The Beginner’s Mind – So Hard to Keep

The Beginner's mindset keep a fresh outlook

I’ve been a fan of @gapingvoid for years. Love this drawing for today.

As you develop any sort of knowledge, it’s hard to keep a fresh look at an old topic.

I find this especially hard when it comes to writing sometimes.

It’s easy to become jaded and think, “ugggg, people should already KNOW this stuff, damn, it’s common knowledge.”

But many technical topics aren’t common knowledge, or new people enter into new responsibilities and need to learn the basics — of document management, or inbound, or whatever.

I’m not sure I agree with the baggage concept here, but the idea of a fresh look and a “through the eyes of babes” (children babes, not hit chicks babes) is one we should cultivate as we continue our own professional journeys and as a reminder not to get aggravated or roll eyes when someone asks a “basic” question or has a nutty idea.

I know that this is something I struggle with, that, when I get out of my own way and use what I know to inform an insight instead of blocking an idea or insight that good things happen.

Beginner’s mindset is also good for reevaluating those, “but that won’t work” or “we’ve done that before” statements we too often fall back on as an excuse not to reevaluate an old opinion in light of new experience or evidence.

Keep an open mind and new ideas can keep walking in, or something.

Or, don’t let the bastards beat you down — especially if the bastards is your own cynicism.

Tales of Tails and Tall Tales #SoCS

bunyan and babe
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox; I LOVE a cheesy roadside attraction. This one is in Minnesota. Photo: Dwayne on Flickr.

The first thing I thought of was something definitely inappropriate – I had read “tale” as “tall” and then there was “tail” and, well, I’ve got a filthy mind.

Draw your own conclusions.

Then I thought of puppy dog tails. There’s a shortage of those in the house, given Knox and Oscar are boxers and don’t have tails.

Thank God in the case of Knox because we’d constantly be bruised and battered given his ability to wag his nubby at 1,000 miles an hour.

Then I thought of “Tall Tails” but in a G-related way. Continue reading Tales of Tails and Tall Tales #SoCS

Beware the Inbound Marketing Carnival Barkers!

carnival barker vermont state fair
Barker at the Grounds of the Vermont State Fair, circa 1904. Library of Congress on Flickr.

Step right up!

Step right up!

And look at the wonder of the modern marketing machine.

SEO, blogs, automation, all in one space from one provider.

Never have to do anything yourself

Turn it on and watch it go.

Leads for you.

More leads than you can handle.

All you have to do is sign right here. . .

I’m sure this happens in every industry, but it seems especially pernicious in the two I’ve spend my working life in – IT and marketing.

What “this” am I talking about? Continue reading Beware the Inbound Marketing Carnival Barkers!

Tales of Marketing and Sales: Help Me, Help You

sad man kneeling on one knee, looking at young attractive woman
What talking to sales often feels like. 

All you marketers have been down this road before, a sales team that says you aren’t helping yet is a black hole when you ask “how can we help?”

It’s . . . frustrating, right?

We’re going through that with a few of our clients now.

Marketing essentially has two jobs:

  1. Bring people to the table to make a purchase (either directly or via a salesperson, depending on the product)
  2. Lay the groundwork of awareness and trust that you’re a company worth spending money with

Continue reading Tales of Marketing and Sales: Help Me, Help You

It’s Never Too Late . . .

Jan 4 it is never too late to be what you might have been

A few months ago, I picked up a daily meditations book.

It then sat on one of my groaning bookshelves for a while. I rediscovered it while book shopping in my library and thought I’d start on January 1 with a daily reflection. (I did. This is just the first one I’m blogging about.)

So I thought I’d share them. In the hopes that maybe they’ll get you thinking too (whoever you are), regardless of whether you read the drivel below or not.

I’ve never seen this quote before. Continue reading It’s Never Too Late . . .

Lee Breaux, RIP

Lee and me
Me and Lee, circa 1972.

Lee was 46.

Of all the people I know, barring parents and grandparents, I knew Lee the longest. We “met”, photos and family say, when we were infants/toddlers. A few of my earliest memories include a starring role by Lee.

We didn’t see each other often, but we made the most of the time we did spend together:

  • We won the Battle of Gettysburg for the south many times in Meme and Pawpan’s backyard
  • Whacking the ever-loving crap out of each other with wooden swords made by Pawpan
  • Climbing on the roof when Meme wasn’t watching
  • Being fed the best fresh bread made by Ms Plauche, his grandmother. And listening to his grandfather talk about being a Marine fighting in the Pacific
  • Watching thunderstorms rolling in
  • Indulging in a love of Pizza Quick Sauce pizza – the best invention of my early childhood
  • Weeks at Toledo Bend swimming, walking in the woods, reading, lighting fires (in approved places), and seeing how long we could go without going outside to pee at night since we were both scared of the dark.
  • Most times when I open a jar of jalapeno slices, I remember watching him guzzle the juice from the jar on a dare. Other than a slight redness in his face, no effect. Though I like to think I heard muffled screams from the bathroom later that night.
  • The second time I got drunk (that I remember – apparently I had a habit of hiding under tables and reaching up for unattended beer cans as a small child) is that we found a bottle of “blue shit” in Meme and Pawpan’s camper that was parked in the extra lot next to their house one night that we slept in there. I since found out that that must’ve been Curasau. I still don’t like that stuff much.
  • We learned early on not to poke too hard at each other’s phobias – spiders (me) and roaches (him) – because retribution was harsh and brutal

It was a good, free-range childhood. I’m lucky in that I’ve got a lot of a happy childhood memories. He’s in a lot of them.

As we got older, we matured – a little – and changed a bit but our enjoyment of each others’ company didn’t. He introduced me to tons of bad 80s movies – I still can’t watch About Last Night without thinking of Lee. Camping on Holly Beach. We made pathetic attempts at hitting on chicks in bars. He was proud of his service in the Berlin Brigade – I still have the piece of the Berlin Wall he brought back for me.

Lee was one of those annoying “I’m from Texas” fuckers who think being from Texas is some super, wonderful thing. I remember him telling me once that when he was stationed to Berlin, he’d always say “I’m from Texas.” After a few much as a soldier in a foreign country, he said he started to say “I’m from the US.” He was proud of his service and country.

We once super-pathetically attempted to get drunk in Texas on $10 bucks between us. Since we were under 21, was hard to find a spot in Texas to sell to us. We finally found a spot that took Lee’s military I.D. (and we both got pissed off at the idea that he could serve as Russian cannon fodder, but couldn’t buy a beer in the States). We ended up buying a 6 pack of Black Label and one of Pearl. I don’t think we finished either 6-pack.

We even had the occasional deep conversation about life, love, and the future.

Then we sequed into cliché – between college for me and he lived in New Hampshire for a while with his Dad, then moved back to Texas and I moved to Maryland, then families, and with both of us being mostly phone-allergic, we didn’t see much of each other or talk often over the last 20 someodd years.

But it was always easy to fall back into that easy friendship when we were together. Fatherhood changed him – for the better in many ways, I think – and he adored his kids. But he still had a laugh like a hyena on helium and is one of the few people I’ve known who actually cackled with laughter.

And even though we didn’t talk much, I thought of him fairly often. And one of the benefits of a possibly moving to Houston in a few years was being able to drive up to Dallas now and then and visit a little more often.

I would’ve enjoyed that. I like to think he would have too. I would’ve enjoyed making fun of his inability to listen to any piece of music published anytime after around 1988 – I still don’t understand his Lita Ford fetish (Samantha Fox, that one I got). And there’s plenty enough ammo for him to have returned fire on me.

Now I’m about to leave to visit him for the first and last time where he made a life for himself with his wife and children.

Service at 11:00 on Friday.

He was 46.

A Boy Named Sue #atozchallenge

johnny-cash-fingerA Boy Named Sue is one of the first songs I can remember. It launched a life-long love of Johnny Cash music. And that memory is wrapped up with my Mom, 8-tracks, and a green car.

Now, my Mama is not a huge music person. This was great when growing up because we could put the radio on whatever we wanted (I remember me and Bobby both leaping to hit “eject” from the back seat – of a different car, red Buick – as we both realized the heavy panting in Bon Jovi’s “Love is a Social Disease” was coming up. Even she would have noticed that and been perturbed.)

Funny though as I was jotting down songs yesterday how some of the music that I love the best, came from her (Girls! Girls! Girls!; Big Iron). Go figure. Though Ann Murray will not be making an appearance other than just those few words ago. Continue reading A Boy Named Sue #atozchallenge