Showing posts with label Determination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Determination. Show all posts

April 24, 2019

Project Suicide

This was sort of a funny scene in a project meeting. 

One person describing the challenges at one point, spontaneously and dramatically motions to take a knife and slit both wrists.

This absolutely got people's attention.

Understanding the struggles the person was expressing, and trying to add a little lightheartedness to the situation, I say:

"This is a tough project, pass around the knife."

This got a good hearty laugh around the table, with one person saying that this was the quote of the day. 

Anyway, we want to make operations as effortless as possible on people, but the project work to get there is definitely making people work for it. 

Let's avoid project or people suicide--be supportive of each other, pace ourselves, team together, and problem-solve to get it successfully over the finish line.

Soon we can celebrate all the challenges we overcame together and from our determined efforts, all the wonderful results. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2019

From Chaos to Order

The world challenges us all the time. 

Yes, the world functions based on the "laws of nature," scientific facts, and mathematical formulas, and so you'd think everything in our lives would be orderly and work like clockwork.

But, as human beings, our lives are too a great extend a function of what gets thrown at us and how we react to them, and not the constancy of the world context that these things are happening in. 

It's easy to be surprised, become overwhelmed, or even be stumped by the daily barrage of things that we are new to us or we simply don't know how to handle.

A world governed by Mother Nature thus, often seems more like a world ruled by Murphy's Law. 

In a world that we can often experience as chaotic and disorderly, the answer is not to break down and cry or run and hide, but rather to create our own sense of order. 

Thus, the antagonist of chaos and disorder is consequence and order. 

The way to get to order in your life is through planning and preparation. 

The more you plan and prepare, the better you are able to deal with the challenges you are dealt. 

I believe this is the cornerstone of what a good education and training is--preparing you for real life!

Generally, if you plan and prepare for a broad spectrum of scenarios (especially the worst cast scenarios), you won't be left sitting out there scratching your head when the proverbial "sh*t hits the fan."

Thinking out of the box and ahead of the curve, and using scenario-based planning and preparation can give you the tools and confidence to leave the anxiety behind and move more swiftly to confront challenges head-on. 

Of course, we'll never be able to imagine or be prepared for everything that can happen--but the more you can free your mind to think about the "what if's" and how to mitigate the risks, the better shape you are in to act with determination and decisively when you really need to.  ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Elisa Riva)
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February 7, 2019

Birthing An IT System

Managing IT projects is no easy task.

You've got to get the requirements right. 

Technical issues need to be resolved. 

Dependencies have to be lined up. 

Integrations need to work. 

Design should be user-friendly and intuitive. 

Change management takes real leadership. 

And so much more. 

A lot needs to go right for the project to be a success. 

While of course, just one or two bad apples in the project equation can quickly make for a failure if not controlled for. 

But you can't let it...the show must go on, progress is waiting to be made, and the systems need to be delivered for the benefit of the organization. 

This is where real strength and determination by so many good people come in. 

Keep moving things forward--one step at a time--don't stop!!!---another step and another--heave ho, heave, ho--until one day soon a beautiful and efficient IT system is born. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 7, 2019

No One Cares How You Feel

So parenting is not always an easy job. 

But it is one full of love and helping your kids. 

Sometimes, I remember listening to my kids say that they feel this or that and seeing that it was holding them back from accomplishing their goals.  

Often, I would tell them that the only people that really care about how they feel is your mother and father--but generally-speaking, it a tough world out there, and: 
"No one [else] cares about how you feel."

I tried to focus them--not on being cold and unfeeling--but rather on being strong inside and focusing on the tasks that need to get done. 

Sure, feelings are important, but if you are getting held back from doing what you need to do--then there are times when you need to put the feelings in abeyance and go forward. 

Overall, there is plenty of time to feel what you feel, but don't let anger, fear, or anxiety get in the way of you accomplishing your dreams. 

In a book that I am reading by Amos Oz, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," he writes: 
'I want' and 'I don't want' aren't reasons, they can only be defined as self-indulgence.

Yes, it's a little tough love, but also it is out of true love to help the kids to be willing and determined to try their best and not get held back by anything in the pursuit of the destiny they choose to follow. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 24, 2018

"Shock And Awe" Project Management

So this is a new type of project management and it can be very effective. 

It's called (my name): 
Shock and Awe Project Management

This technique is similar to the military doctrine of shock and awe that uses speed and overwhelming power to dominate the battlefield and vanquish the enemy.

In project management too, there are often naysayers, Debbie Downers, resisters, excuse makers, and people that lay down obstacle after obstacle to progress. 

This invariably derails projects and causes them to fall behind schedule, go over budget, experience scope creep, not meet the genuine user requirements, and ultimately fail!

However, if you manage the project with "shock and awe" and set aggressive timelines, assign substantial and very good resources, and move the project full speed ahead, then you can similarly create a momentum to the project that enables it to overcome the "enemies of the progress" (i.e. those that don't really want it to succeed or are too busying covering their own a*ses).

This approach is not advocating speed at the expense of quality nor is it calling for cutting corners or riding roughshod over people, but rather to the contrary, it calls for techniques similar to the military of moving with absolute focus, determination, efficiency, collaboration, synchronization, and overwhelming "project power" to ensure it's success. 


Projects, like battles, can be "won" by putting the right resources on the field and moving them to get quick wins in rapid succession (where the enemies of progress don't stand a real fight) so that the projects get not only completed on time and within budget, but most importantly to real stakeholder satisfaction and the organization's success. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to AlexVan)
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August 21, 2018

Be Strong!


Just a saying about inner strength that I liked:
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2018

What's Free And What's Not

I like this saying and wanted to share it:
"The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately."

Yes, this is the home of the free. 

And we are all able to dream BIG dreams.

However, without the hard work and hustle, dream are not made, but rather they die on the vine. 

So dream big--imagine the very best.

Reach for the stars...

And then work your butt off to make it happen.

Choose carefully. 

No one can have it all.

You have to prioritize.

Also, you need to balance. 

In the end:
Dreams + Hard Work + Blessing From G-d

That's success by whatever standards you measure. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 8, 2018

Adversity Is Not What You Think


This TEDx video is truly WOW!

Definitely worth watching in full.  

So many takeaways from this that I want to remember.

- Three things can happen in life:

1. What you hope will happen

2. What you fear will happen

3. What actually happens

- There is not always a tomorrow!

Think if you were paralyzed from the neck down, what would you wish you had done differently, and go do it.

- See adversity as a gift:

1. It is harsh and ruthless.

2. It shows up unannounced.

3. It doesn't care what you want.

4. It doesn't give a darn how you feel.

5. It doesn't take no for an answer.

6. It hates your weakness.

7. It is your best teacher.

8. It is the most honest person you will ever encounter.

9. It forces you to up your game.

10. It knows your true potential even if you don't.

11. It offers you no other choice, so the choice is simple.

12. At the end of the day, we are only as strong as the adversity we overcome!

13. It will recede, but the lessons will always remain.

14. It will strengthen you to endure your next battle, stronger and wiser than before.

15. How we overcome adversity is by facing it head on. (If you try to avoid it, it can crush you; and if you try to go around it, you will never avoid it's grasp.)

My absolute congratulations and gratitude to Marcus Aurelius Anderson on this magnificent and brilliant talk and lessons for all of us!

And thank you Minna Blumenthal for sharing this wisdom with me!
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November 27, 2017

Motivation, Hard Work, and Blessings

So I am incredibly impressed at how talented so many people are. 

And I'll tell you, people are motivated to get ahead and they are working hard to do it. 

I took Lyft to a couple of destinations down here in Florida. 

Two drivers that I had just yesterday were both from relatively poor backgrounds in Jamaica. 

And both were incredible in what they've been able to accomplish for themselves.  

One was a senior communications technologist with a large cable company.

Another was a pretty impressive and successful Reggae music star. 

Both had come to this country and made amazing lives for themselves. 

In meeting these incredible people, I learned that everyone is driving Uber and Lyft now-a-days. :)

Both were driving as they told me just to keep busy on their days off--because they "hate being bored!"

More importantly, I learned that despite whatever background, hardships, or adversity you come from or have experienced, you can make it in your own way! 

Motivation and hard work coupled with mercy and blessings from, and faith in the Almighty Above are an incredible combination that can propel people towards incredible levels of success in life that maybe many would've never even really dreamed of. 

There is no easy road--just one filled with trying your best, plenty of obstacles, stumbles, and falls, and then picking yourself up and trying again and again until hopefully and with G-d's help you break the bonds and chains keeping you from your amazing levels of potential and contribution to this world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 13, 2017

Live 4 Something

I was on the treadmill the other evening. 

On the TV was Sylvester Stallone in the movie, Rambo. 

Ah, some nice welcome action to take my mind off the exercise.

Some doctors and missionaries are trying to make their way to to Burma to help the helpless victims being slaughtered by the military warlord and his henchmen. 

Stallone knows the danger in going there, and at first, he ties to discourage them from going.

The beautiful and sincere women in the group convinces him to take them there...to try to make a difference in these people's lives who are suffering. 

Stallone takes to the lesson and incorporates it into his inner persona. 

And later he says:

"Live for something 

Or

Die for nothing!"

I thought this was a really good philosophy. 

THINK ABOUT IT: 

- We can choose to make our lives meaningful and impactful or to hide in the closet or under the bed and really accomplish nothing.

Our lives are a gift, given to us to do something good with--it's a sin to waste that gift and not do everything we can to be a good influence, help others, and make this a better world. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 17, 2017

The Success Iceberg

Thought this was really so true.

Under the tip of the iceberg of success lay all the factors that most people don't see.

The vast mass of persistence, failures, sacrifices, disappointments, good habits, hard work, and dedication. 

Success really is an iceberg!

Don't be jealous of the success at the tip of the iceberg of others unless you put in all the ingredients beneath--plus a prayer to the Almighty Above for his blessings.

Have a Shabbat Shalom!

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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January 31, 2017

Born Or Forged To Lead

So are we born to lead or are we forged to greatness through adversity and lots of hard work?

Some people definitely seem to have innate leadership characteristics:

- Charisma

- Integrity

- Decisiveness

- Passion

- Determination

- Agility

- Intelligence

- Inspirational

- Confident

- Articulate

Other people maybe weren't born with it, but they learn to become great leaders through:

- Hard Work

- Willingness to learn

- Continuous improvement 

- Motivation to advance

- Finding a meaningful mission 

- Belief that they can make a difference

- Faith that G-d is guiding them

Like with most things in our life, it's a combination of nature and nurture. 

Good raw material starts us off on the right track and then forging it with fire and a hammer and polishing it off into a great sword with hardness, strength, flexibility, and balance. 

As Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer at Hearst Magazine says:
"I'm an overnight sensation 30 years in the making."

Birth is just the beginning... ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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January 12, 2017

Wonderful Thank You


This is one of the most beautiful thank you songs that I have ever heard.

This was played for a departing leader with beautiful photos of all the good and caring work that they did over many years.

The passion, commitment, and tenacity were evident through out, and even though I hadn't known this person for long, it brought tears to my ears.

What certain people can accomplish with their lives--helping others, making a better world. 

What we can accomplish through kindness, caring, selflessness, generosity, and tenderness. 

It's the definition of inspirational--that we can live a life where the "thank you" is really and totally besides the whole point. 

Live life and live it well! ;-)
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December 19, 2016

Flying Sneaks

We can all fly.

Not necessarily through the air.

But through life and ultimately in death, we can fight and take flight and soar. 

It is our attitude and determination to overcome the hardest of hardships that we face. 

We feel the pain for the situations where we fell, failed, and lost control over outcomes. 

People who told us what they thought we are and where we can go...our ego busted, our shame written all over us, our regret and fear over what we did or should've done differently.

We can't go back.

We can only go forward.

We can learn, and we can grow.

We can compartmentalize the problems and hurt. 

We can pick up the pieces wiser than before and more determined to succeed.

Wings are not just for angels, but also for sneakers and for souls. 

I want to fly all around the world, and more so into the heavens to see my Heavenly father and be reunited for eternity with my family and loved ones.

Fly free and wide.

Fly high and unobstructed by poverty, illness, abuse, and loneliness. 

Fly and soar beyond anything we could ever have imagined. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 3, 2016

Dysfunction Is The Starting Point

A very smart speech today in synagogue by Rabbi Haim Ovadia. 

He connected to this week's reading from Genesis in the Torah.

It was a commentary about our forefathers and mothers and what the stories in the Bible teach us. 

As we know, these people while righteous and holy, were not perfect people or families. 

Thinking about these, some examples that come to mind about the many tests, challenges, and tragedies in their lives:

- Adam and Eve eating the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden

- Noah getting drunk and his son, Ham, seeing his nakedness and telling his brothers

- Abraham and Sarah's doubting (i.e. laughing) that G-d would give them a child

- Isaac lying to Avimelech about Rivkah being his sister (similar to what Abraham said about Sarah)

 - Jacob buying the birthright and stealing the blessing from Esau

- Shimon and Levi killing the people of Shechem for Hamor raping their sister

- Joseph's brothers being jealous of him and throwing him in the pit and selling him into slavery

- Judah sleeping with Tamer, the wife of his firstborn 

And so on. 

Rabbi Ovadia said we should keep 4 things in mind about the Biblical figures and families to learn for our own:

1) Context - There is a context to what we do. We all have histories that involve difficulties, challenges, illness, abuse, PTSD, and so on.  The things we do and how we react later in life are anchored in this context. 

2) Dysfunction - Every family (and I would add person, organization, and institution) is dysfunctional.  There is no perfection out there (except G-d). Functional would mean like a computer, we input-process-output towards a certain function.  However, as people, we are not automatons, but instead work out our dysfunction through our striving to love, have relationships, learn and grow. 

3) Responsibility - Whatever our challenges and dysfunctions, we are responsible for what we do--our actions.  We can't just blame history or others.  Our role is to face up to our lot in life and take responsibility for what we do.  It our life and circumstances to make or break us. 

4) Communication - In dealing with life and it's challenges, communication is key to dealing with things. I would argue that communication is just a part of many critical success factors like trust, determination, hard work, emotional intelligence, being giving, integrity, etc.  But certainly, communication is a key aspect in how we work out our issues with others and try to build function from inherent dysfunction. 

The honestly of the Bible in telling us the flaws of it's heroes and heroines--our ancestors--is one of the things that make it such a source of wisdom for us as well as demonstrating the truthfulness of it being G-d given to us.

The bible doesn't sugarcoat who we are and what we have to deal with--it is the Book of G-d that is a roadmap for us to learn from and do good with in our own lives. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 30, 2016

(Not) Too Hard!

So there is someone that I think the world of. 

They are what we call "good people."

But like all of us, have challenges and difficulties in life. 

Maybe their load is heavier and more taxing. 

But it is what G-d has given them to bear and to work with. 

In talking with this person, at one point, they said, "It's too hard!"

And I think we all feel that way sometimes.

Bret Stephens quoted Bernard Lewis in the Wall Street Journal today, that in trying times, some ask, "Who did this to us?" While others ask, "What did we do wrong?"

Maybe the question should be, "What can we do now?"

While some throw in the towel and can't go on or go on in a bad way, others may get angry and bitter at their lot in life.

But yet like my inspiration, Rocky, some get up and fight for what they want. 

The down is only a temporary down, but not a knockout. 

The pain stings and hurts and leaves us blurry-eyed and dizzy, but our desire to succeed pushes the adrenaline through our coursing veins, and we get up again with even a greater determination. 

"The eye of the tiger, the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenges of our rivals..."

I take responsibility. I take accountability. I want to overcome. 

I shall prevail in life and even ultimately in death, my life will mean something to somebody. 

The end is the beginning again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 19, 2016

Running With Parachute

So I took this photo at the athletic field. 

This guy was running.

But he had a parachute tied to his buttocks. 

A little extra resistance to get into shape. 

While a parachute can be helpful (in fact lifesaving) if you're jumping from an airplane.

It can also be a hinderance if your trying to run across a big open field as fast as you can. 

Parachute + Air = Resistance. 

I asked the guy how much this running parachute cost and he told me it was about $30.

Not bad to vary up the workout a little and pull not just yourself, but an entire airstream with you. 

It's interesting how people wanting to excel look for ways to improve their game by challenging themselves.

As if running lightening fast in the hot sun wasn't hard enough.

Let's add a parachute or maybe a bag of heavy rocks to the mix.

The problem is that while the training can be good now, we may pay a physical price for it later in life. 

He/she-man can take a lot of physical abuse, but maybe there is also long term wear and tear on the body. 

I think perhaps, the best outcome from challenging your body and soul is the inner strength you get from determination and exercise of your will to succeed. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 16, 2016

Setbacks Lead To Comebacks

My wife, Danielle Blumenthal, sent me this beautiful quote from Joel Osteen's book called, "It's Your time."

"For every setback, G-d has prearranged a comeback

For every failure, G-d has prearranged mercy. 

For every disappointment, G-d has prearranged restoration. 

For every unfair thing, G-d has prearranged vindication....

It's easy to get discouraged, lose your enthusiasm, or even be tempted to just settle where you are.

But if we're going to see G-d's best, when you get knocked down, you don't stay down. You get back up again.You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it's a setup for a comeback."

Often we look at some people, and think that they have everything. 

But no one does--life is a bunch of trade-offs. 

Some are blessed with family and friends, others with health and longevity, and still others with peace or prosperity, but no one has it all. 

And if you think they do, then you don't really know them and their circumstances. 

In life, everyone has weaknesses, setbacks and failures...it's how we learn, it's how we grow.

Understanding that setbacks doesn't necessarily mean "game over" and that as long as there is life, there is hope, can give us the courage to go on, and the strength to get up when it seems like we are down for the count, and to make a comeback to live and thrive yet another day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 5, 2016

Amazing Will

So this is amazing Will. 

He is a veteran who was disabled and is missing a leg. 

But that doesn't stop him from going to the track with his beautiful son to play ball and do some laps. 

In a few short moments he switches between his regular walking prothesis and the carbon fiber running blades for playing and working out. 

All I could say to Will was how amazing he is. 

And he is amazing Will for what he can do despite any disabilities--he turns his disabilities into abilities!

And he is amazing Will not just because of his name and his service to his country and his devotion to his family, but because of his willpower.

Will is determined to succeed no matter what. 

Not to compare, but I thought to myself what excuse do I have with my titanium hips.

Get the heck around the track for another dozen Andy!

And I did, and I am losing weight and getting back to myself. 

I think the lose of both my completely dear parents the last couple of years was more than traumatic for me. 

But they would want me to heal and to be me again.  

I know they are watching and I want to make them proud. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 30, 2016

Losing The Weight

So when I was young, I may have aspired to be Superman.  

Now, I am a little more realistic in my dreams and understanding of my capabilities. 

Since my hips started deteriorating almost 3 years ago, and I had the 2 hip replacements, it has been challenging at times with mobility and of course, weight gain. 

But as I continue to get back to myself, some people have been particularly encouraging and inspiring to me.  

One is a terrific doctor that my wife had recommended, and she told me straight up to just lose the weight. 

She told me about JuicePlus pills--which I found a cheaper version with JuiceFestiv that are capsules for organic fruit and vegetables that energizes and also fills you up. 

She also told me simply what her principle has been, "Eat half!" 

Next, I am grateful to my friend, Jacob Elbaz, who told me how he wants me around a long time as a friend and with my family.  

He also had good advice, "Just one pound a week...how hard is that?"

Finally, I am grateful to my wife who in a most caring way is cooking the right foods now and making me lots of healthy mush--some of it even edible.

With G-d's help, I believe that I can do it!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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