Jonathan Begley

January 3, 2010

FOCUS

Filed under: Attitude,Development,Goals — jonathanbegley @ 9:09 pm

It’s time to focus.  2010 is here and we are all ready to go.  The last month has been filled with talk of resolutions, expectations, and hopes.  Now it is time to get down to business and make these dreams a reality.  But how do we put action to these goals?  Where do we begin?

Whether your goals are to stop bad habits or to develop good ones, it all has to start somewhere.  The first of January is always a hard time for me to start anything, simply because it’s the first of January.  I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way.  Think about the gym that magically fills to capacity as men and women of all ages and abilities come forward to embark on their journey.  For some reason I can’t stand being seen by others as “one of those people.”  Those people are the ones who start strong on Monday, they show up on Tuesday, and have the best of intentions on Wednesday.  By Friday they are ready to reward themselves for a great week, only to start again on Monday. 

The first of January puts a lot of pressure all of us resolutioners.  It is this reason that I think so many fail.  Yet we all continue to make resolutions, thinking that this year will be different.  To make matters worse I think many of us put too much on our own plates.  Not only do we wait until January to change our lives in major ways, but we rarely focus on just one.  I believe we would have a much greater success rate if we conciously chose one goal to focus on, not necessarily giving up on the others but consider them to be an added bonus if we succeed.  Goals are often very complex, but they need not be.  This is a choice that each of us has to make ourselves.

We often look at resolutions as goals for the entire year, yet January 1 we are all behaving like we must get there immediately.  Where do we want to be one year from now?  Then we should work backwards and set realistic goals.  If you want to be working out five times a week at the gym, what is a realistic starting point for you now?  How about walking the dog for thirty minutes a day?

The definition of focus is “attention on a central point.”  It doesn’t any more simple than that.  Yet if any of us were to look at our lives, or our goals, at any given moment, a central point is often extremly difficult to determine. 

If you were given just one word to describe your focus, what would it be?

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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 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
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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?

November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

Filed under: Attitude,Workforce — jonathanbegley @ 8:52 am

Having an attitude of gratitude I believe is one of the most powerful things someone can do when they find themselves down and out for any reason.  It is easy for all of us to focus on the problems, on the negative.  I find myself disregarding the postive things in my life and dwelling on the negative.

Is this just human nature?  I don’t believe so.  I think that this tendency is a learned behavior that affects us more than we realize.  And I also believe that because it is a learned behavior, it is up to each of us to teach ourselves another way of thinking. 

When I dwell on the negative my mind begins to spiral downward.  Things that would normally be annoyances become enormous, life changing events in a matter of hours.  When I remember to think about what I have to be grateful for, no matter how big or small, these life changing events quickly become almost comical.  Why stress about that deadline when it will come and go, met or not, and I will still be me.  Gratitude helps me to live each day to the fullest, keeping what matters most in the forefront of my mind.

Having this kind of attitude not only shows in my actions and relationships, but it is infectuous.  Grateful, positive people are the ones that we all want to have around us.  Showing these postitive traits even when surrounded by challenges says more about a person’s character than a resume or portfolio ever will.

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