Saturday, January 4, 2014

I Resolve

"I am going to work out more." 

"I am going to give up chocolate." 

"I am going to stop wearing polka dot underwear." 

Ahhh...the new year's resolution. When you flip the calendar from either November to December or December to January, you automatically start thinking "what am I going to do to improve myself in the new year."  You proclaim with steel resolve (not to be confused with Zoolander's infamous blue steel look) that next year is going to be different. Next year is going to be better because...

And by January 19th, most of your new year resolutions are thrown out the window and discarded. 

It's time to take a different approach.  

Look, you might have some lofty goals for yourself for the upcoming 12 months and that is great but it might be time to reevaluate your goal setting process. 

A new YEAR resolution inherently includes a lot of pressure.  That's 12 months!  That's a lot of opportunity for failure. One slip up.  One day you decide "I just have to wear my polka dot underwear!"  Bam...resolution fail. 

Here is a better way to look at it.  

Give yourself a smaller goal to achieve weekly.  Break down the big picture into smaller pieces. Give yourself a sense of accomplishment more often.  You can still be working towards the end goal but give yourself permission to celebrate along the way. In addition, don't just do this at the end of a calendar year. Do this all of time.  Again, less pressure.  More opportunities to succeed. 

Resolve to no longer do New Years resolutions.  You will be happy you did it. 

The only thing that should bother you from this point forward is the fact that you own polka dot underwear.  That's just weird (probably only applies for dudes though...women can get away with it). 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Simple...but not Easy

It sounds like simple advice.  

It give.  It's not so simple to take however. 

"Take a shot."  

We've all seen the motivational quotes about "missing 100% of the shots you don't take" and we all get that but what about when you have to take that leap when the safety net might not be there? 

You know those times when you are standing on the edge deciding whether or not you want to jump?  

A lot of times "taking a shot" means going against the grain, beating the odds, defying logic.

It means trusting your gut. Following your heart. Taking a chance.

"Take a shot."  

The key to "taking a shot" is knowing that you have just as equal of chance as succeeding as you do as failing.  But here is the can argue...even when you fail when you take that actually succeed. 

My dad took several shots. He missed a lot of them.  He made a lot of them. 

After working for several years for the same company, the regime changed and wanted to get younger so they sent "old" pros like my dad packing. My dad had two choices; take a great, safe offer from a well established company or try to make it on his own.  He chose the latter. On paper and in the short would say he failed. But in the long term...he became a huge success because he went back to school, reinvented himself, loved what he did and ended up passing away with no regrets.

What would you rather do?  Swing away and hope you hit a home run or keep the bat on your shoulder and take strike three?  It's an easy choice for me. 

"Take a shot!"  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Let's Take a Walk

There are so many times in life when we have to walk away. 

Some are by choice. 

Some are not.  

Some are good.  Some are bad. 

Some are for the better of the many. Some are for the better of the few. 

Some affect the short term.  Some affect the long term. 

Some hurt for a short time.  Some linger. 

Walking away is hard.  

Most people look at it as "giving up"..."throwing in the towel." 

Most people look at it as a sign of weakness.  

Au's a sign of strength.  

When a good friend lost his dad, he said our fathers were both strong enough to let go.  That's a powerful place to be.  

The key is to not be afraid. The key is to know when you walk away...there is a new direction.  

What seems like an ending...becomes a beginning. 

What seems new life.  

Walking away gives you freedom.

Just remember...even if it looks like you are walking are inevitably walking to something. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It Was a Very Good Year...Or Was It?

When I was seventeen it was a very good year.
It was a very good year for small town girls...
And soft summer nights. We'd hide from the lights.
On the village green...When I was seventeen

Are these words of regret from a man who admittedly is in the "autumn of the year" or are these the words of a man who is looking in the rear view mirror smiling as he recalls fond memories that made him the man he is today?

Recently, I was out with two really good friends and we were listening to some classic Sinatra and the song "It Was a Very Good Year" came on. Two of us immediately talked about how cool the crooner's perspective is.

The other friend lamented at how sad it was. She talked about the sadness of the melody. She talked about the sadness in his voice.

When I was twenty-one it was a very good year.
It was a very good year for city girls...
Who lived up the stair...with all that perfumed hair.
And it came undone when I was twenty-one.

My other friend and I focused on the imagery of a man looking back at life with a thoughtful smile...realizing that even though the end is approaching...there were lots of reasons to celebrate life.

But now the days grow short.
Im in the autumn of the year.
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
from fine old kegs
from the brim to the dregs
And it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

Three similar people. One song. Two different perspectives.

One could look at it from a gender point of view. Men tend to look at their own mortality more than women.

Was this two 40-something year old men hoping that the song provides a positive picture of what is to come; when the end is near, we can look back at our lives and smile? Was this a woman who looks at it and feels sadness for the person whose life has gone by so quickly and is full of so many regrets?

I think there might be something to it.


The answer probably lies in the middle somewhere. All three of us are probably right to a degree.

But here is the kicker...

We have good days. We have bad days. Not every day is going to be good. Accept it. But if your "good" days in a year add up to 183, it was a very good year.

Methinks that's what 'ol Frankie was trying to tell us.

Yeah...I am going with that.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Where's the bactine?

Remember when you were a kid and you skinned your knees?

You were probably going full speed at the time of the fall. And when you first fell, the sting felt like nothing you ever felt before. You felt like the pain would never go away. The tears would come uncontrollably. Your mom or dad would either come running due to the ear piercing shrieks and crying or you had to hobble and limp over to them. They would clean you up, put a band-aid on it and you would be back out playing again by the time the next hour passed.

Later when you saw your friends, grandparents or siblings, they would notice your scrape and they would ask what happened and you wore the war wound like a badge of courage. You would puff out your chest and say...yeah, it was pretty bad. But you were back out on the playground ready for more.

Recently, I ran into an old friend and she had skinned her knee and she mentioned "nice scraped knee, huh?" I laughed and thought to myself what is a better symbol of our youth than a skinned knee.

We had the carefree attitude to run with reckless abandon. And when we fell...we fell hard. It hurt. We probably vowed to ourselves never to run like that again. But we picked ourselves up (sometimes with the help of others), cleaned up the scrape and we were back at it.

As we get older, the skinned knees hurt more. The scars run deeper. But we need to pick ourselves up and do it again.

We need to remember the days of our youth. Not to live in the past but to learn to live because of the past.

Don't remember the skinned knee...remember the fun you had before the fall. And the fun you had after.

Now, wanna come out and play again?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Three that are Me

They are unique in their own way 
Yet all the same. 

They all have done so much 
But have so much more to accomplish. 

They all open their hearts to possibilities. 
And use their heads for opportunities. 

One is the strategist 
One is the public servant 
One is the builder

They all feel the beat of the music
And colors of the art. 

They bring every minute to life 
Every day. 

They give the best hugs 
The kind that you want to last forever. 

They bring a smile 
To my face 
And to my heart everyday. 

They are amazing. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Don't Forget your Umbrella...and some Sunscreen

Lately it has been raining almost non-stop.

And we aren't talking a few drops here and there. We are talking the kind of rain that keeps you up at night. The kind of rain that sounds like there are thousands of spikes hitting your roof. The kind of rain that brings thunder that sounds like the gods waging war on each other. The kind of lightning that lights up the sky brighter than a high school football field in any small town across the country during the fall.

Get the picture?

Well...this time last year...we were in the middle of a brutal drought. The kind of drought where you could actually see plants, trees and grass dying a slow death from lack of water. The kind of drought that sucked the life out of everything and everyone. The kind of drought that left permanent damage to the world around us.

Last year we would've begged and sold our souls to the devil for some rain. This year...we crave a hot smoldering sun.

How about 70 and sunny all of time during the day and 57 and clear all of the time during the evenings? Perfect huh?

It's the classic tale of Goldilocks and the three bears. We all want the perfect place right in the middle. But that's not real. Usually life brings us really high high's and really low low's. It's the nature of the beast. The key is to learn how to find some level of joy with the extremes. Don't shy away from them. They are there to prove we are alive. To touch the sun is amazing. To touch the ocean floor can be as well.

Learn to dance in the rain. Learn to bask in the sun.

Learn to reach for the extremes.

But bring an umbrella...and maybe some sunscreen.