In the Grief of Unexpected Loss, I Found My Life’s Purpose

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In 2009 my two-year-old daughter died, and my life changed forever.

My wife and I rushed Jenna to Children’s Memorial Hospital on Friday, May 29. She was having seizures. By Tuesday June 2, Jenna our firstborn, passed away from a virus called viral encephalitis.

I hadn’t realized it, but until that point, my life was a façade. I played the part people expected of me — devoted father; husband to the woman I love, who was two months pregnant with our second child Sydnie; successful businessman; Cubs fan. However, I had no purpose in life.

I will never forget the day I met Jenna for the first time. It was magic to hold her small, precious hand, to watch her draw her first breaths and to cry for the first time.

When Jenna died I no longer recognized the person I was. I sunk into a deep depression tinged with grief I could not shake, into darkness I could not understand. My world looked like the aftermath of a devastating wildfire — charred, bleak, and lifeless.

I questioned everything and found solace in nothing. I was in bad shape and in a state of quandary. I wondered how I could move forward in the face of such unimaginable pain and sorrow.

Eventually, I found a light.

I still think of her every day and there are times of intense stabbing sorrow and pain. I didn’t get over Jenna, I never will, but I started to move forward. I chose to continue living and not become a victim. I found that purpose is more significant than pain.

Purpose is your reason for living. It is what you are trying to do with your life or what you are trying to become.

How do you find it?

By believing that today is the first day of the rest of your life, and by not dwelling on your past or mistakes. By having lived life with no regrets.

How did I find my purpose? I started by asking a few questions:

  • How can I help people choose to be a higher version of themselves or help them identify their barriers?
  • What does it mean to have no barriers in my life?
  • How does it feel to be empowered and confident enough in whom I am today that I can do anything?

And the answer is: You become that person by planning and executing actions to achieve goals. You may only be able to take one step forward today, but you take it. And you keep going because you know life is full of surprises and you can handle that.

You also are completely aware that you are NOT the person who can accomplish your mission — today. Yet, you know it IS your mission, so you press on.

You recognize that it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. That sounds cliché, but it’s true. To be fully alive is to be present—feeling the emotions, engaging with people around you, acknowledging the truth, sharing the experience, listening to others authentically — to embrace everything life has to offer.

This purpose is the foundation of my life and my work. It’s why I believe in every single person who works at Becker Logistics. When you build belief in people, they can do more than you think they can — maybe more than they think they can.

If you'd like to know more about Becker Logistics, check out our company website or message me. If working for a company like Becker sounds interesting to you, read more on our Careers Page.

 

Moving Companies from a Transactional / Collaborative State to a Cooperative State

 
 Becker Logistics stair model

Becker Logistics stair model

 

When someone starts a meaningful conversation about proactivity chances are they’ve read the classic book by Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s no mistake that “Be Proactive” is Habit #1, that’s how important it is.

Covey writes that being proactive is about, “taking responsibility for your life.” Proactive people recognize they are responsible for their behavior, unlike reactive people who blame external forces for their behavior.

Proactive people focus on things they can control and influence; proactive people know that they can choose how to respond. Reactive people become stuck in a rut, unable to dig out because they have or don’t feel in control of their own lives.

In business, the default approach often is reactive — a company responds when a problem arises. For example, a customer complains and the company responds by resolving the issue and the interaction ends with the customer satisfied with the outcome.

Wouldn't it be better if the customer never complained in the first place? What if, as CEO, you could create a proactive culture that caught the problem before the customer did, before it became a problem? It would be like predicting the future, right?

Being proactive means that you CAN predict the future. As management legend Peter Drucker puts it, you are creating it.

Many CEOs may feel like there is not enough time to be proactive because they are so busy putting out fires. The decisions and issues on hand are never-ending and can burn up all available time. In fact at the end of the day you may take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on getting through another day where you careened from one crisis to the next.

According to Drucker, "management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Leadership is preferable to management. Leadership knows what to focus on, what the ‘right things’ are. In fact being proactive, as Drucker puts it, results in leadership — doing the right things — at all levels of an organization. Drucker thought that everyone in an organization should have the opportunity to take risks, learn, and grow in the workplace, and so do I.

A proactive culture moves an organization from transactional interactions to cooperative ones. What does that mean? In a transactional culture each person thinks of short-term, one-off goals; in a cooperative culture interactions focus on working together to get the best outcome for everyone. Here’s an example:
Transactional: “We need some coffee.”
Collaboration: “We want coffee, where’s the best place to get it?”
Cooperative: “Let’s work together to discover the best way to provide coffee for everyone at the office.”

Cooperation creates new possibilities. In this case, the search for coffee turns into lobbying the boss to buy a high quality coffee machine for the office or, better yet, proposing the purchase of a local coffee company that is run by employees!

Another one of Drucker’s five practices that effective leaders acquire and turn into a habit is to focus on outward contributions, and ‘gear their efforts to results rather than work.’ The combination of a proactive culture, a cooperative workplace, and a team that focuses on results leads to a winning organization; a really great place to work.

As CEO, I work hard to proactively share my vision with everyone at Becker Logistics. I involve my entire team in collaborating on how to achieve successful results for our clients and us. However, that process has grown more challenging for me, and for all the best reasons.

With the growth that we are experiencing I have found myself fighting to stay as proactive as I could be in the past. There are days I feel like a firefighter trying to put out the flames and I have relied on my team to mitigate, all while feeling I have to get in there and help. Getting back to the proactive state is so critical. This is where we see, plan and show-up for the unrealized future.

Becker Logistics prepared for and experienced extraordinary growth over the past five years. We did this by hiring exceptional people and identifying the best position for their unique talents. We expect to grow by an additional 80% in 2019.

The acquisition of Savage Logistics also contributed to company growth, making Becker one of the largest third-party logistics providers in the United States. As the company scales, it’s more important than ever to bring everyone together and to inspire everyone on staff with our shared vision of proactivity.

I am focused on making sure my management team knows and shares the company vision and are proactive about communicating that vision to their teams.

I recently took my executive team to a “Fearless Becker Retreat.” We discussed why being proactive is so important to continued organic growth and made plans to ensure communication, collaboration and cooperation across all levels of the company.

If you'd like to know more about Becker Logistics, check out our Company Website or message me. If working for a company like Becker sounds interesting to you, read more on our Careers Page.

WIU Job Fair

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Tuesday, October 3rd, Becker Logistics recruited at Western Illinois University's job fair! So far we have hired one student from WIU this year who was an intern for Becker Logistics over the summer.  In total we have hired two employees from WIU.  Seeing that there is talent at the university it is worth recruiting other students from there.  After the job fair some of the students went out to dinner with us to learn more about what Becker Logistics has to offer. Lots of talent there and we will continue to recruit from such a talented school.  

Thank you to Western Illinois University for having us at the job fair.  

Becker Logistics Helping Out Those in Need in Texas

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At Becker Logistics we know that it is important to help out our community. Due to the recent hurricanes we are donating to the Texas Hurricane Relief Truckload. With the money that we are giving it will be going towards basic supplies that people are in need of such as bottled water, cleaning supplies, batteries, and more.

To learn more about how to donate go to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thetexastruckload/

If jobs stop bullets, why aren't more companies stepping up?

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CASE STUDY 2


Becker Logistics and LeadersUp

A Becker Logistics orientation seminar in Carol Stream. Photo: Manuel Martinez
Becker Logistics is a third-party logistics firm that has hired 20 people from low-income areas. But it has struggled to hold on to them: Five are still with the company, which is based in Carol Stream and has offices in Chicago, Barrington and Glendale Heights.
In a bid to keep employees longer, founder and CEO Jim Becker has invested $80,000 in an in-house training program suitable for all levels of hires, from MBAs to those with only rudimentary computer skills. Candidates for entry-level jobs can learn basic customer service and computer skills in the first two levels in two weeks and be ready to work; those destined for management jobs continue on.

Becker also has begun working with nonprofit LeadersUp to recruit and hire. Chronically under- or unemployed people often need help with basic job readiness, says Jeffery Wallace, CEO of LeadersUp, which was created by Starbucks and some of its suppliers in 2013. Based in Los Angeles, LeadersUp established a presence in Chicago in July 2014. Since then, it has placed north of 600 young adults in jobs at 15 local companies. Overall, the retention rate is 67 percent; Wallace says that is 15 points higher than employees recruited through other means.

LeadersUp works with companies to develop a training curriculum for the jobs they are trying to fill. Candidates also learn such workplace necessities as handling criticism from a supervisor and effectively voicing concerns; showing up regularly and on time, particularly the day after payday; and staying focused even when co-workers "start to get on your nerves," Wallace says.

CRAINS'S Full Article:
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20170812/ISSUE01/170819980#casestudies

 

Jim Becker's Visit to Western Illinois University

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On Monday, Jim Becker went to Western Illinois University to present about Becker Logistics and the 3PL industry. Jim spoke about 3PL sales, supply chain management, and negotiations. The classes that Jim spoke at were Introduction to Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain Negotiations. One of the professors at WIU has informed Becker Logistics that several of the students that Jim spoke to are already asking about the company and creating resumes. At Becker Logistics we find it important to go to universities, speak about the 3PL industry, and encourage students to consider a career in logistics.

From the CEO's Desk: RFP

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Every week it seems that one of our offices is receiving a RFP. I now look back after twenty years in business to reflect on all the different ways we have handled RFP’s. Most commonly known as a “Request for Proposal”; I remember sales people refer to it as a “Really Frustrating and Painful experience (RFP-e)”.

We learned over the years with our growth that we needed to streamline these processes to be more efficient. We are excited that more and more RFP’s are coming in every week. This could only mean that more and more companies are learning about Becker and our services. So we are excited to let you know our process continues to change to handle the new volume.

Becker’s customer’s true purpose of an RFP is for their company to receive competitive pricing, best possible service, and consistency throughout their supply chain. RFP’s should not be a “Really Frustrating and Painful experience (RFP-e)” for our sales team and definitely not for our customers. We promise to continue to strive for excellence in our process and create an even better platform for our company.
-Jim Becker, CEO