September 20, 2014
While reading the Gapingvoid blog today I read a piece that I take exception to. According to Jim Fink of the investment Daily it seems that founder CEOs are simply better. They care more about company longevity and can be trusted to make better decisions.
While I understand the concern in today’s make a quick buck society, I call bullshit on any kind of vast generalization. Believe it or not there are still non-founder CEOs who are deeply entrenched in the same founding principles and loyalty as the owner/founder. These CEOs often worked side by side with the founder to build the business. As opposed to “hired guns”, CEOs who grew into their position care about the business long-term. They are vested in its future survival. As a CEO born out if this mold I strive every day to make the kinds of decisions that will drive the business forward and balance the interests of the customer the employee and the board. It’s a delicate tight rope act at times and in my opinion it takes a leader with integrity and courage to do the right thing even when it’s not going to create the biggest personal payday. Maybe that’s a followup article Mr. fink should write about next. When you hire a CEO and build their incentive program on the bottom line. You get what you ask for in my opinion.
July 26, 2014
You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here. ~ Walt Whitman
If you want to get in touch with your true self spend a week or more traveling the country on a motorcycle. As you turn the throttle and the engine roars to life. Troubles stream behind you like a ribbon in wind. You are exposed to the elements, the smells, the temperature changes, the feel of the road are all brought closer. The danger is always present which causes you to live more fully in each moment. Of course you still have your thoughts, and you’re thinking about things like the weather ahead, the angle of the sun, the condition of the road, but there is the constant reminder that you can’t allow your mind to wander too far from the moment. You are forced to travel light due to the limited space, so only the necessities are with you. You stop more often than you do in a car as well. So you take more time to notice and appreciate the place that you are in. You also become more open to conversation, and curiosity. We have met and had conversations with some of the nicest people in rest stops, gas stations, and diners.
There are so many lessons the road teaches you. Slow down, live in the moment, be open, pay attention are but a few that come to mind.
There are no strangers just people with stories to share and it’s you and the bike and your thoughts that take you through each day and then before you know it. It’s gone…
July 12, 2014
A story recounted by Carl Sagan. One day when I was still very young, I asked my father about his parents. I knew my maternal grandparents intimately, but I wanted to know why I had never met his parents.
“Because they died,” he said wistfully. “Will you ever see them again?” I asked. He considered his answer carefully. Finally, he said that there was nothing he would like more in the world than to see his mother and father again, but that he had no reason — and no evidence — to support the idea of an afterlife, so he couldn’t give in to the temptation. “Why?” Then he told me, very tenderly, that it can be dangerous to believe things just because you want them to be true. You can get tricked if you don’t question yourself and others, especially people in a position of authority. He told me that anything that’s truly real can stand up to scrutiny. As far as I can remember, this is the first time I began to understand the permanence of death. As I veered into a kind of mini existential crisis, my parents comforted me without deviating from their scientific worldview.
It seems that we spend a fair amount of life thinking about death. Where did I come from, and where will I go when I die? Our minds constantly drawn to the past or into the future. A spiritual wisdom of the ages teaches to quiet those questions of the mind and focus on the only thing that is real, this moment. Living in the now is the most difficult task we face, yet it is all we have. It seems that if we accept another’s “truth” in sacrifice and pursuit of some reward in the future we give up the only thing we have,our time in the now. This is why, in my mind it is imperative to question everything. I wise person once said “most of life’s mysteries can be solved with intent”. As much as we want to “believe” we must follow where reason leads us.
July 6, 2014
Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth. ~ Rumi
I don’t remember when it started, these trips to this river. If I heed the masters now is all that matters anyway. Funny how the time spent pays dividends. Experience means so much. That and patience and paying attention to ones surroundings. We move in such rhythms this human race. Time on the river seems to slow things down to a pace that feels right and natural. This trip was different from past years, harder in a way that I can’t describe. The weather, the pace felt different. We worked harder for our success. But there were moments when we really shined, and we paused and took it all in. It was as if after all these years we knew how special and fleeting those times are and we paused to revel in it, and then it was gone.
We ate better thanks to my lover. A paleo diet, augmented with the occasional burger and beer. The usual faces were all there Pat, Rich, Grizz, Ed, Dionn and many faces that I can’t remember names. Still wonder what happened to Brad. We had another broken rod again this year. Seems like that has become a tradition or a curse. And even though we love to hunt fish on the ranch. Our biggest success was, this year, on the lower river. Feeling gratitude for the opportunity to live in such a beautiful place, associate with such wonderful friends, and to unfold my own myth.
June 15, 2014
He followed in his father’s footsteps, but his gait was somewhat erratic. ~ Nicolas Bentley
The older I get the more I appreciate my parents. On this day when we pay tribute to our fathers I pay tribute to my dad who taught me so much.
Thanks Dad for allowing me to find my own path, and in doing so finding myself. For allowing me the freedom to make mistakes and learn the lessons from the consequences that came with my choices. For always being there to listen and love me. For giving me something to aim for and aspire to. You have always been my hero. For teaching me patience, and kindness, and honesty, and integrity. For coaching me in my youth in sports that built my body, and developed my character. For guiding me toward my strengths, but accepting my weaknesses. For teaching me about new places and the value of diversity and acceptance. For teaching me how to ski, ride a bike, appreciate fine wine, play the guitar, shoot a gun, and follow your dreams. Thank you dad for preparing this child for the path of life. I love you…
June 2, 2014
We are all creating something. If you think about it, each morning when you wake up you have a fresh start on what you will do today. How will you spend your 24 hours? What will you build? What will you learn? In this hyper-connected digital world we live in its easier than ever to build our brand, whatever it is.
Author and creative artist Austin Kleon said “I think people seriously underestimate what 15 minutes a day for 10 years will do versus 10 hours a day for a year. If you do little bits and pieces every day, after a while, you have this body of work.
Like, if you want to be a filmmaker, don’t think about being P.T. Anderson, think about making a 30-second YouTube clip. Make the best 30-second YouTube clip you can, and make a hundred of them. Just start making and editing, learn and release the work as you go, and see what resonates with people.”
It doesn’t matter what your passion is, or what creative outlet you choose to express yourself and connect with the world. The main thing is that you do it every day for at least a small part of that limited time we all share. This quote is so insightful in terms of “our work” and practicing our craft and the pursuit of excellence. Another aha nugget I had to share. Another blog post to add to my body of work. I think it took me about 15 minutes… Hmmm.
May 10, 2014
“Don’t prepare the path for the child, prepare the child for the path” ~ unknown
These words couldn’t be truer and the older I get the more I appreciate my parents and especially my mother. She made her share of mistakes but in her most important role, that of a mother, she let me learn the lessons that I needed to prepare me for the path. I still hear many of her phrases in the back of my mind when I’m facing the adversity life throws at us. “Life is not fair”, and “Life is what you make it”. In his book Deep Survival Who Lives Who Dies And Why author Laurence Gonzales says “I found an eerie uniformity in the way people survive seemingly impossible circumstances. Decades and sometimes centuries apart, separated by culture, geography, race, language, and tradition, the most successful survivors–those who practice what I call “deep survival”– go through the same patterns of thought and behavior, the same transformation and spiritual discovery, in the course of keeping themselves alive. Not only that but it doesn’t seem to matter whether they are surviving being lost in the wilderness or battling cancer, whether they’re struggling through divorce or facing a business catastrophe– the strategies remain the same. Survival should be thought of as a journey, a vision quest of the sort that Native Americans have had as a rite of passage for thousands of years. Once you’re past the precipitating event– you’re cast away at sea or told you have cancer– you have been enrolled in one of the oldest schools in history.”
Survivors seem to all possess the same traits. I have always believed my mom is a survivor. She has faced many trials and instead of giving up she battles on. According to Gonzales the traits of a survivor are:
They will Perceive and Believe. They don’t fall into the deadly trap of denial or of immobilizing fear. They admit they are really in trouble and they are going to have to get themselves out. ” Whether you succeed or not ultimately becomes irrelevant. It is in acting well– even suffering well– that you give meaning to whatever life you have to live.
They stay calm In the initial crisis, survivors are not ruled by fear; instead, they make use of it. “One should include a course of familiarization with pain. You have to practice hurting. There is no question about it.”
They think, Analyze, and Plan: Survivors quickly organize, set up routines, and institute discipline. They then take Correct, Decisive Action: Survivors are willing to take risks to save themselves and others. This is key in survival, making the “choice” to live.
They celebrate your success: Survivors take great joy from even their smallest successes. A good survivor always tells herself: count your blessings– you’re alive. Viktor Frankl wrote of how he felt at times in Auschwitz: “How content we were; happy in spite of everything.” My mom is a master at this, and instilled this trait in me. Counting your blessings no matter how small can lift you and give you the strength to carry on.
They become a Rescuer, Not a Victim: Survivors are always doing what they do for someone else, even if that someone is thousands of miles away. By serving others we become a verb, we act and action will always produce a result.
Enjoy the Survival Journey: It may seem counterintuitive, but even in the worst circumstances, survivors find something to enjoy, some way to play and laugh. They discover the sense of flow of the expert performer, the “zone” in which emotion and thought balance each other in producing fluid action. A playful approach to a critical situation also leads to invention, and invention may lead to a new technique, strategy, or design that could save you. Again this is my mom. Her laugh is infectious and she finds enjoyment in. The little things, like watching the birds, or training her dog to make silly faces.
They see the Beauty: Survivors are attuned to the wonder of their world, especially in the face of mortal danger.
They believe That They Will Succeed: It is at this point, following what I call “the vision,” that the survivor’s will to live becomes firmly fixed. Fear of dying falls away, and a new strength fills them with the power to go on.
They surrender: Yes you might die. In fact, you will die– we all do. But perhaps it doesn’t have to be today. Don’t let it worry you. Forget about rescue. Everything you need is inside you already. The Tao Te Ching explains how this surrender leads to survival:
The rhinoceros has no place to jab its horn,
The tiger has no place to fasten its claws,
Weapons have no place to admit their blades.
What is the reason for this?
Because on him there are no mortal spots.
They do Whatever Is Necessary. They know their abilities and do not over–or underestimate them. They believe that anything is possible and act accordingly.
Finally, they Never Give Up. Who would survive the hazards of our world, whether at play or in business or at war, through illness or financial calamity, will do so through a journey of transformation. But that transcendent state doesn’t miraculously appear when it is needed. It wells up from a lifetime of experiences, attitudes, and practices form one’s personality, a core from which the necessary strength is drawn. A survival experience is an incomparable gift: It will tell you who you really are.” My mom is a true survivor and I pay tribute to her this Mother’s Day. Thank you mom for all the lessons you have taught me,and for preparing this child for the path. I love you…
May 2, 2014
You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune
Play me… This 1972 Neil Diamond song found its way into the funeral mass for my 40 year friend’s mom. It was a beautiful service maybe the best I have attended except for uncle Jr”s. I have to say I will never listen to that song again without thinking of Marianne Huss. She had a life filled with adversity and challenge but she handled it with complete grace and acceptance. I hope I can be half as graceful as she was. She was an amazing person and gave me a lifetime best friend. What could be better. Rest in peace Marianne. You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune
April 29, 2014
My daughters inspire me with their strength, creativity and abilities to make things happen. They are both entrepreneurs running their own businesses. Like their mother they both possess caring empath personalities. They make me proud to be their papa and glad I have them in my life. I found this TED Talk and thought of them
March 23, 2014
My aunt met my bride and I for lunch the other day. She has been such an amazing mentor and example throughout my life. Being there through many of life’s trials and somehow understanding what I’m going through. While catching up she said she had reconsidered not having a headstone. Although she still wants cremation she said she has decided she recently purchased a plot because she wants to leave a maker. Just something that says she was here. She said “I haven’t written a book, and this is easier”. As we left the restaurant and she crossed the street, I couldn’t help but notice the limp in her gate as she made her way to her car. And I sensed a sadness in her that I hadn’t felt before. At 70 I’m sure she is thinking her time is limited unaware of the mark she has already left. I’ve recently seen great men, who thought their legacy secure pass on only to have their dream unravel. My headstone lives on in each soul I have touched and so does yours. Not all of us get to experience the immortality of a book or record deal. But it doesn’t mean we don’t touch and influence. We do and we have to recognize it. Emerson said “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Fear not you have left your mark my gurdian angel , my aunt and my friend.