Part 1: The Last Big Challenge – Prologue

Here is the first of three pieces of an article that I want to get out to the world. Enjoy!

“Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future…”
~Edwin G. Friedman

“…But I’m not using those visions just for theorizing about the future, I am betting on it.”
~William (Bill) H. Gates, II

By the time I finish this it will probably be ??:00AM, a project for a class decided to break with some unexplained error on my computer, someone decided to start yelling at me with emails this early part of the day, and I will have to get on the water within an hour. I’ve been working on this for several nights over the past few months and I have to get this out now or it will never happen. I’m known to burn the midnight oil because if I don’t finish something, I can’t sleep and things fly around in my head. As I write through this, only two buddies of mine are really going to get what I’m saying, Evan Chaffee and Richard Lund. This is going out to a pretty broad audience, so bear with me if need to explain something.

So what the hell has Brandin been doing since his last entry at WWDC08? Everything seemed to be going so well again and he was just going to slide right through this stage of life. Better yet, what happened to you the last two years? Where did you go? I miss reading your stuff. Well, things were more than he bargained for! No, not for the worst, just not was I expected. This is an attempt to bring everyone up to speed on what’s happening. I appreciate everyone who still looks at my stuff from time to time. There’s proof that this site has helped advance my professional networking. I’ve been questioned many times on what happened to everything. Things will definitely clear up this June as I will no longer be eligible for what I’m currently doing. At that time, I hope to get back to what I enjoy doing, not that I am not enjoying what I’m doing right now, but rather I was pulled away from what I normally do to do something different. I have a year and a half of college left and the clock is ticking to figure something out. I’m coming to a junction with several trails. The decision will be tough as it will be difficult to turn around once I’ve moved on. I have people pulling me left and right to go here and there, do this and do that. Even with the current situation of our world, things are looking alright. You only have one chance to really go through college. Take advantage of it. Nothing expresses that better than what has happened in the last three years indeed.

The Prologue

To have someone approach you and say, “He’s loosing it. He’s not doing his job. No one else wants to do it and I want you to pick up the pieces,” can become so painful in my head. I will take my phone and throw it through the wall. Why do I have to do everything? I have enough to do as it is and this is just another thing I have to worry about. “Go get a life!” OK, I’m not mad at the person actually saying that to me, but probably the group responsible as a whole. Those who never understand the vision I bring into view are the ones that end up running things off the track because there’s no motivation to sustain those ideas. There could be many factors contributing to that situation that are beyond my control, but why can’t they pitch in and deal with getting around the roadblocks? The thing that grinds me no matter where I contribute, whether it’s on a job, at school, or another place, is being taken advantage of. I’d be brought into a big project or organization because they admire the value they hope to see in my work, only to later be turned off by my beliefs. I’ll admit it. I tend to be aggressive with my approach if things start steering away from the vision. Sometimes I don’t express the frustration but to let it all out behind the scenes. As things steer away, people still want me involved with them, but there’s a problem. They’ve already failed, for example, having a lawsuit filed against them or some other legal trouble. That’s the worst of the bunch. I really hated seeing that. The morality seems to decline everywhere I go. I really hate saying this to others, but, “Didn’t I tell you so?”

I admire that people respect my ideas, outgoing perseverance, and eagerness to get things done and change the way we do those things for the better. There comes a point when “cheerfully serving” just becomes plain-out abusive. “Ah, wait a minute! Brandin, how can you say such a thing?” Yeah, I bet those of you who I used to work with in Order of the Arrow probably want to give me a good smacking for saying that. No, no, don’t get me wrong. The OA was a great organization, and it still is, and hopefully, always will be. Those of you who know me well know exactly what I’m talking about. More on this later.

Sometimes I just want to drop everything and flee back up to Crescent City, CA, where I spent most of the Summer of 2007 house sitting for someone in the family. Crescent City is a place like no other. The city is known as “Tsunamiville” and “The City of the North,” being the only incorporated city in less than 20 miles south of the coastal CA/OR border. The city shares its natural beauty of the California redwoods and Northern California coastline. Almost year round, you’d never expect it to get any warmer than 70 degrees. On average, it’s a very rainy area in the mid 50’s as the high temperature.

I fled up to Crescent City to peacefully send a message to people. “Thanks for your consideration. I really respect that. NOW STOP CALLING ME! AND STOP CHASING ME! I’m going to a place where none of you can find me!” Sure enough, those people got the message within a few months. I really appreciate those that got it and understood that people need to get away from the whole mess. Most of them saw what I was trying to do, yet the vision was not perceived by everyone. Therefore, it failed. It’s hard to believe that an entire Summer went by while I was up there. It got lonely at times, but I had plenty of personal stuff to do, figure out, and admire what I do best, drench myself into a project and don’t stop. It was a great feeling not having to worry about a job, school, or other “volunteer organizations” coming after me.

“Ah, wait. I don’t get something here. Why is it you are who you are?” That’s a good question. Allow me to introduce myself… no, I won’t go there. You’ll probably say to me, “Gee man, do you ever have fun? Chill.” Yeah, I do get what you’re saying. College is a time to have some fun, hang with friends, and do fun things. After all, you won’t have this chance again in life. I’ll admit it. People say I act as if I’m 10 or 15 years older than I actually am. There’s both a curse and a blessing to this. It’s the way I was raised and I’m not going to change my personality. I have worked with several groups, professionally, affiliated with local government, non-profit, and not for any monetary gain myself. I have seen groups succeed and fail miserably. I’m not going to say that I’m always right. I’ve just seen way too many things go in the wrong direction.

Next part to be released after March 12.