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Life & Luck

And at this point all I can really do is laugh. Murphy’s Law – what can happen, will happen. I don’t like to say it the way people normally say it because who is to say it is right or wrong – sometimes it just happens.

I consider myself lucky for having medical bills to pay considering that everything came back normal. I have been in a state of gratitude since then, not taking anything in life for granted, trying not to complain, and generally just living for the moment.

Earlier this week we hit 85 here in Ohio & my air conditioning has been out since┬áthe fall (and I procrastinated the service call). Finally made a call & learned that my ~35 year old furnace isn’t kicking electricity to my 18 year old ac unit. I was hoping it was only electrical, but since the furnace is so old, it’s a liability to work on & the parts are no longer being made. Basically I have a nice big investment to make in a new furnace & air conditioning unit ­čÖé

This isn’t all bad. The way I figure is that I can get a newer, more efficient model & probably make up the money I spent in savings on my utilities – Always a silver lining!

And all I can do is laugh! As I sit in this Honda dealership, pecking away on my Mac & probably annoying the shit out of everyone here (damn Millennials!) – I just got the new of a pretty penny’s worth of repairs on my car. What began as a routine stop in to repair a recalled airbag, get an oil change & tire rotation (oh, and 2 brake light bulbs needed replaced & needed to rethread my oil pan drain) turned into so much more when I asked them to check the reason why my car was vibrating so badly (other than that it’s a perfect car! lol).

So now the amount I thought I was spending today just increased 10x! Right after ole Johnny broke the news I began to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to call my girlfriend or my parents & just say wtf is going on, but you can’t ruminate on these things – this is life! What can happen – will!

There are other options – I can suffer through the heat. People have lived without A/C for hundreds of thousands of years! But there’s also the option for payment plans & financing too, so let’s not get too crazy.

Another option is to find “cheaper” solutions or to ignore my vehicular┬áissue & wait for my engine to drop completely out since my Motor Mount was completely crushed! Or as the HVAC salesman put it to me, “we could put a really expensive bandaid on this.”

I believe him too. We have all tried to take the easy way out; to cut corners to find solutions – how did that work out for ya?

A cheap solution will prolong the problem & be a consistent drain on your finances until the root issue is truly resolved. How does the saying go? “The bitterness of poor quality┬áis remembered long after the sweetness of low prices are forgotten”

But I think the bottom line here is the most important – how you react emotionally & logically to stressful situations will determine your success through them & beyond them.

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Why Wait to Write?

Why write?

Why not?

After suffering for 4-6 months from on-again, off-again pain in my neck, shoulder, clavicle area I finally had to get it checked out. The doctor I saw looked concerned by the way my clavicle was noticeably popping out on the right side near my breast plate. Almost immediately I was referred to a surgeon.

Surgery on an injury in that area is extremely rare, but if it had to be done, it looked pretty nasty – basically like open-heart surgery (worst-case scenario).

But that wasn’t my worst case scenario.

What if this came back that I have cancer.

New worst case scenario.

I began thinking & acting much differently. I remember thinking that if I did have cancer that I would stop living so carefully. I would say what was on my mind, not let opportunities slip by, not think of my responses after-the-fact; I would take life by the horns, take a leap & maybe even start my own business – what would I have to lose if I was told that my life was in the grips of that!?

X-ray, CT scans & an MRI was taken – next I waited a week to meet with the surgeon for results.

My x-rays were fine as expected, but it was the CT & MRI that I was most worried about – they would reveal the truth. And Truth is that I was never worried that my shoulder was torn or that there was structural damage; I was worried that something else was growing inside me other than my anxiety.

Finally the surgeon broke the news to me – There was nothing wrong!

As he said, though, “That’s not to say you’re completely crazy!”

He was glad that I came in & told me a story about his sister-in-law that was complaining of the same thing. She came in, got the MRI and when the doctor analyzed, there were masses in her breasts. Her husband was on a hunting trip in Alaska with no cell service & this doctor had no other choice but to tell his brother’s wife the bad news.

I’m not exactly sure that this story comforted me, but it reaffirmed my reason for being there.

Prescriptions were given to me along with an okay to continue lifting – very slowly & meticulously. I didn’t fill the scripts, but with help from yoga, more mindful practices, and expert advice from my (natural) bodybuilding brother – I was sent on my way.

But what about my dreams? What about starting a business & taking life by the horns?

No, I didn’t take any giant leap; I didn’t start a business – I just began investing in myself. It took me a while to realize “Hey, just because you’re okay doesn’t mean you need to abandon your wildest dreams!” Writing & blogging has been on my list of things to do for the past year at least. I’ve published a few things on my WordPress site but was not consistent. With a jolt from things that have happened to me & inspiration from close friends, I’ve decided life is too short to not take chances, and besides – you’ll be judged either way!

Every case of life is terminal. Until you wake up & start to live – you’re just surviving. You have this one life & I have one question: what will it take for you to live it to the fullest?

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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┬áreally thought about that statement. How am I lucky?┬áWhy 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.┬á
  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.