Day 153 – Thankful for the Advice of the Cashier at Trader Joe’s

As we picked up some hiking snacks last night we got into a conversation with a very friendly cashier at Trader Joe’s.  The conversation led to her sharing a favorite hiking place she went to just a week or so ago, Almera Falls.  It’s a tidal fall (a waterfall that empties into the ocean) and it’s at the end of a pretty sweet hike.  After a little research we decided that it was the place we would start our day with today.

Holy crap was it AWESOME!!!  Hiking along the ridge overlooking the ocean the majority of the time and hiking in dense forest the rest, it was a brand new experience for both of us.  There were many firsts for us including:

A salamander:


A banana slug:


And we saw some pretty incredible sites including the waterfall (from a distance the tide was too high to get next to it):

The hike was pretty awesome, and we totally would’ve missed it had it not been for the cashier at Trader Joe’s.

We wrapped up the day by heading to Muir Woods to see some pretty awesome redwoods…

I’m pretty sure I broke Becky during the 14+ miles of hiking today…  Here’s what she was looking like a little before 6pm tonight 🙂



Day 152 – Thankful for Exploring with My Travel Buddy!

Today sight seeing felt right, Becky and I were doing it together.  We left our hotel, got our car, found our new hotel, and enjoyed an awesome breakfast.  Shortly after that we met up with an old friend of Becky’s and started exploring the city.


Reliving some of the highlights of my tour on Tuesday we also added in a few bonus sites!  After cruising down Billionaire’s Row we headed out to see the bridge.  From there we went to one of the coolest places of the day…


The Yoda fountain at Lucasfilm!  It was pretty sweet!

After cruising through the Haight Ashbury district we headed up to the top of Twin Peaks and had an incredible view of the entire city.


Spending time with her friend was great, seeing the city was pretty cool, but spending time with Becky, my travel buddy, was AWESOME!!!  I’m very grateful to be out exploring with her!


Day 151 – Thankful for Added Motivation

Today is the last day of our 2017 Express International Leadership Conference, and in one way I’m very thankful for that…  My brain is full!

My brain is full of new ideas, reminders of old and successful ideas, and new combinations of new and old.  There are new industry trends, reminders of past successes and failures, and everything in between.  Intellectually it has been such a great experience that I’m on the verge of my brain being overstimulated.

In addition to my brain, my soul is also feeling full.  I’ve had a chance to rekindle friendships with my Express family.  There’ve been stories of high highs and low lows that can’t help but motivate me to be better.  We’ve honored each other and our associates with awards and accolades.  We’ve had great speakers who inspire me to thing and dream bigger.  Amongst all of the conversations, reunions, and motivation I’ve been making subtle adjustments to my dreams…  in most cases figuring out how to either make them bigger or get them started…  or a little of both!

I’ve jotted down so many notes over the past four days and I’m excited to review them on the flight home.  Until then I’m going to set them off to the side and intentionally not open that notebook until the wheels are up on my flight.  I’ve found that taking some time without concentrating on these ideas allows me to sift through them and focus on the most important.  Over the course of time I’ll probably start to see other connections, ideas, and concepts.  With this extra time I can distill those thoughts into action plans to move the best few forward.

All of this extra motivation has been AWESOME!!!  I’m giddy, hopeful, full of dreams, and ready to be better than I was before this conference.  I’m so thankful for all of the added motivation this week!  To close up today I’ve included a quote that I recently saw that really hits the feeling of this week home…  fullsizerender-8

Sadly, it’s from a catalog in my room!  Regardless of the source, it is pretty much right on.


Day 150 – Thankful for Building a Growth Mindset and Grit Reflex

This afternoon concluded with me giving my presentation two times at the Express International Leadership Conference.  I was on two times in a row, giving the same presentation back to back.  The practice was done, time for performance.


The first presentation didn’t go nearly as well as I’d expected.  Some of the things that worked well in practicing alone didn’t work the same with a crowd.  I made a last minute audible and added a short video that didn’t help out.  I couldn’t quite get into my groove and just never felt like it clicked.  There were many compliments from the attendees afterwards, but I just didn’t feel that great about how I did.  It felt like a 6 out of 10 instead of the 11 I expected of myself.

In between sessions I had 45 minutes and immediately reacted.  Many times I have to choose an attitude or value and then run with it.  In this case I didn’t even think, I just went into Grit and Growth Mindset modes.

Passionate for presenting, passionate for helping my Express family, there was no choice but to put s smile on my face and persevere.  Knowing that I wasn’t as successful as I hoped led me to analyze what didn’t go well.  Along the way Norm gave me a few pointers to help me improve for Round 2 and I didn’t put up defenses or question, I just listened and absorbed his input.  Not wallowing in disappointment (which I didn’t have time for) I cruised right into “how to improve it” mode and started making changes.  I went back into the times when I’ve been successful, remembered how that felt and what I did that helped me get there, and then adjusted to fit the previous successes.  I took a deep breath and launched myself whole heartedly and full of optimism into the next presentation…

And I was successful.  Not only successful, but in a full on state of flow that I was able to appreciate both at the time and now as I reflect afterwards.  What a wonderful feeling that is!!!

I’m thankful that those values are coming more and more naturally to me, they paid off huge today!


Day 149 – Thankful for Seeing Someone I Look Up To

The Express International Leadership Conference (ILC) is an incredible opportunity to learn from many greats in our industry and from exceptional folk from outside of Express.  Today’s speaker was the one I was jacked for from the moment I saw the list of speakers…  Patrick Lencioni.  Having seen him live twice I was PUMPED to see him again and see what new concepts he had up his sleeve, and he again exceeded my expectations.


The content was the usual Lencioni-fare, thought provoking, innovative, yet simple to understand and so obvious once the observation is shared.  That in of itself was worthy of today’s blog, but I’m veering down a different lane today instead.

Several years ago when I first saw Pat live I remember thinking to myself, “if I were a presenter that’s who I want to be.”  His energy level starts high and only goes higher.  He’s polite yet brash.  Confident yet humble.  Shiny syndrome can occasionally get the best of him and he’s okay with that.  By the time it’s over you can just tell that you’ve gotten the full 100% honest Lencioni and several new insights that you can actually understand and use.  Everything that I want to ever be as a speaker is encapsulated in his performance.  And that’s what I am thankful for today, a chance to see someone that I look up to.

Tomorrow I have a couple of presentations that I’m giving and seeing Pat today motivates me to up my game even more and be a better presenter.  Seeing him live helped to renew some of my dreams and I am very thankful for that.


Day 148 – Thankful for Realizing I’m Not the Only One

There are sometimes that when I listen to that little voice in the back of my head I start to get very lonely.  That voice keeps telling me that I’m the only one who’s thought this, the only who’s experienced that, and that I’m the only one who’s experienced what I’ve experienced.  Interestingly enough, it’s the same voice that reminds me of fears, reminds me of past failures, and tells me that I’m an impostor…

Today I had several reminders at several different times that I’m not the only one.  I was able to see people who’ve had similar challenges who understand where I’m at with certain things.  There were moments when I was able to see someone else might be in a place that I’ve been, and when I was there I thought I was the only one.  At one point I couldn’t help but smile as someone shared a story of what they were really thinking and realized that their words were the exact same thoughts I’ve had going through my head at times.

While I try my best to tell that voice in my head to zip it, there are times when I am weak and I start to listen to it.  Today was filled with reminders that the voice in my head is often wrong…  And for that I am thankful!


Day 147 – Thankful for Exploring a New City

Hey everyone, I’d bet you’ll never guess what city I was able to tour today for the first time…


I spent the better part of today touring San Francisco with some of my work teammates and was able to get to know the history of the city.  Riding on a tour bus with a guide who’s fifth generation born and raised in San Francisco was a pretty incredible experience.  There was a lot to take in, from iconic sights like the Golden Gate Bridge to the culture to the history of the city to the homes of some of its richest residents.  In some cases it fit my preconceived expectations and in others it was very different.

Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to explore many new places.  In each of those cases there’s always a lesson that I’ve picked up, a new idea that I’ve had, or I’ve found different way of looking at something in life.  I wonder what that will be from this trip?  Regardless of that answer, this is one of the reasons I love travel so much.  There’s the opportunity to explore something new, a chance to see something else that helps me understand myself better.  It gives me an opportunity to see something new and see how it may be related to past experiences or how it can tie random thoughts and ideas together.  I know my brain sees patterns so well that I can see them even when there isn’t one to see (& that’s not always a good thing!), having the opportunity to experience new things gives me a bigger set of data to compare things to and against.  It provides more examples and ideas.  It gives me a wider view of life from a new perspective.  Today I was able to see more and widen that perspective, and for that I am incredibly thankful!


Day 146 – Thankful for Stepping Back From the “Stuff,” and Taking Time to Think

So many days are spent constantly chasing life.  Whether it’s work, kids, or many of the other daily responsibilities that we have in our life there can be so much “stuff” that it becomes easy to lose track of other important things.  This “stuff” is incredibly important, it’s the “stuff” that keeps income coming in, the “stuff” that’s important to our kids and family, and, many times, the “stuff” that we enjoy doing.  If I’m not careful it’s way to easy for me to drift into being busy with a lot of “stuff.”


Days like today are pretty awesome, rare, and greatly appreciated.  Due to a few different reasons I’ve been able to avoid pretty much all of the “stuff” that I live in a normal day.  Today I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in thought.  Thinking about the possibility of a dream I’ve had brewing in the back of my head for a while – is it worth it to chase it now?  Thinking about future projects and trainings that I’d like to build and give.  Thinking about my teams and how I can be a better leader for them.  Thinking about how much I appreciate my family and why.  So much time, so much to think about, and mainly because I was able to shut out the other “stuff” for a day.

Today I’m reminded that I need to put a couple of days like this in my calendar, days to shut off and unplug and just take time to think.


Day 145 – Thankful for Enjoying a Nice Summer Sunday in February

So maybe it’s not quite a summer day, but it has still felt like one.  The sun’s out, the weather is balmy (compared to normal February weather), and we did the things we typically do on a non-busy summer day.

Getting a lot of the tasks done earlier this morning we grilled burgers for lunch.   While many the grill I was enjoying the sun, wearing shorts and a tshirt.

After lunch we headed out with the whole family, dogs and all, for a hike on the bike trail.  Sure, there were some ice covered patchs and stretches of puddles and mud, but it was so perfect out regardless.  The sun popped out and wind slowed.  The temp went up and I eventually shucked the sweatshirt I was wearing.

After our four miles of relaxing trail time Becky had the idea that really made it feel like summer.  We stopped at The Sweet Shop and got ice cream cones!

While it might have exactly felt like a summer day it was pretty close, and it was exactly what I needed today.


Day 144 – Thankful for Chillin’ On The Couch with the Family

While there were a bevy of wonderful things like getting things done around the house, working outside, getting a 5 mile run in as a family (Gavin was biking, but close enough!), having some quiet time, finishing a puzzle box that I’d previously failed at, and hearing a great homily at church, I’d have to say I’m most thankful for the way we closed out an epic Saturday night…  chillin’ on the couch watching some TV as a family.

It doesn’t happen often, we’re usually running between events, playing games, reading, or who knows what else, but lately it’s been the way we’ve brought Saturday nights to an end and it’s been very relaxing and satisfying.  

One of the reasons I’m enjoying it so much is we talk during the shows a lot.  During Mythbusters: The Search for instance we spend a lot of time discussing the logic between ideas and brainstorming new ways we’d do it if we were on the show.  There’s also some great character and values dialogue as we share which person we enjoy the most and why, which values they exhibit that we appreciate.  There’s also some good natured ribbing as we pick sides and cheer for our team in the different competitions.

Becky and I have gotten hooked on a show called Red Oaks on Amazon and really enjoy it.  It gives us both a chance to decompress, cuddle up, and shoot the bull about the show’s ups and downs…  another way for us to bond and relax.

While spending a lot of time in front of the TV isn’t usually my thing, those couple of hours with my family are what I’m most thankful for today.  Anything that causes us to be together talking about ideas, values, dreams and so on is very much welcomed.