Source: Degree Match

In the post Conference Call Hygiene Seth Godin offers the following principles to help us avoid pointless and painful conference calls:

  1. When in doubt, don’t have one.
  2. Everyone now knows precisely what time it is. Show up ten seconds early; one minute late is too late.
  3. If you can’t live with rule 1, can we live with this one? 10 minutes is the maximum length of a conference call. In, out, over.
  4. If the meeting is only ten minutes long, good news, you have time to pull over, time to let the dog out, and time to give us your undivided attention.
  5. If you’re not planning on speaking, no need to attend. You can listen to the recording later if you need to, or we can send you 8 bullet points and save us all time.
  6. While we’re on the topic, audio is a truly powerful means of communication, and if you want to record your message and send it to all of us, I’m totally in favor of this. But don’t confuse the one-way broadcast power of audio with a pretend meeting where you’re talking and we’re supposed to quietly listen in real time. That’s not a meeting and all the trappings of a conference call detract from the thing you were trying to do.
  7. Before you waste a thousand dollars of company time on another conference call, listen to Read This Before Our Next Meeting. Almost all conference calls that involve more than five people are either a lazy choice or a show of power, and should be eliminated. If you want to talk, for sure, please pick up the phone and call me.


Source: Grad School Hub

This past weekend my older son Levi went away to Whistler for a training camp and coaching session with Todd Schumlick the PeformX Commencal Racing Team Coach. This was a big weekend, not only for Levi, but for my wife and me. Receiving coaching and direction from a highly acclaimed Canada and World Cup DownHill Racing coach was obviously the high point of the weekend for Levi, but for his mother and me the fact that Levi did this on his own — he drove up to Whistler, found the gym, met up with Todd, trained and learned all weekend and drove back – was also a big step in helping our son grow into a young man. The best part of the weekend for me was the talk I had with Levi when he returned. His answer to my question: What was the main thing that you took away from the weekend, confirm that he definitely is growing into an insightful and focused young man. The following highlights are copied directly from Levi’s PerformX Training Camp blog post:

I need to do it on my own.
Nobody can get stronger or faster but myself.
I need to put the time and effort into training.

In addition to recognizing that he is personally responsible for his success or failure he also recognizes that he has to do the work. Starting tomorrow, Levi begins a very focused nine week weight and cardio regime complete with monitoring his heart rate on the base building rides and also intense interval training. He will also be learning about and implementing a nutritional plan and rounding out his work by focusing on building his metal toughness by studying In Pursuit of Excellence. All this is on top of his final semester of grade twelve in which he has to complete English, Math and Biology 30.

Perhaps the most exciting part about this whole experience is that this is Levi’s choice, his commitment and his opportunity to move a few steps closer to his big dream. Witnessing your son start down the path of significant delayed gratification that leads to an extreme goal is exciting but it is also sobering. He recognizes that he needs to do the work on building his strength, skill and mental fortitude on his own and that he needs to put the time and effort into training, but I also hope he has learned that he is not alone. Todd is coaching him toward the World Cup podium but that doesn’t mean that our job as parents is diminished in any way. On the contrary, supporting Levi in this new journey will more than likely be even more challenging than what we have faced so far. Fortunately, we are not alone either. With our faith in God, the support of our family and friends and the fact that over the many years of changes and moves we have experienced Divine serendipity, I think that the next few years of Levi’s and the Harapnuik family’s journey will be interesting and exciting, to say the least.

carepe diem quote

Source: Downloaded from 22 of the Most Powerful Quotes of Our Time

As part of my boys English 30 studies we watched Dead Poets Society and I was reminded of the power of the movie’s message and am also very relieved to know that I had seized the day after I had first watched this move and have been doing so ever since. More importantly I have passed on this belief to my boys.

In 1989 when I first watched Dead Poets Society I was still a single man, had not attended University and didn’t have the slightest inkling of where I would be in 25 years. I did believe this notion of Carpe Diem – Seizing the Day was one of the most important principles I could follow. I also believed Robin William’s character Keating when he stated:

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

Even though the movie is 25 years old and was set in the late 50′s or early 60′s its message is so relevant and needed today. It is also sobering to realize that the pressure to conform, work hard at school and become a doctor, lawyer, engineer or other professional have not changed. Watching this movie could not have come at a better time.

Carpe Diem is wonderful and exciting to see acted on out on the big screen but as we also saw in the movie it can be very difficult to live out. While these real life consequences need not be as drastic as the suicide which we saw in the main character Neil, they can be significant enough to discourage people from seizing the day or second guess all decisions or actions that lean toward this ideal.

I have been concerned that in my desire to raise my boys to seize the day and be passionate about life and to pursue their dreams that I really haven’t really given them this choice. They have grown up this way and really don’t know any other way–have I really given them a choice. I was raised in the same way that most of the characters in the movie were raised and rebelled against societal conformity, conventions and norms but it was my choice.

Perhaps I need not worry. Watching Dead Poets Society reminded me of how pervasive and powerful the notion of conformity is today as it was fifty years ago. All my boys friends are being pressured to work hard at school, go to University and get a good career. This pressure is everywhere around them. They too have the choice to conform and do what society expects. Seizing the day is a very difficult choice and it is one that can only be made by the individual. As much as I would like to believe that I have raised my boys to believe and live this way it is still their choice.

Maybe the best thing a parent can give their children is the choice. Are we giving our children a choice? Are we we listening to them? Will they be able to look back at what was and not ponder what could have been?