Get your rage on!

Like many others, music is a significant part of my existence. The never ending soundtrack marks every major event that I can remember, and these sounds accompany me on my daily journeys.

Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Hold my Hand” accompanied me as I left the hospital parking lot in early morning after the birth of my son. U2 spilled out of Billy Down’s room into the foyer as I entered the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house for the first time. Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever Amen” enveloped Trisha and I as we danced for the first time as husband and wife during our wedding reception.

Some memories are not so grand; As shared on twitter during a morning drive from Frankfurt to Munich, roaring down the A3 (Autobahn) at a steady 125mph while listening to Boston’s “More than a Feeling” (a favorite of my deceased father).

I expect that you know what I’m talking about, so let me share some additional examples to give you an idea of what I listen to

There is one playlist that I tend to use most often, generally when I’m heading into work in the early morning, or when I’m prepping for a key meeting… it gets the blood flowing, stirs my inner demon, and puts me in the right frame of mind

Give it a listen and share what you listen to: Alfa’s music to get your RAGE on

Until next time, be intentional.

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The Other Shoe

I’ve known that it’s been coming for some time… He’s been making plans and preparing, and his mother and I have been helping when needed. But it’s coming a little sooner than I would like. The oldest of my three children is moving out on his own today.

It’s been a long time coming, 25 years coming, and a week hasn’t gone by that I haven’t thought about days like this. When our first child was born, friends and colleagues shared stories of their parenting experiences that filled me with dread. Tales of “the terrible twos“, middle schoolers who wanted nothing to do with their parents, teens who disappeared with the family automobile, and young adults who left home to never be heard from filled my head.

I suppose that now is a good time for some background. So many friends have told me that they were happy when their kids moved out, which has left me with the impression that I am an odd ball. I adore my kids, and I absolutely love having them around… When my wife and I have celebrated our wedding anniversary, Valentines Day, birthdays, or any other notable event, the kids were there with us. They’ve always been a part of what we did as a couple.

As the kids grew older, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop… waiting to experience what others had shared… and I kept waiting, and waiting. As parents, we didn’t share in those experiences; that credit goes to my wife, as many that know me will attest, I can be a difficult friend/spouse/team-mate. Our children remained engaged, loving, and present. And as they became young adults they were a pleasure to be near.

During the years that our kids were finishing University, their mother and I were living abroad in Europe. I recall a conversation in which we were inquiring what each of them were planning for Spring Break so we could make travel arrangements to get them to Florida with their friends. Each had responded that they wanted to spend the break with us. My heart swelled.

I enjoy seeing my children each day, listening to stories of their lives. I continue to tell myself that this is not the other shoe dropping. I am so excited for this next chapter of my child’s life and the world that is opening to them. I’m certain that I’ll continue to see my son and hear from him regularly. But right now, my heart (like so many other parents in this situation) hurts at the prospect of not being able to hug him “whenever”.

If you’re able, give yours a hug, and as always, be intentional.

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Six Word Story

So… here’s the story as told to me during a recent leadership conference:

While lunching with fellow writers at The Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, renowned author Ernest Hemingway offered a wager with each person sitting at the table. Hemingway told each of them to put ten dollars in the middle of the table; if he was wrong, he said, he’d match it. If he was right, he would keep the entire pot. Hemingway claimed that he could craft an entire story in only six words. The other writers balked, and after the pot was assembled in the center of the table, Hemingway wrote “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” on a napkin, passed it around the table, and collected his winnings.

I was impressed by the simplicity of the story and struck by the power of 6 only words. Questions began to form in my head… My mind began to piece together the words and fill the gaps in what I saw as a tragic event. Others that I spoke with had different takes on the story which confirmed the power in Hemingway’s message.

The moderator of this session of the conference had shared their own six word story based on personal experiences, and after a short discussion challenged the members of our break out group to come up with their own message. Given the nature of the  message that the instructor had shared, I felt challenged to share my thoughts and feelings – they had opened up during their story, and I had come to the conclusion that for my message to resonate with my colleagues, that I would need to share of myself.

Guiding hand lost, always with me

This story is a reference to my father. I was blessed to have a relationship with my dad that I have always appreciated, but was far beyond my comprehension as a young man. As years passed, my understanding of what he had shared with me became more clear. He was a constant presence in my life sharing his wisdom, love, & values. He was the confidant who coached, mentored, & supported me in the decisions that would be the foundation for who I would become.

And years after he has passed on, I regularly recognize his influence in my thoughts and actions as a professional, friend, and parent.

What’s your six word story?

As always, be intentional

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Best Music

Updates to the BEST MUSIC list… As a reminder, here’s how it works: one song per artist; list is in no order of favorites, only listed by artist. I welcome any and all feedback.

  • AC DC – Shoot to Thrill
  • Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion
  • Alice Cooper – Under My Wheels
  • Alice in Chains – Them Bones
  • Allman Brothers – Whipping Post
  • Amanda Palmer – Coin Operated Boy
  • Bad Brains – I Against I
  • Beach Boys – Surfin USA
  • Beastie Boys – Sabotage
  • Beck – Loser
  • Big Country – In a Big Country
  • Bitter Sweet Alley – Time to Move
  • Blink 182 – The Rock Show
  • The Blues Brothers – Hey Bartender
  • Blur – Song 2
  • Bob Marley – Could You be Loved
  • Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
  • Buckcherry – Lit Up
  • Bullet Boys – Smooth Up In Ya
  • Buzzcocks – Ever fallen in love
  • Boston – More than a Feeling
  • B-52′s – Rock Lobster
  • Cheap Trick – Surrender
  • The Clash – Train in Vain
  • Coheed & Cambria – In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth
  • The Cramps – God Damn Rock ‘N’ Roll
  • The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
  • The Darkness – I Believe in a thing called Love
  • Death – Keep on Knocking
  • David Bowie – Space Oddity
  • Dead Kennedy’s – Holiday in Cambodia
  • Dead Milkmen – Bitchin’ Camaro
  • DEATH – Keep on Knocking
  • Def Leppard – High ‘n’ Dry
  • Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus
  • Drowning Pool – Bodies
  • Elvis Costello – What’s So Funny (’bout peace, love, & understanding)
  • Fabulous Thunderbirds – Tuff Enuff
  • Fastway – Easy Livin’
  • The Fixx – One Thing Leads to Another
  • Five Finger Death Punch – Under and Over it
  • Flipp – Freak
  • Foo Fighters – Everlong
  • Foxy Shazam – I like it
  • George Michael – Faith
  • The Grateful Dead – China Cat Sunflower / Know you Rider
  • Georgia Satellites – Battleship Chains
  • Godsmack – Keep Away
  • Guns N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle
  • Halestorm – Love Bites (but so do I)
  • Hank Williams – I’m so Lonely I could cry
  • Heartless Bastards – Parted Ways
  • Iggy Pop – Lust for Life
  • INXS – Listen Like Thieves
  • Iron Maiden – The Trooper
  • J. Geils Band – Musta Got Lost (live)
  • Joe Jackson – Is she really going out with Him
  • Judas Priest – Desert Plains
  • Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
  • Kaiser Chiefs – I predict a Riot
  • Kid Rock – All Summer Long
  • Kings – This Beat Goes on / Switchin to Glide
  • Kingsmen – Louie Louie
  • KISS – Strutter
  • KIX – Cold Blood
  • Led Zepplin – Kashmir
  • Leonard Cohen – First we take Manhattan
  • Lit – My own worst Enemy
  • Living Colour – Cult of Personality
  • Marilyn Manson – Mob Scene
  • Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend
  • Meatloaf – Paradise by the Dashboard light
  • Merle Haggard – I think I’ll just stay here and Drink
  • The Misfits – Die, Die my Darling
  • Motley Crue – Too Fast for Love
  • Nightwish – Amaranth
  • New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle
  • Nick Lowe – Cruel to be Kind
  • Nirvana – Smells like Teen Spirit
  • Outkast – Hey Ya!
  • Otep – Confrontation
  • Otis Redding – Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
  • Ozzy Osbourne – Over the Mountain
  • Paramore – crush crush crush
  • Pearl Jam – Alive
  • Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
  • Police – Don’t Stand So Close
  • Pop Evil – Boss’s Daughter
  • Primus – My Name is Mud
  • Prince – Kiss
  • Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Quiet Riot – Slick Black Cadillac
  • RATT – Round & Round
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge
  • REM – Radio Free Europe
  • Rod Stewart – Maggie May
  • Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
  • The Romantics – What I like about You
  • Ramones – I Wanna be Sedated
  • Rancid – Roots Radicals
  • Rick James – Superfreak
  • Sam & Dave – Soul Man
  • Sam Cooke – Chage is gonna Come
  • Sammy Kershaw – Queen of my Double Wide Trailer
  • Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant
  • Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings
  • Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin
  • Squeeze – Black Coffee in Bed
  • Steve Miller Band – Take the Money and Run
  • Stevie Wonder – Superstition
  • Stone Temple Pilots – Sex Type Thing
  • Sublime – What I got
  • Suicidal Tendencies – I Saw Your Mommy
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Veruca Salt – Seether
  • Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy
  • Weezer – Buddy Holly
  • The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
  • White Zombie – Super-Charger Heaven
  • Willie Nelson (with the Highwaymen) – The City of New Orleans
  • Wilson Pickett – In the Midnight Hour
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