Day 421 – Thankful for a Thanksgiving Day Hike with the Boys

It’s only 2:30pm here on Thanksgiving Day, but we’ve already had a lot of fun. We initially were going to go to Raglan to see the ocean, but Becky reminded me that we were already going there later in the week. With that in mind we instead opted for a hike to the Hakarimata Summit.

The hike was only a couple of KM in each direction but said that it was closer to a 3 hour hike. That didn’t quite seem right so we figured it might be a little brutal. Little did we know we’d be going up well over 1,000 feet in about 1km – not too shabby!

Along the way there was a marker on every 100 steps to help keep us moving to the last step – #1,349. Along the way there were several inspirational quotes that helped to keep us going. In addition to motivation it helped start values conversations with the boys, which was pretty awesome.

Once we got to the top we went up the observation tower and had an amazing panoramic view.

The entire hike was so awesome from start to finish. The boys were in a great mood the entire time and kept moving at a solid pace. We shot the bull, goofed around, talked values, and had fun the whole time. It was a fantastic way to celebrate Thanksgiving with the boys!



Day 420 – Thankful for a Mini Boys Vacation Before Family Vacation

Today was an awesome first full day on vacation. Becky was able to join us for breakfast before heading off to her conference and from there on out it was Boys Vacation until we got back just in time for our 7:00 with a large group of Becky’s colleagues. Even then the three of us ended up peeling out a little early to head back to the hotel. Dinner was great and the boys had a great time getting to know Becky’s PhD advisor, Martin. He was amazing with the boys, he even taught them some good life lessons 😉. I also really enjoyed getting to talk with Dianne, and, just as I’d hoped, she had some great sightseeing advice that we’re taking for tomorrow.

What I’m writing about today is how thankful I️ am for the mini Boys Vacation that we’re having before our actual family vacation. She’s got another day at the conference so the boys and I will have had almost two and a half days on our own and we’ve really taken advantage of it.

Today we had the plan of heading to the Auckland Zoo, but paused on our walk back from breakfast and searched out some New Zealand All Blacks gear at the mall we walked by. Not finding anything exactly like what we wanted I️ hopped online and found a store that sells only All Blacks stuff in Auckland. Without checking out anything else I asked the boys if they wanted to head there first and they agreed…

A couple of hours later I️ was driving on the “wrong” side of the road in bumper to bumper traffic in the middle of downtown Auckland. We figured out parking and bummed around for a while before finding the store.

After that we headed to the zoo and played around while seeing some seriously cool animals, including a kiwi! We had so much fun learning about the animals, harassing each other, and cracking jokes. The animals were awesome, but my boys were the highlight of my visit there.

The whole way to Auckland Dominic was riding shotgun (on the left side) and talking with me while he kept a steady flow of great music playing. Gavin was reading and occasionally jumping in on the conversation.

On the way home we had more conversation and discussed things like rush hour, which is exactly what we hit as we left Auckland. Instead of getting frustrated like I️ do, I️ had a different approach and used it as a teachable moment.

While on a vacation I love how my brain feels freed to focus on different things and on many different levels than normal. One of the thing is wanted to focus on today was helping my personal values stick in my boys’ heads so I️ wanted to find ways to include grit, growth mindset, do right, and gratitude. Grit was shown by the homework that they both did on the way home – we play hard because we work hard to have that opportunity. Growth mindset was in all of the learning today – there was so much to let soak in as we explored a new continent, city, and animals. Do right was when I️ explained why I️ was staying completely calm while driving in rush hour traffic at the very time I️ would normally feel the muscles in my shoulders and back tensing up to the point that they hurt. Gratitude…

I shared the value of gratitude in a very different way than I’ve ever done before. I️ gave both of the boys homework today that they will continue to do each day we’re on vacation (& maybe even a little longer 😉). They both had to journal about their day and what they were thankful for that day. As I️ read both of their journals I️ was smiling from ear to ear.

While on the flight here I️ was writing the chapter of the book about losing Dad that’s focused on the No Regrets blog I️ wrote while he was in the hospital. At its core there’s a focus on legacy. If I️ didn’t have a tomorrow I️ know that the boys would know that I️ love them and am proud of them and vice versa, but I may have a regret of not passing all of my values on as I would’ve like. With that in mind, I’m going to focus on this each day of vacation, sharing my values while finding teachable moments. As I️ looked back today I realized that I didn’t use the terms directly, so I’ll start working on that better tomorrow.

To roll this all back to where this blog started, I’m thankful for this mini-vacation for the boys. It’s been awesome to have this much time with them and equally as awesome to help them grow.


Day 419 – Thankful for Making It to New Zealand 🇳🇿

We’re here!!!

All went well on the flight over. We didn’t have any issues with bags or passports. The rental car was ready and waiting. The hour and a half drive on the wrong side of the roads went very well. We even stopped off for a bit of New Zealand candy and soda to make the road trip even better. Just showered up and will be heading out for a late lunch shortly.

So far so good!


Day 418 – Thankful for an Awesome Start to Vacation

We’re not even close to half way through our first “day” of travel, but we’ve already had a ton of fun! Without Becky to supervise us it’s been a little more crazy in the airport than normal.

To pass time while waiting for our first flight we walked to the end of each gate for a picture. While wandering we may have, I️ can neither confirm nor deny, done pushups on the moving walkways, taken a completely unnecessary elevator ride specifically because the walls were all glass, and spent a lot of time walking the wrong way on the moving walkways. We laughed, goofed off, and burned a lot of time while enjoying almost the entire time.

boarded the jet the flight attendant asked if the boys wanted to meet the pilot. Next thing we knew the boys were in the cockpit with Gavin sitting in the pilot's seat… quite possibly the scariest sight ever on a flight!

ow we’re grabbing a bite to eat and chillin’ in the Frisco airport, talking sports and relaxing (maybe having a beer!).

The first day isn’t even half over and we’ve already had a ton of fun. I️ was initially crazy nervous about traveling with the boys and no Becky, but we’ve turned it into a special “Guys’ Trip” and are enjoying it.


Day 417 – Thankful for Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations

Over the past few months I’ve read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way. It’s a great read focused on the philosophy of stoicism. Over the course of the book there are many quotes from Marcus Aurelius’ book, Meditations. Seeing as I️ thoroughly enjoyed The Obstacle Is the Way why not read one of the books it references?

While driving today I️ finished it, and it was AWESOME!!! At times it was a little tough to read due to language, but it was nothing short of widely thought provoking.

There were a couple of quotes in particular that really hit me right between the eyes:

  • “Imagine that your life should have rightfully ended now, and therefore live the remainder, this gracious addition, according to nature.”

  • “Take care not to feel towards evil in human people as they fee towards their fellow man.”

Quite honestly, there was so much to soak in that I’m planning on buying a paper copy to work my way back through as well as listen to at least one more time. It was exactly what the doctor ordered for my drive time today!


Day 416 – Thankful for Hugs From My Dad

What a day it’s been already, and it’s hardly past halfway done!  Once in a while I spend time writing a blog focused on one thing, but as the dust settles and I get some time to reflect I realize that there was a deeper meaning, something I initially missed…  Today was that exactly.  The original title was much different, but as I’ve been writing this title really fits.


This was the last official day of Express Leadership Academy and it was amazing on so many levels.  Pretty much the entire agenda was focused on one thing – sharing a 3-5 minute presentation of what we’d learned over the past couple of years.  We were to share where we were prior to the program, how we’d grown, and where we were now.  To say it was powerful is an understatement.  We shared the good, bad, and everything in between from a business standpoint, but that was only the beginning.

In each presentation we each bared our souls.  There were stories of our personal struggles and growth.  Sharing of tough family issues.  Insecurities were revealed ad opened up for all to see.  It was amazing.  All of us successful business owners, all of us with our inner struggles, and while they were all different, it was a chance for us to see we’re all the same.  We’re all people struggling to be the best possible versions of ourselves we can be, stumbling and making mistakes along the way, yet staying focused on becoming better each day.  It was incredible!

As everything wrapped up there many hugs as we said our thank you’s and goodbye’s to each other.  Funny how closely connected we all are once we start opening up and become vulnerable…  Pretty sure that’s a blog in of itself at some point.  It was big hug after big hug as I made my way through my friends.  There were many bear hugs, one after another, some that were some of the biggest hugs since…

One of the last was my friend Reid.  I reached out to give him a “bro hug,” but he wasn’t having it.  He came in for a full on bear hug, one of the biggest that I’ve had in a long time.  It was pretty much one of the biggest hugs since…

As we loaded into the shuttle van for the airport I saw the driver and though that he looked a little familiar…  After a moment I realized that it was the same driver I had the day of the solar eclipse (I wrote a bit about him on that day).  What are the odds of that???  It was funny, but as we were talking so many memories from our first conversation came flooding back.  Of all the cab rides I’d had in the past this was one of the few that I have burned into memory.  We quickly got re-acquainted and I learned that he now had his fourth grandson on the way from his daughter.  At the airport after he unloaded our luggage it just seemed right to give him a hug, and he presented me with about one of the biggest bear hugs I’ve had in a very long time…

They were all some of the biggest bear hugs since…  the last hug I gave my Dad.  I still vividly remember that last hug, the one he gave me as he left my office in the end of May.  As were all of the hugs from him it was a great, solid hug.  It was full of love and happiness and you couldn’t help but smile afterwards.  The hugs he gave were some of those “I don’t care if you don’t think it’s manly, you’re still getting a big hug” types of hugs.

When I started typing today I was more focused on the idea of leadership, learning, and other things, but really, at the end of the day, I’m thankful for each and every single one of those big hugs.  As I started typing I started to type about one of those hugs and I suddenly thought of Dad…  As I started typing about another one I suddenly thought of Dad again…  That’s when it hit me, in many ways those were hugs from Dad.  They were the result of living the legacy he left behind in me, and they were shared in the way he would have when he was proud of what I had done.  There were a couple of times specifically when I knew he was there with me, smiling, holding back a tough moment of emotion by putting his hand on my shoulder, and he was there with me in every single one of those hugs.

I’m so thankful for the hugs from my dad today, they brought much joy today!

Dad, I’m still amazed at how well you instilled your legacy in me without me even realizing it.  Many of the decisions I made today were the direct result of what you and Mom taught me through the years, I know you were proud to see them.  It sucks to not have you here to hug, but there’s something so awesome about knowing that you’re with me more than ever now.  Thanks for the hugs dude, love you Bud!


Day 415 – Thankful for a Blog that Woke Me Up Early and Stayed with Me All Day Long

At about 4:15 this morning I woke up and was thinking about my blog from yesterday.  The concept of leaving a legacy, what does that legacy look like, and how can I better live it kept flowing through my brain.  Try as I might to sleep, I just couldn’t get my brain to shut off.

This morning in training we started by thinking back to the conversation about legacy and again my brain was going in a million different directions.

During a couple of comments throughout the day I thought of my dad, I thought of my mom, and I thought of many of those who’ve had an impact on me in my life.

Trading stories at our table I couldn’t help but smile when I heard the story of the relationship of my partner and his dad.  The legacy his father has left with him is etched in his words and actions, just as I’m sure his legacy will live on through his kids.  Again, the concept of legacy was running rampant in my brain.

Normally I’d dive into a ton of detail on a day like today, but due to several reasons I really don’t feel comfortable sharing a ton of details.  Let’s just say that there were many, many more moments throughout the day that had me thinking about the concepts of legacy.

What is the impact that I am leaving that will live on through others and linger for eons longer than the memory of me itself?

Today has been pretty awesome.  One of those days in which I start to drift in thought and find myself being pulled into the gravitational pull of yesterday’s blog.  Just a hunch, but I’m thinking it’s going to stick with me for quite some time…  and for that, I’m thankful!