Day 184 – Thankful for Another Lesson from My Dad

Way back on Day 112 of last year I was thankful for a lesson from my dad (here).  Today I’m thankful for another lesson from him.


With a great night of sleep behind me I awoke this morning ready to take on the world.  After 9+ hours of snoozing I was ready.  My task list for the day long, my focus would be tested to keep up with everything I needed to do.  I was ready.

As the day started I was hammering through my list a little more quickly than expected.  Then slowly, but surely, the wheels started to fall off.  A couple of things didn’t go as planned.  Issues came up that I was ready for.  Obstacles got in the way and were blocking my path.  While passion and energy are some of my strengths they can also be my biggest weaknesses at the wrong times.  I could just feel my body starting to coil like a spring about to be sprung.  Ignoring it at first I started to tackle one of the obstacles.  As I progressed I became increasingly aware of just how tight I was getting.  At about the point I was about to pop I took a deep breath and thought about what I would suggest to a friend who was feeling the same way.  At that point I smiled, took a deep breath, and took a break from everything.

Way back in the day my dad always taught me that when I get frustrated the best thing to do is calm yourself down.  If that doesn’t work, walk away from whatever you’re doing for a few minutes and then go back to it.  Being a bull in a china shop bulldozing my way through the task rarely leads to happiness, it’s usually just a bigger mess to clean up.

In concept, it seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?  Take a deep breath, take five, walk away, calm down, and then go back.  Easy!  Nope, it is tough as hell.  The more frustrated I get the more determined I get (a huge strength at the right times) and the less likely I am to quit.  When things get tough I want to get them done.  Not always the best course of action.  I’m pretty sure my dad used to struggle with this too, the looks he shot me when I suggested he walk away from something that was frustrating him were enough to kill sometimes.  As I’ve gotten older I totally understand – if someone tells me to walk away I get more determined to finish it, but if I suggest it to myself I’m more likely to pause.  Hence the reason I asked myself what I would suggest to a friend…  It’s always easy to see from afar and tell someone to chill, but I don’t usually listen.  It’s easier to pause when I decide it’s time to pause, but rarely do I see it until it’s too late.  Combine the best of both and I ask myself what I would suggest to a friend and take my own advice.

So today I told myself I would suggest to a friend that their judgment was being compromised by frustration, their effectiveness deteriorating due to frustration, and it was time to take a break.  You know, you need to run to your accountant’s office today, this might be a good time?  I took a deep breath, smiled, and walked away for a little bit.  Now that I’m back I’m ready to dive back in and take everything on with the right attitude.  Life is an attitude, and after taking a brief pause, I’ve chosen the right one.

Thanks again for the advice Dad!  All those years of thinking I wasn’t listening while I was too busy complaining when you made me help you have imprinted some wonderful lessons in my brain.  Thanks!


Day 183 – Thankful for Running While the Running Was Good

Last night I mentioned to Becky that with the boys going to church tonight she and I could get our run in tonight instead of early in the morning.  My thought was that sleeping in sounded GLORIOUS!  Her response was a quick no, she had some errands that she had to run tonight.

This morning the alarm went off and we headed out for an early morning run.  While the extra sleep would have been nice it did feel amazing to get the run in to start the day.  This probably sounds crazy, but this is one of my favorite views while running early…


Yup, it was quiet, dark, and peaceful.  Very relaxing and calming to kick off the busy day ahead.

As I got into my car to head home after work today I just paused and soaked in the cold, wet, gray sky.  It was chilly and not great running weather.  Had we waited to run until tonight…  Yuck!!!

Today I’m thankful for running while the running was good.  I have a tendency to overthink  and over-strategize things and this was one of those cases.  When the weather is ripe for running I need to remember to take advantage of it and get moving.


Day 182 – Thankful for the Merging of Several Different Concepts into One Unified Whole

Isn’t it funny how somedays you get bombarded with many different thoughts and life lessons?  Little moments of insight.  Wonderful nuggets of learning.  Great advice.  A vision of an example that sets the stage for your dream.  A question asked a week ago that continues to ring in your brain.  An explanation of someone else’s view of you that sheds light on you in a slightly different way.  Today there were many of these little moments and I’ve been able to take some time to let them sink in a bit.

Without getting into too much detail I was able to receive so many of those awesome little insights, lessons, questions, and concepts today.  They came at me from many different angles including the following:

I know, I probably shouldn’t have a winter pic in there, but it was one of the better recent family pics 🙂

Between a question asked by a good friend last week, some great advice from another friend last week, the Bruce Springsteen autobiography, a conversation with my business partners, and some brief but enlightening family time there were several things that kept reverberating through my brain.  It wasn’t until yoga tonight that there was that flash of insight that really blended it all into one unified concept…

Root Down

Nick, our instructor tonight was wearing a T shirt with 4 very simple words on it…  Life is an Attitude.  As he explained the reason for the shirt it hit me that there was what I was soaking up from my other conversations and insights today.  Life is an attitude, and I am free to choose the attitude and life I want to live.  What a great reminder to wrap up my day!


Day 181 – Thankful that the Car Doesn’t Have Ears

Ahh yeah…  Good run in the morning, ready to get to work, pumped and excited for a good day and a playlist that includes songs from the following albums:

That’s right, you know it…  It was an all out rock concert in my car on the drive up to Winona today.  While I remembered way more of the lyrics than I had any right to my voice certainly has not gotten any better.  The only way I know that the car doesn’t have ears is that it didn’t yank itself into oncoming traffic 🙂

It was a great way to get rolling in the morning on my way to work.  I had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed the show, regardless of what it may have sounded like!


Day 180 – Thankful for a Sticker on the Floor by My Yoga Mat

After a long weekend of camping with the boys Becky had an excellent idea, end the weekend with some yoga on Sunday night at Root Down.  It wasn’t until part way through the session that I realized what the little sticker right underneath my face said.  If you haven’t been to Root Down before there’s a little sticker on the floor marking the spots for you to set up your mat.  In most cases I’ve just gone kind of blind to them and don’t really pay any attention.  Today was a little different.

Joshua was our instructor tonight and he routinely has a pretty difficult workout planned for us.  Tonight was no different and it wasn’t long before I was sucking wind hard.  At one point I was on my hands and knees and I happened to see the sticker right in front of me and it immediately put a quote from “The Lego Movie” into my head and I smiled…  To quote the Master Builder Vitruvius, “Believe…  I know that sounds like a cat poster but it’s true.”


If you haven’t seen the clip, check it out here.  Do you have any idea how tough it is to focus on yoga while hearing the voice of Morgan Freeman coming out of the mouth of a talking cat?

As the smile started to fade I just kept focusing on that word.  Believe…  “I believe I can do this.”  “I believe I can try this.”  “I believe I can hold this pose for one more breath… for one more breath…  for one more breath…”  The word kept echoing through my head and I I kept believing in myself.  By the end of the workout I had pushed myself harder than I had for a long time.  I had tried new poses that I was able to successfully hold for at least a few seconds.  As I attempted my first headstand since I was a kid I kept thinking “believe.”  And I did, and then I did.  There were plenty of fails and times that I had to pause while others moved on so I could gather my breath, but it was better than normal.  I kept believing in myself.

During the final rest the word “believe” continued to pound in my head, it was the only thing I focused on.  How much stronger am I when I believe in myself?  What do I need to do to build my belief in myself in certain situations so I can believe in myself?  If I stay focused on three of my core values (grit, growth mindset, and do right) can I believe in myself all the time?  When do I not believe in myself and what is the result?  All of these questions kept coming to mind and I just smiled…  I believe I’ll figure it out eventually. 🙂

Thank you to the person who had the foresight to put the sticker with the word “Believe” right where they did, it was an excellent way to end the night…  And very motivating to stare at when my dripping with sweat forehead was collapsed on the floor.



Day 179 – Thankful for Being a Kid and Making a Fort

Just like yesterday, who knows when this will actually be posted – coverage is extremely sketchy.  Also like yesterday I still wanted to make sure I took the time to chill, think and be thankful.

While so much of the free time of kids seems to revolve around electronics and screens it was awesome to spend the day doing anything but that (the screen time I had to type this being the one exception).  The boys helped out with cleaning sticks out of campsites for a while and then had a lot of time to have fun outside and entertain themselves.

Some of the boys went running through the woods and some decided to build a fort.  Working together they gathered logs, sticks and all the other necessities for an awesome shelter.  After showing them how to close up some of the gaps using small branches, pine needles and leaves they had a pretty sweet fort to play in and continue to build.  In no time they also had a sliding entrance door that would be opened for the lucky scout who knew the password (which was, ironically “there is no password”).  

The whole time the boys worked on it they were smiling, laughing and having fun.  It made me so happy to see them all having such a great time outside and enjoying themselves like this.  I’m so thankful that my boys are in Scouts – what a great experience!


Day 178 – Thankful for the Crossroads of Growth, Opportunity, and Self Reflection

This one may not be posted until a day or two late due to cell coverage, but I still want to make sure that I’m taking time to be grateful 🙂

There were many things to be thankful for today, and as I lay on my pre-1940’s bunk bed at Scout camp there are many thoughts rolling through my head.  Over the course of the day I was able to interact with many coaches, teammates, and friends as I made my way through my task list.  All the while there were many dots connected and new dots revealed.  It was an incredible experience, so many moments in which there were lightbulbs flashing on.

As I think about it I’m overwhelmed with trying to figure out where to start with today’s post…  but there were a few themes that kept coming up.  They weren’t always all together in each moment, but there was usually a combination of two of them at minimum.  The recurring themes are growth, opportunity, & self reflection.  My mind is still bending as I try to look at the bigger picture on this, there’s definitely a connection between them all.

While this will be a thought I continue to ponder today I’m just thankful for running into the crossroads of all three today.  To each and everyone of you I interacted with today – thank you!


Day 177 – Thankful for Incredible Coincidences

Yesterday I headed out to Eau Claire early in the morning.  Instead of the normal route I took a scenic country road to head up to Black River Falls.  Meeting a friend for coffee and conversation about hiring led me on a road that I haven’t taken early in the morning before, County C out of West Salem.  As I drove up and down the bluffs and valleys the sun slowly started its ascent.  At one point I just smiled and chuckled…

I was reminded of another time I was driving up to Eau Claire at about this time of the day.  I drove past an intensely serene and still pond that perfectly reflected the beautiful pink blue sunrise sky.  The view was so soothing to my soul that I jammed on my brakes, whipped a u turn, and headed back to enjoy the moment and take a picture.  It was such music to my soul that on that day I blogged about being thankful for being in the right place at the right time, being aware of it and taking a moment to enjoy it.

Can you see why I jammed on the brakes to go back and enjoy this? 🙂

As I stared almost a little too long at yesterday’s sunrise my heart was warmed by the memory of that moment and I thought about stopping again.  It wasn’t quite right and this time I just decided to enjoy it while I drove.

Last night after blogging I opened up Facebook and did something that is also becoming a daily tradition, looking at what I was thankful for last year on this day.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this…

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 8.11.54 PM

Are you kidding me???  What are the odds of that?  Here I was enjoying an incredible sunrise and thinking back to an awesome memory…  From exactly one year before (remember that I skipped Day 155 last year, it was actually day 176, not 177), almost to the minute!

Was it really a coincidence?  Was there some weird subconscious connection that drew it to mind?  Beats me, but honestly, I really don’t care how it came to be.  All I know is that this was one incredible coincidence that I’m very thankful for.


Day 176 – Thankful for Eagle Watching with the Girls

Another day, another 18+ hours of awesome things to be grateful for!

After a long day of driving and work I finally got home around 7.  The boys were at church and Becky had just started reading a paper for her school.  Based on the awesome things I had seen on the drive home I decided to take the girls out for a little eagle watching on the river.

There were eagles EVERYWHERE!  This time of the year is so awesome that way.  We saw them fishing, playing, fighting, and just chilling.  The pics don’t do enough justice, there were two within 100 feet of us.  Trying to get a pic of them diving proved difficult, but it was still very relaxing…

The girls seemed to have a lot of fun too!

It was a pretty chill way to end a very great day.


Day 175 – Thankful for An Email Reminding Me to Keep a Growth Mindset

Have you ever received one of those emails that caught your attention and got you thinking?  One that made you stop and think a little extra about you course of action?  Maybe it was so good that you even keep it filed away to remind you of something important to remember about yourself?  Today I am thankful for that email.

We had a very interesting Owner / Manager meeting that was focused on what is going on in today’s hiring environment.  As opposed to being one in which we walk away with set plans it was focused on taking a break from the normal chaos and taking time to think.  With the right mindset it was a wonderful respite from the continual doing and allowed me time to just think.

Part of the reason that it went so well was that prior to jumping into the meeting I re-read a great email I got from one of my mentors a little while back that helped remind me to keep a growth mindset.  There were a couple of times that I might have normally fought back a bit or had gotten frustrated, but with my brain primed appropriately I was able to listen and learn.

Tonight I’m thankful for that email, the one that helped me get my brain in the right frame of mind.