Does Looking Back Hurt Your Future?


I wonder if I am looking back too often and too much, and does that mean that I am living in the past. What is a good balance between both looking forward, reminiscing, and enjoying my past memories versus looking forward? Is this contrary to the current view of living in the moment?  

With my dad passing away I find myself reliving all my past memories including those with my dad.  I am having a hard time understanding and or putting these memories in focus.  I keep coming back to the finality of he will never be around anymore, and I will not see him until I pass away.  Is it a problem to look back, and want to enjoy what you had in the past?  Is it just as unhealthy to look forward constantly?  Is it just part of the grief process?  Who's to say.  Also what are memories anyway if not to be enjoyed?  

Do you ever notice that when you look back and think about someone who has passed away you think about the positive things? Is this common? If it is such a normal occurrence, why don't we think about doing it for people that are alive? I think the world would be a much better place, and will be much more positive, if we focused on the positives in people rather than the negatives. 

My looking back might also may be a coping tool for my apprehension towards the unknown of the future.  Am I a little nervous of the unknown.  I do like things to be in order, not many surprises, "Buttoned up".  Hey that's the accountant in me.  Would I live a more exciting a full life if I get outside that organized world?  I believe yes.

I am also working to develop a balanced focus that builds on my experiences from the past, what the future has for me, and living in the current.  This will allow me to really be grateful for what I already have.  Improving this balance will also get me out of the comforts of the past and build new memories.  How about you? 

6 ways that Nozbe can increase your productivity


There are thousands of productivity tools out there.  Nozbe is the tool I use to track and complete my projects and tasks.  Nozbe helps me get things done.  Here are six ways that Nozbe can increase your productivity.  

1. Nozbe helps you focus on what you need to get done.  Not what you want to or should get done but rather what you need to get done.  You can quickly filter down to right must get done today.  Use the "Priority" Star rating and view and only these tasks will be visible.  Use the Edit button and you can arrange the tasks in priority order.  Then burn down the list from top to bottom.  I try to have only 3 items a day that must get down.  By filtering on "work" or "home" labels I can show the appropriate 3 focus items.

2. Capture all the projects that need to get done - Following the classic and proven GTD approach you can capture all your projects and feel good about having everything in one spot.  For those tasks that don't need multiple steps (projects) to complete just use a "Home" or "Work" project to group these tasks in a "project" and get them out of your Nozbe inbox.  

3. Quickly send thoughts, tasks or projects to Nozbe through email.  Nozbe handles the important task of getting thoughts immediately recorded when you think of them.  You can set up a unique email address that allows you to send items to your in-box.  Set this as a contact in your email application and the address comes right up in your email composer.  A great way to get everything in one spot quickly. 

4. Nozbe is multi-platform.  There are IOS, Mac, Windows, Android versions that sync across platforms.  Regardless of your platform you have your tasks, projects and areas of focus with you everyone.  

5. Nozbe is easy to get started using.  You spend your time getting things done not fiddling with your productivity app.  The tool can be configured as easy or as complicated as you want.  A quick set up of projects and categories and you are ready to go.  Then you can refine your Nozbe configuration as you use the tool. 

6. Nozbe can be used in a team environment to assign and track projects accross a team.  Everyone is synced to what is critical and the most important things are set up to get done.  

7. Nozbe integrates and works well with other tools such as Dropbox and Evernote.  The linking of files and notes in both these applications within Nozbe is awesome.  This really ups your productivity game. 

Look for a future post that describes in detail how I use Nozbe to get things done. 

What Mom Never Told You About Photography Gear

What if gear did matter? From David duChemin, and his gear is good vision is better philosophy to other pro’s that downplay the importance gear, we hear that gear doesn't matter. But what if it does? I would argue that depending where you are on this spectrum of "beginner to Expert" photographer, gear does matter and its relative importance is based on where you are on this spectrum. I like these descriptors rather than Amateur - Professional. These are better descriptions of your use of photography rather than skill set. (Do you use your photography to buy your shoes! to borrow a phrase from David Sparks).

Success in any endeavor, including photography, is based on three facets. Confidence, Skill / Vision development, and Experience. I think gear fits in as a component of confidence. I would also include view of self and what others think of us as factors in developing and increasing our confidence.

Confidence, for people starting out on the photographic journey, I would say is probably just as important as vision, and builds with experience. Obviously all the factors I am talking about are not mutually exclusive. As with anything in life the ability to bring confidence to bear is key, and the less of it you have the more this is important. How much do you think having adequate gear plays to improved or even generating confidence? I think it plays a big piece. I equate this to fake it till you make it.

Walking into a situation be it a client shoot, a portrait session, photo walk or even a personal project, with reasonable gear will help improve you confidence. Not having to think about (read - worry about) if your gear is inadequate is big. This will allow you to use that energy to focus on developing your vision, building your experience; and all that builds confidence. It will help to alleviate the negative energy in the situation. If you don't have the confidence then you will really benefit from the gear.

When I say gear I am talking about reasonable gear, do we all need the D4 - no. With reasonable gear then you can build upon the confidence through training and experience.

Do we need to worry about gear?

Now is there a chance that the the gear facet gets out of balance with everything else and turns into an obsession? Absolutely; I think when you are starting the journey you need to commit to evaluating what is necessary to get you to the point of not worrying about gear. For everyone this is a different point but could include a reasonable DSLR and a fast 50, for others it could be a full frame DSLR and a 70-200 2.8. This is something you need to honestly evaluate. Decide what is enough gear to stop the negative energy of not having enough. The key is when enough gear is enough?

With gear out of the way you can continue to work on your experience, and vision development. In the end these will be more important to your long-term success than gear. As your “amount” of experience and vision grow, the importance on gear will diminish.

In Summary Gear is important, but needs to be kept in balance. Success in any endeavor is built on confidence, skill / vision and experience. and in photography I would say that gear plays a part in that success.

Why Do Parents get so Worked up at Youth Sports

Why do parents get so worked up at youth sports?  I wonder if it has something to do with living through your kids?  It seems like the more verbal or fired some of the parents are the parents  supporting the opposing team seem to feel like they need to match the intensity or "support".  Are we not supporting our kids or team enough if we don't match the other teams supporters' intensity or support?

Everything seems to escalate and what good does that do?  Typically by the time we are back in the car on the drive back home or to the hotel the children have forgot about the game and are on to the next thing.  We as parents need to do the same.  Just let it go folks.  I guarantee that no one at the 11 year old Pee Wee Silver Sticks Tournament is getting drafted on Monday.  It ain't happening.   When you signed up for hockey it was for your daughter or son to play hockey.  I don't think they said we are here to win championships or get your child drafted.  All that money is going towards ice time, tournaments, and the ability to haul around putrid hockey equipment in your car. 

Do you think all the bitching and complaining about the coaching really does any good?  Do you ever notice that the biggest complainers are the ones who never volunteer for anything?  Yea so do I.  We just need to enjoy the game, reward the children for their effort and enjoy the experience.  What if  the parents had to line up and shake hands after like the kids do?  Something to think about.  

Focus on Experiences

Am I obsessed with material things? After really considering this and many other things after my father passed away, I came to one overarching conclusion.  I need to focus more on experiences than things.

When I stood up and talked to people gathered for my father's wake I talked about experiences and events, not that he paid for my college education or put food on the table.  That's what came to mind.  It was the experiences. And they weren't always the epic experiences but just everyday experiences that made an impact on me.

That is what I want to do for my family; give them experiences they remember. Hopefully most of them are positive but even the negative ones (remember the spilled milk at wild wings)! That is what we really need. I believe that focussing on material possessions leads to "what's next" rather than experiences that you really enjoy and bring a great feeling into your mind.

Do you find yourself thinking back more about experiences or possessions? Experiences typically come to mind for me.  Even when they were about driving towards a thing.Back in the 70's I wanted a stereo so bad. I spend the entire summer washing dishes at The Nugget restaurant in Rochester Michigan saving up for that. I can still remember that September day going and buying that Onkyo Receiver the honking speakers, the turntable and the tape deck. And when I think back on that my memories are of the satisfaction of working towards that goal, not the stereo. The stereo is long gone but the memories last.

That was a wonderful time for me. I can think back when my friend and I setting a goal to ride our bikes out to Stoney Creek Metro Park to go fishing. We had never ridden that far and really set that as a goal.  I never thought that powder blue Schwinn Continental 10 speed would take me so far. I can still remember that crisp summer morning. We even arrived before the park was officially open to auto traffic.

Focus on the experience.  The experience is timeless and is not something that is thrown out or donated once you pass on to your next experience. Experiences are wonderful things that keep giving.

I believe memories are not directly relational to cost. That trip to the park, that board game, that wonderful day with family on Christmas. Those are not epic, costly items but rather inexpensive and timeless. They aren't free, remember you are investing the most valuable commodity time. You can always get more money, and things, but you can get more time back. When you invest time with someone I believe that is the ultimate gift. Nothing pays more dividends that time.

Invest your time in memories and experiences rather than just focusing on things. Challenge for the next 7 days at the end of the day ask yourself a simple question? What experience or memory did I create today? Strive for 75% memories 25% things.

Should I Stay or Go

Should I Stay Or GoWe all age. At some point we are all going to die.

When you get the call that it looks like someone is on the other side of recovery you have some tough decisions to make. Should you stay or go?  When do you choose your family over your job? Every time might be your knee jerk answer.

In these times is that really true? When I was faced with this decision after getting a call from my brother regarding my father I was in Europe for work. Not easy to just jump in the car and get over there. There was a bit of coordination and additional cost involved. I also wanted to manage the guilt I was feeling towards my job performance.  What would leaving early do to my performance and effectiveness as a leader within the Finance group? 

Here in the U.S. there is so much insecurity, some imagined but some real about losing your job, or moving lower down the pecking order. This can be especially true when your focus and balance swings more towards your family. You need to figure out where that balance is and how to manage through it.

Call it real or not but I was really conflicted with deciding if I should have left Paris and jumped on a plane or stayed. The guilt I was feeling for abandoning my work was real, the money involved in the trip, the cost of returning home early was real and significant. I was comparing that guilt to the thought that he would pull through and it would be a "false alarm".

In the end, I waited a few days and then cut my trip early to go back home. The fact my boss demanded that I get on the plane and go helped the decision. Hey, maybe I'm the odd ball but it was a tough decision for me as I always try to balance work and home. But I feel good about the decision now. I think you need to make sure that the guilty feeling is not overwhelming and will not haunt you (on both the side of family and career). Replacing that guilt with the feeling of being able to say good bye is comforting. I know it was the right decisions but that didn't make it any easier for me.

Maybe it was a little bit of insecurity on my part and overly concerned about my job. But when I thought about it logically there was no way that leaving to go home would impact my job. But it still weighed on my mind.

It was the right call, my father passed away five days later.