Focus On What Matters: A Life Lesson From an English Busker

It was summer in London – warm, clear skies and we had just finished an amazing day of sightseeing.  I was on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with some of my best friends.  It stayed bright until late in the day so even though it was already evening, the sky was lit up with color.

As we entered the tube station surrounded by other tourists jabbering in different languages, I heard a busker strumming Oasis’ Wonderwall on his  guitar down the hall and singing the first verse –

Today is gonna be the day
That they’re gonna throw it back to you
By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now
– Oasis – Wonderwall from (What’s the Story) Morning Glory

We tossed in a few coins and kept walking.

After we passed and he finished the verse, he went silent for a few seconds.

We were almost to our platform when I heard him start strumming again.

I assumed he was going to continue the song – but he didn’t.

Instead, he began singing the opening verse again –

Today is gonna be the day
That they’re gonna throw it back to you…

Time Travel 101 – Techniques For Reliving The Past and Seeing The Future

“The best way to predict the future is to create it. “
Peter Drucker

I remember the first time I saw Back To The Future – one of my all time favorite movies about time travel. 

I’ve often wondered ….

  • What I would do if I could go back in time?
  • What would I see if I went forward in time?
  • Would I (eventually) make some mistake that would cost me my guitar playing skills forever – or would I go on to greatness?

With that, here are the ways I time travel into the past and forward to the future….always successfully returning to the present. 

Your New Year’s Resolutions Are Doomed Before You Even Begin – Unless…


We’re almost done with first week in January: the week where more  New Year’s resolutions are broken than any other.  

According a study conducted in 2002, 25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week alone. Within 6 months, over half of us will have given up.

Why? Why is it that so many resolutions are doomed from the start?

Here’s one major reason I’ve found with clients:  you need to learn how to balance these new resolutions with your prior commitments.

Strategies for Nurturing Your Professional Network and Professional Relationships

“It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living.”
– Bob Burg (Author of the Go-Giver)

In this guest article, Alpesh Shah discusses a fascinating study that shows how most people acquire their jobs – via their networks.  He then discusses how he applied this to his life, and provides tips you can use to nurture your own professional network.

Speaking in Public: A Step-By-Step Guide to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety

I had an interesting discussion with a friend recently about how even people with great interpersonal skills may struggle with speaking in public.  As someone who was once relatively shy, and now speaks on panels and to large groups, I felt it would be useful to share some of the strategies I personally used.

In this article I discuss five steps I took to increase my own public speaking abilities, and also discuss how I overcame my stage fright.

A Software Engineer’s Guide To Speaking With Non-Technical Managers

The news wasn’t good, but bad news doesn’t get any better with age.  I presented our project manager with the facts:

“We can’t complete our development in time based on these ridiculous estimates” I said bluntly.  “Everyone has been behind schedule, just like we said last week.  There is no way that our team is going to make their deliverables based on the current deadline.  Our development and productivity is only going to get worse the more we are rushed.”

After the meeting, the best manager I’ve ever had, Moe Nwankwo, told me he appreciated that I had been frank – and then gave me some constructive criticism and advice I’ll never forget:

“Sid, you can’t talk to project managers like that.  You can talk to me and developers that way – but you need to speak to our PM in terms she can understand and act on.

I did not fully absorb what he meant at the time, but as I grew as a software engineer I am amazed at how poorly I communicated my concerns in the past.  I have since learned the secret of communicating effectively with my non-technical managers.