Developing Hunger

I am an easygoing and laid back person. When appropriate, I have a sense of urgency. I generally try to be intentional and use good judgement for when I have urgency or high standards. More often than not, this is a feature of my personality not a bug.

This becomes a bug when I cannot drive others to get tasks done and the tasks have no timeframe. It becomes a bug when I bring up things that are important to me. It is a bug when I think something needs to be addressed and there is no looming deadline.

My selfdefense mechanism thus far has been apathy. When I bring up an issue that is important to me, when it is not received and used, I shrug and let it go. I can only do so much. When I bring up an issue I care so much about, I have to work hard to let myself not get hurt when others don't care about it.

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I have to develop a hunger in others for the meat of the issue. I have to develop a devouring hunger in them to satiate the need before they die of starvation. Developing a hunger in others takes time. But long term, I will be more satisfied because I will be adding value to others and the group as a whole.

Developing a hunger in others to resolve an issue will help me be more fulfilled in my role, position, and relationship.

How do you find value in your role? When have you found the most value from what you do? When have you provided the most value to others? How do you seek out opportunities to add value to other people?

BONUS: How do you discern between urgent moments and non-urgent moments? How do you work to develop a sense of urgency in others when they normally would not be urgent? Do others think you are always urgent or never urgent? How can you better develop a healthy sense of urgency in yourself?

Family Business

The family business. Sometimes people get to decide that we are taking over the family business and other times it is decided for us. Either way, the family business is the way so many people end up doing what they do.

I personally did not end up in the family business whether it was my father as a mechanic or my mom who was a computer programmer for most of my life.

But I did end up in the business of doing family. Where the bottom line is more than profit margins, but we measure growth in other ways. Some growth is highly tangible, like my son getting taller, adding more words to his vocabulary, and his stability as he walks. Other growth isn’t as tangible.

Other other is more ‘guesstimated’. It is not exact a science. It is not as direct and easily broken down as my son’s growth. The growth of my ability to learn how to do plumbing working projects on my house is not a measured growth item. It is a checkbox all the same. I check that box as I know I can replace a bathroom sink.

The family growth is just as important to me as the business growth, and I might even argue more important. There is not as many measurements in the family growth department. Obviously, you have the business/factory model of the American establishment of education. But where is the family growth spreadsheet to show how much I have developed as a unit of a family?

Where is my quarterly review as a father and husband?

Not to say I should not be growing and developing in these areas for my own personal benefit. But if having regular reviews and development plans are essential to the way my brain works. Where are the family metrics to show a family who is developing and growing and becoming more than an analogue unit of “Yes, this family continues to be together” or “No, this family is no long considered a together unit.” Where are the gray areas where there is room to grow as people within this structure?

How are you developing your family? How are you measuring yourself within the context of your family? How are you growing as an owner in the business of your family? What are you measuring to know your growth and development is more than ‘felt’?

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Lin Manuel Miranda, Rogers and Hammerstein, Beethoven, Bach, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Vivaldi wrote every song, score, and symphony the exact same way: One note at a time.

They sat down with their staff paper and added in note by note, part by part, every melody, chorus, verse, bridge, and prechorus. 

After outlining the core of their piece, the added on the harmonies to round it out. Once it was satisfactorily well rounded, they added in the embellishments that set it apart with their mark and style. 

Likewise, you are today because you build upon who you were yesterday and who you have been up till now. You have not found a way to jump to a point where you are more developed or fully developed without putting in the work. 

Each day of your life is another dot on the staff paper. Each week, another bar. Each year, another phrase, melody, and embellisment.

Like their compositions, your life does not compose itself it is made up of the decisions you make and the way you live your life and there is no shortcut to becoming who you want to be. Each day must be lived in consistency with the key signature and values you want my life to be consistent with. 

Some of these decisions are made for you. Skin color. Height. Eye color.

The rest is up to you to maximize the decisions you cannot control for the good of the people that matter most to you. And every day is more progress toward giving them the sweet song your life is becoming. These people are the audience of the song of your life. The people who get to enjoy your life as it plays out.

Who is the audience of the song of your life? What values are you keeping your life consistent with? How are you focusing on making the people you care most about better? 

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When I was a little kid, I always looked up to adults. Literally, I haven’t always been six feet tall. Really though, they were the grownups. They were so much taller and smarter than I was. I wanted to be just like them when I was grownup. Tall and smart, that’s what it meant to me to be a grownup, tall and smart.

Here I am all these years later and I’m still waiting for someone to give me a badge. To let me know, I am an adult. I’m 32, a father, and I still wonder when I’ll be a grownup. Reflecting on what’s so different now from that little kid who sat in the room while his parents and their friends sat around talking and chatting about adult things. Most of which in my memory sounds exactly like the adults from Charlie Brown. I think I’m about as tall as I’ll ever be, unfortunately.

The more I reflect on what a grownup is, the more I have realized, grownups are a process not a destination. I’ll never be grownup. I will continue to grow up and develop and learn and improve and become more adult. I am definitely much taller today than I was then, but that does not seem to make me an adult. It only seems to cause others to assume I am an adult. We will see how the smart part plays out, but I like to think I am smarter today than I was then.

A grownup is a participant in the process of growing up.

I have to choose to be a participant in this process, and that is all it means to be a grownup. To keep participating in the process and never stop. To believe I have arrived at the destination of being a grownup will mean, I cannot grow any more and my potential will then have peaked.

How are you participating in the process of growing up? How are you intentionally participating in the process of growing up? What would it look like fo you to stop participating? (The best way to avoid failure is to know what it looks like.) What would it look like for you to start participating? Who can help hold you to your word to participate in the process of growing up?

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Self Acceptance

Every day I wake up in the same set of skin and bones I was born with. I can change and develop who I am through work, both intentional and unintentional. But at the end of the day, I am always me.

One of the the many jobs I have is to appreciate me for who I am. In a reasonable way, be comfortable in the set of skin and bones I have. Accepting me for who I am, not over accentuating my flaws and strengths.

I know I can find the right point of appreciating myself for who I am. Not too confident and not too self-deprecating.

Not too many puns.

Not too nerdy.

Not too quiet.

Not too self conscience.

When I reach that point, what happens next?

I know I will reach the island of Perfect Self Acceptance. But what happens when it starts raining on my island? Or worse, I run out of food.

When I get to my Island, am I ready for the negative comment I hear, meant as a friendly joke? Am I prepared to let it roll off my back?

I know proper self acceptance is possible, but am I preparing for the next step of keeping healthy perspective on myself despite (un)expected negative circumstances?

What does your island of self acceptance look like? Are you ready for what it takes to maintain life on your island in the face of (un)expected negative circumstances?

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However, Although

In my high school English class, we had to write a paper on the famous novel Watership Down by Richard Adams. Being the famously intelligent student I was during my senior year of high school, I did not finish the book. I paid attention to the conversations in class, I started reading the book. But truly did not care or finish the book.

We then were required to write our summary of the book and relate it to something, I cannot remember what I was supposed to relate the book to or even what I wrote about besides writing an eleven page paper when the requirement was five to seven pages.

The teacher that year required we turn in a rough draft of the paper for her to review as her way of assisting us in the paper writing process. So I did. I was up till 11:30, midnight, or later the night before pounding out the rough draft.

The following week we all met with the teacher one-on-one to discuss our drafts. When she and I met, I don’t remember anything else about my discussion with her besides one thing.

She laughed at me.

My teacher laughed at me for starting a paragraph, “However, Although?”.

My goal in doing so was to get her opinion of which word would better start the paragraph. Ultimately, I just picked a word and said nothing else to her the rest of the conversation.

Who do you have influence over? How careful are you with your influence? How much do you measure your words and actions with those you have influence over?

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Half Slice

The landline has existed, as far as I am concerned, since the dawn of time. It was a great tool in its time. It worked well. It was relatively reliable. It was not too complicated to use. Best of all, it was a stepping stone to the internet’s infrastructure.

Today the phone is not what it once way. Today, we do not use them much at all in the same way to how they were intended to be used. Today most everyone uses a cell phone and that cell phone is probably a smartphone.

Our tools change over time. They develop and grow into what we need them to be. We needed a way to talk to our friends and family who were far away. Now we can talk to them, send them a picture, send them a video, or write them a message all from the digital half-slice of bread we keep in our pockets.

We all wanted to be able to talk to our friends and family. What we got is way more than what we needed. Where we’ll end up is way more than Ma Bell ever imagined. But these tools are integrated into our lives almost as much as the food we eat or the clothes we wear.

What tools are deeply integrated into your life? What tool could do the job better? What tools do you not need? What tools do you need in your life?

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