Wednesday, June 30, 2010

8th Wonder of the World

Just left the one year-old Texas Stadium. If this isn't the eighth wonder of the world I don't know what is.

And here's the thing...the idea for the stadium and everything in it came from ideas created by people just like me and you.

We are all capable of great ideas, it's having the courage and energy to make them come true that seperates the sitters from the doers.

And, yes, I had a chance to catch a pass in the endzone. But, I looked like a dope trying to kick a fieldgoal.

Life is about making dreams come true. One of mine came true today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Deep In the Heart of Texas

Heading to Dallas today.

Some cities call to mind images and perceptions and myths. When I think of Dallas I immediately think of the ‘80s television show. But, I also think of the Dallas Cowboys, real cowboys, oilmen, skyscrapers growing out of the Texas plains.

And, that’s another name that REALLY conjures up images…Texas. Big, friendly (unless you screw up and mess with them), forceful...powerful.

What image or perception is conjured in peoples’ minds when they hear your name?

I once met a man in a social setting who said he didn’t care what people thought when his name was mentioned. I think that’s sad…and stupid. In today’s world you’d better be wondering what people think when they hear your name.

“Mike Collins”…..whataya think?

(Your Name)….how about now?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Back From Vacation

Vacations are not overrated!

There is a lot of truth in the adage, though, that if you are going on vacation you should make sure you take at least two weeks. The logic of the thought is that it takes a week to slow down and start getting in a relaxed state of mind, and the second week is the time you really enjoy the vacation and it does you the most good.

But, have you ever taken two weeks of vacation?

We Americans don’t do a good job of taking enough vacation time. Europeans take a month or more of vacation each year and, in fact, some countries have passed laws forcing employers to give more vacation time. However, some of those same countries are creeping toward an American attitude of fewer vacation days due to the tight global economy and the need for workers to be more productive.

Are you using vacation time to “re-create” yourself? Or, are you simply using it as an opportunity to get more done?

We all have busy lives, but there has to be more to this journey than simply finding more ways time to punch a clock at work or at home.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Vacation Hustle

Am going on vacation today for a little over a week. The vacation is bracketed at the beginning and end with speaking engagements but in the middle will be some days of fun. I’ll keep the blog going (hopefully), but it might not show up early every day.

I’ve gotten so much done in the last 48 hours you’d think I was 2 people!

I’m usually pretty efficient but during the last two days my lists have gotten longer, my thinking and work more focused, and my decision-making faster.

What if I worked like this all the time? Granted, the pace would be tough to maintain over the long haul and I’ve always done better as a spurt worker, but Wow! it would be interesting to see what I could accomplish in 30 days or 6 months.

Try this exercise: For the rest of today, pretend you’re going on vacation for the next week. Hey, it’s Friday anyway and the weekend is coming up so this is a great day to experiment.

Pretend you’re going on a short vacation and see how much you get done until quitting time.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gooooaaaaallllll!

I’m an American football guy so soccer doesn’t really appeal to me except when they are taking shots.

However, the pageantry and scope of the World Cup is not lost on me. Soccer is the most popular team sport in the world and watching the many teams and fans from 36 countries play in South Africa is pretty close to amazing.

I believe that soccer is so popular for two reasons: all you need to play is one ball, and it encourages team play. Simplicity and cooperation.

Look at a problem in your life and ask yourself if you might be making the solution too difficult and you aren’t asking for help.

You could be closer to a Gooooaaaalllll! than you think.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Cool Walk In the Shade

It's a wonderful summer morning in Chapel Hill. Already, the temperature is climbing and it's supposed to be 94 this afternoon with a heat index of 100.

But, right now, as you walk across the University campus you can stroll through the cool shadows of the trees, feel the dewy dampness on the grass in the shaded areas, and enjoy the quiet that comes when the students are away.

Later today, on the curve that skims the eastern boundary of UNC-CH, you'll be able to look up into the trees and the humidity will be so high it's as if you can see water hanging in the air. As the sun streams down through the trees litte rainbows pop out in the air.

At this moment I'm at the Carolina Inn; a 100+ year old icon adjacent to the campus. Light classical music is playing and I'm getting ready to have a seat on one of their overstuffed couches and enjoy an ice-cold lemonade.

Here's the reason I'm offering this scene to you: Some of you are in offices or meetings you don't want to be in, doing things you don't want to do, with people you'd rather not be with. Reread the blog and, for a moment, come with me. Have a seat next to me or walk with me across campus...in your imagination. I promise, the exercise will calm you, energize you, and relax you.

Do you have a place you can go in your mind that provides a respite from the day? If you don't, you need one. Mine is the curve I mentioned.

Come with me to the curve this afternoon. We'll stroll slowly in the heat, enjoy the little rainbows, and cool our faces with the condensation from the cups that hold our lemonade.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Who Decides?

Yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning, economist Ben Stein recognized graduates who, during this time of year, have reached the goal they and their parents have been aiming for for years.

He made the point that many graduates were walking away with degrees (and pointed to careers) that were not their ideas. The major or career choice was the idea of a parent or someone else in their lives who had told the student-now-graduate what was good for them. The student believed the adult, rather than striking out in a direction of their own choosing.

Stein noted that he had asked his therapist what made people happy, or not. He said his therapist answered “like a shot. The happiest people are the people who sought their own goals; who took off in a direction of their own choosing.”

When he asked the therapist what was the common denominator among the people who were unhappy his therapist “answered like a shot. Those people made decisions based on what other people wanted. So they did what the other people said to do and now they spend a lot of time in my office complaining.”

Are you living your life or the life of someone else?

If you’ve taken someone else’s advice about a major (or minor) decision in life, how did it turn out?

If you’ve taken other people’s advices and life didn’t turn out the way you wanted it’s not necessarily a bad thing. You always have someone to blame…them.

If you seek your own council in life it’s true that you still always have someone to blame, yourself, but when the time comes to take the last train home wouldn’t you rather go knowing that you were the one who had been blowing the whistle?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Do You Know Any Crazy People?

Some people are just…well…crazy.

My definition of crazy has nothing to do with mental illness. It has everything to do with behaviors people exhibit that, when you experience it, you look at them and think, “Why in the world would you do that?”

The tough thing about dealing with other human beings is that they don’t have a screen on their foreheads that gives you an idea of what is going on in their minds and lives when they exhibit crazy behavior.

What if you looked at the screen and saw that they were going through some sort of life crisis? Or, they were physically hurting or had health problems? Or, that they had misunderstood something you said or someone and told them an untruth about you and they were basing their comments and behaviors on that untruth?

People are crazy. They…we…do crazy things, say crazy things, and think crazy things. In fact, the crazy things we think make us say and do crazy things.

I’ve often used this quote, “Be gentle with people, you don’t know what demons they’re fighting.”

The truth of the saying is often overwhelmed by just how crazy some people act.

Just remember, if they get to you…they win.

Here’s a thought for your weekend: How crazy are the people around you? And, how crazy might you be?

A final thought. This has been an extraordinary week. A dream and goal I’ve had for decades has come true. So, I may act a little crazy this weekend.

Please feel free to do the same. Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Keep Moving

Sometimes you have those days in which all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.

Create a list and take one thing at a time, if possible. If you have to juggle keep the list where you can see it so balls don't get dropped.

However, if something gets dropped you have to realize that, in most cases, it won't kill you.

The key issue is understanding that as long as you keep moving the clock will keep ticking and that, sooner or later, the end of the day will come.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

200 More Ways to Have a Perfect Workday

If you want to see some cool ideas for getting more done in your day, especially lots of technology ideas like apps and hardware that can make you more efficient and effective, go to entrepreneur.com/200ways/.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cut That Light Off! Whataya Tryin' To Do, Light the World?!

So, what’s your take on the whole BP Gulf disaster?

Yeah, I’m with ya on the pictures of birds covered in oil, fishermen wondering about their livelihoods, endangered marshlands, and empty hotels.

But, on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday I heard two things that rattled me: First, BP has spent $300 million mollifying investors and $50 million on television PR ads. Second, the amount of oil lost in the last 48 days is equal to what we use in the United States in one hour.

Let’s look at the first comment. If BP is willing to spend $350 million to try and calm folks down you can bet that the potential costs of this disaster will be unbelievable. Count on the fact that a bunch of bean-counting MBAs have done a cost/benefit analysis and figured that it’s cheaper to try and pay investors off and BS the public than it is to focus the money on really solving the problem.

One rumor floating around is that the Russians have a solution due to the fact that this sort of thing happens to them all the time, but BP and our government don’t want to have to give credit to the Russkies...even if it's just a rumor that fact that it SOUNDS true shows how much we trust all the suits.

Now, to the second comment. If the statement about lost oil/daily use doesn’t convince you that we need to get a handle on our oil consumption, nothing will. I’m certainly confident that by 2110 there will be clean, cheap fuel alternatives; we're smart, creative people. But for right now, we’ve got to get serious. Oil consumption is a national security issue. The more we have to rely on others for energy the weaker we are.

What small thing can you do on a regular basis that lessens your energy footprint?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hey! It's the Weekend!

What are you going to think about on your way home from work today?

If you are like most folks you’ll be thinking about one of two things: What went wrong at work today…or…What you have to get done this weekend.

Try this: Think of two things that went right today and two things you can look forward to this weekend.

Studies show that over half of our thoughts and conversations are of a negative nature, so thinking about the positive is, for most people, a rarity.

I’ve mentioned in the past the University of Miami study that had people writing down five things they could be appreciative about each night when they returned home from work. At the end of the study the subjects had fewer depressive episodes and lower blood pressure.

Good stuff makes us feel better and become healthier…now, there’s a news flash, isn’t it?

Hey! It’s the weekend! Lighten Up!

See you Monday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Who Are You Trying to Please? Or, Is It Whom?

You can’t please everyone.

I’ve sat staring at the line above for the last 15 minutes and can’t think of anything better to explain it.

That’s it.

You can’t please everyone.

So you have to find ways, first, to please yourself.

Then, you can start figuring out who else it’s important to you to please.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just Nail It

I’m not a big lacrosse fan (and I’m certainly not a Duke fan) but I have to congratulate Duke for beating Notre Dame and winning the men’s national championship on Monday in dramatic fashion.

The score was tied at the end of regulation and, like football, whoever scores first in the overtime wins.

To begin play lacrosse uses a face-off technique very much like hockey.

The kid from Duke beat the Notre Dame player in the face-off, immediately streaked to the goal, and nailed the winning shot. No pass, no faking left or right, no subtlety. It all took about 7 seconds.

Sometimes in sports, work and life you just have to take it home and nail it. Whether it’s a decision, an action, a reaction, an idea…whatever.

No subtlety.

Just nail it.