Where I occasionally share my musings.

Creative Conflict

03.05.10 | | | Posted in Reflections by | | | 2 Comments

creative conflictIts funny, when I first signed up for Twitter I was fairly convinced it was worthless. So worthless in fact that I ended up completely deleting my account! 18 months later Twitter was still there and growing and I knew I had missed something so I signed back up and even was able to get my old username and everything. My re-entry into the world of Twitter pretty closely corresponded with our move from SLC to Boise, and as I was determined to make some use out of twitter so one of the first things I did was follow everyone I could find who was from Boise. I probably follow 100 people (or more) from Boise and know maybe 10 of them. But now, in a small way, they are apart of my life (and if they followed me back, I’m apart of theirs).

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Da Bears, circa Spring 2010

03.05.10 | | | Posted in Fun by | | | 0 Comments

Da BearsSo… its NFL free agency time. I don’t know how it snuck up on me so quickly… oh yea, its because I’m a Bears fan and we don’t normally do anything the first day of free agency! BUT WAIT! The Bears did make a block-buster trade last off-season for Jay Cutler. Remember, the trade that brought The Messiah to Chicago? I guess that didn’t really work out well. BUT WAIT! It seems when jobs are on the line (Lovie, I’m looking at you) priorities change.

Apparently the Bears are going to make some moves today. I can’t even believe it. But I’m not going to get all excited like I did last off season. My friends and family deserve better. Stay tuned…

UPDATE 7:50am: OK, so I’m a little behind this morning. We’ve already made our first signing! I know nothing about Brandon Manumaleuna or why we think we need him. Although it does seem like this guy is a Mike Martz guy. Martz doesn’t really know what to do with catching TEs which is unfortunate since we have 2 pretty good ones in Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark. Hopefully they remain apart of the Bears future.

UPDATE 12.33pm: Awesome. We just made our second signing. Chester Taylor is a stud and we definitely need a second back. Having both Forte and Taylor as options in the back field couldn’t get any better for a Martz style offense. Both can catch the ball as well as they can run it. Now if only we had an offensive line!

UPDATE 1.08pm: Alex Brown just tweeted “Great day for the bears! Watch out offenses the bears defense will be tough!” which leads me to believe we actually did sign Julius Peppers. Unbelievable. That guy is a monster on the field and with Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator it could spell big things. Look out, da bears are back!

UPDATE 2.55pm: ESPN is saying Julius Peppers is a Chicago Bear. Crazy.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

02.08.10 | | | Posted in Personal Mission by | | | 0 Comments


Me! Sort of.

I can’t quite pin down the first time I heard about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or personality tests in general, but I fully remember my response. Bull Crap! Actually, it was probably a little stronger than that, but this is a family friendly blog. I thought it was laughable, and no doubt insulting, that you could answer a series of questions and voila! out popped a pre-packaged personality type that could describe you in great detail.

Well, I was wrong. At least for me. At my previous employer, I had the privilege of getting some great training on personal and team performance based around the MBTI and look back at that training as invaluable to me now. Not only do I understand myself better and how I function best but have the tools to see how teams and other individuals function best (or not) through the lenses of the MBTI. If you’ve never had the same privilege ask your employer to consider providing it for you. And if you’re self-employed its worth the time and money investment. And if you are an HR professional and don’t use MBTI you should be. You’ll love yourself for making the decision to do so.

My MBTI is ENTP. That’s Extraverted, iNtuative, Thinking, and Perceiving for the uninitiated. And I’m a perfect example. Here’s the Myers-Briggs description:

ENTPs are quick to see complex interrelationships between people, things, and ideas. These interrelationships are analyzed in profound detail through the ENTPs auxiliary function, introverted thinking. The result is an in-depth understanding of the way things and relationships work, and how they can be improved. To the ENTP, competence and intelligence are particularly prized, both in themselves and in other people.

ENTPs are frequently described as clever, cerebrally and verbally quick, enthusiastic, outgoing, innovative, flexible, loyal and resourceful. ENTPs are motivated by a desire to understand and improve the world they live in. They are usually accurate in sizing up a situation. They may have a perverse sense of humor and sometimes play devil’s advocate, which can create misunderstandings with friends, coworkers, and family. ENTPs are ingenious and adept at directing relationships between means and ends. ENTPs “think outside the box,” devising fresh, unexpected solutions to difficult problems. However, they are less interested in generating and following through with detailed plans than in generating ideas and possibilities. When ENTPs are used correctly on a team, they offer deep understanding and a high degree of flexibility and problem solving ability. The ENTP regards a comment like “it can’t be done” as a personal challenge, and, if properly motivated, will spare no expense to discover a solution.

If you’ve made it this far into this post then congratulations! Your voyeuristic tendancies are as developed as my narcissistic ones are! OK, lets just pretend that’s not true.

StrengthsFinder 2.0

02.05.10 | | | Posted in Books, Personal Mission by | | | 2 Comments

Strengths Finder 2.0Its amazing all the things you are told through out your life that is sheer rubbish. Frankly I’m surprised things aren’t more screwed up than they already are! Women (who are rail thin) are told they are fat and worthless by pretty much everyone. Men are told they are impotent and insignificant. And the kids who are the lucky ones are told they can be anything they want if only they work hard.

Just before Christmas I decided to pick-up Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 and “find my strengths”. In the book, Tom Rath, takes issue with some of the rubbish I just mentioned. In particular, that myth that we are told that we can be anything we want if we just try hard enough (or I would add, are lucky enough, or are blessed enough). Rath submits that, “you cannot be anything you want to be”, which put a knot in my throat and really rubbed me the wrong way at first. I can be anything I want damn it! But he continues on to say, “but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” Ah… now, that’s something I want! I want more of what makes me good to begin with!

The basic idea here, folks, is quit trying to be something you are not. Instead, be better at what you are already good at… in fact, try to be great at it! Its not a revolutionary thought until you start to apply it to your life! I probably spend a good 70% of my life trying to be something I’m not. Not really on purpose, but because that’s what I’m suppose to do, right? I need fixing, right? Well, in some ways, yes. But I want to spend my life living in the strengths God gave me… not the weaknesses I have been living in!

So without further ado… my top five strengths:

Strategic. I see patterns where others see complexity. Its a way of thinking, a perspective on the world, which allows me to play out “what if” scenarios until I’ve found that path which makes the most sense to move forward with. And then I strike.

Activator. I’m impatient for action. Only action is real. Once a decision is made, I cannot not act. Action and thinking are not opposites; in fact, action is the best vehicle for thinking and the only way to stay fresh and informed.

Adaptability. I live in the moment. The future isn’t a fixed destination but something yet to be determined. I hold my plans loosely because change is expected and inevitable.

Maximizer. Excellence is my standard. Give me the diamonds-in-the-rough, not the other “precious stones”. If I’m going to put in the effort, I want to go from good to great; not fair to average.

Woo. I enjoy winning people to the cause. And I probably won’t give up until I have. I’m rarely at a loss for words or reasons or arguments to convince you the cause is worth your time too.

Being Awesome

02.02.10 | | | Posted in Personal Mission by | | | 2 Comments

Water dropI have a friend (more than one surprisingly!). And he is one of those guys you’re glad you are friends with. He loves his family. He works hard at his business. He’s passionate about his interests. I know, that’s a lot of people, but he’s also willing to share and encourage at the drop of an email. I love that in a friend.

Geoff is his name, and being awesome… well, that’s his game. (Sorry Geoff, that was crazy cheesy, but its written and I don’t know how to erase yet on the computer screen, so…) He just re-launched his blog, This Tiny Empire and I think you should do me a favor and at least go by once for a visit. I think you’ll enjoy it.

As I’ve thought about my life this evening I came to realize that its easy for me to feel sorry for myself and get depressed and wish for things to be different but what would actually be helpful for me, my family, my business, my everything is to be awesome. I don’t know about you, but I need a little more awesome in my life. In fact, I’ve decided that I need to turn up the awesome in my life… and that’s exactly what I intend to do. Stay tuned…

My Three Words

01.30.10 | | | Posted in Personal Mission by | | | 0 Comments

Leader. Creator. Storyteller.

My 3 WordsThose are my 3 words. At least today they are; its the best I can do on such short notice. I’m putting together my résumé and as I’ve been looking at others, one had their 3 words listed under their name (I wish I saved where I saw that, but I didn’t). I loved it. And it got me thinking, what are my 3 words? So today I spent some time thinking about that and this is what I came up with.

Leader. I’m a leader. In my family. In my business. Even in my interactions with others. Every day I have a choice to lead or relegate. I want to choose to lead, and lead well. What’s amazing about leadership is we are all given that choice every day. We are all leaders. Unfortunately we don’t always take that seriously or do it well. But I’m taking it seriously and I’m striving to do it exceptionally well in whatever situation I find myself with that one choice: lead or relegate.

Creator. I debated between creator and inventor. But I felt like inventor sounded like I was some mad scientist toiling away my evenings in the garage. I still wonder if creator is right. Perhaps innovator. Or explorer. Or visionary. Whatever the case is, its that certain way at looking at the world that brings clarity to chaos. It finds the best solutions to complex problems and ways to maximize opportunities while minimizing obstacles. Its that instinct, that way of thinking, that lets you create your own path and see your own vision. Its about helping and making others better because you can see in them what they have not yet seen. Its that creator gene. And I’m making it my 2nd word.

Storyteller. One of the greatest distances between us homo sapiens and all the other creatures in God’s Big Zoo is our ability to tell story. I love story. I could tell stories all the time. True stories, fake stories, those in-between stories. All of them. My favorite program (on any medium) is still This American Life because its all about story and the art of telling the story. I’ve learned more about being a storyteller from that program than all the other resources I’ve ever used to hone my craft. My future is in flex, but I do know that storytelling will always be part of it.

Update 01/31/10: So I did a google search for “my 3 words” and apparently this isn’t a novel idea… at all! Just wanted to let the internets know that before the self-assigned honesty police come on by to flame me!

Macs, and iPhones, and Tweets! Oh, My!

01.29.10 | | | Posted in Technology by | | | 2 Comments

Dorothy and friends...How did the world function before the iPhone? I can’t even remember. Honestly. I can’t even pretend-imagine.

I was in the car with The Wife and The Boy yesterday in Nampa, ID. I don’t even know how we ended up there, but we did and I was completely lost. Trusty iPhone to the rescue (and Google Maps too)! But wait! We can’t leave Nampa yet? Why? We need to eat, that’s why (I’m fairly certain the wife must be prego). What to do?

Well, why you think about it, I posted this to Twitter from my iPhone (with the great Tweetie app), “Lost in the 2C and need to find a place to eat with the family! Suggestions?” and within 60 seconds I get this response, “Where are you by? There is Brick 29, Darby’s, Krung Thai, House of Kim, Le Belle Vie all by the DT core.” from @TreasuredValley. Who… I’ve never even met in real life. And guess what? Brick 29 is awesome!

And on the way home we reserved a RedBox via our iPhone to watch on our iMac that night.

I’m serious here folks… how, did, we, do, it?

Running a Small Business

01.15.10 | | | Posted in Reflections by | | | 0 Comments

The entrepreneur and the worker.For about the last 3 years my wife and I have run a small business that helps individuals who work for non-profits and have to raise their own support with their marketing (newsletters, websites stuff like that). Whenever I tell someone that I “own a small business” they get all dreamy eyed and usually say, “that’s great!”. Unless of course they are a small business owner themselves in which case they ask how business is doing and usually 100 other relevant questions. This has led me to believe there are really only 2 kinds of people, the entrepreneur and the worker.

Now, before I go any further, I could be totally wrong. This is a simple hypothesis I’m chewing on. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance by this time tomorrow I’ll think something completely different. But, until then, this is what I’m going with.

The entrepreneur believes in tomorrow. Tomorrow holds even greater possibilities and profits than today did. The worker believes in today. Today put food on the table and helped pay the bills.

The entrepreneur believes in rocking the status quo and risking his security. The worker believes in putting in a honest days work for a honest days wage.

The entrepreneur believes in himself. The worker believes in others.

Now, for the record, I don’t think the entrepreneur is better than the worker, or the worker better than the entrepreneur. In fact, one without the other is dangerous for the sanity of all those around him or her. And I think for any small business to succeed you need both the entrepreneur and the worker. The entrepreneur gets all the street cred, but its the worker who makes the world go round.

My 2 cents on this fine winter day.

Seth Neal 2.0: New Blog Focus

01.10.10 | | | Posted in News by | | | 0 Comments

Coming SoonI forget how long ago I bought sethneal.com but when I did I had allusions of grandeur of how I was going to share me with the world through writing. Turned out I wasn’t really into writing a new post every week and I’m lucky to write a new post once a year and I quickly realized my allusions were nothing more than delusions! However, it being a new year and all (and in keeping with my delusions), I’ve decided to rededicate myself to sethneal.com and transform it more into brochure / résumé site for yours truly.

Now, this new mission is nearly as ridiculous as the first, as 1) I run my own small business with my wife and don’t really need a to put out a résumé and 2) I’m not famous and don’t really need a site all about me. Good points. Both of them. Let me try to explain my thinking…

First, Jill and I have been talking (as us married couples do once in a while) and we feel its time I start moving away from life at Staff Monkey and find some new and exciting challenges (and thus perhaps I do need to update my résumé!). And second, when you do a google search for yours truly, well, this site is the first thing that pops up (which isn’t a good thing presently). I need a better first impression than this… Thus, update needed.

No doubt the first thing I need to do is head over to the world’s best WordPress theme site, ThemeForest, and purchase me a new theme. Stay tuned….

Da Bears, Circa Fall 2009

01.05.10 | | | Posted in Rants by | | | 2 Comments

I can remember when I sealed my “fan-ship” to the Chicago Bears. I was 10 and the Monsters of the Midway were doing the Superbowl Shuffle on their way to a glorious season. You can relive that glory right here:

Mind you, the Superbowl Shuffle was done before they won the Superbowl! Hellz ya. I was a Bears fan for life.

Little did I know at the time I was devoting myself to over 2 decades of debacle and misery. But, like any good fan, I stayed true to my team hoping for returned glory year after miserable year. The 2000s have been particuarly hard since the Bears have actually had talent on the team (as opposed to much of the 90s). Yet, we’ve only made it to the playoffs 3 times this past decade and only won any playoff games in 2006 when we made a Superbowl run.

That 2006 Superbowl lost convinced me that Rex Grossman could never be a winner in this league. You can’t play like a pro-bowler one game and like a JVer in the next and expect good things week end and week out. Lovie Smith though, stood by his quarterback, something I both respect and hate about Lovie. Long story short, we haven’t been back to the playoffs and we haven’t had a quarterback. Until 2009 that was.

The trade for Jay Cutler this off-season shook all Bears fans to their very core. This was the #$%^ing Chicago Bears. We don’t make blockbuster trades. That’s left to the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys or Oakland Raiders… But, in March we did the unthinkable and traded for a very young probowl QB who was going to walk around on Lake Michigan when he wasn’t winning us every game we played.

I drank the cool aid. Lovie and Jerry showed me something that I didn’t think they had in them. And our 2009 season was the most disappointing season in memory. I don’t really have a point or moral here other than to say I hope the 2010s are better for the Chicago Bears than the 2000s were.

Bear Down, Chicago Bears. Bear Down.