The Lifebuilder’s Creed

I recently came across The Lifebuilder’s Creed by Dale Witherington while watching a the introduction to John Maxwell’s Today Matters leadership training course, and it really touched my soul and I wanted to share.

 

The Lifebuilder’s Creed

Today is the most important day of my life.
Yesterday with its successes and victories, struggles and failures is gone forever.
The past is the past.
Done.
Finished.
I cannot relive it.  I cannot go back and change it.
But I will learn from it and improve my TODAY.
TODAY.  This moment. NOW.
It is God’s gift to me and it is all that I have.
Tomorrow with all its joys and sorrows, triumphs and troubles isn’t here yet.
Indeed, tomorrow may never come.
Therefore, I will not worry about tomorrow.
Today is what God has entrusted to me.
It is all that I have.  I will do my best in it.
I will demonstrate the best of me in it —
my character, giftedness, and abilities —
to my family and friends, clients and associates.
I will identify those things that are most important to do TODAY,
and those things I will do until they are done.
And when the day is done
I will look back with satisfaction at that 
which I have accomplished.
Then, and only then, will I plan my tomorrow,
Looking to improve upon Today, with God’s help.
Then I shall go to sleep in peace … content.

It Could Have Been Worse

Things have been pretty trying for me the last two weeks.  Last Monday, just before leaving for work, my outside electrical panel had and issue and caused a fire in the panel as well as in my kitchen behind my stove.  The damage was relatively minor, thanks to the the fact that when it happened at 5am I was awake and hadn’t left for work yet.  Had either of those two variables changed, the odds are I wouldn’t have a house right now. I am extremely thankful to God that it was as minor as it was.

As these things go, it has been relatively smooth.  Our electrician had everything repaired/replaced the day after the fire and by the time he left we had power once again.  Our insurance company (Travelers) was out on Monday afternoon to start the claims processes and by Thursday we had our claim documents and we had the check a week after the fire.  The cleaners have been in our house all week cleaning up the smoke damage and the contractor is coming out tomorrow to estimate the kitchen repairs.  The stove was a total loss, and I cannot replace it until the kitchen work is complete.

Here is some of the damage:

IMG 0282 19 50 35 IMG 0283

Winning by Losing

Since the tail end of my military career, my weight has been a problem.  When I left the Army in 2000 I weighed in at right about 205, which is just about the limit for a 6’ soldier.  Of course, things have only went down hill from their.  Bad eating habits that I developed as a kid combined with my suddenly sedentary lifestyle saw my weight over the ensuing years shoot up to a whopping 285.  At the beginning of the year, I was contemplating on how I was going to begin to change the situation when an opportunity to go to Philmont with my son was presented to me.

For those who don’t know, Philmont Scout Ranch is considered the apex of Boy Scout camps.  For 10 days a crew of 8 boy and 4 adults trek through the mountains of New Mexico, traveling anywhere between 70 and 100 miles by foot with only what you can carry on your back.  Backpacking has always been something I have enjoyed, and the opportunity to do this with my son and four other boys from the Troop that I was the Scoutmaster for has given me a renewed sense of purpose.

The only problem is, you have to weigh under 239 to be allowed to go.  Since June I have dropped just over 25 pounds, and have gotten my weight down to 259 (as of today).  I have just over two and half months to get it loose another 25 pounds (I don’t want to even be close).  I have been running, going to the gym, and counting calories in an effort to shed the pounds as quickly as possible.  My son has been running with me and my pace is better than it has been in a long time.  I’ve even tried Body Pump at the local Y (it’s been killer on my thighs).

I’m confident that I can do this.

How Time Flies

Things have been a little crazy around here the last few weeks.  Between my final Boy Scout outing to Washington DC, a trip to New Jersey for work, and then getting caught up locally in the office for the last week, I’m not sure if I am coming or going.  On top of that the two weeks out really screwed with my homework and I fell a little behind on a couple of papers.

As of today, I think I am finally all caught up.  

Leadership and People

Last night, my brother-in-law asked a question on Facebook wanting to know the top 5 things that you look for in a Leader.  Needless to say, it elicited a lot of responses.  My first response was to post the Timeless Traits of Leadership that I discussed.  In addition, I followed up with two other things that I learned in the Army.

The first is to praise in public and punish in private. I can’t tell you how may times I have seed people (including myself) get dressed down in front of everybody.  This certainly links back to the timeless trait that a leader strengthens others.  In my opinion, the only reason people yell at their subordinates in front of others is either to deflect blame from their horrible leadership or to try and project superiority.

My other comment was around what I was taught about my responsibilities as a leader.  At it’s most basic level, the job of an Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) is to a) accomplish the mission and b) take care of the soldiers.  My personal philosophy is that if I took care of (b), the soldiers would take care of (a).  Essentially, if you build a good team and take care of them, they will do whatever needs to be done.

In the end, it always comes down to people.  If you don’t respect them, encourage them, and give them room to grow, you’ll never get the best out of them.

 

Forgetting What Lies Behind

Last year I made the commitment to read through the Bible.  As we get ready to start a new year, I wanted to share with you a verse that I feel fits the spirit of the holiday:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. – Philippians 3:13

Stop looking backwards at what was, both good and bad.  Growing up, we had a saying that no matter how many ‘atta-boys’ you had, one ‘oh-shit’ would wipe them all out.  You can only live off of your accomplishments for so long before somebody asks “what have you done for me lately?”  In the same way, the bad things that you have done in the past can’t be undone.  If you regret the bad that you have done in your life, dwelling on it will not make it better.  Make amends and move on.  Focus instead on what lies ahead.

Thankful

Things have been pretty busy around here the last few days.  My in-laws were in from upstate New York to celebrate the holidays and as a result my kids and grandkids have been here nearly every day.  As a result, I haven’t had a whole lot of free time to reflect on all the things that I am thankful for.

The great thing is that I actually spent most of my weekend with what I am most thankful for.  Family.  Like most families, we have had our ups and downs, good times and bad.  Every day I thank God that we are still together, and that everybody is headed in the right direction.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Missing the Mark on Privacy

I’m a big fan of L. Gordon Crovitz’s weekly column in the Wall Street Journal (and not just because he is a board member of Dun & Bradstreet).  Much of the time I find myself agreeing with him, but occasionally we are at odds.  This week is one of those weeks.

In his column Terrorists Get A Phone Upgrade (It is behind a paywall), he argues against the recent stand by Silicon Valley firms to encrypt their devices to prevent governments from being able to see what is on them, even with a court order.

He starts out by describing the Najibullah Zazi case and how they caught him by tapping his email.  I’m not sure what this has to do with encrypting our handheld devices, since email can be tapped at the destination (Yahoo! in this case) long before it is ever downloaded to a phone.  The only think that you may need it for would be to prove that it was actually downloaded to the phone, but at this point I would assume that the real evidence (such as the explosives) would be enough to convict him.

He also brings up some of the fictitious scenarios that were argued by Deputy Attorney General James Cole about rescuing children by being able to access a criminals mobile device.  This argument by Mr. Cole doesn’t hold up very well either.  What information would you be able to get from the cell phone that wouldn’t already be available in the meta data?

Would Mr. Crovitz make the same argument against hard drive encryption of his laptop?  Should the government be able to come in and decrypt his drive with (or without) a court order?  We have seen that the government is more than willing to go after reporters who help whistleblowers (James Rosen anyone?), so how hard would it be for them to get a court order?  Moveover, wouldn’t it be better if terrorists were using an encrypted phone that if they were using an encrypted laptop?  At least with the encrypted phone you would have all the meta-data associated with it.

Personally, I’m in favor of as much protection of my information as possible.  From the tone of the article, I assume (perhaps wrongly) that Mr. Crovitz feels that the encryption is OK so long as government can get to it with a court order.   I think that I should be able to choose if I want what’s on my phone encrypted, just like I can choose to have what’s on my laptop encrypted.  If you put a back door in for the government, it will eventually find it’s way out into the wild making nothing secure.

Thanks Comrades

Most people will never understand the sacrifices that those who serve make.  The birthday’s missed, the anniversary’s spent apart, the time separated from loved ones.  Whether you’ve been to a war zone or served during peacetime, you have sacrificed much and have always been willing to sacrifice more.

To all that have served, before me, with me, and after me, thank you.  Your sacrifices will forever be appreciated.

Small Changes

It’s amazing what a small change can do to improve your attitude and outlook.  This past weekend, my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  In today’s culture, being married to the same person for that length of time is quite an accomplishment.  As I reflected on the past 20 years, I started to ponder what made it work for us.  My conclusion?  Small Changes.

To be sure, we are not the same people today that we were 20 years ago when we met.  We were both in the Army, stationed at Ft. Carson in Colorado, me a never married boy of 21 and her a recently divorced mother of two.  Our courtship was quick, taking just under 10 months to get from first date to wedding vows.   Six days after we were married, she left for Korea and I didn’t see her for almost six months.

In our first 18 months together, we only spent the middle six together when our Korean tours overlapped.  This was back before the internet, Skype, Yahoo! chat, or any other digital forms of communications were available, limiting us to weekly phone calls that were so long distance that $600 monthly phone bills were the norm, rather than the exception.

We’ve lived all over the country; Colorado, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, Hawaii, and Texas.  We have been together through sickness and health, richer and poorer, and through good times and bad.

Over the years we have learned to adjust to each other, to try new things together, and to be comfortable with each other.  As life delivers it’s next mission, we make our small adjustments and keep moving on.  Sometimes it’s good, sometime’s it’s bad, but we always work together to make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Every time we make the small changes, it seems to reinvigorate what we have together.  It’s never dull, it’s never boring.  For the last 20 years I have been lucky enough to be married to my best friend.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rants and Ramblings of Austin IT Professional