2013 is the year.

2013 is now underway.
It began just a few short days ago – but there is still a lot of year left.

And guess what – this is the year.

This is the year for showing love.
This is the year for generosity.
This is the year for helping hands.
This is the year for caring for the needy.
This is the year for change.
This is the year for making an impact.

This is the year.

A New One Has Come

The time has come. Another year has finished, with a new one starting.

It is hard to believe how quickly time goes by. It seems that every year goes by quicker and quicker. Which has brought me to think a lot over the past few months – if time is going by so quickly, am I using my time effectively?

I watched a video yesterday called “What’s Your Sentence?” I decided to write one for myself. “His desire and passion was to be a helping hand and make a difference in this world.”

What is your sentence?

As we move into this new year – take some time to reflect on how you are using your time. Are you doing what you enjoy? Are you making a difference?

Make your sentence. Live it out.

Information is key.

Recently, I played a little game of Doctor with my MacBook Pro.  We underwent an operation.  An operation that required opening up the machine.  The objective?  To upgrade the RAM.  It was an upgrade that was needed for some time, but I kept putting it off.  Lately, I have been doing more and more on my laptop, even throughout the work day.  While I am a large multi-tasker, my laptop was not.  This was evident in the slow response at times, also known as the spinning wheel of death.  After enough frustration, it was time to take the plunge.

While going through the process of ordering and installing the RAM upgrade, I began to think over the fact that I should have done this a long time ago.  Why did I wait until now?

I was slow.  I was outdated.  I was behind on the times.

With ten minutes worth of work, I was back up to speed.  I had updated my machine to meet the new standards of today.

While I realize that hardware upgrades, such as my RAM upgrade, can be expensive and burdensome to someone’s budget – I see the importance of staying up-to-date.  Not necessarily with hardware specs or owning the latest and greatest, but with information.

Every day, new information becomes available – all at the touch of our fingertips.  News articles, product releases, emerging technologies, scientific breakthroughs, and hours of media.  While it is certainly impossible to stay up-to-date on every single bit of new information – information is key.  There is value in information.

Staying up-to-date with the most relevant information to your life, like the specific skill set that you excel in, or the company you run, or the hobby you enjoy – know the latest and greatest will always push people to you when they have questions.  It shows value in you.

And it doesnt take a lot of time.  Set aside 10-30 minutes everyday to hop online to the relevant news source of your choice, or flip on the news channel of the TV, or scan the different related emails in your inbox.  It is worth it in the long run.

Remember – information is key.

We All Have One

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel down to Ball State University and speak on a marketing panel with Scott Feather and 3 other panelists.  Loved it.  It was a great time sharing about my experiences and engaging in deep marketing discussions with fellow professionals.

One of the questions that was asked to the panel was this, “What is one thing you recommend to a new-to-the-market college graduate?”  During this point in the conversation, I began thinking about brand.

My answer was this, “Think about your personal brand.  Think about what you want your personal brand to be.  Think about the future and what you want to be known for and what reputation you want to carry.  Then do what you have to do to accomplish that – even if it requires some major life changes now.”

Personal brand. We all have one. The question is  – what is yours?

And – is that the one that you want?

Take a break… But don’t stop.

After 16 long years, I finally got the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive my Grace College Bachelors degree and diploma.   That day was not too long ago for me, and I still remember the thoughts running through my head… “Whew, what a relief…  I actually made it.”

After many years of a lot of hard work, I accomplished my goal and received the reward.

At the time, I breathed out a large sigh of relief.  I was done with education… For good.

Or at least I thought.

And I sure was wrong.

I have come to quickly realize that I will never be done.  I never stopped.  While I may certainly differ from most people, I now realize that I always desire to learn more, to push the boundaries of my knowledge to further limits.  I do this daily.  I receive numerous data filled emails every night about the latest happenings in the technology world.  I have bought several books recently that dive into leadership and financial management.  I’ve downloaded several videos about the science of creativity and watched them numerous times.  I study articles left and right that explore the different techniques for management and effective team building.

Some call me a nerd.  I think of it as personal development.

It is not even just personal development.  The more that I develop myself personally, the more I am actually developing the company I manage and the employees I oversee.  The more developed I am, the bigger the impact I have on those around me.

So, as a leader, what are you doing to develop yourself and those around you? Are you pushing yourself to new bounds?

Warm, sunny winter day…

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been on the quest to capture the perfect winter shot for the next issue of the 2|8|9 magazine for Grace College. I’ve had numerous photo shoots in many different settings (night shots and during a heavy snow fall). Today, I was working on things at the office, and when I glanced outside, I knew I should get out there! 🙂

It was warm and sunny, a great winter day! Here is a sampling of my findings:
The Village at Winona

Ice Hockey

Want to see more? >>

Remembering the class of 2010…

Happy Easter!

Over the past couple of days, I have been borrowing a sweet camera from a friend and testing my skills at photography. I think I might have found new hobby!

I have also created a Flickr account to store them on.

What do you think? Should I find a new hobby? 🙂

Long time…

Wow, it has been almost three months since I have done anything… Shame on me!

Well, updated design – Check!
More consistent with updates… I’ll have to check that one off later!

Too excited?!?

Is it possible to be too excited over one specific day in Chapel? I think not!

I am looking forward to Christmas Chapel this year which is coming up this Thursday. There has been a lot of thought and work put into it, I cant wait to see it all take place!

So, what is there to look forward to?
-Swanson reading the Christmas story.
-Res life team doing a skit.
-Christmas carol songs performed by the talented chapel band.
-Santa Hats?!
-Awesome new lights!
-Amazing new backgrounds!
-Fireplace backdrop!
-Oh yeah, falling SNOW!

Can you tell I am extra excited about those last four items? 🙂

So, if you are a student at Grace College, or just in the area, make sure you are there! It is going to be awesome!