Still Waiting (Part I) …

ConvairCar Model 118 by Source. Licensed under Fair use via WikipediaWhen I was a tender youth, I read voraciously … Life, Look, Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, Boy’s Life, Saturday Evening Post, Popular Science, Mad Magazine AND Cracked … you know, all the classics.

I had an insatiable appetite for information and the written word, whether a novel about man’s existence or a magazine article about the future.  This trait has persisted and stands me in good stead today, even if it does tend to clog my email account a bit.

I was promised flying cars …

Back in 1957 or so, I distinctly remember an image that caught my attention.  It was a picture of a typical suburban street, with cookie-cutter houses, pavement everywhere, and shining sun above.  For this isolated farmboy stuck at the edge of the world in rural MIssouri, this looked fantastic.  I could not wait to be in that world.

What really got my attention was the artist’s carefully rendered depiction of a car in the driveway.  Not just any car, mind you, but a car with wings!  

My life had no context regarding cars with wings, since at this point, airplanes were still pretty exotic items and usually glimpsed as they flew high and majestic over our farm, above me standing far below with mouth agape, in and out of my life in a few short, but exciting seconds.   At that time, the Air Force base outside Kirksville was still a going concern and the rare appearance of an actual military bomber flying lower than I dared hope to soar loudly and ominously over the barn was a time of near hysteria.  I became adept at playing out a mini-wargame whenever one of these mysterious crafts appeared.  On the days that I noticed or heard them coming, I was ecstatic, because this gave me precious extra moments to act out my boyish fantasies.

About that car with the wings …

This was the promise of the future, along with a bunch of other predictions about work-saving appliances, portable communications, and easy living, most of which meant nothing to me at the time.  However, a car with wings was something to be excited about.

This is what we do as young people.  We grow into the world and try to make sense of it.  As we grow and expand our base of knowledge, we let loose of some interesting but fanciful conceptions and incorporate a widening circle of experience and knowledge.  At least, that is how it is supposed to work.

Another concept I was exposed to early in life was the idea of work …

I was less excited about this concept, since work on a farm means physical labor that never really ends, but only shifts focus and location, as weather and seasons come and go.  Work on the farm consumed much of the day and much of the energy of my parents.   While I knew other people had different jobs, I did not think much in terms of those other jobs … partly because I had little direct knowledge of them and also because I did not understand that “town jobs” like teacher, storekeeper, policeman, gas station operator, or druggist were options for me.

I also learned that you worked for many years, until a magical time called “retirement” when you could stop working.   This was also unclear to me, since all the farmers I knew continued to work hard, regardless of their age.  Retirement was more attached to the afore-mentioned “town jobs” than to my reality.

I have to admit that this retirement sounded pretty good, although the whole idea of what you actually did do every day when retired was rather vague.  Fishing was mentioned and I eventually learned that retirement appeared to include drinking coffee at the restaurant during the work day, sitting on the town square observing commerce, and hanging out with other people of a certain age.  At least that is what the men did … I have no clue what retired women did, or even if such existed.  I guess I just assumed women kept doing what I saw them doing most of the time … cooking, laundry, and taking care of children.

I grew up in a different time … and I am still waiting for those flying cars.

More importantly, I also grew up, as did many others, with some clear expectations for how things would go.  Those expectations were based on what I saw, what I was told, and how things had gone in the past.

Life goes on and the boy ends up in a far different world than expected … stay tuned for Part 2, where I analyze some expectations and find them wanting.  Then in Part 3, I will share what I believe we are now learning about how life will go for us.

Feeling full of purpose and sort of excited about things in the Heartland ….


Inspiration:  Life Reimagined (Leider and Webber, 2013)

Image:  “ConvairCar Model 118” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Some “Thinking” About “Ing” …

Christopher Morley - PD - 12 31 1931 Library of Congress“There are three ingredients in the good life:  Learning, earning, and yearning.”

Christopher Morley

Morley also spent a fair amount of time during his life doing one other very good thing:  “Thinking”.

As leaders, we often spend a significant amount of time doing things.  Our “ …ings” can drive our behavior, our attitudes, and our relationships, while eating up the largest part of our energy and ability.  

We owe it to ourselves and those we lead to spend some time contemplating what we are “doing”. Continue reading

Books, Glorious Books …

Books -







Saturday has been a day of introspection and reorganization:

image-29-08-15-01-09-114 books on the Immediate Action shelf at eye level for reading, reviewing, and using …

65 on the shelf next to my laptop which have been read, but need to be kept close for comfort …

63 more on the book shelf immediately left of my typing and working area, which I do not need quite as close as the others … image-29-08-15-01-06-2

100 on the bookcase 8 long feet away, by the back door …

unnamed18 more shelves (20 inches long each) full of books in 4 units on far wall, plus 1 more narrow, but full bookcase to the right of the “real” book cases …

Five more full shelves of books which you pass by to enter my work area …image-29-08-15-01-06-3

… Okay, I also have a 20 X 13 Inch box with books that have not been shelved yet …



By the way, that first image with the quote is NOT a picture of my books … way too organized and color coördinated.  The others represent selected views of my work and learning environment.

Three comments about this state of affairs:

1.  My office still does not smell like a library … yet. 

2.  I obviously need more book shelves …

3.  I might have a slight problem with overcommitment …

Wondering where to put the extra books in the Heartland ….


Quotation Image:

Other Images:  Meself

I’m OK … How About You?

OK - Morguefile.comThis is about you and I both being OK …

I am guest-posting today over on the Lead Change Group blog.  The LCG group is a strong collective of intrepid, articulate, and caring leadership and personal development experts.  

The contributors to the LCG blog series regularly offer thoughtful and engaging content around topics and issues about leadership and human behavior.

… Then every once in a while, they have to fill in with something from me:)  Here’s a link to my latest contribution if you want to check it out:  “Stuck In The MIddle With Me”

My post is about judging others more objectively, and not by “the imagined ‘I’” , our personal and somewhat mythical belief about who we are, our self-identity.  I make the point that we tend to look at other through a lens with a default “normal” setting being drawn from our unique self-view as the model and standard for all other’s behaviors and beliefs.  

Our personal and arbitrary standards are why some people see other people eating something prepared in a certain way and go “Ewwwww“, just because that food or that preparation was not part of their learning.  Think fried insects or squirrel meat as an entrée, Yankees …

It’s all about looking at others objectively and even accepting the differences, not have them become dividers and differentiators.

Candy - Morguefile.comAs someone has no doubt said, “It would be a very dull world if all candy were the same color.” :)     Yes, they would all taste the same, because they are all sugary inside, but  … hey, wait a minute.  That’s like people … different on the outside, but physically the same inside.

Please take a few minutes to read my post and those of others who are trying build momentum around the idea of Character-Based Leadership.  If you are really interested, read the book, which will introduce you more fully to many of the folks who regularly contribute to this nifty band of collaborators.

Experiencing a strange early morning craving for candy in the Heartland ….


Guest Post: Freedom Day! by Beau Sides

promo_03Our guest blogger today is Beau Sides, who is a different kind of leader … he’s not a Fortune 500 name or someone creating extremely marketable applications to sell us for our Smartphones, or even running for president or other elective office.

Beau is just doing some very good things on a global scale.  This truly is leadership on the edge … enjoy the post, then consider how you can help Beau and what else you might do to make our planet a better place on which to live.

From Beau Sides:  

Freedom Day!

Do you have a day in your life that marks a dramatic change in your vision, focus, and direction?  Well, I do!  My day is January 16, 2004, and I call it my “Freedom Day.”  That was the last day I worked in the corporate world, and I was freed from my desire to have a more prestigious title at work, a job with a higher salary, more direct reports under me, and a better home and car. Yes, I am thankful to say that I have been freed from being self-centered and greedy. My thoughts are no longer all about “me, me, me, and more for me,” but now I am more focused on others and giving.  

While I was working in the corporate world, I was truly blessed to work with some great companies and wonderful people. In fact, I was surprised with the modest success I had and with my overall compensation. I really didn’t feel that I was worthy. However, at the same time, I didn’t feel that what I was doing would matter in 10 years. So I thought about what would matter in 10 years, and my friends and experiences from a couple of trips in China kept coming to mind.  

So, with no knowledge or experience in the area, I decided to start a non-profit to assist children and young adults with their educational, humanitarian, and medical needs . . . in China! Since I was in my mid-forties at the time, I was told I should read a book by Bob Buford called Half Time. In his book, Bob discusses moving from success to significance, and I was hopeful that was what I was doing. Fortunately, I had some people much wiser than me agree to serve on the Board of Directors as I started Global Partners in Life.  

When I donated money prior to starting GPIL, it was only because it was the right thing to do (and because my wife was modeling a giving lifestyle very well for me). Now when I give, I get a great sense of joy, because I personally know who I am helping. I know which special needs orphan will have an operation because of the support GPIL has received and passed along to the orphan. I know the students who have received scholarships from GPiL based on their grades, being English majors, and coming from a financially-challenged family. I have also met the students who became orphans because of a fire in an unregistered fireworks factory in rural China, for whom GPIL paid school fees to keep them in school every year until they graduate from high school.

All of this is to say that I am so thankful to have had a Freedom Day. I can now see how foolish my diligent pursuit of material things really was. I am a much better and much happier person since I realized how much I already had and compared it to how little others have.  

If you haven’t had your Freedom Day, what is stopping you? I would encourage you to learn from my mistakes, and pursue what is on your heart. I will help you if I can!



Beau Sides is the author of Unseen Tears: The Challenges of Orphans & Orphanages in China and Lessons From China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education, both available on Amazon. Learn more about Beau at his website or connect with him on Twitter @BeauSides.