Dworak Consulting http://www.josephdworak.com Strengths Based Team Building & Training Mon, 14 May 2018 06:30:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Back to Blogging http://www.josephdworak.com/back-to-blogging/ http://www.josephdworak.com/back-to-blogging/#respond Cialis 5 mg not working
Mon, 08 Jan 2018 22:16:02 +0000
http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=467 After a long hiatus, I am going to get back to blogging. For a variety of reasons, none of them good, I stopped blogging for myself, with my voice in January of 2014. Over the past few months I have realized I need to get back to it. Writing improves your mind, I need to Continue Reading

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After a long hiatus, I am going to get back to blogging.

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For a variety of reasons, none of them good, I stopped blogging for myself, with my voice in January of 2014. Over the past few months I have realized I need to get back to it. Writing improves your mind, I need to read and observe in order to write – all good things for one’s brain.

Like before, I will write on topics such as:

  1. Leadership
  2. StrengthsFinder
  3. Teams

I think it will mainly stick to those areas, what I am learning, what I am thinking about and what directions in those areas I am headed in.

The picture above was taken on a recent vacation to the Teton Valley of Idaho. I went for a run and realized at some point I was miles from nowhere.

It is time for a reset.

It is time for new focus.

It is time for new effort.

Part of that is this blog.

Other parts will be unveiled over time.

Some things will work.

Some things will not.

With it all I will continue to push forward.

Thanks to those of you who have encouraged me to get back to writing, and to those of you who have, or will read this blog.

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When I looked at the past five years there have been around 8,000 people who have visited this blog which really blows me away considering most of that happened in two year period between 2012-2014.

Something must have resonated for people to stop by.

Well, I am back.

Stay tuned for more.

Carpe Diem!

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Top 5 Posts of 2014 and What I Learned http://www.josephdworak.com/top-5-posts-2014-learned/ Thu, 01 Jan 2015 16:55:20 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=421 2014 was a fantastic year!  I started blogging (semi-regularly) again and had some great feedback from people who stopped by to check out what I was up to.  Here are the Top 5 posts of 2014 based on unique views to each post and what I learned through writing those posts.  All the posts are Continue Reading

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2014

2014 was a fantastic year!  I started blogging (semi-regularly) again and had some great feedback from people who stopped by to check out what I was up to.  Here are the Top 5 posts of 2014 based on unique views to each post and what I learned through writing those posts.  All the posts are hotlinked in the titles.

1.  How to Make a Million Dollars Mining Gold in Alaska:  Three Leadership Lessons from a Teenager

This post focused on Parker Schnabel, the star of the hit reality TV show, “GoldRush.”  I learned that you can learn about leadership even from watching highly edited reality TV.  The producer, Christo Doyle, does a good job of keeping things real.  I also learned how bad leadership can lead groups into failure.  I recommend watching the show, it is still fun and ever changing.

2.  5 Reasons to Love Minneapolis

This post is pretty self-explanatory.  I have lived in Minneapolis for over a decade now and there is a lot to love about the city.  This post gave five of those reasons.  We do love Minneapolis, just wish that it was a bit warmer in the winter months.  That is really the only negative I can think of.  The place is clean, has a low unemployment rate, and keeps chugging along.  If you have not visited, you should make a trip!

3.  How to find the best job for you in 4 steps, and how I did it

After 14 years working for a great employer, I had maxed out what I could do in that organization.  I made a big change one year ago today when I turned in my resignation and accepted a new job with Leadership Vision Consulting.  A year later, I am 100% convinced it was the right move.  My stress level is down, and my happiness is up!

4.  Top 5 Career Tips for Young Professionals

Ah the post I wish I had when I was starting out in my career.  Alas, when I started out there were no blogs and no people like me that were writing posts like this.  So, I wrote one and hope to help people out who are just starting out in their careers.  I received some really good feedback about this post and it was widely shared.  I hope you enjoy.

5.  What Really Matters and Who You Can Count On

This post was deeply personal and was in the midst of dealing with my wife being in the hospital pregnant, and dealing with pneumonia.  Some people really close to me stepped up and helped out so much during our tough time.  Things with the pregnancy have moved along nicely and we are waiting for Baby Dworak #2 to join us sometime this year.  Thanks for all your concern and support during that tough time.

So, that wraps up the Top 5 posts from my blog for the past year.  Thank you so much for stopping by and reading what I had to say.  I love when you all comment and give me feedback.  Blogs are not dead, and writing is good for your soul.

Carpe Diem in 2015!

 

 

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Making Changes? Don't listen to naysayers http://www.josephdworak.com/making-changes-dont-listen-naysayers/ http://www.josephdworak.com/making-changes-dont-listen-naysayers/#comments Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:00:34 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=416 It has taken me a long time to confirm this observation and write a bit about it, but here goes: Any time, and I should say every time, you propose doing something new with your life, your career, a new process at your work, something new, you will encounter naysayers. You will encounter people with Continue Reading

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It has taken me a long time to confirm this observation and write a bit about it, but here goes:

Any time, and I should say every time, you propose doing something new with your life, your career, a new process at your work, something new, you will encounter naysayers.

You will encounter people with other opinions.

You will encounter people who just want things to stay the same no matter what.

I have met some of the least engaged employees who will fight tooth and nail for their mediocre career existence.

Why?

People do not want change.  They say they do, but as someone said to me recently, they don’t want the actual process of change.

What happens during any change?

change curve

During the change, people get information about what is happening and go into denial.  This denial is avoiding the process of actually thinking that this change might happen.  But, then things start to happen and people get frustrated and angry.  What happened to my status quo?  Things are different and unfamiliar, I will fight for things to go back to the way they were – even if they were not that great to begin with.

When I lived in Washington, DC I was in a relationship that was not very healthy.  My girlfriend and I would fight a lot and that became what was normal in our relationship.  A friend of mine came to visit and pointed out that things were not very peaceful between us and I immediately told him that he was off.  I was in denial.  Even though the status quo was not great in my life, it was all I knew.  I also was part of the problem, that was also something that was hard to accept.  I had to change.  I had to do better.  Over time I realized that my friend was right and I started to take some steps to make change.  But it was not easy!

If you can get people, groups or organizations past the anger part of the change they will begin to explore the change and they will start to become more productive once again.  Some change processes never even get to this point and are abandoned.  To keep moving on the change curve you need leadership, fortitude, accountability and constant communication.

If you push past exploring the change you can get to acceptance and productivity can actually go past what was normal before the change.  Sounds so easy right?  It is not.  But, it is worth it.

Something I have learned in 2014 is that it is ok to try this process and not be successful.  Try and fail, try and succeed – but most of all try.

I have some new ideas percolating for 2015 in my personal life and work.  At work I want to try and launch some new products for our company:

1)  An experience for people to learn how to leverage their strengths in their careers, and if need be, changing careers.

2)  A strengths mastermind group for people who want to take their consulting businesses to another level

3)  An online version of what we do for people who cannot be with us face to face

All of those and more – you know what?  Some or all might work or fail – but I can’t be afraid to try and see what will work.

What are you willing to try in 2015 that has no guarantee of success but would be good for you to try regardless?

If you try, be prepared for people to tell you why it will not work.  For the most part, do not listen to them at all.  They are probably not stepping out and trying new things in their own life.  I don’t spend a lot of time taking feedback from people who never try.  Now, on the other hand, people who are entrepreneurial and try lots of things, I will listen to them all day long.

In 2015 just try something new.  Know that you will experience some version of the change curve, and that it is ok to walk through these steps.  Change and changes are inevitable, how about you be the driver of them this year in your life?

Happy New Year and, as always, Carpe Diem!

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Top Five career tips for young professionals http://www.josephdworak.com/top-five-career-tips-young-professionals/ http://www.josephdworak.com/top-five-career-tips-young-professionals/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2014 14:42:16 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=401 I am no longer a young professional. Once upon a time I was, but no longer. This past fall I signed up to be a mentor at my alma mater, Bethel University, and am in the process of mentoring a bright student who no doubt will do well in her career.  She is only a Continue Reading

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Top Five Career Tips

I am no longer a young professional.

Once upon a time I was, but no longer.

This past fall I signed up to be a mentor at my alma mater, Bethel University, and am in the process of mentoring a bright student who no doubt will do well in her career.  She is only a sophomore but is already doing informational interviews at top companies in the area.  I told her that not many people her age are doing that and she is already gaining an edge in finding a job after college.  All of this made me think of some tips for young professionals who are just starting out in their careers.  Some of these may even apply to all of us, regardless of where we are at in our careers.

1)  Know what strengths you bring to any environment you are apart of

Before you ever get to a job interview, whether it be formal or not, know what you are good at.  Better yet, know what are you are great at.  If you have not already take the Clifton StrengthsFinder test and find out your areas of talent.  Then, work with a coach or mentor to refine how you use these talents and turn them into strengths.  If you can go into a job interview and be able to answer the question, ‘What are your strengths,’ you will already be ahead of many people who cannot provide good answers to this standard question.

You should be able to talk about your strengths without mentioning what the strength name is.  There is no way of knowing whether or not the person interviewing you knows about the Clifton StrengthsFinder, but that should not preclude you from talking about your talents and how you use them.

2)  Have a mentor who helps you navigate your life and career

When I started out in my career I worked for nine months as a temporary worker at Prudential insurance.  There was probably no environment that more resembled the movie “Office Space.”  Looking back it is amazing that any work got done at all.  There was low supervision, lots of young professionals in tight quarters, and a general lack of direction from top management.

I did not have a mentor who was helping me navigate this environment, either inside or outside of the organization.  There was no one challenging me in how I was working every day or helping me see the bigger picture of where I was at doing claims processing.

Do not get me wrong, I still was a high producer in the environment, but there were some bridges I was burning with the system that I was not seeing as important.  A ‘win at all costs’ mentality was a good example of my Competition strength being used in a less than generative way.

A mentor could have helped me be more effective at Prudential.  A good mentor will challenge you to do things that you cannot see as a young professional.  Later in my career I was really fortunate to have and find a number of mentors who helped me become a better manager, employee and leader over time.  I now feel compelled to help others who are starting out in their careers.  Can you find someone who will help you?

3)  Network within the organization you are a part of, and similar organizations in your industry

A huge career tip for young professionals is to make sure you are constantly networking within your organization.  There are people in your organization who know more than you do, and can help you navigate the culture where you are.  Find people who are successful and ask them if you can buy them coffee to hear about their story.  They will usually be very open to this and helpful.  Come prepared with questions and the ability to listen to what they are going to tell you.  Do not worry if some of them turn you down, they are probably just busy, it more than likely has nothing to do with you.

You should also network with people who are in leadership positions in similar organizations to your company.  Become known in your industry, not just your own company.

All of these people may help you, but they also will become aware of you and your talents.  They, if they are worth their salt as a manager or leader, may be able to see places that you might fit in the future.  I read somewhere great managers are always recruiting for jobs, whether they have any openings at the time.  So, if you can get in front of these folks, they may think of you when they are looking for a new member for their team.

This career tip for young professionals is something I wished I learned earlier in my career.  It also is not something that is a short term play.  What I mean by that is this is something that takes time to develop but will help you in the medium and long term.

One final piece of advice here, when you are networking with someone, always ask them how you can help them.  This generous posture will help people see that you are not just their to use them, but rather you are willing to help them out as well.

4)  Be Faithful

As someone who was a hiring manager I spent plenty of time working with Human Resources to look at resumes and decide who would be interviewed for different roles.  One thing I always looked at was how long people were at different jobs.  If someone jumped around every year to a new job that was a pattern that made me pause.

On boarding a new employee and getting them trained in takes time and effort.  New employees are typically not fully maximized right away and so if someone leaves in one year, it will not be the best for the company.  So, I am not advocating for you to stay in a job that you hate, but also know when you jump around hiring managers are going to wonder if you will stay with them or not.

An old boss of mine used to tell me that “Your greatest chance for success is where you already are.”  This was because people who are in your organization can see what you bring and how you help whatever group you are in.  This will help you with your credibility within that organization and when you move somewhere else to show you were faithful at your former organization.

5)  Do what you say you were going to do

If you want people to take you seriously do whatever it takes to do what you said you were going to do.  Nothing will damage your credibility faster than not doing what you said you were going to do.  This requires you to work hard, but also to know your capacities.  This one is hard but simple – get done what you said you were going to do.

Those were my top five career tips for young professionals.

What would you add to the list?

Have you tried any of these?

What worked?  What did not?

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Break through vs. Break you moments – what to do? http://www.josephdworak.com/break-through-vs-break-you-moments/ Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:07:49 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=395 I am on an email newsletter that comes out somewhat infrequently, but when it does, rarely does it not grab my attention. My friend, Ben, is a dreamer and innovator who I am glad my life has crossed paths with. It is an opt-in newsletter and I have no idea how many people receive it. Continue Reading

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path

I am on an email newsletter that comes out somewhat infrequently, but when it does, rarely does it not grab my attention. My friend, Ben, is a dreamer and innovator who I am glad my life has crossed paths with. It is an opt-in newsletter and I have no idea how many people receive it. Ben helps people follow their dream and turn it into what they do for their life. He recently wrote a book called “Dream Year” and is having a great impact on many people.

So, back to this newsletter. Ben talked through an interesting situation for one of his projects and how he was close to shutting it down. There were many factors, but he was not seeing a way through to continue this project. Then, he received a text message from a friend and everything changed. There was a way forward, maybe even better than before.  He experienced a ‘break you’ moment before he had a ‘break through moment.”

Ben is always encouraging people to follow their dream. Not unlike how I try and encourage people to use their strengths in a passion area for their life. Ben does this in spades. He is his own boss. He writes his own ticket. But, Ben works his tail off to make things happen. Even in his own area of strength and passion, he works hard. There is no shortcut to his success.

As some of you know, I left a successful career in higher education to pursue what had been a smaller platform in my life – doing strengths based organizational consulting.  Helping people understand their StrengthsFinder results and how they fit in their organizations, etc. Our aim at Leadership Vision Consulting is help empower strong people in strong teams to become strong cultures. Cultures based on what is right about them and not focused on their weaknesses. I love doing this work. It has been completely gratifying to make this leap and start on a new journey.

Has every moment of leaving the perceived ‘safe’ job at a big organization been rosy? No. Have the positives completely outweighed the negatives? Yes.

Last week I had one of those ‘break you’ moments. We had a client say no to a proposal and I started to focus on when people have said no over the past 10 months. I started to get into the dark side of my personality which makes me worry about failure. One of my strengthsfinder results is Achiever. We are wired to get things done. Every day starts at zero. I always think about what I need to get done each and every day. I get a lot of things done. People affirm me in this strength. But, it does have a dark side. The dark side is that in spite of tremendous evidence to the contrary, I fear I will fail. Fear of failure can be paralyzing to me. Has this ever happened to you?

I run into people far too many times who are paralyzed by fear. This can cause them to get stuck in jobs that are bad fits. They justify staying in these jobs in a variety of ways, but they are always justifying. If you are having to justify why you are in a job over and over, should you really be in that job at all? I used to work with someone who actively complained about how much they did not like their job, but would do absolutely nothing about it. They eventually got laid off and celebrated that they got laid off. Why did it take someone else to tell this person that they were done before they left? Try and never let someone else tell you it is your time to go.

Last week I started ever so slightly down the path of being paralyzed by fear.

You know what I did with that fear? I embraced it as real in my head, thought about it, and figured out a way to move forward.

My friend Ben argues that you may very well experience a break through moment after you have a break you moment. I wonder how many people get stuck at a break you moment and never experience the break through moment that may be lingering in the future that requires fortitude, resilience and action?

When you are developing business for any company there will be break you moments and hopefully, break through moments as well.

If you get paralyzed by fear you may never experience the break throughs.

Embrace that fear is real, figure out a way forward, and don’t be afraid if you do fail.

This week I am focused on doing little things in hopes of a break through moment in the future.

What are you doing?

 

 

 

 

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What are you good at? Do you use it to help other people? http://www.josephdworak.com/what-are-you-good-at/ Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:55:22 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=390 What are you good at? Better yet, what are you great at? Can you answer either of those questions? Ok, if you can answer either or both, move on. If not?  You have some work to do. If so?  Read on. If you know what you are good at, and hopefully great at, how are Continue Reading

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What are you good at?

Better yet, what are you great at?

Can you answer either of those questions?

Ok, if you can answer either or both, move on.

If not?  You have some work to do.

If so?  Read on.

If you know what you are good at, and hopefully great at, how are you helping other people with your talent?

IMG_1494

That is a picture of my friend Trevor.  Trevor and I went skiing last July at the top of the Beartooth Pass in Montana, at Beartooth Basin summer ski area.  It was a great day where we were able to ski in the middle of summer.  Trevor is a great skier.  He is a ski instructor and is a great person to ski with.

Trevor is gifted at being great at many things.  That is not the best part about Trevor though, what I really appreciate about him is the fact that he is generous.  He is always looking for ways to help other people out.  Ailing neighbor who has to go to the hospital in the middle of the night?  Trevor helps her out.  We need help installing a new microwave?  Trevor right there to help us out.  Our son needs someone to help him find a great hiding spot to fight the invasion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  Trevor is there.  Trevor gives away what he is good at to help other people out.

Do you know what I notice about Trevor besides that he is always giving away what he is good at?  He is a happy person.

Is there a correlation between being generous and being happy?  Yes.  The most generous people I know are some of the happiest people I know.

I would take it one step further and say people are even more happy when they give away what they are talented in.

So, what are you good at?

What are you great at?

I am a connector.

I am a connector of people, and people to things.

My whole life whatever I have been excited about I have tried to get other people interested in.  I did not know my strengthsfinder results growing up, but this was my Woo and Activator working together.  I am wired to do this connecting.  When I do it, it makes me feel good.  When I do it and it helps other people it makes me feel fantastic.

This is a newer realization for me in my life.  As I have realized this, and focused on it more, I am doing it more often.

What are the things you do really well that you can use to help other people?

The other day a friend of mine came to me and asked for help on an event she is leading.  I so appreciate that she thinks enough of me to come and ask for advice, it is my joy to help her be successful in that event.  It makes me happy to help her.

You know another lesson I have learned with this process over the years?  Is to do these types of things in your talent area and not expect anything in return.  Because, what ruins this process is if you do things for other people and then you wait for them to repay you in some way shape or form.  At that point you make this process transactional and not generative.

If you do things for other people and wait for them to do things for you, you will usually be disappointed.

If you do things for other people and expect nothing in return, you will usually be pleasantly surprised by the outcomes.

I wish I had learned these lessons earlier in life.  You know what?  What I have, and you have, is today, so get going on this.  I think you will like the outcome.

Carpe Diem my friends!

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Tempus Fugit: Time Flies When You Are Having Fun http://www.josephdworak.com/time-flies-fun/ Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:23:01 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=381 I think I first heard the saying ‘time flies when you are having fun’ early on in life.  I do not think I gave it much thought at the time. It was something we all said, but did we really even think much about it? The origin of this phrase comes from the Latin, Tempus Continue Reading

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time-flies

I think I first heard the saying ‘time flies when you are having fun’ early on in life.  I do not think I gave it much thought at the time. It was something we all said, but did we really even think much about it?

The origin of this phrase comes from the Latin, Tempus Fugit. Wikipedia says this about it:  Tempus fugit is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as “time flies“. The expression comes from line 284 of book 3 of Virgil‘sGeorgics,[1] where it appears as fvgit inreparabile tempvs: “it escapes, irretrievable time”. The phrase is used in both its Latin and English forms as a proverb that “time’s a-wasting”. Tempus fugit, however, is typically employed as an admonition against sloth and procrastination (cf. carpe diem) rather than a motto in favor of licentiousness (cf. “gather ye rosebuds while ye may“); the English form is often merely descriptive: “time flies like the wind”, “time flies when you’re having fun”.

So, for a long time people have thought about this concept. Which means a few things to me.

1) Find something you love doing and do it. It is more fun than the opposite.

2) When you are doing an activity that is not in your passion area it will not be much fun at all and time will not fly by.

Often I meet with people who are considering a career or job change one of the things I often ask them to do is to think about when time flies by vs. when time goes slow. If a majority of their day time is going slow, it is a sign they are probably not in their sweet spot.

Recently I read a widely circulated blog by Mike Rowe who was chastising people not to pursue their passion but just to get a job and work hard. While I did not disagree with the fact there are times when you just need to work and get a job, I think people should aim for using their passions and talents in their role, If they do this, time will usually fly by. Tempus fugit!

Time has flown by for me the past three months. During the past few months I serve as an assistant volleyball coach at Bethel University and during the season I work my normal job at Leadership Vision Consulting during the day and then at night I go to practice and matches. I figured out that I probably spend 20-25 hours a week at volleyball during the season. Now that volleyball is done, I am doing very productive things like researching how my family can live on a houseboat in St. Paul, Minnesota year round. Ok, so that might not be super productive, but fun?  Don’t ask my wife.

I am blessed in my life to not waste much time with things that I am not passionate about, or that I have talent to do. This means time is flying by for me. Is it flying by for you? I hope so. If it is not, what can you do about it?

Start with evaluating your day and see where time is flying by and where it is not. This will give you a good clue how you are doing. Hear me that we all have parts of our day that are not the most exciting in the world, but hopefully this is the minority of your day.

Last week on Friday I met with four amazing people in one day. A former leader and mentor of mine who just drips wisdom all around if I just shut up and listen to what he has to say. A contact that we are working with in London to pursue what we do with strengths based organizational consulting with the Clifton StrengthsFinder over in England.  A friend of mine who is interested in what we do. I also met with another key contact that is in a job transition that wanted another look at his strengths.

Do you know how that day went for me? It flew by. The busier I am the faster time goes by. Some of my Clifton StrengthsFinder themes are Focus and Achiever so being busy and focused is right in my wheelhouse. How can you get in your wheelhouse? Find where time flies by in your life. Do more of it!

Tempus Fugit

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What really matters and who you can count on http://www.josephdworak.com/really-matters-can-count/ Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:16:39 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=376 For the past two weeks my wife Danielle has been sick.  It started off as a cold/flu kind of deal and this past Friday progressed into pneumonia.  Danielle was admitted to the hospital late Friday afternoon.  All of this forced me to confront some hard life questions. We all want things to be normal.  There Continue Reading

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What really matters

For the past two weeks my wife Danielle has been sick.  It started off as a cold/flu kind of deal and this past Friday progressed into pneumonia.  Danielle was admitted to the hospital late Friday afternoon.  All of this forced me to confront some hard life questions.

We all want things to be normal.  There is even a psychiatric diagnosis for people facing emergency situations called, “normalcy bias,” where people so badly want things to be normal that they almost do not react at all when an emergency happens.

This reminds me of a time where I was at an annual staff/faculty retreat at the school I used to work at that we had every year.  Each time, 50 or so of us would gather, meet and talk about our work for the year at our institution.  During every one of these the President of our school would address all of us and lay out some vision and focus for us.  This was normally an interesting talk and one that everyone attended.  During one of these sessions a colleague of mine collapsed and fell the the floor and was having some convulsions.  Do you know what happened?  Almost no one did anything.  The President kept right on talking and no one moved to help my colleague.  It was surreal.

As someone who is trained in first aid, I knew immediately that we needed to get emergency medical attention for this person.  I stood up and went to the nearest phone and had security call for an ambulance.  By this time another one of my coworkers had made their way to the phone and was going to do what I was already doing.  Also people were tending to person who was having the medical issues.

But even then, a few minutes later, most people just sat and listened to the talk and made no move.  They just wanted things to be normal.  At some point the President stopped talking and we were all ushered out of the room.  It turned out that our colleague had a bad reaction to some medicine he was on and he ended up being fine.

I was kind of stunned by the lack of response from my colleagues, but once I understood what was going on in their heads, it was really not that unexpected.  We want things to be normal.

This past weekend when I was down at a volleyball tournament 90 minutes away from home, I just wanted things to be normal.  I did not want my pregnant wife to have to go to the hospital, but she did.  It hit me as I was talking to our head coach about when I would leave to go home that I was overcome with sadness.

How bad was it?

Would my wife make it?

What would my son and I do without her?

These are not questions you confront on a day to day basis, but on Friday and this whole weekend I sure did.

I am so thankful for friends and family who stepped up and offered to help with whatever we needed.  One friend even drove Danielle to the hospital and took our son to dinner.  We are blessed.

What really matters in life?  

The older I get the more I would answer that question with, what matters is what  you are doing and who you are doing it with.  So, if you are doing life, who are you doing that life with?  The fact I even had to think about losing my wife and unborn child this past weekend sure made me overwhelmed and sad.  Even though Danielle was not in intensive care, I still had to think about what if.  I am so glad she is getting better and that the baby is doing ok.

Who can you count on?

I used to judge who you can count on by who will show up when you have to move.  Who are your friends who will load your stuff in and our of Uhauls and into your new place of residency.  Those are true friends.  I have a number of those, and am so grateful for them.  Many of them even this weekend were available to help with whatever we might have needed during this time.

Social media is also a great thing to have during times of crisis because it is easy to get the word out about needing support, or if you are a person of faith, prayer.  Between Facebook messages, tweets, calls and text messages, the support we received over the weekend was truly amazing.  There are times when I wonder about social media, but then I  am reminded that social media is just community doing electronically.  It is not a substitute for being face to face, but it is not a bad alternative.

I am thankful for my family and friends.

Life is not worth doing without other people to share it with.

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Monday Rundown – 5 Things I Am Learning Lately http://www.josephdworak.com/monday-rundown-5-things-learning-lately/ Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:57:46 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=372 During the past few years I have done a lot of self-examination to continue to push into the question of how can I most effectively use my gifts and talents in every area of my life. This is not an easy or fast question to answer and has taken years to get at. Am I Continue Reading

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Tetons at Dusk

During the past few years I have done a lot of self-examination to continue to push into the question of how can I most effectively use my gifts and talents in every area of my life. This is not an easy or fast question to answer and has taken years to get at. Am I there 100% with an answer to this question? No Am I closer? Yes.

Everyone is busy.

We all need to be picky about where and how we spend our time.

During the past year I left one work context and expanded another.

Outside of time with family and friends, this is how I spend my time on a regular basis:

1)  Senior Consultant at Leadership Vision Consulting (LVC)

In this context I consult around the Clifton StrengthsFinder personality test and help organizations become strengths based. I also help develop business for our company and help with internal processes to help our business sustain the growth we are experiencing.

2)  Assistant Volleyball Coach at Bethel University

This is my 11th season of coaching women’s college volleyball. This year is my second year back at Bethel University and it has been an exciting start to the season. In this context I help the head coach in any way that I can, work with our serve receive and team defense. I also took our team through an introductory experience around the Clifton StrengthsFinder during preseason.

3)  Lead Content Curator and Webmaster at www.josephdworak.com and www.mspbiking.com

Both my personal website and new project, MSP Biking, push me to understand how the social media world works, and doesn’t work. In this new economy you need to know how to present yourself in a professional and credible way, and navigate social media, blogs, etc. This part of my life is where I am constantly learning new things.

All of these contexts combine my talents and passions for a majority of the time I am engaged in those activities. Today is a perfect example, I will spend most of my day here at LVC working on things for the business, and eventually will go home, have dinner and then be off to practice at Bethel University for volleyball.

What am I learning lately?  

1)  It takes work to make sure you are living and breathing in contexts where your talents and passions align for the majority of your day. This almost will never happen by accident. It takes mentors, self-examination, self-awareness and, did I mention hard work?

2)  Sometimes you will be in a great context, but something will change and that context will no longer be a great context for you. This one is hard because we all do not love change, so it is hard to admit when it is time to go. We love routine, so making a change to a routine, behavior or  pattern takes hard work. Are you in a context where it used to be good but something has changed? Might it be time for a change?

3)  I need to continually remind myself to not worry about things that do not matter in the grand scheme of things. One of my Clifton StrengthsFinder themes is the strength of Focus. Focus is great for me to block things out and get things done, but sometimes I focus on things that are not really a big deal, but then become a big deal in my own head. Does this ever happen to you? Worrying about what someone else thinks about you when really they are probably not thinking about you much, or at all? Focus on what matters.

4)  I never want to stop learning, changing or evolving. I read something today online that talked about the irony of the age we live in.  Almost all human knowledge is readily accessible on the internet. What do we do with that? Usually read only what we agree with. So, the internet which was supposed to free us with all this new information now may lock us into our beliefs more than ever. So, what can we do about it? Get out of your comfort zone.  I listen to National Public Radio most mornings, do I love NPR? No.  I think a lot of the time they fall into a structure for their stories that could use an update, but NPR pushes me out of my comfort zone and I learn things. Are you purposely putting yourself in context where you opinion is not the majority opinion? Try it, see what you learn.

5)  At the end of your life you won’t say, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” A recent study of people who are in nursing homes near the end of their lives found that people regret not spending more time with family and friends. This one may be obvious, but it is something that hit me. You know what? I respond to email really fast. Many emails can wait. Time with family and friends is more important. I am blessed that much of my time, even at work, is done with friends.

So, as you head into this week I hope these thoughts and meanderings help you think about your contexts and how you spend your time. Could you maximize what time you have more effectively?

Carpe Diem

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Your greatest chance for success is where you already are http://www.josephdworak.com/greatest-chance-success-already/ Wed, 03 Sep 2014 19:53:27 +0000 http://www.josephdworak.com/?p=367 A wise person once told me that my greatest chance of success was where I already was. This perplexed me some, because I was so focused on moving up. The statement and challenge is one I have come back to over and over again since I heard it. The question and challenge forced me to Continue Reading

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A wise person once told me that my greatest chance of success was where I already was.

This perplexed me some, because I was so focused on moving up.

The statement and challenge is one I have come back to over and over again since I heard it. The question and challenge forced me to ask myself if I was truly maximizing my current platforms to the very best of my abilities.

During the few years I lived in Washington, DC I lived in a culture of, ‘if you don’t move up in six months you are falling behind.’ Whether I realized it or not, this had a shaping influence on how I thought about work and career. If I was not moving up in six months I was falling behind.

I was fortunate to work for a Senator in DC and had two stints in that office. Between my times in the office I worked for a litigation communication firm, a company that did public relations for lawyers. My role was as an administrative assistant and it was not very challenging. I had to answer the phone and it rarely rang. I had to do research for the Vice Presidents and they rarely gave me projects. I had to write a manual so people could operate the fax machine if I was not there.  (I kid you not)  Diet Coke needed to be ordered, yep, I had that. Most of my time was spent asking for or trying to find things to do.  It was terribly boring. Regardless, looking back, there was more I could have done to maximize that platform. Did I ask all the talented people who I worked with to go out to lunch and try and learn from them? No. Did I continue to seek out extra projects to improve my own skill set and be seen as a more valuable asset to the company? Not enough. Did I find ways that the company could be more effective and efficient and more productive? No. The list could go on.

I was not maximizing where I already was.

Where have I had the most success in my career? By being faithful where I was at the time. By doing more than people expect. By speaking things that other people knew but would not say. By doing what I said I was going to do. By apologizing when I blew it. By helping other people be successful.

That is a bit about maximizing your current platforms.

During the time I have made the transition to this new place I am always proud of the fact that my last employer, Bethel University, employed me for 13 years and during that time blessed me by challenging me in six or seven different roles.

Be faithful in small things and people might give you more to do.

There are no shortcuts.

Work hard where you already are.

Show up early and find ways to improve your team or organization. Even small things.

In my last role before I left Bethel University I hired an amazingly talented Enrollment Counselor who has the potential to be a great manager. He gave his manager and I a memo on how our team could perform better, his analysis was spot on. He was adding value where he was and, whether he knew it or not, he was showing us how he would perform at an even higher level.

jdfocusAbove is a picture of my son, JD. This is from a few months ago, he is 4 years old. This picture says so much about his personality, but one thing I love about him is how he is so locked into whatever he does. He focuses on what is in front of him and always tries to compete and do his best.

Can I say the same thing all the time? Can you? I think the closer you get to saying, “I am maximizing my current platform,” the better off you will be in your career.  I am not saying if your situation is terrible to stay, but I think we all need to think about how we can truly maximize where we are.  

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