words & actions & marines: part 1


This one is about words (and thoughts I imagine) and a Marine (a friend).

Every once in awhile a friend says something that makes me remember not only why they are my friend … but that I have a tendency to respect most of my friends. And that I also have a tendency to listen to them closely (even after too many beers) because most of them have something important to share (albeit not all the time … but you gotta pay attention for those semi elusive moments).


I came across something a friend of mine said and I felt like it was worth sharing (to the rest of my friends).

Now Jim may actual be more of a mentor than a friend … but I would imagine as I type that he would err on the side of saying “stop, don’t say that, we are just friends.”


Below is an excerpt from a 2008-or-so “leader of the month” article about Jim.

But before I get to the words.

A couple of factoids about Jim. He is a Marine.  First and foremost (at least in my eyes). Respectful. Insightful. Patriotic. Disciplined. Honorable. Brave. True. Someone everyone would want by your side. And humble.

All things I believe I could say about any Marine I have had the pleasure of spending any time with.

Do not doubt for one second that we are very lucky that these people are on our side.


Jim does embody everything good you would ever think about a Marine and a person in general.

He has lived and worked all over the world. Graduated from the University of Missouri. Chairman Emeritus of Mailboxes, Etc. (designed MBE/UPS Merger). Past chairman of the International Franchise Association. Recipient of the Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam. Serves on the boards of The National Veteran’s Administration, The Marine Military Academy, The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

I share all that so you can have some perspective as you reflect on his words.

(the excerpt … shared when I would imagine he was approximately 60 or so):

Jim Amos calls himself a becomer. He elaborates on that thought by explaining that he is on what he calls the journey. It is the journey that Jim sees as the metaphor for leadership, and he shares his thoughts of that metaphor below.

To everyone that lives, there is a metaphor, story, or analogy for life that becomes reflective of our influence, which is, in fact, leadership. So in that sense everyone is a leader because everyone has influence on at least one other person, whether they know it or not. So, I think the analogy, or metaphor for life, is that we’re haunted with the sense that there is someone calling us forth on a journey, that life is a journey. I think the human odyssey is the quest for purpose, the quest for meaning, the quest for destination. For life’s journey to have a homecoming, we have to have some sense of our bearings, and, more importantly, our destination. And that’s what we are born into this world to pursue and find. So often in our journey, we find the very things that we are striving to achieve turn out to be less than we desired when we wanted them in the first place. It’s that incompleteness that points to something more out there somewhere. John Eldredge writes about it in The Journey of Desire. He says, “Having it all simply isn’t enough.” There obviously is a limit to the success worth buying and toys worth accumulating. I don’t think the business world–and the actual battlefield of business and life–ever gives that roadmap for accepting what the deeper things are. And the deeper things are the eternal goals and the eternal views. And so it backs down to one frightening fact for me: The bedrock reality to our existence is that we are limited to the fact that we are not going to be here for long. The statistics on death are pretty amazing: one out of one. So the questions end up being begged, how do we make the most of our brief and marvelous life, in the face of death? Does our journey count? Where and when does our journey end? If you think about it, the great literature all addresses these issues. St. Augustine cried out, “Proof. Proof. The very marrow of my soul yearns for it.” Max Weber said, “Truth or nothing.” I think the search for truth is in the journey. Whether we like to admit it or not, our journey is one of faith because there aren’t any roadmaps for it: its just travelers like you and me. Dante wrote The Divine Comedy, and he said, “Midway in my life’s journey, I find myself in a dark world.” That journey derives from places like “Exodus” in the Bible, to the Odyssey, to Virgil’s Aeneid, to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Today, examples of the journey are found in Space Odyssey, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Holy Grail, or Don Quixote. What are all of those if they are not about being on a journey in search of truth? It’s all the same thing. And if there was more of a prominent modern example it would be the Trilogy of the Lord of the Rings. In it, Gandalf says, “We can’t choose the times in which we live. All we have to decide is what we are going to do with the times in which we live.” That is an amazing metaphor, and it is probably the metaphor for every life that has ever been born.

In Jim I found a kindred spirit in that we share a common belief in the journey toward truth. In my office I have a black & white picture framed of a teen holding a hand up with “Seek Truth” markered on her hand. That image is certainly my “defining image” when asked to share my bio in the business world.

And it is there as a reminder to me just as Jim’s words are a reminder to all of us of the odyssey we are all on.


I will never tire of writing about it.

Just as I will never tire of the journey in seeking it.

Thanks Jim.

As always friends remind us of what is truly important.

Written by Bruce