Showing posts with label Impact. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Impact. Show all posts

July 16, 2019

We're Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d's larger overall plan for the world. 


Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d's eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.


And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that "I'm here with you thru it all." You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the "tough gift" to cope, grow, and become better people.

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person--a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

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June 16, 2019

Never Alone Or Meaningless

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Never Alone or Meaningless."
  • We are never alone, because G-d is always right there with us, and in us!
  • And what we do is never meaningless, because everything we do affects the G-dliness of everything else--everything and everyone are wholly intertwined and connected.
Instead of feeling alone, aimless, and sad, we can delight in our oneness with G-d and the cosmos and in knowing the everything we do can have a positive impact on everything else.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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May 4, 2019

Getting The Biggest Bang For The Buck

So I had the opportunity to sit in on a colleague teaching a class in Performance Improvement. 

One tool that I really liked from the class was the Impact-Effort Matrix. 

To determine project worth doing, the matrix has the:

Impacts (Vertical) - Improved customer satisfaction, quality, delivery time, etc.

Effort (Horizontal) - Money, Time, etc. 

The best bang for the buck are the projects in upper left ("Quick Wins") that have a high impact or return for not a lot of effort. 

In contract, the projects that are the least desirable are in the lower right ("Thankless Tasks") that have a low impact or return but come at a high cost or lot of effort. 

This is simple to do and understand and yet really helps to prioritize projects and find the best choices among them. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 23, 2019

Hopefully, All's Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):
When the end is good, all is good. 

Or as we commonly say:
All's well that end's well. 

Lot of truth to this. 

And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.

When things end well, it's as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it's as if everything was bad. 

The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 

Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 

Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 

In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.

- Was all the hard work worth it?

- Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?

- Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 

- What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?

We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 20, 2018

How Does It feel At The Top

A colleague told me something interesting about what it feels like at the top.

He said:
The 360 degree view is good, but it get's windy at times!

I thought this was pretty smart, and one reason that many people opt out of moving into senior and executive positions in their organizations. 

Yes, it's great to be able to lead and have more visibility, influence, and impact. 

But at the same time, this does not come for free or without risks. 

At the top of the pyramid or corporate offices or whatever, there is opportunity. 

Yet, your dealing with other top honchos with strong personalities, egos, and often harsh ways of dealing with others and conflict can be perilous for many. 

My father used to tell me his philosophy:
Better a little less, but you know what you have. 

There is definitely wisdom in those words. 

Maybe as with most things in life, there is a time and place for everything. 

It is great to have the opportunity to lead.

It's also not bad to have a time to follow and contribute in that way. 

What's important is that whatever role your in at the time, that you do it with integrity and passion to do good. 

So how does it feel at the top--sure, it's a nice view, but it can get very windy too. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 20, 2018

When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression...

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 

When people feel anxious and that they don't have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety "has no where to go," it becomes depression. 

I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can't really do anything to make things better--and no matter how hard you try--then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed

Perhaps it's almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 

That is why a person's feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 

When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  

Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 

But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 

Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 

I'm pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you "did everything you could" so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 

Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 

Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 

But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 

So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 

Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 

If everyone--7.6 billion of us out there---does their part that can make a difference. 

Don't let life's anxieties become your depression.

Look for what you can contribute--do it!--try your best to make a difference and make the world better.

It's what you're here for and what you can positively do.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 13, 2018

Why Worry?

So I had an interesting conversation with a colleague, and they tell me their philosophy about worry, as follows:
Worrying is suffering twice!

I thought this was pretty smart. 

With worry, we suffer when we worry and then we suffer again if the thing we are worrying about actually comes to fruition. 

So in essence, we are doubling up on the suffering.

Yet, worry can be constructive if we use it to spur us to positive action such as in confronting and dealing with challenging situations. 

But when we worry just for the sake of worry because we can't control our anxiety and moreover, it actually may paralyze us with fear, then this is obviously a bad thing. 

Do I worry?

Sure do, but like my dad, I use worry to try and think out-of-the-box, to plan, to problem-solve, to figure out coping mechanisms etc. 

Worry is suffering for sure. 

However, if we can channel the worry to positive impact, then the worry can be worth the pain it inflicts on us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 4, 2018

Anus Protectus

So I learned this new phrase today:
"Anus Protectus"

It's what it sounds like.

It when you communicate (or do) something in order to "cover your a*s."

Sometimes we communicate as an FYI.

Other times as a FYSA.

And then there is the CYA. 

All of these are what we call "Purposeful communications."

The only real difference is their purposes. 

When you open your mouth or your email make sure you know your:

- Why (intent)
- Who (audience)
- How (persuasion techniques)

These are the secret sauce of good communication. 

More blogs to come on this important topic. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 19, 2017

Customer Service NO-NOs

So if you're in customer service...

The answer is easy. 

It's always got to be YES. 

- Any less is a big No-No!

The customer's needs are paramount.

Their satisfaction is your goal. 

So your job is to figure out how to get from no to yes!

You've got to problem-solve and figure it out. 

And it's not enough to come up with any old solution.

When I said to my colleagues the other day:
"There's a solution to every problem."

Someone joked and answered back:
"It's just that the customer may not like it."

And I responded:
"Well then that's not the solution you are looking for!"

You've got to go back to the drawing board and get to a legitimate yes. 

Of course, it can difficult, especially when at times you deal with some challenging customers and problems.

But listen, this is the customer service field and in the end, the customer experience should be WOW fantastic!

It's the customer that is depending on you to come through for them and their mission. 

Doing your job isn't just a matter of reading off of some cue card or playbook. 

This is real life with real consequences. 

If you can deliver, the customer will be able to do their jobs, and they may even sing your wildest praises--wouldn't that be rewarding? 

Customer service means getting to YES from the earliest possible moment in the interaction, meaning it, and legitimately delivering on it--no other questions asked.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 2, 2017

It's Just Bling

So sitting in synagogue today, my friend Jacob said something very interesting to me.

He was talking about some very wealthy people with multi-millions and even billions. 

And then he says, you know what the difference is between the rich and everyone else:
"Nothing!"

I asked him what he meant by this.

Then he starts listing off to me like this:
"Well, they live in a home, and you live in a home.
They drive a car, and you drive a car.
They eat food and you eat food."
And it was amazing how smart his words were, and it hit me how right he was. 

It's all sort of just in our minds.

Their homes are bigger and nicer; their cars are more luxurious and fancier; their food is better and tastier...but what difference is any of that really.

We both have a roof over our heads to protect us from the elements and a nice place to sleep. 

We both have a car that gets us from here to there and back again. 

We both have food and drink to fill our bellies and nourish us. 

Isn't the rest just a bunch of bling?

It's branding and marketing and the sense of luxury that some are better and have more than others. 

But beyond the essentials, we really don't need any of that!

What we do need is our relationships--people we care about and love and who love us. 

The ability to have a deep impact on others. 

To influence them and make a difference in their lives--in what they do and how they treat others. 

The ability to help people and society. 

The bling is just bling. 

The ability to love and influence that is true wealth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 31, 2017

VICE News Superior

So I have started watching VICE News and you should too. 

It is on HBO and is superior to the other big news outlets in so many ways. 

The intensity and clarity of their photography and videos is unbelievable!

My daughter said to me:
"This is clearer than REAL life!"

And she was right...I don't know how they do it. 


Also, they remove all the clutter from the news screen that CNN, MSNBC, and others use at the top and bottom of the screen--instead it's just clean, focused, and right to the news point. 

VICE puts the key messages in callouts right on the screen in large and easy to read boxes--the impact is you see the visual and the print message dramatically together and you get it and remember it!

They do this for their photos and videos.

Finally, with all the "talk is cheap" news these days, it is nice that VICE seems to focus more on reporting and less on subjective opinion. 

With all the failing, fake, and alternative news out there, it is nice to see that someone has invented a better news program.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Vice News)
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June 30, 2017

It's Like Saving The Whole World

I saw this sign hanging prominently in a large local Baltimore hospital here (and it comes from the Talmud): 

"He who saves one life...It is as if he saves a whole world."

For doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, what greater purpose or joy in life than to save other human lives!

Each person is truly a whole world unto themselves...their thoughts, feelings, and their contributions!

Who knows what one single act of kindness or generosity from someone can have--what impacts down the line to one or even billions of others. 

Today, I have a friend that is undergoing a major operation in this hospital. 

My thoughts and prayers are with him. 

This is his third hospitalization in the last few weeks and it's time for the doctors--with G-d's help--to save his life.

I actually had something similar to this friend many years ago, but the technology wasn't there yet to diagnose it, and I had to have emergency surgery where they went in "exploratory" to find out what the heck was going on.

And thank G-d that they did--they literally saved my life at the time or I wouldn't be writing to you all today. 

I feel so grateful to G-d for his mercy to us and for giving us modern medicine and technology and all the wonderful people who work tirelessly to help all the sick people and to help save their very lives.

I am wishing the best of luck to my friend to come through this with a full and merciful healing.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 26, 2017

Shock Value Gets The Ball Rolling

There is definitely something to be said for shock value. 

When you do or say something that is S~H~O~C~K~I~N~G.

And it jolts the other person out of their daily stupor so that they really take notice. 

It's hard to stand out in a global population of over 7.2 billion people and counting. 

Everyone wants to be special, unique, have an impact, and make a difference. 

It's our answer (partially) for why we are here and why it matters.

Our life is a journey and it can be a log slog if we don't have a purpose and meaning in it all. 

We look to the One Above for guidance, meaning, love, and protection.

But we also have to look at ourselves in the mirror...what are we doing with our lives. 

Shock value doesn't mean real value...it's just the initial jolt to get noticed...like that purple and green spiked hair or those sparkly shoes you adorned. 

So you have to take the initial jolt and make it into deep impact--by touching not just a cord, but the nerves that run through. 

In Florida, there was a funny sign along the highway with that shock value that said something like this:

"Your Wife Is Hot So Call {X} To Fix Your A/C!"

What did you say about my wife? 

You know you're right, I do need to invest in better air conditioning! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 2, 2017

Communicate And Do Good In This World

This is a really good quote by Jay Danzie:
"Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark."

I heard someone else say it another way:
"The only way to read your audience is with eye contact and smiles."

Basically, it comes down to leaving people with a positive feeling through your interactions, and influencing others for the good. 

We have one chance to make a first impression--so yes, wow people with your smile, personality, integrity, and inspire them to do and speak good. 

If we all just say or do just one more good thing everyday, imagine that multiplied by 7.5 billion people. 

Now, multiply that by 365 days a years and you have 2.7 trillion more good things said and done in just a single year.

Imagine our Heavenly Father looking down at us with so much good in our souls' bank.

We can all be an influence for good--just think about it and go out and do it! ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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January 3, 2017

The Trump Twitter Genius

President-elect Trump is a Twitter genius!

At 70-years old, he has managed to use a millennial social media tool to take on the world, and despite opponents questioning of his temperament, so far he has unequivocally won with it. 

Using Twitter, Trump defeated candidates from Cruz to Clinton in running for president of the United States and at a fraction the cost.

Using Twitter, Trump has shaped not only policy discussion, but national sentiments around healthcare, over-regulation, tax reform, and even updating our critical nuclear deterrent capability. 

Using Twitter, Trump has strengthened alliances and friendships with nation and states from Israel to Taiwan and decreased escalating tensions with Russia. 

Using Twitter, Trump has put competitors and adversaries on notice about bad behavior from China to North Korea.

Using Twitter, Trump is setting the stage for correcting economic problems and imbalances from unfair trade practices to shipping jobs overseas.

Using Twitter, Trump gets around media bias and messages and connects directly with the people of the world. 

Of course, it is critical to vet important communications and ensure they are accomplishing the goal, but this needs to be weighed with the ability to reach out and get the message out quickly and effectively to the masses...and it's a most fascinating and delicate balance that needs to be achieved. 

So far though, we are no longer working at the speed of government, but at the speed of the Internet. 

This is an incredible awakening in politics, but also for everyone on the incredible power of social media tools to communicate directly, unvarnished, and with impact, and no one has done it better than Donald Trump. 

The mastery of social media will continue to depend on messaging with speed, significance, and effect balanced with the vigilance as to exactly when to hit that crucial send button to the Twitterverse and the world. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2016

Wouldn't You Like To Be A Govie Too

Some people have a negative perception of government workers ("govies").  

They think that it's just a cushy job with a lot of free time and benefits. 

Sort of like the photo above with the lady streched out over her laptop, eyes half shut, and with the lightbulb above her head--thinking up great ideas for running the government and regulating the people. 

Ah, no--it's not like that at all. 

Okay, maybe a little for some people. 

Having been in both the private and public sectors about 40-60 of my career, I can tell you that there is plenty of unproductiveness (i.e. dead weight) wherever you go. 

But there is also a lot of hardworking (some super hardworking) and really smart people too. 

Yes, there are meetings (lots of them) and paperwork (piled high), but there is also a good amount of out-of-the-box thinking and trying to figure out how to do more with the same or less.  

There is also some really big thinking like how to win the next Big One (i.e. war), how to protect the country from deadly terrorism, disasters, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber attack, how to partner with others around the world to achieve big ambitious projects and peace, how to colonize outer space, protect the environment, and improve the economy, healthcare, education, and so much more. 

Not all the big thinking is good thinking--some of it is unrealistic, biased towards this or that constituency, counterproductive, or even corrupt. 

But many govies really do want to do a great job and save the world!

If you think there isn't plenty of hard work, passion, dedication--you're wrong.

If you think, everyone is doing the right thing for the right reasons--your delusional.

Like with people all over the world, there's a mix of good and some not so good, but overall, there is lots of opportunity to lead, problem solve, and do good and great things with real effect, nationally and globally. 

And if for that alone, being a govie is an amazing career move where you can have an influence on matters of tremendous importance and lasting impact. 

Wild perceptions and pictures can be deceiving--instead think about the hero that you can and want to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 14, 2016

Jane Confronts Tarzan

Thought this was pretty funny.

I went to the gym to do some lifting. 

And low and behold, someone had left this funny message:

"Dear Tarzan,
Please put the heavy weights back so I can move the bar up and down."
Thank you,
Jane"

How creative a message was that!

Tarzan and Jane, nice sense of humor. 

Effectively asks for what she wants--put away the weights when you're done!

Is polite about it--please and thank you.

Must've worked because the bar was unencumbered and moving up and down fine, and there was no leftover heavy weights to be found. 

A little thoughtful note can go a long way. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 18, 2016

Reflection, Summer Don't Go

Starting to feel Summer slipping away, again. 

Kids are getting ready to go back to school.

Weather is starting to feel a little cooler. 

But got to love the beautiful nature we have this time of year. 

When the flowers are in bloom and the days are long. 

Appreciate every moment of every day.

It's a gift from the One Above. 

Some people have a bucket list of where they want to go or what they want do, extravagantly, before they die. 

For others, it's about material possessions: finding the precious gems of "things" out there, and collecting, hoarding, and showing them off. 

Really though, it's not the places you visit, the outrageous things you get to do, or the possessions you accumulate, but rather what positive influence you can have--even on a single life or the more the better.

That good lasts a lot longer and has much more wide-ranging impact than the momentary high of simple and selfish--my places, events, and things.

We all need to enjoy life--it's wondrous and beautiful--but perhaps not live for the empty revelry alone.

Smell the roses and enjoy G-d's gifts of life, and then get back out there and do some good stuff, won't you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 11, 2016

Noticing The Smallest Beauty

My daughter, Rebecca sent me this photo she took.

A little lady bug on the plants outside. 

She told me how important it is to pay attention to the beauty in even the smallest ways out there. 

I was very proud of her!

It's not the biggest, the loudest, or the baddest that necessarily makes the most impact in the world. 

I hope she (and us) keep on noticing what is really amazing in this world. 

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

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May 7, 2016

The Revolving Door

So work is a revolving door of people onboarding and offboarding.

New people are getting hired.

Old people are leaving.

Nothing is stable.

The relationships you made yesterday just left the revolving door today, and it's time to make new ones.

One "ran from Dodge."  Another retired.  A third left for the private sector.  Someone else is going just down the block.

On the inbound train are Summer interns. Contractors being hired on as regular staff.  Brand new people.  And even some people coming back after leaving for a short time.

People get antsy or have enough doing what they were doing, dealing with who they are dealing, or simply want a change and a challenge.

Others are shown the door under less fortunate circumstances.

Whether looking to pave new trails, find yourself a seat at the table, a leadership position, or a fatter paycheck--the eyes see, and the heart wants.

Some people are tethered to their job or even "retired in place (RIP)"--perhaps it's truly a great job and fit or it's like their life blood (their whole identity, their reason for being) or maybe, they just like collecting what they consider "easy money" for a job they know and love or can skate by on, or maybe they work with other great people they really like and every day is a fresh challenge and even fun. 

Recents studies indicate that retiring later in life actually increases longevity, but when is enough enough or are we leaving ourselves enough time to sit at the pool side and just enjoy life a little?

Millennials, famous for changing jobs often, now are at an average of 4 jobs by the time they hit 32.

And in Information Technology, job hopping is considered "the world's biggest game of musical chairs."

Why the increase in the job hopping bug in people's you know what?

Sure there is more opportunity for those that have the right skills, and people getting bored or stale is a bad thing, everyone wants to find a good fit for themselves and where they can have a real impact, and economic and social pressures push people to make the leap, perhaps there is also some foolishness involved--where the grass is always greener or not.

Sometimes though it really may be right for the person--and that's for each to explore and decide for themselves. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to John Garghan)
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