Category Archives: Personal Growth

What’s Been Keeping Me Busy?

I haven’t posted anything to the blog in four months but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. I thought I’d share a few thoughts as I return to my blog.

Professionally

I continue to work “at the day job” on a handful of projects with a lot of help desk support squeezed in as requested. My primary projects include the deployment of a new document management system (DMS) and the redesign of our website.

Nearly 14 years ago I was part of the consulting team that helped implement the existing DMS and now I’m working with consultants on migrating the data from the previous system to iManage Work 9.x. As with any project, there are real challenges that come along with change but I’m doing my best to prepare the new DMS as much as possible so that the transition is as seamless as possible.

I am also working on the switch over from our existing website to a re-design site hosted by the same vendor. My role is more project manager with a lot of quality control mixed in. Our switch over to the updated site will be completed in a few weeks and like the DMS project, I’m taking the lead in making sure the content is migrated properly and the user experience is the best it can be.

In addition to the projects and the general help desk support I provide, I was also a speaker at our internal conference. Prior to my employment at the irrigation district there used to be annual training days. The idea returned and a team of volunteers organized the event and presented as speakers in multiple sessions throughout the day. I volunteered and presented on networks with an overview of our business network and IT infrastructure.

network presentation

Network 101 Presentation

I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the anxiety I had preparing for the day. I received some nice compliments on my presentation which helped reinforce how much I enjoy public speaking and helping others better understand topics that are not part of their everyday world.

Personal Growth

In the world of personal growth, there is one person I’ve given nearly all of my attention. As I commute or complete mundane tasks I listen to or watch Gary Vaynerchuck’s online content. I aspire to work with his level of enthusiasm but more importantly, I do my best to live my life with the same positive attitude and level of optimism that he has. If you aren’t following Gary I highly recommend that you do.

Very recently I’ve also been working hard to be better about managing my time (also something Gary speaks about and the fact that if you want something you have to make sure you’re making the best use of your time). To help me with this endeavor I’ve returned to Nozbe. Nozbe is the task management tool and service I’ve relied on for a few years and although my use of the product ebbs and flows I’ve been very consistent now since the New Year. To that end, I’ve been studying other Nozbe users through YouTube and Twitter to gather ideas of how to efficiently complete my projects and tasks. I love that it is available on all the platforms that I use and that it has a nice integration with Evernote.

Coaching and Volunteering

Since August of last year, I’ve been head coach (or in baseball terms, manager) of one or more teams at any given time. As of today, I’m actively coaching one basketball team, two indoor soccer teams, and managing one baseball team. I know to some that may seem like a lot but youth sports is becoming a passion of mine and I enjoy working with the kids in helping learn the game and more importantly helping them build their confidence. I often receive words of thanks and appreciation which feeds my ego and wants me to do my best with every kid I work with.

Aside from coaching, I’m serving my second year as Registrar for Roseville Pony Baseball and with baseball registration over I can finally breathe again. Registration opened last October but the “season of intensity” lasted all of January into February. I’d spend 3, 4, 5 hours a night assisting fellow board members, managers (coaches), and most importantly parents interested in registering their son or daughter. There were many days I’d spend more time on baseball than work or family but it was a labor of love and now I get to shift to focusing more on other things like coaching my boys and their teammates.

As my Registrar tasks taper I’m getting to also focus on the league’s social media presence. By doing so I get to have two of my worlds collide with youth sports and my desire to improve my social media expertise.

Personal Brand

Along with the above, as well as being a husband and dad, I continue to skirt around the idea of building up my own personal brand. The challenge of “putting yourself out there” for the world to see and perhaps scarier, your family, friends, and coworkers, is a daunting thing to overcome. There are a couple of things Gary Vaynerchuck has said that has made me less fearful.

  • “Document don’t create.”
  • “You’re going to die.”

“Document don’t create.” In other words, don’t spend time worrying about generating the perfect content. Instead, use Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, etc. to capture what you are doing and share what you can that gives value to your audience.

“You’re going to die.” As a fan asked Gary for some motivating words he spit out “you’re going to die” and what could be more motivating? I mean, really. If you aren’t happy with the way your life is then now is the time to realize that one day you won’t have a chance to change it. Live a life of no regrets.

And so I replay those words over and over in my head to push me to get past the barriers I’ve lived with for a long time. I know I want things to be different in my life. I love what I do but I think I can bring value in different ways and so I’m exploring my possibilities and plan to bring you all along for the ride.

Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you with your journey.

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 aprilzero.com 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 Gyrosco.pe 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 Gyrosco.pe 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 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.

“Silence!”

“I kill you!”