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Dave’s blog

Up Close and Personal with Patriotism, Millennials

Until really recently, I could not relate to the men and women of the military – until they retired and got into business.  Of course, I’d always clap when members of the service were announced, clapping for the vague notion that these people are protecting America, protecting us.  Really though, it’s been hard to relate because I never served, I don’t understand what it’s like to be in the military, and I don’t know why we engage in the wars we do.  When I’d say the Pledge, it felt hokey.

Recently that changed. My son became 2nd Lieutenant Tabor in the U.S. Air Force.  This was entirely his idea.  He wants to serve his country and he wants to learn lessons of leadership within a disciplined group with a common pursuit.

The young Millennials are often maligned as thoughtless and privileged.  It seems to me that helping them find meaning, and supporting them when they do, builds stronger organizations and communities.

At Dan’s commissioning (becoming an officer), I said the Pledge of Allegiance and meant it for the first time in a long time.

Part 2, My Decision: Lying to Strangers to Protect Someone I Hardly Know

In Part 1 of this scenario, I ended the post saying that I’ll quit stalling and share my decision with you in my next post.  Thanks to those who offered advice!  Your views were split and I’m still deciding what to do as I type.

I wonder if my reluctance to give a poor review to the contractor I terminated is that I wonder if the problems were partly communications, not his abilities.  My gut says, “no,” he really wasn’t on his game for my job and I owe it to others to be honest.  I also want to be kind. So, here’s my actual review.

By the way, this whole process has opened my eyes to the phase, “not yet reviewed,” beside completed jobs.  I suspect in some circumstances this may be a client’s way to avoid the unpleasantness of a bad review – not necessarily, just something I’ll factor in.  My request: DO write reviews – you’re helping others, particularly the BEST performers who deserve to rise to the top… like Monica, the wonderful resource who helps me prepare and deliver these emails!

Lying to Strangers to Protect Someone I Hardly Know

A recent Upwork contractor (“Bob”) is super friendly, fast, and really responsive – someone I enjoyed working with.  His work had recurring problems, so I gave up and moved on to another contractor.  Bob just asked me to please review him and give him a “5-Star” review.  I won’t, and I told him why.  Now, here’s the thing: do I give him the “2 Stars” (of 5) he deserves for “Quality of Work?”

I have no qualms warning others about a terrible product.  I’m struggling to give this guy I hardly know the grade he earned because I worry that doing so could turn OFF the spigot for further work for him.

Our global peer-to-peer community has at its very foundation the trustworthiness of our fellow man to tell one another about great and poor products and services.  I rely on the truth of others when making these decisions and now I’m considering hurting that very system by either a) softening my review, or b) not submitting one.

Weird – I’m thinking about lying to strangers to protect someone I hardly know. 

Furthermore, don’t we all owe it to the TRULY fantastic performers to honor them by differentiating them from those who were not as good?

Even as I write this I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I’ll quit stalling and share with you my decision in my next post.

Sign-up for Your Fantasy

I love this story because not everyone gets to live their fantasy.  Most people don’t TRY to live their fantasy.

Sometimes a magical moment happens, as it did for Scott Foster, an accountant called into action for the Chicago Blackhawks by a weird fluke.  He never expected it, but he signed-up for it.  Nobody else did.  Why not?  To most it seemed too silly, too outrageous to bother.  After the game he said, “This is a dream.  No one can ever take it away from me.”  14 minutes and a lifelong dream.  (video)

People thinking about starting a business also worry about being outrageous, about failing and looking foolish.  In my interview with Matt Talbot of GoSpotCheck, we talked about how others would judge founders who, as Matt and his partner did, start a new company then abandon it to start something completely different, becoming over-the-top excited about this new thing.  Matt did that, and he was married with a baby, living away from his family on his co-founder’s couch.  Worthy of bewilderment from anyone observing.  Since then GoSpotCheck has raised $48 million in venture funding and is serving customers including PepsiCo, Panera, Under Armour, and Dannon.

Goalie Scott Foster had a good night.  He stopped all 7 shots.  What if he hadn’t?  What if he’d been scored against and lost the game?  How do you think he’d look back on the experience?  Still a “dream?” Would he feel he’d lived his fantasy?  I’ll bet so.  Trying, regardless of the outcome, is always more gratifying than sitting on the sideline.

Being right is making me miserable

See if you can relate to this story…

I’ve been wrestling with a frustrating situation.  I cannot fix it because I cannot change the people who are causing it.  I know this because I have tried to change those people – and, well, they don’t want to.

To be clear, I haven’t just tried a little, I’ve tried a LOT to get things to change. My efforts started with suggesting and recommending, then asserting and confronting. When those didn’t work I tried sleeping less, drinking more, taking on stress, and complaining to those close to me – even those haven’t worked. And to make it feel even more futile, the people whose views I’ve been trying to change don’t seem affected in the least.

Coincidentally, I began listening to the book, The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday, and I became dramatically introspective. Holiday’s comment, emotion is an indulgence of our lesser self, felt like a reprimand directed at ME.

I still know that I’m right about the circumstances that need to be changed. AND, I’ve decided that focusing on what I can’t change is making me miserable. I am striving to focus on what I can control – what I can do to be my better self.

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