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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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Are We the Best Country in the World?


{Stepping up to the podium, tapping the microphone and with a sigh, I look out upon the crowd as the fear grips me. I come to the realization that I am about to say things that might not be popular or accepted. Swallowing the fear, taking a deep breath, I commit to the moment. }

Is the United States the best country in the world?

I have thought about this question many times over the past few decades. Once, I believed the answer was yes. We are the greatest, most advanced, and most powerful country that exists. Unfortunately, that time of naivety has evaporated along with the belief in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. The U.S. may once have been one of the greatest countries in the world. However, as the country grows out of puberty and into adulthood, the U.S. is exchanging its teenaged ideology for the complacent persona of middle-aged greed. To answer the question presented, no, the U.S. is no longer the greatest country in the world. Before the mob gathers the noose and prepares to hang me from the nearest tree, let me explain. 

Once, as a country, we held our heads high with a pride that was based on the core values of innovation, education, and integrity. We raced to the stars, fought for equality, and revolutionized industry. Pride was felt in a good day’s work. Our beliefs were based on earning everything you have and there was no such thing as a free lunch. Charity is what you did for others not what you held your hand out to receive. Success in school was measured by personal dedication and effort in all subjects, not just the subjects that appear on a national standardized test. Politicians were voted into office because of their stance on issues or principles, conviction, and a shared belief; not because of party affiliation. Yes, once we were the greatest country in the world and we earned that title through the blood, sweat, and tears of our people and their leaders. Somewhere, we lost our way.

We have become a country where social programs created to help those in need have become a crutch that encourages laziness. Why would someone strive to work or improve their situation if they can receive a handout for doing the minimum or nothing? These government programs allow the status quo to continue without putting ownership on those receiving assistance to change their situation. New government programs are continually created that are perpetuating this mentality by sustaining generation after generation of dependents on the program. How is this possible? The politicians that advocate the programs are seeking voters by creating a cycle of dependency.

The current reality of our political arena is much different than the world of our grandparents. Elections are bought by corporations and special interest groups who easily manipulate an ignorant populace. We are in the most polarized political landscape since the Civil War where voters no longer cast their vote based on belief in the candidate but the party they represent or rumors they believe. How are the voters expected to make informed decisions when the media, with its lost objectivity, clamors to spoon feed their political affiliates and satisfy their demographic focus for their advertisers? Making an informed decision has fallen to the sidelines in favor of the convenience of a ten-second sound bite. No longer are truth and journalistic creed part of the equation. Now is a time of instant gratification, tweets, and digital headlines where honest debate has slipped aside for tabloid politics. The integrity of the democratic process seems to have gone up for sale to the highest bidder on EBay.

What do the corporations get for their money? Corporations get a supportive political landscape that panders to their every whim allowing them to move jobs out of the country in favor of profits.  At some point, we went from being the greatest industrial nation of innovation and manufacturing to a nation of mostly service based industries. Why? Corporations, with the blessing of the government find more profit in moving jobs to other industrial nations, where the wages can be reduced and labor laws are not as strict? In return, factories that employed thousands are sitting vacant with only weeds and rust being produced where once steel, automobiles, and textiles flowed from their loading bays.

With the closing of businesses, communities not only lose jobs, families and stability but also the ability and willingness to fund education. In a panic to keep funding and comply with national and state education standards, school districts shift the focus away from quality education to meeting the objectives of standardized test scores. These standards are forced on the districts by policies of state and local governments based on political agendas. Educators, in the hopes of maintaining their jobs, are expected to push the agenda set before them at the cost of learning and creativity that once made the U.S. the innovators on the global landscape. All the while, teachers are blamed for not only lowering the education standards but also for not meeting the needs of the individual students. Emphasis falls on to the tested subjects with other programs falling away. Children are force fed the test subjects and expected to perform without the essential skills they need. Without a strong emphasis on subjects like history, the values and foundation our country was built upon are slowly slipping away from future generations.  As a nation, we are failing the future generations and dumbing down the population. Could it be that a less educated population is easier to manipulate?

Why do I have this view? I come from a generation that put emphasis on working hard for what you want, not expecting it to be given. I have the ability to write, read, and have intellectual thoughts because teachers were able to guide me into fostering my own ideas and opinion. I grew up in a time where history and the arts were taught to give an understanding of mistakes and accomplishment of our past. If I needed understanding, I searched through many ideas to find the answers, not open a browser and look for a bite-sized tidbit. Back then when honor in action and words meant something, where information could be trusted to be more fair and objective unlike the pretense of objectivity we now have in the age of 24 hour news channels and Wikipedia.

I love my country. I believe that we were once the greatest country in the world. Then again, the Roman Empire was once the greatest empire known to the civilized world. Once upon a time, the sun never set on the British Empire. We used to reach for the stars, now we reach for the remote and our wallets. We believed in what we stood for and held our heads up high. We were the envy of the world. I want to know that time again before I leave this world. Will you help me to achieve it?

{Steps away from the podium.}

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

Related Post: Talking Heads Without A Voice; Big Business in America: The Money Pit; Help Wanted: Parents; Government Cheese…Burger?

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Editorial, Politics

 

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TTMM Weekly Wrap Up


Welcome to the weekly review of the TTMM.

In the final weeks of the summer, the children are back to school, the weather is trying to decide if it wants to hold on to the last vestige of the heat wave and our time becomes limited; we are looking forward to the cooling calm of autumn. I, for one, cannot wait to open the house, retire the air conditioning for the year, and let the breeze blow through to cool our thoughts.  This is the time of year where the writer in me stirs.

Lately, I have been wondering what voice I wanted to share here on TTMM. I worry that with the wide range of topics and different styles, that some may not be interested in coming back to see future posts. In the end, my struggle wasn’t resolved but I did decide to continue writing for the sake of writing. The good, the bad, and the ugly prose will be shared, as it is the journey that I am traveling, not the approval that I am seeking. However, I do appreciate the feedback and the visits to the site. Mostly, I am trying to say that I want to make sure that what I publish is honest content and not written because of what I think someone will like if it isn’t what I need to say. I just hope that what you read brings you back for more.

This week, we visited a new found enjoyment for graphic novels and books of our childhood. Take another look at this week’s content.

Lock & Key, the Graphic Novel

Building the Foundation: A Daughter’s Love For Reading

Upcoming week:

Next week, I will be traveling out of the country. I hope to use my time wisely and write, however, my ability to post may be limited. Please have patience and know that I will continue to post as I am able. If you are interested in becoming a contributor to the site, email me at TripThroughMyMind@gmail.com for more information. I look forward to hearing from everyone.

Previous Week’s Review: TTMM Week In Review and Special Thank You

Until next time…

jb

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in Weekly Wrap

 

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