Finding What You’re Looking For: Jody’s Story

 A Critical Doer keeps risk and failure in context with opportunity and success 

A Critical Doer works as hard to develop strength of character as strength of talent 


Truly amazing people never step doing amazing things.

In a previous post, I introduced you to a friend and coworker named Jody Hershbine.  Besides being a civilian software developer for the US Air Force, a Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard, PhD student, devoted husband, and loving father…he is also an avid touring cyclist.

Jody has made a number of lengthy bike journeys.  He somehow turns a bicycle into what seems to be an RV with shelter, cooking equipment, sleeping provisions, and his laptop so he can blog about his adventures.  Check out this picture of one of his “campgrounds”…that’s right, you won’t complain about noise again!

camp site

Jody recently attempted his greatest journey to date by pedaling coast to coast from Savannah, GA to Astoria, OR. To chronicle the trip, he set up a blog named “Cranking Out Adventure.”  As further testament to Jody’s character, he used the trip and his blog to raise awareness and money for Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that helps wounded veterans and their families deal with the life-changing circumstances that often accompany combat-related injuries.

One particular blog entry logged toward the end of his journey stirred the souls of many of us who were following him.  He called the post “Found What I Was Looking For…” that described a personal goal of rediscovering the fighting spirit of his beloved hometown of Youngstown, OH.  He simply described that spirit as “it”.  Take a moment to read this entry as there is no way a mere observer speaking in third person could do this justice.

The phenomenon Jody described is not uncommon.  As we progress in our professional lives and the normal routine of families add layers of complexity to our personal lives, the steady hum of activity can let “it” fade into the background and along with it some of our capacity for accomplishment.

Although few would attempt it in the way Jody did, it’s important and it’s certainly not selfish to carve out some time to rediscover “it.”  Danger comes when the challenges of the day cause us to lose sight of the spirit that makes us feel alive, gives us energy, and lets us view our work as a privilege rather than a drudgery.

Although Jody had to end his journey in Missoula, MT rather than getting all the way to the Pacific, neither Jody nor anyone else who followed him would dare call this effort a failure…in fact, the final words of his last blog entry stated he was richer for the experience.

Making it to the Pacific was a worthy goal, but the real prize was “doing” in order to fulfill a dream and rediscovering the fighting spirit of Youngstown that ultimately that refocused him and increased the capacity for accomplishment.  Although the trip didn’t end at the destination he planned, it ended in a far better place…contentment.

Our challenge is to recognize that no human is exempt from the push and pull of daily life that makes us sometimes feel like captives more than the masters of our fate that we were intended to be.  In your own way, take time to rediscover “it”.  Life lived with meaning and purpose is more productive than life viewed as a cog in a machine.  Jody gave us a powerful example to follow and helped a worthy cause along the way.  Make your own plan and rediscover “it”; it’s what a Critical Doer would…do!

Indeed…truly amazing people never stop doing amazing things.

Note:  click here to learn more about Wounded Warrior Project and how to help those who risked all to defend us.


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Updated: September 20, 2015 — 11:37 am

1 Comment

  1. Well said! Jody found “it,” because Jody has “it!” It was a joy to follow his progress on the blog and t take part in the daily 1400 hrs updates at work! Too many people settle for mediocre and forget that much is given to those who risk much. My mother always taught us, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” A Critical Doer should never be afraid to push the envelope and sometimes the greatest success comes from seeming failures. Thank you for the post!

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