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 1,872 – 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 1,870 – 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 1,861 – Thankful for a New Trail to an Old Lookout

Day 1,861 – Thankful for a New Trail to an Old Lookout

After church and lunch Becky and I headed out for a hike. The weather was perfect and we both felt compelled to get both fresh air and a little exercise. Becky had noticed that there was a new trail opening this past week in Hixon so that was our destination.

The trail itself was certainly brand new. They had just knocked it our not too long ago and the smell of soil was fresh in the air. The path itself was nice and soft as it hadn’t been packed down by many travelers yet. Most of the trails in that area have been traveled many times by us, it was awesome being in an area we were unfamiliar with. Each new twist and turn showed us sights we hadn’t seen before. The autumn colors were fantastic and the rock formations we had not seen prior were very interesting. All in all, it was great taking a new path.

As it worked its way up to the top we re-connected with a trail that leads to a scenic overlook. We’ve been up there before, but it was a long time ago. The views of La Crosse may be amongst the best from anywhere in the city. We were able to see the power plant in Genoa a little less than 20 miles away. All along the valley we saw the various colors of leaves in the trees. Throw in the perfectly picturesque clouds and it was nothing short of beautiful.

Ahh… time in nature. There’s not much else in life I’d rather be doing, especially with my family and friends.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,860 – Thankful for a Moment at the Beach I’ll Never Forget

With the sound of Lake Michigan waves upon the sandy shores over the past few days an old memory was stirred to the surface of memory. The reminder of that day, and another like it, have brought an added level of calm to my life.

Way back in my senior year of college I took a spring break road trip to a quiet beach town in Mexico. This wasn’t the party all day and night experience at crazy college bars that you may be envisioning. The setting was much more chill and relaxed, I think we only went to a single bar for a very short period of time. While the road trip and time with those friends were my favorite parts of spring break there was a single moment in which a deep state of inner calm was found and has been tapped back into often.

Not from that night, but a very similar evening many years later.

One of the nights my friends were all chilling out in the beach house. I felt compelled to sit out on the beach. In the moonlight and under the stars I sat on the beach, looked up to the stars, and became hypnotized by the rhythm of the ocean waves. There was no nervousness, fear for the future, stress about the next chapter of life, or anything like that. I had no past, I had no future, I was completely immersed in the present.

When I put that memory into focus I can almost swear that I am back in that moment. I can see the stars overhead, the wisps of clouds, the glittering moonlight on the waves. The repeating sound of waves landing on shore, the slight ocean breeze blowing across the beach, and the silence of the rest of the world all echo in my ears. I can feel the sand under the palms of my hands as I lean back with my legs outstretched as I sense cool air blowing across my legs, face, and hair. The scent of the ocean air hangs around me. Even my lips have the faint taste of salt upon them. I remember the waves, I remember that moment, and my soul is stilled and I am there again.

Over the past few days that memory has re-surfaced and I am so thankful for it. In a calm waters, stormy seas, and everything else in between this moment is a refuge of serenity. Breathe in, picture that moment, breathe out, and I am there.

Thanks!!!