Reaching New Heights

I didn’t plan on climbing the wall at at The St. James during our recent team off-site meeting in Northern Virginia. However, after many of our team members had climbed up and down several times, my Vice President yelled out, “Hey Peter, you’re up!”

Now, a hardworking new father in my mid-thirties, physical fitness had not been my primary focus for 2019. Alas, I had been challenged in front of a group of peers to do something that others had jumped the at the chance to do, some more successful than others.

My hands quickly sweat, my heart raced, and the apprehension of failure pumped adrenaline through my veins. My fight or flight had been activated, and I had nowhere to go but up.

It had been 20 years since the last time I climbed a wall, and the only advice I remembered from that boy scout retreat was “use your legs, not your hands.” Armed with only that advice and 30 of my closest leaders and colleagues standing behind me, I strapped into my harness and took my first step. I glanced up and down, quickly finding my next foot and hand hold. With each move forward, I analyzed which foothold would give me the most upside, worrying not where I’d hold my hand next, but how I would allow my legs to propel me up the wall.

In less than a few minutes, I had ascended to the top of the 40 foot wall with nowhere to go but down. From here, it was a leap of faith and a lot of slamming into the wall as I awkwardly twisted and repelled down like a flopping fish tired after a long fight with a talented fisherman.

According to Newton’s law of universal gravitation, every mass attracts every other mass in the universe. Therefore, if my fears weren’t strong enough to pull me down, there must be something much greater that I’m reaching for.

On Trying Something New

Today I played my first game of racquetball with my friend Alan. Neither of us had ever played, but after a few views of videos on YouTube, and reading the rules, we thought we’d give it a try. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had so much fun doing it, we might just try it again.

Streaming Providers Need a Holiday Music Toggle

Whether you prefer Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, or otherwise, the frequency in which you listen to songs and the actions you take to identify what you like drive what these services recommend for you in the future. When it comes to selecting genres of music, particular styles, or artists, this can come in real handy though algorithmic recommendations. No longer must you rely on the programming director of your local terrestrial radio station. Now, your music is curated to match your tastes and preferences.

While it’s great to have a computer suggest, or automatically play next, there is one type of music that can really throw you off your groove: out-of-season holiday music.

If you’ve ever been jamming along to Empire of the Sun in mid-January, only to be bombarded by Mannheim Steamroller, you know what I mean. Immediately, you feel regret for every “liking” that song, or even placing it on your “Holiday Playlist.” This morning, I learned that a friend refuses to play holiday music from his personal account to prevent this very scenario from unfolding.

Like other music, though, we do have preferences. Brian Setzer’s Christmas Spectacular may not be for everyone, and others may not be into Wrapping Paper by the Waitresses. We have preferences for our music during the holidays, just as we do during other times of the year. So, these algorithms for suggested programming should be helpful then, too. But what about in the off-season, the other 10 months of the year?

To solve this, I propose that all digital music contain a binary filter in its meta data: “Holiday Music.” This will allow listeners to toggle between “Holiday Only, No Holiday, and Some Holiday” as the wish, confident that Lizzo won’t interrupt their Christmas cocktail party, and Nat King Cole won’t crash their beech vibe the following spring.

What do you think? Does holiday music ever invade your music queue at the wrong time of the year? How do you cope? Leave a comment below.

Making Your Bed in the Morning

My older brother once taught me this well before Admiral McRaven published his book. It may not be the most glamorous task of the day, but this one habit ensures one thing: no matter how bad your day, you will always have something to look forward to at the end.

Blowing the Dust off of the Blog

So much has changed since my last public entry here over a year ago, and even then, I was interrupting a long hiatus, or drought of content.

It’s now 2020 and the abundance of platforms for sharing photos, thoughts, and articles makes it difficult to focus on something so distant from the masses. However, as we are overwhelmed by these diversions and distractions, I think we are finding their value diminishing, and instead the value of long form, focused content, from people we admire and trust to be worth so much more than clickbait and cat GIFs. Although, perhaps that is just an idealistic assumption.

For the last few days I have been reflecting on the path of my career and how my recent advancement in education will propel me through this new decade. As a newly minted MBA, I feel that I owe it to myself to somehow apply these knowledge and skills in a way that will benefit me and whatever team or organization that I support. While I continue to grow in my strategic planning role, I’m curious what lies ahead and how I can best prepare myself for the next time I am met with an opportunity.

Tonight, inspired by our VP who committed to blogging at least once a year, my goal was to clean up this site, install an SSL certificate, and post something to show that I am still committed to this medium.

Perhaps, in the following posts I’ll update readers on my experience completing my MBA, growing at work, building a house, and starting a family. It’s been a crazy, but rewarding couple of years and there’s a lot that I’ve learned that I’m excited to share in hopes that it may be relatable or helpful to even one person reading this. Until next time…

“People come in and out of our lives, and the true test of friendship is whether you can pick back up right where you left off the last time you saw each other.”

Lisa See

My Latest Collaboration with Microsoft

Last year I was asked by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals to share my best practices in using Microsoft Teams to effectively collaborate with other sellers to win business and respond to customers more quickly. Here’s the video that they produced:

A Year Without Blogging

2017 was an incredible year for me. During this time, earned an incredible promotion, bought my first home, partnered with Microsoft for my first commercial, and finally graduated with a degree in Marketing Management.

While I spent this time focused on so many other things, I really missed the opportunity to share through long-formed posts. Now that I’ve accomplished many of the goals that I set out to achieve, I hope I can find time to come back here and share some of those stories in the hope that they might inspire others.

A Few Videos and Films about ‘Home’

In anticipation of building our first home, I’ve been quite interested in some of others’ interpretations of what home means. To me, moving pictures mixed with the right sound always seem to have the ability to move me. One day, while watching HGTV, a commercial for Home Goods came on that made me smile.

I later learned that the soundtrack was “Home” by Dan Croll and since then, I haven’t been able to shake the tune from my head or my playlist.

The pleasure I get from watching these old television clips and hearing the wall of sound brought me to search for other stories of home. I found a few while enjoying a cup of coffee this morning and I hope you’ll find to enjoy them too.

This is My Home is a film I found on Vimeo that reminded me a lot of the sense of curiosity I had when exploring my grandparents house. While we, as a society, may be trending towards valuing experiences and minimalism, I think it is important that we keep a space for these artifacts of our past as they have the ability to help us enjoy memories and have a window into our past. I’m not sure if this gentleman is still around, but if he is, I would love to go and see his home in Manhattan.

Continuing on the theme of curiosity, I found another home that reflected another one of my passions: airplanes. Here’s a man that decided to make a retired passenger aircraft his home. In the middle of the woods.

Now, here’s another. The home itself isn’t particularly remarkable. Maybe curious to some by its small size, but what is remarkable to me is the number of people that found this so interesting. Why would over 90,000 people want to watch a man put together his home in a time lapse video? Are we looking to learn the most efficient way to unpack and set things up, or are we all just curious what home means and looks like to others?

What does home mean to you?

Making the Most of Mushy Bananas

As we were cleaning the house this weekend, I felt guilty that organic bananas filling my fruit bowl had gone forgotten. Of the bunch, I probably enjoyed only one or two, leaving behind four perfectly good, but way too ripe to eat alone bananas.

To make use of these, I decided to take to the web to find the best banana bread recipe there was. Unlike cookbooks of the previous century, online recipes give us the added benefit of social vetting. While Food & Wine may declare their recipe as the “best ever” commenters might argue. Finding a recipe with over 500 reviews and a 5-star rating made me feel comfortable that this first time attempt will become a success.

As the house fills with the aroma of banana, caramelized sugar and vanilla, my mouth waters in anticipation.

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What is a hashtag, and how do I follow one?

You may have seen your local news crew or a national television show encourage you to use a particular “hashtag” when tweeting or posting about their stories or shows. Usually they look something like this: #IAMUP which is the hashtag for my favorite local news team here in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

The word hashtag simply means a tag (metadata) applied to a hash symbol (we call # pound, or the number symbol, but the rest of the world calls it the hash symbol). Metadata is information used to help the organization of information. So the hash tells the database the following information is to help others find this post. The tag is the string of text and numbers you use to help find that information. If everyone uses the same hashtag for a topic, then it is very easy to search for those posts using the “search” feature of your social network or special software such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

If you’re just getting started with social media and using hashtags, give it a try on Twitter. To use a hashtag on Twitter, simply compose your tweet, append the # symbol followed immediately by the tag text, like #IAMUP. Once you post your tweet, it’s searchable for anyone else interested in the #IAMUP hashtag.

Now composing those tweets and posts are only part of the fun. The real fun is seeing what others have to say! Using the search feature on Twitter, simply type in the hashtag you wish to search for such as #IAMUP. The results will give you a timeline of all of the other Twitter users talking about the same thing!

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To keep the conversation going in real time, you might want to check out a program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite that will allow you to create real-time columns dedicated to seeing those tweets as they happen.

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So there you have it, a simple primer on hashtags, how to join the conversation and how to see what’s going on!


*This blog is not affiliated with WFAA or Tegna Media.The use of the #IAMUP hashtag for this post is for demonstration purposes only and is not an endorsement of WFAA, or an endorsement of this blog by WFAA.