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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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In the Grip of Shadows: The Pretender


“Keep you in the dark, You know they all pretend, Keep you in the dark, And so it all began”

The Pretender…Foo Fighters

Grip of ShadowsSteps fall heavy as the darkness unfolds before you. Light chases away the shadows but shapes develop just out of sight. Words echo in your thoughts. Images pull across your mind’s eye. Flashes of memories drift in and out of perception, as you shy from the thoughts, the pain, the emotions they represent. Quickly you run into the darkness, eyes closed to avoid the haunting images. No matter how fast you run, they are always there; written on your very soul.

Who is the pretender? Are the pretenders reflective of who you were in the past or others who come into your life?  Each of us holds onto the experiences of our past. Gripping tightly to what we know of the pain we suffered and the feelings we shuffled away without facing. Pushing the memories deep into our mental closets; burying them beneath the dust and boxes. Hoping that others do not discover the secrets we hide or the pretenders we have become.

“Send in your skeletons, Sing as their bones go marching in… again” The Pretender…Foo Fighters

Are we the pretenders?

We are more than just a combination of water and minerals. From the moment of consciousness, we build with blocks of experience and define who we are. If our souls exist, it may be said the soul begins at birth with a clean slate. Each lesson, every beat of our heart, adds to the meaning of what we know, writing on the blank slate of our soul.  Life is not about facts but about emotions, about experiences.

“The need you buried deep, The secrets that you keep are ever ready” The Pretender…Foo Fighters

Do you embrace your life or exist in it?

The saying, “they are an old soul” resonates through my thoughts as I spin ideas together. An old soul may be the accumulation of life’s experiences. Some souls only touch in the brief moments, the veil between our lives, while other souls seek out life on the edges of common experiences, touching many lives and in turn experiencing many lessons. Lessons etch their mark onto the soul and draw a picture of who we truly are becoming. Many hide the picture, their soul from others, while those who are referred to as “old souls” share the picture of themselves to everyone they meet. The non-pretenders reveal the etchings and scratches that showing the full picture of life. The pretenders show only the image they want others to see or, an image that had no substance, no clarity, no real experiences to support their false image.

Even though the cost of experience, of these life lessons, is paid with moments of great pain, loss, and heartbreak, we grow. With each experience we add to our souls and in turn our wisdom. The feelings we have experienced created the person who is now presented. Looking back, the past can be filled with personal horrors and choices that cannot be unmade, but have altered the picture that we are by being etched on our soul. Our greatest pain, buried deep, will surface when we least expect it, casting shadows upon us in a moment. These shadows that sometimes haunt our existence are not the way to honor our teacher. A teacher we refer to as experience.

Do not hide the pain; it is a lesson that should be remembered, not haunt your life. Embrace the scars for the pain is a lesson of what it is like to live.

“I’m finished making sense, Done pleading ignorance, That whole defense” The Pretender…Foo Fighters

Until next time…

Jerry b.

©2013

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in 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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Life’s Musical Bridge


Day after day I’m more confused
But I look for the light through the pourin’ rain
You know that’s a game that I hate to lose
I’m feelin’ the strain
Ain’t it a shame

Drift Away…Doby Grey

I have been asked why I have song lyrics throughout my pages. That is an easy answer. Music is all around us. In everything we do, see, and hear. The beat of the world has a harmony that some choose to listen to while others block it out like a spoiled toddler, screaming at the restaurant as you attempted to have a peaceful evening. The beat can be strong and the lyrics flows through each of us. How many get in their car and leave the radio off? Ever watch the special features on your favorite DVD where the soundtrack hasn’t been added? Life without a soundtrack would be dark and dreary.

Now, whether your music of choice is country, rock, alternative or classical, it speaks to you. However, do you ever listen beyond the music? The sounds of life itself as you stumble through your day. Everything has a rhythm. The storm is a good foundation of a symphony. It starts with the wind rising and falling, shaking the leaves with gentle waves of sound. In comes the thunder, accenting each pulse of the coming storm, building it until you feel the energy sending pulses of anticipation. Finally, the rain joins. Slow, heavy drops with its irregular beat until the symphony reaches its crescendo as all this is brought together, Nature’s wonderful soundtrack.

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away

Drift Away…Doby Grey

We seem to close our minds to the world around us. There tends to be a focus on the issues, injustice, and prejudices of the world.  Fighting for what we “think” the world should be and forgetting that it isn’t our decision. Collectively, we could not agree on a direction to follow. Standing on our pedestals of righteousness, we demand the world be changed to our image of how we think it should look like. We forget that beneath all this desire to control, there is a balance; the harmony and rhythm of life. If you don’t see it then hear it, feel it and find something that speaks to you.

Some find it in books and religion. Some find it in creating something new. I find it in music. It is in the lyrics of the songs that inspire me to look beyond the surface.  The cadence that moves me to believe that in all the ugliness of the world, there is something that brings people together. Words can be transformed into a melody, showing the soul of the person writing them. In turn, the connection is created with a person. This person shares the connection with another. It becomes a living entity that stretches beyond one person and touches many. It crosses over the every line of prejudices: gender, race, and religion.

All that I ask is that you find your song. Find your connection to something greater than you. Embrace it and see how it can inspire beyond your perspective of the world. Listen to the rhythm of the world around you. Most of all…

Mama let that boy, play some rock n’ roll
Jazz is much to crazy
He can play it when he’s old
He’s too young for the blues
He’s still inside his first pair of shoes

Mamma Let Him Play…Jerry Doucette

Until next time…

© 2010

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2010 in Life, Music

 

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Big Business in America: The Money Pit


 

Where does the money go?

 It seems that when gas prices go up twenty cents over night, we complain about how the government is out to get us. When your company downsizes, not due to the economy but, because they want to make their shareholders happier, we blame the President. However, the first time they enact legislation to help secure our borders or to assist in locating lost children, you scream that they are infringing on your rights. What do we really want from our government?

I read an article today from the Associated Press that the economy is hurting the Democratic Party. In it, Obama has stated concern and acknowledges that the crisis with the economy is going to hurt election turnout and Democratic candidate’s votes. Are they blaming the government for the current crisis?

A few years ago, the automotive industry was in serious crisis; not completely due to the lack of people purchasing their products only because of the increased bonuses of the executives and the drive to please the shareholders. Instead of changing the way they were doing business, they asked for assistance from the government. They based their request on the impact on the economy if they didn’t receive aid. The first thing they did was give their bonuses and cut jobs by sending them out of the country for a more economical way to make a profit. How did that help the US economy?

At the same time, large banks were being impacted by the failure of bad investments caused by financial smoke and mirrors. They too asked for assistance from the government and received it. What impact did this have on the economy? We saw more foreclosures on the people who paid the taxes that generated the money. What did they do to help the economy? They pandered to the executives that caused the issues and continued to play the risky games with investing money in foreign economy. How did this help the US economy?

Our government’s task is to help us with creating security, infrastructure and order. You might state that the economy is part of our security, but I will also point out that business should not be rewarded for the greed that caused the issues in the first place. If we spent the same amount of money on building our roads, power grids, and revising our programs to assist small businesses that we spent on bailing out the larger corporations, then we would have had a more direct impact in the economy than any of the bailouts. If more focus was given on assisting families to help maintain their homes from foreclosures, we would still have a booming housing market. If more attention was given to our schools and education programs, we would have a better chance for our future generation to be able to grow and keep up in the global economy.

Maybe you are correct; government is to blame for the economy’s slow recovery. If as much attention was placed on the people and less on special interest group and lobbyist, maybe we would have the tools to pull ourselves out of the slump. When was the last time that a congressman actually put together a bill that benefited the people of their district and fought to get it passed? If our representatives turned a blind eye to Wall Street and focused on the needs of the people, we might see results.

Here are just a few suggestions for those in Washington to take to heart when they are planning on spending another few billion dollars to bail out large corporations. Let’s start with upgrading our failing power grid by burying the cables, which will reduce the power outages in most storm ridden areas and also reduce the need to cut down so many trees for the obnoxious power poles. Once that is resolved, then maybe we could meet the current EPA guidelines for waste handling by installing sewer systems in areas outside of the major cities. In turn, we will help to reduce the need for ground water pollutants in our streams. Finally, we can improve the road system to reduce the congestion that we all experience, which will reduce the amount of fuel we burn.  

The first thing that will be said is the amount of money it would cost. Well, probably about the same amount as that was handed out to the financial institutions and corporations that didn’t improve any of the above issues. However, let’s look on the impact that these projects will have on the economy. To complete a project such as this, we will need to hire people reducing the unemployment. We would have to purchase the materials and equipment to complete this project, also reducing the unemployment as companies will have to keep up with the demand. The more people work, the more they will spend, which will affect the other industries.

So, the next time you are driving your foreign-made car down a pothole riddled street on the night of a blackout due to the storm, through the stench of sewage; just think about how the financial incentive program has helped our economy; as you are hopeful of finding a job so the foreclosure won’t cause you to move into a rundown apartment in a bad school district.

Until next time…

© 2010

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2010 in Politics

 

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Talking Heads Without A Voice


“Hanna Pitkin (1967) provides, perhaps, one of the most straightforward definitions: to represent is simply to “make present again.” On this definition, political representation is the activity of making citizens’ voices, opinions, and perspectives “present” in the public policy making processes.” taken from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2006)

I awoke today to the morning news as I do most days. Between the weather, daily reports of shootings and silly human tricks that make up the morning news the commercials for political candidates fill my waking moments.  Over the years, I have started paying more attention to who represents my interest in the political arena. Most of the time, I get drawn to one candidate or another but in the world between sleep and wakefulness, I realized that nobody is representing my interest.

With all the pointing the fingers and sensationalism that is presented to sway the votes of people, who for the most part will vote their party anyway, there is no real message. It is a series of who voted this way or who stole this money. I have to admit that some of them are pretty humorous in their obvious distraction to their own agenda.  Overall the substance is as solid as steam.

There was a time, I am not sure if it was just folklore or reality, from our history books that portrayed politicians as the representatives of the common man. Farmers, shop owners and small business men dominated the political world. People with the ideas and conviction to convince their fellow citizens that they were going to represent their beliefs were the ones that served. In this day and age, this sees more of a myth than a history lesson.

Why is it that we spend our time complaining about the way government is ran, yet we don’t make a conscious effort to do anything about it? The choice is not simple. It involves educating ourselves on the choices we make when voting or to even vote at all. I have to admit, I am not the most avid pollster when it comes to election time. Recently, I have found out how my lack of involvement in local government is impacting my family, but that is a story for another time.  However, it brings me to the point I am trying to convey. We are people who have the freedom and rights to vote for those representing us. Many have died for this right and many are still dying for the rights that we have. Until, we as citizens, pay more attention to what is happening in the world around us instead of spending our time watching the television and complaining, will forever be cattle that is led to the slaughter by someone else that is benefiting from the meat.

Just try for a moment to look past the flashy television ads, lawn posters and political parties. Seek out the real issues and beliefs that matter to you and your family. Educate yourself on our government, the world and the policies that are being initiated. Learn about how each decision a business makes impacts your life. Dig for the answers to question. Even better, understand the questions and stop being cattle. If you choose to be ignorant in what is happening around you, then you choose to not complain about it. You are not a victim, you are a participant in what is happening.

Until next time…

© 2010

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2010 in General, Life, Politics

 

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Sound Of Madness


I created the Sound of Madness.
Wrote the book on pain.
Somehow I’m still here,
To explain,
Shinedown…Sound of Madness

Oh, I do love the sound of the musical poet. I have mentioned it time and time again that music is the sound track of our lives but how it that the sound track gets more and more interesting as the year goes on. If anyone has ever said nobody feels their pain or understands what is happening in their life only needs to scan through their music collection. I will assure them that the pain they feel is lurking in there somewhere, shared by the tormented sole that poured it out for your listening pleasure.

For the record though, I have created the sound of madness. Or more correctly spoken, I do the written interpretation of madness. Day in and day out I look around the little world I live in and see the madness of it all. Each moment we live adds to the madness. Stopping to get you morning coffee can be an adventure when they mix up your drive with the herbal tea drinker in the car behind you. To the moment you’re sitting in front of your computer, typing out words on the screen. Madness is a state we all live in.

Should we run from the madness? I say no. Embrace your inner psychosis for what it really is: the realization that things don’t go the way we hope and plan but they still work out the way they are meant to be. We don’t have to understand why or what that is at the time but truthfully, isn’t that the point of madness.

Another lose cannon gone bi-polar
Slipped down, couldn’t get much lower.
Quicksand’s got no sense of humor.
I’m still laughing like hell.
Shinedown…Sound of Madness

What I truly suggest is not the giving up your self to fate and just letting things happen as they will but to look beyond what is happening. We need to fight for what we believe in and what we want but before you can do that, you have to know what that is suppose to be.

The hardest thing I have found to do is to look at things from the outside perspective. To see what is really going on. Why is it that you smiled at that person and gave them your number when you already have someone waiting for you at home? Could it be that you already know where the current relationship is going and there is something lacking? Another common situation is the not knowing  if you want to be somewhere or with someone. It isn’t a difficult decision to make but we have a tendency to hold on to what is there while we look for something better. The indecision of what you want and what you don’t want to give up. How is this so difficult to comprehend? Do you want to be there? Can you let them go? If answer is yes to either one of these then you have your answer. It isn’t like you need to make a chart and see what happens next or what you need to see happen. If it is not happening then move on. Life is too short. We are too fragile to open ourselves up to heartbreak, disappointment or rejection. 

That the darkest hour never comes in the night.
You can sleep with a gun.
When you gonna wake up and fight… for yourself?
Shinedown…Sound of Madness

You’re asking yourself if I am saying stay there or go. Leave things up to fate or fight for what you want. The answer is yes. Stay, go. Run, fight. All of these things are true. Find the one that works for your situation. I try to fight for what I believe in. I have hope that I am doing the right thing and it will work out. Try to cut my losses when failure is eminent. But most of all I try to live. The sound of madness is the result of living. What would you learn of love if your heart was never broken? How could you appreciate trust if you haven’t experiences the loss of it? What would you offer someone if you never fought or work though a problem? This is living and this is what gives up the lessons that are needed to bring something to the table. This is the sound of madness that we hear in the darkest of nights. The true test of faith and belief in oneself is how you deal with it.

Each of you have written your own book of pain as the song implies. Each of you have found a song that expresses what you feel at that moment. You are not alone in this world and your problems are not the first time in history someone has suffered. Just try to remember all those other songs in your collection that express the good time with friends, finding your true soul mate, and the good memories in your past. To forget those songs or to edit them out of your playlist will not show you where things can and will go. Have faith in yourself and patience.

What is your top five songs that grab the way you feel these days?

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2010 in General, Life

 

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