When We Look Forward

forward

 

I don’t need to explain to anyone that we just had our biggest election. I also don’t need to express that there are a lot of happy people and also a great deal of angry and upset people. But there is one thing I feel compelled to shout out to the country, even the world – the concept of Forward.

You may have heard the phrase of a “forward thinker.” Some people live that, and others just know what it is but necessarily apply it. I am not here, writing this post, to express my own political feelings and beliefs, but I am here to plead everyone to look forward.

We cannot change the election results, whether we want to or not. The only thing we should do now is plan for tomorrow and the next day. I am flooded with posts about how things are wrong, or how people are upset with the results. If we continue to look at the past and gripe or complain, we are missing vital opportunities that are in the present moment available to us. I am not saying to forget the past, but instead, process it and plan for what can happen next.

The riots in the streets, the protesting, the Facebook posts, the angry emails about what has already happened will not change anything. Again, I am not telling you that I am pleased or displeased with the results – but I am thinking about what I can do to make my life, my families life and the life of those I interact with, better. No election can change that because that comes from me, not from the President.

It is wise to keep our emotions in check because a loose tongue can do much damage. And if WE want to impact those around us in a positive, constructive way, we cannot slander others and cause chaos in other people’s lives. We only bring shame and doubt to ourselves and to the people that looked up to us. By all means, believe in something, and live that belief. And with this election, we did that by voting and taking a stand, but now it is over we can instead continue our belief by living our lives in such a way that brings honor to our names.

Be bigger than the bitter, be stronger than you were before, and look at tomorrow instead of being harsh about the past.

 

These are my thoughts for today.

This is So Scary!

But it doesn’t have to be!

Let’s talk about the people in our lives. Who do we surround ourselves with? Who do we go to when we feel pain? how about when we’re happy? Who celebrates with us? Who cares for us?

All of these different people, and yes I realize that some people might fit multiple roles, but all these people are important. Who we decide to confide in can either help us or hinder us. Who we decide to spend quality time with can inspire us, or drain us.

We learn from everyone we interact with. Sometimes that learning can be just a little, or it could be intentional. I willing to bet that we don’t seek enough intentional learning from the people we know. Especially those people who think we are less likely to learn something from. That could be because our interests are not aligned. Or it could be because we feel they aren’t “up to the task.”

Regardless of who we have in our lives, let’s not let the unknown scare isn’t to thinking that we cannot learn something new. Try it for yourself. Actively think about who is around you, and then see what each person might be able to help you with.

Happy Learning!

Celebrate Without Hurting Your Bank Account

Happy Anniversary  – to me! Recently my wife and I celebrated our anniversary together, and we didn’t break the bank to do it.happy-a
Going out and being able to enjoy ourselves is something we all have in common, regardless of the situation. But that often makes us overspend in order to force the situation to become something more magnificent than it already is.

We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s landing a new job, or that guy/girl we like actually said yes to going out with us for the first time? Or, like me, you had a significant anniversary to celebrate. No matter what the situation we tend to throw money at it to make the experience better. Sure, a few extra dollars can change the scene, but we don’t have to break the bank in order to get that perfect night out. So let me throw some tips at you.

For our night out, I was the one being surprised. Idea #1 – try to surprise your spouse. Now, I have to admit, I am not really big into surprises because I personally like to plan things out and take some control over the details. So, allowing my wife to be the one to surprise me was a stretch on my part. Stretching helps me grow, so I agreed to it – it was tough, but I got through it and actually enjoyed myself.

Idea #2 is that you don’t have to go far to make the night worth it. I bet if you figured out what a 30-minute drive or an hour drive on a map looks like, and drew a circle with you in the middle, you would see a lot of potentials. Think about places you know you like, but don’t get to enjoy all the time. Those are usually good places to go for that special occasion.

Idea #3 Was your big day on a specific date ( like the anniversary of something?) If it was, who says you have to celebrate on that night? Valentine’s day, as a great example never seems to work in our favor as far as the calendar is concerned, so we instead find our own evening to go out and enjoy.

Idea #4 Stick to a budget when you plan the night out. This will make it so you can save for it without worrying about how much to save for, and also help you pick places that fit your budget.

So as you can see…it isn’t difficult to still have a great experience without killing your bank account. I can assure you, having a good time without spending a ton, feels way better than having a good time and then figuring out you have no money for gas a couple of days later.

What did we do? Well, our meal was at the Cheesecake Factory. We had never been before and even though we knew it was a little more than we would normally pay for a meal out, we knew it would be worth it for this special occasion. After that, we went to a nearby Comedy Sportz, where we ended the evening rolling in our seats and crying from all the laughter! (And it was cheap!) We had been to Comedy Sportz before, but not in this location, so again, it was still somewhat new to us. We didn’t break the bank. We still had fun. And we still celebrated our night…just on a different night.

 

Get out there and celebrate something soon – and maybe some of these tips will help. These are my thoughts for the Day!

 

Hard Work Is…Hard

hard-work

 

Hello everyone out there. I realize that I have not posted in a little while, and I would apologize for that – but I can’t!

Recently I have been at a conference with another co-worker of mine, and in this post – I want to highlight her.

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I would like to introduce Madison. I work with Madison, or I should say, I get to work with Madison every day.

Even though I have worked for this company longer than Madison, when she showed up and stepped up to the plate, it was a breath of fresh air.

 

 

 

Earlier I mentioned being at a conference. Madison was also with me and we got to do our thing for a few days while meeting new people and forming new relationships. So what does this have to do with hard work? Well, hard work is not something that gets thrown at us to do. Hard work is a choice we make each minute of the day. Every time we go to work, or go to School or do anything that we might not consider “fun”, there is some level of work involved. And this is where we have to decide how much effort we put in.

Hard work is our choice. Hard work is our friend. Every day that we put in our very best, we can be proud of the outcome. Yes, even if we don’t accomplish everything we set out to do. Even if the list we made doesn’t get finished – it does not matter. If we, can actually say we gave it our all, then the results are irrelevant.

Madison spoke very highly of me in front of some people we met at this conference. She told them that I work hard every day and that when I am needed by her or others, I am there, regardless of the hour. But she might not know, is that when she wasn’t around, I got to brag about her to other people. I got to tell them that Madison and I work together closely on projects and that I haven’t met a more determined, level-headed person that knows how to do it and do it right. I told them that working with Madison is awesome and I am glad to be a part of that environment.

The reason I just told you all these things, is because that is what happens when you work hard. People notice. And people talk. Wouldn’t we all like to be talked about like that? Wouldn’t we all like to be acknowledged by our peers and respected? Because the opposite of all those things happens all too often in this world. We get a job that isn’t all that “wonderful”, and because it doesn’t pay the best, or provide in the same way, we don’t feel like it is worth our effort.

So I will end with this. Hard work is our choice. And if you take that choice seriously, you will open doors you never thought you could. You will succeed in ways that will surprise you, and others around you will wonder what you did to get there. They will want to know the secret to your success. They will want to know how you got to where you are. And all you have to do to jump start that journey…is work hard. Go the distance. Be there when you don’t have too, and give it your best. The rest will take care of itself.

These are my thoughts for the day, so get out there, and do your thing – and do it at your very best!

It’s 90% Journey & 10% Gut!

Hi, everyone.

I realize that sometimes when you find out you want to get somewhere, it almost seems impossible. I will get straight to the point on debunking this.

It’s never impossible if you focus on the right things. If for instance, all you want to do in this life is go to Australia and live there for a month before coming home, I can realize that this is a challenge. And you will never get there if you do is focus on Australia. I didn’t say forget about Australia, just don’t focus on Australia. Put up some pictures of where you want to live and make a list of all the places you want to visit while you live there. Post these things where you seem the most so that you can be reminded of the big picture, but again, that doesn’t mean you should solely focus on it.

So what should we focus on instead?

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. This is true with any goal you have. If you really want to go live in Australia for a month and experience some amazing adventures too, there will be a lot of prep work to do. What time of the year will you go? Who will take care of things here while you are gone? How much money does it cost to be able to leave here and still have the bills paid? Where will you live when you’re in Australia? And so on…

The list can seem daunting and maybe even overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be if we focus on the journey of getting there. It doesn’t really matter what your goal is (although Australia sounds nice as Winter approaches). Whatever it is you want to do there will be tasks to complete before you can go or do anything. Imagine each task as a set of steps. Once you’ve figured out how many tasks it takes to do what you need to, write down like this:

Let’s say it takes 10 tasks to reach the point of being able to go or do. I will then find out how many miles (if it is distance) it is to where I want to be. For this example, I will say 10,000 miles away. Now I can line up my tasks from bottom going up to the top like a thermometer. As I complete the first task, that is 1,000 miles closer to my destination. I know this might seem 5th grade to some people, but this idea of how we think of getting to where we want to be, can be the difference between wishing and dreaming, and actually achieving and winning!

I mentioned in the title about having 10% gut. There will likely be moments when a specific “amount” or “thing” will be unknown. Prices might change for example so knowing exactly how much money will be more challenging. If that happens to you, take an extra 10%. (See how I did that? 10% in the title…) Anyway, use an extra 10% just in case it does cost more. If by the time you get there, it does not cost more – you have a bonus 10% to spend on other experiences!

Friends, do not let the big picture daunt you and make you feel helpless when trying to achieve something great. Take that first step, conquer your first task, and eventually, you will see yourself at the finish line. Remember, it’s about the journey right now. It’s  about the destination when you get there!

Tackling A Life Mystery

We all want to know what the “secret to a great life is”, and even more people want to know what the answer to life’s biggest question is, and it may not be the question you think it is.

I’ll give you a second to think about what that might be.

Ok, the question of all questions in our lifetime is this:

Why?

Yep – that’s it. That is the big question. And now you’re thinking, “ok this guy has had it, someone call somebody because he’s done…”

Just take a moment and think about it!

Of all the questions we ask in a day, week, month etc the question of WHY always appears more than any other question. Why? You ask. (See, there it is again)

It appears the most because we want to know things. We want the knowledge and wisdom that comes from asking why. When we ask why we learn something from the answer, and after we have learned something we gain. We gain in such a way that gives us power. If you know something I don’t, you potentially have power over me. So it shouldn’t be that shocking that asking WHY is the big picture question.

Where it becomes even more important, is when we use that question, and what for!

The questions of why can be used in such a powerful way when you give it some thought. We know to ask why for the basic things, but how often is the question of “why” overlooked? When we see or experience something that is out of place, are we asking the question of why? And if we are, who then do we ask?

Here are some why questions to ask yourself…

Why do I live where I am?

Why do I work in the field I am in?

Why do I love that special person in my life?

I know these questions might seem obvious to us all, but until we actually sit down and answer with pen and power, making a list…we might surprise ourselves on what the answers actually are. In some cases, I hope we surprise ourselves in a way that makes us question the decisions we have made. Not to the point of regret of course, because we can take anything and turn it around to some degree. But what if the answer to why we work where we do doesn’t really make us all that thrilled? Asking ourselves that question might uncover some hidden truths that we have been blind to for a while. Maybe, just maybe, we can see now that a change is in the air, and now is the time to do something about it.

These are my thoughts for today…

Defeat makes us Struggle

Hi, everyone – it might be hard to do, but I imagine if we all thought long and hard we could start writing down all the different ways we have been defeated in our life. And I don’t just mean in a sport where our team didn’t win, but everything. Failed a test in School. Didn’t get the date we wanted for the dance. Denied a job. Fired from a job. Bad day at work when we did finally get a job. Heartbreak in a relationship – the list goes on, right?

I know personally I have felt defeated time and time again when I think about my struggles with my heart. I won’t lie and say every day has been horrible, because it hasn’t, but there always seem to be just enough days to make me constantly think about how much I struggle with feeling defeated. My state of mind is at risk when I think this way.

I am pleased to say I know a young lady that has been going through some tough times herself. Through social media, I have been able to follow her progress and story through the whole ordeal. Some days were just down right scary and she never knew what might happen, but I can sit here and write to you that because of perseverance, she has made it to a brighter looking future.

screenshot_9_23_16_8_29_amI would like you to meet Lindsey Crawford. Without giving away all her secrets, Lindsey has been battling Lyme Disease for over 2 years now. In the beginning of this entire ordeal, she wrote that she just wanted it to end and that God should take her now. She wanted to die. I don’t know exactly who is reading this right now, but I can only imagine unless you have been in that place yourself, that this is a hard concept to grasp.

Lindsey, even at her young age, was already working and doing the things she loved, but all that changed when her diagnosis came in. Just like with my own struggle with heart failure, it came pretty evidently to both of us that our lives would not be the same.

 

So why do I tell you all this? I say it because there is still hope for us all. Lindsey, even she still battles with it has proclaimed that the fear and the battles she faces has no control over her any longer. That feeling of being helpless is no longer a factor in her life. We can all learn from this. Yes there were dark days, yes there were struggles, and yes from time to time it might get rough – but that does not mean you have to struggle in your mind.

Do not let your circumstances tell you how you will live your life. We so often, let our current conditions, our physical conditions, control how we then think and feel. Why? At what point in our life, did we give power to those things? When did we say it si ok for us to think differently and feel differently because of our physical surroundings?

Time for a change, friends. My own example is that at some point each day I am in pain. Sometimes it is brief, sometimes it lasts my entire day – there is always a pain. Pain can be debilitating. But even if that is the case, it does not have control over my mind in the same way. I can simply, stop, relax for a moment and breathe, giving me a moment to reclaim my state of mind so I can keep going.

If we always let the darkness win, we will never see the light again. 

Stay strong – overcome your struggles and see that life is an option over and above the obstacles we face.

New Theory Developing: Time Control!

I remember reading and seeing shows or movies in the sci-fi realm that loved the idea of Mind Control. And yes, as much as I would love to have that ability, I think I would also be a little freaked out if I knew someone out there DID have that ability.

But there is an ability that we can all tap into – if we really want it.

Time Control!!

Wouldn’t it be magical if we could take over how the minutes and hours in our day were spent? Wait…I think we can. Correction, I know we can! I want us all to think about something we want to do. Something we want to overcome. Something we want to accomplish each day. It could be eating healthy. It could be taking the dogs for a walk (but so you can go for a walk). It could be cleaning a room each day to stay on top of the housework. It could be to lose weight. It could be to exercise each day. Do we all have something in mind now?

What has stopped you before today? What have you told yourself that has prevented you from doing any of it? Maybe you are like me, with more than one thing that you want to accomplish. Sometimes it just seems impossible to nail down exactly how you are going to do it, right?

Well, my friends, today is the day you start. Not tomorrow. Don’t tell yourself “You are right! I’m gonna do it, but I will start tomorrow, I’m busy right now.” This is a common excuse and we can’t use that anymore. It starts today. One small step doesn’t have to be the end goal today. We just have to start today.

Trying to eat healthier? We can start by throwing out or donating the food we desperately need to avoid. Going for that walk? Do it right after work, as soon as you get home.

Look, you can control your time! None of these things have to take forever to accomplish. A journey of 10,000 steps will always start with the first step. And so it is true for all of us trying to achieve something in our life. Stop telling yourself you don’t have time – you know you do! That 10,000 step journey seems daunting when you can only take one step at a time, but the more steps we take, the further along we end up. Eventually, you can look back and see how far you’ve actually gone. But only look. Don’t reminisce. Don’t think about how things used to be – think about how things are going to be! Just keep going forward. Keep moving, don’t stop now – you’ve begun something great, do you really want to quit? You’re not a quitter, are you? No! You can do this, don’t be afraid to fail or fall – that’s part of the journey. Failing isn’t really failing at all. Failing is just finding a way to NOT do something. Failure is just a way to remove an obstacle that blocks you from success.

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For example, I want you to meet a friend of mine. She is a trooper. She’s got a lot going on in her life, but recently she became motivated to get herself into better shape. Meet Sara Jonasen.

Like I said, she has a lot to tackle in her day with a toddler running around, 2 jobs, her husband, and let’s not forget all the housework that she does too. But in all that chaos, she still finds 30 minutes each day to get herself moving as she strives towards her goals of achieveing something greater for herself, and for her family.

Well done Sara! Keep going – don’t ever quit!

 

So now I challenge the rest of us. What are we going to do? What are we going to achieve? Remember, we can control our time…you just have to want too!

I’ll scratch your back, and…

I think we have all heard the famous saying of: “I’ll scratch your back, and you’ll scratch mine.” I don’t know who said it originally, and that isn’t really important anyway. What is important, though, is that we have all heard of it, or at the very least we know why we have heard of it.

Life comes at us in all different directions, and even though our spidey senses are pretty much on point, sometimes we just need a little scratch relief! So we go to those who we trust the most. Perhaps the relief needs to be from a specific person with a specific skill set, like a plumber! Or maybe we just need someone to help us with babysitting, either way, it all usually boils down to one thing – we don’t have the funds to make it happen! So we try to scratch each other backs by trading our skills or abilities to help each other out.

But what about when it comes to our own homes? Whether with a spouse, partner, significant other or all the other terms used to describe a relationship these days; it is a fact that we don’t pay each other for work done.

A lot of people in this world deal with the reality of a different saying. “I’ll scratch your back, and mine will stay itchy!” Ok, I made that up. But the point is, we can bend over backwards to make sure that person we love is taken care of, but then when we feel it should be returned in kind – we get nothing. That can sting a little sometimes. We can chalk it up to loving this other person and letting it go, but after a while, we tend to notice more and more all of the undone good deeds. So what can we do about it?

I do love me some confrontation at times! Don’t misunderstand me here, though. There is a right way to confront something that is bothering you. And no, it doesn’t involve weapons, violence or a Cat with laser beams! It does, however, involve a sit-down conversation that can be done maturely and calmly. (I know, so much more boring than Cats with laser beams!)

If you find yourself in that predicament where you need to confront someone, but you don’t know how or are scared of the outcome. Just remember that they also don’t want to deal with it, or, in a lot of cases, don’t even know that something needs to be dealt with. Think about that for a moment. Your confrontation came from you, in a place of unpleasantness that the other person may not even know anything about. And in this fun-fact comes a piece of knowledge and wisdom.

Don’t approach the person guns blazing because you feel like that’s the only way to get through to them.

Simply and calmly let them know something has been bothering you and gently explain why it made you feel the way it does. Then give them a chance to explain their part in it all.

If that doesn’t work…get some cats, get some laser beams and see how it goes!

 

And next time…just try to remember that scratching someone’s back, doesn’t always mean they should scratch yours in return.

Hmm…sounds like a future discussion…

National Day of Encouragement!

encouragement

I like this picture. It’s funny because it’s a mint…talking and encouraging you! Get it!?

Of course, you do, you’re smarter than you look.

Happy National Encouragement Day!

 

“You Can Do It!” As the friendly mint does say. It’s true. When we really want something, we will go out of our way to make sure we have it. I remember when I really wanted some chocolate and even though it was late, I was so determined that I got out of bed, put some clothes on and went to the store and bought some. (Ok, I realize this is kind of a lame example…)

Seriously, though! When we want something that badly, we will do our best, and not let anything get in our way to make sure we get what we want. So I guess the question then becomes:

What do you want, right now? (Say it out loud and write it down!)

What are you striving for these days? What are you getting out of bed for? What makes you do what you do, every day? Come on, seriously think about this. Don’t just answer to yourself, “my job”, or something similar. I want you to push the envelope here. You have dreams, don’t you? You have goals and passions and ambitions in life, surely.

What is stopping you then?

If the answer is nothing, because you are working on it right now – fantastic!! But what about the rest of the world? When was the last time you decided I am going to do something different, or I am going to get that job I have always wanted?

Look, I know it isn’t always easy. But if it were easy we all would have that “thing” on our resume, wouldn’t we? Seeing that today is National Encouragement Day – I am talking to you right now with words of encouragement.

YOU – WERE – MADE – TO – DO – IT!

YOU – HAVE – WHAT – IT – TAKES!

YOU – ARE – A – FIGHTER!

YOU – ARE – NOT – A – QUITTER!

So get out there…and make a difference. Live: “A Life of Heart” and change your world, and while you are there doing it, change the worlds of those around you.