Poetic Fridays

(Image by H. B. from Pixabay

Life role

Living the life I lead

Let’s me see how mistakes can produce learning moments

Taking time to enjoy the world around

Produces the essence in this life I lead

Working towards goals, to fulfill this promise I need

Striving for perfection is what I bleed

There will be times when I do not reach my goal

The key to the life I lead is to find my role

Walking and the importance of networking

“It’s not who you know but who knows YOU”.

(Anonymous)

Dictionary.com defines networking as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. 

This definition provides a clean view of networking but does not limit how it can be done.  I have written in the past about several podcast episodes I have been a part of.  Each episode was done to share a specific message to the audience and help their professional growth.  I engaged in multiple in-person networking events (Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with designs to meet people who could help me grow my consulting and speaking roles.  So, as you can see, networking takes on many forms with the objective of connecting with others.

I got invited to speak on a local radio program last week to engage and speak with Fort Pierce community members about my new workplace and the work we do.  Turns out the radio host is an Indian River State College (IRSC) colleague who happens to work on a different campus.  We had not met prior to the event but knew of each other through work interactions.

I make a point to never turn down opportunities to speak about the great work we do for our students and alumni populations.  The radio spot was a fantastic way for me to network with students, parents and employers interested in attending or coming back to IRSC.

The host for this networking opportunity works directly with underrepresented students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.  She is always looking for new ways to engage students and members of the community on the benefits of higher education and wanted me to discuss how my office helps our students become career ready.  Love being able to showcase the improved operations and services we are building.  These new operational tweaks allow staff to reach more students and add value to the overall college experience.

I especially enjoyed participating in the radio program since I could speak directly to employers in the local Fort Pierce area who did not know they could recruit talent on our campuses.  We are not hosting in-person events in the fall, but employers are able to post their openings for free with our office.  We are in the process of finalizing our Virtual Career Fair platform and wanted to let employers know they have multiple access points to recruit on-campus.  The radio program reaches our four-county service area and should enhance our reach to help employers understand how we can help them moving forward.

A secondary aspect of participating on the radio show was to let the community know enrollment for the fall semester is open and we are still recruiting new students.  COVID-19 has had a major impact on college and university enrollments across the country and we are no different.  Going on the radio allows us to let folks know we are here for them and want to share ways we can help with their success.  Two-year colleges are very affordable and can be an excellent way to launch into a four-year degree if that is a goal. 

The new term for me in this environment is UpSkill.  We talk with prospective students and employers on the benefit of in-demand certificate programs to UpSkill their careers or improve staff outputs.  This process is still new to me since I came from the four-year university model but UpSkill is a great way to impact local economies by training students to meet local career demands.

I am scheduled to speak on another radio program later this month hosted by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and will look to continue to network to help the Treasure Coast grow.  Excited to see the impact of these networking opportunities! 😊

What networking opportunities are you working on?  How can networking help your organization continue to grow?

 “Networking is the #1 unwritten rule of success in business”.

(Sallie Krawcheck)

Listen to the show here—I speak around the 5 minute markhttp://wjfp.com/ondemand-wjfp/player.php?wrspot=72816

The return to LA Fitness

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay

“You are only one workout away from a good mood”.

(Unknown)

Decided to test the waters and get back into LA Fitness to jump start my weight training program again.  I started putting extra emphasis on my running program in 2019 but I was still getting in four days of weight training while increasing my mileage.  I still made it to Momentum Fitness in Tallahassee in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Stopped going completely as the pandemic started to get worse in mid-March and switched to home body workouts until it was time to move to Fort Pierce, Florida in April.

I maintained my distance from the gym during my first two and a half months in Fort Pierce because I did not feel comfortable being around people in a confined space.  Note, I am still not completely comfortable but have allowed for limited time around people with proper physical distancing.

My new workplace has a small workout room, but I do not consider it a gym.  The weights and cardio equipment are in great condition but there are limited weightlifting options.  I ventured to this location a few times on the weekends just for limited workouts (cardio, legs).  Had this location to myself each time I went in so think I got a bit of confidence to explore a larger facility. 

My new habit is to carry Clorox wipes with me everywhere I go so I can wipe down everything myself prior to touching it.  Never thought I would be that guy, but yes, I have a pack of Clorox wipes in my gym bag and do not see this changing anytime soon.  A new normal for the gym has been born. 😊

LA Fitness

My history with LA Fitness began during my time living in Oviedo, Florida.  Really enjoyed the multiple cardio, weightlifting, basketball, spinning and yoga class options available at LA Fitness.  All these things were part of the regular membership and made the facility popular with my folks in East Orlando.  My experience prior to joining LA Fitness centered on fitness centers on military installations.  Always had what I needed in these facilities and never had to pay to get in a workout.

I decided to test out LA Fitness because I felt limited with the other workout options in Orlando.  Was able to get a great rate with a military discount and spent as much time in the facility as possible.  Made some great friends in LA Fitness and got myself in fantastic shape with all the options there.  So, as you can see, I have a fondness for the LA Fitness brand.

There are two LA Fitness locations in Port St. Lucie, Florida and I finally got comfortable enough to want to venture in to enhance my weight training.  Went on-line and signed up for a free guest membership which gave me access to the facility without having to commit or join.  Leveraged the pass to see how the facility was maintained and what protocols they had to combat COVID-19.  Was a bit surprised how clean they kept the facility and was happy there were not large crowds working out.  Made sure to only use equipment where physical distancing was possible and moved if anyone got too close to where I was working out.  Felt funny doing that but decided to air on the side of caution.

Waited a couple weeks and signed up for another free guest pass for the second LA Fitness location.  Wanted to see if there was a different vibe there and I was not eligible to get another guest past at the first location.  You are supposed to wait 6 months between passes at the same location, so I just moved down the road a bit for my workouts.  I liked the second location best because the shopping complex it is in has more options for me when I am done with my workout.  The equipment was the same, but the setup was a bit different–both locations were maintained with an eye towards maintaining physical distancing and cleanliness.

Quickly found out my home pushup routine was not the same to lifting weights.  Got a new level of soreness from lifting but it felt good to be back in a weightlifting routine.  Do not think I will ever lift heavy weights again but want to keep lifting for definition and to feel good.  Got several good workouts in utilizing the free passes and I am seriously thinking about joining the LA Fitness family again.  Will evaluate each location again to see which one makes the most sense for me to join.  I could sign up for a membership which gives me multiple location privileges but that may be a waste of money—we will see. 

Look forward to sharing more of my workout journey in the future—back to LA Fitness and enjoying it! 😊

“Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going”.

(Jim Ryin)

Poetic Fridays

Control 

Life’s limitations can only limit what you allow

You have control over all circumstances

This I will avow

The simplicity of life will make you see

The things most important can be

Right in front of you

But you must stay true

The vision you have requires additional work, time, and effort

Put the past behind

Start to remove the limitations from the process and let the simplicity of life

Guide your path

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language”.

(W.H. Auden)

 

Making a difference–the first 100 days!

(Image by Free Photos from Pixabay)

“If you are walking down the right path and you are willing to keep walking, eventually you will make progress”.

(Barack Obama)

Love starting Walk into the Future blog articles with quotes to introduce the topic for each week.  The quotes are selected to get me into the right frame of mind to generate content my followers will enjoy.  I try not to overdue my Barack Obama quotes but he provides inspiration on multiple levels and I can always find something generated by #44 to help me find the words to make a positive impact with my writing.

I am an avid reader and discovered author Robert Hargrave’s book, Your First 100 Days in a New Executive Job:  Powerful First Steps on the Path to Greatness prior to taking my role in Fort Pierce.  Decided to leverage my first 100 days in my new role to find ways to make a positive difference in our daily operations.  The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has on normal operations was a huge challenge to me.  I accepted my position at Indian River State College in March 2020 with hopes the pandemic would be mitigated during the summer and we would get back to what use to be normal workday activities.  The COVID-19 numbers exploded over the summer and most of the country remained in a work from home mode out of necessity.

I did not let COVID-19 limit my focus on making a difference daily.  Referred to President Obama’s quote daily and looked for ways to chip away towards the progress I sought.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  How do you make workplace progress?  One project at a time.

My first 100-day point at Indian River State College was 7/28/2020.  The Career and Transfer Services (CTS) team was not briefed on my 100-day plan but were key players to ensure we got the results I wanted us to gain.  I take a lot of pride in being able to organize and execute action plans and set about getting a lot of things completed in the first 100 days.

Vision

One of my first tasks was to create and then share a vision for the CTS team.  This process allowed me to educate the team on how we would work together to help generate wins for our operation.  Robert Hargrove advises to seek out as many wins as possible in the first 100 days—it builds positive energy.

I went on a listening tour (virtual, phone, in-person) to speak with staff, colleagues, students, and faculty to understand the best way to partner with each of them.  I learned a lot during these conversations (good and bad) and discovered who I needed to mend fences with.  It was not important when the fences broke but it was my responsibility to get things moving in a positive direction.

The team conducted a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis to identify what we did well, our weak areas, improvement opportunities and organizational threats.  This was an eye-opening experience for the team because they had never analyzed the operation at this level.  I needed a full view of our operation to make the first 100 days productive.

We created action plans to mitigate weaknesses and threats (wins) because we could not grow without addressing these two areas.  This process led to improved training, better communication, and improved team interactions.  The SWOT analysis is a living document and will extend beyond the first 100 days but is a positive step.

We leveraged multiple teambuilding activities during the first 100 days to ensure our continued growth.  We leveraged the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), created team values statements, enhanced professional development training, and got on The Energy Bus.  Each initiative built on the previous one to help us all grow as team members.

This teambuilding process allowed us to create additional wins:

  • Produced a Career Ready Infographic
  • Created and produced a Resume Guide
  • Created and produced a Resume Rubric
  • Created and produced a Mock Interview Rubric
  • Created CTS branded PowerPoint template
  • Developed a CTS workshop library
  • Developed employer specific marketing

These are a few examples of our wins in the first 100 days—excited to add a few more wins as the team continues to grow together.

We continue to walk on the right path and progress is evident daily!

How do you measure your progress?  What steps do you leverage to continue to move forward?

“Little things make a big difference”.

(Picturequotes.com)

Vote 2020!

(Image by Venita Oberholster from Pixabay)

There is still time to register to vote!  Do not miss your opportunity to have your voice heard in the local, state, and national election process.

Registration deadline is October 5, 2020!

Thank you!

Have you registered to vote yet? 

https://registertovoteflorida.gov/eligibilityreactive

https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

Walking with a positive work environment

(Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

“Positive work environments outperform negative work environments”.

(Daniel Goleman)

Positive people make positive things happen is one of my favorite sayings to inspire people in my world.  I created this as a mantra when I enter a work environment to help my team understand the mindset, we need to get positive results.

I was introduced to Positive Psychology during my course work and it remains with me daily.  One premise of Positive Psychology is people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.  This could be on a personal or professional level.  I like leveraging Positive Psychology within the work environment to show direct reports how our mindset influences work outcomes.

I mentioned in an earlier post, my daily response to how I am doing is to say fantastic.  This is not a way to hide my true thoughts or feelings but a way to energize myself.  I found by saying I am doing fantastic provides a new level of energy for myself and it can inspire others around me to join in on the fun.  The word fantastic is not used very often in daily life so it makes people take notice and encourages them to get on The Energy Bus.

Now imagine if you had a leader who was always negative and never had anything nice to say.  How would this person impact the work environment?  I am sure this negative mindset would translate to everyone in the work environment and would not be a pleasant place to work. 

Leaders must be cognizant how their energy (positive or negative) impacts the work environment.  This knowledge will go a long way to build a positive work environment culture to ensure positive things get done daily.  Sounds simple, huh?

It takes a while for this positive process to take hold within a new work environment.  The speed of this process can be enhanced when everyone is ready to engage.  One negative teammate can slow or aggravate the process, but this can be mitigated by the rest of the team pulling in the same direction.  A new initiative for me is to follow Rule #6 from The Energy Bus—I have a sign posted that reads No Energy Vampires Allowed in my office in a prominent location.  I will point to the sign when the tone of a conversation starts to become negative.  I welcome different views and opinions but look to negate negative tone, language, or interactions.  It takes time to eliminate the negative, but the goal is to move forward in a positive manner.  I struggle sometimes because I want everything to head in a positive direction but also know things take time. 

A positive work environment is a place where everyone can thrive, grow, and provide input.  We spend a large amount of our lives in the work environment and I strive to create a space where we can work hard, laugh, and enjoy the process.  Leaders who understand work does not have to be stressful create a space where productivity can be displayed daily.  I have worked in places where people dreaded coming to work and I made a vow to never duplicate these types of environments when I reached the big seat.  Well, I have been in the big seat for a while now and smile whenever one of my tree branches reach out and say they want to work with me again.

I am sure not everyone feels this way, but I have enough of these folks to form my own wolf pack.  😊 Still learning and growing but will continue to promote positive work environments because they are productive and fun.  Imagine that, fun in the workplace!  Guess Google, Microsoft and Apple understand what people want in the work environment.  I do not have ping pong tables, yet, but play a lot of reggae in my office.  Irie!

What do you see as the benefits of a positive work environment?  How do you contribute to ensure your work environment remains positive?

 “Positive anything is better than negative nothing”.

(Elbert Hubbard)

The Energy Bus—team building program!

(Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay)

“Thoughts are magnetic. What you think you attract”.

(John Gordon)

Dictionary.com defines teambuilding as the action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team, especially by means of activities and events designed to increase motivation and promote cooperation.

I have always been a fan of conducting teambuilding activities throughout the years to keep teams focused and pulling in the same direction.  I have been fortunate to create teambuilding platforms at UCF and FSU to enhance our team dynamics and set us up to accomplish our work goals.  Teambuilding is a critical component to organizational success and is necessary to remind each team member how interconnected we are daily.

I have leveraged the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) at every stop I have made since I left the Air Force.  I find the MBTI an excellent way to understand team members’ communication style and allows us to adjust to how individuals prefer to communicate internally and externally.

My MBTI is ISTJ (Introverted/Sensing/Thinking/Judging) and is displayed on my desk to remind my team of my preferred communication style. Each team member gets a desk placard highlighting their MBTI to help them communicate with others and serves as a reminder we all have different preferences and work styles.  One is not better than the other, simply different.

I was introduced to Clifton Strengths while at UCF.  I was charged with building a teambuilding program for Career Center staff and Clifton Strengths provided us with a platform to build on the strengths of everyone on the team.  We reached out and hired a certified consultant to come in and work with us to learn how to maximize team strengths so we could grow the organization.  This was an eye-opening teambuilding experience for the group and has remained an integral tool for me when working to build my respective team dynamics.

Ice breaker activities are another great way to bring teams together and enhance socialization.  The ice breakers used do not have to be elaborate but should have an element of fun while the team learns more about each other.  The platform should enhance communication and help the team find ways to discover new things about teammates.

My latest teambuilding adventure was introduced to me by one of my new team members.  She found out I am a huge reader and shared a leadership book from her library with me.  I had never heard of the book but was intrigued by the concept after she explained the premise of the book.  The full title, The Energy Bus:  10 Rules to Fuel your Life, Work and Team is an international best seller and the author, Jon Gordon is sought by organizations to share his Energy Bus knowledge and help people continue to grow.  I watched several of his talks on YouTube to get a better understanding of his concept to determine if this was something I could utilize.  He has a ton of stuff on YouTube so recommend taking some time to explore his work to see how it can help you and your team move forward.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jon+gordon++

The book is an extremely easy read and reminds me of the classic, Who Moved My Cheese but in an actual work environment.  I was impressed with how his concepts could be applied to my current work situation as I had to find new and inventive ways to conduct teambuilding while maintaining physical distancing due to COVID-19.  Never imagined 6 months ago I would be able to implement teambuilding activities with team members in 8 different locations via virtual platforms.  I chose the Energy Bus because the 10 rules identified are easy to follow and fit where I wanted to take the team.  We must get creative with our work products now and needed them to understand we must pull in the same direction.

Leveraging the https://www.theenergybus.com/ site, I was able to send each team member a bus ticket to invite them onto my bus.  It felt funny generating the ticket, but it seemed to excite people when they received the invitation.  Most of the team reached out to ask if they needed to present their ticket at our scheduled teambuilding session.  It was not required but a lot of them had their ticket ready just in case.  😊

10 Rules for the Ride of Your Life

  1. You are the driver of the Bus
  2. Desire, vision, and focus move your bus in the right direction
  3. Fuel your ride with positive energy
  4. Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead
  5. Do not waste energy on those who do not get on your bus
  6. Post a sign that says “No Energy Vampires Allowed” on your bus
  7. Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride
  8. Love your passengers
  9. Drive with purpose
  10. Have fun and enjoy the ride

We were able to go through the 10 Rules and discuss the impact each had on our new team adventures.  I gave the team my view of the 10 Rules and how I planned to leverage each of them.  We went around the virtual room and had each team member provide their feedback on each rule and how they would incorporate the rule daily.  I was pleasantly surprised when one of my teammates asked if she could give a full rundown for ALL the rules.  She did a fantastic job summarizing each rule and how it would be incorporated in her daily interactions.  This set the tone for the rest of the teambuilding session and let me know we are heading in the right direction.

I am always looking for ways to get the team to the next level.  Will continue to research teambuilding activities but highly recommend The Energy Bus if you are looking for ways to bring a team together.

What teambuilding activities does your organization use?  How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your team’s ability to gel?

 “Your positive energy and vision must be greater than anyone’s and everyone’s negativity.  Your certainty must be greater than everyone’s doubt”.

(John Gordon)

Rock the 2020 vote

(Image by amberzen from Pixabay

“Bad officials are elected by citizens who do not vote”

(George Jean Nathan)

November 3, 2020 is coming! 

There is no stopping the calendar from flipping to this monumental date in our nation’s history.  11/3/2020 will be here sooner than you imagine. Not trying to scare you but this is a date you must be ready for.  I will not tell you who and how to vote but vote you must. 

With as much turmoil we have lived through in 2020, voting should seem like a regular activity.  Not downplaying the risks involved with going to a polling location during a pandemic but voting must become a priority for all Americans.  There is still time to request a mail in ballot if needed but make sure you plan to get out and vote.

58.1% of the voting-eligible population voted in 2016.  You can see some citizens took the night off in November 2016 and simply did not vote.

Not here to condemn anyone but I never imagined the results from the 2016 presidential election would go the way they did.  Shocked would be an understatement of how I felt the next morning when I woke up and discovered a reality PERSON (not star) was the new president.  The disappointment I felt was numbing on that fateful day.

Now the pain I feel is a nation crumbling without credible leadership to help us get out of the pandemic, improve race relations, or become a world leader again.  Maybe the new slogan should be:  Make America a World Leader Again!  That would be a fantastic start to getting this country back on a path where we are not being laughed at by other countries.

I digress a bit—forgive me! 

There are 54 days left before the national election.  There is still time for you to register to vote and while you are at it, please get your family and friends to register too.  This would be an outstanding time to start a voting drive in your city or town.  This can be done while maintaining physical distancing.  We need people to get out and vote during this election cycle.  Will not say who you should vote for but vote you must.  Too many people have been beaten, threaten, bullied, and killed for the right to vote.  This is our time to exercise our rights and vote for candidates to represent us all. 

No more wishing for change in America, we must demand it.  Voting provides an opportunity for your voice to be heard—do not be silenced this November.  I do not want to be surprised again this cycle—thanks! 😊

Have you registered to vote yet?  Who can you help with the registration process?  What are you waiting on?  Let’s rock the 2020 vote!

https://registertovoteflorida.gov/eligibilityreactive

https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

(Get out and vote! Help your friends and family register–there’s still time!)

“The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violet tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it”.

                                                                    (John Lewis)

https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/post-election-2016/voter-turnout

Poetic Fridays

Poetry album

(Image by Lolame from Pixabay)

Why wax poetic?

Why wax poetic?

Waxing poetic allows me to find the flow

I need to make it through the day

This process provides the therapy, don’t you know?

You cannot get if you pay

Why the need you might say?

Thoughts, sounds, lights

Are all around

They color life for us all to see

The poetry provides my outline, the margins I need

To continue to color within the lines

Without the lines you have abstracts

And confusion

So, do you see?

Waxing poetic is just for me

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings:  it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility”.

(William Wadsworth)