What does that mean??

Daily writing prompt
Are you a leader or a follower?

I sat in a meeting with three other managers and the director and read the document twice while the meeting went on. I could hear the Director read through the document but I was stuck on one sentence that I didn’t understand.

The manager will cultivate a leader to leader environment.

“What is a leader to leader environment?” I asked and was answered with, “I don’t know.” I left the meeting on a mission. I needed to know what leader to leader meant. I found out and my mission ended with a book that the Director had all the managers read.

The book is called “Turn the Ship Around” by David Marquet. Basically the writer outlines his experience as a leader of a submarine. He realized that he could not have a crew that would just listen and follow every order that would be dangerous and he had to cultivate leaders at every level.

So I told that story and mentioned a pretty great book (it really is good and worth reading) to say that I am a leader and a follower and everyone should be. There was this quote when I was a kid that always bugged me.

Too many chiefs

Leadership is guidance, inspiration, motivation, and leadership has to come from within. There is this concept of “buy in” that everyone on team needs to have for a project to be completely successful. Buy in is the willingness to participate in an endeavor. No one can force buy in from a team member this has to be inspired and motivated.

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Leaders are needed at every level in a team and the top level should be more of a position of service for all other levels that are the leaders.

I have also heard “Lead follow or get out of the way” Lets change this to Lead yourself and help others.

That is what I will be hearing all day now

Daily writing prompt
What does freedom mean to you?

I won’t let you down
I will not give you up
Gotta have some faith in the sound
It’s the one good thing that I’ve got

You’ve gotta give
For what you take

You’ve gotta give
For what you take

I loved all the George Michaels songs growing up and now the song Freedom is going to be stuck in my head all day. Freedom! Freedom! Man such a good song.

Freedom is pretty interesting concept. I was 17 years old when I decided I wanted freedom from my parents tyrannical rule (total joke there I had it made honestly, dad and mom only bugged me when I got out of line otherwise they supported me 100 %), looking for freedom from the parents and the town I grew up oin I joined the US Army.

I was told when to wake up, when to eat, when to go to sleep, where and how to do all that as well, so not much freedom. I finished up my contract with the US Army and entered the civilian world a free man. A free man with a family and bills to pay. To pay the bills I got a job and started school. The workplace bosses told me when to arrive at work when I could eat and how to do that.

No one is truly free, they are a slave to wealth, fortune, the law, or other people restraining them from acting according to their will.

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At one point in my career I had a very long commute that involved getting on and off the highway. Everyday at an intersection I would see a person with a cardboard sign asking for money. I felt bad for this person and if I had any cash I would try to give it to him.

There is legislation popping up now all over the United States that has made it illegal to be homeless. The cost of not working in a capital society seems to be homelessness and relying on others who are working or living “off the gird” like Thoreau did while writing Walden. Making it illegal to live this way seems to be an infringement of freedom.

For me freedom is the ability for me to make a choice and live with it.

Just 1% a day

Daily writing prompt
What’s one small improvement you can make in your life?

There was a CEO at a company I worked for that always encouraged everyone in the company by mentioning how powerful and impactful getting better at something just 1 % a day was.

If you improve only 1% a day, you will 37 times better at the end of the year!

I recall this quote almost every year on January 1st when I make my new years resolutions. I have actually accomplished some of my new years goals in the years past and I am currently (1% a day at least) working on accomplishing this years new years resolutions.

1% is a small improvement, but it adds up overtime. I have lived with a family for more time than I have lived the single life now and we have a lot of stuff. A small improvement that may make a huge difference in my life might be to declutter. Everyday I will choose to take some thing out of my home and donate to charity or throw away.

“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”

Wendell Berry, Farming: A Hand Book (poetry)
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Left.. no Right.. Ok Straight Ahead..

Daily writing prompt
What gives you direction in life?

The Apple watch has a compass app on it and the app has an amazing feature called back track. The app will trace your route as you walk/hike and then play that route back to you so that you can get back to where you started.

When I was in the US Army Global positioning Satellites were first being brought on line and used to do the same thing as the watch and the back track option. I have a very poor sense of direction and because of that I have been on some Amelia Bedelia style adventures. I have never been so lost though that I have not found my way home.

What then is home?

Home is where the Heart is

Pliny the Elder

My heart is with my loved ones, my immediate and extended family is my heart and home. We may fight and disagree but we have and I really believe will always love each other and that is what gives me direction is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. 

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Love is the promise that guides me

Dan Fogelberg
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Daily writing prompt
Do you have a quote you live your life by or think of often?

In middle school I was made to memorize Rudyard Kipling’s poem If. Honestly I no longer have it memorized, and I could not recite this poem when I was made to memorize it and I can not recite the poem now but, like all great art work the poem inspired and inspires me now. I can tell you that this poem makes me want to work harder and help my family, friends, community and strangers. The poem makes me take more responsibility for my actions and inactions. This poem reminds me that being an adult is about endurance and virtue and not for the faint of heart. I think of this poem often and truly love it.

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If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

    And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

If – Rudyard Kipling

After that first cup

Daily writing prompt
When do you feel most productive?

My favorite place to be is anywhere my wife is, other than those places I truly enjoy the grocery store or market right after the store or market has first opened up. There is a fresh feeling in the air. All the vendors have their food and wares out for purchase and the most fresh, ripe and best are prominently displayed. The employees are well rested and the food is freshly picked and washed. The grocery store or market is great in the early morning. There is hope that comes from seeing and buying something that was just harvested.

My favorite time of the day is the morning. I love that hopeful fresh feeling. At work when I can, I try to get most of my “hard” work done in the morning. I drink my coffee and attack the day. After morning is over the rest of the day is spent helping others and getting ready for tomorrow.

After my first cup of coffee I can do anything! Oh and so can you!

Number three

Daily writing prompt
How would you improve your community?

During the week I wake up, perform my morning rituals and then drive into work. After work I usually spend a half hour at the gym, then the grocery store and finally I head home. I spend the majority of my time during the work week at home (my 1st place) and work (my 2nd place).

Ray Oldenburg coined the term 3rd place. Our 3rd places are where we come together as a community and exchange ideas, have a good time and build community. Today many of our 3rd locations have become digital, some may even argue that wordpress and facebook are 3rd places.

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My wife and I have worked at soup kitchens and my favorite part about the soup kitchen was meeting family and community members. I think that the soup kitchen functioned as a 3rd place for many of the community members.

I would love to develop for my community a third place that is safe, open, fun, and helps the community. I would imagine a place with a cafe and meal times (free meals). Then a lounge where the community can sit and talk play games watch tv. A true third place. A physical third place.

Growing up my third place was the local library. I would improve my community with a partnership with the local library. I would love to see the local library become more of a third place. I got to go now and donate some time and money to my local library.

More and More and more

Daily writing prompt
What’s something most people don’t understand?

When I was younger the MSN website felt like it often showcased the current wealth of Bill Gates. I checked and Bill Gates is currently worth 107.8 billion dollars. Right now the richest person in the world is currently Bernard Arnault worth 202 billion dollars (technically the worth is the Arnault family not just Bernard.

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This year the United States will spend 1.22 trillion on Social Security and 767 billion on national defense. I see news stories with these totals of money and for the longest time I had no idea just how much money this actually was.

A million dollars is a lot of money, a billion dollars is a whole lot of money, and one trillion dollars is an almost unfathomable amount of money. As humans millions and billions and trillions are hard for all of us to understand.

The inability to understand the magnitude of big numbers is evolutionary. Even though it is hard to understand it is imperative that we develop this skill and that we do it quickly. Why is that? Because the human population has grown exponentially and the actions of this growth are having dire consequences on the earth.

Another major reason for understanding the magnitude of big numbers has to deal with social justice and wealth inequality.

Billionaires wealth provides tools that make it easy to create huge carbon footprints, the tools have also made it possible for a select few to commit egregious acts of injustice against many people. The quicker we understand orders of magnitude the quicker we can evolve into a better species and society.

That’s a tough one

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be, and why?

On the surface this question seems easy to answer. Of course I could find someone who seems to have a charmed life and choose them. I could find a loved one and choose them so that I could help them and or see how they see me. But what makes a person the person they are? What would it be like to be a different person?

a thinking, intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places

John Locke

Being a person means we can move with our imagination to different places and times. The question points to a time and place by mentioning “for a day”. The place would be the person. Every figure inhabits some position.

No to answer the tough question.. I would love to see what it would be like to be Super man. Super man is not my favorite super hero, Spider man is but I would love to have Super Mans powers if just for one day. All the physics that seem to inhibit me on earth wouldn’t exist for a day. I could fly to China in less than an hour without boarding a plane!

Ok non fiction person that I would choose or to be real.. I would probably love to be Joe Biden for just one day. I would love to get insight into what the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world is privy to. I am sort of afraid that it might be boring but what if it is not? What if the president of the United States is briefed daily on the nations and worlds secrets? Man then I would love to know all of that.

secrets are pleasant to each child of eve

Hannah Cowley

It is a fun mental exercise to change places with others but at the end of the day I am pretty happy with being myself.

All I can do is be me whoever that is

Bob Dylan

Just over Broke

Do you enjoy your job?

I sat in the conference room and watched the presenter write the words Just over Broke on a white board. He then told everyone that the word Job was an acronym and stood for Just over Broke. The presenter let us know that he was offering a career not a job. It was a hard sell on selling. I tried the door to door salesperson thing and it wasn’t for me. I enjoyed meeting with new people everyday I did not enjoy meeting with an agenda. The agenda was to sell.

I have worked in a few industries and each business industry has its own nuances and idiosyncrasies. I honestly have not found a favorite industry or skill in the modern workplace. I have however enjoyed almost every job I have worked at. I have tried very hard to find the silver lining with every situation and my job is no different.

The jobs that I have enjoyed the most though have all the same aspects.

  1. I accomplish things. For jobs that I have enjoyed more than others I find that getting a sense of accomplishment is important. I get such a oxytocin high from starting my day off with a list and then crossing off the tasks as I finish them. Here is a great read about the importance of accomplishment.
  2. I worked with people who acted compassionately and kindly Jobs that I have enjoyed included teams full of positive kind and compassionate people. Work is always a team event and good teams are made up of good team members. Having a great team makes work that much better.
  3. I have worked in companies that have singular missions and ones that have missions that are convoluted. Singular missions seem to work better Everyone at work has there own reasons for being there and usually=y that is monetary however firms have vision statements and a reason that is not just “create profit”. Firms that have all employees working towards that vision are almost always better jobs.

Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication.

Dinesh Paliwal

So I do enjoy my current job and I have no doubt it is because the workplace has me working on meaningful tasks, with great people and all of that is happening with one clear vision.