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Why?


“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.”…Simon Sinek

I am not a difficult person. Really, I try not to complain much, I work as hard as possible for as many hours as it takes, and I usually am flexible. Everyone has motivation and motivation is what keeps them engaged in what needs to be completed. Discovering and capitalizing on someone’s motivation is the key link between happy employees and corporate growth. In my case, it isn’t money that gets my blood pumping. Nor am I excited by a sense of accomplishment, as many people can accomplish formatted tasks. What makes me willing to get out of bed in the morning is the “Why” of the company in which I work. What is the “why”? I am so glad you asked because without your question, this article would probably have to end here. So, let’s explore the “why”, shall we?

“People don’t buy WHAT do you do, they buy WHY you do it.”…Simon Sinek

start with why coverOver the years, I have worked for companies where I know exactly what they do, how they do it, and have been a part of teams which produced the end results. In other words, I was there to get a paycheck. Once the interest or challenge waned, it was time to move to the next project or company. Oh, the life of a consultant. However, I have also been on a job where what the company or team did was not as important as why they did it. Those situations are the inspiration for me to come to work each day with the desire to do everything in my power to make it successful. Simon Sinek discusses the why in his book “Start with Why”. Haven’t read that book? Well, you should because it dives into the motivations of successful companies such as Apple Inc. and Southwest Airlines, which were not just founded on their why but shared it with the world. They created a culture with their customers which then pulls them in making them want to be a part of the culture. Customers purchased these companies’ products not because it was the cheapest, as anyone who purchased the new iPad or a MacBook Pro in recent years can attest, but because they wanted to be involved in the culture of the company, the WHY. This idea is the difference between collecting a paycheck and being driven to success at work. Instead of me rambling on about the benefits, I would suggest reading Sinek’s book. Now back to my point, stay with me here.

What happens is the company that started with a powerful why surrenders to the what they do? When process, the all-powerful bottom line, and goals become the driving force, the company forfeits the culture which made them strong. The work environment becomes a place where procedure reigns supreme and organizational structures hold higher importance than the morale of the teams. In short, the business loses its soul and with it, the hearts of the employees.

why2In the fast-paced world we have with instant gratification and everyone- gets- a -trophy, who cares about the soul of the company? Well, I for one do. I am a customer of many of these businesses. From airlines to fast food, I have to interact with a person who is getting a paycheck and not actively participating in the company. The bored, slack-jawed mannerisms make every interaction with another person in business infuriating.

The time of pride in one’s work seems to be lost forever, leaving only the collection of the meager paycheck remaining. . Even in this, there is contention as the entitlement mentality has infected all aspects of our culture. Not only have our companies lost their why, but our culture has as well. We are no longer going to work because we love our jobs (why), but because we just want the paycheck (what). Where once we would proudly answer “I am a (fill in the blank)” we now tell people what we do, “I push papers all day”. To add insult to injury, we are passing this new legacy on to our children who will grow up with an even darker view of the world around them.

So, what do we do? I wish I had the answer for everyone. It is a personal quest you must embark on to find the answer to why you do what you do. Only you can answer the why. Maybe, there is a remote chance, a sliver of hope if you will, where everyone seeks out understanding and searches for why, it may become infectious. Maybe, it will change the world around us. Maybe, you will walk into work and each of you will have a new sense of why we do things and not what we do. Maybe…

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Editorial, Life

 

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To The Man I Call My Son


shining lightBoy, don’t you worry.
You’ll find yourself.
Follow you heart,
and nothing else.
You can do this,
if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
is to be satisfied.

And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won’t you do this for me son,
If you can?

“Simple Man”…Lynard Skynard

It is late at night and I hear the door opening. You quietly enter the house after a night’s work. I can hear you moving through the house, going through your after-work routine and getting ready for bed. I have to smile as I think of how much you have grown before my eyes. Thinking back to the many “firsts” we have shared together, I get a little nostalgic. Today, on your birthday, I want to share the many things that make me so very thankful you are in my life. 

You have reminded me how good genuine laughter feels. The humor you find in life is infectious in its sincerity. I cannot remember another time in my life when I have laughed as much as I have in your presence. The simplest things send us into fits of laughter bringing tears to our eyes. Each of these moments becomes the “inside” joke that only we share. Before you entered my life, I do not believe I had known so many moments of such enjoyment.

I remember watching as you learned the skills many of your peers did not take the time to learn- skills that will allow you to take care of yourself when you are on your own. In the process of acquiring these skills, you have helped the family through many busy times by being a contributor to the household. When I was away on business, I knew that with your help, things would be fine at home. You stepped up to be there for the family when I could not. For this, I am thankful. 

I remember the first time I saw your perform in marching band and the over-flow of pride I felt as I saw you walk onto the field in your uniform. Many Saturdays were spent following the high school band from one competition to the next hoping you could feel the pride we had in you as we sat in the stands.  I watched you grow as a musician and a leader over the years in band. Through you, I have a new appreciation of music and the skills needed to perform. 

I watched you finish high school and take on the responsibilities of college.   Though it can be a struggle at times, you have stuck with college and developed the tools to help you succeed on the path to a bright future.  You have made me proud that you have not given up when you could have easily done so.  I am proud of your persistence and resilience.  You have succeeded and grown as a student. 

I think back on the many discussions we have had over the years over a variety of topics. How your views help me to understand my own. How your input has inspired me to look deeper into what I thought I knew. How your acceptance of your own sense of being has given you the strength to be who you are…always. I have never met someone who is as comfortable with themselves as you are. For this, you should be proud of yourself and continue to never compromise. 

I remember the moment when you walked your mother down the aisle and gave your blessing on our wedding day along with the beautiful speech that you gave at the ceremony. I remember that there was not a dry eye in the place from your heart-felt words. On that day, you brought our family together. 

As I think back, I wanted to share with you how you have affected my life, how much you make me proud, and to let you know that you matter to me. You coming into my life brought me the gift of a son. A boy who has grown into a man.  A man who would make any dad proud. Love you. 

Happy Birthday, my son. Love…Dad 

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Children

 

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Season of Change


season-of--change

The fall breeze gives a chill to the air. Leaves sing the song of change as they tumble through the yard. The autumn colors are finishing their final transition from bright hues to brown as leaves fall to the ground marking the cycle of seasons. At some point, I know I will have to get out the yard tools and get to work cleaning up this year’s harvest of change. The yearly cycle of growth has reached its twilight and the darkness of winter has started.

Sitting on my patio, I look out across the yard. I pull my jacket tighter around me to fight the chill in the breeze. Though the temperature is getting cooler, the sun still shines brightly, causing me to shelter my eyes. It occurs to me that so much has changed since I moved into this house over thirteen years ago. The very patio where I now sit did not exist when I first took up residence here. The yard has subtly changed in ways that went mostly unnoticed by everyone. If one is observant, the slow changes mark the endless passage of time. I have lived in my current home longer than any other place in my life. This is not just a house it is a home. My home became my foundation, my reflection of the joy in life, and my sanctuary against the pressures of life. With a newfound perspective, I look across the expanse of my yard and smile. My eyes fall on this year’s new addition to the landscape of my home and I think back on the events that brought it into being.

Over the past year, my wife and I made a few changes to the landscape. A few of our older trees, infected by disease, required removal leaving our house exposed to the elements. As the years passed, trees were lost, either from disease or from required “improvements,” leaving our yard vacant of shade and color. I was becoming a little distraught over the lack of trees around our home. Growing up in a rural area and having many trees around was a fond memory of home for me. Understanding my feelings about the trees, my wife devised a plan.  While on a weekend getaway earlier this spring, my wife presented me with a gift that I had not expected. She gave me a voucher for a tree as an early anniversary gift. She told me that as our love has grown over the years, this tree too would grow and flourish. The tree became a symbol of our relationship.

The newly planted tree grew throughout the summer. We would take evening walks out to admire the new growth. We watered it as often as the dry summer required. It became the focus of our evening conversation. Once, we saw birds built a nest in our new tree. We sat on the patio and watched, as the robins would fly back and forth with building material. No matter what stress the day brought, this little tree had a calming effect. Moreover, like all relationships, the tree has cycles.

As the season changed, the leaves began to turn a deep red. Sitting on my chair, enjoying the fall breeze, I watch the leaves falling and covering the ground. I ask myself if this change is symbolic of relationships as well.  Marriages have points where they are full of life and renewal. As the marriage grows, it develops of a rhythm similar to the seasons. Marriage contains moments of understanding and caring that flourish, wilt, and are reborn. Like the tree, our relationship goes through cycles. It starts as a vibrant sapling with rapid growth, settles into the slow dependability spreading its roots as it reaches for the warmth becoming a strong foundation for new seeds to spread on the wind.  The real strength of couples seems to be that they recognize these cycles. Couples need to take the time to understand the seasonal changes and look forward to the revival that comes in the next cycle. Relationships like trees require nurturing, discovery, and appreciation.  For successful couples it seems important to take moments away from the stressful days and just marvel at their growth. At times, relationships like trees in winter will lay dormant without what appears to be growth. As winter gives the foliage a time to recover and prepare for the next spring, this too is the case with relationships as relationships need the time to renew and become revitalized.

Smiling to myself, I walk out to the tree, silently thanking it for its wisdom. This surprising gift has become a symbol, a reminder of the cycles of relationships. Like the tree, a marriage begins fragile and requires constant attention to protect and nurture. As it grows, roots give stability yet, through it still go through cycles. Situations, like the seasons, influence the growth and health and successful couples weather the storms. Though the cold of winter will be upon my little tree soon, it will stand tall, waiting for spring to bring the next cycle. 

Until next time…

Jerry b.

©2013

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Family, Life

 

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My Daughter: Sweet Dreams


Daughters memories

Wandering through the dark house, checking the locks and closing up, I make my way to your room to make sure that the covers are protecting you from the chilly autumn evening. As I stand in the doorway, the glow of your lava lamp casts shadows throughout your room. A smile grows on my face as I straighten the pile of books on your night stand. It amazes me how grown up my little girl has become.

Earlier in the night, I was reviewing some of the older articles from the Family category of the blog featuring you. I revisited moments that have chronicled your growth. Memories flooded back of sitting in the rocking chair of your little room, reading a book to you before bed every night. Those same books, you have since read on your own, now reside on your book shelves. I started thinking back on the times when you would climb up into the bed, little more than a toddler, and ask me to read to you. I miss those times sitting on your bed, and becoming your personal storyteller. You no longer need a storyteller since you are reading more books than you father can keep up with. As the books are straightened, my smile broadens at these wonderful memories.

Looking around your room, the glow of your iPod as it rests in the docking station pulls me to another time when you were first introduced to music. Wanting to make sure you had a good foundation for you future choices, I created your music playlist with songs from The Beatles, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, and many more. I beamed with pride as you would tell anyone who would listen that your favorite bands were The Beatles and KISS. Over the years, music has become a huge part of you and who you are becoming. You dance around the house singing a tune and giggling as you spread your joy throughout the house.  

As I sit down on the bed and tuck the covers up around you, I think back to all the years you have brightened my life. I watch the mental montage of birthdays, holidays, and those special moments. I smile remembering the walks in the park, watching you play your first soccer games, and the amazement of seeing you ride your bike without training wheels. I reflect on images of your artwork that adorns my office walls and it reminds me of how creative you are in all that you do. I also shudder as I remember the times you were sick. I remember all the moments that make up both of our lives and hope that I am doing the best for you.

Memories flood through me as I lean over to give you one last kiss for the night. Brushing your hair out of your face and whispering “I love you. Sweet dreams,” I turn to leave the room and leave you to your dreams. Turning away in the dark, I hear a soft, raspy sleepy voice, “I love you too, Daddy”.

Happy Birthday, my dear daughter.

Dad

© 2013

Related Articles: Building the Foundation; A Daughter’s Love for Reading; A Reason for Hope: To My Daughter; A New Adventure

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Children

 

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On This Day…A Note to My Daughter


To my daughter,

On this day, we celebrate your birthday. For me, the day is something that holds more than just cake and a gift. Today, I celebrate the gift of you; a gift that brings me joy every day.

On this day…

I remember walking beside the cart that brought you into the nursery and looking down on the wonder that was my child. I held you for the first time that day and looked into your eyes. Your eyes held so much life and shown with an intelligence that I have now seen fulfilled. I was scared that I was not ready to be your guide in life, but with your smile, all my concerns evaporated. I held in my arms, for the first time, hope for the future. I knew love in a way that was previously unknown to me. My world shrank to only you.

On this day…

I sit, browsing through my memories of your early years. All the moments where you brought a smile to my face, like when you seemed to be so grown up at the age of two. I walk through the memories reliving them as if they were yesterday. I can still feel the excitement from the sidelines at your soccer games, the swelling pride when I listened to your oral essay presentation, and laugh at our shared moments of being silly. I remember your beaming smiles as we went into the ocean on our first real vacation. These precious movies replaying in my thoughts bringing on so many feelings of the pride, joy, and love I have for you.

On this day…

I look at the woman you have become. The woman I see every day would make any parent beam with pride. Your inner strength shines through in everything you do. You have become someone I respect and admire. I truly enjoy the time we spend together. You are my friend as well as my daughter. You are a woman that others should strive to be. I cannot express in words how much every conversation between us means to me. When I see you, I see an intelligent, loving, beautiful, and responsible person. You are the physical embodiment of the hope I saw the first day I held you. You bring joy and love into my world everyday like you did the first moment I held you. Though you are grown, I still have moments where my world shrinks to only you. I still get a smile on my face as I see the grown up girl.

On this day…

I want to tell you how much I love you.

Happy Birthday, to my amazing daughter.

Love, Dad

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Children, Life

 

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A New Adventure


This week, I am coming back from vacation with my family. Though I may travel often with my job, it is a very rare occasion that I can share the world beyond my little community with my family. Last week, I had a chance to share a little piece of the traveling experience with those I love. I was able to experience the excitement of my children discovering new things, exploring a world they haven’t seen outside of the movies, and seeing a part of the world through their eyes. For those that have had the opportunity to travel with your children, you can understand the balance of excitement and stress. For those that haven’t had the chance; let me explain.

The Stress

If anyone has ever tried to get a group of people together to do any activity, you know that there is a lot of planning, coordinating, and double-checking your list. You have to balance everyone’s needs, personalities, and level of understanding. This process starts weeks before the vacation. I watched my wife go through a daily juggling act of looking for interesting places, fascinating sights to see and must-do things. She attempted to have balance and include things our youngest would like, our oldest would like, and what we wanted to do. She purchased the tickets for events and planned out how much time we needed between things, all the while, leaving things open for the free-flow exploration. Once the trip begins, it is a juggling act of corralling the group, answering the millions of requests from the children (most of the answers are “no”), and all the while attempting to relax and enjoy the moment.

Then the moment happens

The excitement of the trip becomes infectious as the children look around in awe of the new world they are experiencing. Their heads snap from left to right to catch all the new sights like a rubber-necker passing a fender bender. The stress flows out of you with each laugh and comment from the children as you explain the things around them and what is planned. The parental bonds with the children start to reconnect with each passing moment, as do the sibling connection at the shared experience. Forgotten are the tasks for work and the bills to pay. The only thing that matters is continuing this very moment for as long as you can. In that instant, you understand the rewards of the labor in preparing for the trip.

Reaching over and taking my daughter’s hand in mine, we wander through the avenues of skyscrapers as a family and work our way towards each new adventure. Laughter becomes the family’s constant companion as we incorporate our inside jokes to the world around us. We see the new city in a way the natives have long forgotten. Museums, parks, and tourist events are the goals we seek and find with every turn.

At the end of the first day, with legs aching from the exertion, my wife and I enjoy a drink as the kids wander off to look over the lake. I feel my wife’s hand in mine as we relax and watch the children marvel at the sight. I see my son reach down and pat his sister on the shoulder as he explains something to her. She looks up at him and smiles. This is what a family vacation is meant to be.

The Moment

These are the moments that make it all worth it.

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

Related Post: Vacation Observations; It’s Family Vacation Time; A Reason for Hope: To My Daughter;

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Children, Family

 

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Lessons Learned (Or Not)




Kill me romantically
Fill my soul with vomit
Then ask me for a piece of gum
Bitter and dumb
You’re my sugarplum
You’re awful, I love you!
Ludo…Love Me Dead!

The words resound in your head with songs and the lyrics you can understand. There is always something about us that wants to connect to people who aren’t good for us. Some of them are friends, some are lovers, and others are just people who are better left in the past. We are all creatures of a social world as I have previously mentioned. The problem lies in the wanting to connect to people that we know better.

We all subject ourselves to this point of misery in order to capture a feeling, a moment in time or to stay in a comfortable place that we know. How many people do you know are in relationships that are not good for one side or another? You wonder why they are not seeing what you see in the situation. That is the benefits of being on the sidelines and observing. We each have to make our own mistakes and try to learn from them. Our nature doesn’t always allow us to get the lessons from the situation and we make the same mistakes over and over again.

Had to turn,
Lay down,
You’re sting of disease,
Phase you,
Out,
should’ve seen this coming,
Go on,
Confusing the soul,
Hold my breath,
Til you rupture!
Chevelle…Closure

My issue with all this is why do we do it? I can understand the wanting of acceptance from someone but, why do we pick, the people we do? I personally can look back and see hindsight that the situation wasn’t good on many levels but we fought for it anyway. We look for those that are unavailable, injured, immature, and lost then try to make something work with them. I see my friends doing the same things over and over again. We don’t listen when we are warned to stay away. We charge in and think that “this time it will be different”. In the end, it is the same things over and over again. We are not only social creatures but also one of habit.

Pain, without love
Pain, I can’t get enough
Pain, I like it rough
‘Cause I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all
Three Days Grace…Pain

What I keep trying to figure out is how to break that cycle. If you burn your hand on a hot pan you wouldn’t grab a pan so quickly the next time. Yet we will stumble back into the same pain of heartache over and over expecting different results. Is the pain of the heart that much different. Looking back over the past years, I see that my choices haven’t always been the most sound. Those people you think you want in your life do not want you in theirs. The ones that you care for can’t decide if they want to give things a shot to see what happens. In the end, you settle.

Run away run away
With the pain
That I told you once I could not spare
Its only satisfaction was fear
Tantric…Live Your Life

Why do you do this? The answer is actually fairly easy. We have hope. We believe that somewhere out there, there is someone who will complete us. I for one know that it is true. This is the reason that we wake up every morning and the reason that we smile. I will follow this piece of hope and am willing to suffer all the pain that comes with heartache for that one chance that somewhere out there, there is someone who will want to share the experience. Someone that will be able to share the joy of the life we live.

They are out there. Do you have enough hope to keep searching?

Until next time…

© 2010

 

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2010 in General, Life

 

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