personal

A city to be proud of

I have never been more proud to call Las Vegas home than this two weeks. I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect from us in a time like this. I like to think we are a great town, with great people, but I’m biased because I have never really known anything else. I now truly know how much spirit there is and how strong we are.

In the last two weeks, we have cried together, hugged together, cheered together. We have given each other blood, food (lots of food), therapy, time to rest and time to get back to normal. We have realized how stupid some of the things we focused on really are, and we know much more about what is important.

When we went through and survived the Great Recession, I always told people – and still do – that those with the longest memory will be the ones to succeed in the long run. Meaning we shouldn’t forget what factors led to us hurting so much in the recession. I think this event will be like that too; but not for the lessons learned from an attack. We will need to handle that for sure. But more important for the health of our community is to remember what it is like to support each other. To care for each other. To respect one another. To realize we are each an indelible and irreplaceable link in this community’s chain.

It is taking all of us to get through this together. If we can get through this together, think what other amazing things we can do together.

I have never been more proud to call Las Vegas home than this two weeks. But the best part is that I’m confident this won’t be the last time I say that about my hometown. Thank you Las Vegas, for giving a born and raised kid renewed faith in all of us, and great hope for the future.

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personal

One week

One week. Seven days. 168 hours. Each one of them felt like a struggle. They went so fast, but took forever.

I’ve had weeks in my life where I feel like I can’t even remember what happened, or felt like I got nothing done. We’ve all had them. Reminds me of Tim Urban’s Ted Talk, where he shows a picture of every week of a 90 year life.

90 week life.png

Every week is precious. Not every week was like this one. And I won’t forget this one.

A week ago, music fans were a little more innocent. They weren’t perfectly innocent, because unfortunately, mass violence has happened at music events far too often in the past couple of years. But they lost some more innocence this week.

A week ago, we had Neysa, now we don’t. What we have is a host of people supporting her family, especially her three sons.

A week ago, Las Vegas didn’t know how strong it was or could be. It knows now. I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the height and depth and breadth of our strength. I pray we haven’t even seen the half of it, because we are going to need so pretty superhuman strength for a while.

A week ago, I didn’t know what tears were. I cried so much n March when my dad died. More than I ever had, maybe cumulatively, in my life to that point. But that was nothing. This week, I cried 58 times that much. Wait, make that 530 times that much. Check that, 2 million times more. Because everyone in Las Vegas was affected, and I hurt for them.

A week ago, I cherished the smile of some great people at work. Smiles I took for granted during other weeks on that grid. Smiles I pray I never take for granted again.

A week ago I couldn’t fathom how much a team of people – my team – could hurt. But I also couldn’t imagine the strength a team of people – my team – could display. And love. And compassion. And hugs, so many hugs.

A week ago, we wondered when our hockey team would win its first game, now we wonder how they could lose, seeing as how they are #VegasStrong.

A week ago, some people became part of history, others became heroes, many more became witnesses to grieving, healing and everything in between.

My prayer is that this coming week, we remember them all like we did this week, we grieve and heal together, we come together to discuss how we can prevent this in the future.

For this one week, I hope we are #VegasStrong. We will take care of the weeks after that later.

personal

One day (part 2)

One day. 24 hours. How much can change in such a short time.

24 hours ago, the world was a little more innocent.

One day our friend Neysa was with us, smiling and laughing and building others up, like always. 24 hours later, we didn’t. 58 other families had the same day.

In one day, we’ve seen the absolute worst in humanity, and the absolute best. I am so proud of our city, of my team, of humanity. I am still scared for what comes next.

In one day, as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran said, everything can change.

Yesterday was one of those days. In 24 hours, we learned there is yet another way to make us feel unsettled in public. We also learned that Las Vegas will not give up that easily.

All I really cared about for the last 24 hours is people. Our teams, our vendors’ employees, our fans, our artists and their teams. We didn’t get them all through it, and that will stay with us forever.

Now it’s time to grieve, heal and rebuild. We have all the support in the world already; great friends, partners, citizens. We can do this, together. I love my team, and know we will keep each other strong. We want to be in the arena. We will not back down.

I have friends that were born and raised here like me. We’ve all taken a blow. We will all come out of the corner swinging. We don’t know any different in Vegas. And I know that in the near future we will be beaming with pride in how we have responded.

One day. A city changes. We can’t go back and get a different outcome, that’s not how life works. But tomorrow will be better than today, and the tomorrow after that. Today has been a long day. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come.

 

arena, personal, sports, Uncategorized

One day

One day. 24 hours. How much can change in such a short time.

One day this March, I had my dad. Then a day later I didn’t.

One day in 2015 I was in finance, leading treasury and building an analytics program. Then a day later I was trying to figure out arena operations, and then a larger entertainment division.

So many more moments. You have them too. In one day, as Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran said, everything can change.

Tomorrow is one of those days. In 24 hours, we will have hosted fans for the first preseason professional sporting event of a Las Vegas home team ever. EVER!!!

I’m sure my team is less nervous than me – that’s why I have them doing the important stuff. I know they are prepared, we’ve been working on this for quite a while. But that doesn’t guarantee things will go well. We know it won’t be perfect and that we will have things to work on – preseason is practice for us too! But we are professionals and we want to do well, so tomorrow will be one long day for us.

And if we don’t do well, the fact that it is preseason won’t stop folks from criticizing us. I guess when you work on a sports event it is super relevant to reflect on a Teddy Roosevelt quote: http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html – critics like to extend a long day into a long night.

I have friends that were born and raised here like me. We’ve spent most of our lives debating whether pro sports would work in Las Vegas. One day. We won’t know tomorrow, but I do know that one day from now those same friends will be beaming with pride.

One day. A city changes. I know what I want the morning headlines to say in 36 hours. They will say that tomorrow was a great day. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come.

 

 

leadership

Book review – Extreme Ownership

“Extreme Ownership, How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win” is a book by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. As you might guess, the two authors are former Navy Seals, and their leadership philosophies are based on their time as Seals. So while they certainly apply lessons from “general” military leadership, their lessons are informed greatly by the practical realities of Seal combat.

If you know me, I like practical leadership lessons. So this book was entirely worth it to me for one lesson: Take ownership of everything that happens under your watch. The story I reflect on most in the book was when a mission went bad and the bosses came in to hear what happened, assign blame, etc. The good soldier Seals tried to take responsibility, but the leader stopped them and took responsibility for the entire scenario.

Certainly that thought alone could lead to some pretty counter-productive micro-managing. But of course the authors, being military, help by emphasizing the tools that allow leaders to trust – communication in the field; processes that are simple, defined and communicated; prioritizing and executing;, and being decisive.

I was lucky enough to be reading this book at around the same time as “MOVE” by Patty Azzarello (which I reviewed in June), which included some great complimentary concepts of how a leader can hold their teams accountable while not micro-managing.

I recommend both of these books for practical tips on being a more responsible leader, with a goal of lowering your overall stress level and being proactive, not reactive. And with “Extreme Ownership” hopefully you find yourself resisting the temptation to blame others when things go wrong.

 

 

family, personal

Random events with a purpose

Well am I glad I moved my mom out of Nokomis, Florida just over a month ago or what? Am I about the luckiest guy in the world that my wife convinced me to not give up when my mom suddenly changed her mind about moving. And how thankful am I that her doctor was able to convince her to move.

For those that don’t know, Nokomis is near Venice Florida, just south of Sarasota, and a bit north of Naples. Naples where the hurricane basically went right through.

I would have been worried about her with Hurricane Irma, but I wouldn’t have been preparing to help her or evacuate her. And then Irma shifted paths. And my mom would have been screwed. I would have had a really hard time getting to her.

Thankfully, random events lined up in our favor. Others won’t be so lucky. For everyone who can piece together a series of events and be thankful, others feel the sting of a series of “bad luck” events that put them in harm’s way. Some will suffer medical issues at the absolute worst time. We thankful ones need to be mindful of the unlucky ones, do what we can to help if that is possible. And give them strength when we can.

It is not for us to know the bigger plan, I suppose. But we know adversity is part of life; we have to support each other through it, rely on our faith and our humanity. Be self-aware and mindful enough to recognize when we are lucky, and be thankful. Be humble enough to know our fortune will not last. Be confident enough to know that bad times can be lived through, we can stand firm in our faith and in each other.

 

family, personal

Saying goodbye to a home

This past week, I went back to Florida to do a few clean up things for my Mom, like turning her car in. Part of my “itinerary” was to clean up the house. When Joyce and I moved Mom back, all we had time to do was clean out the perishable food, grab her clothes and some personal stuff, sending six UPS boxes home and bringing every suitcase she had with us. Thanks American Airlines, for free checked bags for Platinum customers!

In between trips, the realtor moved anything personal or not desirable for staging into the garage. So when I got back, I was faced with a manageable list of stuff to deal with:

  • The rest of the food
  • The remainder of her clothes
  • Personal items – mementos, etc.
  • House “stuff” like cleaning supplies, décor items, etc.

You would have thought food wouldn’t be a big deal, given it was just my Mom…but unfortunately people with dementia or related issues don’t remember what they have or don’t have when they go grocery shopping, so I ended up taking several large contractor bags of food to Goodwill, and threw away several other contractor bags of food.

Clothes wasn’t a problem, but the funny part is that as I was filling a bag with shoes, from one of those hanging shoe storage gizmos, when I found a set of car and house keys. Nice hiding place, wish I had found those several hours before when I had turned the car in…

Personal items took a while. My mom and dad kept a lot of mementos, pictures, cards, etc. And then journaled and scrapbooked and filed it all. Now I know where I get it from. I found some cool stuff though that we somehow missed when we were with my mom, like a whole album of stuff from her high school, and the book of my grandpa’s (dad’s side) poems. He was a great poet, also where my dad and I both got our writing bug I guess. And of course my mom had stashed even more of our school reports, pictures, and notes from when my brother and I were young.

There was plenty of other stuff too. So in between some work calls, I went for about 6-7 hours just filling contractor bags and boxes of stuff. Sent one box home for keepsakes, took 20 contractor bags to the dumpster or Goodwill, and several items were freestanding or were in regular garbage bags. My lower back was rightfully sore for a couple of days after.

The house still has all the furniture, if a buyer doesn’t want it I will get an estate sale person to deal with it. And I never did really get the garage cleaned out. That’s going to either be another trip or just having the estate sale person clean it out.

I rewarded myself for my hard work with a nice blackened grouper meal and a beer. Maybe the last seafood meal I’ll ever have in this little outpost of Florida. But not before a last wistful moment in the house, now almost empty, that my parents lived for almost 20 years. A house I may never see again. They spent the best years of their lives in that house, and for that I’m thankful. I said a quick prayer and hello to my dad, and looked forward to getting back and giving mom a hug. They definitely got the most out of that house as a home, and I am glad I was able to see it one more time.