On quitting.

Today I read several articles about employees quitting their jobs and re-evaluate life choices.
In some of these articles, I have seen the resentment of employers coming through. I can understand why business owners would be upset if they can’t find workers. But, in some cases, the finger is pointed at the government.

Why is it the government’s fault if people decide to quit their jobs? People in the United States point to unemployment benefits as a reason people are quitting. No, that is not true. If people enjoyed the work they do and are respected in the workplace, they don’t quit.

Blaming generous unemployment benefits is a straw man argument and a false equivalency.

If I were to quit my job right now, the unemployment benefits would not come close to replacing my current income. So I would have to reduce my expenses; they would run out in six months, so I would need to find another job. This is the purpose of unemployment benefits, a bridge to another job.

People are evaluating their lives and their choices regarding their employment decisions, and employers need to ask themselves this question- Why are you entitled to workers? Why is it a given that highly skilled people choose you to work for in a competitive marketplace?

If an employee can’t share in the vision, goals, and aspirations of a company, you signal that they are nothing more than a cog in a wheel. So why would a highly skilled and highly talented person sign up to be a cog in a wheel? Consider that for a moment, then move forward from that point.

Cancel

I just finished reading an article about why the show Fear Factor was canceled. They filmed an episode that involved people drinking Donkey Semen.
My first thought was, why in the world would anyone ever want to drink Donkey Semen?

The answer, of course, is for money and the audience. The individuals on the show would be compensated for participating in this stunt. The show would get more viewers because people enjoy being shocked.

The show ended up getting canceled because the network refused to air the show and later decided that they were done with the show. The show was canceled.

You can go from the top to the bottom very quickly.

The funny thing about this entry is that I started writing it and said to myself, “ You have gone too far” You will get in trouble if people read this. I erased it and started writing something else.

But guess what I did? I hit the undo button several times and brought the article back.

I am afraid that I will get in trouble for references to an article about the show Fear Factor.

So I decided to erase my work. Then I told myself this simple statement. First, no one is going to read it. Second I am not advocating this type of behavior, and Third, I am trying to make a point. I am also trying to hit my goal of writing every day for a year.

So I have many things going on at this moment.
Which we all do. Why do we all have so many things going on?
We work jobs, we pursue projects, trips, we go places.
All of these things that we do need to be funded. To fund our projects, we take risks; we have been told by people that we can make it to the top if we are risk-takers.
A myth. If there is a top, then someone is attempting to knock you off of it as soon as you arrive.
Although even if you screw up and get canceled. You still have your talents, and gifts, and abilities. Fear Factor was canceled because of a stunt involving drinking Donkey Semen, which offended people. Still, it didn’t stop the host Joe Rogan. He still hosts UFC fights, and he has a huge podcast following. So even after setbacks, you always have a way forward.
Keep moving in the direction you want to go in each day.

32 years

I am listening to a song that is 32 years old. The song doesn’t seem 32 years old, to my ears and minds it has the same energy that it had when I heard it 32 years ago. I was 17, 32 years ago.

Music doesn’t age. Not like a human. The music stays the same. The key signature is the same. The beats per minute, The lyrics, the chorus, the key change. 

The drum fills are all the same as they were 32 years ago and they will be the same 32 years from now.

I am a different person than I was 32 years ago. 32 years of experience, old friends leave, new friends, enter. The music stays the same.

Hmmm. Aging doesn’t mean that I need to lose energy or become less committed to learning.

As I age I hear more and more about planning for retirement. I am not a person who is looking forward to living in a condo and playing golf all day or swimming. I am a person who feels wired for contribution.

32 years from now I will be 81. I hope to be alive and 81 at least. I do realize that I need to be intentional with my health and how I treat my body because my body does age. My body does change.

Where do you want to be in 32 years? Who do you want to be in 32 years? 

Let it Go but Let it Heal.

Let it go, was a very popular song from the movie Frozen. I recall the year the movie came out, my son was in pre-school, and at most events, you could spot some children singing Let it Go.

Let it Go is also popular advice given out to people who have been hurt or have been facing adversity. I have found myself letting things go in my life.

For example, anger and hurt over mistreatment from employers, unfair life circumstances, setbacks, I have told myself to let it go.

The problem with letting it go is that it comes back. Now what? I thought I let it go?

Why am I upset about the job situation from ten years ago? The relationship from twenty years ago? The school event from thirty?
I let all of them go?

I concluded that letting it go is helpful, but what I really needed to do was to Let it Heal.

The events that I let go, those events had hurt me and left me in emotional pain. Anger and Sadness swirled around inside of me. My method of dealing with the anger and sadness was to let it go.

Now I understand that I needed to let it heal.

You see this with professional athletes. I can recall countless performances by athletes who were hurt at the moment and went on to do remarkable feats all while facing pain. This was awesome, but it wasn’t sustainable.

I recall watching an NBA Finals game 30 years ago; a hall of fame player twisted his ankle in game six. He went on to lead his team to a comeback win. The next night in game seven, he wasn’t able to contribute, and the team lost the finals.

Playing injured or not playing injured isn’t the point I want to emphasize; the point is that we need healing time. If we don’t make time for healing, we suffer the consequences of our unresolved hurts.

Dealing with unresolved hurts can involve a spiritual community, counseling, friends, family, whoever you trust to take care of your hurt, and who is competent.

I am not a professional counselor, but I believe that if you have hurts, you should pursue one.

I also think that we can daily mental wellness activities that can benefit us and move us closer to healing. For me, I use spiritual wisdom from the Bible and belong to a supportive faith community. Daily spiritual activity helps me to move from letting it go to let it heal.

Movement

Beating yourself up isn’t noble or beneficial. It is a form of bullying. So stop it.

This morning I found myself staring at the blinking cursor. I didn’t know what to write. My mind, for a brief moment, felt empty. So I stared at the screen.

Then I began to write, from the back row of my mind, a voice began to speak. “Stop”! “This isn’t good enough! You are breaking the rules!
I ignored the voice and typed anyway. I have a goal of posting to my blog every day in 2021, and if I am going to post to my blog every day in 2021, then I will have to type anyway.

Keep going anyway. This is the theme of my work. My artistic journey.
My words of advice. Keep going. You can only arrive if you are moving.
Writing and posting each day is only accomplished when I am moving and moving along each day.

Keep moving anyway.
When you are sad, move towards kindness and comfort, and community.
When you are angry, move towards healing.
When you are happy, move towards sharing.
Movement.

Towards service.
Towards helping .
Towards rest.

Movement fills the page. Movement heals the pain. Movement serves others. Movement resolves the conflict.
Movement opens new doors and closes old ones.
Where do you need to move?

Process and Outcomes

When you get a chance to do what you enjoy, you should take it. I do think that we get more chances to do what we enjoy than we realize.

For example, I enjoy writing, playing music, podcasting, reading, watching sports, and spending time with friends and family.

When I find myself not enjoying writing, playing music, or podcasting, it is because I am focusing on not generating the outcomes that I desire. For example, a larger audience for my show, more people who purchase my books.

The truth is that an audience is an outcome. The presence of an audience or the generation of money from the things I enjoy is different. The battle is strong within me that counters this. My own inner voice will inform me that I am not really doing it until I make money and generate huge downloads.

What I just said is an irrational statement. Yes, indeed, I don’t have a large number of book sales, podcast listeners, blog readers, or newsletter subscribers. This is a fact. The truth is this. It doesn’t have anything to do with my creative experience. My creative experience exists in a different space.

When I am writing, I have the chance to settle into the writing and enjoy the sound of the keys tapping the keyboard, and the joy of hitting publish, the sense of accomplishment when I share my work with others.

This is the creative process. Outcomes are not a part of the creative process. Outcomes are outcomes. Outcomes involve other people deciding to come along with you. If people aren’t coming along with you, make adjustments, and keep showing up.

If you are a creative person, continue to create. The decision to continue to create or not create should not be dictated by the size of your audience or your downloads.

Simple

Saturday morning.

A blended latte with almond milk. Sitting outside in the sunshine at a table underneath an umbrella.

My notebook and a purple pen.

When I open up the journal and begin to write, I reflect on all the choices that I have, that we all have. Choices of what to eat, what to watch, what to read, and what to listen to.

Unlimited options, more choices than we can see in a lifetime. The television has endless movies to consume; we have countless amounts of books to read, a never-ending stream of news, and music to listen to.

How do we choose?

There are so many things to consume, but there are also so many things to create. There are obligations to meet. Bills to pay, deadlines to meet, people to spend time with.

Events to plan. Places to go, people to see. Rinse, Repeat, Do it again each day. I believe it is important to reflect and be thankful that we can create and consume.
We are tired from all the work we do, and if we consume too much, we can grow tired and discouraged due to the content we watch. It is easy to look at the lives of individuals on the small screen and begin to think that there is something wrong with us.

This isn’t true. The work we do each day is needed. The people we spend time with need us, and we need them. We can’t be everywhere with everyone, but we can take some time to appreciate the difference we can make in the places that we occupy.

Even if it is just drinking a blended latte underneath an umbrella on a Saturday morning.

The end of the workday will come with or without us. It is tempting to think that the day will never end, that the meeting is going on forever. Look back at the activity that you were in yesterday. When you were sitting in a chair looking at a screen. Did you say, when will this end?

Now it is 12 hours later. Are you still in the meeting? The meeting ended. You got in your car, you drove home. At some point, you had food, food that you cooked, or food you prepared. Perhaps you talked with friends, perhaps you didn’t.

The point is, the statement you made yesterday didn’t come true. What time does best is that it moves? Time is in constant motion. Time doesn’t take a day off. 3 o’clock doesn’t go on vacation.
Three o’clock will arrive at three o’clock. That isn’t a charge to us to work harder. It is a charge to appreciate the time we have and to cherish it. To connect with the fact that it will arrive tomorrow just on time and that we may be around to see it or won’t. If the day starts without us, that means that we have run out of days.
So with the time we have. Consider this, We have it. We can make choices in how we use it. How we think in it, and how we show up in it. We can fear, We can be sad, but we can also be happy, excited, and thankful. We can find ways to serve and find ways to contribute. Then we get to do it again tomorrow. That is the good thing about time. We get a second chance. The time comes back for us. Time doesn’t forget. Time doesn’t judge. Time is just time. What is your relationship with time? Take a bit of it today to consider it. How do you use it? How does it use you? Take some time to think about time. While you have the time.

Interruptions

As a leader, you have to be approachable. Along with that, if you are a leader, you have to be a person who handles interruptions well. Don’t choose your paper schedule over the people who arrive seeking your help.

Even if the timing is off.
Even if it seems not appropriate.
Honor the people who are in front of you.

Could you help them?
Resist the urge to get frustrated.
That is a part of being a leader.

You will be interrupted.
Your plans will be changed.
That’s leadership.

Memorial Day

I have several memories of Memorial Day as a child. The first was each year, my mother would take me to the cemetery.

We went each year to see the grave of my older brother, who died when he was two years old. He died almost 20 years before I was born.

The second memory was that my Father would barbecue on Monday. The last was that the Indy 500 was the Sunday before Memorial Day.

Memorial Day was designed to honor those who died in battle defending the United States of America. I take the time to remember this today.

Sacrifice for other people is hard. It often leaves people sad and not jubilant. Sad is hard. I do think that there is a purpose to facing sadness. Honoring the sacrifice of others makes us a little less self-focused. A little more sensitive to those around us and a little more humane.

On Memorial Day, take a few moments to be thankful for your day off work, the friends you have around you, the options available to you. They are present for us because many before us gave up what they had.