My wife and I watch very little TV. Every now and then we’ll flip it on and recently we have found that Undercover Boss is one of the few wholesome shows out there that we enjoy watching.
After posting a blog about mentorship yesterday a few people have asked about the mentors I’ve had in life. By chance, during the same interview, I had commented on that exact question, but had cut it from the original video. Here’s some insight into the three major mentors I’ve had. Enjoy! (Notice the importance a father plays in laying the ground work for their sons.)
A few months ago I posted a somewhat controversial opinion that work-life balance is not worth pursuing. My perspective is that work-life integration is a much more effective way to live life to it’s fullest. This post remains one of my most popular blogs and based upon the number of new visitors that find it via search, it looks as though it has been, and remains, a topic of interest.
I discussed this concept a bit with Frank Hanna (on of my 5 brains to pick) last week. Interestingly, it was a topic that he brought up after I mentioned that I had brought my seven year old son to Atlanta for his first business trip. Frank immediately picked up on this topic and told me why he was intrigued.
Many sociologists (both professional and amateur) believe that our society began going downhill when women left the home and began spending less time with their families. Frank argues that the decline of family values and our moral basis began much earlier, with the industrial revolution, when men left the home for the factory. Until this time, boys throughout nearly all of history and cultures spent their days with dad and other men in their family. They worked on the farm or in the workshop learning a trade, and perhaps more importantly, learning how to be a man.
Since the industrial revolution, boys have increasingly lost their male role models. The result? Well, perhaps they speak for themselves. I don’t know about you, but I think Frank’s on to something. Interestingly, as we collaborated a bit on this subject, we both agreed that there is no “easy” fix for this problem. It’s not reasonable to go back to farm life. We live in a much more advanced culture, but we do need to find innovative ways to surround our boys with masculine influence as they grow up. I can’t help but wonder if the key to solving this issue is more integration and less balance.
Incidentally, a couple weeks ago I tweeted quickly with Michael Hyatt (another of the 5 brains I’d love to pick) and he confirmed my assumption. He integrates. Sorry folks, balance seems to be a philosophy of the past. More accurately, it may have been a temporary trend of the 1900s.
What do you think? Any credibility to this hypothesis?
“Inside the Vatican” – those three words have taken on a multitude of meanings over the past month and as with all things related to faith, I would expect them to continue to unfold over time.
Just over a month ago, through a mutual and well respected friend, I met the Executive Publisher and the COO of Inside the Vatican. For 18 years Bob, the founder and executive publisher has been publishing the “little magazine”, as he call it, that strives to maintain journalistic integrity and independence in order to report on matters of concern to faith and the Catholic Church. In this time, Inside the Vatican has gained the public respect and praise of Bishops, Cardinals, and even Pope John Paul II. It also seems as though both the CIA and KGB subscribe to the magazine to stay up to date on Vatican affairs. Quite an impressive list of readers for a “little magazine” that has operated as a non-profit and on a shoe string budget.
Bob, Debbie, the COO, and I met to discuss the transformation of the media industry, the effects the internet and social media have had on his distribution, and what the future holds. Bob, naturally, was torn between a nostalgic love for print and the prospects that the digital revolution bring with it. Ultimately, his genuine love for truth and his calling for disseminating the Word of God led him to fully embrace the idea of virtual distribution – not only for his own publication, but for the Catholic Church as a whole.
It was this passion which ultimately prompted Bob to invite me to attend a Symposium for the Foundation for Evangelization through the Media this past weekend. The symposium hosted, among others, Archbishop Celli, the President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, some of the worlds must successful business men and women, and professionals throughout the Catholic media world. The symposium was held in Rome and those of us that attended were given the opportunity to go “Inside the Vatican” – a unique experience to say the least.
It’s difficult to put the experience into words. Eyeopening and life changing may provide a glimpse into the overall experience, but a few key observations may begin to paint a deeper picture.
- I found great hope in the fact that the Holy See is embracing new technologies and taking serious the new media. More than their presence at the event, I was rather surprised and excited to learn how spot on, and even forward thinking, a couple of their internal initiatives are. They are truly “high impact”.
- It was inspiring to see people of faith gather from around the world to share their time, talent, and resources. As the biggest “nobody” in an otherwise “Who’s Who?” event, I was encouraged by the humility, collaboration, and alignment of mission amongst many of the big names. I had the feeling as we left that the connections that were made would lead to some great things – both in the business world and for the Church.
- I was struck by the pastoral nature of our interactions with Archbishop Celli and the Secretary of the Council, Msgr Paul Tighe, who went out of their way to make us feel welcome and at home in Rome. Msgr. Celli spoke to us as a big brother or old friend, once even punching me in the gut in a playful way as we joked during a break. Msgr. Paul (an Irishman) took a small contingency to dinner at a local pizza house on Sunday night in order to collaborate further and welcomed us into his private residence for some Irish Whisky afterwards. I can only assume that in addition to being holy and personal men, this is a reflection of their role representing Mother Church. I really did feel at home in Rome - something I didn’t expect.
- I gained significant exposure and insight into how the Vatican works. It’s easy to forget that it’s a vast, ancient, and complex organization and that I undoubtedly have very little insight into the reasons why things occur. I went exacerbated that, among other things, the vatican website reminds me of 1994 and left with an appreciation for the reality that while many insiders may share my frustration, there are a multitude of factors that I have no insight into that may impact their ability to make change. While the Church is undoubtedly a bit too bureaucratic, meeting the people at the Vatican changes your perspective.
|We stayed in the Santa Marta, the new residence where the College of Cardinals stayed during the conclave to elect Pope Benedict. I was impressed by the simplicity of the room and entire hotel.|
|In addition to the bed, there was a simple chair and simple desk.|
|We had dinner on Saturday night, after a private tour of the Sistine Chapel, inside the storage area of the Vatican Museum. Yes, we were in the midst of ancient ruins – can you see some of them in the background?|
|Sunday Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Celli in the crypt below St. Peter’s. The glass doors behind are provide a window into St. Peter’s tomb.|
|After mass we were able to pray in front of the tomb of Pope John Paul II the Great. It was my sister’s birthday, so in addition to praying for Teresa and the kids, I asked for JPII to intercede for her.|
I remember very well the pain I caused my mom as an adolescent as I scoured the boxscores, watched a game, or built legos. It wasn’t the activities that killed her, it was oblivious to anything else going on that suck in her craw. I think she honestly thought I was ignoring her, unfortunately, I literally couldn’t hear.
In my recent post, A Convergence of Passions, I outlined how my career progressed from media to technology centric and then, ultimately, a combination of the two. Much to my surprise, the convergence continues, this time, bringing my professional and personal lives together in an integration I could have only hoped for.
While at Franciscan University I was fortunate to study Communications from not only a technical perspective, but also from the perspective of the Catholic Church. During my sophomore year, I read Communio and Progressio, a pastoral letter instructing Catholics on the Church’s teaching on Social Communications and encouraging them to embrace the media and leverage it for good. This struck me as significant, especially in so far as the Church specifically encouraged the young to embrace new technologies. It was this motivation that piqued my passion for media and my overarching goal to be “in the world but not of the world”.
Venturing out after graduation, I was pulled more and more toward technology and found myself applying this mandate to my new career field. My calling shifted from leveraging media for good to leveraging internet and web based technologies for good. Of course, given that the internet is often referred to as “new media”, this was anything but a stretch. You can imagine as the technology and media sectors have converged in my professional life, I felt as though this “jump” had been validated. That said, one aspect was lacking. My work was undoubtedly beneficial to society as it played a role in enhancing productivity, optimizing business, and eventually creating jobs, however, it lacked a supernatural element I had always found intriguing.
Today I am proud to announce I will be heading to the Vatican later this month to leverage my experiences in technology and media for an even greater good. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications will be holding it’s first ever symposium for the Foundation of Evangelization through the Media. The purpose of the conference is to gather “Church leaders, entrepreneurs of high potential projects for evangelization through the media, and major business personalities” in order to “help the Church meet the challenge of having a stronger presence in all media”. Having received the formal invite to the symposium only five days after posting “A Convergence of Passions”, I can only stand in awe of the plan God has for my life and the lack of awareness I have to what it is. I have been truly blessed and can only pray that I am able to respond to his calling. My life continues to converge before my eyes. . .
- For Teresa, who is the most wonderful wife and mother and somehow still puts up with my entrepreneurial tendencies and workaholism
- For each one of my kids – Sarah, Joseph, Rebekah, Catherine, Jacob, and Rosie – who are the joy of my life and who make Barry Manilow look like a prophet – “I feel glad when your glad…I just can’t smile without you”
- For my dad, who taught me everything there is to know about being a man, especially integrity and work ethic
- For John Fowler, who had the patience to mentor me and introduce me to the software industry. From him, I learned 90% of any technical skill I ever had and more importantly was given my first example of how to be a Christian in the business world.
- For Bobby Christian, who believed in me as an entrepreneur and CEO before there was anything to believe in and then coached me on how to prove I could do it.
- For Blaine Hall, my partner and best friend who I have never once doubted has my back in all areas of life.
- For Nate Boster, the first best friend I ever had and from whom I learned self confidence and with whom I figured out how to graduate from adolescence to adult.
- For my close circle of friends who hold me accountable and have agreed to help raise my children in the Catholic faith as Godfathers of my children: Jake, Nate, Marc, Pallas, Paul, and Blaine.
- For loving my life and waking up every morning excited and passionate about going to work. For the opportunity to work with fabulous people. For Todd, Larry, and nearly two hundred other team mates that all pull in the same direction.
- For the other women in my life – my mom and my sisters Christine and Allison – who I probably do a fairly poor job of sharing and demonstrating my love to, but I can’t imagine living without.
Jack Welch, renowned former CEO of General Electric, famously stated that,“there is no such thing as work-life balance.” Instead, he explained, “There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” Welch was slammed for pointing this out. Critics accused him of being crass and detached, but I, in many ways, agree with his insight. He might have glossed over the fact that consequences work both ways in regards to your work and your family, but the good news is that you can effectively manage both — and both can be uncompromisingly fulfilling. I’ll cite myself as an example: Continue Reading…