Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Planet Earth



I don't care where on the political spectrum you fall, what god you pray to or what you believe, this is just wrong. We can produce and want and need, but if we continue down this path, what happens next? What can you do to help your fellow humans? What can you do to help keep this world habitable for generations to come? What must we do differently? How do we get people to listen? More importantly, how do we get people to care?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Resolutions

I know I have already written a lot about 2012, but for my first day back to blogging, I decided to give you another post leading in to the new year. For many, in just under a week, we will already be struggling to keep our resolutions, be they dieting, quitting smoking, drinking less, exercising more, reading more or anything else of the sort. Many of us make these resolutions and by the middle of January, they often fall by the wayside.

I'm not saying you shouldn't make resolutions, but just deciding to do something doesn't mean it is going to happen. For many, we have to change the way we live our life to keep these resolutions. This is much harder than we think it will be and without putting in the effort, we are doomed to fail for another year. Instead, what if our resolution wasn't to do something more or less, but to focus on actually living life and not just watching it go by?

We need to take control of our lives in a more meaningful way. Instead of looking to the past and wishing you would have done things differently, focus on what you currently have and what you want to do. Plan for the future, but put in to action things today that will help you to accomplish what you want. If you want to write a play, make time each day to sit down and write. If you want to lose weight, learn to cook more healthy and tasty meals. If you want to exercise more, schedule time during you week where you will do nothing but exercise. If you want a new or different job, get your resume in order and start learning what you need to learn to land the job you want.

In 2012, lets take control of our lives and start doing what we need to do to feel fulfilled and happier. No one is going to give us everything we want, we have to go out there and get it. We have a choice to make. We can continue to grope through life, doing only what we need to get from day to day. Or, we can take the reins and start steering towards the life we want. Live with a purpose and enjoy what you do. It's not all going to be fun and games, but when you quit being a spectator and become a participant, you will have some say in the outcome. Make 2012 the year you took control.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I'm heading out in a couple of hours and will spend the weekend off-line (something we should all do once in a while). I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!



Thank you all for stopping by my blog every now and again. I know there are tons of other things online for you to read and it really means a lot to me knowing you have taken the time to read some of my ramblings.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Are You Ready For 2012?



We are quickly coming to the close of 2011. Before we know it, 2012 will be here and ready to go. Besides holiday gatherings and maybe some last-minute gifts to make or purchase, do you have anything left to accomplish in 2011? Do you have goals laid out for 2012? Many of us have goals and dreams that are separate from our professional lives. Shouldn't we do everything we can to succeed in accomplishing them? 

For me, the next week is going to be spent traveling and figuring what I want to accomplish in 2012. I sat down a few weeks ago and came up with some ideas of things I would like to accomplish (and it was a pretty huge list). This coming week, I will narrow down the list (if possible) and put a plan of action together to accomplish these items. I know many of us do this type of thing with work, but this will be the first year where I have one for things I do outside of work. Goal-setting and planning are the only ways I will stop procrastinating and do the things I want to do. Instead of saying it can wait until tomorrow or next week, or next month, I will have a plan in place with deadlines. I hate missing deadlines, so this should force my hand to actually put in the work.

As this year comes to an end, I think about all the changes 2011 brought to my life and how 2012 will bring even more. For many, 2011 was a very difficult year. For others, it was a great year and brought lots of happiness. For everyone, January 1, 2012 is a fresh slate, a new year, and will probably bring it's share of difficulty and happiness. With a plan and some lofty goals, I know I will have a little control over what the year brings. It's impossible to know everything 2012 will throw at me, but I can focus on the goals I have set and make sure I do everything in my power to reach them. Don't we owe it to ourselves to accomplish as much as possible in 2012? 




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Do You Define Greatness?

Yesterday, I e-mailed back and forth with a dear friend about greatness and what it really means to be great. She had read one of my posts talking about being great and continuing to push until you get there and was interested in knowing how I define being great and how being different can be great. During this "discussion" (as it was via e-mail, so can it really be considered a discussion?), we both agreed great is a very subjective. What I may find as great and what you may find as great can be (and probably should be) two completely different things. We have our own thoughts and emotions and passions, so shouldn't greatness also be our own? Of course we can agree on some aspects of greatness or even both believe someone is doing great works, but even this might stem from differing reasoning.

For some, greatness comes from within. They want to slow down and embrace what they have and amplify themselves. They may believe they are already great, if they can only acknowledge this fact. They are tired of society constantly pushing them to do more, be more and get more. For me, it's a bit of a more meditative view of greatness...looking within and becoming comfortable with who you are and what you do is the way to achieve great works. Loving yourself. Being yourself. Being comfortable and happy with who you are and what you do.

For others, this idea may seem completely foreign. They see things on the horizon and want to keep pushing forward and learning more about the world and doing more. They don't necessarily want to get more stuff, but they want to increase their knowledge. They want to figure out what they can offer the world to help make someone else's life a little better. They are constantly driven to improve, be it personally, with what they do or how they think. They are constantly searching for something, even if they can't quite put their finger on what it is they are looking for. The search, the journey, is as important as the destination (if there can even be a destination).

The thing I learned the most during my e-mail exchange is two people can have completely different ideas of what great means and how to get there. I don't think either of our ideas are wrong, but I also don't think we could exchange ideas and practices and make them work. Greatness is a deeply personal idea and we all have to follow our own path to achieve whatever it is we want to achieve. Yes, we can learn from each other, but copying the success of someone else will bring you no closer to your goals. This life will take each of us in our own direction and to really achieve our goals, we have to do our own thing and get there in the way that makes sense to us. We can't follow others' paths, we have to walk along our own. Luckily, they are often close enough to see each other and discuss ideas and thoughts and motivations.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Treasure Map


Living with passion. Following your dreams. Searching for your happiness. Think differently. Do something. These are all things I have written (some of them a lot) in this blog. As many people can guess, I am constantly trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my life. I have a good job, but I often wonder if there is something more out there. I know there are a lot of people who wonder this same thing.

As a community, I think the most important thing we can do is share our thoughts and help each other. We are all pushing through life asking questions and trying to find our meaning, our life's work, our sense of happiness. We all will struggle. We all will fail. If we keep pushing through these, we all will succeed. Your vision of success and my vision of success can be totally different. We can want opposite things, but the things we learn on our journeys are important and should be shared with others. Each person will not have all the answers, but collectively, we have way more than we do individually.

The things you learn along your journey may not be applicable to where I am in life, but I am sure the insights will come in handy along the way. You see, we are all in different points along our paths and while we will usually walk alone, it is good to have some advice saved up. This advice is our treasure map. While we may not understand everything there, as we continue to move forward it will start to make more and more sense. By all means, keep pushing forward, but don't forget about those of us who got a late start or are just now opening our eyes to the world of possibilities. We all could use a little advice sometimes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Be Different

Be Different by sovata

A lot of people throw around the word creative, but don't really want creativity. In the same way, a lot of people say they embrace change, but if the change is too "radical" they don't even want to try. This causes creative people to keep their opinions to themselves and a lot of businesses lose out on the ideas they have. To really push things forward and become great, we have to try thinks that may not work, we have to take risks and do things no one else is doing. The truly great do not follow a path created by someone else, they forge their own way through the wilderness and leave a path for others to follow.

Doing things because it is the way it has been done before or because similar great organization do it this way will only get you so far. Sometimes, you have to take the really wacky idea, the one that doesn't always make a lot of sense, the really risky one and run with it. If it works, there is a good chance you will be doing something better than anyone else. If it doesn't, then you can always fall back to the way you were doing things, lick your wounds and try something else. In most cases, one decision is not going to ruin your business or close you for good. If you work in an environment where one non-working idea will cause you to lose your job, then you are working in the wrong environment.

To be the best, to be the business or organization everyone wants to work for, you have to do things differently than others. You have to offer different products and services or the same products and services in different ways. You have to embrace creativity. You have to embrace change. Just saying you do is not going to be good enough, you have to actually do it. Try something new, come up with new ideas, do the normal things in a different way. Just try something to push forward. If you continue to do what others are doing, you have to find a way to do it better than everyone else. But, if you do things your own way, then you can set the bar for everyone else. Try something new. Look for new ways to do old things. Shake things up. Be different. Be great!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daydreams


We live in a society where we are always hustling around trying to get things done and doing as much work as we can possibly accomplish. Daydreaming has been frowned upon since we were children. We were always told we shouldn't sit idly by, imagining what we want to imagine as nothing can ever be accomplished by daydreams. I disagree. I think we should not only be allowed to daydream, but encouraged to do so.

The world in which we live is changing at a rapid pace and creativity is an important asset for everyone to have. We have to be able to imagine things yet to exist and come up with ways to make them and use them. One hundred years ago, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to imagine the world in which we now live. It took people who thought differently to bring in to our lives the things we now take for granted. We have come forward in so many ways, but we still do not encourage each other to take time and imagine how they would like things to be. Creativity is valued in some circles, but in many still, we want our workers to be cogs, we want our students to do well on standardized tests, we want people to do what they are supposed to do and nothing more.

Is this really the world we want? Or do we want people to dream of a better place? Our imagination is limitless. We can develop amazing things, but only if we can envision them first. Sitting idly by and letting our mind wander can bring new ideas and new products and new ways of doing things. There will always be struggles and there will always be failures, but daydreams help us overcome and see things in a different way. Our imagination can take us anywhere, but only if we let it. Where do you want to go?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

If You Were Waiting For A Sign...

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We are all waiting for something to happen before we really make change in our lives. We are waiting until we have enough money saved or enough time off or until we can find another job or until we can get something going on the side or until we have the time to sit down and do it or any other excuse in the book. We continue to wait, continue to put off chasing our dreams and goals and slowly slide further and further in to depression and cynicism. When are we ever going to learn? When are we going to make one decision, take that one first step, towards doing what our heart tells us to do?

I'm just as guilty. I put off doing things until I have plans or more money, but the truth is, I am afraid. I am afraid of failing and losing everything and many other horrible things my imagination can pop in to my head (and trust me, I have a very active imagination). I sometimes think if I continue on the same path, things will change. If I can only think about this differently or do that differently, things will change. The truth is, we just keep on coming up with excuses on why we aren't out there doing everything in our power to grab a hold of happiness and never let go. Sooner or later, we all have to realize that without taking a risk, we are never going to really succeed. 

The best piece of advice I have seen recently: "Whatever scares or excites you, go do it." 


Friday, December 16, 2011

100

Welcome to post 100! When I started here, I wasn't too sure what it was going to be or if I would continue with it. For a while, I stopped posting to it at all and went with a Tumblr blog as I was usually just reposting other people's thoughts and insights. It took a while, but this fall, I wanted to see if I had anything of my own to say. Writing here became a habit and the last fifty-some posts have been in the same number of days. I haven't missed a day since late October and for me, this is quite an accomplishment.

I think writing, but especially blogging, is a somewhat selfish act. The act of grabbing the thoughts flowing through my head and getting them on paper is a type of meditation for me (hence the title of this blog). I write because I feel better when I write. I write because it allows me to work through things and see ideas I wouldn't be able to see if they were just traveling as figments of my imagination. I write because I love to write. I love knowing people are reading what I have to write and this helps to keep fuel in the tanks and allows me to write more. Many of the posts you will find here are deeply personal and many of the topic points are things I struggle with in my life. Writing this blog is a cathartic act, but I hope any readers will walk away with their own ideas or thoughts or musings, too.

I wish I could give you all the answers to life. I wish I could tell you how to always ignore fear or find fulfillment or find happiness or do the work or think for yourself or stand up for yourself or be better than you can dream or do something amazing. What I have realized in writing this blog is no one really has the answers. No one can give you a blueprint for your life. No one can tell you which path to follow or even how to find a path to follow. We are all in this together. We are all spinning round and just trying to do the best we can. We all fear and hope and dream and wish. We all want to be great. We all want to do something important. We all want to take the first step to the rest of our life. We all want to do more. If any of the posts I have written have helped to make you think or dream or hope or try, then I have done more than I could ever wish.

Whatever happens, I will continue to write. I will continue to put my thoughts on paper and will share them with the world. In this blog, you are going to find conflicting arguments and probably ideas that don't make sense. I just hope you can find something of value in all these ramblings. If you do, share them. If you like this blog, share it with others. If you don't like it, then I thank you for stopping by and wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Go out and live life with passion and abandon. We only get to try this once, let's make lasting memories and leave knowing we did the best we could.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ten Things We Should All Do

1) Work smarter
2) Play more
3) Spend more time with family and friends
4) Travel
5) Learn something new each day
6) Smile
7) Exercise
8) Find a project
9) Read
10) Help other people

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Do Trust in the Things You Love



This video exemplifies why I am in love with Do Lectures. Mickey Smith comes across as a very nervous and unassuming man who has done a lot of interesting things in his life while chasing his passion. He has a great story to tell and shares a beautiful video near the end. His story may challenge you to do more, want more or try more. Life is precious and we should go through it with a smile. As he says in the video, "if I can only scrape a living, at least it will be a living worth scraping."

Take a few minutes, sit back and enjoy this lecture. Think about what kind of life you want and what you feel the need to do. We can learn a lot from the people around us and the internet has made this group of people even larger. We are lucky to have so many people doing so many great things. How can you not help but be inspired?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Impossible

I recently read Impossible: The Manifesto by Joel Runyon and many parts of it have been stuck in my head ever since. Joel was like many of us, doing what he was told and expected to do and waiting for the payoff that never came. Many of us do what we are expected to do, go to high school and get good grades, go to college and get good grades and then send out tons of resumes to get the job we are expecting since we did the previous two. For many of us (and for Joel) this didn't really happen. Joel's life changed when he asked himself two interesting questions:

  1. Are you telling a good story with your life?
  2. Would anyone want to read it?
Constantly waiting for something to happen to us is a terrible way to go through life. We have to get out there and make things happen. We have to create and challenge and just do as much as we can. Our life is precious and short. Why do we continue going through life bored and unhappy? We are in control of our destiny, we just have to have the courage to grab hold and steer. Life is never going to be easy, but it is also never going to be as hard as we fear.

No one is ever going to give you a blueprint to happiness and fulfillment. These are personal and the direction we take depends on who we are. Impossible isn't going to show you how to tell a good story, but it will challenge you to figure it out for yourself. Take a little time and read the manifesto (and then read it again, if necessary). This could be the jumping off point for the story you want to tell. Stop waiting for things to happen; do what you dream, be it big or small. Start writing a story others will want to read. Start living with purpose.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Complainers and Fixers

Challenges; problems; obstructions; difficulties---these are all things we run up against every day. It is impossible to eliminate them, but how we react is what separates us. No one like to have challenges or problems or obstructions or difficulties, but some people will bitch and moan when they appear and some people will lower their heads and figure out how to move past them. Some of us will wonder why we deserve this and others will wonder what to do to fix them.

There are two different mindsets in action here, one is the complainer and the other is the fixer. There are probably many more mindsets out there, but I think most will fit in to these two categories. The complainer overreacts, becomes frustrated, complains to anyone who will listen and takes things as a personal affront to who they are. The fixer sees the problem for what it is, may become a little frustrated, but quickly realizes frustration and complaining won't solve the issue. The fixer realizes these things happen and knows the only thing they can do is figure it out and move on.

We see these two types of people all the time. There are a lot of complainers out there and one problem with them is they bring the mood down for everyone involved. Their complaining causes a negative environment and makes it harder for others to be positive. They suck the life and energy out of every room and can warp the views of the people around them. Constant negativity and overreaction can cause problems for even the best worker. Surrounding yourself with these people can cause morale to drop and work to suffer. Do we really want people around who are constantly negative?

The fixer may have times of frustration, but they realize there are always going to be challenges, problems, obstructions and difficulties. They know to expect them and take a little pleasure in fixing them. They may not be overly positive all the time, but they aren't running through life thinking the world is out to get them. They realize all problems can be solved and the less complaining they do, the quicker they can get past any obstacle. They help to keep other people calm and they don't overreact to the situation.

Who would you rather have in your company or as a friend?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Take the First Step

I think there are many people walking through each day wishing they could figure out their passion and then start following it. I know I have often floundered in the thoughts of wondering what I was supposed to be doing, what would bring fulfillment into my life and what would give the happiness I often seem to be missing. I have struggled with these thoughts and never made any move as I always wanted a plan in place. I needed to know what I was going to do and how I was going to pay the bills and where I was going to end up. This rarely, if ever, happens.

If you speak with anyone who is doing what they love and making a difference in the world, they will all tell you plans tend to change, focus tends to change and the direction tends to change. Every day brings new challenges, new knowledge, new ideas and new paths for us to follow. We will never be able to plan out the rest of our life (or even the rest of the month) because we will never know what is to come. Everything is not going to work the way we want, just because we want something to happen or events to unfold in a certain way. This doesn't mean we are going to fail; it means we are going to make choices along the way to keep on moving forward.

Of course, make some plans, but realize they are very likely to change. Yes, you may need to think about how you are going to pay the bills before making a radical decision. There are always going to be reasons why you should or shouldn't do something and the reasons why you shouldn't are going to be the loudest voices in you head. This voice loathes risk, hates taking chances and abhors change. This voice rarely has anything good to say and focuses on the worst case scenario (and usually even exaggerates these). We are so used to listening to this voice, we usually don't even realize when it is speaking. This voice may seem very rational, but it is not. We all have to learn to listen for this voice of fear and find the best ways to ignore it.

There is one sure way to start your journey towards finding your passion and allowing your purpose to embrace everything you do. Take the first step. Yes, it is going to be scary, but the other option is to sit back and listen to the voice and continue to hope you will one day be smacked in the face with your passion and everything will be given to you on a silver platter. This is never going to happen. Start searching, start doing, start dreaming and start moving towards something. You don't even need to know what that something is just yet, but for most of you reading this, you know what you have now and what you do now isn't everything. For most of us, we have a lot more to offer the world. We have a lot more art to make and the only way we are ever going to find the courage is to start moving forward. Once you start moving, it will take more energy to stop than to keep going. You will never know what doors will open for you along the way unless you take the first step.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aspirations

"What are your aspirations?" An innocent question posed last night as I snacked on some veggies at a holiday gathering. My answer...I have no clue. This isn't entirely true as there are lots of things I would like to do, but I have never been sure where to start. The question of what I want to do with my life floats through my mind at least once a day. In fact, I think about this all the time.

Many of us have lots of ideas and thoughts and dreams, but I can't seem to latch on to just one whenever I try to decide on my next move. I have thought about trying lots of different things, but the more I think about them, the less I actually do. I wish I had an answer for this question each time I was asked. I really wish I could say I was doing it right now. I love animals and I have a passion for their welfare, but I don't think this is where my aspirations end. I am still searching for my true self. I am learning who I am and what I have to offer the world.

There are some people who know exactly what they want to do or who they want to become. I am envious and a bit distrusting of anyone who claims this. I don't understand how someone can be so sure of what they want to do and how this never changes for them. Maybe there really are people like this. I just know I will continue to search, to learn, to try new things and one day I believe I will be able to to figure this out. I just hope I have the courage to jump at any opportunity to keep pushing forward.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

What The World Needs

The world doesn't need more cynics.
The world doesn't need more naysayers.
The world doesn't need more tortured artists.
The world doesn't need more people happy with the status quo.
The world doesn't need more sleepwalkers.
The world doesn't need more takers.
The world doesn't need more doubters.
The world doesn't need more detractors.
The world doesn't need more pessimists.

The world needs more dreamers.
The world needs more thinkers.
The world needs more doers.
The world needs more people trying.
The world needs more risk takers.
The world needs more teachers.
The world needs more questioners.
The world needs more people challenging the status quo.
The world needs more change makers.
The world needs more optimists.

Which list describes you?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Keep Pushing

Our life brings a strange collection of ups and downs, good and bad, success and failure. Many of us strive for more ups than downs, more good than bad and more success than failure. This is a normal reaction to each type of event. But, when we strive for these are we missing out on chances and risks which may pay off even more? If we fear failure, do we limit the success we can have? When we fear the bad, do we limit the amount of good?

Life is about taking chances and trying new things and doing things differently. Life is about figuring out who we are and what we can offer the world. Is it possible to truly find yourself without all of the above? Can we really know success if we have never risked enough to fail? We will never produce great work if we are constantly striving to not fail, to not do bad work. Dealing with the downs, the bad, the failures---these are the lessons we must have. We have to learn how to overcome, how to keep the down times from eating at our soul and keeping us from trying and risking again.

When we push ourselves and really try, there will be times when we don't succeed. Instead of dwelling on the failure, we must learn from it and try again. This is the only way we will be able to do great work. Everyone fails. The world is not against you. Shit happens. Don't let it ruin your day, your month or your year. Figure out why things failed and then try again in a new and better way. Keep learning and pushing and sooner or later you will get the up, the good, the success. When you have dealt with the others, these will taste so much sweeter.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Positivity Breeds Positivity

In this hectic world, it is very easy to become frustrated and negative very quickly each day. One thing can go wrong (the alarm doesn't go off, you're running late, the car doesn't start) and this throws us in to a tailspin of negative thoughts and frustration. This happens to everyone and once we are in this negative mindset, it can be really hard to pull ourselves out. Negativity breeds negativity. Once our mind is focused on the negative, we see it everywhere. One simple occurrence in the morning can ruin our entire day.

I have found a way to combat this and it sometimes works really well. When I start to get frustrated with something happening, I pause, take a few deep breaths, close my eyes and imagine something good. I think about my fiancee or my family or something funny that happened the day before. I try to pull myself out of the funk before it grabs hold. The interesting thing I have learned is positivity breeds positivity, too. If I can catch it soon enough or if I can focus on something positive each morning, I have better days. When I don't, I tend to have negative days. By knowing this, I can work towards having more good days than bad. As with everything we do, it takes work.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It Takes Work

Some mornings, when I sit to write a blog post, the words come pouring out of my fingers and I have no problems coming up with something to say. Other days, like today, I can sit and think and struggle with the words and thoughts and not know what I am going to write. Either way, I open up this blog and sit with my fingers poised above the keyboard and put in the time to do the work. I love to write and I am thrilled when people respond to or share my musings with others.

Like everyone else, I have my doubts. Many times, I have wondered if I should continue to write on this blog, even though I have only been doing this for a short period of time. I wonder if anyone would notice if I quit writing, if anyone would really care. We all go through periods wondering if what we do is really worth the time. We really are our own worst critic. We doubt and then we feel the fear and then we quit. I know I have followed this path more than I would ever care to admit. We start doing something we love and want to do. After a while, we realize what we love and want to do takes work and we may not be as good at it as we want.

I know this blog doesn't produce a ton of traffic. I know there are many other blogs with better writing, better thoughts and a better style. There is a very, very good possibility I will never have the best blog on the web. Hell, there is a good possibility I will never have a great blog. While I would love to have either or both of these (who wouldn't?), I write because I love to write. I blog because I love to blog. I put thoughts out in to the world to see if someone else can grab hold of them and make them better. Maybe some of the things I write will help people in their struggle towards their goals. Maybe people will love what they read and keep coming back to read more. As I continue to write, I know I will get better. I know I have to put in the work. I know each morning I will sit with my fingers over the keyboard and wait for the words to come pouring out. I hope this blog will help others. Even if it doesn't, I know it has helped me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Turn Off The Television

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of relaxing to revitalize your body and mind. While there are some people you know who seem to have endless energy and never need a break, I know most, if not all of us, need to take the time away to recharge and refocus if we want to create beautiful work. We have our own talents and skills and we have to find a way to connect these with what we want to do. Everyone has dreams. Everyone has goals. We start to fall short in reaching them when we don't understand how to leverage our talents for the greatest good.

Many people work in jobs where they are unable to (or have yet to figure out how to) use their talents and skills. They continue to toil away at this job to pay the bills and haven't connected the dots to figure out how to utilize what they offer to create a more lasting impact. In many cases, what we do outside of the daily job utilizes these skills and talents in ways we could never do within the work. We live in a society where we label each other based on what we do for a living. We have titles and ranks that may have nothing to do with what we can actually offer the world if we were using our skills and talents.

Many people feel stuck by their place in life because they are afraid to let go of what they have to try something different. They see their pay or their benefits and wonder if it is worth giving them all up to do something "crazy". This is a personal choice. But, it doesn't have to be the only choice we have. Many people create beautiful things while working a job to pay the bills. It's a good way to start, but requires motivation and dedication because it involves working outside of the work we do to pay the bills. It requires reorganizing your life and giving up some of the things we do after a long day (or in my case before a long day) of work.

We may hear this a lot, but turn off the television. Many of us spend so much time glued to this box watching things that don't really bring anything in to our lives. I used to be this person. I would DVR tons of shows and then spend my downtime catching up on the latest episodes of House or Survivor or anything else that looked good at the time. I would veg out in front of the television and the next thing I knew, I had been there for hours with nothing to show for my time except I could talk to other people who did the same thing about the shows we watched. I wasn't really growing or becoming a better person by doing it. I'm not saying you have to remove television completely from your life, but take control of the remote and spend some time creating instead of watching.

You have the ability to bring some beauty in to the world utilizing your skills and talents. The world deserves your creations. What if we could do something that brings a lasting impact, even if it is for just one other person? How would we feel? We have this ability. We just have to do instead of watch.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Relaxation

For many of us, we are constantly going. With laptops and smart phones, we are never really able to leave work behind. We are constantly checking e-mails or receiving phone calls or making lists of the things we need to do once we are back in the office. We are not giving our bodies and minds the rest, relaxation and recharging we need to be at our best.

I am as guilty as the rest...I am constantly checking my work e-mail or hopping on the database to see how the day is going while I am away. I receive and return phone calls on my off days and haven't taken a day completely away from work for longer than I would like to admit (and this was only because I was out of cell phone coverage). No matter where you work, there are always going to be coworkers who do not respect time off, do not take enough time off themselves and assume everyone is going to answer the phone when they call. Don't fall in to this trap. There is a reason voicemail was invented.

Instead, make sure you are giving yourself the time off you need. Turn off the phone, kick up your feet and read or listen to music or go out to dinner or go see a movie or do whatever it is you find relaxing. There are very, very few things that could happen at work requiring your attention on your time off. In some situations, this may not be possible, but you have to build time into your schedule for you. We are never going to be able to do our best work unless we give our bodies and our minds a chance to recharge. Take time for you and let things go. It's the only way to continue to do your best work.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Spoken Word



Sarah Kay is an amazing spoken word poet who gave this talk at TED. The Domino Project, in their wisdom, published this poem as their last work. I have to admit, I am a huge fan of spoken word poetry and have loved it for as long as I can remember. Following in the footsteps of the greats, including my favorite poet-Allen Ginsberg, spoken word poets touch our hearts and souls in ways other performance or written pieces can not.

Take a few moments to watch this video and think about purchasing the book, if for no other reason, then to remind people poetry is alive and well. Poetry can help us communicate and can reach out to touch the souls of other people. We all have stories to tell and I can think of no better way to tell them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stop Talking and Do

Seriously, how is it already December? Life is flying by and seems to fly by at a much faster rate the older I get. It feels like only yesterday we were celebrating 2011 coming in to existence. I look back at the last year and realize I have had a really good year, even if I didn't accomplish or do a lot of of the things I wish I had. For most people, this is true when we examine the year as it comes to a close.

Yesterday, I wrote about goal setting for the upcoming year and wondered how I would be able to accomplish more of the goals I set. Motivation and focus are the two important traits I need to stoke to actually do the things I want to do. With a little more work and a little more organization, I hope to do more in 2012 than I have been able to in other years. As December 2012 rolls around, I hope I can look back at the year and realize I did accomplish more of what I wanted to accomplish, as well as having another great year.

For me, and I am sure for many of you, we push our goals thinking they can be done tomorrow or next week or next month and we never seem to get to the point where we can start working towards them. For next year, one of my goals is to really focus on doing the things I want to do. I need to stop the procrastination and focus on really doing the work. I am not sure if I procrastinate because I am afraid of not being able to handle doing what I want, because I don't want to put in the work and then have the final product be less than I imagined or because I just think there will always be time. It's probably a mixture of the three.

I have to train my mind to realize there is no time better than now to focus on all of the things I want to do. The time is never going to be perfect and pushing off my goals is only going to end with never actually accomplishing the things I want to accomplish. I don't want to look back in December of 2015 or 2020 and wonder how I still didn't accomplish the things I am thinking about this year. There is always tomorrow is a mantra I have to remove from my vocabulary. I want to actually do everything on my list of goals and the only thing holding me back is me. As I look back at 2012, I want to see the year when I learned to do instead of just talking about it.    

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Goals for 2012

As we quickly race towards 2012, I am thinking a lot about goal setting. For the first time in my life, I want to have personal goals defined for things I want to do, learn and experience in the coming year. I have often done this type of goal setting at work, but this is the first time I have done it in my personal life. I know some of the goals are measurable and some are not, but they are all going to be goals. These goals touch on things I have been talking about doing for years, but never have focused on accomplishing. My hope is by setting goals, there will be a little extra motivation to stop talking and actually start doing.

Do any of you set personal goals for each year? These are not New Year's resolutions as I have found these often fall by the wayside before January comes to a close. I have started writing down some goals I have for next year and during this next month, I will add and subtract and figure out how my priorities lie. I will have no problem coming up with the goals, but I do have concerns I will let the year slide by without focusing on many of them. If you are a goal-oriented person, what tips do you have to keep these goals in the front of your mind?

The idea I have come up with, but not yet decided on, is to make a schedule of focus for the coming year. I will take the goals I want to hit and then figure out the best way to fit them in during year, while keeping in mind big upcoming big dates, October 13, 2012, and events happening throughout the year. I can print out this schedule and have it hanging throughout the house to remind me of where my focus should be each and every day. I have not decided how much of my list I will make public, though I know I am more likely to stick to the schedule if other people know what I am supposed to be doing.

Do any of you have thoughts, ideas or tips on setting goals, reaching your goals or keeping your goals a priority?


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Frustration

Many of us spend way too much of our time being frustrated by things we have little to no control over. We get frustrated by traffic; we get frustrated by things people say or do; we get frustrated by the things people do not say or do; we get frustrated when our order in a restaurant is wrong; we get frustrated with the weather; we get frustrated when the cable goes out; we get frustrated when electronics aren't working properly. We spend so much time being frustrated over little things and let these frustrations ruin our day.

Every day, something we don't want to happen is going to happen. We have to learn to ignore these little things or fix them without getting frustrated when they happen. We have to start looking for the good instead of dwelling on the bad. The key is to learn to not only let go of these frustrations, but to learn how to keep them from frustrating us at all. We have to find a different mindset, one where we focus on the good things happening and not on the bad. We have to relax and realize most of our frustrations stem from circumstances out of our control. We have to let go and let whatever happens happens. If it is good, celebrate. If is is bad, figure out how to fix it (if we can) and continue moving forward.

Frustration brings little good to our lives and easily compounds. Once we allow something to become frustrating, we begin to notice more and more things which frustrate us. Instead, early in every day, find something going well and think about how good we feel knowing this. As we get better noticing the good, we will start to see these good things compounding more and more and we will begin to feel less frustration for the others. Finding the good isn't always as easy because we have to focus our minds to notice the good and resist the urge to focus on the bad. Our days will never be perfect, but the people who have more good days than bad do this by focusing more on the good. Lots of little things happen throughout our days, isn't it better to spend our time focusing on and celebrating the good? With less frustration, how much more can we accomplish each and every day?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Confidence

For many people, confidence can be very difficult to come by. This is not feeling we are superior, but feeling we are doing the right thing or a good job. Many people will wonder if they are doing good enough work or leading people in the right direction and worry they are not doing either well. Even if we have faith in our abilities, it can be hard to truly believe we are doing good work.

I often see lack of confidence in the way I take things people say as being negative when it is not meant as such. When our confidence wains, we will often assume innocuous comments are meant as an attack on our abilities or actions. When we think we are not doing a good job (even when we are), we will see others critiques or passing comments as more than they are meant to be. Having confidence, truly believing in ourselves, can be difficult for most of us as it requires faith, even when things aren't going as well as we hope.

Every day, we are confronted with problems and difficulties and failures. All of these have the ability to derail our confidence and cause us to wonder if we are moving in the right direction. Once we start to lose our confidence, we start to imagine this lack of confidence from others, too. Most of us work in an environment where we don't have someone helping to boost our confidence when we start to lose it. When the confidence levels drop, it is also hard to believe the people who are trying to help us bring it back to the level it should be. We are our own worst critics and have a hard time believing others think we are doing a good job when we don't see it.

We have to push through the dips in confidence, fix what needs to be fixed and keep pushing towards our goals. No one goes through life without doubting their work or their abilities, but the great ones keep pushing and trying to do better when they start to lose confidence. We have to be able to give ourselves credit and trust we have it in us to do great work. We have to be honest and see when we are not doing our best work and challenge ourselves to do better. At the same time, we have to see when we are doing everything we can and have confidence in it. This isn't always easy to do, but the more we work on it, the better we will get. We have to keep pushing and doing the best we can. We have to believe in ourselves if we ever hope to see how much others believe in us.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Endurance

Moving from good to great isn't usually about talent or who you know or what you do (though these can all help), it is about endurance. It is about putting in the work when it becomes difficult or monotonous or terrifying. You can have all the talent in the world, but without the ability to push through, to find your second (or third or fourth) wind, you will not be able to move to the next level. Are you willing to put in the work?

It takes 10,000 hours of practice to truly master something. This could be a sport or a musical instrument or writing or surgery or anything else you can think of. To reach greatness, you have to put in a lot of time and a lot of work. Much of this work may require you to toil in obscurity. You have to be able to get up each morning and force yourself to do whatever it is you need to do to become great. You need the motivation to continue to practice when no one is looking. You need the motivation to practice, no matter what is happening in your life. You have to put in the work, even if the people around you think you are nuts. You have to ignore the naysayers and do what needs to be done.

Most people do not have the endurance to do this. This endurance requires confidence, drive, love and determination. Moving from good to great requires you to put in the work, but putting in the work does not always mean you will move from good to great. This is why many people choose to quit. If there isn't a reachable goal, they tend to pull up and move to something else. For other people, the putting in the work, the practice, the difficulty are the the goal. They want to be great, but they know they may not get there. They love the hard work and have the hope of getting better and better, but know they will never be perfect. For them, the journey is more important than the destination. This gives them the endurance to continue on, in spite of the difficulty, the criticism, the doubt. Do you have the endurance for the chance at greatness? Or, would you rather play it safe?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Decisions

No matter what decision you make about anything, there are going to be people who agree with you and people who will not agree with you. A lot of the people on both sides can be ignored, but the difficulty comes when a person who disagrees with you is one who's opinion you value. In these situations, we have to remember their thoughts on the decision are colored by their perception and their goals. They may have good points, but the points may not apply to you or the circumstances surrounding the decision. Ultimately, every decision we make has to be the best one for us, even when we take in to account other people.

This is the interesting thing about us; we all perceive the world in our own ways and every decision will be a personal one, no matter how much it may appear to be similar to other people's decisions. We can all think about what we would do in someone else's shoes, but we can never truly imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes. We are different and therefore have a different way of looking at things. Remember this whenever you feel like changing your mind because of someone else or when you feel like a loved one is making a huge mistake. We all do things for our own reasons...it really doesn't matter if you wouldn't do the same. Make decisions based on what you think and feel. You can take into account the thoughts and beliefs of others, but you are the person responsible for you. If the decision is right for you, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Collection

During this weekend of mass consumerism, here is a collection of organizations and companies people should know more about and support:







These are just a few of the companies and organizations I love. Click on each picture to learn a little more about who they and and what they do. What are some of your favorites?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks Part 2


What would happen if we, as a world society, expressed our gratitude every day instead of at random times selected by the calendar? Would there be more peace and less war? Would people be able to get along a little better, no matter their race, religion, color or nationality? Would we be more willing to work together to solve some of the major problems plaguing the world? Would we be more likely to care about HIV epidemics in Africa or starving children throughout the world or the homeless in our own cities and towns? Would the world be any different? Would you be any different?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the people and animals who have made such an amazing impact on my life and helped me to become the person I am today. I am thankful for the people toiling every day to make this world a better place. I am thankful for the dreamers, the teachers, the nonconformists, the change makers and everyone else who inspire us to be bigger and better than we ever thought possible.

I am thankful I am able to share this day with people I love. I would not be the man I am today without the help and support of my family. I am thankful to an amazing woman who has decided to share her insight, love and passion with me on a daily basis. I am thankful for more than I could ever put in to words and more people than I could ever mention (though I hope you all know who you are). Thank you all for what you do, seen and unseen, to help push us towards a better tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dreams

This tree really has nothing to do with this post, I just like it.

We all dream. We all have dreams. Our most important dreams are those we have when we are awake. These are the things we are supposed do. We are meant to chase our dreams and if we try hard enough, we just might catch them. Once we do, we are lucky enough to be able to dream again and come up with something new to chase.

The worst thing we could ever do is ignore these dreams. We may never feel the time is right to start chasing them. We may have too many responsibilities or too many bills or too many people relying on us. We may feel as if we owe our company or our boss for the job we have or feel it would be selfish to quit. We may be afraid of failing. We have probably become really too good at convincing ourselves we still have time and we can start tomorrow, which becomes the following day or the following month or the following year. We are amazing at coming up with excuses. While we may never feel the time is right, the time you choose, right now, is the right time to start chasing your dreams.

We dream for a reason. Our emotions and heart and intuition know what we want to do, what we should be doing, how we can bring the most good in to the world. Because we have become so good at ignoring these, we dream. It's the best way for the emotion and heart and intuition to be heard. Listen to them and start chasing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is This The Life I Want?

Do you ever ask yourself: "Is this the life I want?" How do you answer this question? If you are asking the question, then you are probably not doing everything you yearn to do. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to change everything; maybe you just need to add a little more to your already full plate. Maybe there are some tweaks needing to be made and these tweaks could lead to a lot more happiness.

Usually when I ask myself this question, I have changed some major things in my life. I have moved across the country and quit jobs without a plan and ended relationships and quit drinking. Rarely do I ask myself this question and then adjust minor things. I always assumed it was the major things which didn't allow me to follow my heart and do all the things I want to do. Sometimes this is true, but I have started to realize sometimes, I don't have to quit my job or move across the country, but I just need to create a little more, I need to give a little more, I need to travel a little (or a lot) more.

Many of the things we want to do with life can be accomplished by changing the little things. I could travel more if I stopped eating out for lunch and instead started saving this money. I could create a little more if I just blocked it in to my schedule or stopped watching TV (which has actually opened up a lot of time for me). I could give a little more if I just schedule times when I am going to volunteer. Most of us say we want to be happy, but we have no idea what this means or what we need to do to get there.

Instead of asking if this is the life you want, instead ask yourself what needs to happen to love the life you live. Really think about the answer. Come up with ideas or thoughts or dreams of what you want to do and what you think will make you happy. Then work to get them. Dreams only really matter if you work to make them a reality. Work hard to get them and then come up with new dreams. Continue to tweak and change things until you are able to find the life you love. This isn't going to be easy, but truly enjoying life is worth the effort. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Want More or Give More


How would the world be different if everyone had a place to sleep, a roof over their head, money in their pocket and were able to read? What great things could people bring in to this world if they weren't spending their entire day trying to survive? We will all continue to worry about things going on in our lives, but this can hopefully bring a little perspective to those worries. For most of us, whatever happens, good or bad, it will not be the end of the world. For many other people, it could be.

Instead of always wanting more, maybe we should give more.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Things to remember

1) Stop comparing yourself to other people. We all have unique experiences and different passions. Live your passion.
2) Look for the good in every interaction, no matter how difficult.
3) Don't be afraid to live the life you want to live, no matter what other people think.
4) Strive to learn something new each day.
5) Learn from, but don't dwell on, the past.
6) Strive to make the world a better place, even for just one other person.
7) Don't be afraid to make yourself happy.
8) Laugh as often as possible. Life doesn't have to be so serious.
9) No one is "normal". Embrace your weirdness.
10) Love freely
11) Fail with grace and gusto
12) Be yourself

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Do things the long, hard, stupid way



This is another great Do Lecture everyone should watch. If you haven't checked out the Do Lectures yet, please do so. In each and every one, you will find something that speaks to you. We can learn a lot from the people around us and the internet allows the number of people to expand exponentially.

Based on the title of this lecture, I was pleasantly surprised at the direction it took. Sit back and enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Decisions

On our path through life, sometimes things become hard. We aren't sure what we are supposed to do next and we aren't sure if the effort is going to be worth it. I have seen this numerous times throughout my life and I have made different decisions each time. Sometimes I quit and find something else to do and sometimes I battle through everything thrown at me to see what is on the other side. I wish there was a magical equation we could use to decide if the effort is worth the outcome but their really isn't one.

Whether to stay the course or to leave it is a personal decision and one each of us have to make on our own. We can seek input from others, we can look to our friends and mentors to see what they would do, but we have to remember every experience is different for every person. We are unique and as such, our struggles our unique as well. Every decision we make is a personal one; we need not be afraid of what others think of our decision.

When we look back, we have the ability to see the decision and the outcome, so we will often wish we had done something differently. When I look back at dropping out of law school, I sometimes wish I would have continued on this path and became a lawyer. I think about the good things I could have done with the degree and wonder what I would be doing now. But, I would not have landed in animal welfare, I would not have met my wonderful fiancĂ©e and I would not have started to share my life with some of the amazing animals I now do. Things would have been completely different and I have no way of knowing if this path would be better or worse than the one I am currently following. There is no way to know what our life would be like if we made other choices, so there is no reason to look back and wish we had done something differently.

No matter the quandary and no matter the decision made, our lives will change because of them. We can not even hope to see the magnitude of change caused by any of our decisions, the lives we will touch or the things we will do. We just have to make the best decision for us in the moment we are making it. The key words in the last sentence are "best decision for us" as this is all we really have to go on. Yes, all of our decisions affect others, but we can never really see all the ways this may be true. Be open, be true to your spirit, think about what you are doing and what you want to do, then make the decision. Listen for the little voice of passion and follow your heart. It will lead you to where you want to be.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter

As I sit here on a cold November morning, I can't help but think of winter and snow. Yes, like most other people, I often complain about the cold temperatures, the hazardous driving conditions and the ice that always comes with a Missouri winter. But, I also think about why winter brings happiness to my household.

Dinners of soups or chili or stews, reading a book in front of a roaring fire, the warmth and comfort of my bed on a cold morning, the muffled existence caused by an overnight snow, watching my St. Bernard run around with glee in a blanket of white, nights spent playing board games or cards with the woman I love, snow angels, hot apple cider and tea and everything else winter brings in to my life. Winter is a time of closeness.

Everything occurring around us can be seen as good or bad, it all depends on the perception we wish to take and how we are going to allow ourselves to think about each occurrence. We can choose to see the good or the bad, but it is our choice. We can complain about the things we have no control over or we can choose to see the good. Start looking for the good and see if your life, your frustrations, your patience or your outlook changes. Make today beautiful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude

During November, I have noticed a lot of Facebook status updates of people giving thanks for things in their life. Each day, they post a new status expressing their gratitude. While some may find this to be a little cheesy, it is a very effective way to put your mind in to a place where you notice the good around you.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor argues this is one of the best ways to get stuck in a "Positive Tetris Effect" and bring happiness to our lives. Every day, write down three good things that happened to you in the last 24 hours. These can be small or large things, but the goal is to take five minutes each day to write down just three things for which you are grateful. By doing this, you become more adept at noticing the good happening in your life. When you focus on the good, the negatives don't seem to matter as much.

What would happen in the word if everyone started focusing on the good, started noticing the things which bring happiness and started to pay less attention to the things which bring negative thoughts and frustrations to our lives? Would we be able to do more, create more, make more lasting change? If nothing else, wouldn't the chance to be a little happier and help to make those around you a little happier bring positive change? What if we all made the decision to express our gratitude, not only on Facebook, but face to face with the people we want to thank?

Start out by setting five minutes aside each morning or evening and write down three good things that happened to you each and every day. As you begin doing this, you will see areas in your life where you can express gratitude to the people who bring you happiness. It's simple, takes very little time and could improve your outlook, your mood and your work. It may be a little difficult for some of you at first, but if you keep on writing, it will become habit. Are you really too busy to give up five minutes each day? Try it and feel free to let me know how it works. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Be Great

Many of us are dreamers and thinkers and visionaries, but we get stuck when it is time to do. We aren't sure the best course of action or we think we need a full plan or we just hold back when we have the opportunity. I know I have done this more often than I would like. Dreaming, thinking or envisioning a better world, a better job or even a better day is great, but without actually doing something, none of it really matters.

We have to do something. When we look around and notice great people, it isn't because they had great thoughts or ideas, it is because they put these thoughts and ideas in to action. They realized they didn't always need to know the best course of action or have a plan, they just started doing. They took their idea or thought and ran with it. They didn't hold back; they released their gifts to the world. Things might work out or they might fail. The great people realize that either way, they will have more thoughts and ideas to work on later. When we start doing, we free our mind to come up with more (and sometimes better) ideas.  Everyone can come up with an amazing idea, it's the truly great who actually do something with it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fear

I have written a lot about fear in my previous posts, but I haven't really addressed it directly. We often let fear control our decisions and sometimes don't even realize it. It takes thought and reflection to understand the fear we feel. Many of us are not comfortable examining the roots of our fear or trying to figure out which fear is the real fear controlling us. For me, when faced with a decision, I always wonder which fear is driving what I want to do. Am I looking to leave a job because I don't think I am good enough or smart enough to do it and I want to get away before other people realize this? Or, am I looking to leave because I know the job I am doing is not the one I want to do?

It can be very difficult to figure out which fear is actually the motivator. We have to delve in to the fear, fight with it and figure out which is real and which is not. There may be aspects of both or many in any decision we make, but most of us are hesitant to do this introspection as we aren't sure what we are going to find when we start. We spend so much time being afraid that we don't really make many choices. We look for ways to keep busy or indifferent, be it watching too much TV, going out all the time or as it was in my case, drinking.

We hide from fear. We aren't ever sure when it is going to pop up and we don't want to spend our time examining it or figuring out what it is keeping us from doing. Instead, we try to ignore it and by doing so, we are inactive. We don't make meaningful choices; we don't figure out what to do next; we don't do anything of consequence. We have to learn how to examine our fear and then use it to our advantage. This isn't something we are ever taught in school and can be very difficult to learn. Most of us will continue to struggle with this for the rest of our lives, but as long as we are aware of the fear, we will work to make choices because of what we want and not due to the fear.

This isn't going to be easy and we are going to learn a lot about who we are (and some of it may not be great). Acknowledging and examining the fear will help to make our lives better because we will start making decisions that matter. We will start to figure out what we want to do. We will know what the fear has been keeping us from doing and we won't let it hold us back. We will still feel the fear, but it will no longer have a strong hold over who we are. We will be in control and we will be able to accomplish more than we ever have.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where O Where Have The Days Gone

I sit here on a Sunday evening in mid-November, 2011, and wonder where the days have gone. It feels like only yesterday I was graduating college and the world was full of possibilities. I look back at how much I let fear keep me from chasing my dreams. I just floated through life, working many jobs that did not require a college degree to pay the massive and asinine debt I amassed while in college (and shortly after college). I drank too much, cared what others thought too much and convinced myself the dreams others had for my life were also my dreams.

I have often convinced myself the dreams of others were the dreams I held. It's one of the reasons I bought a house, even though I enjoy moving around a lot. It's one of the reasons I quit writing and continued to work a variety of low wage, entry level jobs which required absolutely no passion. It's one of the reasons I chose not to use the networking I had done to interview with companies I would have enjoyed working for. It's one of the reasons I continued drinking long after I knew I should stop. I was in control of all of these decisions and I know it. I also know fear held me back from chasing my own dreams and following my own path.

Since opening my eyes and seeing what I was doing, the great things is I have control over my future. I get to decide what comes next in my life. If I want to make changes, then I get to make changes. If I don't make the change, then I have no one to blame but myself. It's different when I can see it clearly. Before, I could blame it on things not working out, the world being against me or it just not happening the way I wanted. This knowledge is invigorating and terrifying at the same time. While I can't snap my fingers and make things exactly how I want, I can put in the hard work and the time to get there.

I get to choose my path in life. While this may seem like a hugely daunting task, there will be numerous other paths to follow as well. I can change my mind and choose one of the others. This is the gift most people don't realize...we don't have to live the rest of our lives with the paths we have already chosen or the ones we choose now. Follow your dreams and if your dreams change, follow the new ones. Live the life you want to live...the only person stopping you is you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Make the Choice

Most of us, from time to time, will pause and look at our life. We will examine what we do, who we are and dream of the future to come. We may wish things were different. We may be content with where we are. We look at the past and view events with a different lens than when we experienced them. We view the decisions we made with the gift of knowing where our life is and wonder what would be different if we had only made different choices. We will regret some things and we will celebrate others.

Dwelling on the decisions of the past does nothing to change the future. We control who we will become and the imprint we will leave on the people around us. We can't control the past, but we can alter the future by focusing on the moment. It sounds a bit philosophical, but wondering about the past and the choices made will do nothing other than make us forget about the moments we have now. Yes, we can think and we can celebrate the good, but there are choices now demanding out attention.

None truly know what the future holds, but the choices made now, the choices of today, shape tomorrow. Choose to do what makes you happy. Choose now to develop the skills you want for tomorrow. Shape your own dreams and chase what is going to make you feel alive. While we do all of these things, we can never forget to enjoy the moments we have today. These moments, today's choices, are already shaping tomorrow. Dream and plan and learn and build, but also live.

Forget about regret. Forget about what was. Forget about what could have been. We all have the wish of having done things differently, but none of us can change the past. We can start doing things differently now and guiding our life in the direction we want. We can become who we want to become, though the only way is to experience the life around us. To build the future we yearn for, we have to embrace life today. We don't want to look back and regret these moments. Make the choice to have experiences you will celebrate tomorrow.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Be Yourself

Forget about who others think you should be and become the person you want to be. If we spend all our lives trying to please others, trying to fit into the mold other people think we should fit and working to be someone we are not, we will never be able to reach the goals we think are important. We all have the capacity to do amazing work, but we have to embrace our own uniqueness and do what moves us.

 We all have others we look up to and want to be like, but we will never be able to do the work they are doing. We have different passions and desires and thoughts and muses and will only be able to be the person we are. We can have mentors and heroes, but we are all different. We do things our own way and think in our own terms and dream in our own way. We will be able to do so much more when we embrace who we are, when we become comfortable with who we are and when we choose to use the talents we have to create good.

Be the best you possible. Don't try to be just like anyone else. Embrace your quirks. Figure out how to use your talents to do the things you want to do. We will never be able to do what we want until we become comfortable with who we are. This sounds very easy, but most people will tell you it is not. We all have doubts. We all have faults. We have to become adept at not listening to the doubt and acknowledging and improving the faults. No one has lived the same life, had the same experiences or have the same mix of passions. Utilize what makes you different to bring great works into the world.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Holstee Manifesto: Lifecycle Video

Not only has Holstee shared an inspiring and beautiful manifesto with the world, but now they have made this video inspired by the manifesto and their love of biking.



I am constantly amazed and inspired by people doing great work. I think this video and manifesto says it all. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Keep Pushing

Because it's the way it has always been done. It's how everyone does it. This is how we have always raised money. This is what we do. These are all terrible reasons to do anything.

Think differently. Think bigger. Push boundaries. Try new things. Come up with new ideas. Be creative. Be different. Be daring. Be special.

If you aren't going to keep pushing, then you should pack up and go home. We need better than there was before. We need new ideas and new ways to do things. We need to strive for great, not good enough. You are never going to be the best of the best by doing what you have always done. You aren't going to be remembered for doing things the way everyone does them. Your crazy idea might just become industry norm in a couple of years. Keep thinking and pushing and changing until you come up with what you are looking for. Once there, start thinking and pushing and changing again.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Believe in Yourself

Believe in yourself. This is an easy concept, but for many of us, this is a very difficult thing to do. We are our own harshest critics. We have self-doubt. We struggle wondering if we are good enough. We constantly wonder if we are doing the right thing.

Give yourself credit. If we want others to believe in us, we have to believe in ourselves. For most, the doubt we feel is an offshoot of our fear of failing. Guess what, we are all going to fail at some point. It's not nearly as bad as we think it will be. This doesn't mean we should go in to anything thinking we are going to fail. We just need to be comfortable knowing if we do fail, in the vast majority of situations, it isn't the end of the world. By eliminating this fear, we open ourselves up to having more belief in ourselves. It isn't if you fail, it's all about how you handle the failure when it happens.

If you want to create your art in the best possible ways, you have to believe in yourself. Be honest about your intentions and do the best work you are capable of doing. Ignore the fear and self-doubt. They have no place in our work. Once you start doing this, you will see believing in yourself isn't that difficult. Once you start believing in yourself, others will really start believing in you. The beliefs start feeding off each other. When others believe in you, you will start believing in yourself more. All you have to do is take the first step and give yourself some credit. After that, it will become easier and easier. We all have something special to offer...isn't about time we offer it to the world?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stress and Frustration

Most of us walk though life with so much stress and frustration bottled up that we suffer from it. We are stressed about work and relationships and money and feel frustrated things aren't going the way we want or we aren't doing what we think we should or we just can't seem to get ahead. These are all normal feelings and we aren't alone with these stressors or frustrations. But, we have to find ways to let go of these feelings; we have to find positive outlets to help get rid of them.

Some people use exercise. Some use writing. Some meditate. Some practice yoga. It doesn't matter what you do, you just need to find whatever works for you. Life is too short to carry around all this negative energy bottled up, just waiting to explode. We have to let it go. If we find a release, we will realize most of the frustration and stress are caused by things that shouldn't cause is so much frustration or stress. We will realize things happen every day and the less we let them bother us, the better off we will be.

Start today. The great thing about having the release is you will notice the little things will stop bothering you so much. With less negativity on board, it's easier to ignore the little things; it's easier to focus on big pictures; it's easier to go through life being a little happier and more peaceful. When you don't have a release, the opposite is true. Little things add up and we become frustrated over things we shouldn't. We lose it over things which normally we wouldn't. We all have a way to release the negative, we just have to find what works best. What works for me won't necessarily work for you. Try it...find your release and see how much easier it becomes to not bottle up negativity. Think about how much better your life would be if you weren't carrying the weight of all of these negative emotions with you through each day. Think about how much happier you can be if the little things didn't bother you so much.

What do you do to release and let go of negativity?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Believe That We Will Win


As I was thinking about what to write this morning, my mind kept going to the match this afternoon. I can't wait to get to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and cheer on Sporting KC as they place for the Eastern Conference Championship and a spot in the MLS CUP!

Having grown up playing soccer, I love how Kansas City has embraced this team. We have the best stadium in the country, great owners and a team the community can be proud of. No matter what happens this afternoon or two weeks from now, I am excited for the future of soccer in Kansas City.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Relaxing Evening

Spent a wonderful evening last night at The Living Room in Kansas City listening to the musical stylings of Victor & Penny and Danielle Ate The Sandwich. The venue was great, the music amazing and fun was had by all. If you haven't heard of either, check them out below. All in all, it was a wonderful evening with a wonderful woman.







While we rush through this thing called life and are constantly stressed out by everything happening, sometimes the most important thing we can do is slow down, relax, laugh and just have fun. This was the perfect release for what has been a crazy week.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Creativity

Knowledge is power. The more information we have, the better decisions we make. When we continue to learn and expand our knowledge base, the better we will be in any job we can find. We have the ability to think of new things, to come up with new ideas and to do things in a better way than they have ever been done. Right now, our education system is failing students. We are rarely taught how to think and we are not encouraged to dream, imagine or be creative. Students are trained to memorize facts, to regurgitate them on demand and forget them when they are no longer needed. We are not helping the youth prepare for life outside school and in fact, we are killing their creativity.




While knowledge is power, creativity is the fuel making everything run. Creativity is what leads to great ideas and builds the foundations of great businesses and great innovations. Creativity is what helps us become better. Without creative thinking, we are stuck doing the same things, utilizing the same products and living a life filled with monotony. Creativity develops and fosters greatness and our schools are killing the creativity in the youth of today. Our education system has to change. We need dreamers to drive innovation. We need people who can imagine different ways to do things. We need to find a way to foster creativity in schools and give students the knowledge and the tools to impact the world. Creativity fuels knowledge.    

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ideas

No matter what you do, the most important thing you can create are ideas. Everyone has an idea at some point; most people have multiple ideas on any given day; some have multiple ideas at any given moment. We build businesses on ideas; we make dramatic changes based on ideas; we can change the world with a single idea. Unfortunately, most of us are very hesitant to share our ideas.

We hesitate because we are unsure how others will respond. We hesitate because we know others will fight against our ideas. We hesitate because we are afraid of the ensuing discussion about our ideas. We hesitate because we are afraid others will think the idea is stupid or ridiculous. We hesitate because we want others to figure things out. We hesitate because we are scared. We hesitate because our ideas may fail. We hesitate because others may expect us to have more ideas.

For all these reasons and many more, we fail to share our ideas with the world. We keep them to ourselves and forget most of them because we don't pursue them. We choose to remain quiet and never find out if the idea would work. These ideas, this driving force for change, are kept quiet and are never uttered. They are never discussed and never have the opportunity to evolve in to something great.

Is it possible to develop an environment where everyone is comfortable sharing their ideas? I believe we can, but part of the onus is on the individual. We have to become comfortable sharing ideas that might fail. We have to become comfortable with our ideas being discussed and critiqued. The discussion and critique are important because these can take good ideas and change them to great ideas. We have to be comfortable knowing all of our ideas will not be put in to practice. We have to be comfortable continuing to share new ideas, no matter what happens with the last ones we shared.

Not all of our ideas will be great, many may even be bad ideas. Sharing them is the most important thing we can do with them, though. Even bad ideas can lead other people to think in a different way and can help create great ideas. We are only going to push ourselves, our businesses and our world forward if we can figure out how to be comfortable sharing any of our ideas. Ideas are the fuel for change. A single, simple idea could dramatically alter the future. Shouldn't this idea be shared?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain

The older I get, the more this quote resonates with me. I look around at all I have and all I have done and wonder. I wonder if I am doing the things I should be doing. I wonder if the life I have found is the one I truly want. I wonder if the path I am following is the right path or if I should take one of the many branches along the way.

I have done many different things in my life. While I haven't always let fear hold me back, I know there are times I have. I have moved back and forth from the Midwest to the East Coast a number of times; I have quit soul-numbing jobs without having a real plan and landed on my feet; I have spent some time in law school; I have spent time combining some passions with work. But, I still feel I should have done and should be doing more.

When we look back on our lives, will we be satisfied with what we have accomplished and the things we own. Will we be happy we spent so much time working jobs to pay the mortgage, to buy the things we think we want, to live the life others think we should live? Or, will we be disappointed we didn't do more learning or traveling or relaxing or conversing or helping others? What can we change today to help drive us towards throwing off the bowlines?

Many of us confuse being stable with being happy. For some people, these are one in the same. In my world, stability is a good thing, but it doesn't set my soul on fire. It doesn't drive my passions and it doesn't allow exploration, dreaming or discovering. Is it possible to have both? Maybe, but I don't think so. To really explore, dream and discover, you have to take risks. You have to push boundaries, constantly search and question. You have to leave the safety of stability, get out of your comfort zones and see where the winds take you. Do something new. Take a chance. Figure it out as you go.