Day 1,981 – Thankful for a Subtle Shift Making All the Difference & Realizing Becky Was Right Yet Again

Rather than jumping right back into work after our conference I opted to take the day off. Full disclosure, Gavin has already given me a little bit of a hard time as I was working when he got home from school. It wasn’t a complete day off from work, but it was exactly what I needed.

Several years ago I wrote about appreciating Becky’s advice to cut a vacation a day short to have a one day cushion in between vacation and real life. I was originally not in favor of this approach but I quickly realized how right she was after trying it the first time. Have a day to bounce back really helps me get back into the right headspace before going back to work.

This time I was flying back from a wildly successful and profoundly thought provoking training trip for work. My mind was going a million miles per hour throughout the entire event and into this morning until I paused for yoga. Yoga was pretty much the reset button I needed to start snapping back into real life mode. After the excellent workout I jumped into productive mode and knocked out the larger than expected list of things I wanted to get done. Much of this was non-work related stuff I’d put off for a while. Throughout the morning I was able to get my laundry done, write out a few checks, figure out a plan for an upcoming soccer tournament, pull some tax information together, get supper prepped, complete my Advance Health Directive (which I’d been meaning to do for almost five years), clean up everything I need to have ready for work, and schedule an excursion for our Iceland trip. By the time Becky got home and was ready to take the girls for a walk I’d also had enough time to quickly sift through some email, prep information for tomorrow, and finish a couple of work related tasks. It was quite the productive day!

Had I not followed Becky’s advice I would have rushed back to work today, left everything piled up, and then stressed throughout the week when there wasn’t enough time to complete it all. I would have been a mess all week and by the time the weekend hit I’d have been ready to scream or cry or both. Instead I’m feeling calm, rested, and ready for tomorrow.

Yoga also helped out so much. Nick summed up the entire practice of prepping to go back in a simple instruction while I was flat on my back. We’d just gone through some pretty hard core leg work and I was breathing heavy while heart was pounding as if it were attempting to escape my ribs. Nick told us to tuck our shoulders underneath our backs just a little to open up our airways. I followed his advice and immediately slowed both my breathing and heart rate. One little shift in position made all the difference.

That’s essentially what today was. I made a slight shift, opened up my airways, and that made all the difference.


Day 1,980 – Thankful for Shifting Perspectives

On my flight back home today I was fortunate to have a couple of things work out just right.

First off, I got to the Orlando Airport two hours early this morning which was twenty minutes early thanks to my TSA PreCheck. Had I gone through regular security I would have been about an hour late for my flight due to how ridiculously busy the airport was with travelers – and that was at 5:30am!

On my flight to La Crosse I was on the left side of the jet and in the seat right in front of the start of the wing. My vantage point was perfect for watching the world disappear beneath me until it looked like a tiny scale model.

Thanks to the wind direction we flew west until we were almost to the lock and dam in Genoa. We banked to the right and followed the Mississippi River Valley to the north. This is one of my favorite areas nearby in the Driftless, so many beautiful bluffs mixed with wetlands and the river. As we went north we flew near Brownsville, MN, the town we store our boat at in the winter and where we used to keep our boat on the water. As we flew by I was able to trace my typical route from the main road through the town and to Al’s Small Engine and Whitesitt Storage, the home and business location of the best small engine mechanic in this area. Seeing this place I visit several times each year from up in the air was an incredible shift in my normal perspective. The way the undulating hills roll into the valleys was quite the sight.

Looking back I’m kind of kicking myself for not taking a couple of pictures, but then again I am not because I put all of my being into being present in that moment. I was so focused on soaking it all in while in a deep state of child like curiosity and wonder that stopping to snap a quick pic would have most likely ruined the moment. I was where I was supposed to be in that moment and I styled right in it until the wheels touched down.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to see one of my favorite places from a new perspective, can’t wait to drive it again and see it from the “normal” way again with the added perspective from up above.


Day 1,979 – Thankful for Creating Space in Nature in a City

I am currently sitting outside our hotel and convention center. If I look with my eyes there are people everywhere, buildings, concrete, fake grass, and palm trees with 2×4 board supports. Anything but being outside in nature. The smell of chlorine, food, and cigarette smoke linger in the air. The breeze blows the sounds of people talking, traffic, and rushing water from the water park towards me and into my ears.

I can choose to focus on this if I wish. If I choose nothing specific to put my attention towards they suffocate my senses. They lock me into a place I don’t find peace, the put me into a self selected purgatory of sorts.

I have made the choice to not see it, to not hear it, to not smell it. I am outside, under the sun, and in nature.

I close my eyes and think about my recent walk around the large pond. Though it may technically be a retaining pool it was a treasure trove of the outdoors for me. The only sounds I heard were those of turtles splashing into the water as I walked by, the wings of birds propelling themselves across the lake in search of fish, and the quiet stillness of the breeze. I don’t see the traffic on the nearby interstate, I choose to see all the miracles of nature in the water. So many birds, fish, and turtles. No gators like earlier in the day, but still so much to see.

I am thankful for the reminder today of how being out in nature is a mindset that is ours to choose and seek out, even when surrounded by people and in urban areas. It’s all a matter of intentionally choosing what I want to focus my thoughts and energy on.


Day 1,978 – Thankful for Learning to Condense and Execute

Way back in the day I would head to the Express International Leadership Conference and walk out with pages upon pages of notes and would then attempt to implement all of the good ideas immediately upon arrival… unless, of course, I attempted to implement them before I even got back. All of the possibilities seemed so awesome it was only fitting to execute all of them.

Slowly, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. There will always be more great ideas than there is time to implement all of them.

Just as I drive Gavin nuts by reminding him that restrictions are what make games truly fun I’ve got to drive myself a little bonkers by knowing I can really implement only a small handful of ideas. Like three at max. This means there will be a ton of great ideas I need to set aside until we get the first few up and running.

Today my brain is feeling very full. Over the past 36 hours or so it’s been loaded up with so many best practices, I’ve got at least eight pages of notes. Probably a few more will be added tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will begin to cull the herd to figure out which are the top 2-3 ideas to take action on. I’ll walk through all of them, let them ferment and settle, see which ones are going to make the biggest impact, and then figure out how to get them rolling. I’ll save the long list of other great ideas for another day.

Even that condensed list will then be set aside for one week. The ideas will need a little bit of time to age to perfection.

Sure, I’d love to implement all off the great ideas, but I know I’ll be able to follow through on the small handful successfully more so than a huge pile.


Day 1,977 – Thankful for Motivation, Training, Re-Connecting with Friends, and Rollercoasters… aka a Typical Day at Express International Leadership Conference

I think I’m going to let the title do the majority of the talking tonight. The day was so much fun that I’m totally exhausted and ready to crash for the night.

Long story short, the day had been jammed with great times with long time friends. Each and every step of the way were people I’ve worked with for years, many of whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years. Together we had great training, experienced an awesome motivational speaker, and even rode on rollercoasters.

So many smiles!


Day 1,976 – Thankful for Choosing the Right Mindset, Even When a Flight is Delayed

Attitude is everything and has such incredible power over how we see the world. When I take the time to choose the right mindset the world is a profoundly wonderful place, even when life is a little difficult. When I choose a poor mindset, especially over something minor, the world feels a little colder and I’m left feeling empty.

I’m currently chilling at the Charlotte airport, sitting at a countertop with my phone plugged in. I was supposed to be on my next flight by now, but that’s not how things worked out. Instead I’ve got a couple of hour delay before my last flight of the day.

It would be so easy to be frustrated over the added inconvenience, but that’s not the right choice. The better mindset is to see this as a blessing, some bonus time I’ve been gifted in order to work on a couple of projects. Over the past several hours I’ve both started constructing my presentation for the upcoming CVSHRM conference AND started working on an idea which could end up being my next book. The creative juices are flowing and I’ve now been given extra time to roll with it.

Time to get back at it!


Day 1,975 – Thankful for Driving On Snowy Roads

This may sound crazy, but I’m thankful for snowy roads today. My commute to Eau Claire was a bit longer than usual due to the road conditions. Between snow, ice, & wind the speeds in all directions were significantly slower than usual. This led to a couple of unexpected benefits.

Thanks to the slickness of the roads I knew I’d be in for a long ride. With that mindset I calmed way down, accepted whatever was thrown my way, and I could feel my blood pressure drop. It was so much more relaxing when I knew I was in no hurry. Instead I leaned into the slower pace and totally chilled while driving.

The extra time in the car also helped me make some serious progress on the next book I’ve been reading. With the added calmness I felt as if I were able to retain significantly more than usual which was great! There was also time to pause, reflect, plan, and then get back to the book itself. Bonus reading time!

Sure, it’s not ideal, but if I choose the right mindset there’s even something to be thankful for on snowy roads.


Day 1,974 – Thankful for Consistency, Collaboration, Calm, & Kindness

It’s been a great day, so many moments of joy, so much to be grateful for!

The morning started off as almost all Monday mornings do, an early morning run with Becky. Sure, I’d love to just roll back over and go back to sleep, but I’d miss the bonus “date time” we have with each other. The craziness of the week begins with consistency.

Seeing people collaborating to help each other grow makes me smile big. For so much of my life I’ve let my ego get in the way and try to stay in control. How dumb. How shortsighted. Helping people collaborate with others and then stepping back to let them work together within their strengths create so many more moments of joy for all. Today I got to see that on multiple occasions and each time I smiled.

Yoga. Ahh… yoga. Even on the best of work days there is a calm which yoga so readily provides. The focus on presence, the complete stillness, the peace, & the calm. Perfect!

At the end of yoga someone nearby asked if they could put my block away. Having someone offer a moment of kindness like that was perfect. It reminded me of how I should be more like that more often. It reminded me that an action like that creates two smiles – one for the giver and one for the receiver – and it takes both to make the moment joyful.

Consistency, collaboration, calm, & kindness… what a beautiful day!


Day 1,973 – Thankful for Hiking Previously Undiscovered Trails on an Unseasonably Warm Day

On any given Sunday we can usually be found hiking in one of our four or five favorite state parks or hiking areas. Even though there are so many trails to choose from we seem to have hiked them all several times. As luck would have it, we’ve obviously missed a trail or two along the way!

Today the parking lot for our normal hike in Twin Bluffs State Park was full so we figured we’d drive to the end of the road and take a different route. At the end of the road our jaws kind of dropped a bit as we realized that there were more trails back here than we knew, and most of them had some spectacular views of the Mississippi River Valley much of the way.

We spent the next couple of hours making our way through trails we’d never been on before and enjoyed some epic driftless area scenery we hadn’t seen before. It was like we had found a whole new park to hike in – and we didn’t even get through all of it! Now we’ve got a good 10+ miles of future hiking and running trails to enjoy only 10 minutes or so from our house. Not too shabby!

Throw in some sun and extra warm weather and we had an awesome time hiking as a family – minus one Dominic who was attending a Scout function. Gotta love getting these hikes in when it is almost 50 in the winter, they remind me that Spring is just around the corner!


Day 1,972 – Thankful for Dominic’s State Snowboarding Competition, Sun in the Cold Weather, and Bonus Couch Time

Dominic competed in the Wisconsin high school state tournament today in La Crosse and did a very good job. It’s always fun watching him compete, being able to see him in an event like this with three different events was pretty awesome. The improvement he made year over year was obvious, he was pretty happy with his growth. Most importantly, Dominic was smiling the entire time.

The temperature was a bit on the chilly side, but the sun was out the entire time… and it felt amazing! Funny how clear blue skies and sunshine can warm me up in almost any weather. Sure, tomorrow’s temperature should be absolutely gorgeous for this time of year, but it actually felt pretty dang good to get some sun today. Had we not had Dominic’s competition I might have stayed inside much of the day, I’m glad I had a reason to get outside today.

Now that we’re all wore out and chilled (pun totally intended) we’re just chilling on the couches. We busted out Dominic’s videos from today and Becky just fired up some popcorn. No screens are on other than my laptop right now, though we’ll most likely fire up a movie to all slowly drift off to sleep watching. Who knows, maybe we’ll end just talking until we all crash. Either way it’s pretty sweet wrapping up a busy and full day on the couches as a family, shooting the bull, catching up, and enjoying each other’s company. Bonus family time, always one of my favorites.