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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

I definitely want to pursue a PhD at some point, maybe.

I definitely want to do original research and forward the common knowledge of the developer space. Might as well get a PhD while I'm at it.

Still I've been shopping for a Master's degree. A lot of companies offer some type of leadership development / mentoring. If you combined that with Corsera work I'm sure I could match the curriculum of most MBA programs. I could create a more tailored program that would be preferable*. That is obviously not the same as a master's. But.

Let's look at the value gap between the two. Let's assume simple numbers. I make 50k and by getting a masters I expect to increase my earnings to 100k. Even if I finance my education, paying three times as much over time, It is a 90k investment over several years with a return of an additional 2.1 million in earnings over the course of my working life. So. No brainer right?

Well. No. I know plenty of MBAs starting around 60k. If you invest the same 90k in education for and additional 10k a year then you will break even for ten years to pocket an additional 234k over your working life. Valuing the additional time and effort, I don't think it is worth it.

With Corsera there is considerably less risk. It's $50 a month (about $1800 for three years). Corsera offers less risk, but at a cost. The market values an MBA more than comparable course work. So all things equal an MBA candidate should win out over someone who completed coursework on Corsera.

Should. But.

There is the argument that schools don't add value to employees. They are tools we use to signal employers. So if you have enough drive does it matter? I think it does. School will open doors.

There is also the marginal utility of additional earnings. Once you get over 76k the marginal utility of a dollar starts tapering off. Basically, you will have nicer stuff but you will not be any happier. More people are starting to realize that. Big house nice car is a dated value.

My question. Is an MBA 16 times better than online coursework? It costs 16 times as much. No doubt it is better, but 16 times better?

*Any program would have to include some type of social networking component.​

Are You Indispensable?

Seth Godin's Linchpin is for you. Your boss. Your team.

Linchpin is about leading, and change, and fear, and succeess.

You couldn't write this book ten years ago, because ten years ago, the economy wanted you to fit in. It took care of you . . . if you fit in. Now, the world wants something different. This book exposes a multi-generational conspiracy to sap your creativity.

What if you learned a different way of seeing?
A different way of giving?
A different way of making a living?
What if you could do it, without leaving your job?
(Or joining a network marketing scheme.)

A way . . . to contribute your true self and your best work.

Are you up for that?

From The Goal [audiobook]: How to double thru-put – an analysis.

I just spent the last nine hours ringing my brain out. Every so often (when needed) I play hero. This feels like a hero moment. It's not. I actually under preformed because I was mugged. They took off with my time and focus. That is something to pay attention to. That is not sustainable. And it is definitely not scale-able. I am asking myself:

What just happened?

The Goal audiobook is playing in my head, “How can we double throughput?”

I have a theoretical throughput capacity. Individual heroism is great, but it doesn't scale. Neither do muggings. Like David Bowie says, "we can be heroes, just for one day."

For data to be useful track it consistently. Apples to apples indicates units as well. You can't track crates of apples if everyone else is tracking the actual apples. Data can identify economies of scale. Data can identify new opportunities but it helps if it is clean.

The Goal audiobook is still playing in my head, "What can we do to double current weekly throughput in the future?"

Load balance the week. If Mondays are particularly heavy ask yourself, what can wait for Tuesday? What can get shipped early? The Friday before? Shipping early is a big deal!

How do you double throughput?

Double you ability to ship on any given Monday by load balancing to spread delivery across days. Track data consistently. Don't rely on heroes.If you want to better understand the principles I'm using to construct these thoughts check out the Goal audiobook.

Biannual Bibliothon 2017 Blogger Book Tag

By Rho Lall​

1. What are you planning to read for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?

2. What is your favorite genre to read in Summer?

​Most of what I read could be pejoratively labeled, " the gospel of success". I like business non-fiction. 

3.Where is your favorite place to read in the summer?

​I prefer reading paperbacks by the pool or at the beach.

4.What is your favorite challenge done in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?

Exercising my first amendment right to read a banned book. 

5.What fictional character would you hang out in the summer if you could?

Come back to me on this one.

6.What are your plans for summer?

Going to N.Y.C. & D.C.

7.Do you have summer reading playlist,If not what would be on it?

I am re-reading my list of best business book ever for working professionals.

8.What is your favorite summer movie?

Live Free or Die Hard. The helicopter scene is the best!

9.What book do you read every summer,if not what thing do you do every summer?

B.B.Q. I smoke meat.

10.What other book tags are you planning to do this summer?

None.

5.What fictional character(s) would you hang out in the summer if you could?

That is a hard one. I don’t read a lot of fiction so the list of potentials is literally, Harry Potter, & The Hunger Games. I am going to go with the small group of people who know what Covfefe’ means.

Why Your Salary Will Always Be Below Average

By Rho Lall

Have you been on glassdoor lately? Maybe you’ve tried the Payscale salary calculator? Is your take home pay below average? Chances are it is. Use the calculator below and find out.

It’s ok . . . i’ll wait.

Did you check it out? Is that surprising? Before you start planning how to bring this up with your boss you might want to take a second look at that number. I'll explain.

Income follows a power law distribution.

There are two issues with this number. First you will run into trouble if you look for averages where there aren't any. Income follows a power law distribution.

What’s that?

If you have heard of Pareto’s 80/20 rule, that is a power distribution. For income, 80% of the income is earned by 20% of people. Don’t take that literally. 

If we plot out income (see image above) you would see a small number of people (in green) earn a disproportionately larger amount of money relative to everyone else (in yellow). 

If you try to take the average of a set of incomes (any power distribution) your average will wildly misrepresent the truth. It's going to underestimate a small number of people, and overestimate the majority. The average (in blue) makes it seem seem like higher incomes are more common than they are in actuality. Case and point:

Bill Gates walks into a bar and everyone inside becomes a millionaire . . .
 . . . on average.

Accurate, real-time salaries for thousands of careers.

So when you or someone else pulls up a report on glassdoor and circles the average salary, it is likely not telling the whole story.

But. You might ask, what if Bill Gates doesn’t walk into the bar? What if in this bar we only have locals who all work the same job. I like where your head's at. You might be onto something. But no, you’re not.

Income follows a power distribution even on a localized scale, it's just less noticeable. Let's look at SaaS Implementation Consultants in Provo, UT (see right). The average is $50,800. But look at the range. The low is $39K and the high is $78K. There are a few highly paid individuals driving the average up but most consultants probably earn less than 50K. In full disclosure I don’t know. But the point is neither do you.


The average is not representative of this sample. Let alone the salaries that were not reported.

Implementation consultant earn $50,800  in Provo, UT are on average.

Average is not the same as usual and customary.

Here is the second issue. What do you think of when I say average? When we talk averages, most people assume it's a mean. Most people would agree that average and mean are synonymous. That is not the case. An average doesn't have to be a mean. You can google the definition: a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular:

the mode, median, or mean

When you read about an average, you could be reading about one of three different measurements. It's easy to be mislead. The government reports median income. Median is the middle number: 50% earn above median, 50% below. But what if I want to know what salary is usual and customary? What do most people make? This is the mode. If you want to get a sense of where the long tail on the power law distribution falls, the mode would work best. It will tell you what the most common salary is. That could be useful.


The lesson:

Don’t hang your hat on average salary. First, averages don’t fit the data very well. You can take the average, that doesn’t mean you should. Second, when you see an average take steps to learn what kind of average it is. Personally, I find the bookends, the high and low values of a range, to be more useful.

Do you want to learn more? If you a SaaS professional that struggles with aligning your team & getting to the truth then you have come to the right place. Find out how to use averages, bookends, and other KIPs to make better use of your data so you can . . .

Confront The Deluge of Information.

Perfect for people that want to become leaders! You don’t have to be an expert math person to be data literate - Download the FREE report.

Why would you want to learn to “Bull Doze Through Bull Sh*t”?​

  • Would you benefit from a deeper knowledge from your data? Probably.
  • Do statistics and data analysis intimidate you? It intimidates most people.
  • Do you want to be able to make use of all the data you have access to, so that you can make better business decisions? Of course you do!

Stop letting your fear of “number crunching” keep you from learning what is actually true. Sign up for my newsletter, and download my FREE Report on making sense of data without becoming a math expert!

Confront The Deluge of Information.

Bulldoze_thru_bullshit

Perfect for people that want to become leaders! You don’t have to be an expert math person to be data literate - Download the FREE report.

Why would you want to learn to “Bull Doze Through Bull Sh*t”?

Would you benefit from deeper knowledge from your data?
Probably.

Do statistics and data analysis intimidate you?
It intimidates most people.

Do you want to be able to make use of all the data you have access to, so that you can make better business decisions?
Of course you do!
Stop letting your fear of “number crunching” keep you from learning what is actually true. Sign up for my newsletter, and download my FREE Report on making sense of data without becoming a math expert! Powered by ConvertKit

What Makes The Difference

by Rho Lall​

Hey:

I want to share a story with you from my experience at BYU. It was a memorable lesson for me, and I hope you’ll get something out of it as well.

At BYU, it’s common for alumni to return as guest lecturers. In this case, one of the men in the story had returned to share his experience with us.

The story starts on a late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, the day two young men graduated from BYU. These men shared similar qualities. Both were better than average students, both were personable, both were returned missionaries, and both were filled with dreams and ambition for the future.

Recently, these two men returned to college for their 25th reunion.

They are still very much alike. Both happily married. Both have four children. And both, it turns out, work for the same bank.

But there is one big difference between them.

One of the men is a mid-level manager of a small department of that company. The other is president of his division.

What Made The Difference?

Why was it that one of the men was a division president, and not just a mid-level department manager like the other? What makes this kind of difference in people’s lives? Do you wonder sometimes?

It usually isn’t just native intelligence, talent, or dedication. It definitely isn’t that one person wants success, and the other doesn’t.

The difference lies in what each person knows, and how he or she makes use of that knowledge.

The man that became the division president simply made better decisions. Over time, that led to him getting more responsibility, and the status and pay that comes with it.

Our world is filled with information, and almost everyone has access to it. Your ability to make sense of that data, and to use it to make good decisions, is the best way for your set yourself apart.

Confront The Deluge of Information.

Perfect for people that want to become leaders! You don’t have to be an expert math person to be data literate - Download the FREE report.

Why would you want to learn to “Bull Doze Through Bull Sh*t”?​

  • Would you benefit from a deeper knowledge from your data? Probably.
  • Do statistics and data analysis intimidate you? It intimidates most people.
  • Do you want to be able to make use of all the data you have access to, so that you can make better business decisions? Of course you do!

Stop letting your fear of “number crunching” keep you from learning what is actually true. Sign up for my newsletter, and download my FREE Report on making sense of data without becoming a math expert!

Confront The Deluge of Information.

Bulldoze_thru_bullshit

Perfect for people that want to become leaders! You don’t have to be an expert math person to be data literate - Download the FREE report.

Why would you want to learn to “Bull Doze Through Bull Sh*t”?

Would you benefit from deeper knowledge from your data?
Probably.

Do statistics and data analysis intimidate you?
It intimidates most people.

Do you want to be able to make use of all the data you have access to, so that you can make better business decisions?
Of course you do!
Stop letting your fear of “number crunching” keep you from learning what is actually true. Sign up for my newsletter, and download my FREE Report on making sense of data without becoming a math expert! Powered by ConvertKit

Why You Shouldn’t Grade Employees’ Performance on a Curve

by Rho Lall​

If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading, "Managing Your Processes Using Averages May Be Hazardous to Your Company’s Health." from my ebook, Bull Doze Thru Bull Sh*t. And if you have questions feel free to ask. Really.

Here are a couple additional power tips:

If you remove the top ten percent of a power curve you are left with . . . a power curve.

That means you can split power distributions into leagues. In middle school, for example, I was captain of the Jr. Varsity Soccer team. I could have played varsity (meaning I could have sat on the bench for the season). My coach knew I would rather play. I felt successful as captain because relative to my JV peers I outperformed. I was happier. I contributed more in the JV league then I would have in the varsity league. You can create similar results for your team.

Another point to consider, performance is dynamic. Take the time to find the areas where you outperform. Take the time to find the areas where your team member outperform. I'd rather have a team of out-performers that excel across a variety of areas than a team of individuals competing against each other in one narrow area.

If you would like to better understand power curves, then check out, Bull Doze Thru Bull Sh*t.

You can get it for FREE, just click here.

1

#1 Best Tip to Improve Your KPI Dashboard

#1 Best Tip to Improve Your KPI Dashboard

By Rho Lall

Key Performance Indicators PDF

I Hate Averages. And You Should Too!

 

Hate is a strong word. But I do hate seeing averages used as KPIs. The problem is they are so prevalent. The only practice more prevalent is reporting on raw totals: We did this much in sales, we worked this many hours, etc. etc. (See my Key Performance Indicators PDF for a set of great examples.) Averages are terrible:

One. There are better KPIs that communicate more meaningful information.

Two. You can be taken advantage of when you rely on averages.

Did I Tell You About The Time I Almost Dated A Model?

I asked a girl for her number. She was clearly out of my league and she let me know it. I responded that she was acting like a ten when she was clearly a seven. She agreed! Then she started in on herself about how she needed a nose job. Her error? Only comparing herself to other models (not all women). She blew her nose out of proportion (double pun intended). I got her number (And didn't use it). The lesson. Don't be taken advantage of.

There are better options.

Why Averages Perform Below Average In Your KPIs.

 

Out of a group of two-hundred KPIs, I have researched the seven top KPIs for Professional Service firms. None of the seven are from taking averages. Six of them are ratios (and the seventh can be). Isn't that interesting. So what is so great about ratios?

Ratios reveal trends and makes large numbers easier to digest.

Ratios provide indicators of organizational performance.

Ratios allow me to compare apples to oranges.

 

Three Keys To Understand And Use Ratios.

 

First, ratios can be confusing because we were never taught to use ratios in a professional setting. We learned basic fractions. A half or a quarter is an intuitive number. I know what that looks like. I can imagine a pie which gives a fraction meaning. But if a ratio comes out to be 1.09, that is not intuitive. Is it 109%? 92%? Or something else all together?

Comment below on which you think is right?

 

Second, not every ratio is great. But the great ones compare two opposing metrics. Let's look at one of my top seven Professional Services KPIs. Revenue Per Employee. If you are in business then revenue is a positive. More revenue is better. More people isn't necessarily better. This ratio reflects the sensitivity between these two metrics. More revenue will drive the ratio up. More employees will drive it down. More employees will only drive the ratio up if synergies increase revenue at a greater rate. This ratio simplifies the relationship between revenue and employees down to a number. It also lets me compare two companies that are drastically different in terms of size and revenue.

 

Third. When I first started learning KPIs I spent a lot of time memorizing definitions. I tried to wrap my head around them. It was hard. I re-learned grade school fractions on Khan Academy because I thought it would help. It didn't. The memorization didn't either. For every new KPI I had to memorize a new definition. Don't waste time memorizing definitions!

There is a better way.

 

Next time . . . 

In my next blog I am going to teach you a very simple visual aid that has helped me break down ratios so I don't have to memorize definitions. Subscribe to my blog so you do not miss it! You might as well pick up my Key Performance Indicators PDF as well. It's free!

I'm shooting to have it out in about a week.

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I Got Fired because I made a huge mistake. What Now?

I Got Fired Because I Made A Huge Mistake. What Now?

By Rho Lall

There's an urban legend about a young executive sitting in Tom Watson Jr's office just waiting to be fired.

The year is 1968. The exec works at IBM. His boss is Tom Watson Jr, a leader of the information revolution. The issue at hand, a series of mistakes costing several million dollars. These mistakes led to him sitting across from Watson waiting for summary dismissal.

 

"I suppose after that set of mistakes you will be wanting to fire me."

 

Watson's response is now part of MBA cannon/lore:

 

"Not at all young man, we have just spent a couple of million dollars educating you."

 

Remember that the next time you make a mistake at work. But even if they fired you, the moral is to learn the lessons.

Source: Balanced Scorecard Diagnostics: Maintaining Maximum Performance.

 

8 Lessons Leaned When I Lost My Job Because I Made A Huge Mistake.

 

1. A lot of people get fired. Don't feel bad.

2. Verify what legally happened. Employers will "lay off" employees to limit risk of wrongful terminations suits. It is also a pain in the ass that requires a lot of documents. If it comes up during the interview keep your answer brief and to the point: "I worked at (that employer) for X years. I was responsible for . . ."

3. Ask for a letter of recommendation. It can hurt your pride, but not much else. A letter of recommendation makes calling for references unnecessary. If not from your supervisor, you can get them from other people in the company.

4. Never lie to a prospective employer.

5. With respect to Unemployment Insurance Benefits, do your homework. Rules and/or how they are carried out varies state to state.

6. Don't be a victim. It takes two to tango. If your side of the story is a version of "It's all their fault", you are only fooling yourself. Advocate for yourself, by avoid blaming, and be objective.

7. Learn from the experience. Take time for yourself to write down what you have learned from the experience. Share (even if it is only with yourself) the wisdom about yourself and your abilities that you have gained from this experience.

8. Remember, you are not Justine Sacco.

 

Justine Sacco used to work as the PR Director for InterActiveCorp (IAC). In 2013 she tweeted to a following of under 200 people,

 

 

Then she boarded her flight and turned off her phone for the eleven hour flight. When she turned it back on there was a message from her friend, "You need to call me right now! You are the number one world wide trending topic on twitter."

Jon Ronson does a fantastic job of telling her story:

 

 

Ronson doesn't finish the story. The story ends where it begun with the Gawker editor who first published Sacco's tweet, Sam Biddle:

Justine Sacco has a PR job she enjoys now, but she deserves the best and biggest PR job, whatever that may be. Give it all to her. Justine Sacco is the most qualified person in her entire field. She has the expertise of ten lifetimes when it comes to dealing with bad press. She survived a genuine personal crisis. She's unkillable, and smart, and she will tell you to shut up, idiot, it can't get any worse.

Learn from Justine. Learn from the experience.

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