December 2017
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Bee Passionate

Listen for Happy Bees

Advice from a Commercial Beekeeper: Bee a Good Listener
Recently I had the opportunity to spend the day with a commercial beekeeper from Nicaragua and his team. He was assessing the truckload of bees they were about to work. As he walked by each hive he would pause, elbow it or hit is with his fist and move on. I asked “what are you doing?” He said, I can tell if the queen is present and the hive is healthy and balanced or not by the sound. He continued, stopped by a hive and said listen, he hit the hive. The echo sounded like there was not a lot of weight in the hive and the bee buzz pitch sounded unhappy. As he continued, he hit one and said, “This is a good queen.” He opened it and it was full of bees and the bees were not aggressive but calm. He said, “See, this hive has a good queen and the bees are balanced, productive and happy!”

A Large Scale Beekeeping Operation

A Large Scale Beekeeping Operation

Bee Balanced, Bee Happy, Bee Passionate & Bee Healthy
Clearly these bees are passionate about their activities. For humans, passion can result in fulfilling experiences, relationships, unexpected successes and even better health! With passion, the energy to solve a problem or overcoming challenges and setbacks is always available.

I Had Passion Once
I love team play – basketball is my favorite sport. A good team will often beat a group of more talented individuals. In sports or work, a balanced leader will mentor talent into working as a team that will energize, rally and transform an organization.

Motivated people, aligned with a common goal will work above and beyond to help their team succeed. It is tremendously exciting and fulfilling to work with smart, talented and motivated people. Once a leader has been part of building a high performance team from talented individuals there is no work experience more fulfilling.

I Lost My Passion
Passionate is a word frequently used in describing my leadership style. For more than 20 years I have been passionate about leveraging current or developing technologies to enhance business and individual success. My positive, encouraging and mentoring approach has resulted in many organizational and individual successes. Yet in the last few years I have lost my positive view, become a bit cynical. What happened to my passion?

I’ve Been Used!
I have learned that some businesses take advantage of passionate leaders. In general, businesses today have fixated on the bottom line, without attention to sustainability. Business has abandoned commitment to the employees. Employees have lost any passion for their work and any commitment for their employers. It has become an economic bottom line relationship. How much energy do you have for “I have to go to work?”

Once a person realizes upper management has used the passionate balanced leader for greed or power, there is nothing more discouraging to the leader or the staff. I wonder if bees feel this way when beekeepers take all their honey and feed them corn syrup or sugar water?

Cause & Effect
Leaders that have passion and can rally the team are in high demand. However, because of the negative effects of being used and abused, these managers are short timers. They quit, fail or lose their health!
I have repeatedly observed and personally experienced the full impact of this imbalance.

I Am Taking My Passion Back!
At my last job, I took my employer’s values seriously, “Be courageous and do the right thing.”
When I discovered unethical business practices I attempted to address them and I was fired.
By this point my blood pressure was in the stroke-heart attack waiting to happen range.

Meanwhile, last year I purchased a small property with a great shop building. Subsequently I bought a tractor and started to work the land. More recently I have begun to actively restart Uncle Dan’s Bees. Free from the confines of a job, I have the time to focus and reflect.

It has been four months since I was fired. Last week my doctor called with my current test results. She was very surprised. All my health numbers are fabulous!

What caused this major positive health change? I believe that actively spending time on my passions has helped me regain a balanced perspective and improved my health.

Following your passion and focusing on the tasks at hand will result in more happiness and better health!

Some readers may wonder what the connection is between work and bees. The connections will become clear with the coming articles, so stay tuned.

Please share your thoughts and opinions in the Comments.
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About Uncle Dan
I started beekeeping as a hobby in 1989, my dream to be a beekeeper, raise organic herbs and vegetables and enjoy providing healthy tasty foods, good mead and spending time with family and friends. I hold degrees in chemistry and computer science, and have been recognized for innovation with a Bell Labs STAR award. I also had the honor of being selected by Rotary International as a cultural exchange ambassador to Italy 1989.

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2 comments to Bee Passionate

  • Daniel Page

    Hi Ken,
    Thank you for your comments!
    Interestingly, last week my health check results came in. My doctor said “this does not look like the same person”. My stress health numbers were GREAT, blood pressure 120/70 without medication. I can not say it was all beekeeping but I can say I have been spending a lot of time beekeeping, woodworking, i.e. building bee equipment and gardening. I continue to work on being balanced and focused on the things I can change…
    One can learn a lot from those bees…
    Bee Well and simply do your best every day!

  • Ken

    Hey Dan. I’m glad you got back to your passion! I can’t remember where I recently heard it but someone mentioned they started thinking about why they spend less time doing what they love and more time doing things they don’t. It sounds simple but sometimes life and work and everything gets in our way. And even if other readers can’t currently get their passion back, at least try doing more of what you love and less of what you dont. It will make a difference.

    Also, interesting about how the beekeeper can hear the health of the hive.
    Never knew that.
    Thanks for the beekeeping information and the lifekeeping advice.

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