Jonathan Begley

December 30, 2009

WINNING AT TEXAS TECH IS NOT EVERYTHING

Filed under: Attitude,Character — jonathanbegley @ 12:40 pm

Being a Texas Tech graduate I must respond to recent events in Lubbock regarding the termination of head football coach Mike Leach.  There is no doubt that Leach is a phenomenal football coach and his presence will be sorely missed at Tech.  The “Mad Scientist” was quirky and strange not only in his personal life but on the football field where he led an unorthodox and talented group of players. 

I don’t envy the position that the Texas Tech University administration was in this week.  They have a player alleging that he was locked in a confined space for several hours because he had a concussion and didn’t want to practice.  The player’s father is a nationally recognized sports analyst who was quick to use his position to act on the situation.  And they have a football coach that knows how to win, whom the city loves, and whom fills the seats. 

I like winning as much as anyone and I am afraid to say that the Tech football program has a long road back to their current position.  I also see myself as a man who tries to live with integrity and I hope the same from my alma mater.  

If Leach indeed intentionally punished this player in a manner that put his health and safety at risk then he deserves to lose his job.  I don’t feel sorry for him and I am sure he will receive countless coaching offers from schools across the country willing to pay him far more than Tech.  If the university knows information from their investigation of the incident that led them to their quick and drastic actions, they should let the public know.  If this is all true, then I applaud the university’s actions.  Winning is not everything. 

With that being said, the school should continue to act with integrity and fulfill their obligation to a bonus agreement of $800,000 due tomorrow.  This bonus was for achievements on the field, which Leach accomplished.  It had nothing to do with any disciplinary actions alleged by a player.  

I think that this last fact of the bonus due tomorrow is dangerous to Texas Tech.  The same university who brought in Bob Knight, the chair tossing, student choking, chin popping coach because he wins, is now saying that they do not stand for such behavior.  If the university, or anyone for that matter, wants to be seen as a stand up, man, woman, or organization of integrity, they should act in that manner at all times; in all situations.

December 29, 2009

DISCOVERING A COMPANY’S TRUE COLORS

Filed under: Attitude,Career — jonathanbegley @ 7:50 pm

Customer Service seems to be a lost art in business these days.  That is not to say it doesn’t exist but it has lost a great deal of importance among many businesses.  Maybe that is a price that we pay for having a country run by major corporations.  Customer Service at its roots is respect for the consumer; it is respect for the individuals who make it possible to do business. 

I am currently working with a company who provides my agency an internet service.  We have been contracted with them for only a couple of months and our experience thus far has been miserable, to say the least.  The product we were sold is exciting and could really change the way we serve our community.  We were excited.  They have not delivered. 

Their system has been down more than it has been up.  The consistency of the reports is highly questionable when it is up.  Some features work, others do not.   The customer service representative has been active.  She has given great effort to meet our requirements, but often has come up short.  When walking through the product with us in a conference today, she acknowledged that their product is not acceptable, to us or to them.

I understand that things happen in business that makes things difficult and sometimes impossible.  The technological age has created a dependency on this technology to get almost anything done, and when there is a problem its impact is far reaching.  These inconveniences are understood by most of us.  It is in these times when a company’s true colors are seen.  Are their representatives respectful of us?  Are they understanding of the difficulties that their company has created?  Are they being proactive or merely reacting to you only when they must.   Are they okay with a mediocre product?

We will continue to work with this company because of their customer service.  We have spoken with many other groups all across the country who have worked with this group for the past several years and we have yet to hear any negative remarks.  The reports we receive are that this company and their product have far exceeded expectations.  They have also experienced difficult setbacks due to the current situation, but they are confident the product of the future will be worth the hassle.  For a customer who has experienced nothing but disappointment, this is enough for me.

Do you have any outstanding customer service experiences that may help another consumer?  What do you expect from others when problems arise?  What do you expect of yourself or your employees?

December 25, 2009

REFLECTION

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 8:39 pm

The Christmas holiday is a great time for me to reflect upon the last year.  2009 has been full of change, and 2010 appears to be even more intense.  By no means is this a complaint.  I am learning to embrace change, to learn and to experience life.  It is apparent to me now just how impatient I have been in my life; always looking ahead to the next step and completely neglecting the present.

Where will my wife and I be this time next year? What changes will have come?  What new lessons will I have learned from my experiences?  All great questions.  So many possibilities.  I can fill this new year with countless goals and resolutions, and I can already feel my mind racing.  Goals will not be achieved in the future unless you take action today.  How will I live today?  How will I teach my son to live?

December 23, 2009

THE SECRET OF ALL VICTORY

Filed under: Career,Development — jonathanbegley @ 11:04 am

“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius

Doing the little things well can have a profound impact upon your career. It’s the little things that others neglect, making you stand out above the rest. Organization is a skill that comes naturally to some and to others it requires a fair amount of effort. This is a skill that is highly sought by employers even if they don’t know it.

Most people, without even realizing it, would have a certain degree of confidence in the organized worker. Organization creates confidence in others because we are all well aware that these workers are focused and productive. You would have little doubt that the organized person could handle an afternoon meeting. Not to say that this person is any less busy but it is common sense that organization allows people to get more done in less time.

Organized people are able to prioritize their tasks. Employers can depend upon the well organized to take on big tasks that often create big rewards. Those who can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much.

For those of you who are organized, what are your secrets? For those of you who aren’t, why not?

December 22, 2009

THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 8:42 pm

How exactly is my saying “Merry Christmas” forcing my beliefs onto others?  Why is it inappropriate for me to say something because of the way it makes you feel?   I really don’t understand why someone would be offended when I say “Merry Christmas.” When others respond to me with “Happy Holidays” or Happy Hanukah” or “Happy Kwanzaa” I am not offended, and I definitely don’t feel as if that person is forcing their beliefs on me.

It would be inappropriate if I responded to your “Happy Holidays” with “you’re going to hell.”  But I have never heard this answer.  Furthermore, when someone says to me “Happy Hanukah” I would more than likely respond to them with “Happy Hanukah” not because I am Jewish but because it is respectful and kind. It is in the “spirit of the season.”

 It is obvious that we are all celebrating the season.  Lights, music, Christmas trees, all of which were not present when Jesus was born in the inn.  I won’t object to Christmas trees, reindeer, or Santa because it is fun and because people enjoy it.   I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe that we are celebrating His coming. You may not. It is not my responsibility to make sure that you are okay with the word Christmas.

The office can be a stressful place anyways.  Why not accept one another?  Imagine a December of acceptance and tolerance.  Imagine a season of giving, no matter who our neighbor happens to be.  Merry Christmas!

December 15, 2009

SPEAKING WITH PURPOSE

Filed under: Development,Public Speaking — jonathanbegley @ 8:56 pm

There are few tasks in life that can be as fulfilling or as painful as public speaking.  Some people just can’t get enough of themselves with a microphone.  They flock to every opportunity to speak even when they have nothing relevant to say.  Many of these “gabbers” neglect their audience, never bothering to stop to think whether what they are saying is interesting or valuable in any way.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are those people who shy away from the spotlight.  These people often are content with allowing these “gabbers” to have the floor even though they have interesting and valuable things to say.  How many of us have left conferences and meetings feeling confused and frustrated at the lack of progress?  We feel this way because there is nothing of value being said, no direction, and no purpose.

Just because someone enjoys having a microphone in their hand does not mean that they should be allowed to have one.  There is a time and a place for those people to stand and hear themselves talk.  And just because you may not feel comfortable with that microphone in your hand does not mean that you don’t have anything of value to say, so speak up. 

So how do we bring value, direction, and purpose?  How can we be the speaker who energizes the audience and inspires action?  It all comes down to being prepared. 

Know your audience.  The same message can be taken many different ways by many different groups.  Knowing your audience will enable you to tailor your message to meet their needs.  It allows you to highlight what they want to hear.  Knowing your audience allows you to anticipate questions or concerns they may have. 

Watch your audience.  Look for signs of fidgeting, for yawning.  Also look for eye contact, for note taking, for nodding.  There are countless body language clues that can help you know when to elaborate, when to move on, or when to ask for questions.  Pausing periodically for questions will allow your audience to get back on the same page with you.  You want them listening to what you are saying, not thinking about their question. 

Most of all, know what you want to say.  Have a short outline if that helps, some bullet points that will help you stay focused on the end goal.  If you should happen to get stuck for any reason, there is nothing wrong with pausing for questions and looking at your notes.  Remember, your notes should be very brief, simple talking points.  The more you write down the less likely it is you will follow them.

With a few hours of preparation and some careful observance of your audience you can turn a frustrated and confused group into an inspired one ready to take your ideas into action.  Some personalities are more comfortable on stage, but some messages are more memorable.

What do you think?  Who are some great speakers and why?

December 11, 2009

JUST HUMOR ME

Filed under: Attitude,Development,Public Speaking — jonathanbegley @ 4:10 pm

“Just picture everyone in their underwear.”

Maybe it’s my complete lack of imagination but this public speaking trick never quite worked for me. I have found however that there is much truth to the saying. The key to public speaking is to find the humor in the situation. There is always something to laugh about.

When you are able to find the humor in the situation everything else just does not seem all that important. Even if it is the “biggest” or “most important” talk you have ever given, why treat it as such while on the stage? If it truly is an event of this magnitude, you should be prepared. If not you will suffer the consequences for this lack of preparation.

So there you are, about to go on stage after weeks of preparation. Your mindset when you walk on stage will dictate how your performance will be. Are you tense, thinking about every detail, every possible question? Or are you relaxed, confident, and ready to make a great impression? Nerves are bound to be there but a relaxed body and mind will help you keep a clear mind that can quickly process information when confronted with the unexpected.

What better way to relax than to laugh? Think about the reality of the situation. Is this really that big of a deal? Are people actually listening? And who really cares what they have to say? Whether it’s looking for those comical moments, thinking of a joke you can tell to start things off, or picturing everyone in their underwear, humor is the key to success in public speaking.

December 8, 2009

THE YEAR TO COME

Filed under: Attitude,Development,Goals — jonathanbegley @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , ,

December seems to be the month of goal setting. I’ve read more blogs over the last week about goals than I care to acknowledge. Yet whenever I come across another goal post I find myself reading it. I typically avoid New Year’s resolutions. I believe that goal setting should be something done constantly, not once a year because the calendar changes. So why do I continue to read about other’s goals, about other’s review of 2009?

Goals help me focus my energy. They help me measure success. They give me the strength to persevere when confronted with unforeseen challenges. Goal setting goes hand in hand with success in any area of life; home, family, career, friendships, hobbies. Whenever I do set a concrete goal, I find that I usually reach it. Yes, I have experienced failure in reaching some goals, but its these times in life when I feel that I learn the most.

2009 was a good year. I’ll leave it at that. 2010 will be one to remember because I am committed to making this year special. This is the year when I reach a major milestone, fatherhood. All my life I have wanted to be a father, and thinking back I have always had a certain “man” in mind. Happy, loving, devoted, spiritual and active are just a few traits. How will I become this man if I do not consciously make the effort each day? Below are my goals for the coming year, in no particular order.  So here’s to goal setting!

1. Running. With no money for gym memberships, what better way to stay active than running. And what better dog is there than mine to run me. I will participate in two competitive events at least 10K in length with the ultimate goal of running a marathon.

2. Writing. I am enjoying this blogging experience. I know that I will benefit from it. The more I write the better writer I will be. Who knows, maybe someone will enjoy reading my posts!

3. Reading. My goal is to read two books a month at the very least. Libraries are wonderful places and I don’t need $15 to find a book I will enjoy.

4. Work. 8 hours a day. I will take a lunch break everyday for an entire hour. I will practice public speaking whenever possible, sharing my ideas and opinions no matter whose listening.

5. Service. It is obvious that this is a gift that has been given to me. I will find ways to serve my community, no matter how big or small.

6. Finances. I will provide for my family. Stick to the budget and continue to knock down our debt. We’re so close! The baby deserves a family with freedom from debt.

7. Friends. Interact with at least one friend a week. Whether its coffee, lunch, hitting golf balls, or watching a game. Give more of myself to others.

8. My Family. Give my wife and child 100%. I will be the happy and loving father and husband that they deserve. I will help my wife in her transition to motherhood by being there and making an honest effort to listen (with eye contact).  In order to be 100% I can’t and shouldn’t drink alcohol. 

9. Other Family. I will call my parents at least one time per month and email them once a week. I will also make frequent contact with both brothers. Do something to help Mandy feel welcome and proud to be in our family.

10. God. I will continue to seek His will for my life. I will continue to seek to know Him more. I will lead my family to serve the Lord. I will give myself to the Lord daily.

This will start now, not on January 1.  Good luck to me and to all those out there who are choosing to make changes in the months and years to come!

December 4, 2009

TODAY, I CHOOSE…

Filed under: Attitude,Development — jonathanbegley @ 4:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

Life is made of choices. 

No matter how many bad choices I have made in the past, I have a new choice today.  This next choice should be seen as a gift.  It’s an opportunity to change.  It’s an opportunity to persevere.  It’s powerful.

Today I choose to live a life of integrity. 

Today I choose to make a difference.

Today I choose happiness.

The list can be incomplete today, because tomorrow you can choose again.  The purpose is to actively choose the path you will travel.  Knowing who you are and where you want to go makes each choice a little easier. 

What choice will you make today?

SOCIAL MEDIA

Filed under: Career,Development,Social Media — jonathanbegley @ 8:39 am

Not until just recently have I considered social media as an opportunity for success in my life and career.  I stumbled upon a class at the local extended studies program at the local university.  The class, entitled “Google is Your New Business Card” was taught by Dr. Bret Simmons and Ronele Klingensmith.  Dr. Bret is the MBA professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

I immediately noticed upon walking into the classroom the different traits and personalities of my fellow students.  I was probably the youngest person in the room (late 20’s).  There were several older folks, an MBA graduate, bankers, yoga instructors, business professionals, realtors, among others.  You might expect that I, being the youngest, was the most comfortable with computers and social media.  If you guessed this you would be wrong. I guess I am somewhat of an anomaly compared to others my age.

Social media has never, until now, really appealed to me.  I had a Facebook account, but wasn’t very active.  I enjoyed seeing people from my past at first, but I have also realized that I have moved on and could honestly care less who is playing what farm game or mafia wars.  It seemed like a giant waste of time.

Dr. Bret described two different types of people on Twitter, and I think it goes for social media in general, the informers and the ME-formers.  This I have found to be 100% true.  Each day I explore social media a little more and realize that there is a vast amount of knowledge to be obtained from hearing people’s thoughts, reading other’s blogs, and just by interacting with other like minded people.  This “informer” truth is something that I feel most people are unaware of.  Most don’t see the benefit of social media.

I honestly now believe that social media, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs (and countless others I learned about) not only can be a fast and efficient method of marketing yourself, but can be an incredible method of self-improvement.  Follow and learn from the experts in the areas you’re interested in.  Brand yourself, show your value. 

It is impossible for me to invision a world five or ten years from now that does not have some advanced form of social media on the internet.  If you are like I was, a skeptic, who is unsure if you can really use these mediums effectively, just jump in.  There is a learning curve for everyone.  These sites are designed to be as simple or as detailed as you want

Why do you not use social media websites?  Or if you do, what do you find to be the most important benefit of this new way of communication?

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