An open letter to my team…

This may be one of the hardest things I’ve ever written…

On February 26th, 2014…I walked into 250 Commercial Street and was formally introduced to my new team.  It was a day full of excitement and hope for the future.  I was giddy.  I met some truly amazing people, and felt within seconds that I had found my permanent home.  The staff was so accommodating and ready to win, and I couldn’t wait to lead them into battle.

Over the course of nearly 3 ½ years, they became my family. Some, closer than others…but we were tight-knit and genuinely loved one-another. Sure, like all families…we had good days and bad days, but we always felt together. And I was proud. Proud to be the one to carry the flag and defend them against all enemies. We reached milestones that hadn’t been seen in years, including the first #1 book with Women 25-54 in 13 years. That was a prideful moment…and I was so happy for my team and their achievements.

Then…things began to change.

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I became an equal partner in a great deception. My judgment became clouded, and I began to show favoritism. I didn’t think it was obvious, but upon further review…perhaps it was more noticeable than I knew.  Slowly, as much as I preached the “team” concept…I began to selfishly insulate myself, only focusing on certain people in order to maintain the deceit.  I hate to say it, but we were pretty good at keeping things quiet for the most part. That is a blessing and a curse.

I still attempted to maintain the “coach and team” mentality with my staff. Regularly building them up with motivational tools, and inspirational quotes. They all know that one of my favorite things to do, was show a clip from a movie at the end of my staff meetings.  The speech from ”Miracle”, the final race in “Seabiscuit”, or a motivational moment from “Moneyball”. I always felt like their mentor, and wanted them to win. Yet was engaging in behavior that would ultimately lead to division and my own downfall.

I was deceptive…

I was wrong…

But, I was not the only one…

Having a relationship with a co-worker not only clouds the lines of loyalty, but eventually…leads to destruction of long lasting friendships. I went out of my way to protect one person, and make their life easier every chance I could.  I listened to their many complaints and near constant negativity…about the job, and their co-workers, and did what I could to make life easier for one, all while being played like an instrument in their own self-indulgence.  When they complained about being interrupted in the studio, I put up “keep out” signs. When they complained about not having enough time to get things done, I reassigned production duties. This was only going to end badly, and that’s exactly what happened.

I will not get into too many specifics about how things ended, but instead want to make sure everyone who trusted me understands how I feel about this…and them. It can be summed up in one short sentence…

I am…….so fucking sorry.

Not just for my actions, but for the fact that you were led along in this deception. That I put my own wants and needs (and the wants and needs of my partner-in-crime) ahead of all of you. That as much as I preached it, I never practiced the idea of “Team First”.  I insulated myself and focused on one person and their well-being, rather than my job of helping you achieve your goals. For that, I am sorry.

The regret and remorse I feel over my darkest moment really pales in comparison to the hurt and sorrow I feel over letting my team down.  That’s the hardest thing to live with in this…that I left them high and dry. I turned a blind eye to the needs of the many, while only focusing on the desires of one. However, I was not the only one to do that.  As the saying goes: “It takes two to tango”.  I never wanted to run away from this problem, and refuse to abandon my team, put my head in the sand, and ignore the past. Because, I’m no longer selfish. I’m not a singular entity…and yet, I know there is one more apology that SHOULD be given by the other half of this…but it will never happen. Because of their own pride…and lack of awareness. Put simply, that apology won’t come because they do not care about anyone else. Period.

I will not try to elevate myself over anyone, especially since I fell so far down the dark path that my future is still not certain. But, I face that future knowing that my actions were wrong in being an equal partner in this deceit of my team.  Yes…an equal partner.

I’m not sure what is worse…my judgment being clouded over 3 years…or completely abandoning your “friends” for your own selfish interests. I will admit it…I was wrong. I put my own heart and selfish desires before those who mattered most. I owe everyone I heartfelt apology. It took the worst experience possible to finally show me that. You will always be in my heart, and I will always consider you all to be my greatest achievement…and worst personal failure. I was part of a deception. And my team deserves to hear from me how much I care about them, and how much sadness I have over this outcome. And, I’m not the only person who owes them that. But, rather than show some sense of compassion…there are those who would rather slam that door behind them, lighting a match as they cross a bridge without a care in the world about who they abandoned and hurt. They rather celebrate the fact that they were able to run away from their problems, rather than deal with them and admit their failings. Then again, I saw it every day, and even helped them avoid that responsibility. I guess music really is important to some people, because they will never admit that they played everybody for a long time…and continue to do so.

I miss my team. I love all of you…and I will never forget the good times. Yet, I will always feel sorrow for the fact that I placed my own foolish interests…and those of someone else…ahead of yours. You deserved my best, and I failed you.

The karma train caught up with me…and it’s not done. But, there are those who can try to avoid it at every turn…but will eventually meet it as well, it’s the way of the world. When it does catch up with them…it will not be a happy sight.

If you have regrets, don’t bury them. Admit your mistakes. Ask forgiveness. Become a better person. Prove that you can be trustworthy…prove that regardless of your mistakes, that somewhere inside…a good person still exists within you. That’s my goal. And, I should not be alone in feeling that way…

 

I am…….so fucking sorry.

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Not another typical Tuesday…

The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started like any other day. Things started at our house in Rancho Cucamonga, California around 5am each day. Brenda had been up feeding our infant daughter Allyn, while I got ready for my midday show at KBIG 104 in Los Angeles. The studios were in Glendale, and the drive each way in the morning was a brutish 2 ½ hours.  As I got ready, Brenda had prepared our oldest, Daryn for school. She had just started kindergarten at a catholic school in Pasadena, which was convenient due to my commute. The rule of thumb was, be out the door by 6-6:15, be at work by 9.

A little after 5:45 in the morning, I came downstairs, flipped on the TV in the front room, and walked to the kitchen to make my lunch. I was only half listening when the news broke of a tragic accident in New York. A plane had struck one of the towers of The World Trade Center.  I didn’t pay much attention at first, and didn’t really look up, thinking it was a private plane or something similar.  I then turned to the television, and saw the cameras now trained on the massive firestorm sweeping the building. All I could think of, was that this was a terrible accident and that something had to go very wrong with that airplane. The last thing on my mind, was that it was no accident.

I finished making lunch, when Brenda came down with Allyn and Daryn. Daryn was wearing her school uniform, and we were getting ready to leave.  I showed Brenda the TV, and we both agreed that this was a terrible accident. I walked out to my car, and walked back in just in time to see the immediate aftermath of the impact of the 2nd tower being struck by another jumbo jet. Brenda and I stared at the TV in horror. Instantly, a tragic accident had become an obvious act of war. I looked at Brenda, holding Allyn, and looked down at Daryn…and realized what was going on. Our world, was changing at that instant.

I buckled Daryn into the car, and gave my wife and infant daughter a kiss, and headed off to work and school…not sure exactly of what to do.

As I drove, I stayed with the local news radio stations for updates. There were reports of other hijackings, and the order that all planes must land immediately.  Traffic seemed to move more slowly than ever.  As if the entire world, was in a catatonic state.  I heard the reports of planes striking The Pentagon…a rumor that one was headed for The Capitol or White House…and the chaos that was unfolding 3000 miles away. At that, I thought of the large skyscrapers in Downtown Los Angeles, which were beginning to come into view. Would one of those be next? Even my daughter…who usually chatted idly in the backseat…was unusually quiet.

Then, the unthinkable. The radio crackles with word that one of the towers had…in fact…collapsed. It didn’t seem possible. Just 7 months prior, I had flown to Rochester, New York for a job interview with Infinity Broadcasting…and remember seeing the Twin Towers in the distance as my connecting flights landed at JFK. Now…that skyline was forever changed.  Then…the word of the 2nd tower collapse. I then turned on The Howard Stern Show (which I usually did not listen to in the car with my 5 year old), and heard the actual human reaction to the tragedy…my heart broke hearing the voices of people who had friends who had presumably, just lost their lives.

Sitting in traffic on the 210 Freeway, I looked out over the San Gabriel Valley. Usually, you could see planes lining up for miles headed into LAX, This morning, the skies went eerily quiet.  It was surreal. Eventually, we got off the freeway and took side streets through Monrovia, Arcadia, and Pasadena to get to Daryn’s school. I was unsure if I should drop her off, but saw that many parents were leaving their kids there. It seemed logical, that this school should realistically be one of the safest places for my child that day. I walked Daryn to her class, gave her a kiss, and walked back to my car. As I walked, I passed by the school flagpole. The flag was still at full-mast, and several other parents had stopped to look up. I did the same, said a quiet prayer, and then gave the flag a salute with a tear in my eye.

I drove on into Glendale, arriving at KBIG just after 9. My show started at 10, but we were in full simulcast mode. We were airing audio from Fox News across all of our stations in the building. I went into the studio, with the instruction that we still needed to play spots.  Every so often, I would do a station ID and play a spotblock. That was it. We attempted to play music again at around 1pm, but the word came from corporate to stay with the news feed. We also had a fear that if terror attacks were widespread, what would happen at our building? We were on the 8th floor, but on the ground level…was an IRS office. Fear that the IRS would be targeted began to take hold, and some people opted to leave.  I stayed behind…because commercials had to play.

That afternoon, I picked up my daughter, hugged her tight, and drove home.  Brenda could not sleep, and stayed up each night feeding the baby and watching news coverage.  I tried hard in the passing days to maintain some sense of normalcy, continuing the routine of driving my daughter to school each day, and then working on the air as we eventually returned to the routine of playing the hits.  From time to time, rumors would pop up…that envelopes in our mailroom had white powder in them…things like that which were always unfounded.  But, the images of the television that morning are seared into my mind eternally.

Last Christmas, I was able to visit the 9-11 Memorial with my family, and the memories of that morning all flooded back…as they do each September 11th

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Never forget…

Silence…is not golden.

Have you ever hidden a truth from someone about a part of your life, simply because you didn’t want to deal with the fallout?

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As humans, it is virtually impossible to be truthful 24/7. It is not in our nature, as we are sinful beings. We can strive for perfection, but must anticipate that we will never actually achieve that goal. The biggest challenge, is when rather than simply lie…you withhold information and details that are detrimental to the people around you. It’s dishonesty, through omission.  Let me give you a couple of examples that hit very close to home…

First, I have mentioned a relationship that ended poorly, not through the normal “parting of the ways”, but through a pattern of mistrust, denial, and deception. Mind you, I was not honest either in that I was unfaithful against my wife with this person, and kept that secret for years.  But, the door did swing both ways, and as much as I stayed open with someone…I never felt they were honest with me in any way, due to what was NOT being said. After we had decided to separate from our existing relationships and move forward, I saw countless signs that my partner was not going to be honest with me, in continuing a dialog with her ex.  Mind you, I had these suspicions for MONTHS, in that I knew she had been in contact with several other people during this time, and was continuing clandestine text conversations with other men (including another co-worker).

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But, this deception seemed normal to them, and only served to damage any chance we would have had, no matter how many declarations of love they had given me.  Plus, they were never going to be able to cut off all that extracurricular behavior, which is not an easy task for them…due to their egotistic need for continual approval. I knew about those other subjects, and tried to avoid the truth. Trust me, if they had been HONEST from the outset about this, it would have been easier to make the right choices with a clear conscience. The fear, is that this pattern will never end for them…and I worry that another heart will be broken. If they could not be honest and open with me, is there ANY CHANCE at all for their new relationship? Unless full disclosure occurs, that answer is no. His heart is going to get hurt, badly. But, I would assume that there is still extremely little dialog between the two of them, even about me…much less about anyone else that may want to remain hidden, in their phone, or online. Ignorance…is not bliss.

In my situation, I can absolutely take ownership of the fact that my deception was in full effect.  But, not just in this matter of the heart, I withheld information to simply avoid issues, things like how much our power bill was, where I had spent a weekend afternoon, et al. I would have rather lived in a bubble and “have my cake and eat it too”. Until finally, I couldn’t keep up the deception, and chose the nuclear option.

Some people can live with constant deception in order to have the life they choose…some can live in a world where “don’t ask, don’t tell” about a partner’s behavior is completely okay.  That, is a recipe for disaster. I have come clean about my indiscretions, and am dealing with the consequences.  Until someone else does in their world…happiness, will only be temporary, and they will live in a perpetual circle of distrust, and sadness.

Forgiveness and Family…

Today, it’s all about forgiveness and family. I KNOW I’ve been, at times, the worst person in the world.  However, those who don’t hear it enough…are my family. Especially, the lovely Mrs. Lance…

She’s been through a lot. I gave up my life for a fantasy. In doing that, I hurt the person who stood by me through everything. The person who was my strength while I spent time in service of the Commonwealth. It sucked what I did, and again…you don’t go out for stale hot dogs, when you have steak at home.

Love you, Brenda! I am sorry… Now, in my own words…

Second Guessing an Emotional Choice…

I’ve been in this situation before. Waiting for the phone to ring…sitting on a beach that looks like a couch, and hoping that I can get back in the game shortly. Usually, these situations were as a result of downsizing, or making too much money for the company’s tastes. To quote Chumbawumba “I get knocked down, but I get up again…” But, I have never…EVER…knowingly quit a job without having something else lined up ready to go. Sometimes, that’s not the case…

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I’m sorry, you’re not quite what we were looking for.

I know this was purely an emotional choice, and not rational.  I worry that now, in the realization that their next paycheck will be the last, the world that they have always known, and the life they’ve always expected to live will crumble like a house of cards. Suddenly, you no longer have control of your own life. You no longer make the decisions for you. You are now at the mercy of a faceless, uncaring interviewer who doesn’t see what you think makes you unique and special. They only see someone who will fit as a cog in the machine.

Life…will change. And usually never for the better. No more running to the store to buy expensive craft beer. No more going out to eat when the mood strikes…it’s crunch time.  Time to figure out what is truly important.

When you abruptly leave, you lose some rights and privileges. If you had wanted to get back in the business you worked in, chances are your previous employer will fight it. In this case, they won’t work in the field they’ve chosen for at least 6 months, because of a non-compete clause. If you quit, they always hold you to that. Also, your medical insurance…when you quit, unless you  are on someone else’s health plan, that goes away too. So, you need to pray that you never get sick.

In addition, if you didn’t make a whole lot of money to begin with, chances are…margins were a bit thin financially. If you carried credit cards, how are you going to pay those balances without a steady paycheck? You may have had good credit, but having been in this situation…that is going to change, and change fast.

Most importantly, keeping a roof over your families head.  In this case, while there may be someone who could help…are they willing to have you and perhaps children move in with them, because you lost your living arrangement? That always causes an issue in any relationship, especially if you were enjoying just hanging out and having fun. Suddenly, you become their dependent, and they have an instant family that they may not have been expecting.

As you can see, it’s always better to think a plan through and make a rational decision…rather than simply saying “FUCK THIS” and walking out the door. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here. I pray that their downtime is short. But, in this day and age, it is so much harder to get a job, unless you have truly specialized skills that are actually in demand. Expect that the next job, will be much worse and more monotonous. Hard and fast hours, no spending hours on Facebook or texting friends nonstop, and not nearly as many vacation days. You take what you can get, not what you want.

Better to wait and do the right thing…rather than act without thinking…and be forced to settle. Unfortunately, I think I know how this story is going to end…sadly.

My Private Prison

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It’s not easy…never has been for me.  Just when I think I have something wonderful, I have this tendency to virtually ball it up and throw it in the garbage. It’s a pattern that I’ve seen with myself time and time again. And now, I’ve saved the best for last.

I cannot get into too much detail, but the past month and a half has been the worst of my life, because of my actions and reactions. Now, I am not in a position to restart my life as of yet, because of my actions and reactions. Eventually, yes, but my private prison is the space in my mind where I know what I should have, and could have done to avoid all of this. To those I loved, it feels like I have died. One day, the Lance they all knew and loved was there, and the next…he was just a memory, replaced by a tragic figure.

There are those who meant so much more to me than others in my life…so much more. I will always feel regret for how things turned out with them, and only wish them happiness, and offer my apologies for hurting them. My mind…is a private prison that I cannot escape from, and my memories, are just as vivid now as they were 5 weeks ago.

I’ve been through hell in the past month, with no end in sight just yet…and am doing what I can to change the world for myself, so that I never have to face the experiences that I recently endured, again.

As I said, there are those who I will always remember, some much more than others. I will miss the experiences we all shared, the challenges we overcame, and the team and friendship we all enjoyed. Those memories will never fade.

In the meantime, I believe that God has a plan for all of us. His plan for me, was to take me off of a road that has no good destination, and give me pause.  He knew I could not make the right choice, so he placed me in a position where all I could do, was work on bettering myself. Your prayers, are so very appreciated.

I am exceptional. I must keep reminding myself of that, in order to learn from my mistakes. I will no longer settle for second best, and will make sure that my happiness always comes first. If you feel you may be settling…change your course. I could not in time. I almost settled for a life that I would have regretted, and now I have more regret than I ever could have imagined…

Escape the prison in your mind, while you still can. Here are some articles that will help you do just that…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-pattakos/escaping-your-inner-menta_b_327332.html

https://www.earlytorise.com/5-steps-to-escape-your-mental-prison/

 

The Road Less Traveled…

Well, here we are again.

July 28, 2017. To say that the past few weeks and months have been odd, is an understatement of epic proportion. Soon, I’ll be posting up some journals and thoughts about the world, and what I’ve been through lately. So be sure to watch this space.  I am getting back to blogging, writing, and also therapeutically putting “pen to paper” so to speak.

The road less traveled, is the one I’ve been on recently…through very, very good times…and very, very sad.  Right now, it’s all about the reset button. Starting over, while remembering those I love and have loved, and promising to be a better person for the good of the world, and for myself. I’ve seen so much negativity lately…both in my personal and professional lives.  I wish that people would realize that nothing is so important that it should cloud your world, yet I saw it all the time. I wish nothing but love to those absent friends, that they find peace and happiness somehow. Trust me, if you want to see true negativity…I wish you could have walked in my shoes this past month.

Keep watching this space. I’ll also post reminders up online of new blog entries. Some of these…will absolutely shock you. 🙂

Be good to each other…prayers are powerful, and love like you mean it.

After all, it is what it is…