Seek others out who share your same passions and ethics. Don't be afraid. They aren't your competition, because you are one of one. You are unique. Embrace that fact and run with it.
"The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future, and I seem to hear a voice saying: 'If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?' Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence."
- Samuel Morse
"Most individuals and companies already have a brand (in the hearts and minds of their employees and customers). It’s not what leaders think it is or what they want it to be. It is what others say it is! It’s not the company policies, procedures, or even the management direction that motivates workers.
We can override their hearts to get a job done… and make oxen out of them...but if we want lions, motivated from the heart, we have to start with their values and their goals and help them make a connection with their own heart and the heart of the company."
- John Garfield
As I've spent the past few months working on developing my new hedge fund, I've found even more respect for the traditional W2 wage worker. That's because I am only good at so much. I really only specialize at my one thing. To be fair, I'm just not very good at anything else and I've learned, somewhat, that this is okay.
The thing that cautions me while starting a company and/or working for another is the alignment of values. Sure, I'm a goofball most of the time and maybe even a madman when things get tough. I struggle with my humanity and worry I may not be providing enough to my business partners and others that count on me. I guess I never really thought that those that work for me would feel the same way.
I admit that I have assumed that if my employees didn't own a part of my company, they wouldn't really care like I cared. They got their wage. They could show up, do the minimal work, and get paid. (Granted, some people did think that way)
I call this behavior "the path of least resistance." ...and I too am guilty of it.
"Faith looks at situations through God's eyes, not the eyes of our limited understanding."
- Os Hillman
What's the point of this rambling blog today?
Simply put, it's that I'm caught in a whirlwind of unpredictability and I'd love to have a few questions answered and a known path I'm proceeding down. I cannot believe I am called to build this thing, yet I have no real idea what it's evolving into (yet). So odd. So so odd.
BTW, please keep me in your prayers regarding a near future interview. I won't share the details at the moment, but it sounds like an amazing partnership opportunity and I could really use as much prayer as anyone feels they can spare for me. Clarity is the most important aspect of this next stage. Prayer brings clarity, at least for me, and each of yours is valued.
As always, blessings.
Do you know there is something out there that will bring much more to your current circumstances?
Something that will only add to, and not decrease? Faith does not panic.
Did you hear me? Faith does not panic. Keep yourself pure, and God will show up. It's a promise.
Many of you know I am/was a former professional musician. I've found that I listen to a wide variety of music, and have a fairly undefined favorite style/genre. All said, I know that's not entirely true, as I do enjoy heavier music a bit more than the rest. That said, I thought I'd keep today's blog very light by introducing you to bands I love, along with the song that I think best identifies their particular style. I hope you hear something new today that makes you a lifelong fan as I am of these groups.
Enjoy the smattering of taste/style/sound you get here. I'm sure you'll like/love at least some of it.
Recently, I was talking to a lady at a coffee shop. After awhile, I could tell that we had gone past what she felt comfortable sharing with a stranger, even though she had instigated the conversation.
After a bit of discussion, she told me that she believed we were similar in how we process our thoughts. I asked what she meant and she told me about some classes she had taken a number of years back when she was considering being a counselor. In that class, she learned various techniques to discover how each potential client learned. She stated that I process my thoughts by speaking to others.... that talking wasn't so much about relating to others, but an outlet for myself.
I hadn't really thought it that way before, but maybe she had a point?
I've found that since social media has taken off, whether Facebook or Twitter, I have 'taken' to it, meaning I find myself processing my daily experiences here and there. I know it's not comfortable for many to share anything deeper than the surface of who they are, but I am a person that social media was clearly designed for.
I am the guy that needs to put it out there. I need to say what I'm feeling. I actually don't require your thoughts, your opinions, or advice. I just need to get it out in the ether... to purge, so I can feel better afterwards. Maybe even wake up feeling refreshed.
That said, if there was ever something I needed to post, it's the following:
I need a do over. So, I'm re-introducing myself to the world.
Hello, I'm Rob Jones.
For the first time in my life, I can say out loud.... I can actually admit, that I'm really struggling with depression. I am not suicidal, regardless of the frustrations I feel so strongly, but I do find myself wishing that I weren't here anymore. Most of it stems from strong feelings of helplessness...mostly in conjunction with what I sense is the pain I am inflicting on my family...my wife and my kids. That same feeling of helplessness is based on years of choices that I have made towards what I had hoped would be for the greater good of our family and others around me. Examples:
Here's the thing, though. I don't want anyone to help. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe my pride, or what's left of it, keeps me from moving forward? I can hear all of you saying yes. (BTW, I mean that in the sense of 'I don't want you to fish for me. I just need you to teach me how to fish.')
As many of you know, I am a Christian. I have openly proclaimed this. I am also not silly enough to assume that God will just magically whisk me to a mansion in the hills with all the money we could want, along with every need met forever. I get it. It doesn't work that way. However, I have found one thing that continues to beat me to a pulp:
I know better.
When a person spends a lifetime thinking or acting a very specific way, it can be attributed to naivete, ignorance, or childishness. When that same person goes through a number of cathartic experiences, most of which teach huge lessons on life, finance, faith, structure, retirement, family, credit, love, and giving.... well..... it's easy to get so caught up in the 'fact' that you now know so much more that you don't know where to start. In addition, you can't go back. You're no longer a virgin.
When I say "I know better," I am not insinuating that I know better than you, my reader, or that I live with more dignity or have a better relationship with God, or that I can make more money than you. No. I am saying that I cannot go back.
....and I so wish I could. I miss the Rob that didn't know so much. The Rob that enjoyed his life and his job and his family and didn't feel like he had to change the fucking world. I hate the new me. I hate it.
"If you do not see His glory being reflected through your life, then you need to ask why. He has promised to do so if we will walk in obedience to His commands."
- Os Hillman
I admit to being impacted, almost exclusively of late, to Os' thoughts and blogs. His words are cutting through me and working towards the core of who I am. I so need to find my greater purpose. I know it's there and I just can't see it through the haze of my current situations.
I know something is coming, yet I wonder if I'll even notice it when it happens.
Still, I am excited to see what God has in store for me. I am excited to see who and what I will become. I am excited to see how that affects the world at large. I am excited.
Today is my daughter's 24th birthday.... an amazing milestone and I'm so proud of who she is and has become. Because we are celebrating her birthday and I'm basically overloaded as it stands....... Here is an interesting tidbit from Os Hillman that I received in my email this morning. I thought it was very powerful and I believe you should all read this. It addresses all of us, right where we stand.
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" Isaiah 30:18
Have you ever noticed that God is not in a hurry? It took 40 years for Moses to receive his commission to lead the people out of Egypt. It took 17 years of preparation before Joseph was delivered from slavery and imprisonment. It took 20 years before Jacob was released from Laban's control. Abraham and Sarah were in their old age when they finally received the son of promise, Isaac. So why isn't God in a hurry?
God called each of these servants to accomplish a certain task in His Kingdom, yet He was in no hurry to bring their mission into fulfillment. First, He accomplished what He wanted in them. We are often more focused on outcome than the process that He is accomplishing in our lives each day. When we experience His presence daily, one day we wake up and realize that God has done something special in and through our lives. However, the accomplishment is no longer what excites us. Instead, what excites us is knowing Him. Through those times, we become more acquainted with His love, grace, and power in our lives. When this happens, we are no longer focused on the outcome because the outcome is a result of our walk with Him. It is not the goal of our walk, but the by-product. Hence, when Joseph came to power in Egypt, he probably couldn't have cared less. He had come to a place of complete surrender so that he was not anxious about tomorrow or his circumstances.
This is the lesson for us. We must wait for God's timing and embrace wherever we are in the process. When we find contentment in that place, we begin to experience God in ways we never thought possible."
- Os Hillman
Ok, everyone. Have an awesome day. I'm going to ride bikes with my amazing daughter and younger children.
I have been thinking about God and miracles in general. When one reads the Bible, one reads about the miracles that God did.... that ONLY God could do. Parting the Red Sea, raising Lazurus from the dead, and so on.
Yet, today, God doesn't work like that. He could. He just doesn't. Granted, I have no personal idea how God works, and of course He may very well be doing miracles of Biblical proportion in some corner of the world, but He operates much differently with me.
With me, God shows off amongst my relationships.... my friends. God speaks to me through people. Through their actions. Their their selflessness. It's when I've given up hope and figure God is dead that He shows up in the form of a person, ready and even eager to assist me through my struggles..... big or small, He's there. I hope you see this when you live your days. I hope you see God in action in the small parts of your life.
God isn't hiding in the seams. He's not in between the lines. He's big and he does small things through the big hearts of others. He proves He's there, all the time.
I've been meaning to tell a brief story about a person I met about 6 weeks ago, named Jason Fike. I'll keep it brief.
It was June 26th. I was excited about picking up my wife and kids from Seatac airport, as they were flying home from Japan and I had about 90 minutes to kill before their arrival. I had just finished a business meeting with a colleague and decided to get some lunch before heading down to the airport.
When driving to a local favorite pho shop, I had noticed the faint smell of coolant, and hoped/prayed it wasn't coming from my van. Upon arrival at the restaurant, I stepped out of the van into a puddle of green fluid. Yep. It was me. Dang.
Now, if anyone knows me well, they know this sort of thing just freezes me. I'm really only good at a few things in life, and mechanics isn't one of them. I had no idea where to start, so I did what anyone pretending to try and fix a car would do..... I opened the hood. After propping it up, I saw that there was a burst hose near the back of the engine. I did my best to force it back on (it was a high pressure hose, I guess) and started up the car again. It immediately shot right back off and started shooting coolant all over the engine, me, and the ground under the car.
At that moment, a man in a large contractors truck stopped next to me in the lot. I made eye contact and he motioned to me that he saw I was in some sort of dilemma. After shutting off the van, he came over and offered to help me out. His name was Jason Fike. (Get used to that name)
After getting his hands dirty attempting to tighten the busted hose to the terminal, we started it up, but it just wouldn't hold. So, Jason rummaged through his truck until he found something that would tie it down. After spending a good 10 minutes, we gave it a go. It held for about 10 seconds. Now what.
Jason suggested we head down to the local Home Depot and get a tie strip that holds rubber to pipes.... basically a plumbing fix, albeit temporary. He drove me down and we started chatting.
After picking up the hose repair, we headed back and Jason spent about 20 minutes working on tightening it down. It was a very hard spot on top and back of the engine... no clearance and the hose was definitely stretched to the max. Somehow, Jason made it work. After a bit, we started up the car and the fix held. We left the van running and I offered to buy Jason lunch for his trouble. He accepted and ordered lunch, while I washed my hands and ran off to pick up my family at the airport.
Before I left, Jason comes running out and gives me his card with his phone number on it. He also gives me some of the food I had just ordered for him and tells me I need some nourishment. He tells me that if the car has any issues, call him and he'll help. After thanking him profusely, I drive off to the airport.
About a mile away, I am pulling onto I-405 and smell that smell again.... believing I'm just burning off the fluid from the engine, I don't worry too much, but it does make me nervous. After a short while, while merging onto the freeway, it's apparent that the fix didn't hold, so I get off the freeway to a park and ride.
Per Jason's kind instructions, I give him a call. I don't know what else to do. He asks where I'm at, and offers to come help. Again.
When he arrives, we work on the fix again, but it's obvious we aren't going to get it to hold. So, we call AAA and wait. Jason knows I'm stressed about my family at the airport and offers to drive me to pick them up. Seriously.
By now, my daughter Kaiya has arrived and offers to help as well. Kaiya was planning on being there because she was excited to see her family again, but now we'd need her help to bring luggage and family to the hotel we'd be staying at that evening. We lock up the van and Jason drives me to the airport.
After arrival, we discover the flight was delayed. Then, we discover that they've misplaced our car seats for the kids, which means my family is stuck behind customs until they get all the stuff. We waited at the airport over 90 minutes. All the while, Jason kindly stood by, offering anything he could and never complained... not once. Not only did he not complain, but he smiled and just seemed to enjoy being a part of the whole chaotic scenario.
Finally, my wife comes out and we gather up the luggage and leave the airport. Jason takes the boys and I (he has an extended truck) and my wife and Cadence ride with Kaiya back to Bellevue to our airport.
After 30 minutes in traffic, even via the HOV lane, we arrive in Bellevue, just in time for AAA to have me sign off on the van and hand over the keys. Kaiya takes my wife and daughter to the hotel. Jason then drives us over to the hotel as well, where he waits about 35 minutes as I unload our entire luggage load over the course of 10 or so trips. Thank God for his truck. Tomoko brought a lot of stuff back from Japan.
I realized as I was unloading that Jason quietly helped, never complained and was actually keeping my boys entertained. What was really shocking amidst all of this was that I was actually trusting a stranger to watch over my boys as I ran items up to the room. I just knew he was a good guy. Who else would do something like this? Finally, I finished the unload.
At this time, Jason offered to take me to the rental car location to pick up a temporary since I needed to drive about 150 miles the next day and a taxi wasn't going to work. Jason took another hour out of his day to do this, ensuring I had the keys and all was well with my transportation.
So, here's the point of all this: Jason Fike, the kindest man I've met in a LONG time, deserves our business. Our friendship. Our trust. He's an amazing man who gave and gave and gave and asked for nothing in return. No gas money. No promises. Nothing. Just a good man doing good things because he was there and had the heart for it.
Hook him up, people. Hook him up. Jason Fike.
These are the personal (and sometimes business) musings of a former know-it-all.