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Mom gets a Day, but gave us a Lifetime

I have the best Mom in the world.

Correction: my Mom is the most dedicated, hardest-working, & most thoughtful person in the entire universe. My SuperMom worked full-time AND did the full-time Mom thing on level 9000 – keeping the house clean (like spotless clean, I would eat dinner off of the bathroom floor if she served it there), always had healthy snacks & fun activities lined up after school, and dinner was always home-cooked & healthy. Thank you for making me eat healthy, not letting me drink pop, and teaching me to love to exercise!

There’s also a big reason that I place such great value on waking up early & it all goes back to my Mom. Throughout our childhood she sacrificed for us by waking up in the wee hours of the morning- most times around 3am – so that we didn’t have to spend as much time at the babysitters & so that she could be home with us after school.

And speaking of school – thank you for making me love to learn! There was never a shortage of books to read, activity books to do, puzzles, logic games, coloring, the list goes on – thanks for filling my big head with curiosity & a love for knowledge!

My childhood was everything that one could hope it to be because of you, Mama. With everything from making homemade play dough & clay, helping you bake cookies & cake, painting rocks, playing with our Batmen toys in the tub, building Legos, and all of the picnics and walks through Tawawa Park – there truly are too many great memories to pen them all down; bottom line is that I love you for all of it!

A lot of times it goes unnoticed – we definitely don’t say “thank you” or “I love you so much” enough because you are always so on-top of things that we just don’t know any different than to be spoiled!

So all I can say is – I love you Mom, thanks for being the best; thanks for teaching me, nurturing me & helping me find Happiness 🙂

Adam & Danny
My brother Adam (5) on the left, I’m on the right (8) & rocking the bull cut.

 

 

 

#momskills #mothersday #writing #life #inspiration #thankyou #grateful #love

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10 Tips for Achieving Flow & Happiness

Have you ever felt fully immersed in what you’re doing; like you’re in the zone & at the top of your game? This is a psychological theory called Flow. When you first experience Flow, it feels like a fleeting thing – crushed by distractions or let-downs, something that comes in cycles (maybe I should check my horoscope?), but you know that you can attain it somehow!

Here are a few of the things I have found to help me to feel in the state of Flow & to attain Happiness @ work & in life.

  1. Take Responsibility for your Actions – Whether you win or lose, take credit. People respect someone who can take the fall for mistakes made, and know that person is someone who is geared for success – they want to win & want you to win with them.
  2. Accept Failures – This is not to say failure is good, but it happens in sales & in life! Sometimes the best thing is to realize that there are a thousand others out there that would appreciate your time, talents & service. And failure today is not to say tomorrow won’t yield success.
  3. Find Solutions – Send an email, send some real mail, send a sample, set a follow-up date – this is an easy way to sidestep an objection & find a way through to get yourself closer to your goal of talking with a decision-maker.
  4. Listen first & always – This goes back to the old saying that the customer is always right. The easiest way to find solutions is to ask questions to uncover the true needs of your clients. Sure there are scripted questions you could follow, but keeping things organic is very important! YOU are using a script, but the customer is waiting to talk with a real person, with original thoughts. Which leads into..
  5. React to what you’ve heard someone tell you, don’t push a thought you had 2 minutes ago & don’t interrupt to inject your thoughts!
  6. Learn as much as possible, as often as possible – From the customer, from their website, social media, industry publications, LinkedIn Learning Courses – however you can better yourself, DO IT!
  7. Fear Nothing – Everybody that you talk with is a real person with a job they have to do. Put yourself in their shoes & use your empathic side to realize the challenges they are against – and help to alleviate their woes; provide the value you know you can bring to the table.
  8. Set Goals / Make Plans – Short-term, mid-range, and long-term goals are important for success. Do you have a daily schedule you stick to or try to keep a general form of? Did you make a New Year’s Resolution List? All goals start with identifying opportunities for improvement AND acting towards realizing them. Your resolution is to have a garden & you envision this beautiful, perfect English-style garden in your head, but it doesn’t just happen. Make a plan, plant the first seed and let your goals blossom.
  9. Always Keep your Word – When you make a promise to call back @ 3pm – you call back @ 3pm! It’s easy to think that everyone hates Salespeople, but they’ll really hate them if they are no-good, lying Salespeople! Follow-up is an easy thing to do. Set a calendar event that will remind you – there is really no excuse for “forgetting” or something “slipping through the cracks” in the Age of Technology – you have all the tools you need @ your disposal, it just depends on how well you can MacGuyver things to make it work!
  10. Never Stop Trying – The simplest & easiest advice. My parents always told me that you can be proud of the work you did if you gave it your all – even if you failed. I’ve always had trouble accepting failures & realizing that one failure doesn’t mean that was your only chance to succeed. Grit is the single-most important thing is this world that will keep you clawing your way up to a State of Flow & Happiness. When you keep the faith, good things will naturally follow.

How about you? What’s your ticket into the flow state? More importantly, how are you connecting this to your career & life?

Thanks for stopping by! Please like, comment, and share – I’d love to hear your thoughts & tips for attaining Happiness & Flow!

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What it Means to Want It & How to Get It

Last night I was in the locker room of the gym I regularly attend, gathering my things and preparing to leave when a gym-regular asks me, “you done?” I answered with a brief “yep, getting ready to head out” and then got a response of “lucky you!”

As he walked out I just stopped and really thought about that statement. How am I lucky? Why are you here? Why are you complaining about a situation you put yourself in? What is your motivation? And what does it mean to really want “it”?

I was almost offended by the statement because I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that he viewed his workout as a chore, and consequently thought that I shared his viewpoint. Working out, whether it is weight lifting, sports, cardio, is not a chore, but should be viewed as a privilege and something that you can take pride in!

And pride isn’t even the point or the issue, this statement is about a matter of perspective. He thinks I’m lucky to be done with my workout, but I think he’s lucky that he has a full workout ahead of him. He is there because of his health insurance, I am there creating my own. He is there to maintain, I am there to progress.

By no means do I believe myself to be superior to anyone for what I do, but what differentiates yourself from others is how you frame your life’s activities. Do you let life control you or do you take the reins?

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Fast forward to my current situation – I am just now getting back to weightlifting after the last ~6 months being a patchy mosaic of consistency due to a shoulder injury (funny considering I said how I was “creating my own healthcare” ha!) – and I’m finally publishing this article after sitting in my drafts for nearly a year! This article has kind of been haunting me as I feel it sitting here waiting for completion; and that is where all of these lessons converge into one.

We all have passions & pursuits that we feel like we should go after, but aren’t sure where to start, if we know enough, or if we even have the talent. Here are the lessons I learned from “Wanting It”, but not allowing myself to attain it; of chasing it, but not with the correct ‘how of doing things’:

  1. Passion We all have different passions for different reasons. Joe may have a passion for data; Lisa has a passion for sales; Bill’s passion is gardening – whatever it is, LOVE WHAT YOU DO. Weight lifting is one of my passions and when I found I couldn’t continue with the trend of lifting consistently for a couple weeks, taking a couple weeks off because of extreme pain & discomfort – I stubbornly did something about it & ended up being referred to a surgeon.
  2. Pursuit Loving what you do is just part of the equation – without a constant pursuit of your passions, you have planted a garden to let it be devoured by weeds, bugs, and, the most easily controlled, Apathy. I was sick & tired of feeling sick & tired. My X-rays, CT scan, and MRI came back normal – no structural damage, no surgery needed, hallelujah! My issue came down to a lack of flexibility & mobility work. These were things I already did actively – but not consistently & not mindfully. Who wants to stretch for 30 minutes when stretching isn’t building any muscle??
  3. Maintenance “Practice? We talking practice?” Every single success in life stems from doing the maintenance: pulling weeds, practicing that jump shot, running an extra mile – whatever it is that you love to do will not flourish as a personal goal without tending to the smallest details. This does not mean to scrutinize every little thing that you do. To be the best at anything, we must do the fundamentals extremely well. For me, this meant re-adapting by waking up @ 5am, finding an awesome yoga video on Amazon, and doing this every single day along with other functional mobility. One does not become Mr./Ms. Olympia by simply loving to lift weights; they lift weights, but they lift them correctly. The diet is finely tuned, they stretch prior to working out, they focus on Every. Single. Rep. 
  4. Life is about the Journey, not the Destination In our lives we tend to think of things in terms of the desired outcome we seek, but not imagine the path to attain those goals. Example: if I work out, then I will gain muscle & lose fat (or insert your goal). But we all know it isn’t this easy. Most people see it this way & don’t want to put in the work to get the results. In a results-driven world it is tough to enjoy the rocky ride on your way to your end goals. Trust in your processes & don’t lose sight of the important elements in the quest to fulfill your vision – those elements lie in the maintenance section. They are the least “fun”, but are the daily duties that will give you the yield you desire.

No matter what we do in life, we all strive to attain “It”. Whatever your It is, chase & attack it furiously and never let the Fear hold you back from your dreams.

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On Love & Gardening for Gains

“You’re going to love your birthday gift, I think it’s the best gift I’ve ever gotten anyone. You’ll find out this weekend because you have to sign a waiver.”

I thought for sure this girl was trying to kill me, but was excited to find out that I was going to a ropes course for my 26th birthday. The pure excitement of going and doing something adventurous and extreme with a girl – with my girl – was enough to blind me to the imminent fear of being 30-60 feet up in the air.

Summit Vision

We get to the course, go through the safety training, and as we are walking up to the course we realize the shear height. Despite that, I stayed pretty positive because nobody seemed phased by it, they were all the adventurous type and Kyla seemed pretty chill too. After we get all our gear on and start walking to the point where you climb up to the first platform, she turns to me with eyes huge, watery with fear, and beautiful as could be, and she says, “I’m really scared of heights”. All I could do was laugh and say, “Are ya [freaking] kidding me?”

And in that moment I felt what true love is – I felt the sacrifice and the willingness to go beyond her own fears in order to make me happy. When I think she can’t get any better, I’m always proven wrong.

She took the more difficult route up to the first platform, climbing the staples. I followed after she got up to the top and felt good until I was realizing how high up we were going to be. We sat on the first platform for at least 15 minutes trying to get the courage to adventure out, but she just couldn’t do it, so I went out on my own – I was just happy Kyla was up there and faced her fear that I didn’t know she had until a few minutes before the climb up. Oh, and the head instructor said that this sort of thing happens all the time and 9 out of 10 relationships do just fine afterwards.

I’m not exactly sure that I can say I enjoyed myself, but glad that I at least gave it a shot. My thinking was that this was going to be a physical challenge, not such a psychological one. Everything is connected by wires – wires secure the poles to each other, to the ground, and the wires all pull on each other; the tension between them creates the balance that holds everything together. The problem with this is that everything sways a little and nothing is really stable. The platforms, the ropes, the elements you’re climbing on are all connected by wire and your weight causes them to sag slightly – basically it was just really nerve-wracking because nothing felt safe because of the slight wobble and play in the lines. I walked on wooden platforms that were on wires connecting platforms, then up the Stairway of Heaven, over 2 parallel telephone poles, through rope loops, then back through the loops and telephone poles, where I then walked the plank 60 feet above the Earth to the final platform where I met Kyla to zipline back to safety, security and sanity.

Poor Kyla had to climb up to that top platform and was even more terrified about zipping down. She looked so cute as we finally got her talked into going down. They say that couples usually look at each other as they’re going down and that helps – she looks at me with those big, beautiful brown eyes full of tears of fear, we count down and as she starts zipping she says, “I love you!” and I was in such shock that she zipped and I had my mouth hanging open and had to catch up to her to tell her I loved her too! I know she didn’t take it as me snubbing her, but she just opened up in such a way I was in pure shock.

After we pulled the lines back to the platform, we wrapped our arms around each other and kissed like we were on the brink of death, with thoughts that we would never see the ground or each other again. Neither one of would have done this ropes course if we realized what we were getting into, but we Gardened for Gains. We made gains in our lives by uprooting ourselves from our conventional ways and taking a leap of faith. When you lift your roots from the Earth it may be a shock to your system, but you may just find yourself planted in a much better place when you return.

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