Day 1,883 – Thankful for Remembering to Listen

Two wonderful reasons to remember to listen today, both for very different reasons.

The first was remembering to listen rather than react. My mind quickly races to an answer, long before a question is asked. If I react too quickly I miss hearing the correct question and answer incorrectly. Pause, listen, think, and then respond if necessary. Too often I’ve responded when response was needed. Today reminded me of the power of listening completely and then responding in due time. Remember to listen rather than react.

The second was remembering to listen closely and attentively in the stillness. The voice can be heard anytime, but I must find stillness to hear it. Create space, eliminate noise, and listen with more than my ears. In that space if I listen closely with my soul I will hear the call. Remember to listen closely in the stillness.

Two simple lessons, both profound. Remember to listen, the reward is so much greater than talking and responding.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,883 – Thankful for Remembering to Listen

Two wonderful reasons to remember to listen today, both for very different reasons.

The first was remembering to listen rather than react. My mind quickly races to an answer, long before a question is asked. If I react too quickly I miss hearing the correct question and answer incorrectly. Pause, listen, think, and then respond if necessary. Too often I’ve responded when response was needed. Today reminded me of the power of listening completely and then responding in due time. Remember to listen rather than react.

The second was remembering to listen closely and attentively in the stillness. The voice can be heard anytime, but I must find stillness to hear it. Create space, eliminate noise, and listen with more than my ears. In that space if I listen closely with my soul I will hear the call. Remember to listen closely in the stillness.

Two simple lessons, both profound. Remember to listen, the reward is so much greater than talking and responding.

Thanks!!!

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 1,871 – Thankful for the Abundance of Opportunity Which Surrounds Us All, Waiting for Us to Know to Seek It

I often pause in amazement of the universe’s ability to provide seemingly exactly what is needed at exactly the right time. What I realized today is that it was less of the universe creating a specific opportunity as it is my eyes being opened to the possibility.

This morning I spent time with some teammates walking through the goal setting framework I created for myself for 2021. As I shared with them, I wanted to impose my will upon 2021 rather than vice versa. 2020 was a wonderful year for testing and growing resilience and adaptability, but it was largely reactive. My goal in 2021 was to live the year proactively while still exercising adaptability and resilience as the year threw challenges and blessings at me which were out of my control.

My goal was to live more intentionally, to focus on specific goals and dreams, to remember past lessons, to stop behaviors and habits which got in the way, and to create new thought processes and responses. I took time to focus on what I wanted to get out of 2021 to make progress towards or to reach some of my dreams. If I took time to focus my energy and mindset in the right directions I would have a better opportunity to accomplish what I wanted. If I did the same as usual I would have the best of intentions but would drift with the tides of life rather than propel myself towards specific dreams.

When putting the presentation together for my teammates over the past couple of weeks I had time to reflect on the first three quarters of the year. What an incredible nine months it has been! It has been far from perfect, yet it was lived so much closer to the year I’d imagined than I ever would have thought possible. Much progress was made towards each of my three key goals. Behavior was shifted towards the better. So many lessons learned through both failure and success. More living of values, more opportunities to understand why each value is important. Working towards dreams while also seeing both where I need to continue growing and where I need to move on to the next dreams.

As I started tonight’s blog with, my initial thought was intense gratitude for all of the amazing opportunities and chance meetings the universe offered up. A perfectly timed email from an author friend which led to the progress my book. The podcast I listened to at exactly the right time to help me start the year with intention. The reading of a short quote which opened my eyes to different thought processes on mortality, impermanence, and presence. A passing thought coupled with a short term business goal transforming into a speaking opportunity. Treasure troves of serendipity surrounding me throughout the past year… right?

And then I started to realize how shallow my view was. The universe didn’t just suddenly manifest these opportunities. They have always been there! What changed was me. I started to watch for opportunities and I saw them. They’ve all been all around me, surrounding me, screaming at me for attention, and I was too aloof to pay attention. Once my eyes were opened I could finally see what has been surrounding me this entire time.

The universe, The Big Dude Upstairs, God, or whatever name you want to call it, doesn’t just create opportunities for us at the moment we feel is the right time. They’ve created those opportunities in extreme abundance and have seeded our lives with them. The trick is that we must open our eyes, our minds, and our souls enough to see them.

Of all of the lessons I have learned this year, this one will remain as one to remember for life. Opportunity is there. The exact thing I need is already waiting for me. It is up to me to keep my soul open to finding it, and my eyes will not be opened until I understand and focus on what I am truly looking for.

Today I am thankful for the abundance of opportunity surrounding us each and every single day – all of it just waiting for us to realize we are looking for it.

A frozen waterfall in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in January of 2021

Thanks!!!

Day 1,864 – Thankful for a Gratitude Inversion on an Eight Zooms Day

Today was an inversion day for me. Often the gratitude I share is direct and straightforward. _________ happened and I’m am thankful for it. Fairly easy formula, right? Today I paused and thought about it from a different perspective and took some of my own advice from my upcoming book (making serious headway – only a little bit to go before I share more on that one 😉) and following that lesson made all the difference.

Pretty sure this was how I looked by the end 😉

My workday included a total of EIGHT Zoom meetings. Yup, eight of them. Almost six hours of video conferencing. By the end my brain was wore out and I couldn’t bear to look at a screen. By the end I was asking myself why on Earth I would schedule a day like that.

That’s when it hit me. I paused and asked myself, “How can I be thankful for this?”

The answer was obvious. Today, through the power of Zoom and videoconferencing, I was able to be in four different cities in one day with no drive time. Rather than scheduling a handful of days utilizing more time due to driving I was able to get everything done in one day. That’s truly amazing! Thanks to this technology I was able to find a way to create more usable time.

The results of all of the conversations were profoundly inspiring and motivating on many different levels. I was able to live closer into my purpose as a result of each conversation. Had I met only in person I would not have had the same sense of completion nor the opportunity to see how many different conversations molded together. My day was better as a result of having all those conversations in one day.

What’s interesting is that my day tomorrow will be a polar opposite. I have two important meetings, both in person, and I will travel a total of three and a half hours for the two hours of conversation. For both the opportunity to meet in person will make all the difference.

Days like today remind me to pause in the middle of frustration to actively seek out a reason to be thankful. The eight Zooms today led to remarkable progress – much more positive than a minor case of Zoom exhaustion.

Thanks!!!