Blog Post # 338 – Work that Matters

(This one didn’t post yesterday.  Sorry for the error).

Yes, we are busy.

We are all so busy.

Love to tell each other how unbelievably busy we are.

But what are we doing?

How are we really spending our time?

We must focus on work that matters.

Work that changes the dynamic.

Work that helps us leap forward instead of just puttering along.

So easy to spin our wheels in the triviality.

Much harder to turn off the phone, close the browser, dig in and do real work.

For today, let us be less busy.

Maybe get a few less things on our to do list checked off.

And instead, focus on the one or two things that really matter.

That really help us move forward.

Leave the rest alone.

It will surely be there tomorrow too.

Blog Post # 337 – Borrowed Time

Today is a gift.

Let us not waste it.

Tomorrow may never come.

Be present – right here – in the moment.

The fact that we are alive right now is a miracle.

Over the years, friends from high school have died.

One crushed by a car.

One by an apparent suicide.

One died on a hike.

A dear friend from law school died on my birthday a few years back after being struck by a car while she was pumping gas.

Live today as if it is your last.

See if that helps focus you.

Let’s you see what is truly important.

And what is not.

Not offering this from a place of fear.

But rather one of strength and love.

For today, let us ground ourselves in the moment.

And savor the sunrise, the sunset and every instance in between.

We are all truly living on borrowed time.

Let’s make the most of it.

Blog Post # 336 – A Space Certain

Compass

What’s important?

Important to you.

Money?

Success?

Love?

Spirituality?

Family?

Its funny that the most important aspects of a life well-lived can usually be summed up in a single word.

Interesting too is the fact that when we focus on one of these (or some other) aspects of life, they tend to grow.

If we devote time and energy to our most important thing, that thing will grow.

Like a muscle.

Conversely, if we simply say these things are important to us, but put little to no effort in achieving them, they will never come to pass.

So our job is to discern what is important – most important – to us and then work towards achieving it.

And then working some more.

Focus and hustle.

Focus and hustle.

Throw in some perseverance and tenacity and we are on our way.

Simplistic, perhaps.

But without a firm commitment to a space certain, we will spin our wheels and never get there.

Never get anywhere.

Godspeed to you.
I hope that you identify what is most important for you.

And that you take a few steps towards that destination today.

Blog Post # 335 – Talk With, Not At

Last week, the producer for a local conservative television talk show host invited me onto the show to discuss the President’s executive order.

The show is called the Allman Report and is hosted by talking head, Jamie Allman.

I agreed to the in-studio interview.

A short time later, dread and worry started to creep in.

“Why did I agree to do this?” I asked myself.

The worry escalated when I spent some time on the Allman Report website.

When I say that Mr. Allman is conservative, it is a bit of an understatement.

His support of President Trump is strong to say the least.

I watched a few recent episodes where Jamie discussed immigration and other hot button issues.

Jamie is a forceful speaker with a megaphone for a voice box.

Great voice for radio and TV.

I spent a lot of time preparing.

I watched Jamie discuss immigration with former Missouri Speaker of the House, Tim Jones.

I listened to his radio show.

The concern for the interview increased significantly.

I arrived at the studio with some trepidation, but I felt like I had prepared.

I was expecting the worst.

Jamie’s first question to me was about something I had posted on social media – a Facebook post criticizing Tom Brady for the display of his Make America Great Again hat in his locker at Gillette Stadium.

“Oh, he’s been checking my social media?” I worried.

But then a funny thing happened, Jamie let me tell my side of the story.

I got the chance to share everything that I thought about the Executive Order.

He did not bite my head off.

He did not try and twist my words.

We had a very civil discussion.

Jamie acknowledged his “right wing” bent and I acknowledged my liberal views on immigration.

We had a very civil and fun discussion of an important complex topic.

I was not expecting that.

But this is what we need more of in America.

Less yelling, more dialoguing.

If two guys on opposite ends of the political spectrum can discuss immigration like this, we can certainly talk to our friends without going bonkers.

Fact is we are probably not going to convince each other of our position.

But we may open up some minds to alternative ways of thinking.

Not alternative facts, but alternative thought processes.

Good stuff.

Blog Post # 334 – Frank and Martha

When my parents first got married, they lived in a two-family flat owned by an older German couple.

The man was named Frank. The woman was named Martha.

They came to America from Germany after World War II.

I can still remember Frank’s scent – a combination of cigarettes and strength.

Martha helped my mom during my first two years of life and beyond.

The couple both had heavy accents.

Martha taught me how to sing Frere Jacques in German.

Frank worked at the brewery making beer.

Each month, the brewers got to take home 2 cases of beer each month.

To cut down on employee theft.

Frank often shared the beer with my dad.

So my life began in a house of immigrants.

This just dawned on me for the first time.

In his youth, Frank had seen Adolf Hitler in a parade.

I now have a client who is from Iraq.

He saw Saddam Hussein once too.

One day, when I was older, my dad told me that Frank had finally saved up enough to buy a Mercedes-Benz.

He paid for it in cash.

With the money he made at the brewery.

Do people really save like that anymore?

I loved Frank and Martha.

My first immigrants.

In a lifetime blessed by immigrants.

I love this country.

Blog Post # 333 – I Forgot

O.

M.

G.

I forgot to write a blog post yesterday.

Lots of excuses.

I could say it got caught up in WordPress.

Or I forgot to hit send.

But what really happened is that I got out of my routine a bit.

Didn’t write it first thing.

And then my day was off to the races.

O.

M.

G.

This is a test.

Big part of me wants to say the streak is dead.

Let’s quit.

But I think not.

The blog is dead.

Long live the blog.

This is to help me discern whether I want to keep going after blog post # 365.

Signs point to yes.

And this just made it easier.

Blog Post # 332 – Life of Service

Service.

How do we serve others?

Do we help build people up?

Or tear them down?

Working in a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly, helping a neighbor.

These are all examples of service.

But what if we viewed every human interaction as a gift of service?

To be less self-consumed and focused more upon helping another.

We can choose to incorporate service into our workplace, our home life, anywhere we go.

Putting others first as much as we can.

Not to the point of denying ourselves the things we need.

But when we adopt an approach of service, things become clear.

When confronted with a decision, we ask ourselves how does this best serve another?

Working as an immigration lawyer allows me to serve my clients in important ways.

To help them move up the immigration ladder.

I could view my job as busy work – filling out forms and attending interviews.

But, for me, my occupation is infused with numerous opportunities to serve.

Some of this is perspective.

Some of it is worldview.

But for the most part, finding the way to serve the most people in the most effective way has always served me well.

For today, try and find the opportunities for service.

I think you will feel better about your day.

Blog Post # 331 – Live! Without A Net!

What if people were always watching?

Last night, I listened to 2 attorneys argue legal issues surrounding President Trump’s executive order regarding immigration.

The court of appeals streamed the entire argument so that the whole world could hear.

On Sunday, millions and millions of people around the world watched as the Atlanta Falcons lost a very winnable game to one of the toughest, coolest team in NFL history, the New England Patriots.

Imagine if every job required such public exhibitions.

Modern day high-wire acts.

What if how we performed our jobs was played out on (inter)national television or streamed live over the interwebs?

I wonder if it would change how we do our jobs.

I enjoy creating content live and on the fly – YouTube videos, podcasts, etc.

But I usually have some editorial control before we release them.

When you are live, without a net, it changes the experience.

Both for us as the participant and for the listener/viewer.

What if we lived our lives as if the whole world were watching?

Or listening?

We would probably get a whole lot better at our job.

An interesting thought experiment? Yes.

But also an opportunity to examine how we go through our day and consider how we might act differently if we knew everyone was watching.

Not sure where that leads, but it does seem a clarifying question.

Part of me thinks this sounds like a horrible idea.

But we do spend a tremendous amount of time watching others – television, Facebook, etc.

We can share a lot of ourselves.

Even now.

Even with our safety net.

Blog Post # 330 – You’re Not Dead

You’re not dead.

Not yet anyway.

You’re still breathing.

Fill your lungs and run.

You still have legs.

Stand.

You still have a voice.

Speak out.

You still have arms.

Lift, point, fight.

No more excuses.

No more whining.

Get up and do something.

Do something.

Do something.

Keyboard warriors don’t amount to much.

What are you prepared to do?

Today.

Not next week. Today.

You’re not dead.

Time to make this life mean something.

For today.

For our collective future.

Stand. Again.

Blog Post # 329 – Logical Consequences

When the boys were little (and before our daughter was born), my mom taught me how to teach my kids about logical consequences.

Consequences that naturally flow from their misconduct.

They hit their brother, they go in time out.

They yelled about turning off the PlayStation, they lost the ability to play it the next day.

This was very effective, especially when the consequence was something that the boys really cared about.

You get the drift.

Fun fact.

Logical consequences work in the real world, too.

You break the law, you go to jail.

You tell a bunch of “alternative facts,” you don’t get invited onto the Sunday talk shows for a while.

You eat too much and don’t exercise, the pounds pile on.

You come down on the sideline to bask in the glory of your Falcons victory too soon, you look like a goat when Tom Brady leads the comeback of a lifetime.

Considering and remembering the possible, logical consequences can motivate us to make good choices.

Dan Sullivan has a mental hook that he uses whenever he is working on a project.

He spends a little time thinking about what a great outcome would look like.

But he spends a whole lot more time thinking about all of the bad things that could happen.

The worst case scenario.

The possible, logical consequences.

For today, let us think before we speak, ponder before we act and consider the logical consequences of our actions.

Might make for some better decision-making today.