Conversation. Conversation.

Conversation. Conversation. There is a lack of genuine conversation around the emerging topics, political or otherwise. It’s worrying – but not so much ‘worrying’ that we can’t rise to the challenge, but rather that we are afraid to speak out. The ‘mob’ is leering at the psyche of america, waiting to judge and ridicule the mere suggestion of an opinion, a belief – or even a fact.

We need to be able to communicate in some way where we aren’t at our throats – that every remark is seen as some attack or personal strife. The sense-making apparatus of our global community is faltering. We can’t make out what is real, and what is not real, and what is right, and what is not right. We are in a time where freedom of speech is at it’s most volatile, yet it is the very exact thing we need the most. Stating a fact is seen as ‘hostile’, and ultimately responded with shame and guilt-tactics. Some how saying the truth is seen as a form of ‘privilege’. We need to be able to differentiate the fact of a certain set of data, and the emotional entanglement of an individual. They are two completely separate ball parks. Facts don’t do anything for the malevolence someone has been through. Let’s be intellectually honest, but at the same time be able to recognize and empathize that which someone has been through. Be a friend first, an intellectual fact-checker second. Be the person that saves the soul. It starts with you, and the hand you offer.

We all want the same thing. The problem is that we are spread across the spectrum in separate groups with a diverse set of communication trees and sub-culture identities. If we all succumb to tribalism now – society, science, everything will be brought to a screeching hault. You as an individual are interlaced in society in many facets. You are not alone. You are not just your group. You are so much more important.

I want to challenge everyone to be a part of the movement for change. To recognize when a friend is needed, or when the truth is needed. To recognize that sometimes its better to just give praise and be agreeable, or that sometimes its better to disagree – and find a common ground of understanding. Be a champion of discourse.

The narrative of the media is draining in every aspect. It’s impending and absolutely toxic. Our leaders are cowardly and lack a spine. Our celebrities succumb to the order and will of others; on a whim. Our leaders are not willing to stand up for whats right. The only person that thinks he’s right, is an authoritarian, incoherent clown. We find ourselves in a very unique situation. So I challenge you, the individual, to make a difference. It starts with all of us participating in the revolution of honest discourse, and intellectual symmetry. It starts with a conversation.

2020

As always, I’m keeping this short.

2020 is here and I have focal point for the year. My optics are tuned and set on the follow list:

  • Clarity. In my mind and of others. All too often, I’m immediately responding assuming that I understand. Sometimes I don’t. It often comes off as rude or aggressive and it needs to change. This is a joint effort, but at least I will be the one to start the shift among my colleagues.
  • Project management. I enjoy organizing projects, drafting reports on progress and achieving varying levels of progress.
  • CCNP, Python, Ansible. The new CCNP is around the corner. It’s going to involve Networking, DevOps, and Automation. I’m getting it.
  • Action. There’s no waiting. Just acting. I’ll assess all opportunities that come my way, see if they fit with my 5 year and 10 year roadmap and execute on all opportunities that align.
  • Intentionally . Doing the best with full intentions of performing the best I can.

That’s it. I’m really just focusing on key skills, growing professionally as a manager and leader, and chiseling away at progress.

Reflection & Vision

When you’ve reached a peaked plateau in any aspect of your life, it’s easy to feel lost, and fogged. Especially when you’re at a peak – but your internal furnace that drives for growth and learning beyond your current levels continues to beg the question; what’s next? It’s common for people my age to want more – and more constantly. It’s often referred as greed. And the definition may be accurate with that statement. I’ll debate it later.

It’s not a bad place to be and I realize this. I’ve had mentors, father figures and friends refer to this point in life as many different things. All of which have resulted in complacency, losing businesses, or failing on their part of the deal in partnerships. That’s where I was earlier this year. I was at my turning point. A point in time where I could choose to make a change. It would either result in returning to Port, maintaining my anchor or setting sail for the high seas.

My decision? Well, none of the above. I overthink everything. I decided to come back to basics. Develop a strategy that will ensure my success – long term, expand on my foundation, and then embark on my journey.

So, I’m in the middle of developing key skills that will last me another decade in this vastly dynamic world of technology. Being a network and systems specialist is only a fraction of who I really am and even of that percent that I am, I can still be greater.

Skill #1 Systems & Networking – I’ll spend time learning Cloud infrastructure from a technical stance. Mastering understanding from a top level managerial view down to the cleanest whitepapers written by the creators of these technologies. Wikipedia is not a proper source.

Skill #2 Management – I’ll spend time learning how to encourage natural incentive and effort for a common strategic goal.

Skill #3 Leadership – being prepared and present more frequently in meetings. I’m already good at this, but I’ll be even better. Providing more follow up and follow through on projects and goals. Creating an environment of care and compassion among my peers and colleagues.

Skill #4 Entrepreneurship – I’ll work on my partnerships. Creating strategic partnerships that truly benefit both sides with sustainability in mind.

Skill #5 Personal – removing limiting thoughts and hesitation from my mental reflex. Preparing to be a father and a better husband with every opportunity.


I think it’s important to understand why I chose skills rather than certifications for my goals. Having an understanding of your desired skill will remove the limiting factors of choosing a single cert and believing that it’s all you need. In reality, I must master my skills, which may equate to five certs, 400 hours of video lessons and another 10 years of experience. The later is much more appealing and hard to beat, especially when competing against a team of nerds, a processor and code for future jobs. It also empowers me to go out, gather the best data on the subjects and study them to a mastery level – then apply what I’ve learned to be truly great.

Personal Finance

I’m not going to write about personal finance 101 because it would end up being version 10,000,000,000,000 ^365…

We’ve seen enough. Everything has been repeated and humans are humans.

I am, however, going to share my methods, which includes an excel sheet and a budgeting application.


The Excel sheet – I use it “planning” and being pro-active with my budgeting efforts. What I mean by this is, I plan purchasing a home, funding a college account for my future child, purchasing a car, or planning future investments. It’s sort of like a quick simulation.

Setting the goal, here’s how I do it – the categories:


Let the simulation(s) begin!

Just start filling it out based on a monthly view and allow excel to “summarize” it for you. Do the same for your expenses and see how much is left in the (“Net(+/-)) column at the end of the month.


On to the App! This is what everyone wants to see.

So, yeah, it does a lot – but it keeps things simple. My favorite feature about the application, aside from being able to view all accounts at once (Student loans, home loans, credit/debit, and 403b accounts), I’m able to view my “net worth” because of the vast account capabilities.

The other cool feature, is the ability to categorize. Throughout the month, I set a dollar amount budget (based on my monthly excel budget) and I categorize all expenses throughout the month. By the end of the month, I look at the budget dashboard and see where I am with my budget categories. Most of the time, I’ve over spent on restaurants or groceries, or wood working projects. I promise, one of these days, I’ll treat wood working like a business and actually make money from it!

The unspoken and indirect feature that Personal Capital offers, is the ability to reflect. I was feeling a little negative toward my finances – feeling as if I hadn’t made any progress in the last year. Personal Capital maintains record of all transactions and net worth… when I reflected on the app, I saw that I actually paid down $20,000 worth of debt, saved for a mortgage down payment, paid off my car and enjoyed an expensive vacation for a week in Florida… It instantly boosted my mood and made me realize that I am making steady progress on my financial, material and social goals.


The second App – Robinhood. If you’re investing but don’t have more than $200,000 invested in a stock trading brokerage account, then I suggest that you invest for free – in Robinhood. Seriously, you can make money instantly with their free trades. Buy Apple today, sell it in a few days and enjoy your 1-3% profit margins. If you capitalize on this technique which leverages compounding growth and the market continues to do well, you’ll do well!

Free money, create an account and start trading!


References

Message me if you would like a template or a more complete run through of anything in this post.