WELCOME TO MY FIRST BLOG FOR 2017
While this isn’t my first attempt at blogging, it is the first one done under the banner of Joseph Company Global. I hope you will find my musings expressed through writing encouraging, thought provoking and personally applicable. I don’t approach this endeavor from the mindset of a teacher but as a fellow pupil on the journey of life walking alongside you. I have spent the last 30 years walking side by side with people from across a variety of sectors all struggling with how to navigate life. We are all trying to figure out how the three primary segments of our lives; Family, Career and Spirituality stay connected in a world intent on pulling them apart. As a means of trying to keep on top of it all, we are often presented with formulas for success as though one size fits all. I only wish life was that simple. Some of you I have known for years and look forward to continuing on the journey with you. Others of you are new and I look forward to getting to know you through your observations and comments. You are welcome to share my blog material with others who you think might benefit from my perspectives.
SOME BACKGROUND IS IN ORDER
For those of you unfamiliar with me, I suppose some background and context are in order to set the stage for what you will be reading the next year. I am a Boomer from Wisconsin; the land of dairy products, sausages and cranberries. I was born during the idyllic 1950’s, grew up in the turbulent 1960’s and spent the 1970’s trying to find myself. I’ve raised a family, started multiple organizations and companies, had success and failure along the way. All the while I’ve traveled the multifaceted planet we live on fascinated by its beauty and diversity. Over this time period I have developed marvelous friendships with people from across the world who come from unique cultures with distinct perspectives. I celebrate our diversity as I see it as a strength. I am at that stage of life where I can honestly say I’ve learned a great deal while continuing to maintain the little boy curiosity which led to many a discovery along the way. I suppose I am an experiential learner. I was a difficult child to raise as I relentlessly asked “why?” about everything. I drove my parents so crazy my bedroom was eventually moved to the basement in hopes that I would remain down there never to be heard from. I was the kid who asked the question no one wanted to answer as it made people uncomfortable. Of course I was so naïve I didn’t realize what was happening back then. It was not my intent to make people uncomfortable but nonetheless I was labeled “rebellious”. What was really going on was I simply wanted to understand. I was that kid who stood on my head to see what the world looked like upside down and from a different perspective. I’m still that way! I suppose it explains why I have always had an affinity for Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” comics. In some ways we look at life the same way.
It has been a very long journey, but writing for me has become an outlet for the myriad of thoughts and questions which ruminate in my mind. In hindsight, I realize my writing career started back at Greendale Middle School when much to my surprise my essay “Why We Can’t All Get Along” won 1st place. I think John Lennon’s song “Give Peace a Chance” might have been an influence on me. I was flattered by how my teachers found it profound for someone my age to write such a thing. I was equally horrified I was required to read it in public at an Open House with all the parents in attendance. I never once looked up at anyone in fear I might just wet my pants. Over the years I would find myself writing to myself processing my many thoughts. I dared not show them to anyone out of a crushing sense of insecurity about my writing skills.
A SIGNIFICANT ENCOUNTER
In the mid 1980’s I had the fortunate experience of meeting the prolific author John White while on a trip to Vancouver, Canada. For whatever reason, he had requested we spend some time together. Our one-hour meeting turned into three as we found each other quite intriguing. Near the end of our time he spoke the most terrifying words to me “Bob, you know you need to write!” I spent the next 30 minutes fervently arguing with him about how wrong he was. I was convinced my complete lack of formal training as a writer had disqualified me. His words would haunt me for the next 20 years “It is not proper sentence structure but great ideas which make a good author people want to read”. He would go on to say. “Your ideas are original, people will find them stimulating and refreshing”. I was still not convinced. As we headed out the door, he asked me to wait for a minute while he went back into his study to grab something. A few minutes later he emerged with a thin book titled “Plain Words”. In it he had written “To Bob Scott, with the hope that he will write”. The book is today one of my more cherished possessions but honestly it sat on my shelf collecting dust for two decades.
My destiny with writing would once again emerge in 2004-05 when I was recruited to help build a mortgage company. The CEO was interested in maintaining some sort of connection with past and potential clients. The idea of an email newsletter was floated around but due to the fact it was filled with financial data the newsletter was rather boring to read. I was asked to submit a piece and decided to think outside the box and write something completely unrelated to loans. The initial reaction to my submission was the proverbial tilted head look with the corresponding; Huh? The CEO though enjoyed the story which contained some uplifting perspective piece about life much in the manner Readers Digest once did. Much to the shock of my colleagues, responses to my article starting pouring in from across the country. No one cared about the financial data, they loved my story. From then on my column was the most read part of the newsletter. I was a bit taken back by it all especially the responses of other influential industry people who loved not just the subject matter but my writing style. I didn’t even know I had a style! Turns out I don’t like preaching at people from some elevated place of self-importance. I much prefer going on journeys with my friends and discovering fascinating stuff along the way with them.
PEN AND PAIN
Where my writing took a quantum leap was in 2007. After spending a year working through some unresolved conflict with a tragedy which had T-boned my life from out of nowhere, I decided to tell my side of the story. It took me nearly a year to write the book but I was a man on a mission. I was fortunate enough to experience something which few people ever would have the opportunity to do. Along the way I met some of the most extraordinary people in doing it. Leading up to it, I had been asking myself a question for years “Is there anywhere in the world where the teachings of Jesus actually resulted in former enemies loving one another? I had been on a spiritual journey for years struggling to navigate my soul through the gauntlet of institutional religion. I had been on a quest to better understand God and His ways but not been all that impressed by the myriad of religious people claiming to know them or Him. Jesus seemed to me to be saying things which many shook their heads at in agreement like Bobble-heads, but not actually living out in their daily lives. Loving ones’ enemies stood out to me as one such issue. In 1984 I had the marvelous experience of meeting a group of people who had made that their life mission. Within a few years they would actually give up their lives at the hands of diabolical forces intent on perpetrating continued conflict and oppression. In 2008 “Saving Zimbabwe” Life, Death & Hope in Africa” was released and the next few years were a wild ride. At some point I will write a blog about that experience. That should fill in some gaps for you as to how we got to this point as far as my writing is concerned.
THE ROOTS OF JOSEPH COMPANY GLOBAL
For those of you wondering about Joseph Company Global and it roots, let me give you some brief background as I will develop that theme over the course of this next year. In the early 1980’s I found myself enmeshed in a local church community with a big vision. The paradigm from which they operated was one whereby when God got ready to do something He would do it through His religious minsters and their church organizations. They were God’s spokesmen. The focus was on the religious phenomena called “revival” and the salvation of multitudes of souls. As it is with many religious organizations, the object of the exercise was moving people from one side of the ledger to the other. While I understood their perspective and certainly wanted to see lives transformed, my view of what God was doing on the earth was much larger and more expansive. It seemed to me the church was simply one of many things God had His hand in. In fact, as one reads through the historical record as written in the bible, most of the time God was using people who were not in the ministry and it was happening outside Church! While I in no way want to devalue or lessen the important contribution my ministry colleagues play in the divine drama, there are men and women God has strategically placed in the various sectors of society who play hugely significant roles in God’s plans. They very often get overlooked due to our narrow paradigms.
In the early 1980’s I found myself suddenly crossing paths with people from various sectors who were on their own spiritual journeys but struggling with how any of it related to the Church world. They were being confronted with a paradigm that whatever happened within church was Holy and whatever happened outside of it was Unholy. They were caught between what they were being told was the Secular vs. the Sacred. It was then I realized many of the things which I had discovered on my own journey might be helpful at this point. The people I was meeting with were high profile, leaders in their fields and yet reduced to second class citizenship at church. The gulf between their two worlds was so vast they could not bridge the two. Under the cover of secrecy, as I was working at a church, I began to show them a very different perspective. The biblical character of Joseph became our patron saint as he exemplified in so many ways the revolutionary model I was trying to present to these modern day Joseph’s. He became a source of great encouragement as the struggles of Joseph, his character development, confusion, disillusionment and ultimate success were all areas these people could identify with. Joseph Company Global is my coaching and consulting company through which I continue to pursue my passion of helping others.
MY PASSION IS PEOPLE
Over the last 30+ years I have continued to life coach and consult both individuals and companies on how to navigate a world with conflicting ideologies and diverse perspectives. We live in a time period where information technology is allowing for change to occur with unprecedented swiftness. Humanity is moving forward at warp speed which creates a whole new set of challenges. God, as He has always done will raise up “Joseph’s” to be lights in the darkness outside the religious world showing mankind the way forward. I am looking forward to traveling down this road with all of you and look forward to dialoguing with you about your personal experiences.
One final thought…I guess my parents knew what they were doing when they named me Robert Joseph. It seems Joseph and I have been and will continue to be inseparable.