Thursday, February 26, 2015

One Step Back = Many Steps Forward

On Jan 1, 2015, I posted a blog about my double edge shaving experience.  The post, called Ritual, discussed my experience of going back in time to the days of double edge razor shaving.

In the blog I listed all of the shaving paraphernalia that was working for me.

Merkur Long Handled Razor

Feather Double Edged Blades

Poraso Shaving Soap and AfterShave

And it is all still working and working well.  However, I'm open to improve anything, so today I added an additional product to my shaving line up.  That isn't quite right.  Let me try it again.  Today I added a new miracle product.  Thayers Unscented Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera.

Before I tell you about Thayers and shaving, let me assure you it isn't just for shaving.  In fact, Christina was using it as a skin toner before I added it to my shaving lineup.  And, when I posted the link to the product on Amazon, I noted that it has 413 reviews.  Think about that, 413, now 414 customers think enough of witch hazel with aloe vera that they posted a review.  You might be saying to yourself, this could be worth checking out, and if you are saying that, let me assure you that it is.

I should also note that I didn't use it as the instructions suggested.  I splashed it on my face before I lathered up and afterwards.  And the bottom line is, a shave that I didn't think could get any closer, did.

Do you remember all the things your mother used witch hazel for?  This souped up version will do all of them and more and it does it at a very reasonable price.  You can trust me on that.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Just Make The Call

James A. Ryder
I didn't spend a lot of time in corporate America.  A year as a dispatcher with a propane company on a salary 30% less than I'd made in Vietnam, followed by a year as a Marketing Rep with Southern Bell, a long defunct AT&T regional company.  My year with Southern Bell was spent in training, selling, and fighting mindless corporate bureaucracy.
Since I was leading my group in sales, terminating me wasn't an option my supervisors wanted to choose.  They did something infinitely better, from my point of view.  Tom Cassidy,  who had hired me, took me to lunch and over apple pie and coffee said, "Bert, you're doing great...I knew you would." Then without pausing he said, "But, I don't think you're very happy with us, and I have an idea that you'd fit right in at Ryder Truck Rental."  He was right on both counts, and  thanks to a great recommendation from Tom to Ryder's Vice President of Personnel, within a month I was Ryder's One Way Dealer Manager in Birmingham, Alabama.  

Altogether I spent twelve years with Ryder.  I worked in three districts and reported to five district managers during my time with the company, but I always knew I was working for Jim Ryder, the founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board.  It's not often you get to work for a legend, but I had the good fortune of doing just that.  I could tell Jim Ryder stories for a long time, but that isn't my point with this post.  For my purpose here, I'm only going to tell only one.

In 1974, each Ryder District was a profit center managed by a District Manager.  I was the Rental Manager in Jacksonville, Florida.  The workday was about done and a couple of us were in the DM's office rehashing the day, when his secretary stuck her head in the door and said, "Excuse me, John.  I wouldn't interrupt but Mr. Ryder is on the line for you."

John smiled at us and said, "He probably want's to tell me what a good a job I'm doing."  We started to leave, but he motioned us back to our chairs as he hit the speaker phone button.  "Good afternoon, Jim.  To what do I owe this pleasure?"

Jim's soft baritone rolled into the office, "Hi John.  I just wanted to tell you about a phone conversation I just had with one of your fuel island attendants."

Jim went on to tell John Ridenour that John Stephens, the fuel island attendant, had told him how he felt he had been cheated out of $767.00 in overtime pay and that every effort he had made to discuss the situation with his office manager and district manager had failed to resolve the matter to his satisfaction.  When he finished relating the conversation he'd had with the unhappy employee, he paused then said, "Would you like to know what I did John?"

All casualness had vanished from John's voice when he said, "Yes Sir, I sure would."

Jim chuckled and said, "It's simple John, I gave him the money.  You see, when any Ryder employee is so concerned about a situation in his district that he  calls me, I always give him what he wants.  Always.  Then you know what I do John?"

"No sir, I don't know."

"Whatever I give the employee, I simply charge back to the District Manager's bonus, because it's something they should have handled in the first place."

There was a bit more to the conversation, but it's not relevant to this story.  What matters is what Jim told John.  When someone reaches the point where they feel they must call the Chairman of the Board, he or she will get everything they ask for.  And my point is, there is a way for you to contact the Chairman of Your Board and it is as simple as a phone call.  Here's how it works.

In 1992, Julia Cameron wrote a book called The Artist's Way.  The book
describes a simple procedure that Julia calls the Morning Pages.  I think of them as a way to bypass the District Manager and go directly to the Chairman of the Board, and I'm not the only one who thinks that way.  The book has never been out of print in the 22 years since it was published and it has sold over four million copies.  

Is there something in your life you're having an issue with, that you'd like to talk to someone about or that you want resolved.  Try the Morning Pages.

Check the link above - you will find 745 customer reviews that will tell you a lot more about the practice than I did.   When you're convinced, buy the book and begin writing your morning pages - It's just like placing a call to the Chairman of the Board.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Don't You Have Another Gear?

My first car was a 1954 Plymouth.  It was mechanically sound, yet in sad shape otherwise.  I spent twice as much as I originally paid for it to have the rusted out floorboards replaced, extensive bodywork done, and finally a beautiful coat of light metallic green paint applied.

The car had a six cylinder, straight six engine, and a three speed transmission with a steering column mounted shifter.  I named her "Bullfrog." Bullfrog wasn't fast, and she handled badly on a good day, and very badly on a bad one, but she served me well until I caught the motorcycle bug and traded her for a 1957 Harley Duo Glide, which turned out to be the first of a string of three Harley's I owned through the years.

When I told my father I was getting married, he pointed out that I should trade the Harley for a car.  My future father-in-law suggested that I should get a job.  So, I did both, beginning with the vehicle suggestion.  I traded the Harley, with much regret, for a three cylinder, new-to-America, Saab (the new Saab dealer was the only person interested in trading a car for a motorcycle).  I hated that car too much to bother naming it.

A year after the wedding, thanks to my new job and my new wive's old job, I traded the Saab for my first new car - a 1964 Plymouth Belvedere, (similar to the one in the photo) which I immediately named "Tar Baby."  The exterior difference between Tar Baby and the car in the picture was Tar Baby's lack chrome wheels.  Imagine the car in the photo with small, plain hubcaps, instead of chrome wheels, and you'll be looking at Tar Baby.

The mechanical differences, on the other hand, were extensive.  Tar Baby, which by the way was one of 300 prototypes of the now famous Road Runner that Plymouth introduced in 1965, had a 383 cubic inch, high performance engine and a 4 Speed transmission, which was operated through a floor mounted Hurst shifter.  

After the three speed Saab, lawn-mower-sounding car, I couldn't wait to prove Tar Baby.  So the day I took delivery, I challenged a co-worker to a top-end race on the old beach road.  William, the owner of a 1963 Ford Galaxy, with a 390 cubic inch engine and three-speed transmission, was more than willing to take me on.

Late that night, we drove the eight mile desolate stretch of the old beach road to make sure no radar traps were in operation.  Reassured, we turned our cars back toward Jacksonville and the race began.

At eighty miles an hour, I pulled out to
pass but only managed to draw even with William before Tar Baby stopped accelerating.  I quickly glanced at the speedometer.  The needle was bouncing between 105 and 108.  I suddenly had a sinking feeling that was all Tar Baby would do.  Then, in a flash of recollection,   I remembered I had another gear.

I slammed the big Hurst shifter into fourth and leaped ahead of William's Ford, which didn't have another gear.

There been times since that night on the old beach road when I thought I was doing the best I could do and realized it wasn't going to be enough to get me past whatever I was up against.  Every time that happened, memories of that long ago night flashed magically into my head and I would recall a forgotten gear, shift into it, and pass the obstacle.  

How about you - don't you have a gear you've forgotten?