Last week my sister Deanna posted a blog entitled the Dream Team where she took a step back and formally introduced each of the children. It was a brief introduction to all the siblings to give everyone a look at our lives as we embarked on this journey with each reader. And, while I think it offered a glimpse of who we are, I feel it is important to expand on the personalities you, the followers, will come to see as we continue to write for the blog.
I am the oldest of the siblings, Joe Jr. My sister let everyone know I am currently in Kentucky and I am sure she got a laugh pointing out I have recently been helping on a goat farm (I am about as city as you can be so this will probably make a funny post for a later time). By trade, I have always been in sales and I have been in call center management for the better part of 25 years. By nature, to survive the walls of a call center, you develop thick skin for personal attacks, a tendency to think quick on your feet, the ability to adapt to a new change every minute, and a demented sense of humor (also pointed out so endearingly by my sister).
Call centers get a bad reputation most days, but honestly, the things I have learned and the people I have encountered have resonated with me and shaped me into who I am today…for better or for worse. Call centers have shown me the best and worst in people. I have been part of aiding in the development of young personalities and helping them be more than they thought was possible. I have seen people struggle and I have watched firsthand as people have taken control of situations and changed the outcomes to be better than they imagined.
I started call center work for a job. I made it a career because I saw an opportunity to influence change through communication. I was in a place where challenging others to communicate honestly and clearly could help people be better mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends, husbands, wives, boyfriends or girlfriends.
Shortly upon moving to Kentucky, I found my long-term marriage failing and, for better or worse, my wife moved back to Illinois leaving me alone in Kentucky. I wasn’t prepared for the drastic lifestyle change, but I have always had faith in myself and my ability to make something from nothing. I took the time I needed to look deep into my darkest spots and rather than letting it control me, I made a conscious choice to use this darkness to bring light to myself and to others.
As an extension to leading, coaching, and developing young call center representatives, I tested the waters of life coaching. I shared in some early successes and I had a few setbacks…but the important part to me was getting outside my comfort zone and challenging myself to be better for not only myself, but for others. Being creative, I was always going to survive, but I was looking for more than surviving…I wanted better.
This determination to be better has taken some crazy twists and turns for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, for those that want to know who I am…
I am a simple guy. I love deeply. I dream big. I speak my mind. I can be raw at times and I don’t sugar coat things to make them more digestible for your feelings. I don’t care what others may think of me because I am comfortable with who I am. I am quick with a joke, especially the inappropriate ones. I go out of my way for others. I respect differences. I appreciate nature. I enjoy art. Music speaks to my soul. I am a deep thinker. I expect nothing. I march to the beat of my own drum. I don’t have the answers, but I realize that is ok. I live simply and some days I simply live. I value people and I appreciate the experiences that have made them who they are. My sister described me as a “voice of reason” and a “go to guy”–while flattered, I am just a guy, and I am happy that I have had value to others. It is humbling to be described that way.
I am excited to hear from the readers of the blog and learn more about who you are, what you like and, if we can share a good laugh at life, then maybe we will both be better in the end. I encourage everyone to reach out to any of us if there is something you want to hear about, a story you want shared, a memory, a frustration…we need and want to understand who you are so our stories continue to have value. We want to make you laugh, challenge you to do more, realize you are not alone, and share in the challenges and joys this life brings.
We are doing this collectively in memory of our father who devoted his life to words, communication, and helping others. A memorial fund has been established to help with his final expenses and if you choose, you can donate here.