All We Need is a Little Patience … And A Good Idea of the What

With a wonderful business, you can figure out what will happen; you can’t figure out when it will happen. You don’t want to focus on when, you want to focus on what. If you’re right about what, you don’t have to worry about when ~ Warren Buffet

by Pete Ferguson

As I look at where I am today with work, with my personal finances, and with family, I can’t help but appreciate the importance of patience.

Five years ago I wanted to sell our current house to move into a larger one. I wanted to find a new career. I wanted a lot of stuff.

And I had plenty of people willing to take my money to give me what I thought I wanted at the time. But nothing felt right except to stay where I was and dig in deeper.

Years later, that is paying off well. Our house will be paid off early next year which means the only interest in my life will be what I receive from the bank and investments. The only bills we will receive are the usual water, electricity, gas, phone, and Internet.

Most of the stuff I owned five years ago has been replaced. And the stuff I thought I wanted would now be mostly obsolete.

As we await our sixth child, I can’t help but think how much better it is to live in the now, invest in quality in all areas of my life, and enjoy the ride instead of staring at the rear-view mirror or trying to imagine what is over the next horizon. Sure I’m putting long-term plans into place in anticipation of the future, but I’m not spending the majority of my time dreaming of mansions above when I have such a great existence in the here and now.

With a wonderful life, you can figure out what will happen; you can’t figure out when it will happen. You don’t want to focus on when, you want to focus on what. If you’re right about what, you don’t have to worry about when ~ adapted from Warren Buffet

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Mistakes We Make in Job Interviews Infographic

by Pete Ferguson

I love Infographics! I subscribe to receive emails with several a day and I’m constantly surfing the Internet for new examples of how to breakdown complex information into a graphic representation.

This topic of job interviews is a great one. One of my largest pet peeves when I’m the interviewer is when I ask the applicant what they know of the company I work for – which is the World’s Largest Online Commerce with two of the most visited websites in the world – and they don’t know about and they’ve never used our services. You don’t get hired for your great personality alone … you need to do your research!

You should spend 10-20 hours researching the company, seeing who you may know who already works there through LinkedIn, etc. and use their products before showing up for the first time and trying to convince them you are a good fit.

For those who regularly screen and interview, consider a tip I read in HR Management magazine and have applicants post a 2-minute video online explaining why they are the best candidate and 2-3 questions specific to the position. What used to take hours to sift through resumes and hold initial interviews or phone screenings will be a very entertaining 20-30 minutes max.

My favorite was when we were hiring for a training expert with experience in video production and web design. Many applicants contacted our recruiter saying they hadn’t uploaded a video to the Internet before and did he know of a site where they could do that? This shortened the list very quickly as I consider publishing a video to YouTube easy enough for even me to accomplish with one thumb press on my iPhone.

Of the videos we did receive, one guy was using a headset and the webcam for his current employer’s computer, sitting in his current cubicle with coworkers walking behind him. That one was a great laugh and that was all it was.

Unfortunately, not a single applicant did anything creative, mostly just talking heads reading a monotone script or “winging it” with bad lighting and sound. I was amazed no one was willing to go out on a limb a bit and put together something entertaining to show their creative side.

It is pretty much a given that your LinkedIn, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and other accounts will be reviewed. So don’t post anything your father or mother would be shocked to see or read. [My dad reviews my posts regularly and provides wise feedback and input.]

Last week I was conducting a phone screening interview with a candidate and so I pulled up her profile while I was talking on the phone to compare against her resume and I saw that she had stated that she was voted #1 Mom by her three daughters. I have three daughters, and that made an immediate connection that softened me up through the applicant’s nervousness. So I asked her about it, she laughed and asked if that was appropriate to put on her page. I thought it was! She then slowed down and became a lot more humanistic instead of robotic.

Painting your humanistic side is good. However, I don’t recommend using your favorite bar or beach photo for your LinkedIn profile (seen it many times), and the old saying of “what happens in ______ (Vegas or company party, or wherever) stays in _______” didn’t account for smartphones, Google searches, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

And now to the promised infographic:

Link

Play to Your Strengths

I have a mentor, someone I really look up to and who has been very successful in business. When we talked recently, however, she discussed many areas she sees with great growth potential – and I’m very grateful for her advice. 

What I struggle with, however, is that those things currently identified with six-figure part time work aren’t things I’m really crazy about. When I saw this article on Inc.com I was again reminded – play to your strengths and you’ll never work a day in your life.

I’m currently finding I am gravitating back to what I thought was a hobby – graphic design – in taking complex statistics and making them a lot more relatable in info graphics. When I’m doing it during work time, I feel guilty, like I’m playing and not working. For those of you under the age of 25 – you may not relate. I really value this in the younger generations – their ability to do what is rewarding today instead of putting their nose to the grindstone in hopes of doing what they want at age 65.

So for those of us over 35 – if you feel guilty doing something worthwhile (not sure how many rewarding jobs there are playing video games or stalking people on FB) while at work – that is probably because it comes easily to you as a talent. And that is exactly what we should be pursuing because we can bring a lot more value with less effort and all parties involved win!

Happy Thursday. 

The Perpetual Gift of Music

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ~ Plato
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by Pete Ferguson
It is 6:20 in the morning. I sit here typing on my computer listening to a very passionate rendition of “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saëns from the Carnival of the Animals collection played by my 15-year old son Mark on the cello. In the background I can hear my daughter’s flute, but cannot pick up the tune.
Mark has much ground to travel before he is at Yo Yo Ma’s level, but I can feel his desire to play this most soulful piece with passion and a desire to be true to the piece.
At 5:00 I was awakened by the piano. Too lost in the world between dream and reality, I do not recall what he was playing, but it is the best way to start the morning slowly and at my own pace.
In another 30 minutes I will hear my two younger daughters duo practice – both sitting on the piano bench with Ashley facing forward playing the piano and and Abbie facing the opposite direction playing violin.
AbbieAshleyPractice2014
Abbie and Ashley do not play the same piece, in fact they will not even be playing at the same tempo. Quite remarkable as I am too easily distracted to attempt a similar feat.
This gift of a gradual wakeup only happens during the week.
As I lay in bed last Saturday morning at 7:40 am to a silent house I realized how much I will miss all of this in 20 years when my yet-unborn daughter will likely move out to pursue her life’s passions with her older brothers and sisters having long since moved out.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
My love for music began early. My father was a translator for university music departments traveling to Asia and so we would be invited to preparatory performances. I cannot recall the exact moment the spark ignited, but it has burned ever since. I started violin in third grade and piano I believe in fifth. Unfortunately I lacked the discipline to advance forward and when we moved at age 13, I put down the violin and have not yet taken it back up again although I play the piano from time to time.
As I watched the Super Bowl last week, with men in their 30s heading towards retirement (and many of them with physical injuries), it struck me that my children – if they continue the pursuit of music – will just be warming up in their 30s.
And I realize that like the Olympic flame, music is a gift that continues to be shared with others wanting to listen, wanting to also learn to play, or wanting to compose anew. And what a wonderful gift to enjoy.
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ASIS Utah – January Kickoff

If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Screenshot 2014-01-18 05.38.02My dear fellow Security Professionals,

Happy New Year and I hope your 2014 is off to a great start!
For over a decade I have been involved with our chapter at varying levels – and with varying levels of satisfaction – and I am humbled and excited about how I can work with our Executive Board this year to bring additional value to your interactions with us this year.
I have spent a lot of time talking to peers throughout the world, nation and state, and the most common feedback I hear is “bring us value and we will come.” From my personal perspective and the feedback I hear, ASIS has gained a reputation as being too much about hardware and RFPs and not enough about day-in-and-day-out security operations. Additionally what I hear is a request for is more tours and continued focus on management skills.
Screenshot 2014-01-18 05.48.25
For 2014, I have two ways of measuring success:
  • We will create seminars you will look forward to attending and want to bring officers and peers (HR, Facilities, IT, InfoSec, etc.) with you;
  • Monthly meetings will be something you will plan business travel around because you want to take part in the value provided.
Many of us find ourselves in our current role as an accidental career. I have not heard any child – with the exception of my own son when he was 10 – ever say they want to grow up to be in corporate security (I told my son to stay in school and pursue a different path). This is unfortunate, but a reality.
Security is often the cold leftovers of a retired military or police career, or an accidental path, like in my own case, that we stumble upon.
The great news is that many of us are excited about our current ability to protect lives and property and find great joy in the challenges and opportunities of this field and how it is the “spoke in the whee” in many organizations that ties together HR, Facilities, Legal, InfoSec, Risk Management, IT, Finance, Admins, Management, and other functions.
We are the first – and last – face many employees see. Occasionally we literally save lives, put out fires, stop thefts and prevent crimes. We all share in the challenge to transform Security into something high school and college kids ponder, better understand, and potentially may find enough sex appeal to pursue.
When I walked away from a career path dedicated to Communications, Marketing, and Public Relations, I could only make peace with myself by committing to transform this industry and negative perceptions people have when discussing security as a career path into something excellent. We have great obstacles to overcome, but it is a worthwhile endeavor and I look forward to going on the journey with you. Please provide your feedback early and often. Volunteer your services and break down the many silos that currently exist.
Kind Regards,
Pete Ferguson, ASIS Utah Chair
P.S. In May we will be meeting with the Information Security Society of America (ISSA) for a half day conference on protecting networks and buildings from outside hackers. We will partner with them again in September for another conference and trade show. I have already received an offer for us to tour the new Adobe facility and we will be going mobile by having at least one meeting in Ogden and one in Provo this year (I’m game for St. George as well, just need a local host and a few week’s notice).

Time to Be Unreasonable

“The Reasonable Man Adapts to the World; The Unreasonable One Persists in Trying to Adapt the World to Himself; Therefore, All Progress Depends on the Unreasonable Man.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

by Pete Ferguson

I was reading about Spotify (the best, highest-quality audio streaming service by far) founders’ vision of changing the world’s #1 hotbed of pirated music – Sweden.

“Naive” – Daniel Ek invited all of the top music labels to meet with him – at the same time. They weren’t sure if they were “allowed” to all discuss the “Biz” at the same time, in the same room. But he persisted and they remained, took a bet, and now Spotify is rewriting the way I ingest music – and happily pay for the higher quality, instant access to exact songs – not stations based on a song I kinda like.

Ek is a pirate in another sense – he refused to go with the status queue and is convincing Swedes that paying for music is a good thing.

All the greats who are shaping our future world aren’t ones to go with the flow of traffic. They are the outliers. The rebels with a cause. The passionate. The visionary.

I’m coming to realize my voice, and it is not pacifist. I used to think something was wrong with me because I didn’t fit in. I didn’t like to go with the flow, but felt guilty about it. Now I just realize it is a God-given gift, and one that has been engendered by my father (a library administer who convinced Columbia University and Hong Kong University to invest a lot more in “non-paper books” and instead sink considerable investments into e-literature.)

About 13 years ago I walked into a Security Mangers’ meeting and wasn’t impressed. I only got into the business for one reason: to change the perception of the Industry. Move from “guards and cards” to something much greater. If you complain long enough, eventually someone gives you the keys and tells you it is your turn to drive. And so now I’m going to be the Chair of that meeting group in 2014 and I’ve got big plans for taking us to the next level. Yet I fear I may be the only one running with the mast flowing in the wind. Time will tell.

Col. Sanders didn’t get his recipe to go global until he was in his 90’s. And I’ve now seen Kentucky Fried Chicken on every continent where I’ve stepped foot.

What recipe is in inside of you?

It’s time to be unreasonable.

Something for Nothing

When you get something for nothing, you just haven’t been billed for it yet. ~ Franklin P. Jones

"Hoarding Man" by Gary Locke

“Hoarding Man” by Gary Locke  – Visit TheGaryArtGood.blogspot.com 

by Pete Ferguson

Hi, I’m Pete, and I’m a recovering addict.

“Hi Pete.”

I’m not addicted to drugs or booze (or smoking crack cocaine while I was in a drunken stupor in Toronto). I’m addicted to something much worse and more spiritually toxic.

I’m addicted to wanting something for nothing.

I’m inpatient at heart. I want everything. Now.

I understand hard work pays off, and that’s great. I just want it to pay off immediately.

But when it does, I’m not happy with the results. In fact I’m empty inside and I want more.

I heard a great quote this week about addiction:

Addicts love things and use people.

And ain’t that the truth? Because I can never get enough stuff to be happy. And lots of stuff without meaningful relationships is really an unhappy place for me to be. And so I go after more stuff, only to find that I only feel less happy – so of course I self-prescribe the need for more stuff.

But I did say I’m a recovering addict. And Step 1 is to admit to my problem – and to admit I am powerless over it. And so I’m declaring to the world that I’m recovering from stuff-itis (the desire of too much stuff).

In 2007 we had $178,000 in consumer debt plus another $140,000 on our house. Student loans, a travel trailer, a nice big truck to pull the trailer (which we never could afford to fill with gas), and our former mortgaged condo that was supposed to be a profitable rental along with the “miscellaneous” second mortgage, credit cards, and other nonsense.

Pride was of course the root of my problem. Trying to keep up with friends who were doctors and hedge fund administrators. In the end, none of us won the race. I just about lost my marriage because of over spending though. Divorce isn’t the trophy I wanted, however.

Then one night in August I was sitting on the back bumper of my financed $30,000 truck parked next to our $15,000 trailer feeling pretty smug as I talked to our neighbor Tony.

Tony was the guy with the two beater cars that he was always fixing and whom we’d all make funny remarks to as we’d walk by. “Broken again, eh Tony?” or “nice ride.”

That was until on that August night I found out Tony was getting his Masters’ degree in pharmacology and that his house would be paid off in several years and he would be completely debt free.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so smug. But I did suddenly fell like a real phony.

Tony had overcome his addiction to stuff. And he enjoyed two beater cars because he liked the fact that there was no monthly car payment more than what others thought of him driving two beat up cars.

Tony was focused on the here and now with a hope for the future. And that is how I started my recovery. I started to focus on enjoying today and being thankful for what I already had.

The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. ~ Marcel Pagnol

As I began to focus on the here and now, I started to see how my addictions were robbing my future.

More debt now means less financial opportunity later.

A compliment on stuff only lasts a second, leaving me to want to have more stuff to get more compliments later.

More food today means twice as much exercise or a few additional pounds in the coming weeks (still working on this one …)

Three hours of TV today means I and my kids will want four more tomorrow.

Gossiping about others leaves me feeling worse about myself. And so I want to gossip more about others.

The cycle is a bad one. Because to get a “high” I have to overdo what was done yesterday. And the “high” doesn’t get me moving towards good long-term goals. It paralyzes me and robs my future.

You may have thought this post was going to be about current political events. And it could be. But the reality is that until we are a united nation where everyone is working out their own addiction to wanting something for nothing, Washington won’t hold any hope regardless of campaign posters.

America’s greatness comes from people working hard to fulfill their dreams. But today that greatness is being undermined by people using the government to steal other people’s dreams (and money). Rather than participate and innovate in the marketplace, generating goods and services that benefit society, people are increasingly vying for political advantage to live at the expense of others. – Excerpt from Something for Nothing by Brian Tracy

Speaking from experience, shutting off radio talk hosts and turning inward is extremely difficult. And it is painful because what I find each time I go digging into my own junk isn’t pleasant. There are many skeletons of pride and regret of using people and becoming a slave to way too much stuff that needs to be cleaned out, resolved, confessed and repented of before I can move forward.

But turning inward allows me to focus on the now. And living in the now is extremely rewarding. I become empowered to make today the best day it can possibly be. And at night as I look back over a good day, I’m content and at peace. And I’m excited about tomorrow. Ten years from now will take care of itself.

Self-analyzation isn’t fun – Self-Portriat by Martin Gommel

Consumer debt was only the most publicly glaring addiction. It took a lot of work, but we finally sold the truck, trailer, condo, and anything else we could and dug in deep. Several years later we were able to declare we were debt free except for the house. In a year from today our goal is to be rid of that monkey on our backs as well.

Television was (and still can be – thanks to Netflix) a serious addiction and robs time at the expense of opportunity. So we pulled the plug and haven’t had cable or satellite for many years. Reinvesting the $80 a month into music lessons is paving the way for future scholarships.

Dumping TV has had weird side affects though. Our kids have a hard time coming up with many items for their Christmas list when they aren’t at the mercy of advertisers. I never had that problem as a kid …

But I’m not here to pat myself on the back – although I’m very content and at peace with the progress I have made – I’m still addicted to wanting something for nothing.

It just moves around into different forms. Which gives me plenty to work on and strengthens my faith and reliance on my Heavenly Father.

What’s your addiction?