Layers

One can definitely go into a deep state of introspection while driving.

Yesterday I logged right at 679 miles on a business trip down I-35 to San Antonio and then on to surprise my sister while she was working at a restaurant in the quiet little town of Roosevelt.  From there I-10 to US377 back home to Fort Worth. 12 hours on the road…

What do these clouds say to you? As I drove toward this magnificent masterpiece in the sky it made me think of all of the different phases [or layers] that we go through in this life. Do the clouds say something different to you? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please post your thoughts in the comments.

Original Photography by J. E., circa 2017

Stepping forward

Kaizen – Continuous Improvement

Seems to me…

  • Figuratively at least… that it’s easy to step on the very toes that are supposed to move you forward.
  • That working towards better takes a lot of damn work!
  • That sometimes the things that we think we want aren’t actually the things that in the end will really make us happy.

🆙… goes the ✈️

🆙…

🆙…

🆙…


There is no alternative. From take-off until that airplane finds its place to land and even then in landing it has to maintain its momentum. Our lives are actually quite similar to the way an airplane gets up and off the ground and then back down to earth. The engines provide the thrust (our motivations) that move it forward on the runway thus giving the wings the ability to lift (our actions) this monster of a machine into the sky.

Momentum is a powerful force. A Boeing 747’s take-off speed is 180 mph and can safely leave the ground with only 9/10’s of a mile worth of runway. We can’t move that fast in our lives so we slowly build up the momentum necessary to move us forward to where we want to end up. Each step gets us one step closer to ‘that place’. Sometimes we think that we take a step forward then two or even three steps backwards making it more difficult but in my opinion all of these steps (and missteps) are necessary.

Each facit of our lives deserves the same amount of Kaizen.

  • Work: If we could start at the top then we would not have the satisfaction of knowing that we put in the time to actually know our role and where we fit into the organization. We grow within with each step, we give ourselves the ability to learn and in turn we can then teach others therefore empowering them to take those same steps toward better. This is ultimately what builds a stronger you (and me) and company. So keep working to close those big accounts, you’ll be taking yourself to better and when they do close your company will be better off as well. Then tackle the next one. What are your motivations? Think about it… act! The following piece might actually help you build a little momentum so you can step forward in your work life. A Message to Garcia, written by Elbert Hubbard, circa 1899.
  • Relationships: Love is the single most powerful emotion in the universe. With it too, momentum is requisite. Finding yourself in love doesn’t mean that you are equipped to love or to be loved. It takes quite a bit of work to get that balance. Whether it is loving your children (or spouse) through their ignorance or trying to figure out if ‘he’ or ‘she’ is the one you have been seeking your whole life, the challenge of maintaining the moral responsibility that comes with it is very real. So you have a bad day, you wake up and realize that you have spent nearly a lifetime with someone that you can’t remember ever truly loving. Is it a fleeting thought? Does it mean you call it quits? Or is there a way to get back to better? Personally, I was married for 10 years and have now been divorced for almost 7. In a letter from my ex-wife the words, “I don’t know that I truly ever loved you” ring loudly. Makes me think though. Because that’s what I do. Think. I struggled for a good while when I read those words but then I wondered, did I ever truly know this person? I did not. I could not for the life of me remember her favorite color. I do now of course, it is Green. Love relationships are about the only things in our lives that seem to take off like that airplane. Seems so anyways, you get up in the air quickly then it gets real. Slow and steady wins the race says the billionaire. In life. In love. In everything. Do you truly know them? In time I hope that answer is yes. I am certain this applies to any relationship whether personal or professional. Oh yeah, and I am talking to me here… Know thy self.
  • Life: So I walk into Taco Bell. Couple sitting in the corner have a black plastic bag. Who knows what it contains. Doesn’t matter. Might be all they own. They only want a glass of ice so they can go to the bathroom and fill it with sink water. Guy at the counter says, “Sorry Ma’am!” … She sits back down, anxious eyes looking around wondering how many more times she will hear no. This is an example of two lives with zero momentum or to say the least an expectation of relying on others to build that momentum for them. Whatever the case, I want you to know that helping either knowingly or anonymously is a good option here. I called the guy working over to me. I said, “Please get two of those Frito burritoes and two medium sodas for those folks sitting over there asking everyone for something to eat.” He took my card and did as I had asked. Then they left. Too ashamed to ask anyone else. Not knowing that a stranger cared enough to actually notice their need. So I told the worker that they left. He grabbed two cups and ran out behind them and yelled, “Sir!” waving the cups. We can be that thrust that just might propel others forward. It’s their choice to act. A helping hand is sometimes all that is necessary for us to realize that we are valuable and that we matter. Take those two peoples shoes and wear them for just a bit. Be glad they’re not yours but don’t overlook their need. Everybody else does that. Not you.

Stepping forward is not optional. Unless you’re sitting still, too many do that. Help me help you isn’t just some cliché, it’s how we all move forward. The things of one’s doing in the past gave you the ability to do today. So step forward my friend. I’m listening too, I promise.

Original Article by J. E., circa 2017

On the other side of ‘it’

The majority of our fears live within and are never realized. Though sometimes we live as if they are our reality. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the other side of any given endeavor before we actually started out?

Not going to happen…

So we find ourselves in the middle of a situation that has presented itself to us. We choose whether or not it is a worthy endeavor even though we can’t see the other side. We simply hope for the best. Favorite quote of mine by the father of John C. Maxwell, “When you made the choice to start, you made the choice to finish. It’s not two choices, it’s one.” … Seems so simple but we often quit when it gets tough or when things do not go our way. If someone else is involved it can lead to hurt and heartbreak.

We should try to take the advice from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and begin with the end in mind. That’s not to say we will see the other side because we will not be able to, though we can work toward the best ending possible. Make sense?

I have been the one to hurt others and I have been hurt myself. Mainly the hurts that I have felt were caused by the pain I caused others and their reactions to that pain. I can honestly say that I don’t feel like anyone has ever intentionally set out to hurt me and I can’t say my intentions were ever to hurt others. We just do that though, we have these moments and what happens in those moments can have a lasting effect.

Years go by and the ones that at one time were closest to you seem lost. You look back and say you could never dream of being where you are now. But you are. You are exactly where your choices have led you. That can be a great place or that can be a bad place or it could be that you were at a bad place and now you are doing everything possible to get things right and end up at that great place that you know you deserve to be at.

The other side of ‘it’ can be a beautiful place. We can’t let our past failures and current fears keep us from venturing out into the unknown.

“There is but one impossibility in my life. That is the possibility that I could not bounce back from any given failure.” – J. E.

Original Article by J. E., circa 2017

Looking up for moments of clarity

Right there in plain sight. 

Thinking that we have things figured out is always the worst possible way to live.  Guilty.  In the above image we see a building and from the looks of it had you never been to Fort Worth Texas you would not realize that it is the tallest building here.  When you are not at the bottom looking up you can tell just how big it is.

As…  

is… 

life… 

There is not a problem with trying to see the top from this perspective but it is necessary to realize that we limit ourselves in doing so.  When we step back and begin to look at this same thing but with all of the other elements we begin to see things much more clearly.  We get a fresh sense of just how small we are and how life will help us figure itself out if only we do not get in its way. 

So I suppose we should ask ourselves [I should ask myself] do we [I] really need to try to look up or would we [I] be doing ourselves [myself] a favor by just looking at what is right in front of us [me] and not taking it for granted because seemingly small things will compound and just like the snowball rolling down the hill those now big things will crush us [me].  So how about just loving those who love us and listening to those willing to listen to us.  Being present in this moment, the one we have right now. 

I ask for patience.  I’m trying to get past all of the things that limit how broad my vision can be.  I don’t want to lose the best things in life because I am getting in my own way.  Please give me that.

Original Article & Photography by J. E., circa 2017

Organized Chaos

Better left a mess!  I’ll tell you why…

Perfectionism insists on perfection.  When there is some element of chaos we always have something to work toward.

What a shame!  We get in our own way and the things that at one time drew us toward each other can be the very things that pull pull pull us apart.  Why?  Because it was a mess, chaos, nothing was perfect and that is why it worked. So we set out to fix what wasn’t broken.  There were things that we thought needed fixing and now that the perfectionist in us has perfected the chaos it is exactly the opposite.

Solution:  Mess it back up, there are certain things that we have no business trying to organize.  Time is the great organizer and it will fix what we have broken if only we get out of the way and let it happen.  Naturally.  Just think of how the chaos got there.  It didn’t just appear, it was a gradual progression.  The shoes weren’t all worn in a day and thrown on the floor all at once.  Nope, it took a week, 2 or 3 to get them like that.  Go ahead organize them and give it another week, 2 or even 3. You will find that before you know it and without you even realizing it the chaos has returned.  Possibly more than before.  But it is okay perfectionist, leave it.  It is possible to live a life full of chaos if we just realize that sometimes organizing it causes way more problems than its worth.

There is a flipside to this…  We insist on our perfectionistic(yep, just made it up) tendencies and then you know what happens?  You get it just the way you think you want it and its not long before you forget about it.  You don’t even visit or look at what was at one time a perfectly chaotic mess.  Now it is just perfect so no attention is required.  Think again!

Original Article by J. E., circa 2017

Simply Complexing…

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Simple things amaze me… but is anything really that simple?

Could you imagine Abe Lincoln sitting down to actually try and figure out how to program a computer or website, even a [simple] one such as this?  On the flip-side, he would definitely be able to figure out how to use a computer or browse a website within a short span of time because of how simple brilliant minds have made it.

Until it’s simple, it’s complex.  Simple as that.

“A ‘thing’ may seem impossible only until the persistence of its realization proves it is not impossible.  Then, when realized you continue to build upon and aggrandize [make greater] the ‘thing’ which at one time you deemed impossible.” – J. E.

Others experience teaches and moves our world forward so that we can do the same and make things a little less complex, we build onto what came before and that makes this a better place for future generations.  Even the things that seem to hinder us when seen in retrospect have a certain aspect to them that has made a positive contribution to who and what we are.

The sun is 92.96 million miles away, and when it comes over the horizon you can see it as clearly as you can see your hand in front of your face, until it gets too bright that is.  Somewhere around 960,000 earths can fit into that ball of fire.  There is nothing simple about that.

Fact is we live in a very complex world but it will be as simple as we make it.

Original Article by J. E., circa 2017