Thoughts & Tips for March 2018


Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash


I recently picked up this Pisen Wireless Presenter Laser Pointer 2500 for my upcoming GTD class.  It appears to work well has a laser pointer, mouse, and slide forward/backward.  I can also be used as a USB charger and has an internal rechargeable battery.

Thankful For

The two-day course at Rescue Academy with Mike Foster on Feb 8-9, 2018 is was awesome.  I learned so much!


My first Vital Smarts' new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training classes at work is scheduled for March 8, 2018.


Back in October 2017 I listened to this Tim Ferris interview with Jocko Willink.  This what I remembered Jocko recommending to get started with a new exercise.  He said to just do that thing as much as you can.  And then rest, and then try to do it again. Rest. Repeat trying and resting up to 8 times.  I've always sucked at doing pull-ups.  So every day in November, I just tried to do one. Over and over again.  And by the end of the month I could do one.  Then December became two pull-ups. January ended with 3 pull-ups.  And in March I am doing 4 pull-ups 6 days a week!

Quote I'm Thinking About

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." - Donald Rumsfeld

Thoughts & Tips for January 2018

IMG_6963Photo by Steve Holden


I got a Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder for Christmas (see below).  I'm really excited to try it out in Hawaii (see below).

Thankful For

The A Holiday Variety Show in Hollywood, CA at the Fonda on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 was awesome.  My favorite band CHVRCHES played three songs.  It was awesome.  UPDATE (1/23/2019): More details if you are interested. 

Christmas was awesome.


My son won a trip to Hawaii and is taking me - January 2 - 7, 2018.  

We also have tickets for the musical Hamilton in San Diego, CA in January 2018.


I'm still prepping for teaching my first set of classes using Vital Smarts material for a new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) training class at work. 

And I signed up for a two-day course way out my comfort zone - Rescue Academy with Mike Foster - in February 2018.  I'm going to learn a lot, and hopefully help more!

Running Tips

Stretch (~10 minutes) plus do several different sets of situps and pushups before a run. Do pull-ups after your run.

Rotate shoes everyday.  I have 5 pairs of shoes and rotate through them.  I usually just get the basic running shoe at Costco.  This has worked better for me than having two high-end running shoes and rotating between them.  I switch out a set of shoes after about 6 months.

Thoughts & Tips for December 2017

Jamie-hagan-37691-unsplashPhoto by Jamie Hagan on Unsplash


My primary computer for the last couple of years has been a Chromebook.  I recently upgraded to an HP Chromebook 13 G1, and I'm loving the 16-GB of RAM and Intel Core m7 processor.  I was able to find it on Craigslist, so I got a pretty good deal on it. Review of this chromebook at PC Magazine.

Another great find on Craigslist was a Garmin Fenix 3HR for tracking my runs, swims, and other health data.


I'm really looking to A Holiday Variety Show in Hollywood, CA at the Fonda on Wednesday, December 13, 2017.  My favorite band CHVRCHES is organizing and playing as part of the show.

My family and I are planning to see the new Star Wars movie on Saturday, December 16, 2017.  I'm very excited about Episode 8!


Last month I took a today training class from Vital Smarts that will enable me to teach the new 1-day Getting Things Done (GTD) at work.  It was a great experience and it will be awesome to be able to help others with GTD at work. As an introvert this really got me out of my comfort zone. More info on train the trainer programs at Vital Smarts.


One of the key take-a-ways from the GTD training was looking at my Next Action list before doing anything in the morning like checking email.   While hard to do at first, this has really given me a focus on what was on my plate for the day in a way I've never experienced before.

During the month of December I re-evaluate all the email lists I am on.  I usually unsubscribe to 90% of them.  It makes my inbox for the new year all fresh!

Global Leadership Summit (GLS) 2017 Notes (#gls17, #gls2017)


I recently attended with many members of Christ Lutheran Church the Willow Creek Association (WCA)'s Global Leadership Summit 2017 (#gls17, #gls2017).  I experienced it via remote campus video streaming at Journey Community Church in La Mesa (@Journey_Church). They are awesome hosts!

My full notes that I took are available in PDF if you are interested.  (Original version posted on 8/18/2017. Updated on 8/19/2017.)

In reviewing the notes before posting this, I've been thinking and contemplating on the following 'big ideas' since the event:

  • We need leaders who do not fight with each, but work together.
  • At the end of each day, list three things that you are grateful for in a journal and reflect on them.
  • There is no correlation between thinking you are creative and being creative.
  • We (as followers of Jesus) have to be with the people who have problems. Be close to people who are suffering.  Go where the pain is. Serve them.
  • Create within your organization a culture that recognizes and embraces change rather than resists change.
  • If you (as a leader) give ‘freedom’ to your employes at a level that starts to make you feel uncomfortable, then you are on the track.
  • WHITESPACE is a ‘strategic pause’ taken between activities, and we all need more pause in our lives.
  • Studying "Failed Teams" is not going to show you how to build "Best Teams."
  • Consider this: 'talent x effort = skill' and 'skill x effort = achievement'. Effort counts twice.
  • Courage like fear is contagious.

I also have notes from 2014 and 2016. If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, etc. on any of the topics in this post, then please let me know.

Global Leadership Summit 2016 Notes (#gls16)


I recently attended with many members of Christ Lutheran Church the Willow Creek Association (WCA)'s Global Leadership Summit 2016 (#gls16).  I experienced it via remote campus video streaming at Journey Community Church in La Mesa.

My full notes that I took are available in PDF if you are interested.

Each speaker had a great depth of insight, wisdom, suggestions, etc.  Here is one quote or thought from each one of them:

  • It is cruel to not tell the employee how they are doing. - BILL HYBELS
  • Everyone knows the plan, the status, and areas that need special attention. - ALAN MULALLY (wikipedia)
  • All lives are equal and work on behalf of others. - MELINDA GATES
  • We put a . (period) at the end of our title but God puts a , (comma).  - BISHOP T.D. JAKES
  • Customers want: product is perfect, you serve them timely, and that you care. - HORST SCHULZE
  • The four skills of EQ (Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Management). - DR. TRAVIS BRADBERRY
  • Cultural Mapping is critical to understand if you are working with other cultures or countires. - ERIN MEYER
  • Row row row your boat: Drifting is not going to get you there. - WILFREDO DE JESÚS
  • When interviewing a top candidate you need to get them out of the standard interview scenario and see how they react with people. - PATRICK LENCIONI
  • There will always to be more good ideas than there is capacity to execute. -  CHRIS MCCHESNEY
  • Your negative “TAPES” (playing in your head) hold you back, they need to be put on hold. - DANIELLE STRICKLAND
  • FAITH is from God, FEAR is from Satan. - JOSSY CHACKO
  • People have uphill hopes and downhill habits. - JOHN C. MAXWELL

In reviewing the notes before posting this, I think the following big ideas are worth highlighting:

  • Everyone wins when leaders get better.
  • Leadership is moving people (energizing them) to a preferred future (from here to there).
  • Deal with reality and trust by work together.  Move RED to YELLOW to GREEN status reporting.
  • When in empowering: #1.) Build their character. #2.) Empower through relationships; and #3.) Agree to the right outcomes with measurable metrics.
  • Are some people better team players? Yes, and they (universally?) have these values: Humble, Hungry, and Smart.
  • Work on only 1-3 Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) at one time.

I've also attended in the past and notes for 2014 are available if you are interested.

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, etc. on any of the topics in this post then please let me know.

Short Introduction To David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD)


On Sunday, July 17, 2016 I did a little presentation at my church about David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD).  Here are the references I used to prepare:

The focus of the presentation and the hands-on exercises included:

  1. Mindsweep
  2. Two Minute Rule
  3. Project Brainstorming

Here are the PDF copy of the presentation+notes.

Other material highly recommended for additional personal development (not in any particular order):

If You Can Do One Thing In San Diego ...

1st Draft Posted: April 6, 2016 - 2113 PT


Motivation: One of my favorite bands Chvrches is coming to San Diego next week (April 14, 2015 - SOLD OUT) and this is a gift to them. If they have time and have a good experience doing any of these, then I've paid them back just a little bit for the joy I've gotten from their music and how they treat their fans.  If you have other suggestions, questions, thoughts, etc. ... then leave a comment or let me know on Twitter @ sholden.

Thrill Ride

Burger & Fries*

Walk On The Beach

Pizza & Beer




Something New

Really Good Mexican Food + View To Die For + Great Place To Camp

The Best Mexican Food



Ice Cream

*I really like burgers & fries at In-N-Out and Five Guys.  These are worth experiencing if you haven't.  Picking one is hard.

Recipe: No-bake Breakfast Cookies


I recently made the following no-bake breakfast cookies, but I had to substitute honey with Log Cabin Syrup and flaked cereal with Cheerios. They turned out awesome (my serving size ended up being eight).


1/2 cup honey (or light corn syrup)
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk (instant)
1/2 cup raisins (or chopped dates)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups flaked cereal (coarsely crushed)


  1. Heat honey and peanut butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until blended.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in dry milk.
  3. Fold in cereal and raisins. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto waxed paper to form mounds.
  4. Cool to room temperature.
  5. Store in refrigerator.

Nutritional values per serving (makes about 12 servings): 160 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 110 mg sodium.

Originally posted by Montana State University Extension, Nutrition Education Programs via What's Cooking, USDA Mixing Bowl

Review of Six Flags Magic Mountain


On Friday, May 29th Carson and I went on a day trip up to Valencia, CA to ride roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Here are the rides we went on and they are prioritize with our favorites (high to low):

  1. Scream: Smooth, fun, easy to see where you are going, 
  2. Batman: Smooth, fun, easy to see where you are going.
  3. Twisted Colossus (new!): Very fast, long, not as easy to see where you are going, intense
  4. Gold Rusher: very simple, classic easy style
  5. Ninja: a lot like Batman but not as intense
  6. Viper: Very fast, bumpy for Carson
  7. Orient Express: slow and clam
  8. Grand Carousel: great way to end the day [only horses though :-( ]
  9. X2: Way to scary
  10. Full Throttle: huge loop; slow at top (feels like falling - yuck!), plus one "trick" that we won't tell you about but we did not like it
  11. Apocalypse: Very jerky, long wait

Basically we both agreed that we like smooth and easy to see where we are going roller coasters.  We don't like: feeling like we are falling, bumpy, and going backwards.

All in all we really liked the majority of rides and look forward to going back sometime in the future.

Photo Tip - Try Black and White (B&W)

I am not an expert in photography but here is a tip that has been useful for me.  

When I get a picture that has some sort of issue like to much light or not completely in focus, I do a conversion to black and white (B&W) to see what I get.

Here is a recent example (using Picasa 3 on Windows) that looks pretty good to me:

Carson's Birthday Party

Do you have any other suggestions for situations like this?