Day 1,819 – Thankful for Sports as a Tool for Growth

This last week included a grand total of seven soccer games for the Kreiling family. Dominic had three varsity games and Gavin had four games in Madison. All soccer, all weekend.

For sure, I had a great time watching them both play. It’s always fun watching my boys doing something they are passionate about.

What I’m specifically grateful for today is the way sports helps them learn to be better leaders and adults. Throughout both of their games they did some things with extreme excellence and they both made mistakes. Regardless of the action, they learned and grew from the experience.

Both learned some priceless and timeless leadership lessons I hope they draw from throughout their lives.

For sure, sports won’t be their careers. That said, their sports experiences are helping them grow and mature into the leaders they can be. Seeing glimpses of that growth over the past week have been awesome!!


Day 1,818 – Thankful for a Surprise Early Bed Time

This morning saw me waking up and getting ready to head out of town for soccer with Gavin. We were picking up some folks along the way and then heading off to Madison. Early-ish start, hit the gas, and off to the races.

My initial thought was that I would be putting in my ear plugs, putting on my sleep mask, and hitting the hay while the boys played board games in the hotel suite. I’d be up later than I’d like and then up earlier than expected.

Imagine my surprise as I type this and we’re all in bed already! The Brewers game is on and once it’s over it’ll be lights out. In bed and out before 10pm – that’s crazy!!!

The weather was perfect, the company was excellent, the games were great, the burgers were delicious, and the day has been awesome. Now that I have even more time to sleep – outstanding! Extra ZZZ’s for me!


Day 1,817 – Thankful for the Warm Blanket of Memories and a Difficult Question

The temperature is dropping a bit tonight. Sweatshirt weather is just about upon us. Tonight I was warmed by the blanket of memories.

Many conversations about Dad. So many memories of Dad. Remembrances of times as a child, times as an adult, and everything in between. Largely wonderful memories. This evening they all wrapped around me and wove themselves together into blanket which warmed my soul. So comforting and soothing.

During a conversation I was asked a question that I’ve been asked before. Each time I pause and attempt to figure out the answer. The response is initially difficult to answer as I grasp for words.

Imagine you were asked “how do you remember to breathe several times each minute?” How do you answer that? It isn’t something easy to describe yet it is something which has become automatic. To explain it causes you to pause, swallow the question, think deeply, and then respond.

“How do you find something different to blog about each day?”

The short answer is so simple that it is embarrassing… It is like breathing. It is a part of who I am, how I exist. I do it out of muscle memory now as it is a part of what makes me who I am.

The more formal answer as I attempt to put it into a more clear answer is that each day starts with me waking up. Before I close my eyes and go to sleep I am promising myself I will find something to be thankful for, something different than I’ve blogged about before. All day long I’m making mental notes of what I’m thankful for and starting to compose the blog in my brain. By the end of each day I’m left with so many options that I find it difficult to narrow it down.

The question always make me smile and reminds me how far I’ve grown in my gratitude journey… and of how far I still have to go!


Day 1,816 – Thankful for Sunny Walks to Sort Out Thoughts

A little before noon today my mind was going a million miles a minute. I had an excellent conversation with another franchisee and there were so many thoughts rushing through my brain. Couple them with the insights and ideas from the last week and my brain was positively spinning.

I paused. I set my pen down and closed my laptop. I took a slow and deep breath… and then I went for a walk.

No music, no podcast, no audio book. Just me walking on a perfectly sunny day with no sense of direction or purpose other than letting my brain work everything out with no distractions.

Forty five minutes later I got back home, jotted down my notes, and was ready to start taking action.

What wonders a walk can do for the thought process!


Day 1,815 – Thankful for Remembering that I Do Have Time and I Must Choose How I Use It

Simple concept, deep gratitude, and years of future practice before I master it.

Several events reminded me today that I have time. Until I’m dead I will have time. At the time of my death time won’t matter to me anyways. I know my time is limited, but I have time until I no longer have use for it.

How often do I tell myself, “I don’t have time for that”? What a lie I tell myself. Yes, I do in fact have time. What I also have are other options of how to spend my time. What’s really happening is that I am choosing how to spend my time and I am deeming that task not worthy.

I am not unable to do something, I am making a choice.

Today I’m grateful for the piece of mind and enlightenment that come with realizing each moment, each second, is a choice I must make. Am I choosing well? How can I choose better more frequently? Until I am aware of the choice to be made I am unable to grow and close the gap between who I am and who I am called to be.

Today I’ve seen the choices.


Day 1,814 – Thankful for a Scene in Men in Black

There’s a scene in Men in Black burned into my brain that surfaces every so often. Near the beginning of movie Will Smith and a few other candidates are given a battery of tests. One of those challenges is taking a test in an ornately awkward room.

The chairs are too small and uncomfortable. There are no good writing surfaces for each person. The paper for the test is flimsy and easily penetrated by the pencil. The pencils break. It is one of the worst test taking environments ever.

After suffering a few seconds Will Smith’s character notices a table in the room away from everyone. He casually stands up and slides it across the room to his chair and proceeds to take the test in relative comfort while everyone else squirms.

Often times in life I find myself being held hostage by my own learned helplessness. I am the elephant tied to a stake I could easily rip out if it weren’t for memories of it holding me back when I was an infant. There is nothing getting in my way but my own dogmatic mental constructs.

When I remember to take a step back, to pause, to zoom out, the conclusion is so easy to see. It is so simple once I see it that I laugh out loud at myself afterwards.

Today I remembered to step back. I saw the table and moved it. Problem solved.


Day 1,813 – Thankful for Anti-Leadership Lessons from Aaron Rodgers

Truth be told, I’m a Green Bay Packers fan. It’s best to start there as you may question that by the title of today’s post.

Sports can be a very public microcosm of real life and there’ve been several wonderful anti-leadership lessons taught by Aaron Rodgers. My boys and I talk of them often and I’m finding that they are learning much of what to do as a leader simply by seeing Aaron do the exact opposite.

Here are a few anti-leadership lessons we’ve had:

  • If you’re frustrated, blame everyone else.
  • Rather than attack a problem head on be passive aggressive.
  • Why practice after you’ve already proven that you’re the greatest?
  • There’s no reason to thank any member of the medical team, they should be thanking you for the opportunity to work on you.
  • After being given grace the best thing I can do is rip them apart publicly immediately afterwards.
  • When I’m benched and have put my team behind the best thing I can do is sit on the bench and laugh.
  • If someone questions why we lost the appropriate answer is to blame my teammates.

I’m each of these moments, and so many others, are mini lessons in leadership to be seated into my brain.

Yesterday’s game was ugly, almost as ugly as Rodgers’ leadership style is toxic. Thanks for reminding me why strong and right leadership is always the right answer Aaron!


Day 1,812 – Thankful for Being Called In Rather Than Called Out

Day 1,812 – Thankful for Being Called In Rather Than Called Out

I recently watched an intriguing podcast on racism, action, and how to actually make a difference. The speaker did an excellent job of explaining the differences between being “called out,” “called on,” and “called in.”

Call outs are straightforward and don’t often get a positive reaction. The person being called out usually digs their heels in deeper rather than change.

Being called on is similar to being called out, but in a way in which you share your positive views of the individual and ask them to help reconcile the difference you’re seeing in what they’ve expressed.

Being called in is to invite another into the conversation. There is no judgment, only curiosity in learning where the person is coming from. Thus starts a conversation and dialogue allowing us to hear the other person. Essentially it is the concept of “seek first to understand.”

Today I was called in to a conversation. The experience was wildly positive and helps me see how calling in can really make a difference. Prior to this call in I would have just put out my hands to stop the conversation, but this time was very different. Rather than feeling the need to go on the defensive I felt honored. What a huge difference in attitudes in me specifically because of how a conversation was started?

Another day, another moment of learning!


Day 1,811 – Thankful for Learning Through Mistakes – Measure Twice, Cut Once

Valuable life lesson for this guy today!

The next step in working on Gavin’s loft was to cut out the homes for the rungs of the ladders. Pretty simple task – measure, mark, cut, and then chisel. Simple… unless I somehow use the wrong marks and cut out way more than I was supposed to.

I didn’t measure a second time to be safe. I didn’t mark the cut lines as well as I should have. I took action instead of pausing to think.

Talk about frustrating!!! All so easily preventable.

Pause, deep breaths, find a solution.

Once the fix was created I paused to consider the steps that had gotten me to this point. So much learning and growth from one simple mistake.


Day 1,810 – Thankful for a Quick Virtual Trip to the Porcupine Mountains

My drive to Eau Claire was crazy foggy this morning! There were times when I would go from driving through a cloud to rising above the clouds and seeing islands of bluffs peeking out to back down into the clouds. Crazy!

After listening to my audiobook for a while I paused and listened to The Woods by Hollow Coves. While the song played my mind went to our backpacking trip to the Porcupine Mountains this past Spring. I remembered the last day of our hike specifically.

The cold river crossing early in the morning.

The rocky, gray, and quiet forest transforming into a lush green forest seemingly out of nowhere.

Climbing through the fog.

Looking into nothingness in the clouds.

What beautiful memories!