Comments after last week’s newsletter were pretty widespread, ranging from way more scared than I, to commiserating, to one guy’s asking how I could complain about sunny and 70 everyday (thanks for really sinking your teeth into the post, James).  
I was reading through emails about the post and came across an email with a resume attached and inquiring about employment with us. Sucking up to a potential employer is always a good idea, and commenting that he was inspired by what we do was a good way to get my attention. It got me thinking about inspiration, faith, and change and the cause and effect they can have on each other (yes, my mind makes leaps that large). That in turn got me thinking about music (we are talking Michael Jordan type hops here).
In a previous life I spent seven years or so playing rhythm guitar in a classic rock cover band. I hold the notable distinction of being the worst guitar player in history to get paid real money to play guitar. It’s a long story, shocker, but the short version is that a guy in my neighborhood was a great singer and piano man, had a buddy that could have played lead guitar with the greats, but needed a rhythm guitar player to free him up. A year prior, I had bought my first guitar at the age of 30 wanting to learn to play “campfire music”. He promised his guy would “teach me to play”. Awesome! The end of that sentence was “…exactly what was needed for a specific song”. So basically, I can hack out the rhythm section to about 200 classic rock songs, some you might even recognize!
Over the next seven years we had some great experiences as a band. We played The Joint at the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas and The Drake in Chicago. We played in front of as many as 5,000 people. I don’t know if Molly remembers, but Jackson was known to rock out at the front of the stage when he could go to a gig. Both our kids are really musically inclined, and that is the best result from that part of my life. This phase of my life ended when it became more of a job than a passion. You see, like a lot of things in my life at 30, I didn’t really give it my best effort. I was the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none.
One of the big differences between then and now was that everything back then was self-centered. Everything now is about others. I’m not suggesting that I or our company is some altruistic entity that solely exists for the benefit of others, but I have found that if I concentrate on our mission to bring the best of our ranchers to our local community, and that happy and respected employees perform better and a happy wife (and kids) really is a happy life, then most of my stress is self imposed and manageable. Some of my favorite songs are about faith, change and inspiration. Odd, since we are not particularly religious. Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready is one of my favorites and is how I think about what kind of changes we are in for. Bear with me, I’ll land this plane in a minute. I’m not really a “Woo Hoo” kinda guy, but it’s time to have a little faith (I was going to through a gratuitous George Michael reference here, but don’t think the lyrics fit this theme), embrace the changes we are faced with, and get inspired to make our own changes for the better of what’s really important. Can I get an AMEN???