<![CDATA[marktrogdon.com - Mark's Blog]]>Wed, 06 Dec 2017 14:47:21 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Time to Get Uncomfortable]]>Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:17:54 GMThttp://marktrogdon.com/marks-blog/time-to-get-uncomfortableThe “season” is over and the first month of the New Year is already a third gone.
We are beginning to settle back in to our routines. No more parties or social gatherings to look forward to. No more ridiculous television commercials featuring the Larry Culpepper caricature.
Most have taken down and put away seasonal decorations. Scrumptious candies and treats that were given by caring friends or grateful clients have long since been eaten or thrown out. The few that received fruit cakes have packed them away prepared for re-gifting during next year’s holiday season.
Time is now being spent stalking our friends and others through various social media platforms. Many are just trying to tough out a few months of cold and winter weather in hopes of making it to spring break.
A lot of us were excited about the New Year and ready to make needed changes - ready to sacrifice. Resolutions were made and goals were set. Some planned significant lifestyle changes; some just some minor “tweaks” to behavior or habits.
But comfort and laziness are commencing to take over again and contemplated changes are starting to get postponed a bit longer. Procrastinator’s logic rationalizing that spring should be a much better time to make changes. You know, change in season, warmer weather. Sound familiar?
I don’t think any meaningful lifestyle change can be casually considered or taken lightly. It requires thoughtful consideration, a commitment and, most likely, degrees of sacrifice. It requires accountability and challenge. But most of all it requires a mental relocation from the comfortable and familiar.
A little over seven years ago I resigned my position from a company I help start to make a living doing something different. The following year I lost 100 pounds and the year after that I wrote a book about the experience. All of this was completely out of my comfort zone. However, for me, needed changes were more important than being comfortable.
Whether you are looking to make a major transformation or some change that is seemingly minor - make yourself uncomfortable.  There is no telling where it might lead you.]]>
<![CDATA[On To Cincinnati]]>Sat, 31 Dec 2016 15:23:31 GMThttp://marktrogdon.com/marks-blog/on-to-cincinnatiA couple of years ago the New England Patriots were blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs in a regular season game. The loss was so bad the media labeled the Patriots as being "done" for the year. It was only the fourth game of the season.

Following his team's calamitous performance head coach Bill Belichick in his post game presser refused to answer any questions about the game. He responded to all inquiries about the loss to the Chiefs by saying "we're on to Cincinnati". He had moved on that quickly to the next game. There was no value in discussing what had just happened.

I feel the same way this time each year. I certainly don't want to diminish the popularity and value to modern culture of Robert Burns' Scottish song Auld Lang Syne. Thinking about "times gone by" and reminiscing about old friends is enjoyable to me too. But, what the end of each year has now evolved into is attempt to gather clicks, viewers and/or subscribers.

We are now forced by almost every media outlet to read, hear or watch mind numbing discussions by self described experts about various storylines from the past twelve months. Whether from the world of entertainment, politics, pop culture, sports or whatever we are subjected to the best, the worst, the most outrageous, the most surprising and blah, blah, blah... As ridiculous as it seems, some discuss things that didn't happen, but could've or should've. Others use their time to go Nostradamus and predict trends as well as what might happen in the New Year. All in an effort to create content.

If it weren't for irrelevant and meaningless college football bowl games, I wouldn't open an app, pick up a paper or turn on a television between Christmas and New Years. The contrived exercise of “year in reviews” that go on during these six days is exhausting. The only thing that seems to save us from this annual ear drill and eye stabbing is the unexpected death of an entertainer, or two.

Oh well, the end of this year is a few hours away and it all should stop. Finally we’ll be "on to Cincinnati".]]>
<![CDATA[Team]]>Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:45:29 GMThttp://marktrogdon.com/marks-blog/teamI am a huge sports fan. If it involves a ball or a stick I'll watch - no matter the level; high school, college or professional.
But football is my favorite sport. I've been a fan of the game for as long as I can remember. I loved playing football. I now love watching football.

I enjoy watching a game on television from the comfort of my home. Reasonable pricing for high definition technology has now made viewing a game from your favorite Barcalounger almost as “real” as being in the stadium.
However, my preference is to take in the game in person. I will always choose watching a game from a seat in an arena over a seat in my den. I love the sites, the sounds, the anticipation and excitement of walking into the stadium. I’ve attended high school, college and professional football games this past fall. In fact, I have tickets to two more "pro" games. I can’t wait!

Through the years, it has occurred to me more than once that complete strangers have an immediate kinship or relationship once they wrap themselves in the colors of their favorite sports team. Once they choose their team, once they elect to become a member of that brotherhood; regardless of their socioeconomic status, they have something in common. They have a shared goal.

A big play or a scoring play can send new found friends into all kinds of spasms and gyrations. Jumping up and down, hollering, laughing, screaming - generally making fools of themselves. People, who most likely met for the first time once they arrived at their seats, are soon high-fiving and hugging like they’ve known each other for years. Some, who may have trouble expressing feelings to a family member or loved one, can be quickly caught up in public displays of affection. It’s amazing how being part of a team can promote such camaraderie; regardless of the final score.
Everybody enjoys being part of a winning effort. Being part of something, being part of a team - that's what seems to matter. That's special.]]>
<![CDATA[A New Gig]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2016 14:31:05 GMThttp://marktrogdon.com/marks-blog/a-new-gigA little over a year ago I started a new gig. I started driving an Uber.

Frankly, my new "venture" was driven by necessity rather than choice. I didn't feel like the job was beneath me but, for some reason I felt embarrassed. Paranoia crept into my way of thinking and I foolishly thought it was just a matter of time before I was a punch line in a Patton Oswalt joke.

However, recently I started feeling different about the endeavor. My attitude has done a one eighty. I've now embraced my new gig and begun to feel pretty cool about the whole thing. Over the past few months I have really enjoyed driving and meeting some really nice folks while learning more about my Nashville, my adopted home town. Over the past few months I've become hip to ride sharing.
You see, I'm now part of a "new" economy - the gig economy. In Jamie McGee's article in the Tennessean on October 13 she quoted the Brookings Institution's Mark Muro as saying “the gig economy was the fastest way to organize the world of work, and it has really big implications.”
This new commerce is driven by companies like Uber, Lyft, Postmates and others. They provide workers with the opportunity to pick up jobs according to their chosen hours. The workers are typically contract employees, connected to customers most commonly through a phone or tablet app. To some, these are part time jobs while they pursue other careers or activities. To others, it’s full time.
Muro was also quoted as saying “Nashville looks like one of the early adopters, and I don’t see any limit yet to the growth. What we are seeing is that the earliest adopters are growing the fastest.” The city’s booming business economy and the draw of young people to it has created a paradigm for vigorous growth in this new economy. 
Ride sharing enterprises like Uber and Lyft didn’t arrive in Music City until the latter part of 2013. However, Nashville is among several U. S. cities in which freelance activity in ground transportation industry showed significant growth between 2012 and 2014; the last year date is available. The gig economy appears that it is here to stay in my home town.
I’ve learned from this experience that opportunities present themselves at different times in our lives and in varying forms. From time to time they're in plain view. You just have to be looking for them. You also have to be open to something that is possibly outside your comfort zone - and that it might be way outside what you’re used to. 
I'm now part of something really cool and I’m really enjoying it. Wonder if I should get an ear pierced?]]>
<![CDATA[Not Looking Over Your Shoulder ]]>Tue, 11 Oct 2016 18:21:56 GMThttp://marktrogdon.com/marks-blog/not-looking-over-your-shoulderOne of the hardest things I have to do is not look over my shoulder. Not look back. Not worry about something that happened in the past - whether from a long time ago or just last week.

Randomly and without notice, my mind attempts to lead me down a road to obsession about choices made in the past. My consciousness asks me to foolishly re-think past career choices, contemplated business opportunities, mishandled relationships or even my restaurant choice last week.
Should I have zigged instead of zagged? Turned left, not right? Not told that one particular supervisor what I really thought?
This psychic spit ballin' doesn't occur over hours. The duration is typically short - much like a dream. It’s a succession of images, ideals, emotions and sensations that happen quickly and almost involuntarily.
Not only does my mind question past decision making, it plays out imaginary scenarios of how things could have turned out had different decisions been made. Life changing thoughts making their way through my consciousness like tumbleweeds blowing across a west Texas highway.
This intermittent diversion is especially confounding given our current lot. Please don't misunderstand; we don't have a summer home in the Hamptons, but things aren't bad. The important things - family, faith and health - are how they should be.
I get irritated at myself every time my mind takes me to the place I’ve described. I just don’t like “living in the past”. It’s not healthy and it’s counterproductive to any possibility of future success.
I alone made the choices that delivered me to where I am today. I am accountable. If I had wanted to do something different or make different decisions - I would have. I can’t change the past, but it can influence the future.   
Athletes that do well in their chosen sport have the ability to forget about the last play, the last pitch or the last shot. Regardless of the success or failure of the most recent play - they quickly move on to the next. There’s no time to look back. They have to be ready for the “next play”. The game’s end result depends on it.
That’s not to say they don’t review the game and evaluate their performance. They learn from what worked, what didn’t and they move on to the next competition or game. Their success depends on it.
Life is no different.]]>
<![CDATA[It’s Not A Foot Race, But…… ]]>Wed, 28 Sep 2016 11:36:16 GMThttp://marktrogdon.com/marks-blog/its-not-a-foot-race-butMost days are like the one before. The same as the previous one. They’re uneventful and they end the same way. Some days are good and some well, not so good. Few days are truly special. It’s called life and for the vast majority, it’s repetitive.

Walking is a great metaphor for life. Each day is like a step. One followed by another and then another. Again and again. Over and over. It’s not a foot race, but it is a marathon.

Most don’t accomplish much in one day or go very far with one step. But those that awaken every morning determined to accomplish a goal in life’s journey, have a better chance of something good and special happening.

My only son achieved the rank of Eagle Scout his senior year in high school. His Eagle project was accepted as “completed” only two days before his eighteenth birthday. Had he not completed the project before that birthday, he would have been ineligible for that prestigious award. That notable birthday is the deadline for all scouts trying to achieve the ultimate rank of Eagle.

He began his scouting career in the first grade as a Cub Scout, graduating to Boy Scouts in the sixth. In the seventh grade, he changed schools. His new school was some fifteen miles from where his troop met each week. Because of the commute to the scout meetings and his participation in sports, he all but quit scouting.

Friends he met at the new school that were active in scouting convinced him not to quit. They encouraged him to transfer to a troop closer to his new school and to re-engage. Once he made the decision to request to be transferred, he got busy. He had to, because he was way behind. He had “lost” the better part of a year and a half of work towards achieving merit badges and correlating rank advancement. 

He went to work. It took a lot of effort on his part and a lot of encouragement from others, but he didn’t quit. He wasn’t always consistent; but he was persistent in pursuit of his ultimate goal.

As I spoke at the Eagle Court of Honor ceremony on his behalf, I told those in attendance I was more impressed with his relentless pursuit of his ultimate goal than I was of the award. I told them I thought his journey or path to Eagle was more beneficial than the destination. That he learned more from having his “back against the wall” more than once. That even when things weren’t going that well and success could not be imagined or visualized. That he didn’t quit.

I believe that experience will serve him extremely well throughout his life. I am convinced it will help him to achieve and realize other successes. However, I’m not sure he fully believes that yet. I think he is still learning that success can be so greatly influenced by effort and hard work.

He still hasn’t fully realized that you will absolutely fail unless you keep trying. That you have to be persistent, get up each morning with dogged determination and start with a first step, then a second, then a third and so on.  The pursuit of success can be a long-lasting or difficult task - like a marathon. ]]>