Dressed in Overalls and Looks Like Work

Oil drillers talking with bits in front of them and drilling equipment in background, Kilgore, Texas. 1939, photographer Lee Russell

July is gone and I am full steam ahead as I march into August! The schedule is picking up, the heat and humidity is intensifying by the day it seems, and the family is busy getting ready for college, school, birthdays, and a myriad of other things. I’m missing my annual Michigan getaway and I routinely day dream of cooler weather …as I’m sure many others are doing this time of year. I deliberated, maybe even stalled a bit this week coming up with something to write about. Normally that wouldn’t be hard for a rambler like myself, but honestly I struggled. Here is why…as well as, what I have to say!

When the week first started, I was very optimistic about where things were headed. As life quickly unfolded it became evident how easy it is for people to just quit! This reinforced my theory, as well as triggering personal thoughts on opportunity vs. hard work. As the events unfolded and as I continued to ponder the situation at hand, I was reminded of  a former senior Warrant Officer email signature that read, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Made famous and often linked to the great Thomas Edison, it resonated with me throughout the week and ultimately led to a little bit of rambling about quitting, hard work, and how we overcome the challenges ahead.

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

Personally, I cannot understand why it is so easy to quit. Is it a generational thing? Is it a personal thing? What is it? I am at a loss. The other side of this coin is the unwilling attitude to work towards something you want, mostly of which entails hard work, dedication, and drive. Is this true about everyone in society today? Absolutely not! However, as the old adage goes, “there is enough to be dangerous!”

So what’s my take on the matter? First, I think it is about those we look up to and the role model we directly or indirectly become to others. In my mind, it is those that came before me. It is the stories of my great-grandfather, the Charlie, Mack, Slick, and Herbert type figures. Men who woke up everyday, donned their overalls (synonymous with coveralls) and through example showed others what it meant to never quit, regardless of the conditions  or situation. That is where some of my motivation stems from. I firmly believe, setting the example is one of the ways we tackle, what I perceive to be a systemic problem in the future. Our ability to carry ourselves appropriately and mentor the younger generation is incredibly vital to the reversal of this trend. Of course that’s how I view it in my mind.

” I thought about quitting once but then I noticed who was watching “

Secondly, (and last I promise) it is about spirit and mental toughness! Easy for me to say. I have worked among some true warriors! In the same breath, I have also worked alongside some duds (probably more) who quickly gave up at the turn of every corner. The mind can quickly give up. I have learned that in my quest to train like a Spartan. It is a hard quality to teach and instill. How do you callous one’s mind. Repetition, repetition, and repetition. Honestly, when I reflect on the single event that led to my motivation on this topic, it was really about people giving up before they even started. How do you know you cannot handle something or you have the cerebral capacity to overcome something? Simply put, you do not know until you try. I truly believe that, which is why me must invigorate this spirit not only within, but also in those that will follow in our footsteps.

Hopefully today’s piece stimulated some thoughts about quitting or even better changed your views, beliefs, or stance on the matter. Maybe they did none of the above and I am perfectly ok with that as well. There is always room for conjecture as well as personal opinion. That is what makes the right to freedom of speech so special 🙂 As always, I welcome any thoughts, comments, or concerns. Stay the course and never quit!

Celebrating Volunteerism

Photo by “My Life Through A Lens” on Unsplash

The motivation behind this week’s blog comes from my time spent this past weekend with JROTC cadets across the midwest states of Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. [I promise to keep it short in the interest of everyone’s much needed Spring Break!] By definition, volunteerism is the use or involvement of volunteer labor, especially in community services. It may be a large assumption on my part, but many of the special programs, school functions, charitable and non-charitable community events we have grown to love and enjoy, would falter without volunteers.

“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
― Abraham Lincoln

This is probably a little more information than you’d like as a reader, but my wife and I once had to volunteer for our child to attend school. At the time I thought it was absurd to ask a parent to take time out of his or her schedule to volunteer over ten hours a month to the school, while managing a career, and raising two additional children. Little did I know then, that today, I’d hold that year in high regard, thankful my daughter had an opportunity to attend an extra year of school, without incurring any additional cost.

Imagine if the 10,000 volunteers [estimate from a 2014 article] didn’t show for the Boston Marathon. What if the local Christmas Toy Drive or Salvation Army had nobody to ring a bell. Where would we find ourselves? How would we help others in need? The short answer is…we wouldn’t. We need volunteers more today than we ever have.

I hate to sound like the late night, overpaid celebrity spokesman, but even a little bit of your time goes a long way. Do something memorable. Volunteering in my day consisted of your parents signing up for your favorite holiday party. That is not the case today, in fact, the opportunity is likely 100 times more! Volunteering has a long lasting effect and in some cases might be the therapeutic relief one may need. Even if it entails waking up at 5 a.m. to judge a JROTC Drill competition. There are endless opportunities. A superficial search will yield a handful of options. If you’d like a few pointed recommendations, please feel free to contact me. There is always some way to make our society better, while brightening the day of someone in need or delivering in some impactful way! Happy volunteering and I hope your Spring Break landed you some well deserved time off and family memories

P.S. If you haven’t already, go watch Captain Marvel! It’s terrific!