Day 9: 3 ways to deal with apparent failure.

Day 3, No Writing, bump.
Day 4, No Writing, bump.
Day 5, 6, 7, No writing: bump, bump, bump in the road.
Day 8, I wrote on paper. Sometimes, cleaning away technology makes it easy to pump out the words.
Day 9, I took my paper work and adapted to the computer, and things started to flow again.

Oh Me, Oh My, Bumps in the road. What do I do?

My recent endeavors, blogging, exercise, writing, and eating habits, have all hit bumps in the road. The key is what do I do when I fall off the horse? What are my options? What can I do? Should I sit here and cry the sky is falling?

My first thought is, as long as I learn something from an experience, then the bump in the road is not a failure. So, What are my options with a bump?

Option 1> Give up! Such an easy path to take.

Sometimes, giving up is the correct way to handle a bump in the road. Yes, when we reach for a far off goal or challenge, there is a time to give up. For example, during High School, I wanted to play basketball in college. However, I was slow, moderately athletic, average height, and very short vertical leap. I shot baskets, did drills on my own, and even took up running to try to improve my basketball chances. This goal is one I should have given up sooner given my personal circumstances. The opportunity cost of time could have been put to better use. Yet, there was value in my the time spent working towards a career in basketball. I realized it wasn’t really a true passion for me. I learned something.

Option 2> Postpone! The procrastinator’s path.

Priorities mean we must make choices of what we do. It is the choices and the resultant actions that make our life. So, if you postpone a task that is a challenge or bump in the road, it is because you are doing so by a choice. You may have decided that some other task takes higher priority and ultimately has your attention. Again, you’ve learned the priority through your actions. It also means you can get back on the path to achieving your lofty goal when the priorities change.

Option 3> Persevere! Where there’s a will there’s a way path.

Try, try, try again. When there is a wall thrown in our way, We can find a way onto our path again no matter what. I think of this similar to the scene in Apollo 13 when “Failure is not an option”.

So, you make it a priority and above else, fall off the horse, get back on it.

The key I think is to learn and adapt. Ultimately, doing the same things, or steps, over and over again will not lead to new and better results. We must experiment with our actions in order to find the path over the bump in the road.

My recent personal practical examples:

My goal when I started the month of November was to write everyday. It became a huge challenge when my wife was out of town for business. I was okay with that, but when my toddler daughter came down with a fever inducing miserable virus.

At first, I was giving myself negative self-talk about missing my own short-term goals and deadlines. Yet, I made in my opinion the choise I wanted. I wanted to spend time with my daughter. I wanted to comfort her, wake-up with her in the middle of the night. It was my choice to postpone my goal. After a few days, she’s better, my wife is home, and I have recovered my sleep. I have allowed my priorities to change back, and I am back on the path to achieving my short-term goals.

Could I have written those days while my daughter was sick? Yes, I probably could have. Ultimately, though, I am happy with my choices. Sometimes, we just need to avoid the negative self-talk and learn.

So, I am back to writing. Will I write everyday? I will not say yes until I have changed my actions. I will experiment with new actions to identify what the best route for me to take.

In the meantime, How do you overcome a challenge?

Day 2: Three Writing Habits.

Did I write on Nov 2?  yes, yes I did.  A nice little article for my Weight Management Blog.  Wait a minute, wasn’t I supposed to be writing a book?

Isn’t the whole Prag Pro Wri Mo, November National Writing Month about writing books?

It sure is, but remember my goal was to write every day of November.  I set my rung on the ladder a little bit lower than writing an entire book.  Although, I still plan on writing a book.  It is just going to take longer than expected.

Writing lessons learned today:  Starting an intensive writing event takes support from all those involved with your time commitments.  In other words, writing must take a priority in your daily schedule.  When children are sick, your wife is out of town, and technology project deadlines are looming, time management becomes a challenge.  I know it sounds like excuses to me too.  So, I did meet my goal.  I wrote.

I saw something great from Merlin Mann today.

Top 1 Habits of Amazing Writers

  1. They Write

That is so true. stephen_king_on_writing Personally, I think you need to add at least one more habit, and maybe two more habits.  Here’s my list of Amazing Writers’ habits:

  1. They Write, They Write, They Write some more.
  2. They Read
  3. They ruthlessly Edit

A day of rest

Did I write today?  Definitely I did.  Did I write towards my book?  No.   Sunday is more a day of rest for me.  I try, when I can, to take Sunday to relax, recharge, spend it with family, and think.  Of course, I still wanted to commit to my writing schedule.  Write every day for a month. Today, I wrote in private. Day One is done, and I’d say I wrote, but it was a slow steady first baby step.  Wobbly, yet confident.

When I look back on writing today, What did I learn?

Photo Walking Chicago Parks

Lesson 1: Focus on the special moments, and you will find them.

Lesson 2: Carving time to write between current obligations is definitely going to be a challenge. I may have to use the same bat time, same bat channel philosophy and let other projects flow in between.  Depends on how big an importances I want to make for this project.

Lesson 3:  It is easier to procrastinate later in the day rather than earlier.

Time to go.  Good Night.

Writing Can Be Scary

The Mission?

Should you accept is, to write a book in the month of November.

Over at Pragmatic Programmers, they issued a challenge similar to the National Novel Writing Month at, to write a pragmatic lifestyle or technology related book for the month of November. I have always said I will not only write a book, but I will get published.  In fact, I expect to have multiple books published.

Here’s the fear:  I don’t know if I can write a book in 30 days.  In fact, I have had so much difficulty eating my own dog food with regards to blogging on a consistent basis, that the challenge of writing a book seems daunting.

Ho, Hum, time to get back to life.  No, wait a minute here. That’s what a challenge is for isn’t it?

I mean when some people set out to do an iron-man triathlon or climb Mount Everest, they are not sure if they can achieve the goal. The idea is not necessarily achieving the end goal, but becoming better via the preparation during the journey to the finish line.

So, here’s my personal challenge. Write everyday for the month of November. I don’t care if I write here for my consulting blog, my personal blog, my fitness blog, guest post at other blogs, write in my moleskine inspiration journal, or on the back of a bathroom stall.  The Goal is to write.  Now, there is more to it.  I am pretty good at updating my facebook status or twittering along everyday, but I want more.  So, the goal is not only to write everyday, but to write something substantial everyday.  Okay, so I chickened out.  It’s still a lofty goal.  The way to eat a dinosaur is one bone at a time. What’s next?

What am I going to write about?

Since my goal is not necessarily to write a book.  It’s just to write every day.  I’m going to let the topic float to the top.  Although, I have a couple of themes that I’m choosing for the journey.  Besides, what’s the point in telling you the topic now.  You’ll have to tune in tomorrow.  Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel to see.  Of course, it’s a long season, 30 days.  Anything can happen.

Happy Halloween.  Scott’s dressing up as an author.

Be careful, this message may self-destruct.

Social Media Optimization – Market and Build your Business

Thanks to all who attended my Social Media Optimization class at Harper College Tech. It was great to meet you all, and good luck. Let me know what I can do to help.

Here are the Class Resources I promised to post:

Social Media Books I recommend

Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web

The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Theory in Practice)

The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR

Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, Revised Edition

People Find Jobs Via People not Job Ads. Book Prescription.

Often times, people say, to find a job, one has to network.  What does that mean?

Networking means, talking to people.  Communicating and expressing how you can help others and how you can help them.

So How can I network and use the internet to find a Job?

Here’s my Book Prescription:

  1. Read these two books:
    Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends
    Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
  2. I’d watch these videos:
  3. read this e-book:

While Reading and Taking these actions, I recommend you keep a notebook nearby, and decide what your next actions are and prioritize. I think you’ll see your next action is to call, email, or write someone a note.

Be social, be useful, be interesting, and be good.

SCNA The path to craftsmanship as a software developer and more.

Well, I am attempting my first live-blogging session.  I am at the Software Craftsman North America conference in Chicago.

Here are my notes, I’ll refine them later and and plan on updating them as I go.

Updated 2009-08-27.  I added bookmark links to the different sessions. Still plan on editing some of this to make it more readable.

Here’ are the sessions I attended and took notes for:

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Is your success your own?

“You can’t be successful at everything. You can’t have it all. We hear a lot of talk about work-life balance. Nonesense. You can’t have it all. You can’t. So any vision of success has to admit what it’s losing out on, where the element of loss is. ..So what I want to argue for, is not that we should give up on our ideas of success. But we should make sure that they are our own.”

View Label Gridlines or Label Outlines in Office 2007

As part of my IT Director position, I often have to support users with various end user questions.

One of the questions I had recently,

We upgraded our Microsoft Office from Office xx to Office 2007. I now open my labels for mail merge, and I don’t see the gridlines. How do I get them back?

How to enable the virtual outlines or gridlines for labels in Microsoft Office 2007:

  1. Open a Document that has been set-up for labels.
  2. click the Table Tools Menu Panel (I forget what Office 2007 official terminology is for this)
  3. Select the Borders Choice
  4. Click View Gridlines

Here are some screenshots:

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A good book. Traits of a good technology class part one

This is the first article in a multi-part series about the Traits of a good Technology class.

One of the questions I get asked all the time is What makes a good class? Is it the trainer? Is it the book? Is it the students?

We’ve all been to class. Some of you may remember looking at the clock in grammar school, counting down the minutes until the day was over. Others may have fond memories of listening to a Professor lecture to 1000 students in a gigantic college lecture hall. Still others are taught at home at the kitchen table, learning science through every day experiments.

What’s related? The objective of knowledge transfer. The idea of transferring knowledge from the teacher to the student. Some modes of learning are more effective for some students than others. Yet, there are still some standard commonalities.

As a facilitator, teacher, trainer, attendee of 100’s, if not 1000’s of classes. I have identified some common traits that all Good Technology Training classes have.  The first of the Traits is:  good books.

Image: 'Belinha has more than good looks'

Image: 'Belinha has more than good looks'

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