Monday, April 28, 2008

April 28, 2008 - The city of flashing lights!

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. Hola and como esta? It's been a while, so I thought I'd toss in some Spanish to spice it up a bit!

Last week went by pretty darn quick at work and it was fantastic. Sales Support is another great department and they're letting me in on some significant projects which make the days go by fast. I'm still leading the effort to increase our close rate and wrote a business plan to present to our execs tomorrow ... should be pretty interesting. The leadership conference is coming together quite nicely and it's been a blast putting it all together and having real input! I learned a great deal about our Field Force Ethics and Contest Administration teams throughout the week too. I went to my first project ranking session and finished the work week with an interesting training class based on John Maxwell's "Laws of Leadership."

Our soccer team had another good practice last Monday and a couple tough losses over the weekend and tonight. The commissioner asked what I thought about forfeiting against a team that's been running up the score on teams but I couldn't bring myself to asking the kids and parents to quit, so we pulled together and played a great team game. Even though we lost pretty good, I know it was the right thing to do and all the kids seemed pretty jazzed to be heading into the tournament this weekend. Like my dear sister Steph, I had the opportunity to help out the local United Way with their Live United photo/video shoot which was quite intriguing!
Then it was off to Las Vegas with pops, Steph and Barb for an amazing vacation in Nevada. We arrived Thursday evening and we checked into our room at Ballys ... then it was to the floor where a mixture of flashing lights, sounds and people about gave me whiplash! I started off on the penny machines for a few pulls before graduating to the quarters ... either way, it was a quick way to lose money! That first night was brief, but the next day was fantastic. We got some grub and walked the strip for a bit. It's absolutely amazing to see the amount of people having such good times losing money in these miraculously gorgeous hotels/casinos. We walked through Paris and Planet Hollywood before Steph and I got tickets for Stomp Out Loud on Friday night. It was a relaxing day at the pool as well and then of course we had to hit up some more machines at Caesar's Palace and Treasure Island. We bought our Cirque de Soleil tickets and walked through the exhibit of amazing artwork before heading off to eat dinner and sit down at the slots ... ya I know, 1-800-BetsOff:) Steph and I then went out to Stomp Out Loud at Planet Hollywood and it was one of the most amazing-high energy shows that I've ever seen. It just blew my mind to see what these artists could do with everyday street items and a little rhythm; I recommend it for everyone if they get the chance. That night we met up with Missy, Makenna and Thad from back home in Iowa as they took us out on the town to the Palms club Rain. Let's just say that there were go-go girls, multiple levels, men in kilts and fire. That's all I have to say about that, o, and we dominated the dance floor ... thanks guys! After a late evening we got up to do some more sight-seeing at Riveria and then it was over to Bill's for some more gambling. This is the only place I won and it was with my good buddy the Roulette table which was followed by my not so good friend Mr. Black Jack. My first hand was an Ace & 8 and I can admit it, I hit ... I ended winning by dealer bust, but let's just say that's where my luck said farewell! Another relaxing afternoon by the pool and a wonderful trip over to TI for the Cirque de Soleil show Mystere (pictured above). This was all at the same time hilarious, acrobatic and wonderful. Some of the things these folks could do with their bodies I did not think was humanly possible. They are some of the greatest athletes I think I have ever seen and the show effects made the experience that much more amazing, especially the inverted trampolines ... wow, that would be fun! We then stayed for the Pirate show at TI before beating the crowds back to our place. Sunday morning brought some wonderful French crepes (best meal of the trip:) and I continued to wander up to MGM, Luxor, Excalibur, New York New York and a bit further up the strip to see the sights. There is so much to do that I could probably already tell you what I'll be doing my next trip which includes a comedy/magic show, the Stratosphere and Red Rock and/or the Grand Canyon. I can't thank Barb and Dad enough for the grad present and Steph for the amazing stories and good times, it was definitely unforgettable and I can't wait to see you again.
I hope you all continue to have the best of time with everything that life tosses at you. If you could all please keep my Grandma Naber in your prayers as she recovers from another stroke that'd be greatly appreciated. She's a fighter and a big Cubs fan ... so go Cubbies and best wishes Grandma! She would appreciate this week's morsel as an avid euchre player, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." So, no matter what life tosses at you, keep on truckin' and as Grandma would say ... "that's all I know."
Can't wait to see you tomorrow Jenny and I'm looking forward to Simba, Timon, Pumba and especially Rafiki! Have a great week all and thanks again fam:)
Alwayz, Nate

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 20 - Viva Las Vegas

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. I would just like you to know that I made a delicious pizza tonight and it was scrumtrulescent ... right after I laid out by the pool:) First things first, a happy 40th birthday week to my Grandpa Klein (pictured above)! I hope all is going well, and as long as the Cubs keep winning that is a distinct possibility.

We had another wonderful week at Aflac, not as busy as last, but productive nonetheless. I continued some creative work on the SS&A 500 leadership conference by putting together some videos and some hilarious introductions. I learned a bit more about the Sales Support area and have my first draft of my project done and now I get to chat with one of the associates next week to see how feasible it would be to implement. Last week was also my first encounter with an Aflac peer review concerning the privacy project I've been working on since the get-go. Basically, we sat around and took a fine tooth comb through our second phase statement of work to help determine how to move forward and finish our plan. Sidebar: I've found that I'm one of very few people that thoroughly enjoy meetings and I had many this week that went quite well. I also started helping out with Employee Appreciation Week festivities this past week as I volunteered to be in a video and wear a costume ... this could be dangerous, I've heard it could be a monkey:) I haven't heard anything further about the change in my rotation, hopefully sometime this week.

Had an up and down week on the ol' soccer pitch. Our co-ed team tied the first place folks on Wednesday after a grueling match. Then Thursday brought the game of the year for my u10 team. We won 2-1 over the team that we played the first game of the season and lost 9-1 ... what an amazing turn-around. The parents are now all asking if I'm coming back to coach next season ... well, not really asking, more like telling me I have to;) Saturday we played the undefeated team, and that's all I'm going to say about that! I'm also on a co-ed softball team to benefit the Relay for Life cancer benefit and we had our first practice today. For not playing ball in about 12 years, I think I held my own for the most part. You would've been proud pops, just like the ol' Hamilton Medical days.

I wrapped up the week with a couple more volunteer activities. Eddie and I ventured over to the Columbus Lions game to promote the Literacy Alliance last night again where we handed out many a brochure full of informative facts. Saturday morning I helped out at the 4th annual Mega Block Party down by Fort Benning. It was an event for children to learn about the services that are available in the community, eat some free food and play in the space jump along with other games. I was put in charge of one of the most vital aspects of the day ... parking; now I can say I've done it all!

Today I finally got out to the pool after a rousing game of tennis, what a gorgeous weekend. It's only four more days until my sister, Barb, pops and myself head out to the City of Lights ... Viva Las Vegas. This will be my first time out there and I know there is so much to do, but I'm looking forward to some good family time and festivities. I've never been a big gambler, but after watching "21" I think I might be able to beat the house:) Next week's blog may be a bit delayed, but it will be here nonetheless. O, and then I have another treat when Jenny comes in to town for some good times ... what a great couple of weeks ahead.

Before I leave I just want to remember Shelly Starcevic who passed earlier this week. Her father Mick has always been and will continue to be a roll model for me as I passed through the College Community schools, but his daughter was a joy to have at Prairie High. She will forever be remembered as a kind spirit and one of Prairie's number #1 all-time fans. As we remember, I leave you with a morsel in tribute to Shelly's of which her family/friends can be proud to say that her character/spirit will live on. "The only thing that walks back from the tomb with the mourners and refuses to be buried is the character of a man. This is true. What a man is survives him. It can never be buried." JR Miller

Continue to be the person you say you are and your character will take care of itself. Have a wonderful week and Vegas ... here we come!



Sunday, April 13, 2008

April 13 - Hakuna Matata

Hey there, hi there and hello there to all of you on the world wide web. Hard to imagine that 11 years ago last Thursday brother Blake arrived. Back then I was in the 6th grade and now he's almost there ... o how the time flies. Hope it was a good bday bro, wish I could be there.

This past week at the duck was easily the busiest week yet, and it was amazing! I'm still learning the ropes in Sales Support, but they've thrown me right in on some pretty cool projects. The SS&A 500 Race for the Leadership Cup is getting all squared away and should be a great opportunity to learn from some great leaders from Aflac. I've also been charged to look at some of our sales lead processes and create an elevation strategy for the field in order to take advantage of customer inquiries. I've got to learn about Field Force Ethics, the proposal process, contest administration and many other things throughout the week. Even though the Russell Building is out in the boon docks, it allows me to get quite a bit more done. I had another great mentor lunch at Fuji ... mmm delish which was coupled with two great Toastmasters meetings. After our exec meeting on Tuesday I was on the docket to speak to the group on Thursday. Since it is National Volunteer Month I utilized the opportunity to complete my 'Inspiration' speech to get people fired up about volunteering by telling them of some personal experiences including an emotional story of the work we did in New Orleans. It went over very well and a couple members even stopped me afterwards to tell me how it had got them thinking about giving back more ... very exciting:) Then on Thursday Jason, Dedra and myself had a meeting with Bob to discuss our SIFE rotation. It appears that HR took some of our suggestions to heart and is now requiring our rotations to last longer so we're able to contribute a greater deal on strategic projects, but I think they might have taken it a bit to the next level. After some small talk, we learned that all of the rotations were being cut down and there would be no more marketing, field and/or any other rotation outside of the business units we were assigned. Moreover, we learned that one of us was being taken out from Bob's rotation and put under a new VP ... drum roll please ... yup, you guessed it; it's me. So, beginning May 1st I will be working with Laree Daniel whom I met at SIFE Regional's. She is a great lady and I'm looking forward to it a great deal, especially since I will have the opportunity to work with Mike Thomas and Virgil Miller again. I will greatly miss meeting with Bob on a regular basis because he has been such a great mentor for me, but as new opportunities present themselves you've just got to put on a smile and say hakuna matata!

It was an amazing week of volunteering as well ... it coincided with the speech very well! On Tuesday, Jason and I went back to our ol' SIFE roots and worked with the Open Door Community House to put together a financial literacy lesson for a group of adults in a parenting program. It was heart-wrenching to hear some of the stories, but very promising interacting with one of them, Ted, who seemed so eager to learn about how to invest so he wouldn't end up like his friends on the street ... brought me back a bit to the ol' days. Then on Saturday Miranda, Jason, Lucia, Jenelle, Dedra and myself went back to Easter Seals for some more classroom painting. A group of high school students in a servant leadership class was there and they asked for me to talk with them a bit about servant leadership and the importance of continuing to give back to your community after high school. They're teacher has asked if I'd come back to speak to them sometime which would be a great honor. We helped out Sharon and Michael at Easter Seals by painting the kitchen in record time and finishing up on one of the apartments. Saturday night, Jason and myself helped out the Literacy Alliance create awareness about a book drive program at the Columbus Lions arena football game. After kick-off, we went inside and watched the game ... it was pretty intense and a good time. Of course, any game at the Civic Center is better with dippin' dots!

Sunday has been a wonderfully domesticated day as I continue my routine of church, grocery shopping and then back to the place to clean. I was really excited to get a new mop to clean the floor and finish up on 3 weeks worth of ironing ... wow, am I getting old or what:)?

Team En Fuego is pictured above, with Coach Hope, if anyone is wondering why it appears that I'm being covered in tp ... that was a fun team bonding experience. The rest of this month is going to fly with Vegas coming up in a week and a half and then Jenny (pronounced like Jenny in Forrest Gump) is coming to town for a little Hakuna Matata/Lion King action in the ATL.

I'll leave you with a morsel from my good buddy John Wooden, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." I learned that sometimes in life you're going to be thrown a curve ball, but no matter what happens ... life goes on.



Sunday, April 6, 2008

Week 36 - Happy Birthday Bro!

Hey there, hi there and hello there. First things first, a large happy birthday week goes out to my little bro Blake as he turns 11 ... hope you have a great one bro!

Yes, I started another rotation this week into Sales Support & Administration which makes numero 8 I do believe. It's starting to feel like I'm getting older as I often forget which department I'm in, (no offense to any of you folks reading that may consider yourself old:)! Before I started though I had the great opportunity of helping the HR group recruit at the SIFE Charlotte Regional in North Carolina. We met up with some of the SIFE HQ folks to catch up before eating some grub from PF Changs ... scrumtrulescent and even better when the duck pays for it; therefore, we didn't order duck! It was great to feel the energy of the SIFE competition again and really exciting to talk to graduating seniors about SIFE Analyst opportunities at Aflac. I think I would thoroughly enjoy a college recruitment position with HR, especially if I was able to chat with students of that caliber all the time. Wednesday I started with SS&A and immediately was asked to help plan a leadership conference with the execs. Of course since we're in the South it has to be a NASCAR theme, yeeehah, so we created the SS&A 500: Race for the Leadership Cup. Corny yes, but it will be a great learning experience as I'm in charge of the creative marketing aspect, educational materials and coming up with some team building exercises, aka, pit stops ... wow! After some additional meetings on Thursday with a vendor and learning more about the department, it was time to celebrate with my good friend Lucia for her belated birthday party at none other than ... Chuck E. Cheese's. Wow, an hours worth of Skee Ball really takes you back a few years and nothing is better than the mechanical Chuck E. from 1993! Then I ended the week by winning a $25 gift card for filling out a survey at work ... can't have much of a better week than that!

Don't know if I could top last week's sports highlight of the En Fuego winning, but we did get some good news about the end of our bowling league ... Spare Us=Dead Last Place! Hey, someone had to do it:) I also played in a couple soccer games this week of which we both won. I finally broke the news to some of my teammates that I used to play goalie and luckily I've been scoring goals so they won't stick me back there ... I don't need any more concussions right ma!? Yesterday I had the u10 kids, and even some of their random friends, come over to my place for some team bonding, pizza and playing of the Wii. I was seriously dominated in boxing by a 4th grader, but I showed him who was boss in tennis ... ok, maybe not! The kids seemed to have a great time playing toilet paper volleyball and having handstand contests; I am still seeing stars from that one.

Friday also brought another activity with the students at the Lasseter Academy. I split them up into two teams, girls vs. boys, and had them work on teamwork by building bridges. It was amazing to see what some newspaper, some masking tape and balloons can do to bring some of them together. I've noticed a lot of progress in a few of the kids and it has been one of the most rewarding things down here. It brings me back to my ol' MMC SIFE days.

Welp I hope everyone keeps livin' the dream wherever you are. Best of luck to all my pals back at the mount as you get your first jobs and to all my good friends with jobs, hope they're all you wanted them to be! Remember what my good friend Jim Stovall once said, "Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant." Don't go looking for the highest paying job that gives you no satisfaction, but rather find the job that gives you the most satisfaction and the money will fall into place.

Jenna and Gump, best of luck with the new place and the new pup and Jenny, I can't wait to see the Lion King in a few weeks! Check ya later.