Knot Today

joe —  Sat 9-May-15 — 2 Comments

AliensI am both fascinated and frustrated by knots. I love how, with just a couple of twists and turns, a simple rope can turn into a device that helps propel a man up a mountain or anchors a ship to a pier. I am frustrated by the fact that every piece of chain, string, or hose in my shop always ends up in knots just by laying in a box.

I was untangling my headphone cable the other day as my mind replayed a recent conversation with a friend. Pete’s job had given him a good beating over the past several weeks and he needed a place to vent. He was all knotted up, much like the headphones I had in my hands. Pete wasn’t mad or angry, just frustrated. The frustration came not from one particular event, but from a series of small events that started to overwhelm him. Continue Reading…

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The Dream Crusher

joe —  Fri 10-Apr-15 — 1 Comment

Christmas Meets MinIt was a Monday. I don’t think I made a very good impression that day. I was only a few weeks into my new role as the head of a team that had been together for quite while. I recall the day because of the look one gentleman in particular gave me after a comment I had made. It was as if I had crushed his dream. What I said was right, but that didn’t seem to matter. I still crushed his dream. With two simple words, I also dented a number of other ambitions, as well.

The words “Meets Min,” short for “meets the minimum requirements,” is not an aspirational phrase. There aren’t any motivational posters praising the emotional excitement of doing only that which is absolutely required. Yet, that is the advice I had given Steve that threw him into a tailspin. Continue Reading…

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…and Thanks for All the Fish

joe —  Sun 15-Mar-15 — 2 Comments

Ronald In CustodyI hate goodbyes. I can’t imagine anyone really likes them, but I loathe them. Everything is so awkward. Should I hug or is a handshake the best protocol? What if I say the wrong thing? What if someone starts to cry?

A couple of weeks ago I had to say goodbye to my coworkers – friends who I had really come to love and respect. Having just tendered my resignation, the two weeks that followed became a swirl of emotions. Those two weeks also taught me some lessons that I wished I would have learned much earlier in my life. Continue Reading…

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My Biggest Fan

joe —  Sat 7-Mar-15 — 2 Comments

Beagle fanMy wife left me a love note the other day. She was on her way to Sanibel to spend a week in the island sun with her mom, my mother-in-awe. She finished with, “Thank you for being my biggest fan.” My wife and I say that often. We are each other’s biggest fans in every sense of the word.

The other day someone at work asked what I thought about a coworker. I had said, “I’m a big fan of Daniel.” Clearly, the fanaticism I have for Daniel does not compare to that of my wife, so I stopped to think about what it meant to be someone’s fan.

My sports-loving friends would laugh if I ever called myself a sports fan.  Continue Reading…

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Nice Tool

joe —  Fri 20-Feb-15 — Leave a comment

Whatzan ipodLike many of you, I grew up poor. I also grew up jealous. Every kid on the street had a better basketball than mine, a newer football, or a more expensive horn. While inside I was stirring in a pool of green, on the outside I was mocking them. Here I was with my cheap, dented trombone sitting first chair to three others below me that had shiny new instruments with expensive attachments.

I developed a chip on my shoulder early in life when it came to expensive things. I used to laugh at those that were using ALTA A1 level tennis rackets while their game was clearly C3. They had money but no game. Same thing happened as a cyclist. Here I was on my first $1,200 bike riding much better than the guy with an $8,000 custom bike. I didn’t understand why people spent so much money on tools that had features that didn’t matter at their skill level. Continue Reading…

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Selah

joe —  Sat 14-Feb-15 — Leave a comment

Sit In a CornerI can only recall two things from third grade. The first is that my teacher really needed to invest in a better deodorant. The other was spending time facing the corner for being a little too sassy. Mrs. Thomas had said, “Words mean something” to which I abruptly replied, “Of course they mean something, isn’t that why they were invented?” All that was missing from my corner encounter was the dunce cap.

Years later I started to understand my third grade teacher’s Zen-like words of wisdom. I began to appreciate the importance of words when I couldn’t find one to express the way I was feeling. I am fascinated by words and phrases that mean something different when translated – like how the english “Got Milk” ad became the spanish “Are you lactating?” A simple word change can also affect the way you view the world. Instead of thinking “I have to go to work” think “I get to go to work.” Continue Reading…

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I Resolve To Not Resolve

joe —  Wed 31-Dec-14 — Leave a comment

Calvin resolutionsI’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. If you are like most, you are not either. Yet, on January 1st, 45% of Americans will make a vow to achieve a goal this coming year. 92% of them will be disappointed.

It’s not that I am against improving myself. I just don’t like the odds. I think the only resolution I have been able to keep was to not make any more resolutions.

Why do 92% of all resolutions fail? One reason I believe they fail is because we choose goals where failure is a viable result. The results are binary – you either succeed or you don’t. “I will lose 20 pounds.” “I will quit smoking.” “I will get pregnant.” There is no “kind of pregnant.” You leave no possibility for claiming partial success. Continue Reading…

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