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General Opinions (OpEd)

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Posted by: | Posted on: June 9, 2017

Are you prepared to defend yourself against violence?

Today is National Hospitals Against Violence (#HAVhope) awareness day. At Lyon Software, we stand with all hospitals to help spread awareness about violence.

Coincidentally, earlier in the week many of our staff attended a self-defense training session. What follows are a few tips that we learned on Monday that can help you fight off a violent attack, or avoid one altogether.

 

Prevention is the best defense

As a kid that played on several sports teams, one of the things I heard a lot was “the best defense is a good offense”. That’s a true statement. The other team can’t score if they don’t have the ball.

So how does that relate to guarding against violence?

Your first line of defense in protecting yourself starts with your demeanor. If you have a strong, confident presence about yourself, someone will think twice about approaching you.

So, if you’re in a store or the mall and you feel like you’re being followed, what will you do? Our instructor Shelly said it’s best to go on the offense. If you do something as simple as look them right in the eye and ask them for the time, for example – you’ll shift the balance of power. You’ve now asked something of them and they’ve given it to you. It’s simple, and it portrays you as a confident person.

 

Be prepared to Defend Yourself

What would you do if someone were to attack you right now? Physical violence isn’t something that most of us think about on a regular basis. However, it is a reality, and the self-defense training we received was both enlightening and empowering.

At the Martial Arts Center, we learned how to throw punches and elbows. We learned that if you are attacked, the best thing to do is to bring the attacker as close to you as possible. This limits their mobility and greatly restricts what they are able to do. We also learned to target vulnerable areas: eyes, nose, fingers and knees.

By learning and regularly practicing self-defense techniques, you’ll be strong enough both mentally and physically to do what you need to do to get away and survive an attack.

 

Bring attention to the situation

If you are attacked, get the attention of others by being as loud as you can immediately. Scream “Call 9-1-1” as opposed to “fire” or “help”. What’s the difference? When you tell someone to dial 9-1-1, it alerts others that you’re in immediate danger and it’s an emergency. It also gives a stranger direction in what to do.

Yelling “fire” or “help” wastes valuable time. You’ll have people looking around to see if they can see a fire, or figuring out how to help instead of taking immediate action.

The more attention you can bring to yourself during an attack, the more likely you will survive it. Remember, your attacker wants an easy win, not a confrontation. By getting people’s attention, you’ll get help more quickly, and possibly encourage a stop to the violence. Your attacker could flee for fear of being caught by the police.

 

Everything starts with your awareness

The main thing to remember in protecting yourself is that you should always be aware of your surroundings. Know where other people are when getting in or out of your car. Don’t be distracted by your phone when you’re out in public – it makes you more vulnerable to a potential attack.

Lyon Software would like to thank Sempai Shelly Blanco and everyone at the Martial Arts Center at the Shops at Fallen Timbers for the Self-Defense course this week. We all had a great time and learned a lot about awareness and techniques to counter a violent attack.

Posted by: | Posted on: January 6, 2017

What are your three words for 2017?

I read an article by Tom Hood, CPA,CITP,CGMA on LinkedIn entitled “My Three Words for 2017”.  According to the story, Mr. Hood selects three words each year, defines what those words mean for him and his organization and then strives to “live out” each concept throughout the coming year.  It’s been his practice for the last 8 years and says the words “should serve as your beacon to help you see through the fog and stay on your chosen course throughout the year.”

I was inspired to choose my three words for 2017:  Proactive, Patient and Purposeful.

Proactive – I believe in anticipating what our clients need before they even know they need it!    In my role as Vice President, I oversee our Sales and Marketing, Customer Support, and Training team members.  For Sales and Marketing, being proactive is thinking about who might benefit from our software and figuring out how best to present the information.  Customer Support is all about answering a question with documentation and webinars before it’s asked.  And proactive training is finding out what the client wants to do with their data and then customizing their session to meet their needs.  In 2017 my goal is to get better at thinking AND executing proactively.

Three WordsPatient – There are new features and functionality that I know would benefit our clients; however, it takes patience to prioritize the needs
from the wants.  Anyone who has ever worked for a small company knows that your greatest resource is your employees and your weakest link is time.  So, in 2017 I resolve to be more patient with the process of developing the best product we can and using my most limiting resource [time] wisely.  Which brings me to my third word…

Purposeful – With the time I have each day, I want to devote myself completely to making a difference.  2017 is a new year and brings with it a new purpose.  My hope is that everything I accomplish this year will matter…matter to my clients, colleagues and community!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017!

To read the original article by Tom Hood, click here.

Posted by: | Posted on: December 8, 2016

A Friend to Flint

I’ve been a sports fan my entire life. Having grown up about an hour from Detroit, Michigan, I have been a loyal Detroit Pistons fan for years. I still remember standing at the games and yelling “Sheeeeeeeeeed” when Rasheed Wallace would block a shot or hit his famous fade-away post shot. As I have grown up and gotten a little more into “real life” social issues I have another reason to stand and yell “Sheeeeeeeeed”.

The recent Flint, Michigan water crisis was shocking to many Americans. I had heard about aging, failing infrastructures in cities but never had any idea that the problems were not only so bad, but so close. Like many issues that come across our twitter feeds and our phone and TV screens, we feel empathy in the moment for all of the suffering people, but quickly move on to the next big issue or the next great problem. I was inspired by seeing so many people jumping in and helping Flint when the crisis first happened. I’m inspired again because my childhood hero has become one of the loudest voices to ensure that people know this problem is still very real.

Rasheed Wallace earned millions of dollars during his career in the NBA. He was a once-in-a-generation talent who rose above many obstacles to become a star. He, along with former NBA players Stephen Jackson and Flint’s own Morris Peterson, has made multiple trips to Flint with trucks full of bottled water. Many other NBA players have offered to buy water when Rasheed makes these trips, but he doesn’t want their money for water; he wants them to see the disaster themselves. He has given a loud voice to the thousands of people who still have to boil water daily so they can shower and do other tasks I take for granted every day. He has given hope to an entire community who feels forgotten and de-humanized by a lack of governmental support.

Yeah, Rasheed will always be one of my favorite basketball players but more than that, he has become one of my favorite people. As horrifying as this crisis still is, it’s inspiring to know that one of my favorite players ever has found a new passion in his retired life. Hopefully Flint collectively yells “SHEEEEEEEEEEED” next time he makes his way up there. I know I will.

To learn more about the Flint water crisis or to find out how you can help, please visit http://www.helpforflint.com/

Pictured: Rasheed Wallace with local residents (photo courtesy of The Players Tribune)

Posted by: | Posted on: September 22, 2016

Sitting is the New Smoking

It seems that at every conference I attend, webinar I watch, or article I read that remotely deals with “health”, someone states that “Sitting is the new smoking”.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that statement and what it means in my life personally and at work.

I grew up in a household that was pretty much “smoke free”.  My grandmother, who lived with us for several years, was the only adult I knew who smoked. I was raised with the notion that smoking was a bad habit.  I absolutely adored “Momo” but often hid her cigarettes and begged her to quit.  Her nicotine addiction was what ultimately led to her death, much sooner than it should have been.  I’ve never smoked or even had the desire to try it.

But I sit.  I love to just sit.  My favorite thing to do during leisure time is to read.  And what do I do when I’m reading?  I sit.  I travel a ton for business so I sit in the airport lounge, I sit in airplanes, and I sit in hotel rooms.  So if sitting is the new smoking, what is all of this sitting doing to my over health—present and future?  And how can I combat the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle?

According to the CDC, smoking harms nearly every organ in your body and can lead to premature death (COPD and cancer), cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and even affect the health of your teeth and gums.  That sounds pretty bad.  If sitting is the new smoking, what’s the effect on my body from all of that sitting?

Sitting and a sedentary lifestyle often leads to obesity.  An article in the Journal of American Medicine (February 26, 2014 Vol. 311 No. 8) reports that nearly one third of all Americans are obese.  Obesity, like smoking, can give rise to chronic conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.  Sounds a lot like the effects of smoking.

So what am I doing to combat chronic sitting in my life and what are we doing at Lyon Software?  Personally, I’ve started to work out more and make small changes that I hope will have a big impact.  I work out with a trainer once a week (with my travel schedule that’s all I can fit in!), walk to the airport gate instead of taking the tram, and take the stairs whenever I can.  One trick to getting in more stairs… I request a room on a high floor away from the elevator (yes, for the peace and quiet!) and then I take the stairs to and from my room whenever I don’t have luggage.   I bring my book to the gym and read while I’m on the treadmill.  I eat “clean” and drink a lot of water.  Oh, and I travel with exercise bands in case the hotel doesn’t have a workout room.

As a company, we at Lyon Software are also doing what we can to encourage our employees to make healthy, smart choices.  We’ve gotten rid of most of the sugary snacks (everyone needs an ice cream break once in a while!) and replaced them with raw almonds and cashews.  There’s always plenty of fruit conveniently placed in the common areas and veggies available in the refrigerator.  The office also purchases stand up desks (I love mine!) for anyone that wants one.  The Sales and Marketing staff requested exercise balls and now uses them as chairs.  Work that core!

We also reward walking.  We’ve instituted a voluntary “walk for PTO” program.  Once a day, an employee can earn a sticker for walking a lap around the office complex.  Fifteen stickers equals one hour of PTO.  Year to date, our employees have earned approximately 44 hours of PTO just by walking!  We encourage group walking for team building and camaraderie.

For years I congratulated myself for never smoking.  On health surveys I took pride in being able to check the “Never” box when asked about tobacco use.  Can I say the same thing about “sitting”?  Of course we all have to sit down sometimes.  But I’m hopeful that taking to heart that “sitting is the next smoking” will revolutionize the way I think about health—my health and that of all of the employees at Lyon Software.

sittingwalking-chart-lyonsoftware
Pictured: Lyon Software VP, Dave Lyon, utilizing standing desk (left) and the Lyon Software “Walk for PTO” tracking chart (right)