Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lefty: The Peoples Champ!

Lucas Glover won the 109th US Open Golf Tournament. A remarkable accomplishment, arguably one of the most difficult in sport.

My friend Phil Mickelson failed to win the allusive US Open Championship (again). Phil has taken a lot of grief in his golfing career for not training hard enough (he is some what portly), making bad choices (put the driver away!), and for lacking a killer instinct (why can't we all be a Tiger). He has been characterized as a disappointment - a man full of potential but the aforementioned short comings his Achilles heel. The chubby guy is always a top money winner but his performance in major championships has been called a result of lack of focus when the chips are down. The awkward left hander has been seen too many times with his hat over his eyes teeming with regret and frustration for executing perfectly on 71 of 72 holes.

Despite the barrage of criticism Phil has always remained positive: a dimpled smile and words of encouragement through a camera to himself.

But a few weeks back at the St. Jude Classic Phil Mickelson broke down into tears at a press conference. "...there are times when I am alone in my car and I can't keep myself from crying...", he proclaimed. The tears not an effect of lack of effort or focus but the effect of the news that his beloved wife Amy has breast cancer.

At Beth Page Black, Mr. Glover hoisted a silver trophy over his head...to polite hand claps. The real ovation came from the good people of New York as 'Lefty' Phil Mickelson stormed the fair ways. Fathers and Sons stood to their feet to applaud him on Father's Day, young ladies watched him as their mother's whispered in their ears that he is a father of three little girls like them, and everyone stopped for a moment to raise their cup to a man who is more than an athlete.

So in the last few months Lefty has revealed himself to us: A husband and dad first, a golfer second. He lacks killer instinct at times, he makes bad club selection and he could stand to do some sit ups. But Phil Mickelson appreciates the privilege of being a father and a husband and when his wife got sick he put down his clubs to be by her side.

There has never been more pressure in our lives to perform at the highest level...there has never been a time when excuses are less excusable. To paraphrase Phil "...Amy had told me that she would like a sliver trophy by her hospital bed...I thought I had a chance to win today, I made every effort to do that and it didn't work out...and that's OK..."

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Fathers Day Artie Lange

A lot has been said over the last few days in reference to Artie Lange's appearance on Joe Buck Live.

There seems to be a divide of sports purest who believe Joe Buck walks on water and Howard Stern Fans who are of the impression that Artie "killed". Artie had a near identical appearance on "the best damn spots show" a few months back. That appearance did not make headlines because Bill Bellamy celebrated Artie for delivering the content he was sequestered to deliver. So, Joe Buck either didn't do his homework or he promoted an 'edgy' show and got in way over his head. Either way, instead of piling on Artie maybe we should hold Joe Buck accountable.

The media chastised Artie Lange throughout this week as an inappropriate bully filled with vitriol. Instead of joining the criticism, Howard Stern used his self-imposed psychological training to engage Artie in a thought process. The simple questions being posed: what is the root of all this anger.

I paraphrase Artie's response to this sincere question: "...I have anger issues because of what happened to my father...he was my hero and a man who was larger than life...he was my best friend and after a long game of catch my hand hurt because he threw the ball so hard...when he became a quadriplegic I spent the last four years of his life wiping his nose and he asked me to kill him once a week..."

Does Artie have the right to act out on Joe Buck Live to mask the aforementioned tragedy? He is a performer and has exercised his demons by speaking his mind without a filter. Should Artie Lange put aside his anger, abandon his act and put on a tie to pander to Joe Buck?

Artie Lange has one profound insight that the Ivy League journalists turned talk radio hosts may not comprehend: When the Stern show goes off the air, when he is no longer receiving $50k a stand up gig, when he is not topping the New York Times best seller list....Artie Lange has to go back home...to New Jersey. The barreled bellied dock laborers with canned beer in paper bags on the stoops of Artie's neighborhood won't remember the time he sung with Paul McCartney, sold out Carnegie Hall or received accolades from Dr. Drew on his best selling book. They will remember the time he went on Joe Buck Live and spoke his mind in genuine terms.

My dad worked his ass off because he never wanted to put himself in a position where he had to take short cuts. He is a man of integrity first. He taught me never to compromise my genuine intent to please anyone else and that the only expectations that matter are my own.

So on Father's Day, before I play catch with my son, I will raise a toast to Arthur Lange Jr. May your first son be a masculine son and may you meet him at short after the Yankees win a World Championship.

Happy Father's Day Artie Lange. My son and I would like to share this one with you!

- Dave

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Luck Does Not Discriminate!

We are faced with two dramatic sides to the generational spectrum in the workplace at present:
* Generation Y - Younger, engaged, entitled, driven and in search of immediate recognition.
* The Baby Boomers - Older, conservative, strategic, decorated, entitled, driven and in search of validation.

The aforementioned diversity has created many amazing parallels:
* Innovation vs. Proven Results
* Ideas vs. Statistics
* Cyber Relationships vs. Long Term Partnerships
* Theory vs. Action

So let's survey our discontent and choose a corner:
Many of those in the 50+ age range have dedicated their lives to a single organization and have the lapel pins to prove it. The shorties have kicked the door down and are already looking for promotions. Blogging, Twittering, FaceBook, MySpace and Linked-in have opened up networks for young people that their Mom's would have had attended 1,000 chamber of commerce mixers to build. The old guard are of the opinion that 'coffee is for closers' and nothing speaks louder than a proven track record. The new generation are of the belief that the old way of doing business is the cause for our current depression and only flipping the industry on it's ear will clean up the carnage.

Let's find some common ground through pure business sense:
1. Persistence pays off
2. Relationships drive professional development
3. Ideas become business innovation when theory becomes law
4. Nice guys usually do finish first

Don't knock it till you try it:
I was of the belief that Twitter was a means to update friends on our tanning regiment; I was wrong. I have wasted long hours attending networking events at which I did not make one meaningful connection, there is seldom a measurable ROI to blogging, I have put countless hours into deals that I have lost, there are strategic partners that will take more than they give, you will misinterpret your intentions through technology, there are people who have left companies after 50 years of employment with nothing to show for it, and there are people who are millionaires without any business acumen.

There is one certainty we may choose to ignore but have to admit: Luck has it's place in business.

You can strategize your butt off, connect with 1,000,000 people, serve a company for 20 years, and build a better mouse trap. You can work harder, receive more certification and produce continual results. Sometimes you get flat out screwed by methods beyond your control and other times you just get lucky!

So when the Jr and Sr Managers square off in volleyball at this year's company picnic.....you might want to remember that Janie from accounting played Volleyball in grade school and Jr High and High School and College and went to Volleyball camp every summer! But, that still doesn't excuse her continually late TPS reports.

We all have our strengths and weakness. So before we get too hung up on pushing Grandpa out the door or discard little Emily's every contribution...we might want to remember that which is out of our control: Luck is part of business and it does not discriminate!

- Dave

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cyber Suit

In these troubling times there are more people out of work than ever....this allotment of free time added to the free enterprise of the Internet has created a phenomenon. Many are choosing to leave the rat race and go it alone. The world of entrepreneurship has taken an ever accessible priority to those seeking to redefine business dynamics.

The plan seems simple enough: if you are having trouble promoting your resume and work experience, create a personal brand through a well defined social network. While the intent is empowering and inspiring it does present the conundrum of fluff vs. expertise. It has never been easier to share ideas, promote them as gospel and develop a following. So as resumes disappear into a black whole, those without employment are faced with creating and promoting an alter-ego to differentiate themselves among their peers.

I am of the impression that no relationship should be overlooked, you should consistently challenges yourself to develop new opportunities and that sharing ideas in a free enterprise can only benefit those seeking a new direction.

It comes down to the best allocation of time. Is it better for those beset by employment famine to take on part-time employment, look to a retail support job, or masquerade in cyberspace?

Is it more important to work or develop the ability promote your skill?

I left a networking group in the city the other day in contemplation of the aforementioned. My answer came as I entered the corridor to the train tunnel. There sat a man playing his cello in grandiose beauty. He did not speak, hold up a sign, or promote the event on Facebook. His work spoke for itself; no bravado or accompaniment.

The more options and opinions the more confusing it becomes to choose a direction. So it comes down to this: follow your genuine intent, work hard to prove your worth and stay the course....oh, and make sure you have a wide and diverse social network to promote your effort!

- Dave

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Note on Generational Diversity

Friends -
I have received a lot of flack at Bellingham Square Park this week from young bloggers. It appears my advice to High School & College graduates has crated a slanted demographic of readership.

Check Spelling
Tomorrow a collection of future leaders will be walking the sand box to receive hand written certificates of Preschool Graduation. The tunnel vision of my professional advising has caused me to overlook this group and their place in our societal development.

So it is with grad apology to all the shorties whose mom's are pressing their Baby Gap cap and gown that I offer this advice:
Words Speak Louder than Actions - you are in Kindergarten now...pooping your pants will lead to years of regret and embarrassment. People don't forget. Use your words, tell the teacher and hold it in.

Always Defend Yourself - It is never appropriate to start a fight but bullies become babies when you punch them back!

Sandwich First, Snacks Later - Pudding snacks pair much better with apple juice after having a full peanut butter sandwich on your pallet.

Homework Happy Hour - Sunset sessions at the park are way more funner when you've finished your ABC's. Decompress after school with your favorite cartoon but hit the books before the evening exercise.

Know Your Audience - When you make fun of kids the others are only laughing because you are making them uncomfortable. Be cool to hefty gents, they will be blocking for you in 8 years.

Always Tell Mom/Dad You Love Them - Craig Carmichael only told you that 'parents just don't understand' because he is a Will Smith junkie! Don't buy it....Mom and Dad have seen you naked many times and can ruin your reputation if the box wine is flowing at your next birthday party.

Bear in mind that I was held back in Kindergarten so I may not be the best source for advice at this age. Nonetheless, I chalk this up to a learning experience for us all. I promise to be mindful of age discrimination in future advice columns.

Go now onto the large playground of grade school and make your presence known!

- Dave

Monday, June 8, 2009

To the High School Graduates of 2009!

Young People -
The Summer after my Senior year in High School was one of the most exciting times in my life. I got hired by Mr. Carnegie to do construction in downtown Detroit. Leaving the suburbs to work in the inner city was the first of many rewarding personal journeys before me. I met some of the most interesting people I had ever met on that job site. Every afternoon after work I stopped by a liquor store (that encapsulated the ship's captain behind bullet proof glass) to pick up a few 40's to share with my friends. We would sit out in a field by a lake looking back on the last four years. These times shrouded in subtle salutes to one another for helping navigate the mundane rules of our youth. We would tell stories of our conquests and laugh until things went silent and we were individually left to look ahead. I thought of the great friends I had made, how I would miss them and what I would do without their security. I thought of the girlfriend I was leaving behind and how I would very likely never see her again. But more than anything, I could not wait to get out of the nest to try new things and experience new relationships.

So take this summer to tell your friends how much you have appreciated their support in this chapter of your life and 90 days from now delicately close this chapter. High School is over and it is time to begin living YOUR life by YOUR standards.

I was in your shoes 17 years ago, but here are a few theories that should ring universal as you enter this next phase of your life:
Leave High School in Your Home Town - Things will be more challenging now: you will have less friends, more responsibility, harder classes and grander expectations. You will want to quit and go back home....don't!

Call Mom - Your parents have been profoundly annoying since Jr High. Know this: all the frustration you will soon face they already have and can offer genuine advice accordingly. Your folks love you unconditionally and will be the first you call when things go pear shaped. Develop Karmic Escrow! Let Mom know when things are going well as opposed to waiting to ask for money or to break the news of academic probation.

Manage Your Time - You will now have more time than ever to live life by your standards. Put time aside every day to study and do not hit the keg party until your studies are complete. The beer tastes better on the wings of achievement and is less enjoyable with unfinished work looming.

Make New Friends - Your High School friends will always be there for you....you will pick up where you left off and it will continue that way for eternity. Branch out, the kids you meet in college might not be there for you forever, but for now their varied upbringing will better formulate your life view.

Court the Best Looking Girl in Class - She has a boy friend at home in Nebraska but 4 years is a long time. You may want to be the first at the post office gate when she mails that guy his letter jacket.

Take Time to Discover Yourself - Don't go into the family business because it is convenient, don't marry that girl because your sister thinks she's sweet, and don't select a major based on your dad's dreams. Find what you love in life and make it your career. Passion is what differentiates professionalism. You have to follow what you love. Now is the time to choose your passion, 10 years from now it may be too late.

Don't Break Any Hearts and Don't be Afraid to Open Yours - It is extraordinarily unlikely that you will marry your High School sweetheart. He/She will break up with you via letter, phone call, text or email and your heart will sink into your shoes. You will get over it in a week or two. Be willing to let your love lead his/her life! Experience new relationships and know that if you follow your true intent you will find you an unimaginable happiness in Love. Be aware that if you smother someone with unrequited love you will both miss an essential part of growing up; resentment is immanent and often irreparable.

Shower Twice a Day - self explanatory.

Don't try hard drugs! - interpret how you will.

Drink beer or wine - Hard liquor goes down faster, will get you drunk faster, will lead you to make bad decisions and will probably cause you to throw up on your new shoes. Beer promotes longevity, stumbling into someones arms is not romantic.

Find a Leadership Role - I learned more in leading a student organization than I ever did in the class room. The key to leadership is listening to the group's concerns/goals and to formulate an organizational plan accordingly. You do not have to be super organized or well versed in public speaking to be a leader.

Get a Job - If you like fashion - work in retail. If you like sports - work in the athletic department. If you like music - work at the school paper writing indie rock reviews. If you like god - volunteer at the youth ministry. This practice will help you understand what you like and what you do not....disqualification is a key trait at this stage in your life.

Have Fun - Know that for the next four years you are formulating your career personality by trial and error. Step out of your comfort zone and be willing to fail; every day. Refinement of your strengths is the key! Try, Fail and Try Again.....now is the time for this exercise.

Let this be the first of an array of adult advice that you take with a grain of salt. Accept advice with humble gratitude but follow your ambition. True intent is the result of life experience, now is the time to experience life!

Move forward without looking back and become the person you have always wanted to be!

- Dave