Cabin Time

It may sound strange, but some of the most personal moments I have had in the past few years have happened while in flight traveling on my own. For most people, inside the cabin of a plane is the last place they wish to think, plan, read and write. But that is how I have used my time as I have traveled. I have especially enjoyed traveling at night, while the cabin lights are off, nothing but my music, thoughts and the orange lights of the small, nameless towns below. I don’t travel as often as many in my business (I still look forward to my trips, unlike many frequent travelers), but the time I’ve spent reading and catching up on emails and personal reflections will stay with me for a long time.

And now, as I write this, at exactly 33,948 feet above sea level in the back of a Virgin America flight to San Francisco, I am with a cabin of strangers alone with my thoughts. Just the way I like it.

Constant Construction (repost)

I wrote the below post more than two years ago. But on a day like today, it bears worth repeating:

Several years ago a professor told me to be cautious of any institution that is not constantly under construction because a lack of construction meant a lack of improvement and potentially money. I have kept his statement in my mind since and believe it has relevance across the board. Let me explain.

Construction, as used in this instance, is the destruction or disposal of existing infrastructure, processes, procedures or tradition while upgrading, evaluating and improving what was in its place. A company may decide to upgrade its technology or procedures, both of which can go far in improving morale and employees’ experience with the company, but if it is also not constantly reconstructing and evaluating how it does business, how management interacts with employees and how talent is attracted and retained, the company will have problems. It’s just a matter of time.

Our relationships with our spouses and ourselves must also be constantly under construction with the goal of improvement in mind. In short, maintaining the status quo should be seen as concern, especially when it continues for long periods of time. Change for the better is hardly easy. But it is worth it, especially when that change leads to healthier, more productive companies, relationships, facilities, careers and lives.

The Three Year Old

Our oldest daughter is now almost three-and-a-half years old and she’s quite a character. It’s amazing – my wife and I each donated half of our genes and we created this feisty, stubborn, intelligent, adorable little person. And she certainly is her own person. She already has a developed personality and will talk your ear off. Although some days I am more than ready for her bedtime, there are many days I look forward to seeing her too, which cannot be everyday given my work schedule. She is talkative, inquisitive and can be the funniest little thing ever. She is different from our youngest daughter, although their stubbornness gives them away as sisters. The youngest is more independent and daring, both traits I worry about in the future. She doesn’t speak yet, but has learned how to communicate in her own way.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am a lucky father of two cute, healthy, happy girls. The other night my wife and I each put a kid on top of our shoulders and danced around to music while the kids cracked up. It dawned on me then that as many worries as I think I may have in life, I have it pretty good too. My worries are not those of most of the world. I have been blessed and I am grateful. My girls remind me of that and keep me in check. There are always memos to write in the office, more work to be done at home, more exercise to do, but sometimes you have to stop, put your three-year-old on your shoulders and dance.