Friday, August 23, 2013

Refusing the call

Refusing the call

Our next section is that the hero at first hesitates to leave on his journey. This section focuses on fears, insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy.

For me, I know I refuse to leave on my journey to look for new careers because I am scared that I may find something worse. I may bring Laura somewhere where she is not happy. I might not be successful in my new endeavor. What if we don't have as good of a home as we have now? What if we don't see family as much?

In the mythic stories, not going is not an option. Our hero must accept, otherwise something of great significance will be jeopardized.

If I take my insecurities listed above, and apply a mindfulness mindset (thanks Michelle!) I can really start to calm these worries. Even develop a need to set out on my journey. What if my job that I am doing now becomes obsolete? What if layoffs happen and I haven't reached out to network with others?

Perhaps I need to write about mindfulness in general. This is a new topic to me that I am still working on understanding. Typically people use the term meditate. For some reason, I have a different connotation when I think of meditation, perhaps because I typically think of it in a religious sense. By mindful, I mean that each moment is lived in the present. Have you ever driven to work, to the grocery store, and found yourself lost in your thoughts? All of a sudden you are turning into the parking lot and don't remember how you drove the past few miles, like your car has been on autopilot. This is the opposite of being mindful. You have let time slip by while your mind was wandering about the past or the future, all while missing out on the present moment. The art of being mindful allows us to be present and aware of every precious moment in life.

I will work on a blog post for techniques to help be more mindful. If you have any to share, I would love to learn. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Calling

I am sorry for leaving you with a cliffhanger and not adequately introducing the hero's journey. Let's jump in.

Marc uses the hero's journey as a way to explore ourselves. Too often we get stuck in the same routine and the same habits that we lose site of our purpose for waking up each day; we even lose sight of our life's purpose. The goal of this journey is to drop our usual habits and assumptions, what Marc calls our our "fixed story," so that we can move along a path towards effectiveness and happiness.

Marc borrows this idea from a mythologist that examined stories from every culture and time period in history and noticed trends among all of them. Three of the main ideas can be summed up by a journey of a hero. Imagine our hero, living comfortably in his home with his family, who is called to leave for some purpose. Our hero enters the unknown and enters trials and tribulations through which he is challenged. This journey finally concludes with him returning home transformed with the knowledge and wisdom from his experiences.

Marc recommends breaking these down into the steps that I mentioned earlier to define our purpose. So let's begin with step one - the calling.

Step 1 - The Calling

What is it that you are called to do? What is your purpose on this planet? What is your noble calling at home, at work, in relationships, and on your spiritual path? The hero doesn't leave his comfortable home for a reason, there must be a calling. Here are some of my thoughts on what makes me leave home and what makes me want to be a better person.

  • I want to be a more proactive leader.
  • I want to be more confident.
  • I want to speak up more in important situations.
  • I desire to make the areas and people in my life match with my life balance.
  • I want to be more relaxed.
  • I want to develop mindfulness.
  • I want to develop a strong technical background.
  • I want to make an impact in the world.
  • I want to teach others.
What are some of your thoughts on your calling? I'm sure that I have much more, but I can't get them all out at once. Our next step is to take notes each day on our thoughts of these callings and how they relate to the events in our lives. I am interested to hear what you guys think. Stay tuned for my notes, as well as the subsequent steps to create our journey, together!

As always, I would love your feedback on my blog. I'm just getting started and love to hear what could use improvement.

Friday, August 16, 2013


The hero never succeeds alone. At some point he must rely on the help of others, whether it be a skill, specific knowledge, or as simple as pointing in the right direction. Who are your allies, and what skills do they possess?

At work, I have developed a small group of people called the Network. Our goal is to improve community at Peterbilt by improving employees both professionally and socially. This group is a set of like minded individuals that all meet to work on projects together. I find that these coworkers exemplify many different characteristics, which I love being able to tap into. Brent Hankins is my age, and is a great guide because he is insatiably curious. He reminds me of the way Jason and I talk, and he always has excellent new ideas. Brent is open to challenges, and helps to open me up to these ideas as he is pursuing a MBA while taking a startup business MOOC. I want to have the guts to put myself out there like Brent. Scott has an attitude that I appreciate and would like to emulate. He comes to work in lime green pants, pink socks, and doesn't care what others think. He likes being unique and individualistic without worry of others opinions. Perhaps our Network group can grow to allow each of us to help guide the other through our own journeys.

Josh Switkes is a mentor that I recently developed a relationship with. He graduated Stanford with his PhD in mechanical engineering and created his own company to essentially allow trucks to drive themselves. He has an amazing drive, as he is always applying for grants, he approached us at Peterbilt to get us on board as a sponsor, and he always seems very clear with his communication. One day I contacted him privately to get some advice to see how he got where he was. We had a wonderful phone discussion, but I have not followed up since. Now that I am analyzing this, it seems that I am afraid to rekindle communication with him because I don't want to bother him. This is silly in hindsight because he really was approachable when asked for advice. Same goes for Dr. Jacobs, too. I need to rekindle contact with him, but i haven't because i don't want to take time away from his students.

Of course, if you are reading this, you are definitely one of my guides. Jason is a great guide through my life, and is probably one of the only outside guides that i have actively contacted asking for help. What I love most about my relationship with Jason, is that he offers help even when I am not actively asking. This leads back to the book, where Marc says that often guides withhold advice until specifically requested for help. Loved ones are often eager to be asked of their opinion and expertise, but we, the hero, do not reach out enough to enlist their help. How many of your guides that you can think of have you reached out to? Why don't we actively pursue advice from others?

I love this blog so far because I love feedback, and I especially love advice. I have received some wonderful comments from people that I would have never expected to hear from. I received some advice from Michelle who I was ecstatic to hear from. I love that through this blog, we are able to stimulate some wonderful conversation with each other. I also heard from my aunt Susy who shared some feedback that I had never heard before, but really brought me closer to her.

To dive into advice, Let me share a story from my days as an instructor at Texas world speedway. As an instructor, I had probably put thousands of miles on the track in days worth of track time in my E30 M3. I loved driving, and I felt one with my car. One day, I invited someone to ride along with me in one of the instructor sessions. After the 20 minute session was over, we pulled into the pits, and I remember asking what they thought as they pulled their helmet off. "It was amazing! You couldn't have driven the car any harder. You were driving as fast as that car could take you." Now, you might be thinking that this would be a great ego boost, but to be honest, it was one of the biggest disappointments that I ever had while driving. What do you mean that I can't go any faster? If that was it, then what is the point in ever doing another lap? I would much rather hear critical, constructive feedback on how to improve, but as we know, our society and our social structure isn't used to this philosophy.

To wrap this up, especially since I have spent longer than my 6 minutes for a speed blog, I want to finish with the best guide that I could have ever met. Perhaps I can share some advice to you guys. (Marc does state that if you request help from your guides, chances are that you should be prepared to assist them at some point). I have been asked before how I knew Laura was the right woman to marry. My response was, "You know how everyone says that when you know, you know? They are right." Now, my advice at the time may not have been the most helpful to those who haven't been there, but now that I have developed more wisdom since then, let me rephrase my previous advice. When you meet someone that freely offers you advice that you thirst for, when you want to develop yourself to be a better person for them, when you love their affirmation, respect, and trust that they share with you, when that person sees your dreams and does everything in their power to help you achieve them - it is then that you know you have met the perfect person to be your soulmate.

Conceiving my hero's journey

Welcome to my blog!

What is this you might ask? Well, I have always appreciated reading other blogs, especially when they use them to stay accountable or publish new thoughts. A shout goes out to my brother Jason and my sister-in-law Brittany. I really appreciate that Jason wants to write more so that he can get better at it. I feel the same, but have always been too scared to start. I love that Brittany keeps up with her blog, as it gives me insight into her life and the things that she is going through. This leads into this blog!

Why we're here...

I have been reading a new book titled Know Yourself, Forget Yourself by Marc Lesser. 

The subtitle of the book is "Five truths to transform your work, relationships, and everyday life." I have read about a quarter of the book, but I have already gone through chills, euphoria, and tears in my reading. 

As part of the book, there are exercises that he recommends to do to help follow along and improve yourself. Of course, I have always put these off, deciding to do them later. Perhaps when I re-read the book. Uh-huh, yea right. As I was reading last night on my flight back from Detroit to Dallas, I noticed that I was not reading this book as much as I was when I started. My hesitation comes from the fact that I know I am tackling the book with half-effort, and now I am starting to put off reading the book because I feel bad that I'm not doing all of the activities that I should. Taking Jason's cliff jumping mentality (start leaning over the edge and you can't go back), I pulled out my laptop and started writing. 

In order to make myself more accountable, I am starting this blog to document my work through my book. My goals are to continue the blog so that my family can keep up to date with my life, but also so you can hopefully learn as I do.

Step One

To step right in, I'm going to let this flow so as to get my writing down. I apologize if it isn't perfect, I am trying to work on reducing perfectionism so I can tackle and accomplish tasks (yes, this blog is working already)!

Let's start off in the book with something called: Conceiving your hero's journey. By engaging in the process of creating a hero's journey, the purpose is to feel clearer about each days mission and your life's mission. The stages to creating this story, or journey are:
  1. The calling
  2. Refusing the call
  3. Guides
  4. Trials
  5. Power
  6. Integration
  7. Returning Home
I'll document my thinking as I go through each of these steps with you in additional blog posts. Thanks for reading!