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From Uniform to Uniform: The Book is Out!

From Uniform to Uniform, transition, job hunting, job market, career changeThe Book Has Been Released!


From Uniform to Uniform:

Transitioning from the Military to the Civilian Job Market

hit the market. You can find it on AMAZON.COM in paperback or Kindle editions. If you or someone you know is leaving the service or just looking to change careers, this easy to read and understand guide will help them make the transition. It provides tips and exercises to figure out what career path you really want to take next, not what someone tells you to fit into. It helps you find your purpose in life and how to transform that purpose into a career you can enjoy. From Uniform to Uniform takes you through the résumé writing process, tells you what you need to know about interviews and how to negotiate beyond your salary to take advantage of what you really want and need. 


From Uniform to Uniform is written with the transitioning service member in mind, but the concepts, tools, and exercises work for anyone. If you or someone you know is thinking about making a change, the ideas in this book are the things you need to investigate and remember to land that perfect job for your next career. Get your copy today!

Do Americans suffer more than other people?

Do Americans suffer pain more than others?

My daughter-in-law posed an interesting question the other day. “Why do Americans have such a lower threshold of pain than other countries?” We might at first argue the point and say the question doesn’t make sense. Americans are like anyone else and experience pain the same way any other human experiences pain.

While the statement appears true, we all have the same sensory nerves and brain matter that tells us when have pain. We all experience heat, cold, the sensation of sharp, dull, pressure. Yet, Americans take more pain medication than the rest of the world combined despite the fact we comprise only 5% of the world’s population. Does that mean we sense pain differently? Does it mean we are candies and whine and whimper too much? Does it mean we just have easier access to something that relieves us of pain and everyone else would do the same if they had equal access?

Does anyone know?

pain, medication, suffer, americans

It is a good question my daughter-in-law posed. I’m not sure anyone has the right answer. Maybe it’s all of the above. Certain people in Europe can obtain medicines equal in strength to the medications we use, yet they don’t for some reason. Many tribes and primitive people have opiates readily available to them in raw form that they use as ceremonial drugs to bring them to ritual ecstasy. But they don’t take them to relieve pain.

Why do we go to the medicine cabinet when we have a headache or a muscle ache or joint pain or any other ache or pain that causes us discomfort? Why do we reach for the remedy in a plastic bottle with a child-proof cap while the rest of the world just suffers through the ailment? What would it take to toughen us up? Should we toughen up?

Pain is a good thing!

Pain is sometimes a good thing. Ask a leper and they will tell you how good pain is, because they have lost all sense of pain. Consequently, a leper will lose toes, finger, ears, nose, and other body parts to injury and subsequent infection because he never feels the pain associated with the injury. Pain is our friend many times. So why do we wish it away in America? Why so intolerant?

Perhaps we will never know. Perhaps our intolerance for pain in this country is one of those unfathomable mysteries that will only be answered at the end of time when we can look back over all of history with all other people for eternity and compare notes with each other. Until then, we can only ask the question. If you have an answer, let me know. My daughter-in-law and I are curious.

What can we learn about leadership from a fruit tree?

What can we learn about leadership from a fruit tree?

I’m often engaged in helping companies figure out why their organizations don’t function as efficiently as the C-suite officers think they should. It’s always interesting to sit down with them after doing an assessment of the staff, including their own actions and those of their personal staff. A few days ago, a discovered a natural analogy that might help some of you understand some of the dysfunction in your company. It might not be comfortable, but I’ve found it fits many of the situations I run into in my assessment of multilevel organizations.

Trees get their strength from their trunks

First, we must remember the girth and health of the trunk says a lot about the strength of aappletree tree. When living on Staff Post Road in my last assignment, we had more than a half-dozen hundred year old pecan trees in our yard. Massive things that stood strong in every storm. I liken those trees to the leaders of an organization, the CEOs, the senior vice presidents, the people with heavy decision-making responsibilities. When the senior leaders live healthy, balanced lives across the five areas of physical, family, spiritual, emotional, and social dimensions, they can give strong leadership to their companies.

They must also learn to exercise good leadership skills, however. And of extreme importance is the need to provide a clear vision and mission for those who work for them. As leaders, however, their focus must also include ensuring everyone organizationally below them get access to the resources they need to accomplish the tasks assigned them. The leader serves his employees in this way to ensure the organization’s success.

Fruit only appears at the blossoms, beyond the ends of the branches

Second, we need reminded in a multilevel organization that the final production only happens at the end of the line. CEOs, commanders, senior vice presidents, the C-suite folks seldom do any actual manufacturing. They seldom deal with customers directly. They seldom do any assembly or take care of personal sales in multilevel companies. Their principle job centers around providing resources, setting strategic vision, and keeping their organization focused on that desired outcome.

When we think about the fruit tree analogy, the fruit comes as the result of those leaves and blossoms coming out at the right time and drawing resources through the trunk and branches. The leaves can’t provide their own resources. They must draw upon the capillaries running through the trunk and out through the branches. But no fruit appears on the trunk or the branches, only on the stems surrounded by leaves and blossoms. No buds, leaves, blossoms – no fruit. That’s an important principle to remember. The trunk by itself cannot produce fruit. Neither can the branches. Only by working together can fruit come into being.

Branches link the trunk to the fruit, but also create problems

Now consider the branches. As mentioned above, the branches connect the trunk and the water and nutrients it carries to the mechanisms that will produce fruit. But when you look at the branches of almost any tree, you’ll find a lot of confusion, they intertwine and get entangled with each other. That’s not unlike many staff sections in multilevel companies. Each vying for position, trying to determine which section provide more to the company than another. In case of a drawdown, who gets pink slips first?

Staffs forget their sole responsibility within the company provides resources and support to the lower levels of the organization to ensure they can get their jobs done. Too often, upper level staff members assume the roles of the seniors they work for instead of the staff role they occupy. By that I mean, the CEO gives the vision and direction to guide a company toward a particular outcome. Everyone below him should be working to enable the lowest tier of workers to accomplish that vision. Instead, a vice president will direct and change the picture, expect certain perks and pleasures forgetting that the people at the lowest level are producing the outcomes, not the people at the top.

The staffs are important. They are skilled at marshaling resources, using people’s skills and talents collectively to get things done effectively and efficiently, but without those lowest level employees, the CEOs and managers and commanders and staff members would just sit in empty offices with banker and investors breathing down their necks asking for their returns.

Back to the tree analogy, every part is important. No fruit comes with the absence of any part, trunk, branches, or leaves and blossoms. But all of us must also remember in every working orchard, a pair of pruning shears stands sharp and ready all the time. The best orchards produce the most productive crops by continually and consistently growing and pruning branches! Those of us who spend our lives clambering for senior staff positions should take note. Pruning is a necessary, healthy part of any companies life. If a branch doesn’t produce fruit, it soon disappears from the tree. We cannot expect to hang on if we’re not producing.

Find Your Purpose

I read a story last night about a young man trying to find his purpose in life. Although he enjoyed helping, he didn’t work want to work with his parents in their nursery. He would come home from school, work in their business, but felt unsatisfied. He climbed mountains. He explored caves. He dabbled in archaeology. But none of those things satisfied and inner longing that he couldn’t put a handle on. Finally, he discovered his real dream in researching hidden meanings in ancient texts.rat race

Story reminded me that we all have a purpose and until we find that purpose and begin to work in it, there will always be something empty in us. I believe we each have a purpose in life, and when we find it and work towards it, we will have fulfillment in life. The difficult part for many is figuring out what that this is.

A few tips to help you along the path include, knowing your values, your skills, your talents, your experiences, your desires, then putting them all together to discover your purpose. Let’s take a quick look at each of these and see how they fit into that discovery.

You have a few values that you hold very dear. These are the things you give your life for. The things that are uncompromised. If you say integrity is one of your values but are dishonest with others then integrity is not truly one of your core values. But the few things that you hold most precious to you, those are your values. Those are the things you would give your life before you change. Perhaps at your faith, your family, maybe your job. But those few things are sacrosanct.

Skills and talents may seem ordinary to you. The combination of things you do well are unique to you. There is something that you do that few do as well as you. What are those things? What the things for which you receive compliments? What are the things people stand back and let you do because you do them so well? What knowledge do you have that many around you do not have?

Sprinkle in your experiences. There are things you have done and things you have seen that made you what you are today. What are those unique combinations of experiences that you can point to and say, this change my life or that impacted how I think and act? What events have shaped your personality and your character traits? These experiences help you discover your purpose.

Finally, what are your desires? What do you dream of doing? If money were no object, and you could do something for the next 300 years, what would it be? What makes your eyes light up in the morning and drive you out of bed to get after? Your desires are linked to your passions, and whatever you’re passionate about you’ll do well.

All these things together help you determine your purpose in life. There are tools and techniques to assist you in this journey. If you’re struggling to find purpose, give me a call today.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Imported from my Facebook page
I’ve been reading a short collection of corporate devotions presented by Alan Lurie .Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace, and Fulfillment at Work (paperback) Lurie is a Jewish rabbi who for several years gave five minute devotions every Monday morning to one of the corporations where he served.
One of his reminders strikes home with helping to deal with the emotional stress of every day life. It’s a simple habit that takes little time or effort, but makes a tremendous difference in the way your day starts and probably the way it progresses and ends.
Lurie notes that the first Jewish prayer of the day is, “I am thankful for having awakened to another day.” That’s not so hard, is it? And when you think of the alternative, it holds a very heartfelt bit of gratitude. God opens our eyes to another set of opportunities to provide value in the world.
From that simple habit, we have a chance to continue the day with an attitude of gratitude for every service provided us and everything we have. Think of the things we take for granted everyday just because we choose to ignore them instead of being grateful for them.
We might think the drive through line at that fast food breakfast place is slow, but what if you had to make that breakfast yourself? Why are you at a fast food place, anyway? Smile and say thanks! Or what about the traffic jam? Are you still moving faster and easier than a horse and buggy or your feet? The good old days weren’t so good after all, were they? Be grateful for the traffic, you could be walking.
Turn your thought patterns around and see how you can make this day positive rather than negative just by starting your day with the Jewish prayer Alan Lurie reminds us to pray, “I am thankful for having awakened to another day.”
How do you stay positive and push the negatives aside?
What difference do you see by maintaining an attitude of gratitude?