The Starfish and The Widows Mite

The Starfish and the Widows Mite

Most of you who know me, know that i’m not prone to quoting religious dogmatic stories in my posts; Today I feel the need to make a couple of comments about helping others.

I love the story of the starfish; where an adult finds a small girl throwing starfish, one at a time, back in to the ocean from a beach filled with starfish washed ashore after a storm. When the adult asks how can she possibly expect to make a difference saving them when the beach is literally littered with thousands of starfish; she picks up one starfish turns to the adult asking the question, throws it back to the ocean and remarks “It made a difference to that one.”

Too often we are overwhelmed by the need in the world that we become paralyzed from doing anything because we simply don’t think we can make an impact. The fact folks is that you can… and you do it by one small gesture at a time. By helping, volunteering, and donating; every single bit makes a difference especially to the small NPOs in your community…

But there’s another part to the story; when it comes to donating funds to a cause… and that’s the story of the widows mite… In the Christian Bible the book of Mark Chapter 12 v41-44 (paraphrased); Christ talks to his disciples at the temple treasury; when noticing that a widow makes her donation is that of only a penny, while the rich make significantly larger donations.

He tells the disciples that the widow has contributed more to the cause because her penny donated is everything she has and doing so out love, than the rich who donate more, but less in percentage of the widow, and donate for recognition.

The point of this allegory is it does not matter how much you contribute; simply that you do contribute. if not in money then with time. The poor widow donated a penny, but that penny was all she had to give.

So please… I encourage, get involved, make a stand, throw a starfish back in to the ocean… just one. It will make a difference.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”- Theodore Roosevelt


Interview With Microsoft Channel 9

In March of this year, I appeared on stage at the North American CIO Summit at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wa, delivering a talk on the challenges of information protection and Cybersecurity for global mid-market companies.

After the presentation, I was interviewed by Channel 9 the Microsoft Technology Showcase channel.

Here are excerpts from the interview and a link to the Channel 9 page (below):

Information Protection and Privacy Change is in the Wind for 2015

This is another one of those posts that I have filed under the category of ‘Really?!’
I posted two weeks ago about national data privacy day, and managing you information is YOUR responsibility:
While the EU and many other parts of the world are increasing penalties for breaching the loss of personal information; the French DPA levied a fine against Google for €150,000 for a simple neglect to notify a change in their privacy policy.
Anthem, the second largest insurance provider in the US suffers one of the most egregious data breaches in history with the loss of over 80 million customer/client records including those of the CEO. Now this little extravaganza is getting parlayed in to a congressional hearing.
Yes, Anthem was imediatley forthcoming of the breach, and it was found by their own internal audit procedures, kudos for them; don’t we wish Target and Home Depot were as equally transparent.
Boards and shareholders (myself included) are growing increasingly impatient with the cavalier way our personal information is thrown around.
All that said, there is little help on the horizon for netizens in the US, and managing the location and use of your personal information is still your responsibility.
For example, of the 10 most significant personal data privacy and protection issues from the last year, 9 of them involved the EU and Russia. Only one, the amendment to the Safe Harbor policies, and that involves the data for citizens of the EU.
I’m about to send out my forth information security tip; and folks I know the first three seems MIND NUMBINGLY simple (change your passwords, use complexity, etc.), but I will tell you, how few people actually follow those basic practices, and in reality cause 80% of the loss of data. The suggestions aren’t sexy, but they are VERY real.

The Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure in Dallas Starts This Morning

This morning, they start. Their 3 day journey, a marathon each day between now and Sunday. At Collin creek mall in Plano, to Fair Park in Dallas. They walk, run, jog, all toward the ends of eliminating breast cancer in our lifetime.

In 2010 my wife and and I decided to take on a new adventure, the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure. We’ve participated the last two years, but because of many conflicts we weren’t able to participate this year. We so wanted to be out there on the road with you, sharing your strength, your aches, your laughs, and your tears…

My wife, niece, and best dear friend are all breast cancer survivors; my mother in law and several friends, weren’t quite so fortunate.

This weekend, when you see this enormous river of pink walk through your neighborhood, stop for a minute. Step outside your house, get out of your car, get up from your Starbucks and cheer them on, if even only for a minute.

To the roughly 4000 ladies (and gentlemen) or so this weekend, Jill and I will be there to cheer you on, for more weddings, more graduations, more life and shouting along with you… WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP!

Walk On people, Walk On!

Balance Your Mind Not Your Life

I’m one of those fortunate people that really likes what they do. I may not always like the place I do it, but I like what I do and I’m very thankful for the ability to do it everyday.

The challenge for me personally is that I work in a highly competitive environment, with a number of, as a co-worker puts it, ‘intellectual alpha males.’ Added to that is that I am responsible for a global IT operation, and my work hours aren’t 9 to 5 most days, I’m on the phone or in meetings with people in 3 different countries at all hours of the day.

So When I read this article in Psychology today (after being referred to it by Lifehacker), it struck a chord in me. I always struggle with the work/life balance idea.

I often feel as though a simply don’t have any medicine for friends and family at the end of the day. So these suggestions are really valued gems that work for me.

1. Exercise – when I don’t get out and exercise I cam definitely tell a difference in my mood. I’m more lethargic, and while it might boost my energy per se, it does give me extra capacity to handle the stress.

2. Maintain social connections – I’m not a big phone talker, but I do try to find ways to interact with friends outside of work even for brief periods during the course of the day. I can get terribly focused on what I’m doing and this helps me remember that I have people who I care about and who care about me outside of work.

3. Stop to smell the roses – I need to do a better job of this, definitely. Many years ago, shortly after my father passed away, I would during the course of my week spend time working from the cemetery where my dad and grandparents are buried. This isn’t as morbid as it sounds, my dad became a real inspiration for me later in life and immediately prior to his death, and spending time ‘with’ him often gave me solace and guidance as I ‘heard his advice’ to me whispered in my ear.

Now, doing activities that get me outside with the people I love, like the Komen 3 day, or the Barnabas weekend retreat with my wife earlier this month help me with keeping my karma level and create a sense of peace inside.

So balance may not be about quitting your job, especially if you love what you do, but is about stopping to take a few minutes to take care of yourself, mind, body and spirit so you can be the best you can. Stephen Covey calls it sharpening the saw. And I couldn’t agree more.

Now, excuse me it’s time for my morning run.

Unfriending and Keeping Social Media Karma Level

I read this post on on Lifehacker this morning and had a really odd feeling about it. Though I understand the article and at some level acknowledge the point of pruning your ‘friendship tree’ I have a difficult time with it in principle.

Maybe it’s just me and I have have a need to feel as though I have more friends than I do, but I really like following the goings on of the posts from my social feeds even if I don’t have regular face to face contact with everyone.

I’ve been reading Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom by Matthew Fraser and Sumitra Dutta, a study on the use of social media in the enterprise. One of the comments the authors make is the predisposition of the, as they call them Gen V, is the habit of collecting friends on social sites like they were bubble gum trading cards.

Dunbar’s number theorizes the number of social connections a person can maintain at somewhere between 100 and 230 people. From my personal experience I find that to be true. However is see people in my social networks with connections of upward of 400 to 500 people.

Throwing sheep points out, and I’m inclined to believe, that the the Gen V’s are gathering for quantity and not quality. Do you really know all of those people directly or are they friends of friends?

My original point to this post is that I would encourage you to consider this, if you really take the time and are careful about adding people to your social networks, you dramatically minimize the amount of pruning that’s necessary.

I generally keep my business contacts and personal contacts in separate networks (LinkedIn and Facebook respectively).

Adding Twitter in to the mix gives me the chance to add friends and and follow others more dynamically.

In the end, I would say, make sure you are careful, trust and add friends, relationships make the human experience wonderful. But make wonderful because you HAVE the relationships, not because you collect them.

‘Tis the Season (to Make a Difference)

OK, so I don't have to go on with the cry over the commercialism of Christmas, and remembering the meaning of the holiday. Enough people make plenty of commentary on that subject. The fact that Charlie Brown was making the same comments 40 years ago (In a Charlie Brown Christmas) is as much of a litmus result to the continuing consumer gluttony that is our culture as anything I could say.

That said my morning reading included a post from Mashable Social Good, and I wanted to pass this along.

One of my favorite quotes "Be the change you want to see in the world.“ Mahatma Ghandi sums up an approach to the holiday season. Here's your chance to be the change.

There are a thousand websites that allow you to make charitable contributions to a variety of charities; some of them are listed in the post. The unique point to this idea is that a couple of them allow you to send e-cards or real gift cards that allow the person to choose their charity.

This is a wonderful way to make an impact on someone, and what a wonderful tradition to set.

I personally have three Non-Profits that are very dear to our family, should you feel compelled to contribute:

The Barnabas Journey:

The Barnabas Journey is a non profit organization that sponsors workshops and life coaching seeking to create an environment of authenticity and honesty, recognizing brokenness and acknowledging pain in order to create community, growth and healing.

National Autism Association of North Texas
Nagla Moussa, President 964-1669

The NAA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is fighting every minute of every day to finish what we started and achieve our vision of a world without breast cancer.