Note: Please allow me to take a time out from my usual rants and raves to say "Thanks." Enjoy. Previous installments of my weekly blog from 2013 are located on my website at http://stevemarshallassociates.com/steves-blog/
I want to say thank you to a lot of people, but I will start first with my 2500 subscribers - Thank you! Your weekly attention and interest in what I write is still astounding to me. Frankly, I am also astounded that I have always found something to write of some substance every week for three years now. Thank you again and again and again.
In Chronological Order
- Let me start first with my family; parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles. Good and bad, you all played a significant role in developing the script I followed for the first 25 years of my life. Thank you and No Thank you!
- I had a few teachers that were memorable in my early life; Miss Miller in 7th grade; you taught me to hate math and told me I would never be good at it. Wrong, I get by fairly well, thank you. Mr. Farhm in 10th grade - you were an excellent math teacher and an even better guidance counselor. At age 16 when I first walked out of high school for violations of the dress code, you talked me into coming back and seeing the bigger picture until I just couldn't endure the factory-like education program that was the public school system in 1969. You didn't give up on me, though, and stayed in touch with me for the period I stood out from continuing my education until I went back to a Waldorf School. Thank you, Ed Farhm.
- There are so many teachers and friends at the Waldorf School I attended for the last two years of high school; it is hard to single them out. A few standout and still do; Mrs. Emmet, who made it financially possible for me to attend. David Siersdale for his love of teaching and his passion for living. Ernie Prete, David Foster, Mark Kaufman, Ann Emmet, and Derek Eaton for being such great friends that helped me along my journey to see that the world was much bigger and richer than the small town a few miles away where I was raised. Thank You!
- In the mid-70's, I attended another magical school; Franklin Pierce University. It was not magical or pivotal for its academic excellence; it was just another of the 300 liberal arts colleges in New England that sprung up post-Vietnam to grab as many of the returning vets with GI Bill benefits as they could. It survives to this day, many of the other 300 no longer exist. It was magical because it was there that I met some people that I had hoped would be lifelong friends; Rob Harris, David Hayward, Sheila Scanlon (Hayward now), Rob Murphy, and Robert Berle. We loved and lost, we succeeded and failed, we traveled, we had great and miserable adventures in the outdoors, and we managed to all learn something of value along the way. There were a few mentors and teachers that had an impact, too. Bob Condon; how you talked me off the ledge of quitting FPC several times is remarkable to this day. I still use your words of wisdom as I coach people today faced with the same sense of ennui and a "what's the point" attitude when faced with a goal that does not seem as important as it once was. You advised me, "Why not have the diploma in your hand and then say it wasn't worth it versus giving up now?" Apollon Valakis; you told us all in Sophomore Philosophy Class that we didn't know how to think, and you were right. (I think I do now.) Last on that list is Paul Kelly or P.L. as he preferred to be called. One of the most intriguing and baffling people I have ever known, he gave me his love of flying, for everything. And, by God, we did a lot of that together. He taught me how to fly every kind of airplane on the planet and even got me a job as a ferry pilot in Arkansas one summer, flying airplanes all over the south for a used airplane dealer. Thank you!
- Thank you, Robert Pirsig, for writing 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ' in 1974. You instilled in me a love for exploration and an almost instant recall for a great phrase; " Adventure is not in the guidebook, beauty is not on the map." Your book took me to Spain in 1976 to chase clouds in the Pyrenees with my hang-glider, and it took me, like you, on a fantastic cross country motorcycle trip in the early winter of 1978 to rejoin my college friend, Rob Murphy , in Washington State. There I started the 2nd major chapter of my life that took me all the way to 1993.
- I need to mention several people that figured prominently in my life during Chapter 2 of my life. Clark Townsend took a chance on me, and I took a chance on him when hired me to be the first Director of Business Development in a community college in Washington State. I am still in touch with Clark today and value the years of friendship we had then and now. Jim Fletcher drafted me from that school to join him in a consulting business that lasted on and off until I moved to Colorado in 1993. His wisdom and "Fletcher-isms" are still relevant today; I find it sad that he passed away much too young, and all I have left are those precious memories. Others from that time that I still value for their friendship and played a significant role in my crazy "30 something" years are Sharon Mackenzie, DJ Wilson, Doug Fisher, Ann-Marie Pomerinke, C. Everett Koop M.D. , Ron Thom, Jon Bengtsson, Debra Holland, and John Stephanus. I am happy to say that I am in touch with many of these people to this day. Thank you!
- Chapter 3 of my life took me and my bride, Leslee, her 14-year-old son, 6 cats, and three dogs to the Rocky Mountains in 1993 for the next 15 years to "live the dream" in Steamboat Springs, CO. This was a time of professional success, a lifestyle to die for, and immersion in a small town atmosphere. If I had to call anyplace home in my life, this would have come the closest to achieving that state of mind. Although I had to travel to make a living, I didn't care so long as I knew I was always coming back to this unique little oasis in the Rocky Mountains. I met so many wonderful people there and wherever I traveled for work, including many of you who are now subscribers to this weekly blog. Mike Holloran, Brett Bryant, Tracy Samdahl, Ed O'Brien, Scott Beaver, Lowell Whiteman, Gloria Gossard, John Kerst, Margaret Sabin, Tom Scharf, Larry Johnson, Joe Roberts, Trenia Sanford, and Amy Ploeger - Thank you!
- Chapter 4 begins on the Front Range of Colorado following financial disaster in 2008 when everything crashed around many millions of us. It was the end of an era; an era of excess, too much fun, and living for the moment. We retreated to a small town near Fort Collins, CO and started a long process of rebuilding, which continues to this day. There are some significant bright spots to mention and those center around certain people that taught me a new way of looking at life and work. First on that list is Chris Hutchinson; the person that taught me that listening and asking questions is more important than just talking. Closely following him is Richard Reardon who taught me to keep focused on what you are trying to accomplish while you are working to achieve it! The buzz word for that is 'mindfulness' and it's a good name. Try it sometime when you are in the heat of a moment and ask yourself, "What do I hope to accomplish here?" There are also many clients and people that have made my work worthwhile over the past eight years, including Dennis Cirillo, Mike Ware, Bruce Minear, Mike VanAbel, Jamie Smith, Kathay Rennels, Margaret Sabin, Adam VanAbel, Nick Cooley, Bill Ward, Bob Schmitz, Jeff Lowrance, Jennifer Thompson, and Russ Sedmak - Thank you!
- Chapter 5 is still being written, but I suspect it will still remain an adventure!
Next Week: It's a mystery.