Sunday, December 17, 2017

OPEN FOR BUSINESS


2 weeks from tomorrow is January 1, 2018.

WHAT?

Yep, in 2 weeks, we flip the calendar (or put up a new one).

We hit the "reset" button.

New Year....New You.

Fresh Start.

The anticipation for the new year brings out so much HOPE in all of us.  We hear things like, "I can't wait to put this year to rest."  

So over the next 2 weeks, I want to encourage you to NOT shut down...but stay OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Take 2017 out STRONG!

If you haven't done your (re)SOLUTION list yet, time to start.

I read once that famed football coach, Lou Holtz, at the age of 28 in 1966 was feeling really low.  He just lost his job, his bank account was bare, and his wife was 8 months pregnant with their 3rd child.  He was so discouraged and was lacking motivation.  Lou has a CHEERLEADER too, and she gave him a book titled, The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz.  He took to heart when he read in the book to write down all the goals he wanted to achieve before he died.

So, like Coach Holtz, get going on your LIVE LIST.

Here's a tip to get you started:
  • Go to your favorite coffee shop or brew a pot at your house
  • Turn on your favorite inspirational music
  • Sit down at the table with a pencil or pen and a notebook
  • Write fast.  Don't linger on the page.  GO BIG with what you want to achieve.  If you find yourself dismissing a goal as been too BIG or too far-fetched, write it down anyway and put a start next to it!
  • Some of these you will accomplish quicker than others.  Some will take a lifetime to achieve (remember....THINK/DREAM BIG)
  • After you have compiled your list....START.  You don't necessarily have to start with the first thing you put down....but you do have to START
We've talked about the importance of writing it down.  

Something happens when you write down your dreams and aspirations.

It's like hanging a sign and telling the Universe, "Hey...I'm OPEN FOR BUSINESS!"

Some don't want to tell others what their dreams and aspirations are.  They will say things like, "what if I can't do it?"  "What if it doesn't happen?"  "What will people say about me?"

BUT.....

What if it DOES happen?
What if you can learn to do it?
Who really cares what others think about you?  Are they living your life or are you?

So as you are finishing out 2017 STRONG......take inventory, make out your LIST and announce to the Universe:

OPEN FOR BUSINESS!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

CHARACTER COUNTS




"Be more concerned with your CHARACTER than your reputation, 
because your CHARACTER is what you really are, while your 
reputation is merely what others think you are."
John Wooden

char·ac·ter
ˈkerəktər/
  1. the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.



What type of CHARACTER do you display?

They say (whoever "they" are), that your true CHARACTER will be on display when you are faced with adversity.

How will you react?

Remember, we have said multiple times over the past year that "MY response is MY responsibility."

What does that mean?

OWN IT!

You make a mistake...OWN IT.

You say something you regret the moment it leaves our lips...OWN IT.

Take the high road.

Watch what you say.

Watch who you say it to.

It's not always easy to refrain from acting out....especially when you've done nothing to deserve the onslaught.

You cannot UNRING the bell, so let your CHARACTER....your INTEGRITY win the day.

IF this has been a struggle for you, START today.  OWN your actions moving forward.  Take responsibility and tell yourself, "MY RESPONSE IS MY RESPONSIBILITY!"

It might sting....today.

It might hurt....today.

But in the end, you will come out ahead.

In your BEST YEAR YET, your CHARACTER COUNTS!





Friday, December 15, 2017

GET TO KNOW THE CHEERLEADER



The CHEERLEADER and I spent the day Christmas shopping.

It was a long...fun day...being together as we made our way around Omaha.

After we got home, we were sitting down to eat and I began to "interview" her.  

So, here is what I found out (really, I knew most of these, but some were new).  Enjoy!

Me (ME)
The CHEERLEADER (TC)

I'll start off easy:

ME:  "What is your favorite color and why?"
TC:  "Purple.  I have liked purple for as long as I can remember.  It's pretty AND it is Donny Osmond's favorite color (according to Tiger Beat and Teen Beat magazines back in the day)."

ME:  "Bananas or Peaches?"
TC:  "Peaches."

ME:  "What is your earliest memory?"
TC:  "Right before I was 2, I had a surgery to correct hip dysplasia that I had when I was born.  I remember being in the hospital and getting ready for the surgery."

ME:  "Favorite childhood crush?"
TC:  "Donny Osmond."  (see answer to color above!)

ME:  "You can only eat one food for the rest of your life.  What is it?"
TC:  "Crab legs."

ME:  "You are having a dinner party and you can invite 5 living people, who are they?"
TC:  "You (I'm honored!); President George and Laura Bush; Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip."

ME:  "Favorite vacation spot?"
TC:  "Wherever you are!" (I like that answer!)

ME:  "You travel to marathons with me.  It usually takes me 5 plus hours to complete and you see me for MAYBE 5 minutes....usually less. Why do you endure 5 hours for 5 minutes of seeing me?"
TC:  "Because everyone needs encouragement.  I know that around Mile 21, you are going to need encouragement to finish out the race and I want to be there for you."

ME:  "You have this monster cowbell that you bring with you to the marathons.  Why do you do that?"
TC:  "So you can hear me before you see me.  I'm a CHEERLEADER = Loud Voice - Loud Cowbell."

ME:  "Favorite marathon you've traveled to with me?"
TC:  "NYC.  It was so meaningful for you as it concluded your BEST YEAR YET 1.0.  The Memphis Marathon last year was a close 2nd."

ME:  "What is your LIFE verse (from the Bible)?"
TC:  "Psalms 32:7 [NLT], For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble.  You surround me with songs of VICTORY."

ME:  "How do you want to be remembered?"
TC:  "One who loved God; lived for Him; loved my husband; was faithful and happy; was a good mom, joy filled and loved people."

ME:  "What is one word you hope others will say about you when you are gone?"
TC:  "Faithful."

I met the CHEERLEADER when we were in 8th grade, after her family moved into the town I was living in.

We started dating when we were 17.

We got married when we were 20.

We've been married for 31 years - 5 months - and 4 days.

Even though I knew many of these answers, I enjoy everyday just talking and listening to her.

Every day we have is not bliss, but when we sit and talk about things...BIG or small, we realize that we wouldn't want to do LIFE with anyone else.

So, CHEERLEADER, thanks for laughing at my silly jokes; following me all over so that I can run 26.2 miles and you can ring your cowbell.  How about we do this for a bunch more years?




Thursday, December 14, 2017

OUT ON A LIMB



RISK.

About 15 years ago, while flying back from a trip, I picked up the airline in-flight magazine.

I was flipping through it and an advertisement caught my eye.  

It was winter time and the ad was for a ski resort in Colorado.

RISK v. REWARD.

The ad appealed to the competitor in us.

It was a "not so subtle" statement that made you think, "Can I do that?  I CAN DO THAT! I'm going to do that!  BOOK MY TICKET!"

The visual was of someone skiing down a steep, mogul infested, slope.  Something that you would see in the Olympics.

The caption read, "Go out on a limb....THAT is where the fruit is!"

RISK.

What are you willing to RISK?

The definition of RISK is "a situation revolving exposer to danger."

How you define DANGER will be how much RISK you are willing to take.

I was talking to a friend today who was thinking about his goals for the upcoming year.

He said, "What am I willing to RISK?  I know in order to grow more, I need to RISK more."

Maybe that tells the story of where you are at today.  Thinking about your GOALS for 2018 but not knowing how much to go after.  

Anyone can talk a BIG goal game, but what are you willing to expose yourself to in order to achieve your targets?

NO ONE EVER MADE A DIFFERENCE BY BEING LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!

When consulting with Executives, I would say to them, "Don't set the bar SO high that you cannot reach it.  But also, don't set it so low you can step over it.  What can you do that you will have to WORK for?  That you will have to STRETCH after?"

Remember, the FRUIT is not near the "trunk" where there is safety. 

NO.

It is way OUT ON THE LIMB, where it is flimsy, not real sturdy, but the REWARD of the FRUIT is worth it.

What will you choose?  The trunk or the limb?




Wednesday, December 13, 2017

COME ON RING THOSE BELLS



Each year, at this time, the CHEERLEADER and I volunteer and ring the bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle.

It started about 6 years ago and we usually do it a couple of times over the Christmas Season.

Weather wise, you don't know what you are going to get.

Tonight is was around 40 degrees, but very windy, so the kettle was already on the inside of the entry of a local grocery store when we started our shift...6-8pm (last shift of the night).

So with a Starbucks in hand, along with Candy Canes for the kids of those who drop money in the red kettle, we set off to work our shift.

One of the things that I like is to see how many people I can get to respond back when I say, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

There are all types of people that walk by us:

  • The "sprinter"
    • This is the person who wants to go by us so quick, they hope we miss them
  • The "Invisible Man"
    • This is the person who figures if they don't make eye contact with us, we can't see them
  • The "grunter"
    • This is the person that when you say, "Merry Christmas," they make some type of sound that acknowledges they heard you
  • The "giver"
    • This is the person or persons who are smiling, they respond back with "Merry Christmas to you too!"  They usually drop folding money in the kettle or make apologies for why they only have coins.
It's 2 hours of our time, a couple of times in December, that we give so that others can benefit from the services of the Salvation Army.

What can you do?  Find an organization, family or individual that you can help out...even if it is just with your time.  

Have fun with it.

You'll be glad you did.

FINAL NOTE:
For anyone in the Omaha, Nebraska area next Friday, December 22nd, the CHEERLEADER and I will be back at the Hy-Vee grocery store on 156th and Maple, ring the bells, passing out candy canes and maybe, just maybe, singing a Christmas Carol or two from 6-8pm.  Stop on by and see us....and drop a little something in the Red Kettle!






Tuesday, December 12, 2017

BE THERE



"You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
You've got troubles, and I've got 'em too
There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
We stick together and can see it through
'Cause you've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me"

BE THERE.

When it's not convenient.

BE THERE.

When you are tired.

BE THERE.

When you don't talk, but just listen.

BE THERE.

When you have a blog to write.

BE THERE.

Earlier today, the CHEERLEADER and I did just that.  We have someone close to us that just needed to talk.  They needed....honestly, it didn't matter what they needed, we chose to BE THERE.

BEST YEAR YETs are always about crossing the finish line with a new PR.  

BEST YEAR YETs don't always include success, victories, parties or the such.

BEST YEAR YETs are always about YOU....but about what you can do to influence others...what you can do to impact another life.

Today, the most important thing was to BE THERE.

Whenever you read this, when you have the opportunity, BE THERE for someone else.  It's not an inconvenience, it's an HONOR.

BE THERE.




Monday, December 11, 2017

SOMEDAY










"The biopsy shows positive for Prostate Cancer."

May 11, 2016.

It was caught early for me.

I had a great chance to live a (new) normal life.

But hearing the "C Word" throws a whole new perspective into what LIFE is all about.


"It comes down to one simple decision.  Either get busy living or get busy dying."  
Andy Dufresne

I feel like I have a pretty good perspective on life, but this made me evaluate a new what I was doing.

Did I just get up, make coffee, open up my garage door, back out, hit the garage door button, drive to work, come home, hit the garage door button (again), go in, kiss my wife, pet the dog, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed, only to wake up the next day and do it all over again?

I didn't want my life to be a series of SOMEDAYS.
  • "I'll go there SOMEDAY"
  • "I'll do that SOMEDAY"
  • "I'll write that SOMEDAY"
  • "I'll read that SOMEDAY" 
  • "I'll focus on that SOMEDAY"
For most, SOMEDAY never happens.

I'm NOT living for SOMEDAY.....I'm living for TODAY!

I read a quote by Roy Disney years ago that said, "When your VALUES are clear, decisions become easier."

I went back and re-evaluated my VALUES.

What was important to me?

It's still a process, but one that is becoming clearer all the time.

So as you are finishing out 2017 STRONG, make a list of your top values (Faith; Family; Friendships; Work; Fun; Health; Happiness...just to name a few) and let those VALUES be your guide as you venture into 2018.

Be present in every MOMENT and not just something for SOMEDAY!