Forward, Always Forward!

by John on December 4, 2017

I didn’t expect to get dizzy when I reached the top, but I did. My first thought was “JP, what in the hell were you thinking?”

I willingly climbed up an 8-foot ladder and then another 40 feet off the ground to the top of the tower and tried to turn around on a pole. Yes, I was wearing a climbing harness and there were six of my colleagues holding on to the rope, but it was still a bit unnerving.

Who am I kidding, unnerving is me being polite, it was scary. I managed to maneuver and turn around, with my back was solidly pressed against the pole. I didn’t think I could take a step forward, let alone walk to the middle to high five my colleague who was standing on the other side looking just as bewildered.

Turning around was tricky, taking a step forward was even trickier. I shuffled forward tentatively, asking for my colleagues to take up the slack because in my mind the pressure kept me safe.

My mind flashed back to one of my favorite books about General George Patton and his directive “Our basic plan of operation is to advance and keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through!”

My first steps were tentative, the next few got easier and finally I was in the center of the pole. Standing there, looking at a view of Biscayne Bay, and then at my colleague, we managed to finally laugh at ourselves.

Dismounting required you to lean backwards, keeping your legs locked against the pole, looking skyward. You try to “gracefully” descend by not hitting the pole you were just standing on (easier said than done).

Once I hit the ground and climbed out of the gear, I was laughing at my foolishness.

Now you can roll your eyes at work offsites, but this one was different. This simple exercise required you to overcome your personal fears and then truly believe that you colleagues wouldn’t let you fall. Believe me, falling from that height would not be cool.

During the debrief session, we all collectively started to realize what we accomplished. While it wasn’t some radical new strategy, or something incredibly profound, it was eye opening. I realized that you need to, and can trust your team. You need to keep moving forward, always keep moving forward.

Patton’s right, keep on advancing. Even the tentative steps forward are still forward!


Thankful 2017

by John on November 22, 2017

I’ve been in a funk for the past few weeks. Who am I kidding, it’s been a few months (but we’re friends, so who’s counting). I’ve been doing some reflecting and trying to ascertain just whats causing my angst and what I can do to fix it. I mean you can only fight the funk so much with a funky Spotify playlist, sooner or later you’ve gotta get out of your own way.

I realized that one of the things that helps me is to realize how lucky I am and that I cannot take anything for granted. Since it’s the thanksgiving time on the calendar, I figured I should genuinely and publicly say thank you. Here’s my list for 2017:

  • I’m grateful for my girls. They keep me grounded, keep me on my toes, and while they try their hardest to drive me crazy, they make it up with unconditional love.
  • I’m thankful for the people who take my phone calls when I’m genuinely needing counsel. I probably don’t call to shoot the breeze as much as I should and I’m working on that, but it’s not easy to appear vulnerable and I’m glad that you never hold that against me.
  • I’m thankful for the ability to work in a profession that I absolutely love. I worry about my colleagues, my students, and the future, but hey you already knew that I was a worrier. I am challenged It makes me a better colleague/co-worker.
  • I’m thankful for the people who come to me asking for counsel and advice. I still don’t think I’m an expert, but I am opinionated and passionate about stuff and when asked, I do share.
  • I’m thankful for the kind (and funny) responses when I do my series of “Random Texts from Johnny Nyk”. You are awesome and I always smile when people reciprocate. Makes it all worthwhile.
  • I’m thankful that I’m getting better, albeit, slowly.
  • On a cheesy superfluous note, I’m thankful that Spotify has The Beatles, and that I can share my love of music with my daughter. She’s also teaching me a few things about the new pop artists and it’s always fun to discuss music with her.
  • I’m grateful that we survived hurricane season this year. I’m also glad that it’s almost over (just eight more days…)
  • I’m humbled to participate in Leadership Miami. This is leadership learning on steroids and the formula is quite interesting. Put a bunch of Type A’s in a group and have them work on a project to better the community. It’s an awesome feeling to be humbled, it helps to purge the personal hubris.

Finally, there are too many people to mention, but I want you to know that I’m still reading all the blogs, following along with all the stories and article that you put out, and I root for each and every one of you. There are several peeps that I miss, and I don’t know when you’ll be back, but know that I’m in your corner, cheering for your success.

Thank you for indulging me. Now I need to go and have a discussion with my wife about how my soon to be seven-year-old already has an international lawyer on retainer (true story).

Makes me proud, but then again, I’m not surprised, I mean she is her father’s daughter.


#7Songs – Number Four

October 10, 2017

I have been away for a while. It’s been an incredibly busy summer and fall, and one of my colleagues reminded me today that I needed to get back to my writing. She was right, I have been neglecting my voice and what better way than to jump back into the fray than by writing […]

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen

June 27, 2017

The humidity has returned to Miami with a vengeance. For me, it’s a sign that the long days of summer have returned and I’m moved to a time of introspection and semi full time sweating. We are in full prep mode for our fall recruiting season, asking ourselves what’s new, how do we connect with […]

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My #SHRM17 interview with Sara Noll Wilson

June 12, 2017

With the annual SHRM conference just around the corner, the time has come to start planning what sessions you’d like to attend. As part of the blogging teams continuing coverage of the annual conference, I had an opportunity to interview Ms. Sara Noll Wilson, Talent and Development Manager for ARAG North America. My curiosity was […]

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