Monday, August 20, 2007

Letter from the Editor

Life and Times of JWN
The mine, Joe, Don, Ross
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

In the spirit of my current adventure in New York City, I am recommending a process I like to push myself through as often as possible. That is "Getting Out of MY Comfort Zone."

Presently, I am shacked up in Greenwich, Connecticut at my older brother, Chris Norman's apartment (this is actually quite comfortable). However, starting tomorrow I will be spending a few days getting lost in the city. I have some air mattresses and couches to sleep on, but no real plan of attack -- just some coffee, lunch, dinner, and drink dates with some old friends. Sometimes I like to just "wing it," if you will.

I have little exposure in the city, so this will be a good test of my ability to "make it happen" for myself. I'll let you know how it goes next week.

My thoughts on "getting out of your comfort zone" have been developed over quite a few years. When in high school, I consistently participated in conferences with hundreds of strangers because I knew that meeting them and interacting with them would help me learn more about myself.

The peak "out of my comfort zone" experience so far was my trip to Costa Rica between my junior and senior year of high school. In fact, when speaking about the trip, I often explain it as "hurling myself recklessly out of my comfort zone." I moved in with a family that did not speak English while my Spanish was sub par at best. As many of you know, I am one that enjoys communication, so this was a problem.

I started by immersing myself in the language through studying, writing, and interacting with the grandchildren of my host family (the Santamaria's). Then I progressed to conversations with the students and other host families (that spoke considerably slower than my family). By the end of my three week tenure in the gorgeous country, I was trying to pick up the lovely Costa Rican ladies (a story for another day).

After quite a bit of reflection on the experience many years ago, I developed a philosophy that I use to this day; break out of the mold and make it happen.

KEY FACT: When you challenge yourself with exposure to new places, ideas, or people, you learn a considerable amount about yourself.

"So Joseph, what did you learn in Costa Rica?"

I learned that no matter what I put myself into, or how prepared (or in this case, unprepared I am), I can always pull it off if I completely immerse myself in the task. That's important knowledge that I have used to help further develop my skill sets. Invaluable information that I would have never figured out if I had kept it "comfortable."

ACTION PLAN: Do something that makes you a little nervous or scared. GO for IT!!! Then reflect and figure out what you learned.

Best to you, ~Joseph

L. Jack Norman III

Louis Jack Norman III:
Norman Style

By: Joseph W. Norman

Louis Jack Norman III, better known as Jack, is the oldest of the three Norman brothers. Chris (Unit Clerk at the New York Presbyterian Hospital) and Joseph (co-founder of the Notable and Newsworthy) are the other two members of the upstanding clan. As the oldest, Jack was influential by paving the way for the other two, while he ironically, made life more difficult with his sarcastic wit and sense of humor. Both are distinguishable characteristics of the Norman brothers.

Jack, 27, has been a Software Engineer for L3 Communications in Orlando, Florida since he graduated from college. He has big plans for his future and he shares many of his insights in a candid question and answer session.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I want to feature Jack because he has been a great influence on me (as has my brother Chris as well). You get to read about me every week, but my two brothers are just as motivated and passionate about their respective interests as I am. Chris will be featured in a future "VIP Profiles." Enjoy this step into the life of another one of the "Norman boys."

VIP: Give us the short story. (Briefly explain your family, education, work experience, etcetera…not too deep yet).

LJN: Born and raised in Kirkwood, NY. Attended Bell elementary where I used to walk to school …through three feet of snow, all uphill ….both ways. Attended Palmer middle school where I was introduced to the trials and tribulations of puberty and also the joy and pain that is cross country and track. Middle school set the tone for my high school career at Windsor High where I received 12 varsity letters in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. I also graduated with honors and around twelfth in my class.

My running career scored me a scholarship to Delhi College which I attended for two years and received my Associates in Engineering Science. Upon graduation from Delhi I transferred to the University at Buffalo where I opted to spend three years instead of two years to get my Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. I do not regret spending an extra year at Buffalo as I had a great time with my fraternity, my colleagues on the crew team, and everyone else I met. However, the extra 10k in loans due to not being able to qualify for TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) my fifth year hurts a little.

After graduation I was bartending and not really ready for a true blue engineering career yet, however, one found me. It turned out L3 Communications - Link Simulation and Training, a military subcontractor that I had interned with after my freshman and sophomore year of college had been keeping tabs on me and looked me up once they heard that I graduated. Its funny I remember the conversation with my mama like it was yesterday. It went like this:

Mama: L3 called and I think they want to offer you a job.

Me: Ehh, I’m pulling a grand a week bartending.

Mama: Does bartending have benefits?

Me: Yeah, it has tons of benefits.

Mama: Are they health benefits?

Me: Uhh, no.

One week later I was living in mama’s basement and beginning my career at L3. I spent about ten months in that basement and was quickly ready for a change of scenery so I took a transfer to our L3 branch in Orlando. I had never been to Florida but I thought “What the heck…most people in New York seem to like it down there so I’m sure I will to.” So I moved, and I’m having a pretty good time.

VIP: What are some interesting things you have ever received or given as gifts? (the flask to Mama Bear maybe…haha)

LJN: My mama once gave me a “glass of shut the hell up” …because my brethren and I kept quoting that line from Happy Gilmore. It was great. We were having the typical Norman family dinner and the brethren and I were carrying on as usual and I asked my mama if she could grab me a glass of milk while she was up. You have to understand that my mama is one of the sweetest, soft-spoken, well-mannered women I know. So, when she came back with a glass that had a post-it in it that said “Shut the hell up!” I nearly peed myself. And in fact, I think my kid brother Joe shot milk out of his nose because he was laughing so hard.

Another story involved a gift that I gave to my mama. My mother was a board member of a local organization (name excluded to protect the innocent) and she used to always come home and say “Geesh …those meetings go sooo much longer than they need to. Some of those people just talk, and talk, and talk." So one day I suggested to her that she should bring a flask (of water) to the meeting and every time someone is droning on for too long quietly pull it out, take a swig, and silently offer it to the people sitting next to her.

Now, my mama has never drank a drop of alcohol for as long as I’ve known her, and her fellow board members know this. So I figured for my mom to do such an act would not only be hilarious, but it might help move her meeting along. Anyways, this was a running joke in our house for awhile and when Christmas came around, I decided that to help my mama out by getting her a flask. Not just any flask, a nice flask with the engraving:

“To Mama Bear,

For those rough days...

Love, Jack”

She loved it. It actually made her cry, and to this day even though I don’t think she’s ever taken a drink out of it, she still adorns it proudly on her book case.

VIP: With your current efforts, personal and professional, what is the impact you try to have on people on a daily basis? (How I would ask it: When you leave a room, what is it you want people to be saying or feeling because of Jack Norman?)

LJN: “Wow, what an inspiration” …that just about sums up what I would like people to think about me when I leave a room. I love instilling a person with an undying zest for life, even if it’s for just a moment. Not only does it make an impression but I believe if everyone on this planet harbored an undying zest for life it would be a better place.

VIP: What are some of your goals? (3, 5, 10, whatever you prefer)

LJN: 3 year: I want to finish my Executive Masters in Business and Administration at the University of Central Florida, move to New York City with some of my friends and family, and pursue some real estate opportunities, and entrepreneurial endeavors involving my little brother's business in personal marketing services and training, my father's business in sales of a green cleaner, and whatever other ideas we can come up with in the next three years.

5 year: To have a focus on one of my entrepreneurial efforts and be making a difference in society with it.

10 year: As us Norman brethren would say I would like to have a “Norman take over of the entire world” strategy in full bloom. It is important for me to be able to leave a legacy that will improve the world for everyone.

VIP: What are some of your hobbies? I.e. what do you do in your spare time?

LJN: I enjoy computers, working out, mountain biking, visiting the local pub with my friends, and researching everything from money management, to business practices, and new technology …you have got to love Google.

VIP: What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

LJN: Strengths: Confidence, intelligence, great with people

Weaknesses: impatience, too confident sometimes …one of those I should think twice and speak once kind of things

VIP: What are some of your pet peeves?

LJN: Animal hair, unbearably slow drivers, and people that aren’t accountable

VIP: Who are three people, from any time period, that you would like to meet?

LJN: Steve Prefontaine – I respect his mental strength, his toughness and fortitude,

Jesus – He is one of the most influential figures on the planet and I’d like him to answer some questions for me

Adolf Hitler – Although he did it in a negative way, he inspired a nation to carry out outrageous acts with incredible passion. I would just like to learn what made him tick.

VIP: What is some advice you would give a student in college or one that just graduated from college?

LJN: Pre-graduate: Meet everyone you can, and maximize your contacts. Undergraduates are in a unique position to be in an environment where they have access to other intelligent students and also a highly intelligent faculty that are, at the end of the day, there for the students. I believe that this day and age students don’t have an understanding of how many opportunities can be harnessed simply by letting those around them there hopes and dreams.

Post-graduate: Don’t rush into graduate school. Get a taste of the real world first so that you can maximize your higher education.

VIP: What are some attributes of a good leader?

LJN: Motivating and compromising but decisive - one who leads by example.

VIP: Some quick ones; favorite candy bar, food, movies, books, sports, quotes?

LJN Fun Facts:

Candy bar: Snickers

Food: a good steak

Movies: Van Wilder, Prefontaine, Boiler Room, Spy Game

Books: Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Black Book of Networking and Little Red Book of Selling

Sports: Road Races, Track and Field, Football (Giants football to be exact)

Quotes: “Don’t tell me what you can do, show me" and "The only one that limits you is yourself."

L. Jack Norman III

L3 Communications

Software Engineer

University of Central Florida

Executive MBA Candidate


Cell: 407.206.5400