Mar 172021
Win the Battle with your Procrastination Dragon

Many of the most successful people focus and make progress, a first down, on their #1 top priority goal each and every week. There is an underlying dragon hiding in the back of our minds that tries to sabotage this all important life habit: Almost everyone struggles with procrastination. If a person learns the right disciplines and builds the habits to overcome procrastination, his or her chances of escaping average skyrocket. Understanding this dragon and how it is becoming stronger [more…]

Mar 142021
Find Mistakes Quickly - An Easy Hack

Most of us write emails on a daily basis. Some of us write more lasting stuff, such as project briefs, white papers, blog posts, and even books. The more we write, the harder it becomes to spot tiny mistakes such as using a properly spelled word like “in” when it should have been “is” within the sentence. I have discovered an easy-to-use hack that makes short work of finding 95% of your mistakes. Simply take your text and copy / [more…]

Feb 172021
Technology, Quicksand, and Cicero

In a knowledge-based society, in knowledge-based work, effective communication is paramount to success. I work within the enterprise software business where concepts, technology, ideas, architecture, and roadmaps are my world 24 / 7, 365 days each year. Not only is it crucial to communicate with clarity, it is important that the communication is remarkable and memorable. If you have what felt like a great meeting, but people don’t remember the key ideas one week later, your efforts have failed and [more…]

Jan 132021
SAKALAS 13: Recalibrate your Focus and Efforts @ Work

If you work in a large knowledge-work corporation, your life is often complex, the cloud of internal politics never dissipates, and there is always more to do than time in the day. Over the years, I have found that quotes can really help you think through the clutter and make better decisions. This is not an all encompassing list, but reviewing this baker’s dozen of quotes once each month helps recalibrate your efforts and focus on what matters. When in [more…]

Dec 142020
Tell a Story, Don't Just Present the Facts

Every topic worth discussing, deserves a good story. Yet, usually, in the world of business, most people just present the facts, the what something is, the what it does, and the how it does it. When I ask the presenter why, he or she often says that its hard to come up with a relevant story and the story is not that important anyway. Nothing can be further from the truth. Imagine that you are a product manager who has [more…]

Nov 132020
Your Expectations Determine Your Destiny

We alone determine our own expectations. They often seem harmless, a simple and mostly inconsequential guess at the future, most often a short-term future. They are not harmless. Expectations are incredibly important, more crucial than anyone talks about. They matter, not only in small personal ways but also in organization defining, championship winning, even life-and-death ways. Imagine you are going to see a movie tonight. You have seen the teaser previews and it looks pretty good. You text your friend [more…]

Oct 192020
Killer Recipe for Compelling and Captivating Presentations

Many of us have jobs where we “sell” our ideas to others, even though lots of people are not in professional sales per se. Everyone has to sell, even if you are just selling ideas to your teammates, your boss, your kids, or the really big boss, your spouse. The better you become at being persuasive, the more likely you are to make a positive impact, to be memorable, to help others, and, if the planets align, to advance to [more…]

Oct 052020
Creativity, Initiative, and the Quest for Greatness

I have often talked about looking for, and then embracing prudent risks. I truly believe making the right decision when faced with risk separates winning and losing, but my observations have not often enough addressed the need for creativity. An important difference between good success and great success is found in taking the initiative and creating something novel and exciting. This plays out at every level, from advancing quickly as an employee to starting a new company to creating new [more…]

Sep 112020
Resilience in the Face of Despair

Life can sometimes be a four letter word. There are moments that challenge all of us during our lives, but these moments are rarely shared on the candy-coated world portrayed in people’s Facebook and Instagram posts. The truth is sh*t happens, and lots of things are out of our personal control. The challenge is how to rekindle your optimism, how to keep living life in a positive way after a disaster, after an emotional bomb, after a huge mistake, after [more…]

Sep 052020
I Find This Amazing

I find it truly amazing that one song can tear me up — every single time I hear it — without fail — for the last twenty years. You would think that I’d be able to ignore it, but I remain powerless during these short four minutes. I’m sure it has to do with having the privilege of being a dad to two great daughters. Texan guys aren’t supposed to cry! I hope you like it, I.M. Optimisman

Aug 032020
The Definition of Crazy, Revisited

Here’s is an awesome comic from the website / webpblog xkcd — if you have not seen Randall’s work and wit, definitely check it out at Recently, I’ve decided that I want to lose some weight. There is nothing super unique about having such a goal, I know, in an America that is trending toward XL. I’m a believer in making sure you have a written “why” to go with a goal and mine is straightforward: I really want [more…]

Aug 022020
The Extinction of Humility

Humility used to be (and still is) one the finest aspects of being a good human. It has been on the endangered list for some time, but social media may send it the way of the dodo bird or the Tasmanian tiger. Social media networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, have taken on a life of their own: we know have the digital twin of ourselves online, but these digital recreations are exaggerated. While the good side of social [more…]

Jul 252020
What Gets Measured...

“What gets measured, gets improved.” — Peter Drucker The proof is so simple to see, in every facet of life, but few managers seems to employ the simplest of effective measurements well at work. It is easy to see in normal life. If you start writing down your calories, before you start the meal, you will eat less, snack less, and eat better. If you start writing down the days that you do aerobic exercise on a highly visible calendar, [more…]

Jun 142020
One man's crisis - A vivid lesson

One of the most overused cliches often cited by motivational speakers and politicians, is that the Chinese character for crisis is also the same character for opportunity. JFK, while campaigning for the presidency of the United States, popularized this phrase in his speeches of 1959 and 1960 by saying: “In the Chinese language, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other, opportunity.” When you question this quote one level deeper, you find out that [more…]

May 242020
Ask The Right Questions: What's My Priority?

Answer this one question, with a bit of planning color, in writing, for 8 weeks every Sunday morning with your cup of coffee. Eight weeks is long enough to start to build a habit, and great habits lead to excellence. After eight weeks, decide if you want to keep the habit. What is my #1 top priority this week? Why is this #1? What will I do about it — exactly and specifically — this week? What’s the minimum I [more…]

May 242020
I'm Too Busy and the Art of No

Many, if not most people tell me that they are too busy. Too busy every day. Too busy at work, too busy at home. They are just barely keeping their head above water, juggling it all. I believe there is an art to finding time, making time for what’s truly important versus what is “busy-work.” A lot of busy-work looks and feels important and urgent but, if you ask yourself “will this task or project that I’m spending time on [more…]

May 192020
How AI Will Change Work — for the Better

Ever since movies like The Terminator sold a lot of tickets and popcorn, we have been debating if AI will save us or eventually kill us. There are smart minds on both sides of this debate, but I’m unsurprisingly optimistic that AI will be harnessed for good. Kevin Kelly is a certified futurist in whom I find a lot of wisdom. Of course, no one bats 1.000 when predicting the future. I find his recent presentation from January 2017 well [more…]

May 032020
Opportunity Knocks: Equities in 2020

Our economy was firing on all cylinders in the last ten years and really picked up steam on the last few years. Stock gains were even stronger than the economy for three related reasons — Capital / the cost of money // has been shockingly cheap by historical standards (which reduced the gains available in bonds), The USA was the one economy that was doing great, with growing corporate earnings and confidence, while all of Europe and Asia were struggling, [more…]

May 022020
Best ~hour of "TV" in years!

If you are a regular reader, you know that I’ve been railing against watching worthless TV and streaming media for years. But not all media is created the same and of course there is wonderful stuff too. John Krasinski — in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic — just proved that the message within the “content” matters much more than the money invested in professional production. It also helps to have a positive attitude and a can-do belief in yourself. [more…]

Apr 252020
Time to Reset: 2020 is the year of _____?

If you have one goal, and only one goal, for this year, your odds of accomplishing that goal are much better, than if you have five goals. Most people don’t accomplish their January resolutions. Odds are you have already given up on any goals that you came up with last January. COVID and social distancing surely has not helped. So why not reset now, in April? What’s your one goal, now? Is 2020 the year you lose 20 pounds permanently? [more…]