Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Can You Recognize a Stroke?

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in America (after heart disease and cancer).
When a stroke occurs blood supply is cut off from the brain and so a stroke requires emergency medical attention. You need to call 911 if you or someone you know is having a stroke. The earlier you get treatment the less damage your brain will suffer.
According to the National Stroke Association, some of the symptoms of a stroke include:
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If these symptoms appear for a short time and then disappear you should still call 911 because you may be having a TIA (transient ischemic attack) which is an indicator for future strokes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Busting the myths: Time is not money

Is time really money? Don't believe the lie that time is money. The truth is time is far more important than money. Time is life and please take that literally.

It is possible to waste money and we've all been somewhat guilty of that. But that can be replenished. Just like a hammer or a kitchen knife, money is a tool that can be replaced. What you can't do is waste life because all of us get one chance at it. The crudeness of time is that once it's spent it is gone. 

Time is in fact ruthless. It has no grace and extremely unforgiving. It always keeps ticking forward never stopping, slowing or waiting.  It is always appears short, inelastic & independent of most anything else. Unlike money it doesn't grow interest, can't be invested & it's fixed. The best you can do with time is to improve on its quality. 

Then there's the other truth.  You are guaranteed to have time to do everything you are supposed to do while you have it. (Ecclesiastes 3:1- “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”) 

If that’s true then how do some underachieve when it comes to living life? 

A while back my neighbor’s dog was in an accident and the end result was that its leg had to be amputated. Having watched that dog, I’ve concluded that it might as well have four legs. It is just as energetic and alert as the days it had four legs. 

In fact, we humans are the only creatures that don’t live up to our full potential. A huge part is because of a gift that the good Lord gave us: A conscious will

Some simple rules I have adopted over the years
  1. Pay to save time – Since time is that valuable, pay for someone to do certain tasks for you so you can focus on the things that matter in your life. As the years go by you should be having more of these tasks done by others because you are running out of time.
  2. Incorporate technology to save time- Figure out how to use technology to allow you to save time. 
  3. Don’t multitask on critical moments – There are times in life when you should only do one thing and one thing only. I make sure that dates with my wife or kids that I do nothing else.
  4. Make and document key moments – proactively look to create memories and document. This takes on a new meaning if you have kids. Memories don’t just happen, they are planned and thought out. 
  5. Take time to reflect – Take ample time to be alone and reflect on what’s going on in your life. This should include both positive and negative events and how you intend to grow as a person. 

Bernard Wambugu
CEO Lantel Systems How we work continues to change. We provide the technology solutions to allow for that change.
Let’s stay in touch 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finally, My Goals for 2012

An interesting thing happened once I decided to explore the idea of a life coach. I have experienced a certain burst of clarity about certain things.

For example, it occurred to me that when I do find a coach I need to be ready with a list of issues/areas of concern.

I started working on the list and in doing so I realized that though I had struggled and failed to develop some goals for the New Year it was now very clear to me what goals I wanted to achieve this year.

One is to become a better writer.

The other is to put my affairs in order, as they say.

The first goal needs no explanation. I like to write and would like to spend my waking hours earning my living from writing and so improve I must.

The second goal is fueled by a realization that my life is really disorganized. Yes, I manage to get out of the door every morning and handle the mundane things of daily life but I have not really handled the important decisions in life such as writing a will or a medical directive or figuring out if the insurance policies I have are worth anything or compiling all my health records in one place or . . . I could go on and on.

If by the end of the year I find that I have made substantial progress in these 2 goals then I will feel some sense of accomplishment. One will give my personal satisfaction and the other will give me peace of mind. Two worthy goals indeed.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2012 so far . . .

I am kind of shocked that we are already into February. Where did January go? Seems like the holidays were just the other day. I have to admit I am off to a slow (actually, very slow) start this year. I did not set any resolutions this year. To be honest, it just seemed like too much work. And I have been suffering from severe writers block ; this is the first post this year where I have managed to get this far. Just dealing with the daily grind feels like a very full day . . . wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, veg on the couch, go to bed . . . definitely stuck in a rut.

Earlier today I was reading an article in the New Yorker where a doctor talks about working with a coach to help him become a better surgeon. It’s an interesting read—here is someone who is pretty good at what he does, yet he is concerned that he is not getting better. One can only hope that the rest of the doctors share the same concerns and do something about it.

Anyway, it occurred to me that that’s what I need to get back on track. If I continue the way I am going, the year will end before I have anything to show for it except a lot more pounds from all the couch surfing. I sure could use some help to jump start my life.

I know life coaches have been around for a long time, but coaching is not something I have previously considered. It’s easy to make the decision (cost decisions aside) to hire a trainer to lose weight, or a dietician to create a meal plan, or a tutor for test prep. Those are very specific issues that you need help with.

It’s a lot harder to realize that your life is generally out of whack and you can’t get it back on track yourself. It could be that you don’t know exactly why it’s out of whack or because you don’t know what you need to do to get it back on track. Alternatively you might know why and to fix it but you lack the discipline to get it done. Enter the life coach.

According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), a life coach is a "person who helps you maximize your personal and professional potential". It is not therapy, though I guess a good coach should be able to recognize if a client could benefit from therapy and suggest it. Therapy helps one deal with difficult situations especially past experiences that impact one’s feelings, outlook and approach to life. Coaching is very tactical, very strategic, very future focused—what can you do today to move you ahead tomorrow?

How do you ensure that coaching works for you? The key is to find a coach whose style meets your needs so that you can work together successfully. That definitely takes a lot of research. I suspect there are many more people who use coaches than we might realize. You might have to ask the people around you if they have used or are currently using a coach. Further you have to be willing to try out a few before you decide on one.

Here are some tips on how to choose and find a coach. If anyone has any experience working with a coach, please share in the comments section or send an email to I would love to hear from you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Setting New Year Resolutions Part 2

Last week, we said that we are to filter every New Year Resolution (NYR) through three main questions. (Read about it here). That should have narrowed your NYRs to just a few that are worth doing and with just a few days to the new year and here are the five MUSTS to live up to them.
           Be accountable – A lack of accountability is perhaps the main reason we have a 92% NYR failure rate. You have to be willing to be accountable to your family and friends who are willing to hold you accountable. Let them know why you made the resolution and how they can help you keep it. Most importantly let them know what they should do if they see you not living up to it. When it comes to my diet, I have made this fun for my kids and accountability friends. They all know there’s $10 coming their way anytime they see me eating red meat. I have had to pay a price and sometimes gladly paid it based upon the occasion but overall my intake of red meat is down to single digits per year. By making it fun and motivating my accountability partners, I managed to change a daily habit into a very rare occasion.

     Team up – When my wife made the decision to lose weight at the beginning of this year she got in touch with her high school friend who had the same goal. Together they challenged each other by working out, changing diets and keeping track of their weight goals. I can tell you there were days when I know that my wife alone would have given up but her friend wouldn’t allow it and vice versa. Throughout the year I have seen them get frustrated, bewildered, in pain, momentarily fail but by teaming up they were able to be stay in it and lose a combined 75lbs in one year. For two friends who live 2 hours from each other this is quite an accomplishment. They also became accountable by announcing their intentions on Facebook, provided status updates and opened YouTube channels to document their weight lose.

      Pay up and make it hurt to stop – It should cost you at the very least, time and money. Pay it up early and often. When I made the resolution to run a marathon last year, I signed up and paid all registration fees. I then teamed up with a local charity and cleared my morning weekend commitments for training. There were days I would have like to do be doing other things on Saturday morning but the thought of stopping and the number of people I’d have to let down kept me going. If you’ve determined that it’s worth doing, then do it all the way and start by fully paying for it to where it’s much more painful to stop than to continue doing it.

      Start earlier – I call December my test run month where I try out different things that I’ll be implementing in the new year. This helps me know which items I’ll probably live up to, which ones I’ll struggle with and which ones I will not succeed in. Most importantly it helps me control the crazy holiday period where it is very easy to indulge going into the New Year. I’m always reminding of the proverb “Indulgence breeds regret”
          Plan to deal with failure – I intend to deal with this more in a future post but think through what happens when you start falling off the track. Please note that I used the word “when” and not “if” on purpose because it’s naïve to think you’ll be amongst the 8% without a struggle. Falling off is also not failing and this brings us to the third reason why most people fail. They stop altogether when they hit a momentary lapse. There are different reasons why lapses happen but the more you think through this, the more you can set in place preventative measures to make it difficult to stop. Knowing that I’d probably struggle reading two non-fiction books a month this year, I teamed up with a friend. We made it easier by making one of the books an optional audiobook (since I spend plenty of time travelling audiobooks worked great). We both committed to buy the other a book of their choice for each month we didn’t meet that goal. We made it easy to track by using amazon kindles to read and also find out where the other person was on their book read. Even with that in place, I still missed a month but overall I’m calling that a successful year for reading books. Again if you determine it’s worth doing then you’ll set in place the measures that will prevent you from failing   .

         So what have you tried that worked that we can all learn from?

         I’d love to hear from you. To learn more about what we do and how we can help, please visit us at or email me at
        We provide affordable and secure cloud computing solutions to many entrepreneurs, businesses in different industries and government agencies.
        Our data centers are independently audited not just for availability but for security and most of all we have the references and the clients to prove it.

        Thanks, Bernard Wambugu

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Modest First Year Budget For A New Immigrant

People often ask me what someone should expect to put aside for their expenses in the first year they are in the US. This is a tough question mainly because the cost of living varies widely depending on your city.

Here is a sample budget for monthly expenses in Houston. You can use this cost of living calculator to calculate the cost in the city you will be moving to. To use the cost of living calculator, use the annual totals as your salary to find out how much you need in other cities.

Simple budget based on a simple lifestyle that has mainly the essentials for someone living in Houston, TX.

Range-Family of 4
This is based on renting a one-three bed roomed apartment
 This can be managed by using coupons and cooking at home and not eating out. 

Some apartments pay for water

 Houston is the 4th largest city in the US. It has longer commutes than other smaller cities


Monthly Total

Annual Totals

One time costs

This hugely varies depending on preference. Some people spend close to nothing by shopping at resale stores. 
Kitchen Items


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reinventing Yourself in 2012

At the end of 2011 I read Reinventing yourself by Mark Chandler. It was a great book to jump start my new year. Some of the key highlights in the book were

Use of Language: What kind of language do you use to describe your situation. Is it self-defeating and depreciating? Watching your language will help you figure out what you really think about a situation. Perspective is everything and it is birthed by thoughts. This year pay attention to what you are thinking and watch how it makes a world of difference.

Victim vs. Owner: Do you own your life or do you feel like there are always external factors that are contributing to it. Some of us let life just happen and then complain when it does not happen like we would have wanted it to. Do you have a plan? Do you have some means to achieve your goals this year? Work on those goals and watch how it changes the outcome. We will not always have everything we want but we can work hard and see great results.

Action vs Intention: Do you find yourself in the renown valley of intentions? It is a depressing place to be. Sooner or later it gets tiring thinking about all the things you wish for or could have or should have. A different approach is action. Set realistic goals and reach them one step at a time. If you need to stay more connected, set up a calling schedule or coffee date schedule. We live in a busy world and your friends will be grateful for your effort as opposed to hearing excuses.

There is so much more useful material in this book. It is a very easy read and I highly recommend it. You can get it from Amazon and start your adventure of learning and growing. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Setting New Year Resolutions (Part 1)

Getting ready for the New Year? Started making New Year resolutions? Great! Now for some sobering news.  92% of New Year’s resolutions won’t be kept. Failure usually comes fast and furious with about half of those resolutions being abandoned within the first month of the year. As a result many give up setting goals altogether which is always a worse resolution than setting one and failing at it (more on that in a future post).

But it leads all of us to ask “Where’s our resolve?” I can understand and accept a certain percentage of failure but 92% is ridiculous. With the year coming to an end, how do you set New Year Resolutions (NYRs) that you can keep with you over a life time?

Success starts with a willingness to spend more time planning for life in general. There’s a general rule that “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. The bottom line is NYRs or no NYRs you are still planning. Then if that’s the case there’s no better time than doing this now at the end of the year and almost at the beginning of a new one. From a life and business coaching conference I took a while back (review notes below), I learned to call such a time “reflection time”.

And so a few years back I started taking a day before thanksgiving to be alone, reflect and plan. And because year to year I should be placing a high value on seeing different aspects of my life improve, I look at where and why I succeeded or failed. Immediately after I come back I set out to implement the changes I want to see happen going into the new year. I combine this with monthly review times where I spend about half a day to tweak  or at times overhaul the process.

So here are the three questions to consider in the first part and next week I’ll point out the  five critical things you want to consider as you make your new year resolutions.

1    WHY? Why have the resolution in the first place? The 8% of those who keep their NYRs, have a very strong why they need to make and keep the resolution. I always start by asking myself what’s the point of the resolution I intend on keeping. Why do I need to change and where does the intention for change come from? i.e Am I changing because of a conviction I have or is it because my friends, tv ads or some outside pressure that is making me feel like I need to change? In most of the NYRs I have failed at, I was influenced by an outside presence and not because of a conviction I had. I can tell you that the NYR looked good and exciting at the time but when the proverbial rubber met the road, it came crushing down and I ended up wasted plenty of time, energy and money.
      What will it cost me? No resolution that is made and kept that is free. It will cost you precious time, money, relationships. I always make sure I understand that cost and if I’m willing to live with paying that cost. It’s not just the cost to me personally but there are others who are dear in my life that will pay a price for my NYRs. Is this a fair cost for them to incur? Then there’s the cost that few people pay attention to. The activities that need to be stopped so as to allow for a new resolution to take hold. Remember that time restrictions is the second reason why most resolutions fail. Nowadays, in my reflection time I take time to decide what I need to stop doing. I found there are always plenty of those that need stopping.
      What’s the benefit? So if I succeed what do I have to gain. This has to go far beyond feeling good about myself. A few years back I made a resolution to change my diet. Sure there are obvious health benefits but far more important to me was setting an example for my kids and doing what I can to be healthy during the years my kids will be adults. I dream of the day that God-willing  I will be fortunate to run a marathon with my kids. With that dream in the back of my head, the sacrifice of giving up read meat, drastically cutting down on sugar, salt and white flour became a very small price to pay.
At the end of the day, we have this one life to live. Live it on purpose and be proactive with it even at the cost of failing on some plans. Don’t just decide to take up something in the new year without taking through the filter of the above questions. And if you deem it’s worth doing then do it without any reservations since you get to do it in this one and only life.

How do you make sure you live up to the filtered NYRs? That’s a question I’ll answer in next week’s post.

So what have you tried that worked that we can all learn from?
I’d love to hear from you. To learn more about what we do and how we can help, please visit us at or 
email me at
We provide affordable and secure cloud computing solutions to many entrepreneurs, businesses in different industries and government agencies. Our data centers are independently audited not just for availability but for security and most of all we have the references and the clients to prove it.

Bernard Wambugu

The life and business coaching conference is hosted yearly by Building Champions