Studying hard… and loving it!

T  T (minus) 9 days and I’m having fun studying.
As I take practice full length exams, my scores are stable.
This peaceful approach to a major test is new: I am enjoying it.

Shows a keyboard, mouse, a computer tablet, some paper and a pencil
Some Study Tools on my desk right now

A view from the top of the Himalayas of the Valley of Flowers

Why did Prabu cross the Road Less Travelled*?

It could be that (that) Road was Traveled Less

‘Cause strewn with dashed hopes and low (no) pay, its a mess

(But) I’ve inner feelings to address

Without which there may be regre(t)s

In my new nonprofit role

Love, peace - maybe it’s all hyperbole

I’ll be working towards my new lofty goal

Seeking Connections that make us whole

With gratitude to my friends, my head is bent

With love and best wishes on your own journey, this note is sent

I’m taking this step with full intent

Rest easy, I’m content.

*”The Road Not Taken” is my favorite poem by Robert Frost.

I sent this poem as a note to my colleagues and friends in the business world, as I transitioned to be an Encore Fellow, to work full time with the nonprofit sector.


Anticipation! Embarking on the (altMBA) journey

[This is a cross post from the altMBA site.  Original can be found here].

In anticipation of a race the next morning, Running gear laid out. Shows layers of clothing - running shorts, t-shirts with race bib pinned on to the running clothes.

All set for the race!

This happens to me the night before each race…. I lay out my gear, double check that the bib (or decal, the runner number) is pinned on so that I can take off layers of my clothes along the route without losing the bib and so on…. Anticipation!

Right now, I’m going into the “Resources” section of the altMBA5 guide, resetting my forgotten password on Disqus, uploading my photos on to Gravatar and the Bio Book…. generally getting ready for the journey of ruckus.

Anticipation – the (good kind of) nervous energy. It fuels the positive vibes that then carry into the race.  Investing today in this prep work will be well worth the time as we begin this mad dash, this 30-day sprint in which we produce (“ship”) 12 projects.  Yes, I knew that when signing up for the altMBA workshop and am actually looking forward to this sprint.

It was an honor to be selected for this altMBA cohort #5.  As always, there is a cost to doing anything (doing nothing costs more).  The time, the money, the sleep, the juggling of priorities.

So, why am I doing this?  Primarily to get off my seat and get my mojo back.  Second, to invite new doers and ideas into my life.  Third, the wonder: to simply see where this journey will take me.  It’s definitely different from my other projects… and hey, Seth Godin – yes, the Seth Godin – is invested in this.  For these 30 days at least, we have a shared project – Ain’t that something!

Already, I have learned.  Of my Christmas day in April, I’ve devoured these three:  Steal Like an Artist by Austin KleonThe War of Art by Steven Pressfield and The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander.  Here are the rest:

A photograph of all the books in the suggested reading package of altMBA cohort 5 that the blog post author is anticipating reading.

Books R Us

The journey is where the fun is, I know.  But this getting ready part, this anticipation – there’s a special joy here.

OK, back to the suggested reading. Book #4 is calling me…


Revisiting old tools

Photo by Peter Martin Hall via Flickr

Photo by Peter Martin Hall via Flickr

For some of my current and upcoming projects, I need to use tools that I’d left on the shelf for quite a bit. So, I (re)-installed them and found many changes in the interfaces since I last used these tools. I found very simple videos on the Microsoft Support website on using MS Project and MS Access. In fact, quite a refresher – as well quite refreshing! Both sets of videos are broken into five parts: well-produced, to the point and got the job done. In fact, the video on the basics of Relational Database design – I wish I had that many moons ago when I was learning those concepts. Well done, support team! (yes, the videos are a few years old, but hey, they helped me today and the team deserves a pat on the back).

Link to Microsoft Support Video

Photo Credit:
Peter Martin Hall
Via Flickr

(Re) Formatting a Hard Drive to work with a MacBook

You may have purchased a hard disk that is not correctly setup for use (i.e. formatted) for use with a Mac. In these cases, it is easy to set it up properly. Just follow these 9 steps (Step 10 is optional). Click on the picture and it will become readable and show you the 10 steps.

Be very careful to select the correct External Hard Drive in Finder!

A non-technical explanation – For those that are curious:

If Macs and MacBooks were humans, you could say that they speak a different language from Windows machines. This is the Operating System (OS). Macs run on what is called OS X (or later), while Windows (“PC) machines run the Windows OS. Other machines run on Linux or other dialects of Unix.

Mac OS X requires that the hard disk is set up (“formatted”) using a particular pattern, called “Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)”. The hard drive that you purchased probably was patterned as NTFS or FAT, so it did not work with your Mac or MacBook.

What you did when you followed the ten steps is to “re-format” the Hard Drive to work with your Mac or MacBook.

Now you know!

Click on the picture and it will become readable:

10 steps to format your new external hard drive for use with a Mac or Macbook (for example, to use as a backup Time Machine).

Change… its moving time!

As I read the first entry on this well-written blog, I felt proud and touched. Sneha writes so well – (of course I’m biased!) of change. She is filled with the optimism and clear-eyed resolution that marked the beginning of most of my Summers in college… except, in this case, I know that there will be positive follow through, and I watch with interest.

Today, movers will carry away what we ruthlessly pared down from nearly twenty years of accumulated stuff. I’ve enjoyed this downsizing as much as I’d enjoyed training for the Marathon. There are many metaphors hidden here, many feelings, many lessons that I’m processing.

In all this, I’m filled with gratitude – for the love of this affirming, nurturing family, the many many friends we’ve grown to love, the sheer magnitude of change that this great community fostered in us, for what we’ve experienced first hand as the land of opportunity, for the many colleagues who taught me, for all my students, for Louie and Ollie…. I’m content. I’m also ready for the changes ahead.

I’m moderating a webinar on gamification this Thursday

This should be fun… moderating this webinar with Rajat Paharia and Phaedra Boinodiris, experts in gamification. More details and registration information at:


Read an article in The New Yorker about interesting findings on how and why we make  and break resolutions.

While the various studies were interesting, what also stuck with me was the sense of optimism that we have.  Quote:

In a series of studies, forthcoming from the journal Management Science, Milkman, Riis, and Dai found that fresh starts do push us to change our behavior. The beginning of a week, a month, or a year forms what the psychologist Richard Thaler calls a “notational boundary.” With that, researchers suspect, comes a sense of optimism, the promise of “a new me,” as Milkman put it.

This sense of a new me is a powerful driver of our behavior.  This also formed the basis of  several fascinating conversations today with S, R, A, L among others… as we cheered for participants of the New Year’s Double Marathon this morning, watched Stanford play Michigan State at the Rose Bowl in the afternoon and a deep, emotional conversation this evening.

No new year resolutions this time around.  I’ll just be consistent in the behavioral changes already firmed up in 2013.  I’ll continue to experience the fun in daily exercise and daily expression of my creativity.  Yes, I have learning goals – more on those as we go along – but no “resolutions” as such.




Playing with WordPress Themes

Decided I’d get past newbie level with the latest WordPress software. I’m playing now with themes and will create some categories and tags. Over the next few weeks, I will add a few static pages to hold other interests.

Learning Plan for 2011

Feet in snow at the start of a hike in the Colorado

Learning Plan for 2011

[Based on ideas and format from the wonderful sharer, Sacha Chua]
The Guiding Principles for 2011 are: Consistency (in action) and Clarity (in thought and communication)

Here are my priorities for 2011:

  1. Share as much as I can at work and in life. I see farther since I stand on the shoulders of giants.  I am sharing as much as possible so that other people can build on that foundation. At work, this means creating enablement material, blogging, organizing the shared content, and helping communities and individuals. Volunteering. At and Outside of work this means being willing to make a mistake (or a hundred) in plain sight of others – and to cherish the learning that comes from  these mistakes.  I used to think sharing meant being generous, now I see that sharing is really opening up.  Sharing is the only way to learn and grow: its that basic!
  2. Learn more about drawing and communicating visually. I am getting even better at thinking things through and communicating what I’m learning. The better I get at communicating, the more I can help people learn and be more effective in all that I do.  Communicating completes the circle, since I learn a lot as I listen to the needs of my audience and see the world from their perspective.
  3. Live with awareness and gratitude. I’m grateful for this wonderful life, I am experiencing joy and awe in everyday events. I see things more clearly, choose wisely and am then consistent in the actions that I choose.

What do I want to learn to support that, and how can I go about learning?

1) Share as much as I can at work and in life.

I am sharing patterns for managing stakeholder expectations, a risk-based approach to project and program management, nurturing symbiotic long-term relationships, social software use, organizational knowledge (connecting the dots), skills I’ve picked up, and ideas and insights I’ve collected along the way. I can learn through:

  • Practice: Adding content to blogs, wikis, communities, and other repositories will move me towards this goal and help me develop the skills I need to do it even more effectively.  I will eschew email this year and use other collaboration tools to a large extent.
  • Community, mentors: People’s comments and questions teach me what to share and what’s missing.  I will seek mentors in Strategic Alliance Management and in applying Theory of Constraints to relevant challenges.
  • Inspiration: I can get ideas from old-fashioned books, e-books, presentations, wikis, blogs and other resources.

I will know I met this learning goal when I look back to see that I have made plenty of mistakes – publicly – this year and can articulate what I have learned from them.

2) Learn more about drawing and communicating visually.I am communicating better. Visual skills complement written skills and can be quite engaging. I can learn through:

  • Practice: I can use drawing and other visual communication tools to share what I’m learning.
  • Peers, colleagues, community, mentors: People’s feedback will help me learn how to communicate more effectively.
  • Reading: There are plenty of books and media available.  There may be classes at the local community college.
  • Inspiration: I can get ideas from presentations, images, and videocasts.
  • Coaches: Ra can teach me to draw.  I can work with editors and illustrators to get feedback and improve the output.
I will know I met this learning goal when people “get” what I say as I explain something complex and the dialog evolves to us working together to build the idea further.


3) Live with awareness and gratitude.

I can explore this further through:

  • Practice: Every day provides me opportunities to take a deep breath and wonder.  This is especially important when I feel carried along by the flow of things – in meetings, delivering on commitments and in the daily rush to get to an empty in-box.
  • Reflection: What am I doing?  Why? What is happening?  Why?
  • Listening and Reading: Lots of books and blog posts about life.  Of course, we have our daily audio sessions 🙂
  • Community, mentors: Learn from La.  Learning from people’s comments, questions, and advice really helps
  • Inspiration: Yes, always being ready for inspiration to strike can help me with this practice.
I will know when I met this learning goal.

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