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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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…

Everything old is new again…including my material.

I’ve came to a realization earlier today. That was: “Wait….I have a BLOG?????”  yep, I had all but forgotten (again) that I have this outlet for conversation, creativity, and bacon-related topicality.  I will admit that I had fallen into a trap that everything I say must be in 140 characters or less…but then it hit me. I’m a long-winded freak. So, here we are once again. On the precipice of random thought and expression. Those roads…should sometimes stay parallel, and never…ever, cross. If I wanted to share the inspiration that lead me here today. It’s pretty simple. Throwback. Freaking. Thursday. Yes, just trying to be somewhat creative for Throwback Thursday brought me to a review of photos that I had taken and shared over the years…and after a Lougle search of my name (I prefer to believe the events of “Hot Tub Time Machine” actually happened) , I stumbled on some very cute pictures of the Junior Ballances.

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This is how I will always think of my kids.

I had included this image to a blog post from 2008, where I shared the events of a random day with my family in Birmingham, Alabama. The full post, can be found right…………..here. Notice the easy, breezy way that I tell the story of my youngest, and a not-so-obvious mustard gas attack. I have to get back into that groove. So if, you will indulge me, I will once again share the absurdity that is my thought process in blog form.

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Dammit….I said BLOG form, not POG FORM!

It’s good to be back, America. #tbt

Has it been this long?

How wrong is it that it took me GOOGLING MY OWN NAME before I re-discovered this blog. Wow, my own narcissism, is what brought me back.

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Example of above mentioned narcissism...

I can’t deny that the past 7 years (and especially the past 2 1/2) have been interesting, if not downright scary at times. However, I am in a wonderful place, with a great company, and family that are genuinely excited about coming to Florida to live. For that…I am thankful.

I could go on and on about what has happened in my life since I last explored the blogosphere…about the experiences that life has given me, about realizing what is truly important, and how not to take the smallest things for granted. But instead:

NINJA KITTEH!!!!!!

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Little Friskies...or I pluck the dog's eye out like Pai Mei taught me.

It’s good to be back, America…

Holy crap…

Hello, blogosphere…my old friend…

How long has it been? Quite a while, I guess. If you have been a regular follower of this blog (and if you are…why?) you’ll notice I have not posted a new one in quite some time.I wish I had a good reason for this…but I don’t. So……….deal with my laziness.

I’ll have a more detailed, and humorous post in the next day or two, so until then…enjoy this photo of the awesome power of birds.