I’ve got my pre-order placed for the new iPhone 6 for me and my wife. I received a UPS tracking number for both with an expected delivery date of Friday, September 19. We’ve held off with our out-of-contract iPhone 4S models waiting for this release. Since we’ve never had new technology on day one, we are totally geeking out right about now.

So, I thought I’d see if iOS8 was available for download yet for my iPad and, voila, it is also here! I kicked off the download for my iPad, and it said the download was a whopping 1.1 GB in size. As I use the iPad, download times slow even though I’m on my home network connected to wifi. I attempted to launch the upgrade on my daughter’s iPad Mini as we are looking forward to using Family Sharing. No such luck; although the download for her Mini was 850 MB, it requires free space of 4.7 GB to install. Guess I have to delete some apps and photos to upgrade her iPad Mini to iOS8.

Some 30 minutes later and my iPad is still churning away. So, I put away the iPad till morning and let the update complete. When I woke up and continued the installation, here’s what I experienced:

I was first greeted with a Hello. iOS then asked me if I wanted to enable Location Services. I was asked to sign in to iCloud, then to accept the Terms and Conditions.

The next prompt was about iMessage and FaceTime. It asked if I wanted to receive these on both my cell number and on my Apple ID email address. I answered yes to this prompt. Next, I was greeted with the first iOS8 feature – iCloud Drive. I was asked if I was ready to upgrade. In this case I answered no because I still have iCloud attached to my IPhone 4S. Because I’m replacing it on Friday, I will not upgrade it to iOS8. So, I’ll upgrade to iCloud Drive when my new iPhone arrives.

Next, I was asked to enable iCloud Keychain, which I did. Not sure how much I’ll use that yet but it doesn’t hurt to enable it for now. The last setup prompt was whether I wanted to enable App Analytics, to which I answered yes.

Finally, I’m off to the races! Here are a few cool things I saw that you may not have been aware of with iOS8.

1. You can now enable Siri to respond to your vocal command of “Hey Siri” without touching your device. It requires the device to be plugged in to power, but that’s a neat little feature configurable under Settings, General.

2. In Spotlight Search, you now have the choice of including Bing Search and Spotlight Suggestions in your search results. That option can be found in the Spotlight Search under Safari settings.

3. You may have heard of the new audio and video messages that you can send through iMessage. But, did you know that you can set time limits for how long they exist on your device, a la SnapChat? The default is two minutes each, configurable in iMessage settings.

4. The new Handoff, where you can suspend an app and switch between devices, is found under Settings, General.j

5. Family Sharing can be enabled under the iCloud settings. If you have not enabled it, you will be prompted to do so the first time you access the App Store.

6. The all-new Tips app brings you new tips from Apple every week. Go to that app and find more new ways to experience your Apple device with iOS8.

I wrote this post on my iPad and the Smart Text at the top of the keyboard has been really accurate, though I’ve not used it yet. I am hoping that it can save me some keystrokes down the road.

So there you have it, my first look at iOS8. We’ll see how all of this plays out when we have the new iPhones and upgrade some of the supporting services.

Question – have you upgraded to iOS8 yet? What has been your experience? First thoughts?

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Until you have relationship in place, there is no trust. Without trust, you have no buy-in, and rules seem to be limiting and constricting. Those subject to the rules spend all of their time trying to figure out …

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New Year, new start. Today is One One. You’ll see the significance of the date in my post below.

I am a die-hard Alabama football fan. Tomorrow I am going to the Sugar Bowl with my boys to watch them take on Oklahoma. But oh, what might have been. I’m just now able to bring myself to write about the Alabama – Auburn game. What a fantastic football game with a breathtaking or heartbreaking finish, depending on the colors you wear.

As an Alabama fan, I am crushed by the loss. I am extremely proud of the team. None of the outcome can be laid on any one person. I titled this post “One” because so much of the game was linked to that number.

Number one. Alabama had been ranked number one in the country all year. The possibility of a third straight BCS Championship hinged on the outcome.

One loss. That is all the teams shared between them after playing 11 games each. Winner takes the SEC West title.

One field goal. Alabama missed four kicks on the day and made none. Just one made would have sent the Tide back to Atlanta.

One yard line. After an Auburn punt pinned Alabama at its one yard line, AJ McCarron hit Amari Cooper for a 99-yard touchdown to break a 21-all tie.

Fourth and one. When Alabama had missed three field goals, they went for it on 4th down late in the game deep in Auburn territory. They failed to convert, and Auburn drove to tie the game.

One do-over. The one field goal that Alabama made was negated by a penalty. Just the slightest flinch by an offensive lineman cost a five-yard penalty. The following kick was missed.

One second. Obviously. When TJ Yeldon went out of bounds at the Auburn 40, time expired with the score tied. Replays showed that time was left on the clock when he stepped out of bounds. Coach Saban did the right thing in asking that the second be added to the clock. Then, the most memorable play in all of college football for 2013 happened.

I look for leadership lessons everywhere. This game was chock full of them. Momentum swings in this game were dramatic. So what do we take from this game on One One Fourteen?

1) Every second counts.
2) You can never let up.
3) Everyone plays a critical part.
4) Coaching is critical, but the actions on the battlefield determine the outcome.
5) Heroes emerge at the most unlikely times.
6) In the end, it’s just a game.

As you enter 2014, you have an opportunity for a fresh start. No matter how 2013 turned out, you can change your path and impact 2014 starting now. How does Alabama start 2014? We will find out tomorrow. It is my great hopes that they, and you, put any disappointments from 2013 behind you and make this year your best ever.

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A couple of months ago I finally hit “Publish” on my first book, School, Scholarships, College and More. It was an awesome feeling to have something finished. But better still, wow, something now lives on Amazon that I created. Whether I sell 50 copies or 50,000 copies, nobody can take away the fact that I published a book.

Now here’s the backstory. I have essentially been finished with the book for over a year. That’s right, a year. And I wasn’t waiting for a publishing deal because this book is self-published.

It happens all the time. We get off to a fast start then slump at the end. It can affect everything we do. It’s the number one culprit for all the unfinished projects and good intentions floating around in your world. I call it “the fade.”

Sometimes the fade takes the form of shifting into low gear at the end of a work day or work week. It may look like that old project car you have parked in the yard. Or it may painfully remind you of itself whenever you look at the half-done scrapbook. Maybe it looks like that exercise bike, pair of running shoes, partially-finished website, or messy garage.

When you fade, others suffer. Either directly or indirectly, not completing your work deprives others and yourself of any possible benefit.

So what causes the fade and what can you do about it? Here are my thoughts.

Reason – We simply get distracted. When something else gains our attention we put down what we were doing and chase something new.

Remedy – Begin with the end in mind. Before setting out to do anything, be sure that you have a clear focus on what you want to accomplish at the end of the effort.

Reason – We lose interest. What sounded like a good idea at the time becomes less appealing over time.

Remedy – Be sure that whatever you begin has some alignment to your purpose. Also share your plans with a trusted friend or advisor and ask them to hold you accountable.

Reason – Other priorities take over. We are all busy and life begins to get in the way.

Remedy – Decide where your project fits in your overall obligations. Track where you are spending your time and see if you are letting other lower-priority activities take the place of what you should be doing.

Reason – We bite off more than we can chew. Underestimating the amount of effort something takes to complete shows itself sometime during the project.

Remedy – Don’t over-commit. Break down the goal into manageable, bite-sized chunks. Then, break it down by half again because our tendency is to overestimate our available time and energy. And be patient and realistic about when you think you can complete the work.

Reason – Others tell us that what we’re doing isn’t important. I doubt anyone tells you this outright but they tell you in subtle ways – not reading, not showing interest, not asking questions, comparing you unfavorably to others.

Remedy – Do the work. What you have to offer is important. Even if others have gone before you, the way that you say things or do things will be absolutely unique and will connect with some in the way that others just cannot.

Being aware that the fade is real can help you power through whenever it happens to you. Finish strong and run hard across the finish line – you will feel like you’ve given it your best effort.

Question – When have you experienced the fade and what did you do about it?

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Photo courtesy of kaibara87 via Creative Commons license.

Photo courtesy of kaibara87 via Creative Commons license.

It has been a couple of months since my last post. Life has just been in the way. Between selling our house and moving, time spent on vacations and with family, changes in my responsibilities at work and other events, blogging just hasn’t been at the top of my list. With every season and every change comes a set of choices. Based on your priorities, some things just have to take a back seat. Unfortunately, my blog got the short end of things this summer.

I am still here though. I’ve been working away at my first book and *finally* had the courage to click Publish yesterday. You’ll find a link to it in the sidebar to the right, but if you’ll hold off a couple of days it will be free on Amazon on Thursday, August 15.

I’ve also appeared on the Company of One podcast with Dale Callahan and have been working on some other projects, so I’ve not been totally dormant.

I hope to be back blogging and writing more regularly now since the hectic summer pace is finally dying down. No promises on frequency or consistency but I really have missed the liberating act of pouring my thoughts into words.

Which leads me to my thought for the day – your creative juices need an outlet. You have probably heard of the phrase “writer’s block” which commonly refers to the writer who doesn’t know what to write next. Many people think this happens when the writer has just run out of things to say. Images of the frustrated scribe sitting behind the keyboard with head in hands come to mind. On occasion, I’ve experienced some of this as well. But what I’ve found is an interesting dichotomy – the less I write, the more I experience writer’s block. It’s as if by blocking the creative outlet that I make everything else stop, like a clogged pipe.

But when I open up the flow once more, the words begin to come. My point is this – whatever art you create, be sure that you’re giving it an outlet. Your brain can only hold so much for so long. This isn’t scientifically proven, as far as I know, but it just makes practical sense. If, like me, your mind races and shifts gears all of the time, one fleeting thought can get lost in the shuffle.

I’ve recently learned the concept of capturing your thoughts on paper and have started to implement a system for doing that. In short, the concept goes, when something crosses your mind, write it down. You don’t have to do anything with it then, but at least get it on paper. It’s a concept that has been around for some time but has been recently popularized by David Allen in his book Getting Things Done. I’m still working at this but it’s giving me the permission to not remember everything – and at my age, that’s important.

So what system do you use for organization and productivity? Do you use electronic and cloud-based systems? Do you keep a separate system at work and at home? Do you share calendars with a spouse or others in your household? How successful have you been at this? Please comment and let’s help each other figure out what is working well.

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I wrote a post recently about the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast. In that post I mentioned ways to make the event more productive and useful to the attendee. After all, the point behind learning something new is to apply it to your life.

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This week my friend Kimanzi Constable has released a new book. It is entitled “are you living or existing.” While books titled like this are normally a dime a dozen, I think it’s important that you take a look at this book and see if it helps you toward your own goals. I’ll explain why.

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Events like the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast fall into this category. There will be 9 world-class speakers on this day, all with life-changing information to share. Sadly, you will likely fall into the trap of not using the information that you hear during the event unless you have a strategy in mind. Here are five things you can do to make sure that you get the most out of this day.

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So what happens when you do all that work and get rejected by your top college choices? You have a fabulous GPA, your test scores are in the top 5%, and you have a diverse background but still get those rejection letters. One high school senior took to the keyboard and typed out her frustrations.

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Ever set out to do something then find you’ve worked your way into a corner? That’s where I am right now.

I put out a goal/resolution earlier this year to publish seven books by year’s end. Today is the last day of February and I haven’t published one. What happened?

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