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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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End of Innocence: Empathy


Wait it’s just about to break
It’s more than I can take
Everything’s about to change
I feel it in my veins
It’s not going away
Everything’s about to change
“War of Change”…Thousand Foot Crutch

Standing in line at the grocery store with his mother, a boy was bored and wondering why he had to come along instead of being out having fun on a nice day. At eleven, he would rather have spent his Saturday afternoon anywhere beside the grocery store. While his limited group of friends was out riding their bikes and laughing, he was pushing a cart around the store following his mother. Impatience to get the errands finished darkened his mood because all he wanted to do was to go out to play.

In line right behind the mother and son, was a group of teenage girls with their collection of soda bottles and potato chips. Though the boy wasn’t at the “noticing girls” age, he envied their laughter and good spirits. Wishing he could be having fun was one more reason to add to his sour mood as he sighed and moved the cart to the end of the checkout lane. His mother was smiling and chatting with the checkout lady and as always, sharing details he was sure were not important enough to keep him away from his afternoon plans. Then all envy of the laughing girls evaporated as the ringleader in the group chose that moment to expand her commentary loudly enough for people in the adjoining checkout lanes to hear.

“Well, we might get there in time if this old lady would shut her blabbing mouth and hurry her fat ass up. Does she think we want to stand here all day and listen to her go on and on? Come on already!”

Moments passed before anyone moved. The only sound was the laughter from the other girls in the group who mumbled their agreement. The boy watched as his mother’s face changed from shades of pink to red. Her eyes, smiling a moment before, glistened with tears. The checkout woman, embarrassed by the actions of the girls, quietly handed his mother the receipt and glared at the group of obnoxious girls in line. Turning towards the boy, the mother pushed the cart towards the door and out into the sunny afternoon that now seemed a little gloomier than just a few moments before.

Empathy-phrase-imageSilence fell on the two as they drove home. The boy watched as his mother fought with her emotions. She was none of the things the girls had called her. She was young compared to the other parents he knew. She had an infectious smile that warmed others and was always there for other people ready to listen and leave them lighter in spirits. She was strong of heart and of spirit. Why would those girls say such mean things to her?

Though his mother tried to hide them, her emotions were nearly palpable to the boy. The boy felt his mother’s emotions. He could feel the anger, the hurt, and the shame. The boy felt as if he was experiencing the words directly. He wanted to scream at those girls, cry, and lash out. His emotions were churning within him screaming for an outlet.  However, like his mother, the boy sat silently. He knew exactly how his mother felt because he felt the same way every time others threw insults at him. He felt…empathy.

Empathy is defined as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

Being empathic might have started before that moment, but from that day on, the boy thought about his words and actions towards others. He paid more attention to the people around him. He began watching for telltale signs of how people reacted to each other, observing emotions that raced across their faces, and the subtle changes in body language. He saw the pain on the faces of the slighted. Many times, he would go to these injured souls and try to say something to offset the offence. Most times as he offered solace, he was met with coldness and anger. The world became a darker place for him with his knowledge of the pain others suffered from the actions of others.

The boy grew into an adult, picking up lessons along the way. He became a student of people. He learned lessons about how different people react to insults and varied reactions.  Some people lashed out with venomous comments, while others shut down emotionally. He paid attention to what a pleasant word or a gesture would do to change a person’s mood. He also learned that he too, was guilty at times directly or indirectly, for causing others pain. His knowledge of causing others pain was a hard lesson for him to swallow when he remembered that day leaving the store with his mother. No matter what steps were taken to make amends, once the pain was inflicted no kind words could erase the damage.

Thinking back on the ride home that day, he tried to remember if he had said a word to his mother. The memory was cloudy with age, but with a little effort he began to see it again. As they traveled the miles home, his mother drove in silence. Pulling into the driveway, she shut off the engine and reached for the door. Not knowing what to do to make things better, he reached for her arm gently. She turned to look down at his hand and then searched his face in the shadow of the car. At that moment, he understood what to say.

His words rushed out. “Mom, I just wanted you to know that I think you are beautiful. You mean the world to me. I love you.”

Smiling, she patted him on his hand. “Thank you,” she said as she quickly turned away. In the light as he stepped out of the car, he thought he saw a tear glisten her cheek.

_______________________________________

Do you have a moment in your life that brought about a change of your perspective? Do you think the other girls in line understood or cared about the pain they caused? With all the media attention on bullying, do you think this happens more now than it did decades ago? Does this behavior end with childhood or is it prevalent through all age groups?

Until next time…

jerryb.

©2013

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Family, Life

 

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“Constant Companion”


Best-I-canAs I slowly wake from my sleep, a low rumble alerts my senses. The rumbling gains momentum as it nears, consumes all other sounds, and then passes into silence. Again and again, it comes and then fades away. With each oncoming sound a flash of light brings my eyes flickering open creating an almost instant awareness. Only then do I remember where I am. How close to home has this eastbound bus taken me?

I strain to find something familiar in the darkness outside the cloudy window, I become aware of each car that passes by, with the rumbling growl and bright lights that had awakened me.  Suddenly realization crosses through my sleep fogged mind; to the drivers of the passing vehicles, I do not exist. My only presence in their reality is the bus I ride, howling past them in the opposite direction. Without their knowledge of me, I’m nothing more than a nameless, faceless rider. However, to me, the same is true for the world I’m hurling past outside the bus.

I pull up the sleeve on my jacket, wipe the moisture from the window, and peer out into the darkness. As the world passes by, each house I whirl past has life going on inside, lives I know nothing about. In an attempt to bring these lives into existence for me, I start mentally writing my own stories about what is happening under their roofs.  In the darkened trailer, the children are finally asleep in their beds as their parents, cuddling together on the couch, watch television. The small house on the corner has a woman crying at the table, wondering where her husband is at this hour. Her fingers run through her hair as she stares at the phone on the table in front of her, begging it to ring with some news. In my story, the phone never rings. Finally, the house with the over-grown lawn and absence of any light shining from it has had many stories created about it over the years by the local youth. Some say this dark looming house is haunted while others talk about an old man still living inside, waiting to chase off anyone who comes around. The reality of the house is different for me. The house is being used by local drug users and prostitutes as a safe haven. The stories go on and on with the passing of each town, but to me, the stories are fleeting, existing only until the next one is created. How many lives go on without anyone knowing of their existence?

Without a clear idea how much further I have left until I reach my destination, I look up and count the remaining passengers accompanying me on my journey. The bus is another representation of my life with people getting on and off not really knowing who I am; so many people passing through without taking the time to understand each other. Some of the people may stay longer than others, sharing the journey, but in the end, everyone gets off the bus. The desire to reach out to another person and connect seems to be a lost art. What would it take to authentically care about another person? Most people are happy in their ignorance of others, satisfied their world is as small and as dark as the interior of the bus we are sharing.

As these thoughts pass through my head, a feeling of loneliness washes over me. Loneliness is my constant companion. He is someone who shares my daily life, though I never hear a word of encouragement or question coming from him. He is just a passenger, always by my side along for the ride. We are seemingly all riding with our own version of Loneliness because we are unable or unwilling to open ourselves to the world around us. We are happy in our ignorance, to have Loneliness beside us through all of our journeys. While he is the one passenger that I would like to see get off my bus, I find that he remains my constant companion always in the seat next to me.

I settle back into my seat, move my backpack up to make a pillow, then I turn to my ever present partner and silently ask him to wake me before my stop. With this final thought, I drift off to sleep listening to the growling rise and fall from the passing cars and wondering if Loneliness is riding with them too.

Until next time…

jerryb

© 1994 & 2013

[Author’s Note: This story started in 1994 and has been lost in the notebooks of my journals for almost twenty years. Recently, I went on a hunt to find my old writing and was pleasantly surprised it survived the many moves and storage. This piece is a work of fiction that has been in the back of my mind for many years. I am glad that it has finally been completed. I hope you enjoyed a little piece of me. Thank you for your time…jb]

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Fiction, Life

 

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Airport Diaries #1: Security Hell


Airplane diaries

Airplane Diaries. A travelers journal

It is that time of year when air travel picks up momentum as vacationers flock to their remote destinations. In my job, I spend a fair amount of time in airports and traveling internationally. In the beginning, the travel was exciting and the people watching was worth the price of airfare, taxes, fuel surcharges and baggage checking. However as time went on the almost missed flights and longer delays as well as other frustrations beginning to pile up lead me to believe that now is time for us to discuss some points, helpful hints if you will, for the first time traveler; if for no other reason than I am stuck around you as you travel.

Getting through a security check is a process that has become increasingly frustrating for people over the past 11 years. The rules set in place to keep us safe from the potential evils of the world have created longer lines and confused travelers who mill around the lines of security. It doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s take a moment to look at a few simple things to make your life easier and less annoying to me, when traveling.

  • Sensible shoes: Security in US airports requires all travelers to remove their shoes and place them on the belt to be x-rayed. When traveling, don’t be the person who wears the thigh high boots that lace up to just shy of your ultra-short skirt. You will be required to remove your boots and the hundreds of people following you are not admiring your fashion sense. Instead, we would like to shove those boots firmly up your ass. Other thoughts are also running through our heads, however, they are not appropriate for this particular blog.  Just know, our thoughts are not personal, we will just blame those particular thoughts on the “mob” mentality.
  • Empty pockets: When the nice TSA agent says remove everything from your pockets, they really mean everything. Take out your wallet, keys, and even the little bit of paper you acquired during the preflight process. I have an even better suggestion, since you know you are going to the airport, how about not putting anything in your pockets in the first place? Nothing pushes the buttons of those waiting behind you more than to have to watch you be told a dozen times to step back and empty your pockets.
  • The confusing laptop rules: Well, the rules are not exactly confusing. If you are traveling with a laptop, take it out of the bag you are carrying, place it in a tub all by itself, and then put all other items in a separate tub. See, it is an easy concept. However, it seems that next to emptying your pockets, this rule baffles more people than anything else. I have to admit, the look of utter confusion when the TSA agent explains this to an intelligence-challenged individual, was amusing the first time or two I saw it, but now is an effort in anger management to keep from placing them in the tub…
  • Tourist vs. business traveler: It is easy to pick out the tourists as they are the ones who are socializing with their group of fellow vacationers. They will be wearing the above mentioned fashion attire not suitable for travel. When they approach the security area, they look like little lost children waiting for someone to tell them what to do. Had the group paid attention instead of acting like they were enjoying a happy hour, they would understand what they are supposed to do.  In contrast, you can always tell the seasoned traveler, as they are the ones untying their shoes and removing their belt before they get to the checkpoint.   The most telling identifier of a business traveler is the scowl they are wearing while being delayed by the tourists.
  • The rules are stupid: Yes, the rules are stupid and we all know that they frustrate everyone. However, they are the rules set before us to follow. Trying to get around them or incessantly complaining only slows down the process for all of us. The rules won’t be changed just because we complain and they certainly can’t be changed by the TSA agent waiting for you to empty your pockets for the third time. Think of it in this way, it is against the rules to choke the living shit out of people who aggravate us. If we discounted that simple rule, people going through security might find they are suddenly gasping for breath while their thigh high boots are firmly shoved up their ass.

Now I know that most people who travel may only get the chance to do so once a year, if they are lucky, but travelling is like anything else that is not familiar. Pay attention to what is going on around you, read the signs, and listen to the people who are there every day, wearing the uniforms, reciting the rules over and over and over.   TSA is really trying to make it easier on you, just imagine what they see everyday. I do not want to come across as cynical, but I know those of you I will meet at the airport, who may have read these tidbits of wisdom, will not take heed. As such you will see me scowling at you and contemplating if your shoes will fit up your ass with your head already in there.

Until next time…

jerryb

© 2012

 Related Article: TSA: All Touchy, Feely These Days

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Humor, Life, Travel

 

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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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Building the Foundation: A Daughter’s Love for Reading


Looking to the futureSo many things you hope to pass on to your children. Some of the lessons you have learned the hard way, or the experiences you have endured so they will not have to, and an appreciation for things that you discovered. The challenge is to explain to them the importance of the little things that may not be relevant in their world today. Figuring out how to share with them what it was like to have to use imagination to see color on a black and white television with a screen smaller than the laptop on their desk, can be a difficult task. Instead of video games, we had board games and action figures where the “stories” came from our imagination. Explaining there was a time when the only way to see a movie was to leave the house and go to the movie theater, or in the alternative, watching a movie at home meant seeing it years after it was released, with commercials, on one of the five television stations. (Just saying that makes me feel like I grew up in the Stone Age.) So many things have changed since I was my daughter’s age. The one thing I can share with her is my love for music and reading, especially those special books that are such a part of my childhood.

At the age of five, my daughter started reading all the books that covered the bookshelves in her room. Like her older sister, she has a natural aptitude for reading and sounding out words. As her skill level increased, she moved into chapter books, and this was when the fun truly began. I introduced her to one of my favorites: The Boxcar Children. Some of my earliest and fondest memories of reading were of these orphaned children and how they were able to survive on their own, while living in an abandoned boxcar, until they discover the kind hearted Mr. Henry was their grandfather. I slipped the first book of the series in with her summer reading stack, not really expecting it to catch her interest amongst the likes of Magic Tree House, Bunnicula, and Clarice Bean. I was happily surprised when she devoured the first book and asked for the next in the series.

I would not say I was too surprised that these tales still hold interest for the beginning readers. Even though today’s bookstore shelves are filled with television based stories books, the enduring story of independent children embarking on an adventure, inspires the imagination for children who feel like adults control their every move. The author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, wanted to use children’s desires to be unsupervised to appeal to the age group the series is directed towards. And even though the series was originally created in 1924, it still holds the same appeal to children over 85 years later.

Someday, my daughter will wander over to the dark side of the book shelves to read, what we refer to the as the “bratty child books”, as I am also sure she will someday move to more modern styles of pop music. At least I console myself with the fact she will have a good foundation from listening to the music of The Beatles, The Who, and Queen and reading Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children.

What are some of the first book series that you remember reading as a child?

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Related links: A Reason for Hope: To My Daughter, Will You Read To Me?

© 2011

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Books, Children, Family, Life

 

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Artwork: Soaking Up the Cover Art


soak-lucy-cd-cover

Soak Lucy’s only release on Rachael Records ©1999

In late 1999, the marketing company delved into a new business venture by signing on a band to a distribution deal for their CDs. We had created CD artwork for many releases by this time but none for our own projects. This wasn’t a typical record label deal, but our first outing into creating and producing a new release. The band we started working with was from Tennessee, called Soak Lucy, and had some promise. We did the typical marketing and show promotions as we were putting the release together on our newly created label, Rachael Records.

The first order of business was creation of the logo and cover art for the CD release. With a request for a photo shoot, done by the wife of a band member, and the newly created band mascot, dancing stick man concept of the drummer, we were on our way. After a few designs, the one you see above came to light and was released. The first, and only, run was for a few hundred copies. But, the artwork carried over to many of the show posters and marketing material. Sadly, the band’s many changes in members, along with a change of band name, caused Soak Lucy to slip out of existence and as the client we contracted. The hopes of creating a record label to open doors for new artist went out of existence as well. This was one of the projects I enjoyed as it was building not only graphics, but building a product image and foundation for what we hoped would be a new adventure.

On a personal note, the record label was named after my oldest daughter and I still have a copy of the CD to remember that little dream of creating a venture which, if successful, would be something she could work on with me when she was old enough. There are times that I look back on this and wished that it would have taken off so that I could have shared this with her.

I hope you enjoy a glimpse into my past life as a graphic artist as I revisit the stories behind the art.

Until next time…

© 2010

Related Post: Artwork: A Daughter’s Day; Artwork: The Story of “Night Fears”; The Original Trip;

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2010 in Artwork, General, Music

 

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