My Current Self-Audit Review

So I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and auditing of who I am and what I want to do with my life.

As I reflect, I realized one of the easiest things to do is to identify where I’m spending my time. I’m not necessarily speaking to how I’m spending minutes of the day but instead to the commitments I have in this season of my life.

After work, and of course my family, my next largest time commitment today is to the two recreational soccer teams I coach. The season began for the players in mid-August but the coaching commitment began in mid-July with a coaches meeting. The season will end in mid-November with either an end of the season party or the final game of the season, whichever is scheduled last. That is a stretch of 4 months with 3 solid months of my day being work, soccer, and whatever else I can squeeze in.

In terms of hours per week, I’m devoting about 2 hours per practice with prep and actual practice time. At the moment each team has two nights a week of practice so for me that means right now my Monday through Thursday evenings are occupied. On 4 out of the 5 of the Friday evenings I’ve had equipment duty so just about an hour was required to drive to the pick-up location, collect the equipment, and then home. That is in addition to the coaches clinic I opted to participate in to help improve my coaching skills; another 2 hours for 4 straight Fridays.

My Saturday mornings are pure soccer. Collectively with arriving to the fields early, setting up field equipment, preparing line-ups and game cards, and pre-game and game coaching there is at least 4-5 hours of time spent between the two teams.

In addition to my soccer commitments, I am also serving as the Roseville Pony Registrar. My “busy time” is ramping up and will continue through opening ceremonies in February. As the registration period progresses my nights will require dedicated time spent to answering questions and assisting families with registering for the Spring 2017 season.

So back to the self-audit, I think to myself and question what it is that I want to really do in life. I can’t help but realize that part of the answer involves coaching/teaching. As I allow myself to dream I wonder if there is still a chance to make a career somehow around youth sports… and since soccer is the sport I’ve always been a part of since early childhood maybe it can provide me way to marry a career in coaching, leadership, and maybe even social media.

These are my thoughts as of the past few weeks. I definitely enjoy coaching the boys on my teams. I may come home frustrated at times and question how well I’m doing as a soccer trainer and coach but I return to each practice and game with renewed optimism.

I’ve especially thought about trying to figure out how to have a side hustle similar to the trainer providing the coaches clinics. I haven’t spoken with him one-on-one but from he’s said he’s just a dad that coached his daughter’s team years ago and wanted to get better. Now he’s providing coaches clinics, I assume he charges a fee to the leagues, and he also continues to receive training (he just returned from England where he attended a training). I’d have no complaints incorporating some travel as well!

So I’m hoping to manifest my destiny or at least share with the world a bit of a possible direction I’d like to go.

I’ll always love technology helping provide solutions in the world of software but maybe there will be that time where I move away from a desk and spend more time “hands on” coaching, interacting, and serving others in a different capacity.

The Answer to “Where Has the Time Gone?”

So if you are like me you’ve seen it many times before, you probably saw it today, and will most likely see it tomorrow.

On any given day as you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed you’ll see that photo of the child or grandchild’s birthday, the anniversary photo, or the special occasion that was celebrated years ago. I love that part. I enjoy learning about my friends and family through their photos. The photos are obviously important to them so I take a few moments to look, read, and learn from the memories they shared. I celebrate from afar and hope that they are enjoying the memories as they recall the good times.

Yet, more often than not I also find myself cringing anytime I read that all too familiar caption of “Where has the time gone?”. I know, it may sound a bit harsh to dislike a caption of someone’s memories but it is the truth. In fact, I think there are many sayings, phrases, statements, and questions we overuse or simply use because we don’t take the time to really think of anything else to say. Or better yet, I don’t think most of us really think about the answer to such a question.

So for the question, “Where has the time gone?” I ask you, where does your time go?

I don’t think our parents, at least not mine, or my grandparents would have been able to truly answer that question in detail. Sure, they could have broken down their life in decades or seasons of life like I did in my previous three posts. But, they could have never told you how many hours they spent in front of a TV, or in the car, or in a classroom, or how many miles they drove in any give month. The only way they could have done any of that was if they were meticulous record keepers. I don’t know about your parents or grandparents but I know none of mine were. And the truth is most of us today are no better.

What we do have today are all of our internet connected devices that help us keep those metrics. That includes everything from the smartphone in your pocket, to the step tracker & heart rate monitor on your wrist, to the small device you have plugged into your car to track mileage and the engine health of your vehicle.

Wait, what? You don’t have all of those smart gadgets? You will. If, today, all you have is a smartphone then you are light years ahead of anything your parents had. But how are those gadgets telling us where the time has gone? Well if you haven’t used any of the native applications that use the data collected from those gadgets then here is one I use that helps aggregate all that data providing me a much better answer to the question, “where does all my time go?”

But first, a little background. A couple of years ago I followed a blogger that shared how he kept his own data analytics that he shared on his website. Since this blogger, Jamie Todd Rubin, is also skilled in software code he created his own open analytics page. As I read about Jamie’s page I somehow found and started to follow Anand Sharma who also shared his daily analytics but at a whole different level. His beautiful site at really had me drooling to be able to do the same. Unfortunately, for me, I can’t write a piece of code if my life depended on it. Things changed when Anand started developing which offers similar functionality as his personal site. I started to follow Anand on Twitter and soon I found myself as a beta user and then eventually as a Pro user. Today I enjoy the online dashboard, the iOS app, and most recently the Chrome extension that all present in various ways where my time goes. The site of course also displays my sleep patterns, the miles I drive, my heartbeat, and much more.

So, where does my time go? For now, I’ll share a quick screenshot of how things break down and then in the future I’ll provide a more detailed overview of the dashboard and app.

Gyroscope Dashboard

At a quick glance you can see that in September I drove 69 hours, walked 11 hours, spent about 137 hours at the two office buildings, and that’s just the beginning. With the help of a little bit of technology, it is easy to see “where the time goes”. And that doesn’t even include the breakdown of the activities at work, or home. All of which is also being captured so I can continue to audit myself and really figure out where my time goes.

So? Do you know “where your time goes?”

Where I Want To Go

In my Where I Am Today post I gave an insight to the last 16 years and how my life has changed in that time.

Today, and every day, I think about the future and what I struggle with today in getting where I want to go. And there within lies part of the problem. I’m not sure where I want to go. Do I want to be an entrepreneur or am I just smitten by what I see others share online?

Do I want to return to the private sector and work in an environment that applauds and rewards the extra effort and where extra effort may benefit my family financially?

Or do I just want to continue down the path of the current comfort zone and stay in a “safe” job that offers benefits with a routine of working 8 hours, going home, and returning to work the next day for 8 more hours?

I think about this constantly. I have not had that epiphany I’ve heard that Gary Vaynerchuck had in 4th Grade or Dean Karnazes had at 30 years old. I’m still waiting to learn what it is that I should be doing during these most productive work years of my life.

One thing I know is true is that I continue to show up to my current job and I do what I believe I should be doing today; providing the best customer service I can provide in the role I fill with the resources I have available to me. And I receive praise and thanks for my efforts but in the public sector a time comes when you need to decide if you are satisfied with the position, salary, and benefits that you currently receive. Unlike the private sector, public sector jobs have a cap on pay, benefits, and paid time off and no matter how much extra effort you give you will always receive the same compensation. So, is that what I want?

There was a time at my first consulting firm the consultants were offered an opportunity to increase one’s pay by billing additional hours past a baseline goal of billed monthly hours. I used to get frustrated at the amount of effort it would take to get just 10 extra hours of billable time. In hindsight, I wish that kind of incentive was an option to me today. I think I would have worked harder to bill those extra 10, 20, 30 hours to boost my then income. I definitely missed out on earning potential.

And even though I haven’t honed in on a clear direction I do see myself working less in the day to day helpdesk role I have at work today and more in a creative environment. One that allows me to produce content or provide solutions. I also envision a work environment that doesn’t restrict me geographically. I would really love to be part of a team that recognizes the capabilities of today’s technology; affording team members the ability to work anywhere. I also envision being in an environment where I can mentor those that are looking to learn from my experiences and surround myself with more individuals that have experience that I can learn from. Of course, finding a job or work life situation that allows me to continue coaching and being active in youth sports is also very important to me. I’m not ready to hang up my coach’s hat anytime soon and in fact, could see that being more of a focus in my life.

To say I’ve struggled with identifying what it is I “want to do with my life” is an understatement. I know I’m here for a reason but I haven’t yet figured out what that reason, at least professionally, is.

For now, I’m going to bed yet again contemplating on what it is that I can offer the world that will be of value to others.


Where I Am Today

This is the second part of the three-part series I started  describing Where I Came From, Where I Am Today, and Where I Want to Go.

Sixteen years ago I left North Carolina, my home for about 19 years, and decided to move to California. There are many reasons why I made that decision but at the top was a want to live near my grandparents and extended family while there was still time for me to do so.

Soon after I moved to NorCal two things happened that changed my life. I met my wife and I entered the professional world.

I met Jennifer in October of 2000 and by January of 2001 we were a couple. Four years later we were engaged and in 2005 we married. My life as a husband, and eventually a father of two boys, began.

Professionally, I was lucky to have an aunt that put me in contact with my first employer. I was very green but I realized as I looked for work I wanted to be part of the dot-com world. I didn’t exactly get that wish but my career in IT did begin in September 2000. For nine plus years I worked at the same small business as a document management consultant. Although I had a couple of coworkers that mentored me and shared their IT knowledge the vast majority of my IT skills were self-taught. I did go to specific product trainings but my general IT knowledge was all on the job training. At times I’m amazed I’ve managed to continue a career in this field with no formal certificates or degrees but then again there are many that have gone down the same path.

In 2006 Jennifer and I had our first son and in 2009 our second was born. I was a happy daddy multiplied by two. I always knew I wanted to be a husband and a dad and those dreams finally came true… and soon Jennifer and I will be celebrating 11 years of marriage.

My professional career hit a bump in April of 2010 when I was laid off as the consulting firm slowly closed it’s doors. I remember vividly getting called into my boss’ office and later that day going home to Jennifer to let her know the news. Frustration was among one of the emotions I felt that day, and I’m sure I’ll write one day to explain more, but over time I realized that I was finally free of a job that I had never left out of fear. Although I was appreciative of the job and my employer for letting me enter the door nearly 10 years earlier I probably should have left to seek out new opportunities much sooner. In hindsight, I’m grateful that I was pushed out of my comfort zone.

By August 2010 I found myself commuting to Vacaville, CA to one of my former clients. For the next two years I was able to continue bringing in a steady paycheck thanks to a few individuals that helped put me in a new consulting position. Although I was employed by a Sacramento based network consulting firm, Shandam Consulting, I continued to spend the majority of my time at the Vacaville client.

In time I was able to apply for a position that opened at Solano Irrigation District, the client I had been working for, in September of 2012. I am now approaching my 4th year anniversary as a full-time employee.

In the six years of serving SID my IT knowledge has climbed. I transitioned from a very help desk only orientated role to yet again being a consultant; albeit a consultant on the SID payroll. I now fill the roles of help desk support, document management subject matter expert, and chair of a customer service committee, among others. But if I had to describe my job today it is less IT Administrator as my title states and more business systems analyst as I work with the various user groups and assist with software implementations, integrations, and deployments. Regardless of the role, what I am doing more and more is advising and consulting with many of the software and online media related projects. And although the hats I wear are constantly changing the one constant is that I’m continuously serving others. That is my job. To help my coworkers be successful with their work by making sure they have the IT resources to do so.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that I’m part of a two-person full-time IT team at the District that continues to receive support from Shandam Consulting.

Outside of work and home I’ve managed to be part of the core of a men’s soccer team that has played together for nearly 9 years straight. As a dad, I’ve also enjoyed coaching youth soccer for the past two years giving me a chance to develop as a coach and mentor. And most recently I joined the Roseville Pony Baseball league as Director of Registrar. After seeing how positive of an experience my boys had their first year with the league I decided I would do what I could do to give back and serve on the board.

So today, in 2016, I am a husband, dad, and all-around family man. I am also a youth sports advocate serving as a board member of one league and a coach (x2) in another. And while I fill all those roles I am also seeking out who I really want to be and using this blog and social media to help with that discovery process.

I’ll share a little more of my personal goals and what I want to see in my future in my final post of this series.

I’m also interested in learning more about my community. How did you get to where you are today? What were the major milestones that shaped who you are?

Looking For Inspiration? Search Twitter and Use Hashtags

There is no shortage of places to go online to find inspiration. Start following the right people and your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds will begin to swell with quotes, videos, and images.

But, if at the end of the day you have exhausted your streams and want to find new content or you’re looking for new sources don’t overlook the power of search.

I’m taking some advice I heard recently and I’m really trying to take more action of what I want to learn and do. So I’m spending more time on Twitter and specifically Twitter search. I decided I wanted to find more conversations about leadership so I searched for #leadership and instantly a never ending list of new quotes and images appeared with inspiring and motivating content.

Sure, you can enter any hashtag and you’ll find all of the related Tweets but if you’re looking for positive and encouraging words and other forms of inspiration in an endless stream head over to and enter #leadership (or any similar hashtag).


In a world where Google and YouTube continue to dominate the search engine scene I recommend testing out to find new content that appears immediately for your consumption… not links to other pages. If you really want to start getting involved in the community start engaging with the folks posting the content that you found.

So do you use Twitter’s search to find new content? What was the last thing you searched for?

Where I Came From…

I thought I’d write a three part series, first, on how I got to where I am, who I am today, and who I’d like to become. At some point, someone is going to question why they should invest their time in my content. This series will hopefully be part of the answer to that question.

Here it goes…

Birth to Moving to the East Coast

My parents are originally from Northern California. My roots stem from Mexico although only one of my grandparents was born there. When my dad decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a surgeon he left a few short months after high school to attend medical school in Mexico City. My parents married while he pursued his education and soon after I came along. I was born in a small clinic in Mexico City.

So yes, I’m chilango.

After my dad finished medical school he was obligated to complete years of social service as part of receiving his medical degree in Mexico so my parents moved closer to the U.S. border. It was humble beginnings as my dad worked in Mexico. My parents and I eventually moved north of the border as my dad continued to complete his service. Ultimately, by the time I was 5 years of age my parents moved to the San Diego area and it is there that my earliest memories begin.

Siblings in SoCal

By the summer of 1981 my dad found a residency program. After opting to not move my mom, siblings, and I to a large, urban setting he chose an opening in Wilmington, North Carolina at New Hanover Hospital (now New Hanover Regional Medical Center). I can still remember the cross country drive with my dad driving the U-Haul, my sister, brother, and I crowded in the front seat and my mom enduring the summer heat in the AC-less 1979 Mazda Station wagon.

Elementary School to Traveling Abroad

My family lived in North Carolina from 1980 until we returned to California in the early 2000’s. Although most of that time was in Wilmington we did live in Chapel Hill from 1986-1988.

My education started by my attending private schools through 6th grade. The first four years were at Wilmington Christian Academy and the latter two were Catholic parochial schools split between Wilmington and Chapel Hill. I believe that the elementary schools I attended and my Catholic faith play a big part of who I am today. By going to private faith-based schools in the south I grew up saying yes ma’am, yes sir, and respecting my elders and authority. Integrity, respect, caring for others, and similar character traits became part of me. At an early age, even though I had no idea what it was, ethics and living a life I would be proud to share with my children was just part of who I was and wanted to be.

So yes, I’m a Tar Heel raised with Catholic values and southern virtues.

I completed high school and went to the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I entered school thinking that I’d earn my degree in Marine Biology (after visiting Sea World as a kid I thought I wanted to swim with Shamu and get paid to go SCUBA dive). Chemistry 101 derailed me. I struggled as a student and found myself making B’s and C’s as opposed to the high marks I made in high school. I turned to the one thing I knew I enjoyed and that was travel. Between my freshman and sophomore years my parents encouraged and funded my initial study abroad trip. Due to my missing the application deadline for the university’s Costa Rica trip I ended up going to Ecuador which included a few days in the Galapagos. That trip was a pivotal point in my life and is what lead me to my BA in Spanish. Well, it was that and I had no I idea what I wanted to do professionally, I was stinking up my science and math classes, and I figured a degree in Spanish wouldn’t hurt.

By the end of my college career and the few years after I managed to visit Ecuador, Costa Rica, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, UK, and the Canary Islands . I loved Spain so much that after working in Wilmington briefly after graduating I decided to return to Spain. Looking back I never recognized at that time how much I was costing my parents but they agreed to let me go and supported me financially. I spent April ’99 to June 2000 hopping between Santander, Salamanca, and Madrid.

So yes, I love to travel and, at least at one time, considered myself a citizen of the world.

June 2000 arrived and for various personal reasons, plus my time freeloading off my parents had come to an end, I returned to the USA. Soon after I made the hard decision to leave North Carolina.

Writing Today So That One Day I’ll Have that “Ah ha!” Moment

The past few weeks I’ve been listening a lot to Gary Vaynerchuk through his podcasts, vlogs, and audiobooks. After a few weeks of completely immersing myself in his content I’ve realized one thing and that is I wish I had a little more of his natural entrepreneurial spirit. He just breathes entrepreneurship and confidence in being successful no matter what comes his way.

I, on the other hand, have always struggled at the idea of having to make a sale; especially when it comes to relying on my abilities to sell to earn an income. Where Gary is an experienced practitioner of selling products and services since childhood I am not and that is what causes me to think twice about ever leaving the “security” of employment.

As much as I am appreciative of my job I think a lot about what else I can do to bring in a second income for my family and maybe one day be an entrepreneur myself. For a few years I’ve thought a lot about having a blog that would help me put my thoughts in black and white to help facilitate my discovery process. And that is what I’ve conceded this blog to be until I figure out what I can eventually monetize for that second income or maybe event my family’s primary incoming.

I go back and forth a lot about the idea of this website being a personal technology site sharing my thoughts on the technology and software I use. As an IT professional, I get the typical IT questions from family and friends like, “Is it possible to get my photos from the phone I lost?”, “What kind of computer should I buy?”, “Can you help me get rid of the virus on my computer?”. It seems no matter how many blogs and videos there are online sharing personal technology how to’s there is apparently a need for more.

I’ve also thought about focusing more on my thoughts of leadership, coaching, and personal growth. And yes, there are hundred’s of already established blogs and vlogs discussing the same but maybe my opinion will resonate with others. Or maybe there will be enough who debate my thoughts to also make it worthwhile. I’ll be fine with that… I think.

There is also the idea of just writing about the answers to the most common questions I receive… professionally, as a family member who is asked for an opinion here and there, and just someone that has lived long enough to know a thing or two.

I’m still not sure what my focus will be but I’m working on it and as I commit to writing more I’m hoping that I’ll one day have an “ah ha!” moment.

To those of you that are following along I would be humbled if you shared this with anyone that might be experiencing similar challenges. Even more important, I’d love to hear from you and hope to discuss your thoughts.


I’m Tired Of Not DOing

I’ve been working for my current employer for six years… two as a consultant and nearly four as a full-time employee. That means I’ve been driving nearly 100 miles round trip for approximately 260 days a year for six years. In those six years I transitioned from listening to radio shows and news reports to podcasts and now audiobooks and the audio of Periscopes and VLogs while driving an hour or more each way.

It is safe to say that I’ve been a “student” of those podcasts, audiobooks, Periscopes, and vlogs for long enough. I’ve listened to all of the greats… Zig Ziglar, Dave Ramsey, Michael Hyatt, Chalene Johnson, John Maxwell, Gary Vaynerchuk over and over and over again.

If you listen long enough to any of them you’ll eventually learn that they did not get to where they are by listening, absorbing, and consuming for ever and ever. They got to where they are by DOing.

I’m tired of not DOing.

I consider myself an above average employee. I go above and beyond at work because I know that most of my coworkers appreciate my efforts to have the technology they use work when they need it to work or to address the issues as quickly as possible.

As long as I’m employed I will always do what I need to get the work done. I will continue to “spoil my coworkers” as I’ve been told I do because to go above and beyond in everything I do is what I enjoy doing. It is part of my DNA.

Where I struggle is knowing that I want to do more that goes beyond my current day job. I want to inspire others through my work and experience. To help others exceed both in technology and beyond.

Just a few minutes ago I got done listening to Gary Vee’s most compelling video I’ve listened to so far. It prompted this post.

And now I struggle identifying what it is that I can do that will be of value of others, bring in an additional income for my family, and satisfy my entrepreneurial desires.

I don’t know the answer yet. I do know I need to continue DOing.

So to my followers I continue to ask you for your encouragement and inspiration by continuing to do what you do to serve others. I’m watching. I’m paying attention because through you I get motivated to DO.


My 21 Days of Gratitude – Day 5

Today I’m thankful for my commute.

It may be an odd thing to be thankful for something that most people dread dealing with. I too never look forward to my navigation app telling me I have an hour or more to work in the morning or home in the evening. I especially cringe on Thursday and Friday afternoons when I see “heavy traffic ahead” or my estimated commute time being over an hour and fifteen minutes.

So why am I grateful for my commute? Well, some time ago I got smart and turned off the morning talk show and turned on the podcasts and audio books. I don’t recall exactly why or how I transitioned from the mindless nonsense that I listened to on the radio to being more proactive about what I consume during my drive but if I had to guess I’d guess it started with listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast. Then, over time, I eventually listened to more and more podcasts and eventually subscribed to Audible to “read” books.

I eventually became a Zig Ziglar student and learned that there is a name for my style of commute. I’m guessing Zig coined the term himself but somehow it just made sense when I first heard it. He called it, “Automobile University”. As I cruise down the highway I continue to feed my brain with worthwhile content. Content that I wish I would have learned while in school.

To this day, after nearly 4 years of commuting 55 miles each way, I continue to spend the majority of the time listening to great speakers, authors, and leaders like Zig Ziglar, Dave Ramsey, Michael Hyatt, Seth Godin, Daniel Lapin, Joel Osteen, Chalene Johnson, and Crystal Paine. Thankfully, with each of their podcasts or books, I get exposed to more and more experts in the world of leadership, entrepreneurship, personal growth, social media, etc. I learn and think while I drive helping make a time that could easily go to waste become one or two of the most productive hours of my day.

Of course, I have to admit there have been many Friday afternoons where my brain is saturated. By that time I’m ready to just listen to my comedy station on Pandora and laugh with Robin Williams, Jeff Foxworthy, George Lopez, Carlos Mencia, as well as Jeff Dunham and his friends Walter, Peanut, and Achmed.


“I kill you!”

My 21 Days of Gratitude – Day 4

As I have in the past I again lost momentum with my blogging. Earlier today I jumped back on the train as I was inspired by Seth Godin after listening to his most recent interview on the EntreLeadership podcast. I can’t promise I won’t loose steam in the future but I hope as time moves forward I’ll be more consistent.

So to continue… today I’m grateful for the work I get to do.

I purposely chose the words “work I get to do” because I’ve never really liked the word “job”. Ever since I started reading more and listening to more of the modern day influencers and leaders the word “job” just seems temporary or something people have to do M-F 8-5 (or whatever schedule their job dictates). I prefer to think of what I do professionally is work that “I get to do”. Not what “I have to do”. I believe there is a difference. The former is a mentality of appreciating what you do to earn an income by serving others. The latter is what you do from the time you punch in to the time you punch out.

Sure, there are days I get frustrated at work or where something causes me to stress but by choosing a certain vernacular when describing my work, my “job”, I believe it helps me mentally appreciate what I do at work even more.

And why am I grateful for the work I get to do? Well, there are many reasons and it may sound cliché but I truly enjoy helping others succeed with their work. As an IT professional, I provide services from network administration to help desk support. Regardless of the actual IT function I complete the work I do really boils down to helping my coworkers succeed. My coworkers are my customers and to see them succeed means I’m succeeding at work.

Of course, there are also the relationships I’ve formed at work that extend beyond the workplace as well as the small wins I’ve made professionally as I improve my skill set in my trade. Learning new technology and resolving a technical issue for someone that has kept them from succeeding gratifies me. It also helps keep the flame burning for the inner geek.