Stranded by the tide, and the return of the water

Stranded by the tide

…stranded by the tide…by federstern

Those of you who follow this blog regularly…yes, both of you….are well aware that I haven’t done much with the blog for a while.  In fact, I haven’t done anything in over two months.  Let’s just say, life’s been busy.

  • My older son, not yet 8 years old, has had an intestinal problem that, while temporary, is difficult and a lot to deal with.  He’s also had problems with kids and teachers at school socially, and self-esteem and confidence and just plain belief in himself have all taken massive hits.  We’re working through all of that and it sure isn’t easy.
  • My P.o.S. car died, necessitating finding a newer, cheap slightly less P.o.S. to run around in for a while, straining the family budgets.
  • I was enrolled in a Project Management Professional class, which concluded in November and I had the exam date set for December 9th
  • The usual Holiday time running around that will make anyone crazy.

So, there’s been a lot going on and, truth be told, I had lost a whole lot of enthusiasm with the blog.  It wasn’t scratching the itch anymore personally, and I was at something of a crossroads professionally – which was brought to a head by the PMP prep course.  You see, for all my affinity for Lean and Operational Excellence as the foundations for improving the workplace, and life, my experience with them has primarily been intellectual.  My professional day job resists Lean thinking significantly, and gives me little opportunity to practice.  The vast majority of my professional background is in project management and, as I contemplate career moves, I simply don’t have enough resume fodder to get where I want to go by using Lean as my primary driver.  This realization, more than anything else, led to my absence from the blogosphere for a while.

Truth be told, I had no idea where I was going with this thing, and although I didn’t want to give up, it seemed I had no ability to move from where I was.  I felt like a ship, stranded at low tide.

During this time, however, there were a number of positives occurring that began to set the stage for better things.  First and foremost, I was contacted by an acquaintance with an entrepreneurial opportunity.  While it is challenging to find the time to work on that endeavor, it’s remarkably interesting and, if the idea comes to fruition, it is potentially quite lucrative.  Being a part of concept development in the early phases of a start up endeavor is incredibly satisfying.  As a part of that opportunity, I created my own LLC.  I’m not exactly certain where that is going, (it will be some sort of speaking or writing of articles kind of thing), however, contemplating what I can do with it is also a great project.  Here’s my logo and banner:

 

I’m not a wizard with the graphics just yet, so cut me some slack as I work those things out.  Nonetheless, I think it’s going somewhere.  I have a URL reserved for it and will be building out that site in the weeks/months ahead.

 

By the way, I did pass the PMP exam and I am now a certified Project Management Professional (I’ll have to update my profile).  That designation appears to be opening doors already as I’ve had a couple good conversations with people in companies I am curious about already.  What I do, and when I do it, are still up in the air – but the future is looking brighter.  Additionally, just this past weekend, I was presented with a speaking opportunity out of the blue, which should give me a much-needed opportunity to help launch the LLC.

What all this reminds me of is that we very often don’t know where we’re going, or even how we got where we are, and when we hit these low times it tends to feel as if we’re going to be stuck there forever.  What is most important to remember when things get this way, however, is that sometimes the best thing we can possible do for ourselves is to simply endure.  Stay in the game, last as long as it takes, don’t back down and don’t get ahead.  Just simply stand there against the things that attempt to pull you apart and prove out that you can last longer than the troubles that surround you.  When you give up, you start down the long spiral ofnever feeling fulfilled.  When you endure, you keep yourself prepared for better things.

Because, eventually, the water will return.

The incredibly satisfying sensation of infinite smallness

Beyond_the_Blue_Horizon

Beyond the Blue Horizon by PhotoDaemon

Another year, another family vacation in the books.  This year, we returned to the Point Sebago Resort in Casco, Maine for the third year in a row.  The weather was fantastic, the boys had a good time, and the parents weren’t completely exhausted at the end of it all.

Sebago Lake in Maine is a fairly large lake.  Having grown up in Buffalo, NY on Lake Erie, I am forever spoiled by the massive size of the Great Lakes when it comes to comparing bodies of fresh water.  Nonetheless, I can appreciate the size and depth of Sebago Lake, which  covers 45 square miles and reaches a depth of over 300 feet.

In spite of that size, however, neither Sebago Lake, nor even the Great Lakes, could offer something I have felt whenever I journey to the coast and look out over the ocean.  Something about standing before the endless, seemingly infinite expanse of the ocean has always been soothing.  It is as if the endless, rhythmic droning of the waves and the inability to see across to the other side reminds me that I am small.  More than that, that my problems are unbelievably tiny in the much grander scheme of things.  The ocean reminds me that it can be beautiful, calming, calamitous, treacherous and angry all at once, and that in all its nearly timeless eternity – it is absolutely unconcerned with anything that will ever transpire in my life.

Some might find this depressing – to be confronted with the undeniable fact that their existence will simply not matter to something so grand and ageless.  To me, however, it is a place of catharsis and solace.  It puts the things that trouble my mind into perspective, and that alone allows me to put my worries and fears and all my earthly concerns aside, and regain an appreciation for the important parts of my existence.

You see, while something as nearly incomprehensible and massive as the enormity and timelessness of the oceans will never be concerned with my short time upon this earth, the people that I encounter and share my life with will…..and that is where my focus should always be – on the people who share my life.  Inanimate things like money, cars, houses, wristwatches, sunglasses, comfortable chairs and cell phones and, yes, even something as great and grand as the ocean, will never notice my existence no matter how much time I spend with them.

Human beings, however, can be affected greatly and remember you to the end of their days, for things that occur even just once in a passing moment.  What’s more – the more you interact and share with them, the greater the likelihood of being remembered, and transcending into a place where the memory of your life becomes as infinite as the ocean itself.

You can’t buy pride (and I just like to write)

Writer

Writer by jacobdca

Many times, I have been asked with regards to this blog, “What do you expect to et out of this?”

Well, fame, fortune, world-wide recognition for being an intellectual genius, a great job, tons of friends, an awesome new car, my kids’ college tuitions paid for and a bottomless glass of beer would be nice.

Unfortunately, as much as I can dream, I don’t actually think I’ll get those things (at least, not all of them).  So what do I honestly  expect?

Writing this blog is, sort of, its own end.  Yes, I’d love to have achieved all these wonderful things as a result of my writing, and maybe I will.  However, even if I don’t – I will keep writing.  Because it’s the one thing that comes easily and naturally, and that people seem to tell me I’m pretty good at.

And, it has some very, very nice rewards, too.  I’ve interacted with many great people, who have done amazoing things that make me envious.  My words have reached 6 continents and been cited by corporate honchos and students conducting research alike.  In perfect alignment with my  mid-life crisis, that gives me some feeling of having at least a little bit of a legacy to leave behind, long after my remains join the floating particles of the universe.

So, in a way, that’s what I expect to get from this – some recognition.  And that has come with a wonderful sense of purpose and pride that ought to be cultivated in everyone from an early age.  All too ften, however, pride gets muddled together with the brute application of effort – and that is supposed to be a healthy trait – working through arduous, difficult circumstances for the sake of doing a good job or one’s duty.  We really don’t do enough to tell people to play to their sttrengths and enjoy what they are good at.  Rather, we reward those who have overcome something difficult – even if the difficulty, in reality, was self-imposed.

Perhaps we ought to rethink the things we take pride in.  Perhaps, then, we will focus more on the people who do the little things to avoid fires rather than make heroes of those who put them out (figuratively, of course – real firefighters are, genuinely, heroic). 

Pride can’t be bought.  You can’t simply give someone a heap of rewards and expect them to be prideful.  It is an innate sense of producing something the individual cares about – even if the larger organization surrounding the person doesn’t.  If you can recognize and appreciate what a person cares about, and provide them with opportunities to do exactly that thing in such a way that they can be prideful in their work and benefit the organization – I am willing to bet you will have given that person not just a sense of pride, but of purpose as well.  They will no longer be working only for themselves – but for both their own sense of self as well as the good of the group.

The interactions I’ve had so far as a result of writing this blog have certainly created a sense of purpose and pride that are far greater than any monetary rewards. 

Now, if only I could get paid for it…….

 

;^)