As I walked into the office this morning the scent of fresh blooming lilacs stopped me dead in my tracks. I paused, took a step backwards, and then drew in a nice long breath through my nose. What a wonderful smell!
Later in the day I walked past them again and went through the same routine. On the way back in I did it again and then a lightbulb went off in my head. Taking a lesson from my friend Jenn I grabbed a pair of scissors and made a small bouquet to put in my office. Within no time my office had that wonderful smell of spring permeating through it. I could feel my shoulders relax as the scent filled my nose.
Sometimes The Big Dude Upstairs leaves all the help we need all around us, right? Today I was driving to work, listening to an audiobook (We Carry Kevan: Six Friends. Three Countries. No Wheelchair.) when out of nowhere a memory of a very useful piece of advice. As I thought through the memory a smile crossed my face as it was exactly what I needed to hear and ponder at that time.
Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford is the stuff of legends. There are so many wonderful nuggets of life advice that are easy to remember and apply to my own life. One of them in particular really hit home today. I listened, took action, and was full of joy. It doesn’t get much better than that!
It was nine years ago today when Becky and I made the decision to buy a boat, a very well used pontoon. While we weren’t sure if we should spend that much money on something for fun like that we kept going back to how it was something that we’d both always wanted so we saved up and pulled the trigger.
Over the past nine years we’ve made so many wonderful memories on it, I can’t imagine our life without it. In springtime we’re excited to get it out of storage and onto the water. During the summer we’re regularly looking for windows of time to take it out. In the late fall we are always a little sad about having to put it away but are also thankful for all of the fun we had with it.
Back in the the day we bought it we felt like we were splurging on ourselves. Today I look back at what an incredibly rewarding investment it has become. The amount of family time and memories it has helped to make are absolutely priceless!
A little while ago I sat down to start writing my blog when I heard the boys holler for me to join them in the basement. I wasn’t sure what they had in mind, but Becky’s mom-senses were tingling and she warned me that they might be setting up a Nerf gun ambush. As is typically the case, she was 100% right.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs there was a line of automatic fire of approximately a dozen Nerf darts flying right past my face. Within a second there was loud giggling, the sound of a clip being changed quickly, and another barrage of darts flew right at me. What I wasn’t quite ready for was the approximately 12 pre-loaded clips of 10-12 rubber tipped bullets they had ready for me. While I can’t get into the full details let’s just say there was an epic, albeit short lived, Nerf gun battle that rocked our house. By the time the dust settled there was a pile of Nerf bullets, remnants of quickly assembled weapons including brooms and dustpans, and a whole lot of laughter. Nothing quite like an impromptu Nerf battle to keep us enjoying time together!
What I had initially started to blog about was a concept that Becky’s PhD advisor, Martin, shared over dinner this evening. In talking about work, people, and communication styles he mentioned the Disney process of going from concept to reality. It was pretty wild, as he shared the process I was able to quickly recollect several specific moments and projects that either failed or worked in accordance with that model. The more Martin shared about the process the more the gears in my brain got turning about how to use this mindset in the work environment. After dinner I pulled up an article about this process and was amazed at it’s simplicity and possibilities. If you’d like the short version of what Martin shared this website covers it in about a 3-4 page document: https://www.designorate.com/disneys-creative-strategy/ Ever since dinner my mind has been racing on this strategy in how to use and share it with my teams. How awesome to have dinner conversation that has the ability to have such a positive impact on several aspects of life!
Every summer Nick and I would spend a couple of weeks in the Milwaukee area with family. One week was with my mom’s side of our family and the other was with aunts and uncles from Dad’s side. This was always one of the highlights of our summer (& as an adult I now realize it was probably the same for my parents!). During those two weeks we would usually see an average of two Brewers games with various aunts and uncles.
It’s funny, but even 30+ years later I still remember thinking Uncle Frank personally knew Ben Oglivie by the way he hollered to him while asking for a ball for Nick and I. I remember being shocked to be able to go out on the field to have my picture taken with real life Brewers like BJ Surhoff and Billy Spires at a game with Aunt Nadia and Uncle Mike. And how could Nick and I ever forget the late night rain delayed game with Uncle Buster and Uncle Kevin??? Amongst all of those I also have so many wonderful memories of games with so many other sets of aunts and uncles as well. Each of those memories put a smile of my face when I think of them.
I am so thankful for all those memories and moments that were created by our relatives at the games. It’s kind of funny when I look back at those games… I can’t remember if the. Resets ever won or lost, but I can still remember things like the smile on Uncle Kevin’s face when he told me I should eat the jalapeños on my nachos so I would grow hair on my chest! Thank you to all of my aunts and uncles who ever took me to a game, I appreciate all the memories you created and the time you spent with me.
This morning was the perfect opportunity to take our pontoon trailer back to Brownsville to put it back into storage. Seeing as Gavin was already up and at ’em I asked if he’d like to join me on the ride. He grabbed a book and saddled up with me as we headed out.
Just before we got to Al’s Storage Gavin asked if I would play “Hung My Head” by Johnny Cash. Thankfully I had it downloaded already so we decided to fire it up as we left Brownsville.
We also decided to take the scenic route home, a beautiful drive through, over, and down the coulees into Hokah. Along the way we even hit a couple of dead ends to enjoy the view.
I am so thankful for the time Gavin and I had chilling today. The combo of Cash, the coulees, and time with my buddy was a perfect start to the day.
LOL – how’s that for a jumble this evening? To be honest I kept going back and forth on shortening it down a bit, but who am I kidding? There are just some days that require several different topics to accurately capture the day. Today is one of them.
Yoga early in the morning takes a little while to feel right, but after I get loosened up and focused in the first fifteen minutes I can totally get into the yoga goodness. Starting off the morning with that sense of calm and a great workout is magic. Throw in a cup of coffee and I felt like a million bucks before I even got to work.
After getting to work my day kept getting better and better. Over the past week all of my teams have really stepped it up. They’ve done an incredible job of living our values while busting their butts to help many people find new work. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on all that they’ve done over the past week has left me filled with joy, pride, and excitement. They’re making great things happen and I can’t wait to get back to work with them all next week!
With the plans we have for the weekend Becky and I opted to head out to the grocery store tonight instead of later in the weekend. It brought back memories to when the boys were much younger and Becky and I would have our “date nights” that consisted of taking the boys to Festival Foods, dropping them off in the in-store daycare, and enjoying 45 minutes of quiet while shopping. It was one of the only short periods of time in the week when we knew we’d have some time to the two of us. Fast forward to today and we re-lived those memories by leaving the boys at home while we shopped together. I know it sounds crazy, but I really enjoyed shopping with Becky tonight!
Time to chill on the couch and wrap up the night relaxing with the family!
Just a couple of nights ago my brother and I were talking about my niece playing her last home soccer game while she’s in high school. It threw us both for a loop thinking that she’s about to graduate. Nothing like a big change to help us see the movement of time from one stage of life to the next.
Tonight we had a couple of lasts, but the fun part is in remembering that they are both leading to a couple of firsts as well. Dominic had his last middle school sporting event (and did very well, breaking his season long goal of a sub 6:00 mile). Gavin had his last band concert of elementary school. They are both in their last couple of weeks of middle and elementary school.
It’s one of those “holy crap, where did the time go” moments for Becky and I as we see just quickly the past few years have flown by. Just as we pause and think about how much they’ve both grown we are quick to look forward to the next new beginnings for both of them this next school year. It’s wild to think that next year we won’t have an elementary school student, but we will have a high schooler… Crazy!
Today I’m thankful for these couple of “lasts” that helped me release just how fast life flies by and I’m just as thankful for the future “firsts” that will begin soon. All that said, it felt incredible to just get lost in the present and enjoy time with them both today.
It’s been a pretty wild 36 hours for me with a ton of learning and thought time. Normally this is about the time when I’d say my brain was full, but all of it was too good I’ve been lost in my thoughts in a very positive way!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to bond with and learn from some of my Express mentors. Not only did we talk business, share ideas from past experiences, and help set future paths but we spent time just being with each other and bonding. Time away from the office is tough to pull off, but well worth it. I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend time with all of them and my peers.
Today in our Menomonie office we were joined by our Regional Developer, Joy Goberville. I’d invited her up to our office to spend some time helping me out with some coaching and she was happy to help out.
As per usual she can in and gave me what I lovingly call the “Goberville Goodie Bag.” Every time she comes to visit she brings a bag of yummy snack age and health stuff to brighten our smiles. Her presence alone is all I’m looking for, but her thoughtful treats are certainly appreciated also!
The purpose of her visit today was to help “coach the coach” as I wanted her feedback on what I could be doing better as a leader for my teams. She sat with me all day long as we had our 1 on 1 coaching sessions and team meetings and spent time downloading with me afterwards. Her advice was spot on, honest, and simple to apply. By the end of the day I was already feeling like there were a handful of things I had already started to implement to help my teams. I am so thankful for that coaching in the moment, it has already made a difference!
Thank you to everyone who helped to coach and mentor me over the past couple of days, I appreciate your help greatly!!!
It’s been a fantastic day in so many ways today, so many things for which I am grateful. Throughout the day my thoughts and imagination often wandered back to something I saw very early in the morning. Quite honestly, I don’t think I really have to write much more than this and let the pictures speak for themselves (& no, they have not been edited in any way).
God, Dude, you really outdid yourself today, that was some strong work! Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty this morning.