How I Got “All the Way” Away on Vacation

I just got back from the longest trip away I have ever taken. I was in Europe for ten days with my wife. The first two days were spent visiting our 3Pillar office in Romania. The balance of the time was spent on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi with a nonprofit organization that I support.

How was it that I was able to get this time away? How was it that I was able to break away and get away to refresh myself?

Night view at St. Peter's cathedral in Rome, Italy

Not only was I away physically, I was away mentally. I was able to check out and immerse myself in the time with my wife and my pilgrimage and with an organization that’s close to my heart.

Here’s how I managed to get “all the way” away on vacation…and how I think you can, too.

There are some common traits that these highest-rated CEOs share,” says Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor’s community expert. “For instance, we see that employees say these CEOs communicate clearly on where the company is headed, how it’s going to get there, and how each employee plays a vital role on this path, along with being accessible, personable, and transparent to employees. These CEOs also know how to motivate their employees and rally the troops to get the job done.

Jacquelyn Smith
Business Insider

Four Tips for How to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace

Communication is hard, especially when you’re communicating to an organization. How do you communicate effectively in your workplace? Here are four tips I’ve found that I use as principles for my communication at 3Pillar.


Communication within 3Pillar is especially challenging for me. Not only is it a large organization of over 600 employees, but there are multiple cultures, many types of people, and various demographics. It is probably greatly more diverse than most organizations. We have offices in five different cities in the U.S. and four different countries throughout the world, all with varying backgrounds.

For example, we serve India and Asia, Romania in Eastern Europe, the U.K. in Western Europe, and then five cities in the U.S.

Those cultural differences alone make it difficult to communicate effectively.

I’ve found over the years the principle that you have to communicate seven times in seven different ways is very true, yet I’ve also found that some simple guidelines can really help to optimize communication.

Can You Live the Integrated Life Well?

There are two types of employees: those who thrive within a positive work culture that promotes work-life integration and those who will die within that culture. Which type are you? Can you live the integrated life well?

tropical business woman with blank paper

Living an integrated life requires freedom, and freedom requires responsibility. And, of course, the ability to live the integrated life fully requires an employer who supports the integrated life.

What’s on My Phone: Chicken Fried

In the ”What’s on My Phone“ series, I share tidbits regarding the apps, music, and other treasures that are on my phone.  Together, these items keep me productive, motivated, and on top of my game.

The Zac Brown Band’s song “Chicken Fried” is one of my kids’ (and okay, my) favorites.  When we want to let our hair down and have fun in the car, Dad will crank up the tunes and we’ll rock out to “A little bit of Chicken Fried.” It’s fun country music, southern rock style, that the kids love.

Video link

Question: Got a favorite you want to share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Yelling Isn’t Discipline

It never ceases to amaze me how many parents think that discipline is the equivalent of yelling when there are all sorts of other, better ways to discipline your children.

I find that while raising your voice sometimes has its place, it’s amazing how much more effective it is to use a calm and collected stern teaching.

Giving dad a helping hand

Managing Family Activities (Without Letting Them Manage You)

One of the hardest decisions to make as a family — as a parent in particular — is how you’re going to manage family activities, especially in the case where the husband has a demanding career and is pursuing professional success. It can become especially difficult for the wife and mother to be able to manage all those activities if things get out of hand.

Young football players

It’s so easy to go to the extremes. I know many families who limit activities to zero or one per child. This might be great for their family, but I haven’t found it to be successful for my life or the best for my children.

I want to allow my children to pursue their dreams. It’s at this point in their lives that they get to explore what they’re truly good at and what gifts and talents they’ve been given. Limiting them to one activity doesn’t allow them to do that or to explore and experience the world.

At the same time, I know plenty of families who go to the opposite extreme. They want to allow their children to do everything. The child’s schedule dominates the family calendar. In fact, I would go so far as to say the family revolves around the children’s activities, maybe soccer or dance, whatever that activity is.

What’s on My Phone: TripIt

In the ”What’s on My Phone“ series, I share tidbits regarding the apps, music, and other treasures that are on my phone.  Together, these items keep me productive, motivated, and on top of my game.

I always thought that TripIt was just another attempt at someone trying to make money off of social media.  Then Dan (who is one of the most innovative and technologically savvy people I know) raved about it and dared me to try it out.

tripit 700w

Wow!  It’s not all about posting your flight info to Facebook like I thought it was.

Tripit will scan your inbox—or you can forward emails to it if you’d prefer not give it access—and it will digest your flight, hotel, and rental car information, organizing it into a single trip itinerary.

It will give you proactive notifications about delays and changes in your schedule and will allow you to share the details via CalDav so that anyone (read: your wife) can have on-demand access to your most current schedule.

Question: What apps or methods do you use to manage your travel and trip information? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Take Ownership, Knowing It’s NOT a One-Man Band

So many people want to have ownership, and that makes sense. Economy, ownership, and authority are key aspects of advancement. They’re signs that you are progressing.

However, one of the big mistakes a lot of people make is to assume that when they take ownership, it means that they don’t need help.

A lot of people rightly delegate to those who report to them. The big mistake they make is that they block out those who are close to them as they get more autonomy and more responsibility, along with the authority that naturally follows. They block out their peers and possibly even their managers, their leaders.

Take Ownership

Humble Confidence at the Grocery Store

Quick tip for moms and wives: if there’s one place that your husband may lack humble confidence, it’s in the grocery store!

I hate grocery shopping. No matter how many lists my wife makes me, I always come home without something. And I always come home with something extra.

But what’s worse is the process of the shopping itself. I don’t know the store nearly as well as you do, honey, and what happens is that I go and end up traversing the store at least 17 times, passing the aisle I need to be in, just to find where the rice or the beans or the milk or whatever it is is.

I’ll admit it: I know where the staples are, but odds are, that spice I’ve never heard of? I have no idea where it is!

Here’s a tip: organize your shopping list in the order of the aisles. That will save at least an hour every time your husband goes to the store.

Full length portrait of a happy man pushing a shopping cart

Seriously. Organize your list! You know the store. You know the layout like the back of your hand. That’s why it frustrates you to no end when I come home and it’s taken me longer than it should have.

You know how to shop the grocery store better than I do, so go through a simple process when you’re making your list. Line it up according to the aisles in the store, and all I have to do is go through the store, check out, and come home.

Otherwise, I guess I’ll keep getting my exercise at the grocery store…

Question: Grocery shopping certainly isn’t the only place men lack humble confidence. What are some other ways the women in our lives can help us have the tools we need to live humble confidence outside the office? You can leave a comment by clicking here.