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Life Stages

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 10/21/2022

Bored show art Bored

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam is board so he's thinking about paddling across the Pacific. Or planting a few ferns. ----- I’m bored. And that’s a problem. Somethings been nagging at me for a few weeks and I now know what it is – I’m bored. There’s little adventure in my world right now. Very little discovery. And when boredom sets in get panicky and a bit rash. Too often, I over compensate. This morning I spent way too much time on the Molokai to Oahu web page. It’s a 32 mile stand up paddleboard race from the Hawaiian island of Molokai to the island of Oahu and it takes most...

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Flourish show art Flourish

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam says we know we're all busy, very busy, but are we doing what it takes to flourish? ----- What does it take for a human to flourish? Such a simple question to understand but to answer, not so easy. Listening to a podcast last weekend, this question arose between the host and his guest. The guest pointed out that, in his opinion, everything being promoted as valuable in our Western society today is detrimental to human flourishing. What is being promoted, he said, actually leads to loneliness. And he might be right. So, what is being promoted out there? One...

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Breach show art Breach

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston had a client breach a contract and he's trying to use lessons from Marcus Aurelius to keep himself from absolutely losing it. ----- I’m reading Marcus Aurelius’ book called Meditations written in about the year 175. They’re notes to himself about the thoughts he’s having and how he’s working to keep his head on straight. He’s writing to work things out. No audience in mind, just for him. Throughout his writings several themes arise. First, he’s aware of the presence of death. The topic of dying is never far. Second, he has to keep...

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Staring At the Clock show art Staring At the Clock

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, what was Cam doing today at 4:59am? Well, he wasn't getting out of bed. That we know for sure. ----- Most mornings I’m staring at the clock about 4:30 am waiting to get up. I won’t allow myself to get out of bed before 5am. Getting your day started at 5am means you’re aggressive. You’re eager to get going. Getting out of bed before 5am means you have a problem. They’re slight gradations. Minutes matter and 4:59am is a good bit different from 5am. I stare at the clock until it turns 5 when I feel like it’s ok to jump up and get the coffee started....

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Don't Get Sick show art Don't Get Sick

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam has seen much more of the healthcare world these days than he would like. His advice: Stay well. ----- I’ve been given an up a close look at our health care system over the past several months. It’s been, well, disappointing. And this comes after hearing a remarkable speaker discuss the importance of customer service on company culture. I made a reference several months ago to the pain I’ve had. It’s finally been diagnosed as polymyalgia rhumatica, or PMR. It showed up around February first and has been a part of every day since. It’s a sickness...

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He's Not Roscoe show art He's Not Roscoe

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Each spring Cam sits in his morning reading chair and see's a friend just outside the window. But Cam won't give him a name. He absolutely won't. ----- My lizard friend is back again. He shows up on the air conditioner every spring just outside the window. He stays there quite a while each morning, arriving about half an hour after sunrise. I sit each morning in my reading chair and keep an eye out for him. And suddenly, he’s there. I grew up calling these things chameleons. Wikipedia, however, just told me he is a green anole and he is often mistakenly called a chameleon, likely started by...

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Talking in the Locker Room show art Talking in the Locker Room

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam Marston takes a moment to observe the fingerprint of time. And wishes he hadn't. ----- Talking to a naked man is awkward. It’s just…awkward. There are men that have come my gym at the same time every day for decades. And their work in the gym may have kept them alive but it has not kept them from aging. There is nothing firm on them. There’s nothing taut. Age plus gravity has left a sagging fingerprint. And talking to a naked man, especially one with some age on him, is, well, awkward. They’re standing there, towel over their shoulder, not around...

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Persevere show art Persevere

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's KIR, Cam Marston wonders if he could do the same thing for fifteen years and know, just know in his bones, that it would pay off. ----- I’ve just watched the documentary on Steve Martin called "Steve! A Documentary in Two Pieces." I’ve always liked Steve Martin. What caught my attention the most is that he did his standup act for fifteen years. The vast majority of that time, his audiences were very small. In one video clip, he’s counting the number of people in the room during his act – there were fifteen people there. He got what he thought were big breaks that bombed,...

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April's Fool show art April's Fool

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston hypothesizes on what a parenting podcast from him and his wife would sound like. ----- My wife and I sat together at the beach last week laughing as we retold stories and reminded ourselves of the humor of parenting. Especially as Gen X parents. We decided to compose a social media post together. The date was April first, and that date matters. The post read the following: We are frequently asked how we’ve raised four perfect children. Here’s our response: We are excited to announce our new Parenting Podcast called Gen X Parenting Tools. Go check...

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Workplace Veterans show art Workplace Veterans

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston has some observations about the NCAA tournament. The old guys are winning, and he likes that. ----- Someone in my family is not pleased right now. As I write this Wednesday, I don’t know who. Last night the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team took on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA tournament. My wife is a Carolina grad. I was unaware people could like basketball that much until I met her. My son is a Freshman at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He was an avid sports fan moments after his birth. One of them lost last night and is...

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A young man asked "My customers keep telling me I remind them of their children. What should I do?" 

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A young man approached Tuesday after my seminar in Orlando. “I’m twenty-four years old,” he said “and when I’m making sales calls, people say I remind them of their son. How am I supposed to take that?” he asked.

He felt he wasn’t being taken seriously. He worried that he wasn’t doing a good job. And, he felt it was kind of an insulting to say.

I remember being in his shoes. I launched into my career intending to kick tail and take names. I wanted promotions, bonuses, raises, awards, recognition, and celebrity. My job was selling food to restaurants in eastern North Carolina. I went door to door in each town’s restaurant row with Thermoses full of heated samples, a bag of small souffle cups and plastic spoons to offer tastes. I sold cheese sauces, and gravies, corned beef hash, chillies, coffee, and tea. The list goes on.

Today I see the interactions that young man told me about differently. I told him to smile then say, “Tell me about your son.” Listen and smile and ask one follow-up question. “They’re giving you a compliment,” I told him, “It’s not an insult. And people love talking about their children so let ‘em. And then gently guide your conversation back on track.”

Like most people his age, I was in what psychiatrist Carl Jung and Franciscan priest Richard Rohr call the ego-building stages of my life. I was trying to shape how people saw me and how I saw and felt about myself. I was working to build an impressive image and, wow, how I’ve changed.

Sometime after about age thirty-five for most people, image building begins to matter less. You don’t stop doing it, it just matters less. A new search then begins for something to replace that image-building feeling that had been so important. The new search signals a shift in identity, it can arrive as a mid-life crisis, and has been known to reveal, for some, a God-shaped hole in their life.

According to Jung and Rohr, a satisfying replacement to image building can only be found by reversing course. Becoming less noticeable instead of more noticeable. Less image conscious instead of more image conscious. According to Rohr, the first half of life is about building your container of who you are and what you stand for and then filling that container. The second half of a life well lived is about draining that container and then destroying it. A full complete reversal from ego building to ego abandonment.

It’s been this way for eons. The young warriors seek fame and glory. They whoop and holler and conquer. The elders shower them with praise and rewards for their work and their bravery. Conquering is the job of the warriors. Praising is the job of the elders.

“I can tell you take your work seriously,” I said to the young man. “I bet you’re an asset here. Your boss is lucky to have you.” “Well,” he said, “maybe, yeah, I guess.” We shook hands. He walked away smiling from the compliment. I walked away smiling from giving it to him.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.