The Beauty of Discipline

As I compose this post, I am blissfully exhausted. That’s because I spent another weekend working at our daughter’s house. This time it wasn’t due to the age of her house resulting in another repair to modernize the 105-year-old beauty. Now, we’re on to making the interior of her house her own. That, of course, means painting.

Quick aside – I love to paint rooms !! I really do. It’s a great workout and I can get lost in the activity and wonderment of adding a new color to the walls. I usually isolate myself, turn on a Spotify playlist, and zone out. I don’t mind the mess, the clean-up or the level of taping and/or difficulty. The only thing I dread painting is ceilings. Ugh. They are the worst !! Guess what we painted this weekend . . . ceilings.

Not only were we going to tackle ceilings, we had to disassemble three ceiling fans and five of the seven rooms had textured ceilings. (Can you hear the screams which happened in my head ??) To make sure we were prepared, we referenced the number one resource available to one and all – YouTube. Thank goodness we did. Did you know that you need to use the roller in one direction instead of pulling it back and forth when you paint a textured ceiling? I never did. If you paint them like you’d paint a wall, the texture can become too heavy and pull away from the ceiling. Eek !!

We also saw how to use a paint screen in your 5-gallon bucket so you don’t have to lug a paint pan around. The next challenge was about my approach and had nothing to do with a method of painting. I’m not a very focused person. I tend to have a multitude of thoughts and ideas swimming in my head at all times. There’s usually some musical tune resonating as well. That is my normal. Put this reality to painting white paint on a white, textured ceiling. It was so difficult to see what areas I had covered and which parts I may have missed.

I realized I was making little progress so I did something completely against my nature. I paused, took a deep breath and decided to use a disciplined approach. I looked at the ceiling in sections and then made sure that each stroke of the roller (in one direction) slightly overlapped the next one. It seemed to be tedious to my normally frenetic brain, but it worked. Methodically, I worked down the family room and completed the first coat. Moving into the dining room I felt more confident understanding that discipline was going to be the key to becoming more efficient. And, it was !!

Most HR pros don’t view the word “discipline” positively. It’s the tar pit we find ourselves in when we have to address the behavior of someone. It’s usually not positive behavior either. Because of the negative implications of the word and the work of disciplining others, I never like hearing the word. This is a mistake because having discipline is much different than having to discipline someone.

So, I’d like to throw this challenge out to my HR peers. Let’s embrace the beauty of discipline so we can “coat” the landscape and environments we work in. By having a steady sense of movement we’d find ourselves moving forward far more than we would be stuck in the negativity of the profession. What do you say? I think it’s worth the effort. Let’s see what happens !!

By the way, I finished all the ceilings and had a fabulous weekend with our daughter.

Be a Bracket Buster !!

If you’re a member of my immediate family, then you know that this time of the year is occupied with one thing . . . basketball. I grew up playing myself for years and when I got married, my amazing wife came to games I played as an “adult.” I started coaching local teens before I had kids of my own and then they started playing !! Our daughter played through high school and our son played through elementary school.

Layer on top of all of this frantic basketball activity we’re avid in-person and TV basketball watchers. We became fans of Xavier University living in greater Cincinnati. For years we were fortunate to go to games at the Cintas Center and we loved every moment. Throughout the college basketball season, one game or another is sure to be playing. My wife has even mentioned she’s often a basketball widow. It’s taken her decades to understand the nuances of the game, but now I’ll hear her scream, “That was traveling !!” It warms my heart.

During the NCAA tournament, nothing else is on TV. Nothing. We watch teams we cheer for and also ones we don’t know. We have a family bracket (of course) and more often than not Debbie wins (the one who never played.) We’re glued to every result and we exclaim disappointment and angst when any of our picks are wrong. They are inevitably wrong because it’s nearly impossible to choose the winner of every game. When a lower seed upsets an upper seed there’s added excitement even when it busts your bracket.

In fact, we love when the underdog surprises the favorite and wins. I especially like it because the sportscasters become flummoxed and tongue-tied. They are at a loss for words because they’ve been conditioned to primarily focus on the favorites. The networks also appear to do research and stats for the bigger programs and schools of note. The cynic in me also feels the networks want the favorites to win because that means more people watching and bigger advertisement dollars.

This makes the win of bracket busters even sweeter. The lower seeds are filled with talented players. They may not be future NBA superstars, but any athlete who has the skills to play at the collegiate level is more talented than most. It’s great to see the players who are on the teams who caused the upset talk because they ALWAYS talk about their team as a whole. Always. This is true even if one or two of their players excelled more than the others. There is a team mentality that makes them more cohesive and effective.

I believe we should have the same mentality and approach you get from the bracket busters in the workplace. Every employee who you work with is talented. Every. Single. One. Bringing employees together as a collaborative team is what we should strive to build. It’s great if you get a few people who may have a stronger skillset in one area or another, but they perform even better when they’re part of a larger team.

We need to move away from focusing primarily on a few people and see how each person can thrive and move the organization forward. Start making the effort to pull folks together into teams throughout your company. Make a group of bracket busters and see how you unlock the talent that is already present !!

Be A Sponge !!

A few weeks ago, my wife and I went down to Tampa, Florida. Going from gray and dreary Ohio in February to bright and sunny Florida is a treat !! We combined a trip around meeting HR peers as I spoke at an HR Tampa chapter dinner meeting. We decided to add a few days away and recharge our batteries to break the winter doldrums.

The time with the folks at the chapter meeting was a wonderful start to our trip. We had asked some people who visited Tampa often along with the locals for ideas of places to see and activities to do. Everyone was eager to give us suggestions of restaurants off the beaten path and small towns full of charm. One of those locations was Tarpon Springs, Florida. It’s a little over 30 miles northwest of Tampa and is nestled close to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a kitschy little burg which has a center of town full of souvenir shops and Greek restaurants. You may wonder why a Florida town would have such a strong Greek presence, and that is its wonderful secret !!

Years and years ago Greek nationals traveled across the Atlantic to settle and work in Tarpon Springs because they could “fish” for sponges. Yes, sponges. Most people don’t realize or know that sponges are living organisms anchored to the ocean floor. They act as filters, shelters, and homes for various creatures. Just like the sponges you have around your house, these really can be used to absorb liquid and clean surfaces. The difference with these beauties is that they come in various shapes, sizes, and types. My wife and I learned about so many different types of sponges we never knew existed.

As unabashed tourists, we meandered and tarried through every single store. We took our time and looked at the rows and shelves full of tchotchkes and sponges. There was so much to consider and take in and we weren’t sure which one would be “just right” for us to take home. My wife was keen on finding a Vase Sponge. After an incredible Greek lunch at Costas (you MUST try this place if you’re ever in Tarpon Springs !!), we worked our way to a few final shops and we found what we had been seeking. We picked up a magnificent sponge and took it home with us.

Our Vase Sponge

We weren’t sure where to display this spectacular creation of nature, but then it found its way to our coffee table in our family room. It grabs and holds your attention the moment you enter the room. There are countless nooks and crannies throughout. It has a defined pattern that builds upon itself and you can almost picture it sitting in water even though it is now on dry land.

I really enjoy having the sponge in our house as a visible reminder. The reminder is that everyone, including myself, should be a sponge themselves that is constantly seeking to take in new information, perspectives, and learning.

There used to be a strong movement for people to choose to be lifelong learners which captured the focus of learning and development initiatives. It had a spark and energy behind it and many organizations and HR pros put together efforts for this to occur. Like most initiatives, it lost steam and couldn’t be sustainable. That’s a shame because it’s more than an aspirational desire.

Being spongy and learning helps us to remain sharp, current, and relevant. If we only stick with the knowledge and experience we currently possess, then we actually become stagnant and stuck. Why would you want that to be how you approach work and life?

This week get out of the tarpit you find yourself in and read a book, listen to a podcast, read some blogs, attend a webinar or plan to go to a conference. See what is floating and flowing all around you. Then, be a sponge to take in all you learn and absorb it so you can grow yourself and help your organization move forward. You’ll be surprised how much you can take in !!

I Know A Guy . . .

This past weekend I took a look outside in my yard and saw various tufts of grass starting to grow a bit more than in other areas. The flowers in our beds had begun breaking through the soil and mulch. You could see that Spring was trying its best to squelch the unending Winter, which was encouraging. It also meant that the next season of working in the yard was inching ever closer.

I’ve mentioned several times before that working in the yard brings me joy. It’s increasingly exhausting the older I get, but I wouldn’t trade one moment of that exhaustion. I love being outside, taking in the sun, getting my hands dirty, and especially making the looping walk of mowing the grass. Of course, that means I need to make sure my sturdy lawn mower is ready to go. I consider myself somewhat handy, but not when it comes to mechanical things with motors.

So, I folded the seats down in my Chevy Equinox, laid down a blue tarp, and hoisted my mower up into the car for its annual check-up. Years ago there was a large store that sold and repaired mowers in my town. I’m not sure why it went out of business, but one day it was just gone. I was at a loss for what to do now to get my mower maintenance done. One of my dear friends Bob told me that another one of our friends, Dave, “knew a guy.” I was geeked because I needed a new place to go. I called Dave and asked about this new option. He told me the name and location of this new haven and I went to check it out.

When you go to Jericho Mower Services, you find yourself heading through neighborhoods and over into an area of small industrial shops nestled into a series of cul de sacs. When you enter the minuscule lobby, you smell oil, gas and hear the clang of wrenches working on the mowers lined up in the back of the shop. It’s magnificent !! The owner is the person who warmly greets you with, “What’s up brother?” and you’re set to go. The team at Jericho always takes care of your equipment and they give you a detailed explanation of what they did or what’s needed.

I dropped off my Toro self-propelling unit at Jericho this Saturday and was told it would be about three weeks until it was ready. The owner was warm as ever and I knew I was in good hands. Talented hands. I was comfortable because someone who had a skill set I lacked was not only able to meet my needs but exceed them !!

What we forget in the workplace today is that there are so many talented specialists who are “go-to” resources when a fix is needed. Often they are overlooked until the time we need to contact them for help. We all “know a person” who we can rely on to provide laser-focused assistance. They may be a tradesperson, an IT professional, a mechanic or maintenance person, or a specialist in a department who excels in having a narrow focus.

I’d love to see us change the narrative and perspective on this. We all need people who possess various talents and we should value who they are and what they do. There is no hierarchy of importance that needs to be followed. Each person in an organization or who provides support for an organization from a third-party effort has immeasurable value !!

Be thankful that you “know a guy” when it’s needed. Just understand these wonderful people are essential and needed all the time and not just in a pinch. I can’t wait to get my mower back and get the chance to see the Jericho owner another time to thank him for all he does for me and others. Bring on Spring !!

So That

I was recently thinking about my dad. He, unfortunately, passed away at the end of 2020 after a fall and a brain bleed. I miss him for many reasons. One of the biggest things I miss the most is hanging out and chatting with him. He had a razor-sharp wit and loved to recite quotes he had memorized. We would tussle each time we had a conversation. It was friendly banter which always led to meaningful discussions.

My dad spoke often about leadership. He admired when he saw good leadership in practice. He also didn’t tolerate weak or poor leadership. He understood how a strong leader could positively impact a group or organization. I agree with him. The challenge is that there are so many approaches to what leadership is and how it can look.

I believe leadership is most effective when people are given context and can see what lies ahead. This type of approach is not focused on any one person. It’s focused on the action given. It’s an example of “so that” leadership.

My wife has always liked to have a clean, organized house. I appreciate that and concur even though I tend to be more of a cluttered person. One of the daily activities we do to start the day is to make our bed. I know people reading this will counter and give reasons why this is not needed or even a waste of time, but it gives her serenity and order. When our kids were young, our daughter dutifully made her bed, but our son . . . not so much.

This simple household task turned into a point of contention because Josh didn’t see any reason to make his bed. Whenever Debbie would ask him to do it, he’d dig in his heels ready to confront and launch into a diatribe filled with objections. It was easier to walk away from the argument instead of fighting to get him to do this task.

One day, I pulled him aside and decided to talk to him about the bed making. I told him, “Josh, do you know why I make our bed with mom?” “No. It’s stupid,” he retorted. “Not really,” I shared. “You see, I make our bed so that she starts her day in a great way. It gives her a sense of order and that’s important to her.”

He told me understood . . . and then . . . didn’t make his bed. Ironically, when he moved out on his own he started to make his bed. He told me it gave him a sense of peace and order. Huh !!

“So that” leadership is easy to incorporate into how you work. Giving others a simple reason for the direction and decisions you’re making takes little time or effort. We tend not to do this and we get the same reaction my wife got from our son. Without context you invite confrontation. Wouldn’t your day go better if you took the few moments it takes to give others context?

This week, start using some “so that” leadership yourself and teach others how to do it as well, and see how much smoother your day goes. Trust me. You’ll find people you once viewed as challenging soften and consider taking the action you suggested. Give your people the “why” so that they feel they’re aware of your expectations. (See how easy this is ??)

The Next Step

Our lives are ever-moving. We try to maneuver through a flurry of activity and make it seem like we have it all together. Internally we are bound in knots because just as we feel like we make progress in one area of life, we get upset that another area slips. It can be overwhelming and feel like you’re trying to run in quicksand. Add to this the fact that every person walking around you feels just like you do.

We tend to do one of two things in reaction to this hurried pace. We either suffer and complain about the state we find ourselves in, or we add more activities. It seems odd we’d choose to take on more thinking everything will balance out. The math doesn’t work. Living in a state of hurriedness is neither healthy nor sustainable. Few of us, however, do much to combat it. If anything, we supplement this rapidity with caffeine, poor eating habits, or worse.

There’s nothing wrong with living a robust and full life. It would be fantastic if that was true for everyone as long as it would be filled with activities that brought us joy. This includes the work we do. We can’t get torn up about our jobs because we need to work. Now, our jobs could be difficult and challenging for many reasons. We could have managers who make work miserable. You may need to change where you work and who you work for, but you’ll still do better having a job.

There’s another facet that impacts our life journey. Too many people look to try to determine the end of what they’re facing. You’ll hear terms like “work with the end in mind.” It appears to be an optimistic, forward-thinking aspiration, but when you feel out of control you can’t see an end to anything. So many moving parts and so many people vying for your time and attention lead to people getting more stuck than moving in any distinct direction.

I’ve always been a person who is involved in a multitude of endeavors at the same time. I usually have multiple projects moving at work, a list of to-do’s at home, keeping up with several different groups of people on social media daily along with involvement in my church and civic organizations. This doesn’t include regularly writing a blog and trying to compose a third book on HR. Those are just a few of the things I am doing. Nor does it include what’s also happening with my wife, kids, and extended family.

It sounds like there’s too much happening in my life, but this is “normal.” I’m sure it’s the same for you. I rarely feel like I’m sinking though because my focus is not on the end of the activity – it’s the next step.

You may think this is short-sighted, but I beg to differ. Having a “next step” approach keeps me moving at a regular steady pace. I don’t take one step and then freeze. The first step leads to the next step then the next step and the next step, etc. Doing this allows me to maneuver from one area of life to another since each one involves the next step of one kind or another.

One “next step” may require a high level of energy and intensity while another may call for calm. A next step could be to pause and reflect, or it could mean concerted time for an extended period. The key to all of this is simple – stay at a next step pace on a regular basis. It’s more important to experience consistency than it is to wallow in a state of hustle and bustle.

This next week make the decision to get off the unending treadmill. Be assured you can still be involved in as much as you choose, but determine what the next step will be. Then take it.

A “New” Year

It’s hard to believe it’s the year 2023. It truly is. The fear and pandemonium of Y2K are now two decades behind us. Sure, there continue to be significant shifts of global magnitude which throw us, but we’ve made it. It will be interesting to see what another year brings to each of us.

It’s ironic that we expect a drastic alteration to all facets of our lives when the calendar moves from December 31st to January 1st. It’s as if we hope for some imaginary switch to flip in the universe and then anything which is less than where we’d like gets magically fixed. I wonder who created this mindset. I understand there will always be things to improve in all areas of our lives. The movement of one day to the next will not automatically make that happen.

I don’t mean to be negative in looking at this. I consider myself an optimist in most things and with most people I encounter. I believe in humans now more than ever. Looking at all we’ve been through, it could be easy to see the worst in people. Some have even earned some consideration to lose faith in them. However, it’s because of this tendency to think the worst that I want to offer a better, yet contrary thought for the year ahead.

We need to move forward.

That’s it. Wherever you find yourself in life, there is room to move forward. That may be all the “new” you need. It may be all the “new” you can handle.

You may be saying to yourself, “Life isn’t that simple. You don’t know what I’m facing, or you just ‘don’t understand.'” I don’t want to presuppose or assume I’m aware of what’s in front of you. That wouldn’t be possible honestly.

The reason I want to suggest this notion is I find too many people who are stuck. It may be because of circumstances they’re facing or their general outlook on life and the status of the world. Instead of moving in any direction, people remain stagnant and inertia keeps them exactly where they are. The longer someone remains immobile, the less likely movement will occur at any time.

I plan to take my own advice. When I look at all that could be moving ahead at work, I get excited. There are so many ways to continue to integrate HR throughout the company so we can strive for performance as a whole. When I think about HR as an industry we have to move forward and not settle back into patterns that keep us on the “outside” looking in. We stepped up during the pandemic and now it’s time to move forward.

This doesn’t include how I’d like to see the relationships in my life also move forward. I’m looking forward to having quality time and experiences with my wife and adult kids throughout the year. Regularly connecting with my peers across the globe to make sure they know someone is always in their corner. I want to see them move forward as well in whatever is in front of them as an opportunity. Add to that some fantastic opportunities to speak and publish another book.

I’m not naive. I know there will be obstacles and challenges which will pop up. That’s no different than any other prior year. The difference is I won’t allow them to stop me from making progress.

I hope you feel this advice makes sense and is attainable for you. Yes, the year is new. Let’s make sure we all move forward and see what happens !!

The #HRCarnival – Shedding Light !!

I’ve been a big fan of the Carnival of HR for years. For those of you who are unfamiliar, each month people submit blog posts to share their thoughts and content for all to enjoy. Sometimes there are themes and other months are purely a curation of great HR blogs/articles.

As the host this month, I wanted to have a theme. When you look around the world, it can seem challenging, bleak, and unyielding. It feels like a cover of darkness is always trying to envelop all areas of life and work. I, however, have been someone who believes that people can shed light to make the darkness disperse. So, I asked people to chime in and contribute their perspectives on how they chose to do this. Enjoy the following submissions and make sure to reach out and connect with each of the authors.

Jared Narlock encourages us to recognize that we can make time for Courage, Grace and Kindness.

Jonathan Segal shows how a great distraction can give us much-needed balance. White Lotus: What’s Work Got to do with It?

Michelle Harte channels her inner Ed Sheeran and the power of supporting each other in Celestial (You Make Me Feel).

Nicole Roberts nudges us all to give back to others in the HR and Business space by Giving A Hand Up.

James Dean encourages people to make sure you’re choosing to watch and consume positive content with Shining a Light On . . . Social Media.

Jessica Beck shares a wonderful story about her Grandfather and the power of A Cool Drink on a Hot Day.

Mary Kaylor shares the good work of Jordan Quigley who she works with at Robert Half on the Search for Empathetic Leaders.

Meghan Brown has a truly uplifting post that shows us how we can Shine Bright This Holiday and Always.

Christie Engler talks about how much she enjoys gifts and wonders what gift(s) HR can give others in 2023 in Presents Are My Favorite.

Andrew Bull helps with the combination of reality and expectations of Team Performance.

John Baldino channels Sir Paul McCartney about the power of Coming Up – Joy at Work, Home and Within Self.

Jamie Bearse gives us a broader perspective by reminding us that HR Alone Can’t Create a Great Culture.

Steve Williamson asks us to consider we may have more impact than we think in Is Inspiration Your Secret Power?

Angie Redmon has put together a great set of approaches for HR leaders with End of Year Tips and Ideas.

Scott Leiper brings a ton of energy, creativity and a dash of Warren Zevon with Enjoy Every Sandwich.

Baskaran Ambavalan wraps up this Carnival with a fantastic list of suggestions for HR Priorities for Success in 2023.

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Thanks to everyone who participated in this final HR Carnival of 2022 !! Great work and great people.

I hope everyone in HR and the global HR Community chooses to be people who shed light next year every. single. day !!

All The Lights !!

I drive all the time. I’m in my car for a rather lengthy commute each day, and I go to our many pizzeria restaurants. I enjoy being in the car. It gives me a chance to think and enjoy music and podcasts, and I love getting out of my office to see people. I wish I could say that driving all the time was calming and not frustrating, but that wouldn’t be true. Like most people, I think every other person is not as good a driver as I am. That probably isn’t true because I’m sure I frustrate others too.

This Sunday I was heading to church early. It’s a simple, five to seven-minute drive all on roads that are a mix of residential and retail. To make the small drive you go through several traffic lights. On this day, I hit EVERY red light. Every. Single. One. There wasn’t an abundance of traffic around me to slow things down. It was just a matter of timing. I had left my house early enough that I wasn’t significantly delayed. Also, since I was going somewhere I enjoy, I wasn’t frustrated by the constant stop/start journey. I giggled after the fifth red light and knew it was just going to be one of “those” trips.

Hitting all of the red lights made me think about work. I know that may sound a bit odd but stick with me on this. As we start every day, we have the hope we’ll have a smooth trek with few obstacles. We yearn for the opportunity to dive into what’s in front of us with the desire to not experience any unexpected stops. It’s okay if we choose to stop, but we don’t want others to interrupt what we’re focusing on. Our ideal never occurs. Ever.

Each of us has the “commute” I had on Sunday morning. We hit every red light out there. They aren’t all in one line either. At times, red lights pop out of nowhere, but we still have to stop. When this is what we go through, we get frustrated. We don’t understand why there’s this endless series of starts and stops. We also think this is ONLY happening to us (just like other drivers are bad – not me.) The truth is the red lights are affecting the traffic of work throughout your organization.

Instead of having your blood pressure rise and your stress level increase, let’s look at those red lights differently. The reason traffic lights exist is they are meant to control the flow of traffic so everyone can move about safely. They may feel like they inhibit you from reaching your destination in a speedy manner, but they may have helped you avoid an accident you didn’t anticipate.

It’s okay to have starts and stops throughout your day. It gives you a chance to interact with others, seek context on what you’re doing, or be a resource for someone else. We won’t be able to have a seamless excursion during our work day. If we’re as integrated as we should be, then we should expect we’ll be in thick traffic all the time.

This week change your view on the red lights you’ll hit. See how they help you monitor the flow of what comes up. At each stop, take a breath and see what’s next. I’m sure you’ll start enjoying the pace you find yourself in so much more !!

Ch-ch-ch-Changes !!

I wanted to take my #AdventBlogs post submission and share it this week. I love all that Gary Cookson does with the series and hope you connect with him and all of the authors in the series !! You can find them on his site – Epic HR.

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The third day of our series and the first weekend post for us, and we continue to go big with our posts. So many people have told me that they are midway through writing a post that I know the series will be fantastic, though as of the time of writing (20 November) I only have a small number of posts in. By the time you read this, I’ll have plenty more, but there is still time to send your submission in if you are inspired by our theme or what you have read so far.

Today at home is another of our Christmas trips. Tonight, we are going on a magical Christmas boat trip across an enchanted lake (strangely, one I swim in during the summer) to visit the Elves and of course Santa Claus. Really looking forward to it – the kids are so excited, and we are definitely at peak Christmas this year.

Today’s post is from Steve Browne. Yes, THE Steve Browne. You are already connected with Steve on Twitter (@sbrownehr) and LinkedIn and probably on other social media – and to be honest, who isn’t? If you’re not, you should be. Steve has an online presence beyond almost all in HR, and whilst I could share a bio of his, it wouldn’t do him justice. He’s the Chief People Officer at LaRosa’s. Steve and I have interacted lots as part of the #HRPubQuiz community and he’s another I know well. He is one of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet.

Over to Steve:


One of the top 10 highlights of my life was traveling to the UK with my wife Debbie in 2019. We relied on the connections I had made on social media to see the country through the experiences and eyes of my friends who lived in the UK. Each person we met was so comfortable and welcoming as if we’d been friends forever even though we had just really encountered each other in person for the first time.

We have fond memories of every interaction we had because we learned about some amazing humans and their lives. One of my personal highlights came when my dear friend, Michael Carty, traveled for hours by train to have a coffee, chat and walk through Soho. Michael and I are giant music freaks and have talked about various artists and songs for years. So, as we meandered through Soho he pointed out where Sir Paul McCartney had an office, where the band Oasis took pictures for an album cover and a phone booth.

What’s so unique about a phone booth in London ?? It was the location for the album cover of David Bowie’s essential album – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I was gobsmacked !! (my fave learned term while in the UK.) David Bowie has always been a favourite artist of mine not only for his amazing catalogue of music but also for how he was a chameleon throughout his entire career.

Bowie didn’t wait for change to affect him. He made change happen. He was ahead of his time so much so that he often made others around him uncomfortable. He wasn’t willing to follow the norms of artistry, rock and roll or image. He refused to be another musician who covered the songs of other artists in order to launch himself onto the scene. He was comfortable with who he was and set the standard he was going to express.

This is such a refreshing way to approach the reality of change. Too often we allow the circumstances of life to hit us first and we’re “forced” to react and respond. When change happens TO us, we resist. It’s natural and we don’t like it. When people say they enjoy change, I’m sceptical because few of us are as bold and intentional as Mr. Bowie was.

I’ve tried to be more like Bowie when it comes to changes in my life personally and professionally. I wasn’t like this when I started my career, but I certainly am now. When you choose to define the parameters of change around you, then it lights a path for others to see. They tend to embrace changes when they’re revealed to them first.

Let me give you an example.

LOVE connecting with people and always have. I believe that each person I meet has something amazing and unique about them. This alone makes me want to learn who they are, what they believe and how they view life. It fascinates me. I have never been hesitant to reach out and see how we could get to know each other better. As a result, I’ve been able to develop relationships and friendships around the world. I know that this approach is not typical, and many people are reluctant to jump into any meaningful connection for a variety of reasons. No judgment and no expectations from my side on this. I’m well aware of how much of an outlier I am when it comes to this.

What keeps me grounded though, is that I am not a very comparative person. I want to know YOU for YOU and that’s it. I don’t look at any connection as someone to pit against another person in some illusion of ranking or placing one relationship ahead of another. This is unnerving for most because the norm is to judge, compare and decide if others are truly worth their time.

You see, every person is worth my time. Every. Single. One. That is the only facet in my life that never changes. Relationships, unfortunately, do change. People flow in and out of my life more than I wish they would. This may happen because of one misconstrued interaction, a difference in beliefs or the challenge of how we choose to use our time. Relationships take time. Invested time.

I’m bummed when people fade away from my life. It’s not a change I enjoy. I try to rekindle things hoping there are still embers willing to jump back to a burning flame. It happens in some instances, but not all the time. All things change when it comes to people in our lives.

My hope is this. I want people to know there is at least one person who’s willing to see them, listen to them, value them and learn from them on this planet – even if it’s for a brief moment or period of time. It’s my way of being Bowie. I choose to drive change when it comes to people.

So, if you see a tall, geeky person who is reaching out to get to know you, be calm. It’s my inner Ziggy willing to get to know you. It’s the ch-ch-ch-change I hope to see everyone embrace !!


I love reading Steve’s blogs, on his own site and his contributions to the #AdventBlogs series each year. He puts so much energy into his writing, and the creativity comes through each time. I like the theme he is exploring here though.

He is right to lament how relationships change. Sometimes they need to, sometimes they do without us wanting to. But they do change. He is also right though that there are some constants, even though our theme is “All things change” perhaps sometimes there are fixed points in time and space (to coin a Doctor Who phrase). Maybe Steve himself is one of those fixed points in time and space – he won’t change his belief that you are worth his time.

We see you too, Steve.

Till next time…

Gary