The Super Bowl Edition

At my Rotary meeting on Friday
At my Rotary meeting on Friday

I have to admit, this Super Bowl week has been exciting for me. I’m old enough to remember the Seahawks coming in as an expansion team in 1976. I was 11 years old and they became my favorite team for life. I was in New Jersey not far from where the Super Bowl will be played tomorrow. I was there on a business trip, so it was a little serendipity that I flew out when they were flying in.

I watch a lot of football “stuff” on a regular basis throughout the year. My wife Barb thinks I have a screw loose and way too much useless information floating around my head about sports in general (though I will note she is proudly wearing her Seahawks gear that she “borrowed” from me). I must admit staying focused has been a challenge this week. Since it’s only our second trip to the biggest game in 38 years, and our first in the last 8, this isn’t old hat. The fact that it’s being held in the grandest city in the world and the center of all entertainment, business, and culture; well that just adds to it. As I signed off from work last night, I knew this weekend was just going to ramp up. Barb and I have a party with friends tonight to celebrate the Chinese New Year and tomorrow off to her brother’s for the big game.

So what’s all this have to do with anything you may ask…

Look, we all have lives outside of our career. For many of us, we are our own bosses and can get pretty wrapped up in ourselves and our own issues. Even as an employee, it’s not uncommon to take a myopic view of your life and forget to have one.

As my professional mentor, Alan Weiss always says, “You don’t have a professional life and a personal life, you have a life.” One of the coolest things about sports is that it can band together people of all different types of lives into one common cause. For us here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s now our time to revel in the Seahawks. It’s okay to let yourself get distracted a little and enjoy something that doesn’t come around all too often. Here’s a quick example…

I was watching an interview with NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders on the NFL Network. He was talking about fellow Hall of Famer and former teammate Jerry Rice. Rice was a fierce and dedicated guy when it came to the game and his training. Sanders opined that Rice played as long as he did because he didn’t want it to end. He was so driven that he actually didn’t enjoy all the experience of his career while he was going through it and kept grasping at keeping it going. Sanders had taken a different approach and tried to soak it all in while being in the moment. Watching Sanders, that’s not hard to imagine.

Are you enjoying your life? Are you allowing yourself time away from your career and job to get distracted once in awhile? Do you ever pay a little extra to get a better seat, a nicer room, or eat at a fancier restaurant? We only come around this way once. Shouldn’t we give it all we’ve got?

The prediction: Yes, I may be a “homer,” but I really believe this. I believe defense still wins and the Baltimore Ravens proved that last year. Here is my prediction for the game on Sunday…

Seattle 24 – Denver 20

Russell Wilson will win the Most Valuable Player of the Game award and Kam Chancellor will have the game saving turnover in the closing minutes. I guess you can tell I haven’t thought much about this…

russell_wilson

Go Hawks!

© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Trust

Trust

Last Sunday night about 11:30 pm, I found myself in Penn Station in New York trying to catch a subway train to Columbus Circle to get to my hotel. The directions I was given was to take the A train, but it turned out the A train doesn’t run on Sundays. The signage of what to do is poor for those of us who are neophytes in the process. I was tired from traveling all day and desperately wanted to get out of there.

As I stood in the station, I asked a young lady for help. She surveyed me and must have deemed that I was okay and said in a Russian accent, “You need the C train. Follow me.” We went up an elevator to the next floor, and she pointed to the track we were now on. “The C train will stop here and you will be two stops away.” The train came soon after and we both got on. As we passed the station before my stop, she said to me, “The next one.” As we arrived to Columbus Circle, I noticed she also got off at the same time. Turns out she was so confident in part because we were headed in the same direction.

Sometimes, you just have to trust. People play key parts in our lives if we allow them to help us. We just have to ask and trust. I could have chosen to try to figure it out on my own and probably wasted time, got lost, and become even more frustrated. I’m glad I asked for help. I’m sure I will never see my Russian friend again, but at that time and place, she was my guardian angel.

There are times in your life…maybe even today…when you need to ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with that; we all have to do that sometimes. You just might find that with a little trust in the right person, you will find your way, too.

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

This week’s quote –
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”
— Oscar Wilde

May Day Precautions and Prevention Lessons

umbrella_riskI will never forget last year’s May Day protests. My wife Barb and I were in New York City and sat in Bryant Park watching protesters peacefully march with signs around the Big Apple. The New York City Police were out in force, looked serious about their jobs, and everyone stayed cool, calm, and collected. We never felt like we were in danger, nor felt fearful. Imagine our surprise when we returned to our hotel and saw our very own Seattle on the news. May Day riots were out of control in the downtown area with protesters smashing windows and setting cars on fires. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Here I was safe and sound in one of the biggest cities in the world, and my relatively small hometown was being ravaged.

This year, things are different. The police have already started preparations and are sure not to be caught flat-footed again. In addition, businesses are being much smarter. I just saw a push notification on my phone indicating that US Bank in downtown Seattle was closing up shop at 3 pm due to the expected protests. They made a decision in the best interest of their customers and employees. While they might not be able to prevent damage to their building, they do have control over the people  they serve and employ. While it might be a slight disruption for customers, my guess is that it pales in comparison to anyone being injured.

The lesson for you as a business owner is this…

You need to learn from history. I can’t tell you how many times in my years as an insurance agent and consultant, where I have seen business owners ignore history and trends to their detriment. For example, if you have a fleet of cars that continually racks up rear-end accidents, and you take no preventative action to educate and/or discipline your drivers, you will fall victim to larger self insurance costs, higher premiums, and loss of production and revenue. In this case today, US bank knows it’s located right in the heart of the rally. They know that banks are a target. They saw what happened last year. They made a decision to avoid calamity in the places they can control. Kudos to them.

You need to be skilled at spotting trends. If you have a strong, professional relationship with your insurance agent, they should help you. This is an area that consultants are invaluable. The net result of learning from history is that you don’t repeat the bad stuff; only the good stuff! At least one business in downtown Seattle has figured it out. Have you in your business?

© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

New York Journal # 2

Monday was play day in “The City” for Barb and me. Her first time in New York and we wore out our shoes! Here is a quick snapshot of what we did…

  • Met with the sister of a good friend who works at Viacom in Times Square. We atebreakfast with her and got a nice tour of the Paramount Pictures preview theatre and other cool things, including Forrest Gump’s bench.
  • We went to the Top of the Rock…Rockefeller Center. Some 70+ stories in the air, we had the best 360 degree view of the area. It was a beautiful day, so ideal to view Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and New Jersey.
  • We attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
  • I bought a very cool fedora after gaining text affirmation from my daughters.
  • Lunch at the Pershing Cafe next to Grand Central Station. We also “toured” Grand Central, including the market.
  • A hike to Central Park, where we found a comfy bench and relaxed in the sun.
  • A fun night with friends who live here – Times Square and then a subway trip to Soho to eat at the oldest pizzeria in the country, Lombardi’s. We ate….pizza!

That was a full day. Stay tuned for our further adventures…

2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

New York Journal # 1

One and a quarter days into our Big Apple experience and we are having a simply terrific time. Just like to famed “New York” minute, our time her has flown by. Let me give you a recap…

  • We arrived on Sunday late afternoon. We were picked up by the town car and I started a conversation with the driver, Eduardo. Turns out he’s from Colombia (my heritage) and we had a great conversation. He gave me a chance to practice my conversational Spanish, and I did pretty well if I say so myself!
  • Sunday night we walked over to Rockefeller Center. The line was too long to go to the top and watch the sunset, so we found a great little burger joint and grabbed dinner. The place is inside Rock Center and is called Bob’s Burger & Brews. I had a juicy burger, but substituted the brew for a smooth Malbec. Nice way to start.
  • We are staying at the Princeton Club in Manhattan. The reciprocal arrangement with the Washington Athletic Club gave us the opportunity. It’s a nice place in a superb location right near Times Square. One of the cool things about it is outside they fly several school flags.  A University of Washington is proudly flying the purple and gold among them. I feel right at home!

That wa just Sunday. I’m getting prepared to visit Alan Weiss for the business part of my trip. After that, I will catch you up on a whirlwind Monday.

P.S. for some reason, my photo stream from my iPhone to iPad doesn’t seem to be streaming. Photos will follow…

Chao for now!

Extra Points – Opportunity Knocks

View from Central Park

Opportunity Knocks….

As you are receiving this week’s Extra Points and reading it, I am somewhere in New York City. My guess is Barb and I are having breakfast somewhere in Times Square. We are in The City both for business and pleasure. On Tuesday, we spend the day with my professional mentor, Alan Weiss. I am undergoing an “immersion” day with him that will likely leave my head spinning and overwhelmed with ideas and projects. That’s one of the reasons I brought Barb – to help me stand back up! I am excited because these days with Alan are always extremely valuable to my growth professionally and personally.

I am also here to have a small vacation with Barb. We were supposed to be in New York last year to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Life happened – my dad got sick and passed away; my mother moved in with us; and business and other adventures made it impossible to re-schedule. So it is. But, opportunity often does knock more than once, and when the option to meet Alan in New York “knocked,” we answered!

Two morals to this story – First, opportunity knocks more than once. In fact, opportunity knocks every day numerous times and probably wonders why nobody is home. Are you prepared to answer it? Second – Find ways to mix work and pleasure whenever you can. As Alan says, “You don’t have a personal life and a professional life. You have a life. Get on with it.” There’s no rule that says you have to split these up. Find great places and open the door to opportunity when it knocks and take advantage of your time.

Opportunity may knock often, but you can’t make up for that lost day. Make every day a great “at bat!”

This week’s quote – “The good old days weren’t always so good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”  American philosopher Billy Joel (he can also play the piano pretty well)

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Lessons from Being Lost in New York

Flying back last Friday from Bogotá, Colombia meant a quick stop at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York before heading home to Seattle. Or, so I thought.

The layover was only about an hour and 40 minutes and getting through customs was brutal. There were 3 international flights all arriving at the same time and only 4 people manning the booths for much of it. By the time I got through and picked up my luggage, my plane was already boarding and I wasn’t even close to security. The nice people at Delta got me on the next plane…at 3:45 (it was only 7:30 am)! They checked in my bags and gave me my boarding pass and directions on how to catch the Air Tran to the A train to get to Manhattan. New York City, here I come!

It all worked seamlessly. I caught the Air Tran to Howard Beach where I jumped on the A Train. I had been to Manhattan once before and knew if I could get to Rockefeller center, I could work my way around. In looking at the map, I saw Cathedral Street. I knew St. Patrick’s Cathedral was next to 30 Rock, so I figured I’d get off there. That was my big mistake.

After getting out of the Subway and walking upstairs, I realized I was not where I wanted to be. I was in Harlem. Oops. I also had a large sum of cash I was carrying for my cousin for a deposit they needed me to make in the States. This only added to my growing apprehension. I started walking in the direction I thought I should. To say I felt out-of-place and a little on edge is an understatement. I remembered what my friend and personal safety guru, Larry Kaminer always says – “Act naturally and be observant.” I also called my wife. I figured if I was on the phone, that was a good thing. It was for me, but it wasn’t for her! Needless to say, Barb was very concerned (and loudly) that I had left the comfort of JFK airport to traipse around Harlem in my quest for Manhattan. Regardless, it was good to have her on the phone as I kept walking in the direction I thought I should be. Finally, I decided to check my GPS on my iPhone. I plugged in the only address I knew…30 Rockefeller Center. I was going in the right direction! However I was 3.6 miles and over an hour walking away! I was glad I dressed casually to travel that day!

Soon, I was very relieved to find the entrance into Central Park (Barb was still not happy at 5:30 am her time). I felt very safe among the joggers, walkers, baby strollers, and dogs in the park. It was a beautiful morning in New York City. As it tuned out, the GPS kept me on my way and in exactly an hour and change from the time I started the walk, I ended up at 30 Rock. I spent the morning walking around Manhattan, sipping on Starbucks, and taking pictures. Several hours later, I was on the train back (the right one), and easily made it to my gate in time to head home. It was a fun adventure and a great way to end my vacation.

Here are a few lessons that I took away from my jaunt into the city…

1. Take a few risks. I could have played it safe and stayed in a stuffy old airport in arguably the greatest city on the planet for 8 hours. I decided to take a risk and do something I’ve never done before. Sure, it came with a little scare, but it all worked out and I have a terrific story to tell. In business and life, you need to take a few risks to gain tremendous rewards.

2. Be prepared when you travel. I had a couple of energy bars in my backpack. I can tell you I was pretty hungry and the availability to have those handy was a life saver. I would have had water too but I couldn’t take it past security leaving Bogotá. When you travel, make sure you have food and water handy.

3. Act naturally in anxious moments. Yes, I admit I was nervous. However, I think I did a pretty good job of just trying to blend in and be natural. Otherwise, you cause unwanted attention to yourself.

4. Laugh. I actually chuckled to myself and then laughed about it when I was in the park. It really was an amusing set of circumstances that occurred. You have to be able to laugh at yourself.

5. Be in the moment. Be observant. Have fun. Take in beauty. Take in life. Don’t become so over-anxious and concerned that you waste precious moments and time.

Well, I’m back from my trip, Labor Day is in the books, and so it’s time to get after it. Captain Jack is laying here next to me as I type, so all is back to normal. Except, I now have new memories and stories because I took a few risks. Go out and do likewise!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

View from Central Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manhattan

4 1/2 Minutes – A Time to Remember

I’m getting ready to head out of of town next week, so I have been frenetically setting my schedule to make sure I get everything done.  All of a sudden, it dawned on me that today is the 8-year anniversary of September 11, 2001.  I knew it this morning – I put out the flag.  I’m wearing my blue shirt with the Unites States flag emblazoned on it.  But then life took over.

As I was posting a note on Facebook I saw this video posted by a good friend.  I decided to take 4 1/2 minutes out of my morning to watch it.  If you are like me, you will be transported back in time 8 years to all the sights, and sounds of that horrible day.  As I write this I still have goose bumps.  I remember every second of September 11, 2001.

In the hustle and bustle and scrambling of this September 11th, this was a poignant reminder of how time can be stopped and the normal activities of your normal day no longer matter.

I encourage you to spend 4 1/2 minutes in tribute to those who lost their lives that day and for our country.

God Bless the USA…