Life experiences help shape column

I have written articles for The Marietta Times since February of 2000. I have enjoyed writing every one of them. Some more than others. The first year most of my articles were excerpted from my book, “The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success.” However, every time I had a new idea for an article, I documented it in a file. I still have 25 topics waiting for me.

After I had been writing for about five years, I realized that a number of the articles involved leadership lessons from my experiences growing up on our farm in Malaga. I started categorizing the articles and found I had almost one hundred describing events from my youth.

Some of my readers told me they liked my stories and others were more interested in the leadership lessons. So, I decided to keep the stories uninterrupted and put the leadership lessons in the back of the book. Therefore, both audiences could be satisfied. I arranged them chronologically, added more content, and soon published a book titled “You Can Push a Pig into a Truck: Everyday Leadership Lessons” in 2007.

In 2010, while reviewing my articles I identified at least 100 that dealt with my coal mining experiences. I decided to use the same format as my previous book, stories in front and leadership lessons in the back. To capture the visual aspect of coal mining, a friend of mine, Dr. Margaret Ross, and I traveled to the Ohio Valley Coal Company’s Number 6 mine in May of 2010. We rode a mine jeep five miles underground to a working production section and Margaret took pictures of the equipment and the mine itself. The result was my tenth book, “Tons of Stone above my Head: Coal Mining Stories with Leadership Lessons.”

This year I wrote the third book in this series, “And my Brother Jack: Everyday Leadership Lessons.” It involves descriptions of the many trips my younger brother and I took to Hawaii to see an eclipse, Costa Rica, Belize, the Grand Canyon, St. Elena Canyon to float various rivers and Tobago to snorkel. We are still selecting pictures for this book and I hope to have it completed later this year.

Since my work involves working with leaders through coaching and training to improve communication accountability, I am always looking for good illustrations that describe successful behaviors or pitfalls. Whether during a canoe ride on the Little Hocking River or a hike in a state forest or national park, I seek to learn, raise my awareness and stir my creativity. There is so much all around to inspire us.

Thank you to all who have read my articles for the last 19 years. I appreciate the many positive comments you have given me and the suggestions for improvements I have received. As long as I am open to novel interpretation of my surroundings, I guess I will continue writing. My very best to you.

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray’s completely revised, third printing of “The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success,” visit his website raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.