This has been quite the ‘people’ week. All sort of events and celebrations have been happening, and at the center of each one has been a person. And at the center of each of them is a ‘who’ that in many ways influences their lives.
I had a birthday, which of course sprung all sorts of well wishing from wonderful family and friends. Aly had her baby, little Elizabeth, tonight my oldest baby graduates from Hartnell and Tim, my third baby, heads to his first roping clinic.
The wonder of people, as I watched the week unfold, is that we really are all unique. Desires, passions, habits, attitudes and other sorts of characteristics define each of us. No doubt, even baby Elizabeth, by now only a mere 24 hours old, has begun expressing specific personality traits that she will either come to appreciate or hate in a few years as they probably will affect her life.
The ‘you-er’ parts of my two children, as is true in most of us, have up sides and down sides. Johanna is very determined, and will be incredibly successful, but has a serious stubborn streak that has at times brought me to the brink of...well, I will leave it at that.
And Tim, he is so thoughtful! I always hear from people about how kind and helpful he can be. But, and trust me, this weekend will severely test my patience when I watch his clinic because of this particular trait, he has to be perfect. He can catch his cow perfectly, but oh my gosh, if he sees his loop out of the corner of his eye forming anything less than a perfect shape, well, just forget the perfect catch!
On the morning of May 26th, I opened Google and noticed their Doodle was focused on Sally Ride. She shares my birthday. I read a few quick bios about her life, and found that the one thing that seemed to support most of her lifelong endeavors was her love and passion for science. Not only did it drive her pursuits of four (B.A. English, B.S. Physics, Masters and Ph.D in Physics) but it led to quite a notable career at NASA. Later she would become the founder of Sally Ride Science, as well as write books, mostly dedicated to nurture science passion and learning in young people.
I didn’t take the time to fully learn about her whole life, but I did catch that Dr. Ride was an excellent collegiate tennis player. I also read in several places that she was very focused, and quiet. So it seems as though part of the ‘who’ of Dr. Ride was a consistent determination to excel in the things that mattered to her. Even when the outcome had to be uncomfortable and uncertain at times. While she wasn’t the first woman to be in the astronaut corps, she was one of the earlier women to embark on a career in this program. She was the first woman to orbit the earth.
Sally has a long list of accomplishments, but the stuff that emerges out of all of this is her ‘you-er’, the part of her that pushed through adversity and setbacks and obstacles so that she emerged with a reputation of honor and courage and 'can do.'
I found her commitment to follow the paths that aligned with her interests and passions motivational. My truck broker world is continually an intersection of competing interests and needs of people in the produce and trucking industries. Often, I see both sides, and in my earlier years of running my business, I found the tension between the two groups distracting and unproductive.
Something that those who know me and my ‘you-er’ laugh at this, but one of the meanings of my name ‘Pamela’ is peacemaker. It is sort of funny, because making peace (Johanna’s little stubborn streak may have come from me) has not always come easy to me. But I have to say, deep down, I want people to get along. I see much potential when people appreciate and respect each other. This really is a significant part of my ‘you-er.’
I decided about four years ago that if I was going to keep this business, I was going to be happy. I started being more proactive by looking for (and seizing) opportunities to help people understand the parts of the produce transportation industry that were unclear or maybe needed some explanation.
There is not a day that goes by that there isn 't something in the produce and transportation news that isn't laden with potential conflict or challenge.
Bearing down on the produce industry are issues such as GMO questions, drought impacts, Go Local push, uncertain immigration reform, food safety changes, and the debate over how to get people to eat more produce.
At the same time, carriers are dealing with the impact of hours of service , questionable CSA scores, the driver shortage, fuel price inconsistencies, uncertain margins, year round freight, and yes, for them too, food safety.
But in all these challenges and travails there lies the one wonderful constant: the ‘you-er’ that lies in all of us. There will always be those who see beyond the obstacles and issues, those who love to work hard and well, and definitely those who find strength and courage in helping others move forward.
People are truly amazing, particularly when they find their best ‘you-er’ and use it to make life positive and productive for themselves and others.
One last interesting note about Dr. Ride. Her move into NASA did not happen because she was noticed and sought after by the space program. She responded to an ad in a college newspaper. There aren’t a lot of details about this decision, but it seems like she saw and then did. That simple.
I mention this because sometimes, for various reasons, I make the mistake of hesitating to follow through on something that is definitely aligned with my interests and passion. One little step for Sally Ride launched her into her amazing career, doing the things she loved!
So what is your best ‘you-er’, and what are you doing with it?