Tag Archive | enthusiasm

Delivering on promises

One of my weaknesses is that I get distracted. When operating in a team, with constructed deadlines and timetables, things are easy. A day’s mission or set of milestones are there to be tackled and accomplished. However, when a rogue agent like me, I’ve discovered the common challenge of effective time management. It’s harder to be your own boss.

It’s a skill we can always improve on—getting the most out of our day; and I see the danger that guys in my position can get into. I have a tendency to go on and on all day about how A, B and C can all change the world and help at work immensely; but without the follow through, it’s all a Ponzi scheme—shuffling one pile of enthusiasm to another, without ever accomplishing anything.

My personality doesn’t help. I’m an extrovert, so while I have that hard-charging attitude that Myers-Briggs talks about, I miss out on the detail-oriented aspects of being more introspective. As a result, I find that I have five or 10 projects in the works at any given time. Wikis for the European Command, DINFOS, the Public Affairs Department; video pages for the broadcasters, for my personal social media site; draft policy for NATO; access consulting for the Library of Congress; that novel…just for starters. If I don’t hunker down and follow through, it’s all for naught. I become just another zany distraction—all about theory with little execution.

I think the follow-through idea is the best part. I’d rather be a man of fewer initiatives but more thorough implementation. But—ha! don’t we all wish for other traits? Instead, maybe I need to write things down…or find a job where I can get some help. Maybe part of my problem is that I’m always working alone. Strange that the social media guy is always by himself. Hrmmm.

In addition to actually following through on initiatives, it’s also necessary to follow up once something is completed. In the case for social media initiatives, it’s good to touch base with people I’ve worked with previously. I’ve found that a lot of people have questions or concerns, but don’t want to be a bother or, worse, think they look like a fool.

But, far from it, when someone helps a group or organization set up something new, there’s always the need for further consultation. I’ve found calling up people I’ve worked with and asking how things were going gets a sigh of relief. At work, it’s the same. Continued training and encouragement is necessary for sustainable and consistent adoption of new initiatives. Otherwise, the flash in the pan is dazzling, but quickly dims to what was before.

Most discouraging is failure. When all of the best intentions for an organization get stymied in argument or inaction, or when an initiative just falls flat with no users or interest. That can make the social media advocate and supporters look the fool. The discouragement can bog down enthusiasm; but that’s where my journalist’s thick skin comes in. Jesus doesn’t love me any less when an initiative fails. Moreover, some of the big higher ups in my chain of command would rather me make a mistake in trying something rather than make a mistake by not trying something. So, really, where does the fear or sense of dread originate? Even in the midst of abject failure, it’s good to stick to the drive that spurred the initiative in the  first place.

After all, execution that didn’t work out is far better than a promise without results. And a good attitude amongst failure will help keep a person trying to deliver on the expectations set forward by innovators and dreamers.


Day after day after day

Friday we had our latest graduation. Forty six new journalists were fired off to the field and fleet, ready to start their careers.

Apart from the royal FUBAR of the actual ceremony, on which I’ve been forbidden to blog, afterward there was enough small talk and well-wishes to make the remainder of the day as amicable as we had originally planned.

One of my students came up, thanked me for not being a total bastard and asked, “When do you pick up your new class?”

“Two weeks,” I said.

“Wow, how do you do it? How do you keep teaching the same thing over and over?”

“New class. New people. New experience.”

“Seems like it would get boring.”

I shrugged.

Boring? Naw. Every day is new. Every day is unique. Honestly, there will never be another evening like this one—not ever another breeze, or another rain like this one. The clouds will never align and sparkle in the fading day light as they are now, nor will ever there be that hue of green or purple or red in that pattern across the sky in the history of man.

It’s the same with work. It’s the same with most matters in our lives. Every day is new. Every conversation is a completely new experience. Every talk is a chance to learn something about someone and thus increase awareness about those we love.

Part of it all is the will to find enjoyment in things. For as insurmountable of a task as it might seem to be, honestly, a lot of it is in simple will. I will myself to enjoy things. I will myself to find happiness in smiles and the in betweens. Sure I have a mountain of things that keep me busy, but ultimately, I can choose to dread the day or find satisfaction in my work.

I’m not talking about going hippy and hugging every blasted thing around, but there comes a moment where you or I can choose to get up on the board and ride the wave. It’s a joining with life, rather than trying to redirect it.

I know so many people who spend so much time decrying every moment they’ve lived. Such-n-such didn’t work out, who-n-who turned out to be a prick. There’s a healthy time to reflect and learn, but the world is full of a million reasons to stay miserable and never get up out of bed. In my corner of the universe, I can choose to complain at the drudgery of everything, or I can adapt to a new perspective that sees the beauty in nearly everything.

I know, still hippy-ish, right?

Okay, look at a kid. A kid can experience the same story, read a thousand times, and scream with glee each and every time. A child can hold on to the wonder of life. A child can kick her legs and enjoy the breeze on the swing, then kick her legs for an hour more and love each time. Again! Again! Again!

But as we grow up, we forget. We forget how to hold on to happiness. We’re worn down from reality. We abandon happiness for realism. We convince ourselves that there is nothing to smile about, only the doldrums of the never ending cycle of life.


Some say that the universe is a cold and dead machine, spinning and gyrating with predictable forces and mechanisms that force the same pattern. The sun rises; the sun sets. Surely, some say, God does not exist, because, otherwise, why the boring pattern?

Ah, but what if God has never given up his child-likeness? What if he sees the magic of a sunrise and yells “Again!” each and every day? Is it such a crime to value the beauty of every day?

So, two weeks, new class. I’m stoked.


%d bloggers like this: