Stand Out in the Crowd

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Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, I feel everyone wants to be appreciated and remembered for something.

I spent this morning realizing that we have an endless web of resources at our fingertips, thanks to the internet, for improving ourselves, learning how to be a better leader, coworker, employee, family member, or friend. And most importantly, I have accepted the fact that I will never be able to read everything I would like before my time on the Earth is over.

But that should never stop us from trying. Today is the day that you can get started – find an interesting article, and then build on it. The thing I realized today was that if you find a great article or posting, there is almost another one sitting right there on the same site for you to go even further into this ‘web of knowledge’. And what I find is that one site will give me multiple other sites to go, and in turn, those sites will provide links to other sites, and soon you will find yourself in the middle of dozens and dozens of interesting readings that will help you to improve in your own personal life.

First of all, I want to be part of that web. When folks start digging deep into great articles and things that change their lives – whether short term or long term – I want to be remembered as one of their stops along the way to self improvement. And I won’t stop until I do just that!

So for today, I wanted to share with you a great article I just read on Inc.com from Jeff Haden below:

10 Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day

To summarize the 10 things that extraordinary people say – they are:
1. Here’s what i’m thinking
2. I was wrong
3. That was awesome
4. You’re welcome
5. Can you help me
6. I’m sorry
7. Can you show me?
8. Let me give you a hand
9. I love you
10. Nothing. (there are times this is the best thing to say….nothing!)

What you will find from this site is that Jeff, as well as others, have so many other links with similar topics.

Start today improving yourself — even if you only have a few minutes per day – everything you do every day is taking you one step closer to being a better you!

Enjoy the journey.

Ask The Tester – January 2013

In November 2011, I was fortunate to meet someone who would change my writing and speaking career forever.  Matt Heusser was writing a column called “Ask The Tester” for ST&QA Magazine – a magazine that so many testing professionals follow.  Matt wanted to interview me for his column.  We worked together, and I was fortunate to be featured in the March 2012 edition.

After a wonderful 2012, writing articles for the magazine and speaking for their conference (STP Con) in October, 2012, I was asked by Matt to take over the article in 2013.  What an honor and a privilege.

So now comes the part where I need your help.  If you’re a test practitioner, leader, or simply have testing related questions for my January 2013 candidate, please submit a comment to this blog and I will review the top 10 comments with our candidate.  If selected, your question will be published in our January 2013 article of ST&QA Magazine (you can view the latest online copy at www.softwaretestpro.com)

I plan to pull together all questions by early next week (Jan 7, 2013-Jan 9, 2013) – so submit your comment / question as soon as possible and increase your chances of being part of our article!!  So let me tell you a little about John……

Meet John Ruberto

When it comes to financial software, Intuit is one of the leaders in the space.  From TurboTax to QuickBooks and others, each have been a part of our lives for many years.  They offer financial products that assist consumers and companies with taxes, finances, bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, and many other features.

I introduce to you John Ruberto from Intuit.  Their team assists with functional testing, performance testing, as well as automation.  John has been developing software in a variety of roles for over 25 years. Currently, he is the Quality Leader for QuickBooks Online, a web application that helps small business owners manage their finances.   Before joining Intuit, John was the test manager for element and network management systems at Alcatel-Lucent. He has also held development manager roles for Phoenix Technologies, and was a software engineer for Boeing.

For the past 13 years, John has held test & quality leadership roles. As such, he is known for career development for quality professionals, quality strategy, and bringing innovation to testing organizations.

If you have a question, please submit as a comment to this blog, and provide the following:

      • Your Name
      • Your Title
      • Your Company (if applicable)
      • Your Geographic Location

Thanks in advance for your questions everyone!

My First Year Blogging – The WordPress 2012 Review of Mike’s Blog!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

This is Mike Lyles and I Approve This Message: One Lovely Blog Award

I have been so pleasantly surprised with “The Lovely Blog” Award from a writer whom I have followed for some time, Brianna Boedeker.  To be given this award by someone who writes so many great articles was extremely humbling to me.  And I want to begin this blog by thanking Brianna for such a great honor!

A few years ago, I watched a movie called Slumdog Millionaire.  The essence of this movie was that everyone was surprised that this young man in India was able to answer all of the questions required in a “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” game show.  As you watch the movie, you realize that his life has prepared him for the trivia questions that he so easily answers.  This had an impact on my thinking as I watched this movie, and even today, I feel strongly that every event in our lives prepare us for where we are going – each of them setting up the next events that will take us closer to the memories of our lives.

Therefore, I would like to share with you a few of the events that have laid the foundation for the place where I stand today.  Here goes…..

  • It began in a hospital in Elkin, North Carolina on August 29, 1971.  I am sure I can tell this story in full detail, because my mom has reminded me of it many times.  When I was born, as with most of the events in my life, I didn’t follow the conventional ways.  Instead of arriving head first, I decided to land on my feet in the world – and at 6pm on 8/29/71, the first leg arrived into the world.  The issue was that the rest of me didn’t want to move.  The doctor took one look and informed my mom that my ginormous head was stuck around her ribcage and he was going to complete my entry into the world with one quick jerk.  When he did this, my mom’s rib was broken and she literally came close to giving her own life to give mine to me.  I owe a lot to my mom who has sacrificed a lot for me for many years.
  • At the age of 7, while returning from a family wedding, I sat down at a piano and played a wedding song with no music.  Astonished family and friends decided I should be a pianist, and for the next 9 years, I would take piano lessons.  Through the years following that time, I have played the piano for over 50+ weddings, even played the piano for my 8th grade graduation, and many other events.  It’s hard to explain, because I hear something and then I can play it – no idea how it works, but playing the piano has been a passion of mine ever since 7 years old.

  •  In 6th grade, 1983, at the age of 11, I took a computer certification course on a shiny “new” Apple II/e computer.  I knew, on that day, that my career would be wrapped around a computer in some way.  I told everyone that I would someday be a ‘computer programmer’!

  • In the following years, when other kids played with toys, I bought and programmed on a Commodore 64 computer.  Kids today don’t even know what a ‘monitor’ is, since computers are usually laptops, tablets, or the system is all internal to the monitor.  But, back in this day, the Commodore 64 didn’t even come with a monitor.  You connected it to your TV.  And there was no hard drive – I used a cassette tape drive to record my programs.  I surely was a geek.
  • In both 8th and 12th grade, as superlatives were nominated, I received the “Most Dependable Boy” award.   I took this “title” very seriously.  It made me always want to be a dependable person – in school, career, and life.
  • In college, I discovered a passion to help others.  Becoming a tutor for various courses and students, I not only got paid for the work, but realized how satisfying it was to help others learn something, and to coach and mentor others to grow.  One valuable thing that I learned from being a tutor was that not everyone learns the same way.  You have to work hard to find the approach that maps to a personality in order to get through and make an impact.
  • In 1993, I graduated from college and was ready for the world – but, apparently, the world was not ready for me.  A career in computer science was hard to find and job searching became a painful process.  I was in a no win situation – everyone wanted experienced people, but I needed a job to gain experience.  Anyone who knows me today knows that I have a passion for helping others find work.  When someone approaches me to help them with finding a job, I take it very serious, and I remember that back in 1993, needed a job myself!
  • After a few months of job seeking, I met one of the greatest bosses I would ever have in my career.  Nate Nixon, a retired executive, was building his own development company.  Nate took a chance and became the first person to have faith in my career abilities.  I could not have asked for a better opportunity in my life.  Instead of learning all the technical details of the real world of computer programming, I learned valuable soft skills on how to deal with employees, customers, and coworkers.  I will never forget those days with Nate and the great respect that I had for him.
  • In 1994, I joined a hometown company, Lowe’s as a tech support engineer.  Soon afterwards, I would become a programmer.   For almost a decade, I would be part of core efforts to build systems for Lowe’s stores.
  • In 2003, I became a manager of many development teams, and I found so much joy in helping others to start and/or grow their careers in development.  And I learned that you can achieve so many things if you put together a strong team.  I also realized that a team can do so much more than one person alone – if you have the right people in the right places.
  • During my development career and as a manager of developers, I worked with many testing efforts and tools for quality assurance.  I took courses in test management, and began to learn all that I could about improving the quality of work.  When my company created a QA group in 2008, I joined this team immediately.  This, to me, was one of the major turns in my life that would be integral to where I am today!
  • Matt's Note On TwitterSo I joined Twitter, and I placed on my Twitter profile that I had a passion for writing, wishing to write a book someday, and that I was in a QA/Testing role.  Out of nowhere, I am contacted by Matt Heusser, who would tell me that he is a writer for a testing magazine, and would like to interview me in a monthly column called “Ask the Tester”.  What a surprise and honor for me.  I was in my first published magazine in March 2012.
  • So many wonderful things have happened since that article.  I have written two articles for the same magazine, one newsletter, and in October 2012, I was a speaker at the STP Conference in Miami, Florida.  I realized how energizing and special it was to stand in front of others and tell a story and/or teach them something new.  The opportunities continue to come, and I stand in amazement as I look forward to what comes next!!
  • So as I write this blog, I anticipate someday to be a published writer, to coach, mentor, and train others, and to make a difference in the lives of others.  I can’t wait to look back someday at this very blog and realize where I was when I wrote this vs. where I am when I read it later.  The doors continue to open.  And I’m running through them as fast as I can!
  • I end with a few strange, interesting, or funny facts about me:
    • I like cheese, you have no idea
    • Oreos were made for me – what would the world be like without them?
    • I am an extreme Pittsburgh Steelers football fan – I can’t even explain in detail – would take too long.  I have attended 2 AFC Championship games in Pittsburgh.
    • I love comedies and laughing – if you can make me laugh, you have my attention.  They say laughter is the best medicine.  Most of the time, I think I am overdosing.
    • I love to learn something new every day – especially when it helps me to move closer to my goals
    • I can say my A,B,C’s backwards really fast.
    • In college I was featured in USA Today as part of the “Academic All-American” team.  I think my mom bought 100 of them that day.

And my nominations for the One Lovely Blog Award are as follows:

  • Brianna’s Happy Life – one of the first major bloggers to pay attention to my site.  I’m privileged to have connected with Brianna.  Her site is very entertaining, and I there is a page where she talks about her GOALS that is so fun to read!
  • Dream Life Moments – this is such a neat site.  Jennifer and I met through our nomination from Brianna for this very award.  But I challenge each of you to check out her site – two of my favorite areas are her 33 Random Things on her dreamlife list, and the contents of her “About Me” page.  Very entertaining.
  • Laughing At Everyday Life – if you want to have some fun, check out this site.  So many funny quotes, comments, articles.  When I want to laugh, this is where I go!

Thanks to all who follow me, and keep reading!  There is more to come!

Seek First to Remember, Then to Never Be Forgotten

Early in my career, I became obsessed with personal growth and building my career beyond the limits. I was determined to have no regrets in retirement, never to look back across my legacy, and feel that I had failed to accomplish every goal and objective in my life.

I began looking for that perfect book, that perfect mentor, something to help guide me along the way, coach me to be better each day, to stretch beyond my limits and be different from all those around me. What i found was “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. What I didn’t realize was the tremendous power of the teaching of this great leader. Little did I realize the impact this would make on my life, my career growth, and how I not only set my goals and objectives, but also how that I coached and mentored those who worked with me to grow in their own careers and personal development.

Today I was saddened to hear that we lost Mr. Covey at the age of 79. He left us with not only this wonderful book which sold over 20 million copies in 30 countries, but many other books on leadership and management principles. While his book gave step by step details on how to live and practice the seven habits, simply reading them can give you insight to the simple steps to personal development. I want to share those 7 habits below for the readers:

Independence or Self-Mastery

  • 1. Be Proactive
  • 2. Begin with the End in Mind
  • 3. Put First Things First

Interdependence

  • 4. Think Win Win
  • 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  • 6. Synergize

Self Renewal

  • 7. Sharpen the Saw

Throughout my career, I have quoted this great man to peers, managers, subordinates and friends. I have read the Seven Habits more times than I can count. And every time I do, I learn something new each time. Some of the most memorable quotes are listed below:

  • “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out”
  • “Live out your imagination, not your history”
  • “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”
  • “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”
  • “Most of us spend too much time on what is URGENT and not enough time on what is IMPORTANT”
  • “The way we see the problem is the problem”
  • “Strength lies in DIFFERENCES not in SIMILARITIES”
  • “…to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know”
  • “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective”
  • “Two people can see the same thing, disagree, and yet both be right. It’s not logical, it’s psychological”
  • “Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice”
  • “People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them”

I owe the motivation to become a writer, a motivational leader, a mentor, a coach, and someone that others looked to for support to this great leader, Mr. Covey. His teachings and guidance helped shape so many aspects of my career, personal growth, and leadership principles.

I urge you, readers, to read the works of this great author and leader. While he has left us, one thing he always said in his teachings was that his desire was “..To Live, To Love, and to Leave a Legacy”.

Stephen, you have left a legacy. You will be missed.

My First Blog

There are times in our lives when we look back and realize those were the defining moments; those special, memorable, and life-changing events that mould and shape the future.

I feel today is one of those moments. Early on in life I realized a passion to lead others, encourage growth, mentor, coach, advise, and most importantly experience growth and enlightenment for my own self in the process.

My ambition in life is to write books on leadership, self-improvement, growth, and to become a speaker to others who seek support and growth in their own lives.

My goal for this blog is to reach others who are willing to work with me to achieve these goals as well as touch others who are wanting to learn and growpersonally and professionally.

Please see my “About” page for other connections at social networks.

Lets start this journey together now!!