Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Anticipate Together

Do you remember what it felt like to anticipate Christmas as a kid? How about dates and dances when you were younger. Allow yourself to anticipate again and invite your spouse or significant other to do so with you.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Tell Her/Him About It....

"... tell her all your crazy dreams. Give her every reason to accept that you're for real" Yes, these are some lyrics from Billy Joel's "Tell her about it" but those words ring true.

Life has a way of whisking us away to a place of repetition, deadlines, and grown up responsibilities that seem to squeeze out many other important things in life... like spending time with the one you love... like spending QUALITY time with the one you love.

Have you ever had a day where you go to work, go to meetings, cart the kids around, take phone calls, answer emails, cook, clean, take out trash, defrag your hard drive, upload new blogs to your smartphone, upload a new profile picture, play Angry Birds and as you are getting ready for bed you notice your significant other is there and you smile and say "oh, hi"? Then string many of those days together in a row. Does this sound familiar? If so, this message is for you.

The first step to doing something special for the two of you is simply just to tell her/him about it. Get the creative juices flowing of what you want to do, where you want to go, and the experience you wish to have with each other.

It's all about communicating. As soon as my wife wakes up from her nap on the couch where she is resting from an incredibly wonderful yet exhausting week, I'm going to tell her about the B&B with scenic trails near an Italian restaurant/winery that I want us to go to in a couple months. What is the get away or date night idea that you have? Go share that idea with your significant other right now. Don't wait or life's itinerary will replace yours.

Get out together and reconnect!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The groundhog was wrong. Are you getting ready to get out?

Do you remember some of the things you and your spouse used to do? Skiing? Kayaking? Hiking? Wine Tasting? Are those some of the ways you initially connected? You found things you both liked or were at least willing to try and you just went out and tried them. My wife and I used to camp, mt. bike and run a lot. Now… not so much. We still do those things but not as often as we used to. That doesn’t mean those things are less important. In fact, they are even more special now. Those activities are special occasions to us because of our hectic schedules. But, when we get a chance to get out together and do those things, we reconnect and enjoy the moment.

As the weather starts to break, have you begun to day dream about that first kayak excursion of the year? Are you eyeballing some campsites you’ve never been to? What about that trip that you have planned? Do you have a special adventure planned yet? More importantly are you sharing this anticipation with your spouse and inviting him/her in? Not only can you share in the activity, but share in the anticipation together, it will make it that much more fun and rewarding.

So, what are you planning? What are the big excursions you are planning to do with your spouse, just the two of you? Are you going to Hawaii to do all the things that the islands have available? Or are you heading out to some local caverns and doing some spelunking? Feel free to share some of those things in the comments. Or, if you need ideas, feel free to see what others are planning and maybe that will spark some ideas.

Have fun and get out together!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine’s Day All Year Round?

It is here. Each year countless couples will go out on a date to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you really look at the heart of it (pun intended), essentially they celebrating their relationships by buying gifts, exchanging cards, giving chocolate, having flowers delivered, and going out on a date usually to a restaurant. For a lot of couples, this might be one of the very few nights each year that they allow themselves to celebrate their relationship. Maybe if they are married they will celebrate their anniversary. So, if they are married there are two nights each year. If they have young children, maybe it is even less than that.

What if couples made it a point to celebrate their relationship once every three months, or once a month, or twice a month or weekly? I know it is hard to focus on each other especially if you are married with children or you have crazy work schedules or you are super involved in organizations or sports.

After our first son was born, my wife and I only went out on one date in nearly a one year span. After a while, it almost felt like we forgot how wonderful each other was and how much we appreciated time together. We didn’t purposefully stop doing things together, it just happened. And, it happens to many couples.

Fast forward to now. We will soon have three children running around but we have made it a point to somehow, one way or another, get out twice per month. At the beginning of each month we schedule our date nights in advance. We get out of the house together, just the two of us and reconnect. Sometimes it’s the standard dinner date, sometimes we kayak, or mountain bike, or shop, or we just wander around mindlessly. It doesn’t matter what we do, we get out together and celebrate being together.

Why not make it a point to get out with your significant other twice per week and celebrate yourselves? It doesn’t matter what you do, it just has to be something you can do together. If you are strapped for cash, just going on a walk or even sit on the back patio after the kids are asleep can be rewarding and refill your relationship.

Schedule time together purposefully and celebrate Valentine’s Day… celebrate your relationship all year round.

Monday, January 30, 2012

If “normal people” call you crazy, go with it!

Have you ever packed up the family and drove halfway across the country for a week just to experience a new city? Have you ever ran a marathon just to say you have? Have you ever tried a new adventure, like rappelling, or windsurfing, or white water rafting, just because it looked cool? Has anyone ever told you that YOU are CRAZY?

Maybe it’s family, friends, or coworkers telling you that you are crazy. It doesn’t matter. Just go with it! You have the spirit of an adventurer and that is meaningful and core to who you are, so just embrace it. Enjoy when others call you “crazy” or when they question your ability to participate in a certain adventure, or they tell you “white water rafting is dangerous”, so is getting in your car and driving to the grocery store, what’s their point? It’s easy for people to sit on their couch, mute their tv and pass judgment on you for a few minutes, before getting back to watching the latest cable reality show. That is okay, it is your life and you live it your way and they will live their life their way. Get out! Have fun! Live!

The next time someone tells you that you are crazy… look at them and smile and say “I know.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Put Your Game Face On!

We all have seen the images of football players in the locker room psyching themselves up, the Olympic athletes waiting beyond the starting line staring into space visualizing what it is they are about to do, the musicians who stand tall and breathe deeply before walking out on stage, or the public speakers that pace in the back hallway sipping water and saying key phrases out loud.

No matter what activity a top performer is preparing to do, there is one thing that is certain, when it is time to perform, they have their “game faces on”.

What do I mean by “game face”? It is the look of readiness that is appropriate for the activity. It could be a focused stoic look. It could be a look of aggression. It could even be a smile and a spring in one’s step. Whatever expression says “I am focused and living in the now.”

When people hear the term “game face”, most people think of professional athletes. But it could be anybody in any activity: athletics, business, recreation or even being with your family.

Anyone can put on a game face. If you wake up in the morning, you can put it on.

I used to coach age group swimming in high school and college. In high school, I would have swim practice in the morning, go to school during the day, go straight into the after school swim practice and THEN coach age group swimming in the evening. Sure, I was in high school and youthful, but after swimming 3-5 miles that day and going to classes all day all one wants to do is eat and go to sleep. But, you can’t. You have to put on a happy energetic coaching face because you are helping mold the lives and experiences of young children who look up to you and see you as an authority figure. If you don’t give these children your all and act the way you feel, then you are undermining not only your experience, but their experiences. And, a funny thing happens when you act like you are having fun and have energy….. you actually have fun and experience energy!

The same goes in business. Some days are naturally going to be worse than others. You may be under the weather, or you may have had a bad night’s sleep, or it may just be a gloomy day with a impending unwanted meeting coming up. Rather than acting grumpy, gloomy, or sour, why not throw on a smile and add a positive tone in your voice. When the phone rings, pick it up and smile when you talk. You will be surprised how much better you feel! You may think that you are acting or not being authentic, this isn’t true. It is simply a way to snap you out of negative behaviors and turn it into positive behaviors. Both behaviors are authentic. YOU just get to CHOOSE which you want to HAVE.

Most importantly, you can and should use this with your family. After a long hard day, of course you just want to eat and settle into a quiet place in your home, or on special occasions or holidays you feel like you need to eliminate stress and decompress. Rather than doing that, put on your “game face” and interact with your family and friends. I use this with my wife and my boys and it never fails when I do. I feel better and the boys get to play with daddy and my wife gets 100% of me. It is a win-win. It is better than if I hid in a mental cave in my own home and wasted away precious moments that I could be having with them.

Even the absolute worst game face is better than the best grumpy or crabby face.

Whether you are stepping out on stage, or walking through the family front door, put on your game face. Try it! You will feel better and everyone around you will feel better. You will be able to live in the moment and be fully engaged in the experience with those around you. Get your game face on and enjoy life!

Friday, April 16, 2010



What is it that you love to do that you wish you could make money at? What would that kind of life look like? How much more balance would you experience in your life? Would you have more time to be with family and friends? Do you think you would have more energy if you were doing something you enjoyed every day? Wouldn’t you feel more alive?

Actually ask yourself these questions. Imagine if you were guaranteed success. Dream for a moment and write those things down.

Let’s think about those dreams now. You would be doing something you enjoy doing that allowed you to live a good life. Work wouldn’t seem so much like work. It would feel like a hobby. Every morning would greet you with the joy of the new day of doing what YOU want. Your relationships would benefit from that joy. Your health would benefit from decreased stress. You would breathe freer. The weights on your shoulders would be lighter. What about bad days? Would they really feel as bad? No. You would find the opportunity to have that sought after life balance.

STOP and notice how you feel right now. Your dream feels refreshing, doesn’t it?

Now, think about your current job. What is the commute like? You sit in traffic or follow slow cars. It takes 30 minutes, 45, 50. You walk into a cubicle farm with pumped-in air. The fluorescent lights seem to numb your eyes. Your breathing is short as you check your email and voicemails. You have long meetings that should only take 15 minutes but they someone draw out for 60 minutes. You watch the clock waiting for 5:00 to come. But, that doesn’t matter because you have to stay late anyways. By the time you get home you are beat whether you were busy or not because the environment alone drains you. You walk in your house and don’t feel like talking to anyone, but then you have to spend time with your family, which is great, but you aren’t 100% into it because you just want to go to bed.

STOP and notice how you feel now. You feel closed in and tired, don’t you?

Now compare and contrast the two feelings that resulted from my descriptions. Which do you prefer? It’s not even a contest is it? But now you are thinking ‘how do you get started?’

STOP. Don’t start looking at the reasons why you can’t do it. You just experienced the mental images and felt all the feelings that show you why you need to start moving in the direction that feels good. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It is the small things that we do each day that yield the results we want. If you dedicate just a little bit of time each day, in time (sooner than you think) you will be moving swiftly to your dream.

Here are half dozen small things to get you started….

1) Policing your inner self talk. Earl Nightingale said: “We are what we think about.” Make sure you are telling yourself good things. Think that you are good enough. That you are capable. That you will achieve your dreams.
2) Making time for you. You need to take time each day just to think and decompress. Do it with no one around and without the TV or radio or computer nearby. Ideas come when we are open to receiving them. It’s never in front of the computer checking email. It’s on a walk, or having a cup of coffee alone on your back porch, or in the shower.
3) Making a daily prioritized action list and review it each morning when you wake up and every night before bed. Put the items on it that will help you achieve your dreams. Complete the one thing that is more important than the others, then the next and so on. Try to get through at least 3-5 items on that list. Even one is a success. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. It is the little things done each day.
4) Eating healthy. I recently cut back on sugars and my energy level remained more constant throughout the day. That meant I had greater focus and was ultimately much more productive. Find a nutritional plan that fits you.
5) Remembering YOU are most important. You are #1. By being #1, you make yourself available to all the other inspirations in your life. Your belief system, your family, your friends, your hobbies, the thrill of travel, the adventure of learning something new, etc.…. This is all connected to you. By putting yourself first, you can be the best YOU for everyone and everything else.
6) Enjoying the journey. Have fun with this process.

Start doing these things and start taking action on your daily action items and you will start realizing you dreams.