Snapshots: Networking Employment

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Just a quick thought for my friends networking new career opportunities.

We can rack up a lot of experience, but sadly not a lot of traction. In this, traction often times derives from definition. As in.. definition of who I am and what I do for businesses. Definition as in.. giving my network clarity of who I am in order to release them to tell others of what I do.

It’s funny, so much of networking is like the childhood game of telephone. How clear have you defined who you are and what you offer? Is it clear enough for it to come back to you in the form of opportunity?

Ponder.

Oregon Education: Did You Know?

American School of S postcardHere’s a little piece I put together for an amazing opportunity my good friend is offering. In this, it has brought me front and center to learn about things I never knew with regards to initiatives set forth by the State of Oregon to see people get educated. It’s called the 40-40-20 Plan.

In this, the focus here is on the 20 part of the equation. The GED. The numbers are staggering. But the rewards when pursued, can be life changing. I myself am a product of a father who dropped out of high school in the 40’s later to go back and earn his GED. The result is a lasting impact that still lasts today nearly 12 years after his death.

But what can we do? Well, my friend needs tutors. Also, who do you know that doesn’t have their high school diploma and could benefit from learning about this opportunity? If you know someone, please pass it on. The numbers are just that that if we would just look around, we may just find someone in need of this unique hand up.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this and consider passing this along to someone you know that might be interested. In this, together, we might just help change a life forever. G

Here’s the Press Release I wrote for the upcoming event.

New Portland Group Aims to Help Give Oregonians and Others, a Second Chance 

Portland, Oregon – American School of Success is offering a FREE informational meeting on the “5 Things You Need to Know about How Easy It Really Is… To Get Your GED.”

  • January 7th, 2015 at the Oregon Building located at 800 NE Oregon St. (at NE 7thAve), Portland, OR 97232
  • 10 till 11:30
  • For people seeking to get their GED.

Every day in America, 8,000 students drop out of high school. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 336,000 adult Oregonians (11%), lack a high school diploma or alternative credential.

As the State of Oregon has put forth the 40-40-20 plan, which the governor and lawmakers have set the ambitious goal that by 2025, at least 40 percent of Oregonians will have earned a bachelor’s degree, 40 percent an associate’s degree or post-secondary credential, and 20 percent will earn at least a high school diploma or alternative. American School of Success is eager to do their part in helping Oregon achieve these goals.

However, achieving just a GED is not the only goal for the school. Only 12% of people who get their GED actually create traction with their achievement that will lead to higher aspirations, be it a college degree or a specific skill or craft.

American School of Success Executive Director, Dennis Catmull offers this about what the service aims to be, “This is about changing the lives of others through hope and education. In providing this type of support and holistic approach, we want to not only help people achieve their GED, but more importantly, achieve a life they perhaps never dreamed was possible.”

Recent GED grad, Shane Tebeck says, “I tried to this on my own, I bought the book, the big GED book, it did not work for me. The tutor was able to communicate the content into my own language. These people invested in me.” Another recent GED grad, Velvet adds this, “This program is the difference of completing the GED in a couple of years, or in a month and a half. These people aren’t just trying to get you in and out, they care about you.”

American School of Success helps students prepare for and pass the GED test. Building on a previous program that graduated over 4,000 students. The school is set to meet the demands for educational credentials by offering programs that enable adults to achieve their diploma or GED in a relatively short period of time. American School of Success has a team of educators and leaders who find it very rewarding to help others make those very important next steps toward a successful and fulfilling life.

For more information about American School of Success and to register for this upcoming event on January 7th at 10am in the Oregon Building, please visit www.americanschoolofsuccess.com. Seats are limited for this event.

Contact Us: | Dennis Catmull | 1-866-889-6889 | info@needmydiploma.com

Keeping Christmas: Pondering Van Dyke

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I am not sure when I stumbled upon this gem, but I try to post it each Christmas season as a reminder. A reminder of what? You’ll see. Read on.

It is written by Henry Van Dyke and published back in 1905. Coincidentally, this was the year after my grandfather sailed into Ellis Island from Bergen, Norway.

The picture featured was one I took in December of 2013 of one of our Nativity sets. Enjoy.

Keeping Christmas

It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.

But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-men are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness—are you willing to do these things even for a day?

Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for feelings, with the gate open—are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.

And if you keep it for a day, why not always?

But you can never keep it alone.

Pondering #BlackFriday and The Tale of 2 Lines

Voodoo Doughnut, Too! located in Northeast Portland, OregonMy tired eyes gazed at the people lined up around the building waiting to get in and fill their need.

There are two lines my eyes see. One on this block, the other on that block. Both within sight.

In both lines, people from all walks of life are lined up, talking, and waiting. All have one thing in common, they want what lies just behind the doors they seek to enter.

Dads, moms, daughters, sons, sisters, and brothers fill these lines with life and whatever stories they have brought to share with one another while they wait.

The similarities between the two lines stop there. These my friends are the lines of necessities and luxuries. One line led to a homeless shelter. The other led to a famous doughnut shop. Two worlds so close to each other, yet both so far apart.

But, are they?

What has happened in our world where these lines have become so blurred?

For too many of us, the luxuries have become the necessities all the while for a mass majority of the world, our necessities are the rest of the worlds luxuries.

With eyes wide open as one experiences life, how can you not see both of these lines and then not stop to pause and reflect on the irony?

I wonder if the people in each of these two lines ever look across the street and wonder…

That could be me.
That should be me.

Envious, jealous, angry, sad, don’t care, or don’t even notice.

Looking at these two lines is like looking into my heart… too often. Or at least when I want to notice.

The truth is that more times than I would like to admit, I am in need of taking inventory of where my priorities lie.

What seeing these two lines does is it gets me to take a moment to pause and reflect on what things in my life are necessities and what things are luxuries.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I have had one of those doughnuts and it was amazing. Quite frankly, I look forward to having another one REALLY soon. This is not to cast judgement on the people of one line over the other as to what their personal motivations are, but rather to take this image and the irony of it on a journey deep within my heart as a way of taking inventory of what drives me.

In this, it causes me to ask a question… have I ever put off the “necessities” of my life to make way for a luxury?

If so, what and why?

True, we call it sacrificing. But, for what?

What this whole thought process is also leading me towards is a place of transformation which is leading me to a place of redefinition of the things in my life that truly matters and the things that do not.

With this, how can I stand in one line and not notice the other?

Personal Translation #1 –  Necessities and luxuries = people versus stuff.

For in this, I believe that a life void of service for ones neighbor, is a life in need of transformation.

Personal Translation #2 – In the discussion of necessities and luxuries, I need a transformation of the currency I use to meet my necessities and enjoy my luxuries from the currency of stuff… to the currency of serving my neighbor.

In this, once you have seen, It is my belief that you are now responsible. Hmm, maybe this is why we too often refuse to look at the other line?

I know there have sadly been many times where I too, chose not to look. And for every time I chose not to look, there was a lump in my throat of regret that maybe just maybe, I missed out on an opportunity to do something great for someone else.

With this, I now recognize that the only way to change this is to understand that it is my heart that needs to be changed… not the people in the other line.

Now, let me be clear, my intent is not to make a political statement and advocate a public sector or government view of this discussion, but rather a personal and more private one. I will leave the political discussion for another time. For, to be quite honest with you, it is my opinion that legislative mandates will never lead to sustainable transformation. But transformation will always lead to sustainable mandates of change… and not because you have to, but now because you want to.

Do you now feel responsible to do something about that which you have seen?

I contest that when one truly does see, they will not simply just become responsible, they will be compelled to act responsible. When this happens, suddenly how we treat our ability to enjoy the luxuries in life becomes much different.

Suddenly, the once blurred lines between the necessities and luxuries are much more clearer.

For, it is not a matter that you get to experience luxury, but that which your heart is compelled to do with the means your afforded to that allow for such a luxury.

Suddenly, the stuff of life doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore. Suddenly, the plight of your neighbor is all that seems to matter… forever more.

This is the tale of two lines.

which

Missing Dad on His 84th Birthday

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Today is November 4th, 2014.

My dad would have been 84 years old today. I sure do miss him.

I think in honor of him this day I will…

Put on Misty by Erroll Garner and savor every note.

Take time out to visit Cooper Mountain to enjoy every breath.

Listen closely to every word spoken to me.

Wear a hat.

Swing a golf club.

Play more jazz.

Not let a song pass me by without letting it do to me.. what it is going to do to me.

Laugh.

Remember the good times.

Tap my finger to the songs I hear.

Read an article about Bill Elliot.

Dance along to a Beach Boys song (Like that one time you did.)

Walk down the street to where that manhole cover with GTE is on it and take a picture of it.

Go through the voter’s guide and draw an X over the faces of those I did not vote for.

Enjoy every breath.

Be confident that everything is going to be alright.

Tell my family I love them.

And that’s just for starters. I love you dad. I miss you very much.

Son.

The last laugh

Worth reading regarding the death of Robin Williams. My dear friend John wrote this and it has touched a lot of folk. Especially those who too, are wrestling with such.

John Fischer The Catch

th-20Today, the world mourns the death of its funniest man, who, in the end, couldn’t find that last laugh that might have prevented him from taking his own life. He assumed so many personalities except the one he needed the most — himself. He was uncomfortable in his own shoes, so he got used to everyone else’s, and for that reason, he had a huge amount of compassion for people from all walks of life, in all situations. No one could stand in someone else’s shoes better than Robin Williams.

He left so much of himself all over our pop culture that it will be impossible to not encounter pieces of him everywhere. Even down to his rendition of The Night Before Christmas with the Boston Pops Orchestra that is a centerpiece of our Christmas music every year, or his audio version of the legend of Pecos Bill that we…

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Partner with me to love people because people matter #LovePDX

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On September 28th, I am leading a team of 6 in the Bridgetown Inc., bowl-a-thon. In this, we are raising funds to help support the amazing work of Bridgetown Inc. (See what I did there in my team name?)

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you will have probably seen my weekly posts about Nightstrike or BTown Kids. These are definitely highlights of my every week.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to serve on the board for Bridgetown. It has been a complete honor.

What I love about Bridgetown is the motto… Loving People Because People Matter. And let me tell you what… this is what I see every week in the stories of those all around me. From those coming down to serve to those being served.

Last year alone, we saw 14,000 people served. In this, we have seen countless stories that reflect what can happen when we seek to love people… just because.

From Nightstrike under the Burnside Bridge each week, to BTown Kids, to Transformation Trips, Bridgetown Inc., is making a difference.

And now, people from other cities are following suit and seeking to do the same in their cities.

If you know me, I have been involved with a lot of causes over the years. What I can say about Bridgetown is that this is a cause you can support. Bridgetown gets it done.

With strong and sound leadership along with an amazing team, loving people because people matter is a reality… each and every day in and through those touched by this organization.

With this, will you please consider supporting my team with a gift? Every dollar counts and WILL make a difference.

As a team, we have set a goal of $1200. Will you help us meet it? You can, by making a contribution here > http://bit.ly/1kFgNpE

For more information on Bridgetown Inc., please visit the website at www.bridgetowninc.org

Thank you for your consideration!

G

Leadership: Do your people own your story?

shutterstock_114280546The game of telephone stops when someone doesn’t own the story. I have always said, you got to own it, to sell it. Therefore, it is always so critical in a culture to develop a strategy that seeks to ensure people don’t just know your story, but rather own your story.

The more people who own your story means that more people will then organically hear your story. The more people who hear your story from those who own the story means that more people will then want to become… a part of your story.

In his classic book, A True Believer, which was written in the 50’s about the psychology of mass movements, author Eric Hoffer talks about the passions of the masses.

People want a sense of belonging and equality.

The more people who are telling your story because they too, own your story, will in turn translate into more people wanting to be a part of your story.

It seems more and more these days we settle for simply getting as many people as possible to just know about our story. And certainly awareness is good. But what would it look like if we settled for nothing less than getting as many people as possible to own our story?

For me, it would look like how effectively I am at taking people on a journey from ignorance to ownership.

What does this journey look like? It looks like taking people through each one of these following components along the journey towards ownership.

  • Ignorance
  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Participation
  • Experience
  • Ownership

How do you get people to own your story and not merely just know about your story? The path to ownership requires sweat equity that one has made the journey from ignorance to ownership.

Now, it would be very easy to make these thoughts about one’s marketing message. And these thoughts certainly are transferable. But, what I am thinking more about is not one’s marketing message, but rather one’s team culture. I’m thinking about leadership. I’m thinking about unleashing upon the world a game of telephone about what you do that.. never hangs up.

Are you in leadership? What does your culture look like? Do your core people just know your story, or do they too.. own your story?

If you sat down with your core people and played a game of telephone around what it is that you do, what would that look like?

Where does it stop? If it stops at just awareness, great job. But, realize there are still yet a few more steps until you reach ownership.

Is your culture filled with owners, or rather just interested story tellers? How can we get the interested to become the participants so that they can truly experience the story?

When you can do that, know this… ownership awaits.

And when ownership awaits…

Back Surgery with Dad: Circa 2001 #FathersDay

hand-reaching-bwThe summer prior to first learning of my dads cancer was a challenging one. For 30 days, I struggled with what we thought was a torn hamstring. But not committing to that, the doctor continued to order further ultrasound therapy on it along with specific stretches. After a month of extreme pain that kept me awake most nights along with a limited ability to move freely…they finally ordered an MRI.

The discovery was that I needed back surgery. My L5 disc had pretty much blown out and completely compressed the sciatic nerve.

But, I write this not to highlight my back surgery experience but to recall a special moment between my dad and I as they wheeled me from my temporary hospital room into the prep room just prior to my surgery.

Being nervous due to the fact I had never experienced surgery where I was fully under followed by a one night stay in the hospital…I remember the calming influence dad had on me. As they wheeled me away, my dad stood along that path and held out his hand for mine. Wheeling by, I took his hand and held it for a brief moment as he shot me a look that I will never forget. It was a look that said it was going to be ok.

You see, what is significant about that was that dad was never the touchy feely type and though you never heard him say I love you…you knew he did. It just was not a typical trait from his generation.

So, for him to initiate this contact meant the world to me and in this…he modeled that of Jesus when He reached out His hand and said…”Take courage…it is I.”

Of course, I made it through that surgery and he was there when I got out and was there that next morning to pick me up.

With dad…he saw me through and with our Heavenly Father…He will too.

__________

My back surgery was on August 6th, 2001. Yet through all the pain and build up to such a time in my life, this one moment still remains one of the most impactful memories of my entire life. I miss my dad. But as I grow older, I find him in the many lessons he planted forth within me that I never knew until now.

This all reminds me and causes me to ponder, how often am I teaching when I don’t even know it? What moments will my daughter carry with her throughout life? Am I teaching right things yet reflecting the wrong things?

Ponder..

I am a Dad now. #parenting

A pink and purple kite swirls in the late afternoon sky as the sun shines brightly through the white and grey clouds. Bundled up from the cold wind, I’m sitting pool side watching my daughter wade through 3 feet of water in the “kiddie” pool. Occasionally glancing up, her eyes are never far from me as she turns and looks at me with a smile. Splashing herself wet she sits alone in the shallow end. All around the sounds of children playing, water splashing, and parents talking, but she… she sits alone as if she is a part in a one-person play on stage. As she looks over at me…dipping side of her head in the pool, she smiles. And it is this smile that tells me that I am the audience and she is the performer. “Watch me!” she says as she performs a most significant “leg stretch” as graceful as the now distant kite dancing above the ocean waves. This audience can only applaud this feat with a look and a smile as it [smile] dances across the now glimmering pool from the sunlight far above. To be on the other side of that look is nothing short of amazing. And now…now it is my turn. I hope I do it well, I hope I do it often… I guess I’m not too bad…as I look over at her, she’s looking back with a smile as wide as the moon and as bright as this late afternoon sun. ______ It has been several years since I first wrote this. I hope I have and continue to… do it well.