Day 367 – Thankful for a Heck of a Day

Today has been one heck of a great day.  Seriously, I’ve smiled and laughed, I’ve had time in thought, and I’ve been moved to tears.  To quote the great speech by Jim Valvano:

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

It has been a full day, one that I am incredibly thankful to have had and to have shared with so many friends.  Days like this are reminders to me of how blessed my life is, and how thankful for all that The Big Man Upstairs has provided.

There was time with my family as I got ready to head out of town.  We joked around, enjoyed each other’s company, and had got our hugs and “I love you’s” in.

The ride in to the office and up to Minneapolis were bonding time with my team, a chance to set aside the concept of “work” and just shoot the bull for a while.  We all got to know and appreciate each other a little better.

Upon getting to Sales Summit it was a steady stream of handshakes and hugs with Express friends.  Sharing of smiles, laughter, and stories.  Some work related, some not.  It always has the feel of going to the family reunion that you’ve been longing to attend, the one with the crazy relatives that get you in a way that is unique and special.

Having conversations in between speakers and classes led to incredible moments that I’m so grateful for.  From one former team member who’s back with the Express family I learned of how she got into mud runs after a conversation she and I had many years ago.  That warmed my heart and I fought hard to not let the awesome leak out of my eyes.

Our keynote speaker was lights out and helped us all remember just how blessed we are to have what we have and to find ways to make the world a better place for everyone.  A story of love, civil war, refugees, and a simple idea that’s had an incredible impact.  What an inspiration for all of us to look at the world a little differently.  As the day has gone on I’ve continued to think on that – how could I change the world?  What am I not seeing that’s right in front of my eyes that I should be doing to help others more?  Great food for thought…

My teams have been busting their asses over the past year to help us grow.  They’ve been focused, determined.  Each of them has shown over and over again how they live to our values of Grit, Growth Mindset, and Do Right.  From this hard work they were able to experience an extra special taste of success – winning awards with their peers.  We won several awards and there were smiles all around.  I am so proud of all that they’ve accomplished, for all that they’ve grown, and for all of the future successes that they will continue to have.  Being able to be a small part of their success is one of the absolute most rewarding feelings I’ve experienced in my professional career.  I love them all and am so grateful for each of them.

As I wrap up the day and prep for bed (I’ve got an 8am presentation and will get one more practice run in at 6:30am) I reflect on today with misty eyes.  I’ve laughed, I’ve thought, and I’ve had my emotions moved to tears.  It’s been one heck of a day.  Thank you to each and every single person who made this day memorable.


Day 366 – Thankful for Birthday Wishes

Today has been pretty awesome.  In addition to hanging out with Nick for a little bit, getting a nice little nap in, and spending time with good friends at the Oktoberfest Torchlight Parade there was something else that kept me smiling all day long.

Starting from last night through this moment I’ve received many birthday wishes from so many friends and family.  Between cards, in person wishes and hugs, texts, emails, and Facebook  it’s been a steady stream of love for this guy.

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Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes, it was an awesome one, specifically because of all of my family friends.  Thanks to everyone for making it an awesome birthday!


Day 365 – Thankful for a Brewers Game with My Brother, Nick

Later tonight Nick and I will be kicking back at Miller Park watching the Brewers game.  Knowing that it will be a late night and that I’ll probably be too tired by the end of the night to blog about it, I figured I’d throw this one up a little early.

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It’s been a while since we’ve made the trip to Miller Park together.  The last time we went we were both skinny enough that our giant melon heads fit (almost) into our matching game worn helmets.  While our heads may not fit anymore, I know we’ll still have a blast shooting the bull, remembering old games with many different family members, and maybe, just maybe, having a cold beer or two!

This will be a pretty epic way to end my first year of being 40 and I’m thankful that we were able to make it work.

BTW – If you happen to watch the Brewers game tonight be sure to watch closely, we’re right behind home plate.


Day 213 – Thankful for My Time Timer

Quick side note… yes, I know that Day 365 comes after Day 364. Unfortunately I did not know that Day 213 was supposed to come after Day 212, not Day 213. Pretty sure that I’m going to be off by a day every year based on being two for two! 😂

My schedule today was totally bonkers. With being out on Thursday and hot deadline approaching today’s schedule was about as loaded as it could’ve been. There were eight phone interviews, a coaching call, and a conference call each butted right up to the next with a short break in the middle.

Most days this would be a recipe for disaster. I’ve been known to go a little long on my phone conversations… or so I’ve been told. 😉 Today was all good and everything stayed right on schedule, it went just about perfect.

While I’d love to credit myself for just being that good and disciplined, it was really due to an awesome new tool in my office… The Time Timer.

I know, this will probably sound a little ridiculous, but with the way my mind is wired this clock has really helped! While my mind often wanders to different ideas (aka Shiny Syndrome), I’m much more cognizant of time when I have a visual like this in front of me.

Knowing how much time I have to devote to the task I turn the red portion to the appropriate spot (45 minutes was the norm today). As I take part in the task I can dive in full feet and just take the occasional glance at the clock t see how much time I have. It sounds weird, but I can more easily see how much time I have this way as opposed to watching a clock.

Today everything rolled on just the way it was supposed to with one exception of about 2-3 minutes. Pretty sure that’s never happened before, and I am thankful for having the Time Timer in front of me to help me out!


Day 364 – Thankful for Zeke, Our Grumpy Old Bastard Cat

Today I’m pretty sure that I bumped my head pretty hard.  As I was sitting on the couch wrapping up some work after Cub Scouts tonight Zeke jumped up, snuggled in, and next thing I knew, I was petting him.  After a while I grabbed the brush and spent some time brushing him off.  We enjoyed each other’s existence for a short period of time, both realized what we were doing, and the moment was gone.  He jumped off and scampered away while I was disgusted at picking his hair out of my eyes and nose.  And that’s just how the two of us roll.


If you’ve ever been to our house I can pretty much bet that I’ve offered you the cat.  I’ve probably even offered you cash to take him.  Odds are that either you said no or Becky stopped the transaction from happening.

Zeke and I have always had a love hate relationship…  we both love to hate the other.  Way back when my niece got him as a kitten I tried to be nice to the little guy.  He came up to my feet all cute and snuggly.  I reached down to pet him, and as I did so the little bastard bit my pinky toe right in between the nail and the side of my toe.  I would explain how I handled the situation, but it might make Sarah McLachan cry (not really, there was nothing mean done to the cat).  In that moment our Seinfeld / Newman relationship was born.

Zeke has been kind enough to allow us the privilege of living with him for the past 14 years.  As his servants he treats us well, showing us his love by acting totally disinterested and showing his disgust by intentionally barfing in our walkways in the night.  Yes, he’s a grumpy old bastard cat, and we’re pretty sure the only thing that brings him true joy is being unhappy.  I don’t think he’s eaten anything but anger and frustration for years!

While you may be wondering why I’m thankful for this cranky animal, it’s actually pretty simple.  He’s a part of our family.  Thankfully, the part of the family that reminds us why life is too short to be unhappy…  unless that’s what really makes you happy???  Hmm… Maybe that logic doesn’t work in this case.

I’m also thankful for him as he brings comic relief as our old grumpy bastard cat.  He’s our Oscar the Grouch, Red Foreman, Grandpa Simpson, and Frank Costanza all rolled into one.  In Zeke’s mind he’s Batman and the rest of us our his Jokers.  As we all learned in the Batman Lego movie, Batman needs the Joker to be complete and to have a purpose.  Zeke needs us to stay crabby and grumpy…  which keeps him happy.



Day 363 – Thankful for a Day of Organized Chaos

Day 363 – Thankful for a Day of Organized Chaos

Today is one of those days when I sit back, mentally run through the day, and get exhausted just remembering it!  You know what though?  As crazy as it was, I really appreciated it.  Yes, it was non-stop craziness, but there were so many moments to be thankful for.  After thinking it through, the chaos is what helped fuel me today.  It was a successful day, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.


About the best way I could think of to blog today is to take each step at a time and point out what I was thankful for each step of the way.

  • Woke up at 5am to run 12 miles with Becky before the heat cranked up too high.  I’m thankful for the sense of accomplishment, the fact that I survived it, and that I had 1 on 1 time with Becky to start my day.
  • Went to church and heard an excellent sermon that reminded me to stay thankful and do my best to rid myself of envy.  Also at church there were a couple of times when I had my arms around my boys’ shoulders, I’m thankful that they didn’t squirm away.
  • After church Dominic and I headed to the grocery store while Gavin had Sunday school and Becky had a meeting.  We joked around the whole time, talked, and enjoyed each other’s company.  I really appreciated the one on one time with him.
  • As soon as we were finished eating we headed out to the boat.  The weather was great and it felt wonderful to be on the water on a hot day like this.
  • While sitting on the sandbar I went through my Grand Cayman book and found a bunch of really cool things to check out while we’re there in January.  I’m always thankful to be looking ahead to future vacations!
  • Gavin and I had a blast playing a couple of totally made up games while on the tubes.  We splashed, raced, floated, chilled, and everything in between.  I was thankful to have one on one time with him having that much fun.
  • Getting home brought on a slew of busy-ness including getting a bunch of Express work done – scheduling 15 phone interview for the week, scheduling one for this evening, making a job offer, getting caught up on emails and planning ahead for the week.  I’m thankful to have the ability to get work done at home at crazy hours, it seems like the only way I can fit it all in sometimes.  It was also a great sense of accomplishment to have it all dialed.  It may have eaten up more than a few hours tonight, but it feels great to get it all done.
  • At one point I was able to meet up with my neighbor Fred who just happened to have a heater like I was going to need for my garage.  He was going to get rid of it and offered it up to me.  How awesome is that?
  • Between working and watching the game I grilled supper.  It was extra work, but it felt good to do that for my family.  Becky busts her butt and does most of the cooking, I’m thankful to be able to tag in.  I’m also super thankful for all of the stuff she did today – she was busy as the Tazmanian Devil!
  • While watching the game I was texting Nick pretty regularly in the second half.  Earlier in the day I sent him 38 GIFs involving spanking – each representing a birthday spank from me!  Yes, they were all SFW…  I think…  I’m so thankful to be able to have a brother that is also a great friend.  It was pretty awesome.
  • During the fourth quarter of the game the boys both got pretty involved and it was nice spending time with the two of them hollering at the TV.  Usually Nick, Dad & I would give each other hell and text during the game, the boys jumped in and helped ease the feeling that I was missing something.  We screamed, we cheered, we were nervous, and we all celebrated at the end!  I thankful for us to have had that time together.
  • Now as I chill and blog, I’m thankful for blogging.  While it is one more thing to do before I head off to bed, it helps me remember just how awesome today was.

The day has been non-stop, but pretty damn awesome.  Not in any individual spectacular way, but in general.  Days like today leave me tired, but I’m so blessed to have so much in my life.  My life is full of a lot of awesome, and for that I’m thankful.


Day 362 – Thankful for Watching a Teammate Rock Her Presentation and a Reminder of Why I Train

Day 362 – Thankful for Watching a Teammate Rock Her Presentation and a Reminder of Why I Train

Today has already been an awesome day and it’s not even close to being complete.  Katie and I met up at 6:30am to run through our presentation one last time before it was go time.  By the time 8am rolled around we were locked and loaded, ready to go.


Everything went great, but what I’m thankful for the most is just how awesome Katie did.  She rocked it!  Feeling her confidence early on really helped lift me up and get me psyched and amped up.  Jumping right in she had great energy, did a wonderful job of presenting the concepts through sharing personal stories, and rolling with the occasional ad libbing by yours truly.  To her credit, she even managed to land a “ginger” joke part way through!  I had very high expectations for her and she managed to exceed them.  It was very easy to see all of the hard work she had put into this, and I am so thankful to have been there to watch her rock the presentation.


The day before I got a pretty cool compliment that still has me smiling.  A franchisee that I haven’t seen in a while went out of her way to thank me for a specific training that I gave at an event two years ago.  She mentioned how it impacted her business and she’s been following my advice ever since.  Talk about making me blush!  It was so cool to hear the lasting impact that I was able to make in one short training.  I was so thankful to have that boost of confidence like that prior to my next training.

Both of these events were wonderful reminders of why I do what I do.  Between being able to see a teammate shine and see the results of how I was able to benefit another franchisee I am feeling pretty damn good today.  I am thankful for doing what I do today 🙂


Day 361 – Thankful for Walking In Airports with Headphones On

This one is going to sound strange, but it’s an odd happy place for me that I appreciate.  While traveling today I had some time walking through a couple of airport terminals to get from one gate to another.  On the surface it’s crowded, busy, and it seems stressful…  but below that there’s a peace that I find that I really love, but mainly when I’ve got my headphones on and there’s only motion and no noise.

When the headphones are on and I’m walking in the airport it’s this crazy nexus of being in a crowded place and totally alone.  No one else is listening to my tunes, I’m not talking with anyone, I’m just walking and people watching.  My mind starts to wander and I try to guess where and why people are going where they are.  Are they happy because they’re going on vacation?  Are they looking focused because they’re making a big sales presentation soon?  Are they sad because they’re going home?  There’s no listening to conversation, just the visual cues to point me in the right direction.


As I wander through the airport I come across things that remind me of past trips…  Flying out of this gate on one vacation…  Eating at this restaurant before flying to Australia…  Wandering through this part of the airport when my flight was delayed…  So many memories, mainly good, almost always reminding me of previous travels and adventures.

While I was flying I was working, focused, getting things done.  When I was at my destination I was focused, working, and learning.  In the airport, wandering with my headphones on I was totally present in the moment, not stressing about anything.  I was enjoying the time of being totally alone while surrounded by hundreds of people.  Such an odd thing, but incredibly peaceful…

Throw in the fact that time in the airport means that I’m either heading off on an adventure or flying back to my beloved home…  There’s always happiness in both of those.

Training today was great, time with old friends and new friends was appreciated, but the stillness of wandering the airport with my headphones on still has me feeling pretty chill.  For that I am thankful.




Day 360 – Thankful for Working Outside of My Comfort Zone

When Becky was gone last week I had to focus on the details, being practical, and taking things in order to get them all accomplished. It was tough for me, but when I stuck with the plan it all worked out. Not only that, but it felt pretty awesome to accomplish something that I’m not normally great at, taking care of the details.

This morning we had our monthly Territory meeting in Eau Claire and the focus was on making sure everything in our interview process was spot. That included reminders, training, role playing, and son questions. It required me to start at Point A and walk through all the details to get to Point Z. Prepping for it was tedious, staying relatively on track was difficult, there were so many times my shiny syndrome wanted to kick in! By the time we wrapped up it was mission accomplished. It was tiring for me to stay that focused, but it felt pretty rewarding by the end.

Today I’m thankful for working outside of my comfort zone. While it is tiring and doesn’t quite feel right, it always feels good growing.


Day 359 – Thankful for Vacation Planning and Team Development

Yup, what an odd mix today, right?  How often do you see team development and vacation plans used in the same sentence?  Not very often at all!  Then again, they are a couple of my favorite things…

One of the parts of my role that I enjoy most is working with my teammates to help them grow.  Today was filled with those types of conversations.  From helping on specific clients to learning about future career challenges they’re voluntarily taking on to help them grow to working through tough situations to business growth strategy – there were so many conversations that I was thankful to be a part of.  My teammates are extraordinary people who inspire me on a daily basis, it’s so awesome to see them continue to grow.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 9.15.46 PMThe other part of today is something that I always enjoy…  planning for vacation!  Not the details or anything like that, but the fun stuff that goes along with vacation like picking out a car.  That’s what tonight’s plan was.  In between delivering kids to and from various events I wanted to get our rental car reserved for Grand Cayman.  I am thankful for doing this because it means we can try something different (convertible Mini Cooper?  Why not?).  It also means that there are usually a handful of texts back and forth with friends, usually complete with joking around and many smiles.  It reminds me of where we’re going, it gives me a waypoint that I am working forwards to.  Lastly, when I’m doing vacation stuff it means Becky and I are talking about vacations, and often dreaming up new vacation adventures.  Does life get much better than that?

Today was pretty awesome for the most part.  Development conversations, vacation planning, and fun conversations with my family (Becky, the boys, Nick & Mom)…  It was a day I’m thankful to have had!