Friday, October 26, 2012

What Leads to Succeed? It's These 8 Things

What are the traits that lead to success? This TED Talk by analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an 3-minute presentation on the real secrets of success.

Is there a 9th one you would like to add? Please comment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Need a Quick and Easy Homepage? Try This

What's your primary web presence? With all of the options social media provides, most of use have multiple accounts. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest each provide ways to communicate what you have to say to those who need to hear it. But, if you had to point to one tool which serves as the hub for your online presence, what would you say?

For me, this blog was my first online presence and remains the most powerful. It tells the stories which cannot be told in 140 characters. My website serves as a place that presents the over-arching picture of who I am and what I do.

But, what if you don't foresee writing numerous blog posts? What if you don't need the complexity of a web site? What if all you need is a simple "home base" that provides a space to introduce yourself to the world, provide contact information, and link to your social media pages?

If this description sounds like you, take a look at The following you provides an overview.

Many people need a web presence but don't want to spend a great deal of time maintaining it. This service could be just the thing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Motivational Quotes

Great quotes say alot in a few words. Enjoy this video featuring a collection of some of the best motivational quotes.

To give credit to the creators of the video, read more great quotes at The video was produced by

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Do It When I Think About It

Time Management"I do it when I think about it." When I hear that statement, it always scares me. At the same it gives me a "heads up" that I am talking to someone upon whom I did not need to depend. Things are going to slip through the cracks because the person doesn't think about it at the right time. This podcast explores the subject.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Chicken and the Eagle Story

Dr. Eldon Taylor tells this story, a parable about the great potential locked hidden behind low self-expectations.

How many eagles do you know who are living in the chicken coup?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Here's What You Missed

If you are not a newsletter subscriber, here is what you missed this month.Want to get the newsletter coming to your email every month? Click here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Using Google 2-Step Verification

When someone else has your password, it's bad news. Even if you use different passwords for different sites, just having a compromised password for one of those sites is bad enough, especially if it's a site where you have stored valuable or sensitive information.

Several weeks ago, I read this account of Mat Honan's plight. Teenagers hackers were able to access Honan's iCloud, Gmail, and Twitter account. They destroyed data and sent offensive Twitter messages on his behalf.

Google has provided a 2-step verification method for it's users. Two-step verification is optional. This video explains the process:

Anyone using 2-step verification now? Have you found it easy? Anyone have a horror story about a compromised password?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Close Your Eyes and Listen

Click the video, but close your eyes as the music starts to play. Enjoy the this 2 1/2 minute of "Toccata on Hymn to Joy." After the piece concludes, open your eyes and replay the video.

The organist is Mark Thallander,  performing his Toccata on "Hymn to Joy" at the Church on the Cape in Cape Porpoise, Maine.

Mark Thallander was assistant organist at the Crystal Cathedral. Some years ago, Mark lost his left arm in an automobile accident. If anyone had a reason to give into hopelessness, he did. Instead, he uses what he still has and rearranges standard organ repertoire for one hand and two feet.

I share this video for three reasons. First, Mark visited our church one Sunday about six years ago. I have never forgotten the incredible technique I heard that day.

Secondly, Davonia and I have just returned from a vacation in Maine. On a Sunday morning, we visited the Cathedral of St. Luke, located in Portland, Maine. Much to our surprise, Mark Thallander was a guest that Sunday, playing both a prelude and postlude. We had an opportunity to talk with him at length following the service.The coincidence added a special touch to our visit both to that church and to the state in general.

Finally, if his technique on the organ is incredible, his story is even more incredible. If you or I had sustained the sort of injury he did, would it ever occur to us to try to continue a career so dependent upon the use of both hands?

When we look at the problems which we confront each day, how small they must appear in comparison. Perhaps we cannot become a nationally recognized artist. But, can we become better than we are?

There are other videos of Mark on YouTube as well. You can learn more about Mark and his foundation by going to

Monday, October 08, 2012

Data that Matters - Gathering, Organizing and Making Meaning of Data in a Professional Learning Community

On November 2, I will be presenting a full-day workshop through the McGill University Distinguished Educator Series. During the day, we will focus on data. We all have plenty of it, but how do we gather it, how do we organize it, and how to we turn those numbers onto meaning? We will look at how we can use data, not just as individual educators, but in a community of learners.

If you would like to register, you can download the form here.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Free Tech Tools That Increase Productivity: A Hands‐On Day to Make Life Easier

If you are a reader in Quebec, I hope you will join me on November 1 for a hands-on day that will change the way you work. The Internet offers us many free tools. We will focus on a few that make a huge difference in terms of increasing productivity, decreasing stress, and having more fun along the way.

To register, you may download this form.

Time Management

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Myth of "That's the Way We've Always Done It"

When you or I question a practice that seems to defy logic, the answer is likely to be, "That's the way we've always done it." The response shifts whatever blame there may be to some unnamed person at some unnamed time in the past. The response also indicates no thinking is going to go into whether or not what has been done in the past is the best course for the future.

Time Management At best, "That's the way we've always done it" is only partially true. Consider the story of the young girl helping her mother prepare Easter dinner.

Before placing the ham in the oven for baking, the mother cut off both ends. “Why did you cut off the ends of the ham?” asked the daughter.

“That’s the way my mother always did it,” was the reply.

The daughter quickly vanished. In moments, she was on the telephone to the grandmother verifying whether or not what she had been told was true. The grandmother replied that she did, indeed, always cut the ends off the ham. When asked why, the grandmother replied, “That’s the way my mother always did it.”

As fate would have it, the next week brought about a visit from great-grandmother. Overcome with curiosity, as young children often are, nothing would do but to pose this same question.

“Great Grandmother, Mommy always cuts the ends off her ham before she puts it in the oven. Mommy says she does it because that’s the way Grandmother always did it. Grandmother says she did it because that’s the way you always did it. Is it true, Great Grandmother? Did you always cut the ends off of the ham?”

“Yes, indeed, my child, I always cut the end off the ham” replied the elderly woman.

“But why?” asked the young girl.

Holding her hands about 12 inches apart, she replied, “Because my pan was only this big.”

Decades ago, Great Grandmother was confronted with a set of circumstances. Her pan was not large enough to accommodate the ham. She came up with procedures to handle those circumstances. She did the best she could with what she had.

What if we were to confront today's challenges the way Great Grandmother in the story confronted hers? What is we did the best we could with what we have? What we have keeps getting better, meaning what was "best" back then is far from "best" by today's standards.

What if we re-framed "that's the way we've always done it" to embody a standard of quality rather than a particular act? I imagine we would spend more time challenging outdated practices, more time learning the tools at our disposal, and less time carrying on with practices which worked in a bygone era.

If we look to the past for examples of doing the best they could with what they had, we also throw down the gauntlet to generations to come. We issue the challenge not to mindlessly carry on as we did, but to build on our accomplishments.

Our circumstances change. Our procedures must change with them. Our ancestors understood that. Do we?

Monday, October 01, 2012

How to Avoid the Christmas Rush

Time Management
In January, "Why You Should Start Buying Your Christmas Presents Now" appeared on this blog. One reader and personal friend sent us this message:

Just wanted to let you know that thanks to your inspiration I finished my 2012 Christmas shopping for my brother's family of five yesterday --- a great feeling! (I'm giving my sister-in-law an antique tea pot, and yesterday found a very pretty half price wooden tea bag box at one of your favorite places.)

Working ahead of deadlines gives us freedom. When it's Christmas Eve and I have three gifts still to buy, I have no choice but to stand in the long lines, navigate crowded parking lots, and pay whatever price is being asked.

When Christmas is still two months away, I have a little freedom is to "not today," "not here," and "not at that price." Throughout the year, we all pass by just the right gift at just the right price. The only trouble is that we don't know it. We will think about it later. When later arrives, it's often too late.

Go back and review the nuts & bolts talked about in the "Why You Should Start Buying Your Christmas Presents Now" post. Now you have your plan. Maybe this Christmas season will just a little less stressful and a little more merry!