Category Archives: Uncategorized

5 gifts for your boss you may have never considered before

“Your boss, like it or not, is one of the most influential people in your network, so start thinking differently about the contributions you can make. Help them and you’ll be helping yourself.” Good advice!

John Stepper

I love my bossA lot of the rhetoric about management, including my own, can come across as pitting us against them. But I’m actually a manager, too. And my boss has a boss. So who’s us and who’s them?

Okay, maybe your boss is a jerk. But it’s more likely they’re just a normal person in a role that’s conducive to jerk-y behavior. They probably have the same fears and anxieties you do. And they certainly share your same intrinsic needs for autonomy, purpose, and relatedness.

Working out loud can help them, too. So, for a change, here are 5 ways to frame working out loud as a contribution your boss will appreciate.

Make their team better

At work, we see how individuals who work out loud improve their entire team. One manager saw how  “working out loud makes it far easier for the team to see what everyone is working on…

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Taming the hamsters in my head

I really need to start doing this…

John Stepper

“Are you okay, darling?”

My wife heard me cursing to myself in the shower and she was concerned. It was a normal day and a normal shower. But I was so busy thinking about things that made me angry that I was muttering out loud.

Instead of trying to rationalize my insanity (“Nothing, dear! Just having an imaginary conflict in my head.”), I decided to try and change.

Here’s what I learned.

The meanest hamster

My first insight into what was going on came from a book on cognitive behavior therapy called “Self-Esteem”. In the very beginning, the authors introduce the concept of the pathological inner critic, the voice in your head that tells you what you could and should be doing.

One of the first exercises in the book is to simply monitor your critic and write down what he says. Here’s an excerpt from a…

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36 times an hour

Is email killing you? Do you feel the urge to check email every waking moment? Read on…

John Stepper

“It’s terrible,” she said. “I can’t focus any more. I can’t even read a book.”

I was talking with a smart, successful woman who’s an investment analyst, and we were talking about how she works. The best times to do the deep thinking required for her work. How to avoid being overwhelmed by news, email, and interruptions.

As we spoke, she was looking at her Blackberry. I asked her, “Did you know people check email 36 times an hour?”

“My God,” she said. “I bet I’m worse.”

Why it’s important

I used to think that those who ranted about the evils of email were missing the point. It’s not email per se that’s the problem, I figured, but how people are using it. As people used more modern platforms, their email usage would naturally decline.

But I failed to see just how insidious email can be. And how, if people…

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The prisons I build myself

This is something I find myself doing, and something that I need to work on. I’ve become better over the years but I still have a long way to go.
Great post!

John Stepper

“Daddy, dance with me!”

We were at an outdoor blues concert on a beautiful summer evening. My 5 year old daughter, Hanako, was dancing to the music when she asked me to dance with her.

“No, darling,” I said. “Dance with your brother.”

Thinking of dancing made me immediately self-conscious. I was afraid of looking foolish and so, instead of sharing a magical moment with my daughter, I chose to stay in a prison I built myself.

Why?

The prisons we carry around with us

We build our prisons out of stories we tell ourselves – and the memories and feelings we replay as we tell those stories again and again. Over time, we come to believe them, and they become as real and hard to break as any prison walls.

Martha Beck, in “Steering by Starlight”, calls them “shackling beliefs.”

“My favorite cartoon shows two haggard captives staring…

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Please steal this idea! (How a bill at work can save money & save lives)

Fantastic idea!

John Stepper

What if you could do the right thing while also doing good? If you had a way for people at work to save money for their firm while contributing a portion of those savings to a good cause?

We’re working on implementing just such an idea. It’s something every firm can do. And maybe the lessons we’re learning can help your firm realize the benefits faster.

The idea: myBill

The idea is to give every employee a personalized bill of what the firm pays for on their behalf – software, hardware, phone bills, etc. – and make it easy for them to eliminate things they no longer need or want. Then they can direct a portion of the savings (say 5%) to one of the firm’s philanthropic efforts.

We had the idea for myBill almost two years ago and first described the problem in a blog post. Here’s a snippet:

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When you’re not sure what you have to offer

John Stepper

I recently sat with a friend of mine to talk about his career. He’s well-educated, has deep knowledge of a complex business, and has done work with many African countries. He’s married, raising kids, and loves music. And he’s also smart, funny, and a good conversationalist.

And yet when I asked him about networking, he was uncertain about what he had to offer.

Why would someone with so much think they didn’t have enough to offer? Because, like many people, he was simply thinking  too narrowly about what he could contribute to others.

Most people have an incredible array of gifts. They just don’t know it. So, whether you’re trying to meet someone or just working out loud, here’s a different way to think about what you have to offer.

“What’s in your hand?”

I’m not a religious person, but in watching old TED talks I came across Pastor…

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iPhone 4S/5 users to get Wireless Emergency Alerts via AT&T

The Computer Whisperer

IMG_0824On Saturday I woke up to find a strange message waiting for me on my iPhone.  The message said “Carrier Settings Updated:  New settings required for your device have been installed.”   Being the paranoid sort I decided to find out what the heck was going on!

It turns out that U.S. carrier AT&T announced Friday that its subscribers will soon start receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts to their iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 devices. Text notifications will include AMBER, Imminent Threat and Presidential Alerts and will be enabled following an upcoming carrier update pushed out to iPhone devices running iOS 6.1 or later.

Of the three types of alerts, users will be able to disable AMBER and Imminent Threat alerts. Presidential alerts, which are sent straight from the President (or a delegate), can’t be turned off…

According to the AT&T blog:

When the software update is delivered to your phone…

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