David J. Kearney

June 29, 2018

Got Complaints?

Filed under: Self Help,Self Improvement — David J. Kearney @ 4:20 pm

In my younger, immature, and youthfully enthusiastic days I have to admit, I complained a lot. I complained about people, places, things, and events.  If someone wasn’t acting like I thought they should, or working as hard as me, or weren’t as “smart” as me I would complain…to anyone that would listen, particularly if it made me feel good or look better to others.  If an event didn’t go the way that I thought is should have or I somehow thought if something was done my way it would have been so, so much better.  If the lines in a store or restaurant were longer than I thought they should be or if service didn’t meet my standards, I would say, “If I was the manager…”

Now I am about to complain about complaining.  As I make my way through my days it appears that people complaining about anything and everything is on the rise, whether it is one group against another group, us against them, or among friends or co-workers.  Complaining seems to have become a game to see who has the best compliant or who can put someone else down the best.  After examining why this has become a pastime, I have to think it is either an insecurity issue or a way to maneuver to appear better then someone or something else.  In the past few years I have listened to others complain like there is no tomorrow and wondered if that was what I sounded like in my past life.  Yep…that was me.  Insecure, young, and perhaps a little over confident…and maybe even just plain mean.  As I have made an effort to get out of that trap, because it is so easy to go along with the crowd and jump into what amounts to be a “bitching session” rather than abstain from participating or just leaving the conversation altogether, I find myself a bit more sympathetic to people, events and situations that are being complained about.

It seems like building someone up or helping them grow in their weaker areas is too much effort and complaining is the easy way out.  I hear comments like “So-and-So is so stupid”, “Why can’t So-and-So be like me”, “How did So-and-So get hired here”, “Why can’t they just do what I said”, and so-on and so-on.  I am sure you have heard these or something very similar.  Maybe you have even uttered one of these phrases.  If you find yourself complaining excessively about an individual, group, or event here are some ways you could actually help:

If an individual, group of people, or event is not living up to your expectations…

  1. Don’t assume that this is somehow a way to make you mad…no one is out to get you.
  2. Find a way to make the situation better. Mentor an individual and give constructive feedback to a group or an event leader.
  3. Realize that not everyone is going to be or can be a workaholic, or be like you, or like the boss, or like those that have been doing a task for years.
  4. Take into account that not everyone is as “smart“ as you are in certain areas and they may never be.
  5. Recognize that others have their own style and ways of doing and understanding and looking at things and just because it isn’t “Your Way” doesn’t necessarily mean that that another way is wrong.
  6. Look at things from other perspectives…not just one, but many and ask yourself maybe this happened or that happened or something is going on behind the curtains that can’t be seen entirely. Give the benefit of the doubt.

Although there are exceptions to this rule, people generally aren’t looking to get one over on you or take advantage of a situation and this isn’t a contest about who is most incompetent.  Sure, there are certain ways certain things need to be done and if that process is not followed, a problem could cascade downstream.  Outside of a strict production environment, there are some allowances for things to be done creatively or differently.

I am certainly not advocating that complaining isn’t warranted at times, but it isn’t needed under all circumstances with everything all of the time.

I have to believe that everyone wants to do his or her best, take pride in what they deliver and in who they are, and get a pat on the back.  Otherwise, I would complain all of the time.

The Complaint Department is now closed.


November 28, 2015

Invest in Yourself…With Lynda

Filed under: Self Help,Technology — David J. Kearney @ 1:32 pm

At the end of every year I look for opportunities to invest in myself to enhance my professional skills and increase my potential. It is said that the best investment that you can make is in yourself and I have lived by that mantra for most of my professional life. Over the years I have taken courses, studied for and earned technical and non-technical certifications, and joined a public speaking and leadership organization to become more valuable to my employer. I believe that it is important to constantly learn, regardless of whether or not your employer fully assists, partially supports, or doesn’t contribute at all to your professional improvement. Although it certainly helps if your employer provides financial support, time off, or some other form of return on investment, it shouldn’t be the single motivating factor for improving yourself with updated or new skills.

As 2015 winds down, I was evaluating educational opportunities for 2016, including a return to a traditional college setting, on-line college courses, and possibly attending a technical school to enhance my technical chops. I have recently been very interested in accounting and marketing topics (which I really haven’t seen since my traditional college days many years ago), so I was considering taking local accounting and marketing workshops and classes as they became available. With the high expense of college and not being settled on pursuing a PhD (I have played with this idea for many, many years), another Master’s Degree, and not necessarily set on which technical skills I wanted to chase, I came across Lynda.com in my research.

Lynda.com is an award-winning provider of educational materials, including the Lynda.com library with over 4,050 online courses (more than 301,000 video tutorials): An online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills.

During my research I found that Lynda.com could help me pursue most of my educational goals, until I decide to pursue that PhD or second M.S. degree, for a price that was affordable and a resource I could take advantage of in my schedule. After hemming and hawing over this decision for a couple of weeks and trying, but unable, to find someone that utilized Lynda.com to help me make a decision, I received a promotional E-Mail to subscribe for a year to Lynda.com for $287.00 (regularly $359.88). This price certainly helped in my decision making process. I signed up. Within a few days I had taken a couple of courses, including accounting and marketing related courses. Additionally, I took a course on utilizing Garage Band (I am a wanna-be songwriter, rock star, musician). All of the courses I took, so far, were high quality, very useful, and I could apply something I learned in every course to my day-to-day professional life. If I would have purchased books or took a course/series of classes on these topics I would have certainly exceeded the $287.00 I spent on the annual Lynda.com membership…and I am only 8 classes and 2 weeks into my membership. In my case, Lynda.com is less than a dollar a day and as long as I regularly attend courses, Lynda.com will certainly pay for itself with my enhanced and new skills. If you are considering enhancing your current skills or learning new ones, I would encourage you to look at Lynda.com…it’s affordable, available online and offline, and can be utilized on your schedule and on your device. Additionally, at least half of the sessions included downloadable “hand-outs” and one included testing during the course sections to reinforce the topics covered. One cool feature that I really like, but is outside of the educational courses, is that it can be linked to your LinkedIn account and will display your course completions on your profile in the Certifications area…a great way to keep track of and show your accomplishments.

If nothing else, be sure to constantly invest in yourself to help you and your employer. You now know someone that has taken advantage of Lynda.com, so don’t feel as skeptical as I was initially by not knowing the quality of sessions available or not knowing anyone that utilized Lynda.com.

Again…invest in yourself.

August 24, 2015

In Your Skin

Filed under: Self Help — David J. Kearney @ 4:41 pm

tmiIn Your Skin

When we were born, some of us were told “You can be whatever you want to be” or even better “Just be yourself”. On the other hand we’re told about tradition…what to believe, how to believe, what is “right” and what is “wrong”. When we start to walk and talk…it’s cute, but soon enough we are told to sit down and shut up.

When a boy says he wants to be a race car driver or a girl says she wants to be a cheerleader at age 6…it’s really cute. Then these same children are indoctrinated into the tradition of “normalcy”. The independence that a child shows early on, the artistry that is shown, the thought process and logic that the child shows independently, and the child that plays differently than other kids typically gets beaten into submission.

Then…here we are. We do the same things we have always done, generally the same way our family has done…generation after generation. Perhaps there is some comfort in that, perhaps we are afraid to rock the boat, maybe we know no other way.   Some of us, if we are reflective, begin to question why we do these things and repeat history. It is nearly impossible to feel at home in our own skin when we are constantly barraged by ways we should act, think, and feel by the media, the masses, friends and family…we are put down or worse, shunned, by family members and so-called friends for unorthodox ways. I have been there…the black sheep, the one that makes people frustrated when I didn’t agree with following the road, but creating my own path…or at least trying to. Yes, I buck the system…because who says the system is right.

Whether or not this way is good or bad, at a young age I began to question what we do as the majority…we vote republican or democrat, we worship similar (if not the same) gods, we celebrate birthdays, holidays, the “Hallmark Day” holidays and have special months for a cause…primarily due to tradition…we don’t dare to move outside of the box…we don’t dare open our trap. The box is where the majority sits.  How can the majority be wrong?  How can what I have done since I was born be questioned?

Have you ever seen a crazy popular movie where the hype was far greater than the movie itself? Ever eat somewhere that everyone raves over to go away feeling unsatisfied with a meal that didn’t even come close to hitting the spot? Have you ever listened to a crazy popular band, The Beatles, N’ Sync, One Direction and wondered what all the hype was about? That feeling…that’s what I am talking about here…the place where you are marching to a different drummer

I have a feeling that I am not alone here.

But, what I can tell you…it can be a lonely road at times…to not be in “The-in-Crowd”, to have an event, individual, or object that everyone gets so happy over or celebrates be so anticlimactic. One that fills people up with overwhelming joy but yet leaves you empty.  I am not talking about depression or some other mental health issue, which is a different beast altogether, but a feeling that disagrees with what everyone else seems to carry with great happiness, joy, and excitement.

If you feel like a stranger in a strange land, I am here to tell you today…YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  But, you are not your parents, your friends, or your spouse. You are unique…you are your own mind, body, and soul.  You have to become comfortable in your own skin and in your own head with how you live your life.


I was speaking with a neighbor one day and we ended up talking about the recent Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage…though not quite sure how in the world we got on this topic.  This neighbor was telling me that the show Modern Family was on TV and his grandson noticed that 2 men were kissing on the show and asked him why? The neighbor seemed somewhat offended by the show and wondered what he was to tell his grandson. My response to him was, my approach to my son is and would continue to be that my job in raising my son is to give him enough comfort in himself to be his own man…to make sure that whatever conclusions my son comes to about anything…that he is comfortable in his own skin, regardless if that decision is counter to me, his mother, society, or whoever might hold a differing opinion. I am not going to be able, nor do I want to, to mold him in such a way that he believes what I believe just because I believe it.

The reason I told you that story is that how we become who we are, for better or worse, is due in large part to what society, family, friends deem to be “normal” and what people think about the skin we are in. Believe this, not that; Do this, not that; Work here, not there; Love this, not that, Buy this, not that; All of this is really a contradiction to Being Whatever You Want To Be and Just Being Yourself.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed people that have to be around other people constantly…and are seemingly never comfortable alone.  I see people that would rather follow the crowd because it is less painful and makes them feel like they are a part of something rather than become a bigger part of themselves.  I have known people that are so mean to themselves and just miserable because they don’t see in themselves the beauty that others see.

In these cases, loneliness or being uncomfortable with one’s self contributes to discomfort and discord in their own skin.

How can we become comfortable in our own skin when a major conflict exists when we compare ourselves to others? Therein lies a problem…a HUGE problem.



If you feel trapped, confused, or just plain out-of-place…I am pleading with you to reflect and come to terms with who you are and get to understand and like the skin you are in. If you feel that you are Out-of-Place…who is it with…those externally or is it something internally? Like the skin you are in by understanding what makes YOU tick, gets YOU excited, what YOUR likes and dislikes are. There is no magical solution and I can’t give you a Top 10 list of how to like yourself or to be comfortable in your own skin…everyone is different. What has worked for me probably won’t work for you. I have been able to break free from the expectations of liking sports, following a religion, disliking certain types of music, having certain types of friends, succumbing to peer pressure, and following a more traditional life path. It took many years of getting to know and respect the skin I am in. What I can tell you is, first and foremost, that this investment to get comfortable with yourself is probably the most important thing that you can do while you are here.  This isn’t going to be something you can figure out after you are gone. It takes a lot of hard work towards self-realization (to have freedom from external influence, from cultural expectations, political and economic opinions, and the freedom from worldly attachments and desires, etc.), and the acceptance that you and you alone are what makes you…quite simply…YOU. Your “skin” is what makes you perfect…perfectly imperfect, perhaps, beautifully broken.

You must know and be comfortable with no one else better than you.

Text of a Toastmasters Speech presented in September 2015

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.