California is on Fire 🔥 Again

Here in California most of us don’t have snow or hurricanes. We have huge, devastating wildfires and sometimes earthquakes. California is on fire again. Pray for those who lost homes, animals, loved ones. The current fires are described as the worst fires in the state’s history.

I am fortunate to be miles away from the epicenter. Family, friends, and colleagues have been forced to evacuate their neighborhoods. Smoke covers the whole county.

I snapped a few photos yesterday and today.

The sun burns red..

That is not a cloud .. it’s a plume of smoke over Malibu

A veil of smoke over Manhattan Beach

What I learned about Trust

Torreys Blog - Learn and Grow with Me

Trust is the Currency of Relationships

You have a very small group of friends you could call at 3am to bail you out of jail. You built trust with these people over years if not decades. You know they would rescue you without second thoughts, because you would do the same for them. If trust could be put in a joint bank account, this account would pay dividends.

You trust your spouse 100% (hopefully), and this allows you to accomplish feats otherwise impossible. Telling your partner ‘I trust you’ is more powerful than saying ‘I love you’. Since you feel safe at home, you focus your energy on threats outside.

Relationships make or break your business, inside and out. According to the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Study, having a best friend at work is a key factor for employee engagement. The best friend satisfies the need to build trust…

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What I learned about excellence from Nick Saban, coach of 5 time national champions, the Crimson Tide

Torreys Blog - Learn and Grow with Me

At 11 years old, a boy went to work at his father’s small-town West Virginia service station. “There was a standard of excellence, a perfection.” If any car he washed ended up with water streaks, the boy was demanded to start over from the beginning and wash it again. The standard of excellent taught him how to do things correctly the first time. To value time. To not half-ass. To do his best. To pay attention to detail.

Later in life the boy became an extraordinary college football coach. The discipline his father drilled into him was passed down to his players year after year. His team became one of the most winning teams in college football. His college football teams have won 205 games (with only 61 losses) and 5 national championships. His name is Nick Saban, and his team is Alabama’s Crimson Tide. 

The lesson is:

Excellence comes…

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Why has experience helped some and not others?

The Samurai Coach


In recent hirings, I talked with several managers about experiences of candidates. We wanted to look for candidates with experiences that we needed. We put that in job description. Many resumes we received had 15 years of experiences in a particular field but those candidates either moved too often but stayed too short from organizations to organizations or did not grow much from their positions. They looked like having one year of experience 15 times. There were candidates with fewer years of experiences but they passed our strict tests with a high flag.

Why has experience helped some and not others?

Dr. John C. Maxwell said that we begin our lives as empty notebooks. Every day we have an opportunity to record new experiences on our pages. The problem is that not all people make the best use of their notebooks. Few who do make use of their notebooks often…

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Kiva Makes a Difference

I almost forgot about Kiva after donating for the first time. I didn’t think about it much until this holiday season when my dad told me to give to a charity instead of giving him gifts. I had an epiphany: why not both? I gave my dad a Kiva gift card.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a not-for-profit that specializes in micro-lending. Instead of just donating to a named charity, donors choose a borrower. Funds are distributed to the borrower through a local bank partnered with Kiva. Then, as the borrower makes repayment, the balance is credited to the donor for use towards a future micro-loan. Also, the borrower is encouraged to give updates on goals, as a way of connecting with their charitable lenders. Kiva is a platform enabling less-privileged people to gain access to desperately needed funds.

The Gift of Giving

I gave my dad a Kiva gift card this holiday season. Now he will learn about someone who needs his support and give them some of the money they need to get started. Some examples of possible borrowers my dad will find are: farmers who need cash to buy a new animal. Students who need to pay tuition. I gave him the gift of giving.

Who I first donated to on Kiva

I donated to a young Peruvian woman who needed help paying for higher education. She has partially repaid her loan and continues making regular payments. She is almost done with school and is already working at PepsiCo as an intern.

An Aside on Charitable Donations

Employees may not be aware of their company donation matching program. During 2017, our family increased our charitable donations and took advantage of Symantec’s (my employer) donor matching program more than ever. Using your employer match program can sometimes double the amount of the donation. Use it!

Get Started

It’s simple to sign up and start browsing Kiva loan applications. The minimum loan contribution is $25.

If you use my link to sign up, Kiva will give me $25 to loan out to someone in need.

99 Fears: The World is Increasingly Afraid

I was afraid to write this. And I was afraid to click ‘publish’. I am not alone. The world is increasingly afraid.

Dream of a world free of fear. What would you do if you are not afraid? And if everyone you know felt fulfilled by every day’s work? Together, we build this world.

Stepping through your fear and pushing through to the other side is the only way for you to reach closer to your ideal self.

Journal Writing: The Missing Puzzle Piece

So you’ve done your homework and you wrote down your SMART goals. You waited for the magic to happen but it never came. What happened? You need more feedback, and journal writing can help. Writing a daily journal entry gives you daily feedback, which dramatically enhances your follow through on goals. It helps keep your goals at the center of attention, in our ever-distracting world.

It’s fashionable to make resolutions, but not fashionable to make steady progress towards them.
Writing in a journal is a chance to give yourself honest feedback, on a daily basis. Your journal is private, there’s no point in lying to yourself or making excuses. Giving yourself honest and timely feedback greatly promotes personal growth.
Example: you want to create a journal writing habit. You write down the goal: write a journal entry every day. At the end of the week, you reflect on each day, and you realize you only wrote 2 journal entries. Your score is 2/5: Fail. Then, you plan out how you will improve next week.
In addition to daily entries, consider writing a weekly reflection. Rate yourself on your daily objectives. How many days did you miss? Then, give yourself an honest weekly grade. If you missed half of the time, you earned 50%, F. This method is effective for all kinds of habit-oriented goals. Be honest with yourself.
This post outlines one way to use journal writing as a tool for personal development. There are many other benefits to keeping a journal, and I recommend trying it out. Write at the end of the day, before you sleep. Also, use analog paper, not electronic paper, as to stay focused.

Build a Compass – Be a coach, explore fearlessly. Be legendary.

I am a legendary coach and explorer. I’ll explain why.

Sometimes we all need a little help finding our way. Brendon Burchard describes a method for building an internal compass. This compass helps you stay on course and blaze a trail. Building the compass is a useful thought experiment.

The Technique

Think of 3 words to describe your ideal self. Your ideal self is the person you aspire to be: at home, at school/work, in your community. What would you do if you were not afraid?

Repeat your 3 words throughout your day to reorient yourself. These words serve as your mantra, a tool for staying on course. They can be anything: nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.

My Compass

It took me weeks to settle on 3 words that resonate with me. Legend, Coach, Explorer.


I remind myself that I am legendary. It feels good knowing there is only one of me in the cosmos, while still understanding the insignificance of one being. Everything I do should make a memorable impact either directly or indirectly. Legends act with courage, and overcome their fears. If I am not making an impact or building a legacy, I am off course. I have missions I must accomplish before I leave the Earth. I will leave this place soon.

Here’s a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger,  a true legend. Read it with his accent, or better yet watch the video I linked below.

Not every legend is a myth. Some are flesh and blood. Some legends walk among us. But, they aren’t born, they’re built. Legends are made from iron and sweat, mind and and muscle, blood and vision, and victory. Legends are champions. They win, they conquer. There’s a legend behind every legacy. There’s a blueprint behind every legend.


A coach’s duty is to guide and lead others to success in life and in all things. You might be a coach already and you don’t even know it. We have coaches in our work places, our schools,  our families, and our communities. Parenting requires coaching.

If I am not helping people succeed, I am off course. For role models, a few legendary coaches come to mind: John Wooden (Bruins) and Nick Sabin (Crimson Tide).


I believe that exploration is a basic human need. When this part of your life is missing, you will receive a signal, you will feel stuck. You can explore books, you can explore music, and you can explore the universe. If am not exploring new ideas, new knowledge, or new places every day, I am off course. In terms of legendary explorers, there are countless role models to choose from. Richard Branson,  Felix Baumgartner and James Cameron are 3.


These words resonate for me. Be a coach, explore fearlessly. Be legendary. Use my words if you like. It makes a whole lot of sense to run your own thought experiment and build your own compass.

Satya Nadella of Microsoft

What I’ve learned from Satya Nadella:

When Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, was asked how he hires people, he said he looks for people who bring “clarity and energy.” Why does this matter? Our world is accelerating in complexity every day. The ability to bring clarity to complex problems is increasingly valuable. Energy is infectious. Leaders who bring energy to their work inspire their teams. They get more out of their people. They are multipliers, not diminishers.

What Inspired Me from Satya Nadella:

I was reminded of Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown’s book titled Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. Greg McKeown also published a great book called Essentialism.