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Integrity & Awareness by Paul Burnstein

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Surrounding Yourself with Experts

No one person can be an expert at everything. There are people who think they are, but they are probably lacking in social skills if that is the case.

One can be good at many things, but it is important to surround ourselves with people who can compliment and supplement our own skills. Whether we need to contract with a financial consultant or a business advisor or simply hire a marketing or sales expert fulltime, it allows us to focus on our own areas of expertise and let others handle the parts of the business where we may personally struggle.

Another option is to make sure we have mentors and coaches around us who we can turn to for bouncing off ideas. Sometimes it is simply helpful to have a sounding board so that we are not holding our ideas inside, but rather letting them out to grow.

The awareness for today is to recognize we are not the best at everything, but we can surround ourselves with those that create a team (formal or informal) who can help us accomplish our goals.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Past to Present

I just got off of the phone with an old college friend. We hadn't spoken in about twelve years and I found out last week that my mother and his wife work at the same school in Los Angeles. He and I played phone tag for the past week and then had the chance to finally speak today. Our conversation was only about ten minutes long, but it was great to catch up with someone from my past, learn about his current life and share a bit about mine.

We all live such busy lives and rarely take the time to catch up with people from our distant past, but when we do it can be quite refreshing. Personally, I love hearing about old friends' successes and even struggles. It helps to put my own life into perspective.

The awareness for today is to embrace the opportunity to catch up with old friends, classmates or colleagues. I am not saying you should track them all down, but when the opportunity presents itself, it can be helpful to see the paths that others have taken. Some easy places to find people from your past are MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and alumni directories.

Monday, February 18, 2008


While change can be scary, it can also be exciting. I am currently going through a number of transitions and they all feel quite positive; I will try to go into more detail at another time. When we are feeling good, everything around us seem to fall into place. When we are happy with ourselves and the direction we are taking, we notice and focus on the positives and this greatly improves our general outlook on life.

The awareness for today is to be open to change and transitions in our lives. If we hold on tight and struggle against them, we may miss out on tremendous opportunities.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Extreme Efficiency

I just returned to Portland last night from a quick trip to Los Angeles. While in LA, I received a call from my brother asking me to send him some business and tax software; nothing pirated, it was his software that I had been checking out. We played some voicemail tag and I had asked him to please remind me as I was out of town and had other things on my mind. My brother often gets busy with his own work and family and he did not get around to reminding me. No big deal...even without prompting, I still remembered and upon returning home last night, I put together the package he needed (and even burned him a couple of CDs that I thought he would enjoy). This afternoon, I even had the chance to get it to the Post Office.

I called him after leaving the post office to let him know that I had gotten it out and he was quite appreciative. He even asked if I could come to Minnesota and help him and his wife get out their wedding gift thank you notes with, as he put it, my "go-get-it-ness." (My brother got married last October, but has a two and a half year old who he happily allows to occupy his "free" time.)

I have blogged about this before...I work quite efficiently and can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. This is just how my mind works. I do not fault others for not being as speedy as me, but it does allow me to complete many projects throughout a day.

The awareness for today is to recognize that we do not all function at the same speed, but we can create schedules and tasks to compensate for our natural work habits.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Accepting Mediocrity

I am quite disappointed to observe that many people are satisfied with mediocrity. Just getting by is enough for a lot of people I speak with. I don't simply mean financially, but with their work and even career and life goals. I have always been quite ambitious and if I am going to do something, I want to do it to the best of my ability. I want to feel proud of the work I accomplish, the goals I set for myself and my personal achievements.

Too often do I see people just skating by and figuring that is enough for them. When did people stop caring about being the best they can be? Did they ever or have I lived with a false belief that people want to excel?

I guess that is enough to write least it is something. (That is a joke for those of you who don't know me well.)

The awareness for today is to be the kind or person who strives for the gold, not just to simply finish the race without trying.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Paranoia is a funny thing. I end up with people sending me direct comments, e-mailing or even calling me to find out if a specific blog I posted was about them. More than often it is not, but I think what is fascinating is how we can all relate to some basic topics and in turn learn from others.

I know my own paranoia sets in when I hear or read something that could possibly relate to me and it is a relief when I learn that it is not about me, however, I try to take away new knowledge from the lesson; if I didn't act or respond a certain way, I would not be paranoid on that specific subject.

The awareness for today is to learn from our, as well as others', mistakes and even if we are not responsible for something, we should always be working to improve ourselves.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Panic Situations

Today I was involved in a situation that appeared to need immediate action. After discussing it with various advisors, I was ready to jump into action. That action would have created a much more tense and dramatic situation than was needed. Before I did jump, I spoke with one more advisor who cooled me down and in a very rational way helped me to look at the situation from a different perspective.

After that discussion, I went back to the drawing board and decided to not function from a place of panic, but rather measure the situation and give it some time to self correct before jumping into action. The situation still needs to be dealt with, but it can be held off for a short bit and handled from a place of stability rather than panic.

The awareness for today is to breathe when necessary and gather as much information as possible before making drastic decisions.