Tag Archives: Hope

A New Schnikism: Ken

I’ve got a great job. But, it’s hard work. And tonight, I stayed late, frustrated that some seemingly simple task was taking me forever and keeping me from spending time with my loved ones. So frustrated, was I, when I left work that in my head I was talking to myself as I walked to the bus, trying to think of a way to make it better. I entrenched in my thoughts, angered, tired and ready to go home.

As I walked, man stopped me on the street. He held up a paper and I immediately thought he was asking for directions. Impatiently I listened to him, looking for a way to cut him off as he launched to his tale of how he was down on his luck, really tired of living on the streets and trying to get into a local work program. One that would allow him to stay off the streets, get a shower, shave and regular haircuts.  At first, I just wanted him to stop talking and let me say, “I’m sorry, I can’t help,” so I could get on my way. I was cold and tired, ready to go home.

As I listened to his story, there was something about him; his honesty, his frankness, and a little something in his eyes as he looked me square in mine. “Tonight, I’m just trying to get a bed at a hostel for the night. I have spent all day gathering cans and bottles and have worked my way to up to five bucks. I know you’re busy, I know you want to get home, I just need a few bucks so I can reach my goal.”

While he was speaking, it sunk in; I have a great life, I have had some amazing things happen to me this year. I have been blessed and I have been fortunate. Before he could finish, I reached for my wallet and handed him the last cash I had, it was only fifteen bucks, a moment earlier I was trying to decide if I was going to stop at Starbucks for my five-dollar coffee. I thought spending my money this way was a much better investment.

When I handed him the money, he looked at me with a bit of astonishment and gratitude. He stuck out his hand and shook mine. “Thank you sir, my name is Ken and I really appreciate your generosity. Thank you for believing in me, I won’t let you down. Merry Christmas.”

It took me a moment to catch my breath, I wished him a Merry Christmas as well and headed on my way to catch my bus. In that moment, my whole night changed.

I know you won’t Ken.

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Top 11 Posts of 2011

Well, we’re almost to 2012 and recently I posted my top 11 photos of ’11, so I thought I would dig around in my stats and share with you the items that a plurality of you decided to visit over the year. They’re ranked by number of views.

11: (Dis)Engaging Google+ – I’ve written that I’m not a fan of Google+. Based on my experiences, my opinion hasn’t changed from August 11, 2011.

10: 10 Things (About me) – Interesting, this post, written around my birthday in 2010 garnered enough views this year to make my list. I find it funny that it’s number 10. 🙂

9: Oh, to be Popular. #199 – My 199th blog post here. A photo essay of my top Flickr photos. Be sure to check out #1 if you haven’t already.

8: Crossroads. Help Me, Pathfinder! – A great post about my future education and where I want to go from here. I say it was a great post because it offered me some good conversations with people about the state of education, what I should focus on as I continue forward and helped me figure out where I truly am in my head.

7: Good Customer Service: America’s Tire – I’m thrilled that a “Good Customer Service” story made the list. The adage goes, a happy customer will tell no one, while an unhappy customer will tell everyone. That’s not true in my case, I try to give equal time to good and bad customer service.

6: O.H. in the E.R. – On of my funnier (and sad) posts about an ill-fated trip to the ER last August. My pain is your joy. The things you hear in an ER waiting room are rather funny. If you take the time to listen.

Steps
(Photo Credit: Sea Turtle on Flickr)

5: Following the Pack (or not) – A post from last February where I offer my commentary on a “gorilla marketing tactic” on Twitter that was horribly spammy. I found it interesting that my desire to speak up was met with extreme hostility and mob mentality, which border-lined on bullying. I still stand by my opinions and observations. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb. Be bold.

4: The Lone Zebra, an Educational Opportunity – Written regarding a kerfuffle in the Real Estate Community about copyright and trade dress infringement. This gave me an opportunity to put into real life practice some things I had been learning in my Business Law class. It was a great case study.

3: Guest Post: Judgment Between The Lines – I’m so thrilled you liked, or viewed, this post. It was an important post. A guest post by my close friend Sarah Salter, she writes about something I think we all struggle with: Judgement and its many forms. An extremely timely, timeless and poignant post, worthy of read, whether it’s your first time or tenth.

2: Missing The Mark: Sears – Christmas Customer Service – Wow. This post, written just six days ago, outlined some poor customer service I received from a National big box store. Outlining the systemic issues from corporate culture, to employee detachment (An employee adds his comments to the post) it has become one of my most popular Customer Service Commentary posts.

Singapore Fireworks Celebrations '08 - Korean Fantasia 3
(Photo Credit: Synchroni on Flickr)

1: You’re Welcome?!? – A post from this summer, I volunteered at a women only half marathon this year, I was struck and moved that almost every single runner, no matter how fatigued or festive, took a moment to thank the volunteers, when all I really was doing was standing in the middle of the road. I’m very thankful and grateful that this is my number one viewed post. It makes me believe that you all enjoy a little bit of gratitude in our world and maybe we/I need to be sharing a little more of it.

I’m extremely proud of these posts and some of them I think are close to “my best.” I hope that this streak continues in 2012!

So Amazing …And So Sad

I admit it. I’ve been watching the X-factor. It’s not because I like reality shows. It’s not because I like singing competitions, but because of this young girl:

At the end of the video, when she got the four yeses, did you hear it? Did you hear what she told the judges when given such a huge opportunity? Did you see the grace she displayed?

“Thank you, I won’t let you down.”

Such spunk. Such grace. Such hope and life. Such Maturity. Such a story that I couldn’t help but to root for her.

Seeing someone, so young, with so much confidence, with such a fire within, a light that carries forth, it’s breath-taking, and it’s inspiring.

And what a voice. It’s amazing.

Tonight, she was in the bottom two by number of votes, still a model of grace and confidence, with tears in her eyes, she still had a smile on her face. She assured one of the judges, “Please don’t cry, I’m good with anything.”

And the judges deadlocked; so America sent her home.

I still think she’s amazing. I really hope this isn’t the end of the line for her. She has such promise

On A Wing

image

I’m not a confident flyer.*

I hold my breath as if it is going to help. I know the logic behind it, more likely to … car wreck etc… But, I can’t help it. There is something about flying that defies all logic. That the science of aerodynamics defies the laws of gravity. There are many things I think of to help me through.

I try to enjoy the beauty of that moment when we mortals leave the ground, to experience that momentary life from our Earthbound duties.

I enjoy the scenery when we punch through the clouds. When we shed the burden of the dark grey skies and reach for the sun.

I take solace in knowing that at this moment, i am ok. I am leaving fear behind. I may be holding my breath and closing my eyes, but my heart is still beating and I am going places.

Sometimes you have to swallow your fear, hold your breath, close your eyes, listen to your heart and leap forward into the clouds.

* This post written mid-flight from Portland to Santa Rosa, California

What My Blog Says About Me.

Lets be honest. I don’t put a whole lot of thought into my blog. I don’t have an editorial strategy of what I’m going to post. I do, however, put a lot of “me” into this space. The sub-theme, “Heaping Scoops Of My Brain,” isn’t just clever witticism, This space is really all about what I’m thinking at the moment.

Clouds from a plane

I don’t have a tag cloud enabled on my blog for a reason. I don’t think it adds anything to your experience here. However, I was going through some of the features on the back-end of wp.com and I found it has a tag cloud of your commonly used tags and such. These are mine. As I approach the end of the year, and my 200th(!!) blog post, I was going to do some reflection to what I’ve learned in my time here. Prepare yourself. 🙂

I have never thought of myself as a motivator or as inspirational. I have always just thought myself as a storyteller, someone you can relate to and someone you’d like to call a friend.

Again, thanks for sticking around with me. I hope it gets better from here. (If you want to see the posts which are related to the above tags. Click on them, it should take you there.) Going through them, I learned a lot about my writing style and how it’s changed since I began this thing.

Crossroads. Help Me, Pathfinder!

I’m at a crossroad with my education. I am getting close to graduating with my Associates of Business Administration degree. (YAY!) However, I am also looking at what the future holds for me.

crossroads at night
(Used via Creative Commons, thank you dsmoljanovic!)

I am a storyteller, not as in, “the fish was this big” stories, but more so, “this is why you want to partner with us” stories. I also believe in great customer service; sales helps the bottom line grow but customer service is the key to retaining those customers. As I look at my career and what the future holds for me, I have come to the realization that I need to be working towards something greater when dealing with my education.

As you may have read in previous posts, I find it very sad that experience is not enough in this world, and that very few things that I have learned in the community college environment have been new applications to me in business. I’m certain there are things I will learn in the future that will help me in my career, but I’m having a hard time finding new things to learn, when I’ve been working for more than a decade.

3/52 Un trabajo duro / A hard work
(Used under creative commons, thank you bibigeek!)

Now that I’ve rambled on a bit, this is where I have to ask you, dear readers, for some help. As I near the end of my Associates program, I have to decide to go down one of three pathways:

1: Be done with education; take my Associates degree and run.
2: Spend more time in Community College and seek another specialized Associates Degree.
3: Pursue a Bachelors degree.

The first option is simple. Pack up my knapsack and run.

The second option is a little more difficult. I would have to do some serious soul searching to decide which program I would want to complete.
The Urn Burns (All Souls Procession)
Used under creative commons, thank you cobalt123!)

The third option is much like the second option, although I have narrowed it down to four disciplines: Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, or Journalism.
Storytelling at West Lothian libraries
(Used under creative commons, thank you Scottish Libraries!)

The reasons for one of the above four degrees are simple:

I want to tell your story.

I want to communicate with your consumers.

I want to make the consumer experience better.

Looking forward into my crystal ball, I note that I have to have a degree or pedigree, to do so. So what direction do I take?

My grandmother has always told me, “when in doubt, punt,” so I am. Any advice/observations you may have would be greatly appreciated.

National Coming Out Day?

It’s once again National Coming Out Day. I meet this day with trepidation every year because I think that many people feel pressured to come out and do so fairly publicly.

Coming Out?

Coming out is a very personal decision. It’s not one that should be taken lightly, it’s ok to be who you are but it’s also something that you should ensure that you’re well equipped to handle, it’s not something you should go through alone. Sometimes, Coming out may just mean saying it to yourself, acknowledging it to your friends or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, having the proper support network is essential.

Having said that, some people are probably experiencing a great deal of strife as they are considering whether the should or shouldn’t come out. There’s been many statements/videos, from the President all the way down to my little dog and pony blog telling you, that if you’re having a rough time right now, it does get better – life does make you stronger, but sometimes it hits a couple of rough patches. Be wary of those.

There is a greater purpose to this day, something that should reach beyond any one group of individuals, it should reach deep inside each one of us.

o is for open
(Used under creative commons; thank you Michael W. May!)

This extends past a single day dedicated to coming out of the closet. It can mean a lot of things, “coming out” has been monopolized; however, in life we all have things that we may not feel strong enough to express publicly, that’s ok. You don’t have to, you should never feel pressured to do so, in the end, the only person you have to answer to is the one you see in the mirror everyday.

mirror ball
(Used under creative commons; Thank you Lovestruck!)

So today, and every day, be there for someone, even if it’s just saying hello. You never know what turmoil is just below the surface. You never know who needs to see that smile. You never know who would benefit from any of those things. You never know who will benefit from hearing, “You’re not alone, I’m here with you. Let’s walk together.” Maybe we all need to hear that.

It’s easy to make a difference and easy to change the course of someone’s day.

There is no harm in trying.