When I graduate . . . "

"When I get a job  . . . "

"When I get a better paying job that is actually in my field . . . "

"Once I make X per year . . .

. . . then I'll be happy / set / successful."

Have you ever heard those words? Was it you saying them? It was definitely me. These are dangerous words. They are a symptom of shouldy values.

The cure for shouldy values is to be mindful of great values. Your great values. Where I sit, people outsource this type of thinking to religion. Don't. For sure this is a great pool to draw from but, do your own homework. It's actually a fun exercise.

The Cure For Shouldy Values​

You are going to fill out bracket for your values. Think March Madness, but with values.

I've started you off with a pretty good list of values. Go through this list or feel free to google "list of values" yourself. Write down the ones that resonate with you on a post-it notes. One per note. Don't hold back, if a word catches your eye, write it on a post-it.​

​Don't skip this next step because if you do you will need to start over. You should have a pile of post-it notes now. Divide these post-its into categories: Personal Attributes, Activities, Relationships, Things, Skills. It's easiest to do this with Post-It notes. You might value certain categories more than others. It will become clear why this matters in the last step.

Finally you are going to fill a bracket hold a tournament (think March Madness) for each category. Each value is going to compete against another value. Consider a pair of Post-It notes. If you canonly have one, which do you choose to keep? The keeper advances to the next round. Do this until you have a clear winner for each category.

The categories are important because you might value one category over another. I found this was the case with me. Knowledge is one of my top values, but it is a thing and of all the categories I value things the least. Knowledge ended up getting killed by values in other categories. I saw it dropping down the ranks and knew something needed to change.

Which, brings me to the final step. The bracket is designed to spur your own intuition. It's not designed to be an objective measure. This isn't Highlander, there can be more than one. I actually created a top ten list for each category. You might even need different categories, if you do I'd like to know about it. Really. Tell me about it.

Tell Me Your Story.​

​Jamie Dimon once said, "Leadership is relentless storytelling. We all forget. We all need to be reminded of our purpose. So,

Tell me your story.

Now that you have done all of this work,

what story is yours to tell?

It's a story about you, your tribe, and what you do for them.

It starts with what you believe, what you value. But it can't just be about you. Your story is about what you do to help your tribe to reach their ideal, achieve their goals, or overcome their trials. You need to be really clear about who you are, what you believe and how you stand out. You need to be clear so you can clearly communicate to your tribe. How else will they know? If they share your values your Why will resonate with them. This is your contribution, what you do to serve them.​

1 2 3 8