The ‘terror attack’ of 9-11 seared a memory that permanently changed the lives and minds of many. Post-traumatic experiences burn a scar on the mind with both a pain-filled fear and a hate towards the terror inducer. This average mind and that of all in our family were rocked in the same year of 9-11. It was forever branded as ‘3-11’ day by we who were touched by the bullet of a bully. Indeed, it was a family’s worst nightmare on that horrible evening of March 11, 2001. Sixteen years later, I tell the story of the biggest lesson gained and how to be sure to Put an End to Bullying.
Ever take one of those personality tests and think, that is not who I am? Tests are taken between grade school, job interviews, and ‘self-improvement’ conferences supposedly determining your inner make-up. Despite every test indicating I was an ‘introvert’ I opted to ignore the test results. Somehow, for the past thirty+ years, I became An Introvert Living an Extrovert Life.
I love animals, especially dogs. My favorite part of the day is greeting time. Regardless of all other circumstances, they are always happy and excited to see me, it is impossible not to share in their joy. Every morning I look forward to waking them up and opening the door for the morning relief. So much so that I fix my coffee first and get set to go outside with them to watch them excitedly, romp around the yard. Yesterday things were going great on the usual romp, until, they saw something in the woods. I questioned who would appear, a Bad dog or Good dog.
It seems that no matter what anyone says or does lately it sets off a media storm and some average Joe’s cannot hold back spewing their anger laced opinions. ‘I am right, you are wrong’. ‘I am better than you are or smarter than you’. Who is the greatest (or worst)? The division amongst all parties has produced far more enemies than friends. I had a quick pre-flight lunch stop at Quizno’s this week that led me to stop, think, and be inspired too – Quit Quibbling.
We all desire to be first, how would you feel about being better than first?
The modern way of work has been accelerated by technology and tools to further increase productivity. Expectations for exorbitant quantities of tasks are expected to be excellent and expedited. Deadlines have eliminated the word relax and there is no excape! (sic) If I could start my years of employment over I would have implemented a secret formula. The secret; Hurry to Unhurry.
Work before play that is what they say. There is much merit to getting a job done first and then relax or have fun with your mind free of worries, afterwards. But, when deadlines loom the pressure builds.
Post releasing a deep personal story a day ago I find myself evaluating; from what position did I write that story? Being Martin Luther King Day the thoughts flooded my feelings wondering, how he felt about those who hated him as he lived his life seeking to bring freedom and fairness for all. What did those, even of his own race, with contrasting views say and do? Were they operating from a position of hurt their entire lives? How awful must that have been?
Are you willing to go where no one has ever gone before? Jumping out of planes, climbing mountains, skiing down the deepest slope … are you kidding me? Ever since my first flip on a trampoline in grade school, I found I am NOT the daredevil type. Perhaps you are like this Average Joe; born with anxiety issues that plague 40million of us Americans. The last thing I want to do is something bold, daring, dangerous and certainly not do something that has never been done before. However, on this first day of 2017 I tell why I am ready to step into Uncharted Territory.
Christmas brings a time of reflection as we see the picture of a baby born in a manger surrounded by animals in a stable. The ‘Christ’ian belief is that God came down from heaven, was born as a baby and grew to be a man who came to show us how to live on earth as God intended us to live. He portrayed love. We learned that ultimately that love was displayed when the man willingly sacrificed his life as he was crucified at the hands of ruthless people. Each December 25th around the world people commemorate the day of His birth and give gifts to one another as we try to learn to live with the same love that, God in the form of man, showed us how to live. The baton was passed to each of us and today we walk on earth Learning To Live, somehow with the same type of Love.
Alone. By Myself. I am on my own. Lonely. Words that no one likes to say to themselves. They are ones that bring sadness and discouragement and echo in our mind. We wish to shout out, ‘do not leave me alone, where are you, I need you’. Especially around the holidays, this can a depressing time if feeling lonely. When it comes to sharing the same feeling, we are not alone!
Feeling Under the Holiday Pressure? Pressure handling is a trait some take pride in, have you ever heard yourself say ‘the more stress, the better I perform?’. I like to say ‘that’s me’. The other day I found myself stuck in bed, so filled with anxiety from demands from other people, I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay there the rest of the day. I was frozen stiff with stress oozing from every pore. Demands for our time and money are a constant. At what point do we say, ENOUGH!
Sometimes I need to hear things backwards to fully grasp the meaning of words and phrases. While sitting at a ‘four-way stop’, where the traffic was ridiculously long, I complained how dumb it is to make every car stop at an intersection. A thought popped in my head and made me laugh aloud, what greater chaos there would be if the intersection was a four-way GO.
Thanksgiving Day is a great reminder for our need to be thankful for all we have received. It is sad however, that we need a holiday to remind ourselves of what we should be doing, always. Henry Van Dyke quotes:
‘Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.’
Twenty-six hours of meeting time from pickup from our clients corporate jet to drop off. This is our one and only chance to introduce them to sixty different people and cover twenty-five different topics. Every word and moment during lunch, dinner, before and after cocktails, breakfast and back-to-back blocks of presentations must be concise and to the point. Each second in the car rides must show our best and avoid negative issues, of which there are a few, as we want this brief meeting time to be ALL positive. We have $millions in business to keep and must find new opportunities to make it grow.
Whew, this meeting was the crux of stress for the past four days for this Average Joe. Brevity is not my gift, but it certainly is one of importance in this day and age where everyone is cramming their schedules full. How do we forge relationships when tied down with a time squeeze squirting its innards out during every visit?
I was only six at the time vividly remembering sitting in the crouch position on top of the barn, my brother at the bottom saying, ‘come on jump already, just jump, tuck, and roll!’ Fifty years later I’m laying on the ground being thankful I remembered that dumb idea, but great advice.
We were playing a game of team hide and seek, with the big boys. My brother let me tag along and he found the best hiding place, up on the roof of our friends barn. It was easy climbing up, at least for my brother who hopped on a garbage can (back when they were metal) and scaled up the gutter the last few feet. I too climbed on the rusty can but needed an arm pull to get all the way on the roof. We watched and laughed as everyone ran by looking for us as we watched them like ants scurrying around trying to find us.
It breaks my heart to see misunderstanding and mistrust cause unrest in this strong city I live in. But it is no surprise as Charlotte’s strength and ability to anchor down is under attack from every angle. My belief is the attack is deeper than any of us realize. It provides a heart opening opportunity through these attacks to strengthen not just Charlotte, but the entire nation. It is time for Charlotte to live up to its deeper calling as a city of strength and be the anchor to bring America back together.
Sound Reminders. Carrying around the weight of the world on our shoulders can feel like pulling a thousand train cars behind our tired little engines. Timely sound reminders loosen the load. This Average Joe needs every trick to keeping my mind from becoming overwhelmed, I discovered a new one worth sharing.
Years ago when screen savers were a requirement to prevent damage to your computer screen I would type in
Some things are puzzling and difficult to understand. Like, how is it that a bird can sit on a hot electric wire and not get fried? After being zapped, again, by my neighbors’ electric fence I have gotten to the stage of not wanting to touch any fence, at all. Thus the mystery of a Bird on a Wire, sitting calmly and alive, always makes me double think on the matter when I see it.
Science was not my best subject by any means. In fact, in my high school days, I found a lot of it to be theoretical hogwash, and even if it was true, I did not understand why anyone would care other than science teachers, and later, my wife who loves the topic? It is like trying to figure out the meaning of Bird on a Wire by one of my favorite fireside song artists Leonard Cohen. (to get in the mood for this blog, you have to play it while reading) If you’d also like to know the real reason why a bird does not get zapped while sitting on an electric line, read this MIT article on the topic.
If you remember your old science classes all we need to know about the laws of power transfer, or as a seventh grader said with a smirk about the bird on a wire – duhh!, is a closed loop.
It’s all about the connections they’re making—or, more importantly, not making.
What a terror filled summer this has been in America. Topping it off have been power players proving points at the expense of other people, creating even more disunity. Ted Cruz, John Kasich, President Obama, BLM, Snipers, ISIS attacks and the latest from NBA Commissioner Adam Sterling usurping his position to dictate law to the state of North Carolina, are just a few examples. How does an Average Joe deal with actions that bring on outrage made by ‘Point Provers’? Regardless of our viewpoint on all the tough subjects, should we just sit and do nothing and say nothing? Alternatively, should we turn over tables and shout about our dismay?
Ignoring imperfections can be very hard for us perfectionists. I pride myself on doing things right and being efficient with every second of the day. That trait creates horror though; when I mess up. My wife was disgusted with me as I packed my travel bag for this business trip to Dallas this week. It took less than a minute total! It takes her days to pack for a vacation; I love to show her up with my tremendous perfect system of packing for travel. I proudly tossed the travel bag back in the closet after filling it with three nights of clothes and certainly everything I would need for my business meetings and even a dip in the pool.
After arriving at the hotel I planned for my upcoming dinner meeting and all others by hanging my shirts and pants in the closet with the sock and undies hung with each shirt that would be needed for each wake up call. I reached through the bag and found the belt, right where it should be, and paired it with the shoes I would set on the dresser ready to go. Blood rushed to my head and a taste of my Italian sub from the Charlotte airport Quiznos popped in my mouth upon the discovery of: ONE BLACK AND ONE BURGUNDY SHOE! How could I screw up like that?