Day 1,879 – Thankful for a Glimpse of the Other Side of the Gap

Pause. Breathe. Relax. Zoom out. Prioritize. Focus. One step. Another step. Breathe in. Action. Breathe out. Action. Repeat. Intentionally present. Enter flow.

What a powerful tool the mind is. Used intentionally the focus is unstoppable. Pause, focus, enter a state of flow. This can be done at literally anytime. Yet I do it far more rarely than I should.

When left reacting to emotion each wave becomes like another would be rescued hoping to save a drowning person by jumping in with them only to be drug down to the depths while adding another victim to the situation. Emotional response to emotional response only compounds and exacerbates the challenge.

Pause to focus, to breathe, and to grasp what can be controlled. Set emotion aside for its proper time and take logical and intentional action to solve the scenario first. Enter a state of flow through focused effort and complete the goal.

Today I was the calm in the center of the storm. I paused. I breathed. I focused. I took logical and intentional action. Emotions were set aside, my presence was targeted at the right task with no distraction. I was in a state of flow until the task was completed.

I realized that I have the opportunity to do this at anytime. I need only choose it. So easy to say and see, so difficult to do. Practice, practice, and more practice.

Today I saw a glimpse of the other side of the gap. The beauty on the other side so close at hand and so difficult to attain. The memory of today will steel my will to practice to work towards it more.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,878 – Thankful for Opportunities to Exercise My Stoic Practice

It is one thing to read, study, and visualize doing something. It is wholly another to actually do that same thing. While training is all well and good it is easy to think I know how I will respond. Today I had an opportunity to reality test how much my practice has helped.

When something unexpected happens I have a choice to make. All that practice paid off as the muscle memory went right into action and I responded in the way I wanted rather than reacting as I would have. In this scenario it made all the difference.

I was offered an opportunity to exercise my stoic practice today. In some ways I found success and in other ways I found opportunities for improvement. Pausing to think was great, not foreseeing and thinking through the possibility of the change was not so great. The opportunity to learn through real life exercise was priceless and will continue to help me grow and close the gap.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,876 – Thankful for Dominic’s Courage to Do Anything

Dominic is starting to work on his Eagle Scout project. The potential project includes creating a dog park in our neighborhood. The first step before he can even put his proposal together is to ask all the nearby home owners if they would be okay with that.

No worries, Dominic just put on his Scout uniform, grabbed his notepad, and started knocking on doors. How wild is that? Even better, he doesn’t know who more than half the people are! Dominic is basically going out and doing cold calls voluntarily in support of a good cause.

That simple action makes me so proud. It’s be so easy to take the easy way out and find a different project, use a over, or some other form of communication. Nope, he’s grabbing the bull by the horns and has received some tremendous feedback already.

One more reason I’m proud of Dominic, he understands that some of the best things in life lay well beyond the point of discomfort. Never give in to fear when courage is the right answer.

Super proud of you dude! Love you bud!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,873 – Thankful for Walking Meditation and Stillness in the Woods

Rather than boarding a flight to an ocean beach I was wandering the woods in the snow. Quite the contrast, right? I was exactly where I should be.

Becky and I spent most of our morning at Pike’s Peak outside of MacGregor, Iowa. Due to the cold weather and snowfall we were amongst the few in the entire park. Once we were more than 100 yards from the observation area we never saw another soul.

I drew in breaths of fresh autumn air through my nose and concentrated on soaking in each exquisite little detail of the sights and sensations around me. The bright red leaves and even more scarlet berries of one type of plant. The drops of water resting on the waxy underside of oak leaves. Each little “brick” in the elaborate lattice work of the limestone rock outcroppings. The sensation of the cool winter-ish breeze and snow rushing against my face and tickling the hairs of my beard. The lighting of the woods shifting and transforming as the sun danced amongst the clouds. The music of Becky’s voice as we shared our joys of the wilderness. Each step. Each breath. Each individual second. Pure magic, pure joy.

Our morning was spent in a walking meditation in the stillness of the woods. Exactly where I was called to be in those moments.

If this were my last day I would go peacefully, full of joy, fully satisfied, and with a heart full of love. Today I have lived.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,872 – Thankful for Inspiration from the Insight of Incredible Teammates and Re-Reading an All Time Favorite

I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many incredible teammates. Not a day goes by in which I’m not thankful for the plethora of strengths they gift to our teams. Their hard work, high energy, and proactive action within our values is impressive. The momentum they’re building is a force to be reckoned with.

Today a few of us paused reality for a handful of hours. Select the office, went to a quiet place, and spent time discussing the future. We shared ideas for potential challenges and their corresponding opportunities. My teammates sharing fantastic insight into how we can continue to grow through the next year – both in business and as a team. The ideas they shared were awesome and the way they worked together to help position the team in a place to really utilize their unique talents was impressive. My mind has been racing with possibilities since we started our conversation.

My incredible teammates inspired me to dream even bigger dreams for next year. Their passion, energy, and awesomeness will no doubt propel us to a wildly successful future.

After spending a lot of quiet time processing so much of our conversation I fire up an audiobook for the rest of my drive home. It’s been a little while since I fired up one of my all time favorite and most impactful books so I figured it was a perfect time to load it up. For the however many-eth time The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is reminding me of the importance of my perceptions, my actions, and my will. For reals, this is one of the most insightful and useful books you will ever read.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,870 – Thankful for Taking a Moment to Focus and Another Proud Dad Moment

Today was a day full of action and activity. Progress was made on many projects, there was a lot of forward motion, and even the things that didn’t work out actually kind of worked out. Everything seemed to go in the right direction, even if it was initially off a little.

There was one specific moment in the morning when I realized my head was spinning. It was difficult to keep a single thought in mind for a second, let alone through completion. I realized the spinning and stopped.

I put on my headphones. I moved away from my computer. I turned on a specific song and then set my phone down on the other side of my office. I sat in my chair and got into a comfortable position. I put my hands behind my head. I closed my eyes. I focused on my breath. I focused on each lyric of the song. I paused my brain and put myself 100% into the moment.

When the song finished I took in one last deep and focused breath. I held it for a moment, and then exhaled. I opened my eyes and smiled.

My world was at peace and I was able to focus on one task after another. Three minutes and forty five seconds which made all the difference today.

At Dominic’s soccer banquet tonight he received an All Conference award for Sportsmanship:

I am so proud of him! His coach recognized and nominated him for this award for the way he plays, owns his mistakes, celebrates others, shows kindness to opponents, and for his attitude. All comments that make me one heck of a proud parent. Congrats dude!!!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,865 – Thankful for Being Rewarded for Rolling With It and Taking My Advice

Yesterday was a day focused on nonstop Zoom calls. I’m still amazed that I didn’t have teleconferencing nightmares last night!

Today was lined up very differently with a focus on a couple of face to face meetings in different markets. Out the door and on my way to Eau Claire before 5:30am, it was an early start. At the office my email pinged and I received a notification that the meeting I had left early for would be much more heavily attended via Zoom. I smiled to myself, rolled with it, and jumped on via Zoom instead. A little after 9:30 I received a text from my afternoon appointment. Due to the COVID news from OSHA he asked to re-schedule. I completely understood and we are meeting next week instead. No worries, that’s life sometimes.

In the span of a few hours my day had been completely changed. Rather than getting hung up on how it was supposed to have gone I went with the tide. I think of it kind of like my minimalist running shoes. When my foot strike lands directly on a rock I don’t tense up, that would hurt big time. Instead I let my foot continue its course but I relax and let me foot wrap itself around the rock. This simple move removes any pain and discomfort and allows me to keep my stride. Today I followed that lead and wrapped myself around the day rather than try to force my will upon the day.

I also caught myself getting frustrated with a very different challenge while I was driving up this morning. Fortunately my brain knew what I needed and out of nowhere a thought appeared… “how can I be grateful for this?” This is one of the two questions I focus on often in my book. I chuckled to myself and then flipped my mindset. Within minutes I was scripting out ideas for my next book! I got so pumped up that I had to pull over to jot down notes to myself to make sure they were saved. It was awesome and one of the most rewarding productive bursts I’ve had in a long time.

So what were the results of rolling with it and taking my own advice? One of the most wildly productive days I’ve had! The results spoke for themselves as I made significant progress towards a handful of goals. The day left me with a strong sense of accomplishment on a few different levels towards my purpose.

Life doesn’t always follow the trajectory I want it to. If I remember to roll with what happens, go with it rather than against it, and listen to my own advice from past experience I can easily adapt and thrive. Days like this are neither good nor bad, they are an opportunity for me to live into my best self. Today I was successful.

Thanks!

Day 1,856 – Thankful for a Stunning Sunrise and a Serendipitous Shelf Shuffle

Day 1,856 – Thankful for a Stunning Sunrise and a Serendipitous Shelf Shuffle

The drive up the Mississippi River Valley was so stunning I felt compelled to pull over and grab a picture. The steam was again rising from the river into the cool air while the sky was positively pink and purple in one direction and blue and orange in the other.

When a day starts like this there is no doubt it will be a great one should I choose to carry the stillness of that moment into my day.

Later in the afternoon I was looking for a book on my shelf. In the process of looking I moved a couple of books around. For some reason my eyes were drawn to the back of How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins. Most books have a summary on the back, but this one had a quote instead:

Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.

Jim Collins

Sometimes the world is trying to help us hear the message we really need at a specific time. Other times it goes so far as to tie it to another message – in this case the irony of the title in the context of a recent challenge. Regardless, I am very thankful for the serendipitous shuffling of books on my shelf today!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,854 – Thankful for a Filling in the Gap and Gavin’s Cheering Section

Day 1,854 – Thankful for a Filling in the Gap and Gavin’s Cheering Section

My first reaction to seeing the schedule for Gavin’s soccer games in Eau Claire today was a very loud sigh. An 8am game in Eau Claire meant waking up at 5am to get there on time. The 2:40pm game meant a 5 hour gap in between games when we’re 90 minutes from home. That seemed like the worst possible schedule to me. An entire Sunday of soccer, well over 12 hours away from home. Then I took a deep breath and remembered to appreciate the time rather than wish it away.

Becky had a perfect idea to fit in between our games. We drove a half hour west towards Menomonie and did some hiking. The trails were stunningly beautiful with so many colorful leaves drifting slowly to the earth. The sun caught each in just the right light and it made for a stunningly unreal sight:

Afterwards she had the idea for pizza at the Lucette Brewery, the place we ate for Kala & Dylan’s wedding reception a little while back. The wood fired pizza was THE BEST pizza I’ve ever had – dee-lish!!!

We headed back to Eau Claire, ran a couple of errands and then headed back to the field. Rather than being a terrible schedule it became an opportunity to spend more time with my family enjoying the types of things we enjoy doing. It was the perfect way for us to fill the gap in the schedule and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.

At the second game Gavin had his own cheering section! Becky’s parents and the Hause family all showed up to support Gavin and his team. It was obviously a success as Gavin’s team won the match 3-1. Pretty awesome to have an extra cheering section 🙂

Thanks!!!

Day 1,852 – Thankful for Seeing the World Through a Different Set of Lenses

One of my favorite songs, Lucky by Seven Mary Three, has set my brain wandering. The line has been my foundation today.

“Son, time is all the luck you need.”

Jason Ross, Seven Mary Three

Today I’ve been lucky, another day around the world. Another opportunity to live. The fortune to grow further into myself. The chance to practice gratitude for all the splendors of life.

Why this has hit home so hard today is rather interesting. So much of my life I do out of habit, good or bad, for better or worse. When I operate on auto pilot the blinders are put on.

On days like this my mind focuses on seeing clearly and through a different set of lenses. Two questions really put those new glasses on for me.

What if…?

Why?

Today both of those two questions came up for various reasons several times. They helped me see potential paths to a better future, one in which I live into my truest self. The questions led me to some slightly unexpected answers, answers which both clarified and muddied at the same time. No decisions made today, only opportunities created. Time for winnowing will arrive soon, but not yet. More opportunities are to be created before they are to be sifted through.

Quite honestly, these two questions have made my life more complex and yet somehow more simple. The beauty lie in distilling the complicated into the pure essence. While I’d love to boil it all down quickly the aging process is where the magic happens. In so many ways the aging in of itself is the true magic….

So many new thoughts, so many new possibilities, all from asking two questions, all from looking at the world through a different set of lenses.

Today I have been lucky. Lucky to have the opportunity to grow, collect, process, and age. I was given the gift of time.

BTW – I’d be remiss to not mention how much I appreciate our family viewing of Free Guy this evening. The metaphor of lenses comes directly from it as does some of the perspectives drawn today. Fantastic movie with many wonderfully well timed themes for my life.

Thanks!!!