I owe my success in life and even my sanity to the ability to find some good, the shiny side, in every thing I did and every place I was. With a positive outlook I had purpose and could always find happiness. As a leader, I shared that sense of purpose and happiness with others to make the teams that got the job done.
My father was a brilliant creative man but as a parent he was at times a cross between Freddy Kruger and Archie Bunker. My childhood was far from "Leave it to Beaver." Still even in that dysfunctional painful environment I found my shiny side, my mind and my free will. I had something that couldn't be taken from me. Reading and my imagination gave me a good place to be and I was driven to get there in real life — my purpose.
During Vietnam I gave up my career as a photographer and enlisted in the Air Force. My childhood experience served me well in basic training. In the military my shiny side was pride in serving the country that I loved. Here my purpose was my mission and failure was unacceptable. I will admit that having my fellow American citizens spit on me, shout epitaphs and throw trash at me made my shiny side a bit duller but I got through it all with an even deeper love of country and my adopted band of brothers.
In civilian business life my shiny side changed from time to time but was usually a morph of my childhood and military service. My mission became whatever product or project I was assigned to. My attitude and shiny side approach made me a natural leader. You can be assigned command but leadership requires creating a common purpose and sharing the spoils with your team. As an adult you balance family, career, community and society — each with it's own shiny sides.
As a member of a large democratic society we choose representation in government whose mission best dovetails with our personal beliefs. Show me a person that concurs with everything their representative does and I'll show you an individual that isn't watching. As an involved sensible person I accept that the end result or methods of government won't always be of my personal choice. But then there is Obama. Nothing is of my personal preference. You'd think that at least by accident or chance we'd agree on some things. Perhaps that's because there is no shiny side for the American people. When Obama speaks, what he says sounds good but the words are empty and all to frequently lies. I found a shiny side with an almost evil tyrant in my childhood but there is none for me with Obama. He's been assigned command but fails to lead as if command and not leadership is his purpose. The country I love and served is at risk along with the end of our self determined way of life.