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Living A Full Life Requires Knowing Where To Take The First Step.

Living A Full Life Requires Knowing Where To Take The First Step.

Honestly? I love adventure. I love exploring. I love learning. I love experiencing new things. There’s something about all of the previous statements that brings out a huge sense of purpose and excitement in me. The problem? It’s all been haphazard. Sporadic. Random…to a degree. One of my heart cries is to live a life that is full of adventure! A life that is always on the edge. The other problem? Adventure does not necessarily mean Indiana Jones or James Bond or the Tomb Raider (for all you ladies!).

I’m on a journey. Just like most of you. A journey to figure out what is important. A journey to figure out what really matters and what gives meaning to me, and then in turn influences my family. I thought I knew. I thought that I was on the right track. But now I’m not so sure.

9-5 doing the same thing over and over. 9-5 fulfilling someone else’s “idea” of what’s important. It’s not adding up. It hasn’t always made sense. Sometimes, the “9-5” has driven me crazy. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been fortunate to experience and work along side of some amazing people and see some incredible life change. But I’m not sure that I’ve been experiencing it for the right reasons.

So what? What do I do now? What do you do now? Well. Let me suggest that the “now” is a single step. A single step forward. I love this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

[shareable]If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr. -[/shareable]

What an amazing thought. How many of us, when we have become stuck,  have stopped moving? Stopped thinking ahead? Stopped altogether? I’ve been there. Even recently. But you know what? I’m tired of being stuck. I’m tired of being overwhelmed or underwhelmed!

So again I ask. What now?

Take a step. Take a step forward and ask for help.

Here’s some suggestions, if you’re open to them.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Then take another step.
  3. Pray. Meditate. Get centered. Then…
  4. Write a list of what’s important to you (cut through the material stuff).
  5. Write a list of your dreams (go crazy on this one…who cares all the money stuff).
  6. Write a list of what you’re willing to do to fulfill the 2 lists.
  7. Share it with those who are truly important in your life.
  8. Find someone(s) who can guide/coach you into fulfilling what’s truly important.
  9. Take another step.
  10. Dive into the rabbit hole of a life steeped in adventure.

Here are some suggestions for getting started:

Books:

The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

Living Forward by Michael Hyatt

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Scary Close by Donald Miller

Love Does by Bob Goff

Question: What do you want from life and is there purpose behind it? It has to be more than money and stuff.

Being Grateful Is Everything

Being Grateful Is Everything

Gratitude is everything. Really. Life isn’t easy. Curve-balls are hurled at us all the time and, unless we develop a gigantic sense of gratitude and thanksgiving we’ll never make it. My wife is exceptional at this. She’s been maintaining a daily 5 point Gratitude list on Facebook for over 5 months now. There are times when it takes her several hours to write the list. But she still writes it. Why? Because it helps her remember that despite some of the junk life throws at her, it can always be worse. And you know what? She is regularly stopped, texted or messaged about how her list is encouraging others out there in Facebook land.

Last week we took the family to California to visit Disneyland and Santa Barbara for a much needed familyIMG_2901 getaway. It was a ton of fun. I love to hear my family laugh. We detoxed from technology and just hung out. Near the end of the trip, we were in Santa Barbara at our hotel. It was the middle of the night and I woke up. I just laid there in the dark. To the left of me were two of my kids in one bed and to the right of me the other two in another bed. Next to me was my incredible wife. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I was overwhelmed with love and affection for this family that God had blessed me with. I don’t deserve them. But their mine. And I’m theirs. Good or bad.

Sometimes life has a way of distracting us from what really matters. Sometimes relationships, jobs, careers, school and a myriad of others things can tear us away from the most important and essential things. For me it’s my faith and my family. Without those two key ingredients I wouldn’t be who I am today. And I am so, so very grateful. [shareable cite=”Charles Dickens”]Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.[/shareable]

Let me ask. What are you grateful for? Anything? Are you so overwhelmed right now that you can’t see past your nose? Let me suggest that you pause for 15 minutes or more and just start writing some things down that you’re grateful for. It may take a few minutes. It might be a struggle. But you know what? It’ll be worth it. Let me help. Here are some things that I am grateful for today.

  1. My relationship with Jesus
  2. That He has always been faithful
  3. The Bible
  4. My wife
  5. Being married for 15+ years
  6. 4 amazing children
  7. Being healthy
  8. Our house
  9. Living in Colorado
  10. The Rocky Mountains
  11. Music
  12. Food
  13. Ethiopia
  14. Technology
  15. The ability to read/listen and learn
WHAT IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT?

WHAT IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT?

“What if money was no object?” has been a common question posed to me lately. Whether by my wife, friends or my coach. What would I do if money didn’t stand in the way? Honestly, I balk at the question all the time. I get uncomfortable. I get irritable too. Why? Why do I react negatively? What’s wrong with dreaming a little bit?

Absolutely nothing! It’s my wiring. I’ve struggled most of my life with setting goals and dreaming about them. Mostly, because I firmly believe that I will fail at them. That I will never see them fulfilled. Does any of this strike a chord? It’s a pretty silly way to think and to live. I mean, I had always wanted to get married and have a family. Guess what? I’m married to an amazing woman and have four incredible kids. Those were dreams and money wasn’t a factor.

So let me ask you. “What if money was no object, what would you do?” “What would you dream?” Kristen and I were flying home to Denver from Vancouver a few weeks ago and she started a written conversation with on the plane. We both were reading (I was trying hard to finish a book and was annoyed with her questions), but she wanted to chat too. It was all around this topic. At first I was annoyed. Ok, for the first 5 or 6 questions I was annoyed. But then I was able to be present as the question came. For almost 3 hours we did this. Read our books and answered questions by hand. The last question was all around my dreams. land-rover-defender-90-08Here are some of them:

  • Buy a Land Rover D90 and drive from the Cape of South Africa all the way to Cairo, Egypt.
  • Hike to Everest Base Camp
  • Live in London, England and Berlin, Germany
  • Get a Doctorate
  • Write a book
  • Record a live Worship Album
  • Buy a 40+ acre ranch in the mtns

Pretty big and lofty dreams right? That’s kind of the point. There was a video I watched this week with the narration by the famous philospher/poet Alan Watts. It was so good. Challenging. If you do anything today or this week besides reading this blog, I would encourage you watch. Especially because I’m embedding it!!

 

Main Thing Vision Changes Lives 127% Of The Time!

Main Thing Vision Changes Lives 127% Of The Time!

One of the things I wrestle with the most is having fun. I tend to take things pretty seriously. I’m not sure if it’s because we didn’t play a lot as a family when I was growing up, or if it’s because I worry about the future too much. My wife says that I used to be fun! I still laugh from time to time. I still get goofy with my kids (as our family pic reveals), but I know that I can get distracted by other things that take me away from what’s really important. My family. Author Steven Covey made the profound statement in his book First Things, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

What’s the main thing in your life right now? Take a moment. Think about it. Is it work. Is it stress and worry about the future. Is it school. Does family or friends or truly enjoying life even rank in the top 5?

[shareable]The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. ~ Steven Covey[/shareable]

Here’s what I know. When you figure out what the “main” thing is and truly start living out of that main thing, your life will be much more clear and much more worthwhile. With that said, I’m also going to say that if your main thing isn’t including faith, family, friends and being outside, you’re off the mark.

I came home yesterday afternoon after picking up one kid from school to the announcement that the other 2 kids’ science fair project needed to assembled and ready to go for the next day. My day had already been crazy doing several things that hadn’t been on the calendar and I was hoping to go for a run and write a blog post. science fairBut you know what happened in stead? Yup. I helped our 2 youngest put together, test and assemble their science fair project. It was fun. It was goofy. It made their night and, in reality, it made my night. Was it what I had planned? Nope. Was it the main thing? 127%!!

Let me ask again, what is your main thing? Is it something or someone(s) that you love doing or being around? If not, what’s keeping you from changing and finding your “main” thing? If it’s fear, you should probably just move past it because it’s robbing you of your life.

Question: What would it look like for you to find your main thing? What would it look like to find your passion? Would your life look different than it is now? How? Take some time today to process and write some thoughts down. Maybe share them with someone close to you.

 

Protect Your Greatest Asset And It Will Protect You

Protect Your Greatest Asset And It Will Protect You

Ok, let me make this little disclaimer. I hate working out. I haven’t always been the healthiest eater in the world. I like food. Good food. With that said, I want to share some thoughts about taking care of your greatest asset. I just finished a great book by Greg McKeown called Essentialism and one of the things that jumped out at me was his section about our assets. Let me be clear, this isn’t a book review.

[shareable]The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves…we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution. ~Greg McKeown[/shareable]

2015 was a challenging season for me and for our family. I ended something that I loved but couldn’t keep going, which sent me into a spiral. There were times that I wasn’t sure that I would make it through the season, but with my faith and amazing wife (and kids) I took some steps to gain a different perspective.

I decided to to run a half marathon with my wife (actually she asked and I readily accepted) at the end of the summer. I needed something different to occupy my head and my heart, and quite literally my body. But you know what? It wasn’t enough. I needed something more. I needed something more competitive. So, in the middle of July, with only 4 weeks to go, I decided to do a Sprint distance Triathlon (1/2 mile swim, 17 mile ride, 3 mile run)!

Here’s what I know. I hate setting goals, because I always feel like they’re a recipe for failure! But I had to set some. I had to commit (I paid $120). I had to train. And I did. I trained and I finished. Then I did another one. And then Kristen and I ran the half marathon. We had a great time. Best race of them all.

So what’s the point? Simple. I needed to change the way I was taking care of myself. Specifically, taking care of my body. The result? I lost 15lbs. Had better clarity. More excitement in my perspectives. For 2016 the goals are bigger. Yes, I’m setting bigger goals.  And, I want to suggest that maybe for you 2016 could be a different year for you too.

[shareable]Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will. ~Greg McKeown[/shareable]

Let me give you some suggestions of how to take care of your greatest asset this year.

Decide to make a change.

Find something to do physically

  1. Choose something active
    1. a race (running, biking swimming etc.)
    2. Find a trail to hike
  2. Set some goals of how to get there
    1. Search online for a training schedule ( I found a 30 day Couch to Tri Training Scehdule online)
    2. Change your eating patterns (We are giving up drinking alcohol for 2016)
  3. Include others in your goals and changes
    1. Doing things with others is amazing for growing friendships
    2. You’re not in this alone!
  4. Start

Since changing some unhealthy patterns in my life, I feel better. I feel healthier and clearer.  I’m still processing other things, but I have goals ahead of me that I want to complete. And that’s a good starting point.

Question: What needs to change in your life today? Sit down with a journal and write out some thoughts then include your spouse or close friend in your conversation.

 

LEARNING TO BE PRESENT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE AND MAYBE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS!

LEARNING TO BE PRESENT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE AND MAYBE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS!

Ya, I know. It’s a pretty dramatic title, but I totally believe it. The idea of being present in the midst of the chaotic life that we live in transcends well, everything.  Why? Because, when you learn how to be present in any situation, whether with family, friends or at work, you’ll find more peace and calm in the midst of the chaos. Let’s face it. Chaos is all around us, and if we don’t have some way or steps to be more engaged and present now, we will never be able to move into tomorrow in a healthy and meaningful way.

I love Greg McKeown’s quote around this. Greg is the author of the book Essentialism.

Take a deep breath. Get present in the moment and ask yourself what is important this very second. ~Greg McKeown

Yup. That’s good stuff right there. And, in all honesty, isn’t very corporate America. Let alone suburban America.  The world around us is all about results and bottom lines with very little room for “taking in the moment”. How about family life? As kids get older and the marriage goes into it’s 15th year, life seems to be on auto pilot. Going from one school or extra curricular event to another. With barely any margin to actually have a “family life!”

So, what could that look like? What could being present look like? Let me give you some ideas. These aren’t rocket science, and you’ve probably heard them before. Sometimes it’s just good to have a reminder from time to time.

1. PUT YOUR TECHNOLOGY AWAY – I was going to say put your phone away, but we’re connected by everything these days. So, when you’re in a one on one conversation that is leaning towards the personal or your with your family/friends, put it all away. Maybe even turn it all off if you can. With regards to the more business side of things, this quote from Naveen Jain is simply perfect.

How you make people feel after they meet you is more important than what you say. Their experience with you becomes your business card. ~Naveen Jain

2. LISTEN – this one is huge no matter who you’re with. Clients, spouses, kids or friends all want to be heard. We fail at this one all the time. How many times have you been in a conversation and you were thinking about 2 or 10 different things or, you were already coming up with a solution to the persons problem? Ya. Me too. The concept I’m talking about here is called “active listening”. Which is simply being “present” in the conversation. Fight the urge to think about other things. Fight the urge to interrupt the conversation with your solutions. Like Naveen said, “How you make people feel after they meet you is more important than what you say.”

3. BE THANKFUL – Being present gives you the ability to see beyond the chaos and the distractions and see what is beautiful, majestic, inspiring and then, hopefully, you can be thankful for what is right in front of you. Maya Angelou says it beautifully,

Be present in all things AND thankful for all things. ~Maya Angelou

Question: What needs to change in your life so that you can be more present? Take a few moments today and write some of them down. Then, invite someone close to you into a conversation around what you want to change and ask for help.