How We Start and End Our Days

By | daily rituals, self-improvement | 2 Comments

I have two amazing little people that live in my house with me. My son, seven and daughter, five. For the past few years on the way to school or as I’m leaving for work I ask a simple question of them both:

What are you going to do today?

The first time I asked it was met with, I don’t know or go to school or overall disdain. I knelt down and said, “No, you’re going to be awesome.” As kids do, they’ve evolved it to a deep breath followed by shouting as loud as they can:


Sometimes my daughter takes it in the other direction and whispers it as quiet as she can and I have to ask, “What was that?” and she’ll get a little louder each time I ask until she bellows it out.  BE AWESOME!

Then a few months ago, after jumping into gratitude with both feet I started asking at the dinner table, “What are you grateful for today?” We go around the table three times and everybody has to say something different. Usually the answers from the kids are about family or our pets, but as it’s evolved they have picked up some of the other things to be grateful for that my wife and I list.

In December, we lost my brother-in-law to cancer and so that night I said I was grateful for the health of my family and the fact that we were all together at the table. My son has since said he’s grateful that he’s healthy a number of times. And kids being kids they’re grateful for Pokemon and Shopkins as well. As it should be.

I feel like starting the day with a declarative statement of awesomeness and ending the day with a reflection of what they’re grateful for is, on the surface, irrelevant to them, I mean, they’re kids. But in the years to come and through repetition and consistency these messages will start to become part of who they are. What are they going to do today? Duh, be awesome. What are they grateful for? This amazing life that they have and even in darkness there is light to be found.

Of course, these two small things are just bookends for the love and lessons that we share with them in-between, but they’re pretty AWESOME bookends.

What daily routines do you do for yourself or for your kids? Let me know in the comments below.

A Smattering of New Year Advice

By | self-improvement, suggested-reading, vision | No Comments

Happy New Year! It’s been a few days since my last post and the challenge of posting every day in December. I took a few days off because quite honestly it was harder than I thought it was going to be. On top of that, I took time to connect with my family and then had to catch up on all the work from the downtime.

But I’m back…and it’s a new year!

With a new year comes a lot of people telling us how you should reinvent yourself or “make it your year!”  There’s a lot of chatter out there on the old interwebs. Here’s some of the articles I enjoyed:

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Busy Entrepreneurs in 2017
This is good advice for everyone, not just entrepreneurs.

Take care of your physical health. Practice empathy. Take a vacation. Set firm time limits. Disconnect from work when away from the office.

These are valuable pieces of advice and will ultimately make you happier. Taking care of yourself first and making time for life outside of work are two big things that make for better employees. As I shared in the post on making solid teams, psychological safety and empathy are keys to being successful in the work place.

Why You Should be Planning for 2018, Not 2017
“Everything you do is positioning.” This mirrors what I wrote in my blog post Your Future Life. You want to set up for what’s next. This article does an excellent job of going deeper and focuses on your responsibility for the choices you make and how you react to events that happen in your life.  

10 Expert Tips To Make 2017 Your Most Productive Year Yet
They aren’t all home run suggestions but a few spoke to me.

Pick your most important thing and make a one item to do list every day. The book The One Thing was one of my favorite books of 2015 so in your day as well as in your products you should be focusing on one metric for success at a time.

Action triggers have helped me to get work done at times when I would normally be wasting time and or lounging about, like when I get the kids in bed I’m going to finish this blog post…yes this one that I’m writing right now.

And finally, and most importantly, say no to more things, what things are you not going to NOT do this year? Set hard fast rules about what you won’t do and it will add amazing clarity to what you will do.

And not a 2017 article, but it was sent to my email this week: 

Why You Need a Word for Your Year
I like this concept. I don’t agree with doing it before you set your annual goals, as I believe the word should be informed by your direction, but to each his/her own. I like the way that Mark Zuckerberg set every yearly challenge to a theme, 2016’s being invention. Treat the word as your theme for the year. My word for the year will be creation.

Tomorrow’s post will be a retrospective on December and the plan for January moving forward with a sneak peek at some of the topics I’m going to be writing about.  I’ve been working on the content calendar for the past few days and have a clear direction moving into the first six months of the year that I’m going to build upon. Stay tuned.

Got any articles from the first week of the year that you think I should read? Let me know in the comments.

Reintroducing Yoga Into My Life

By | health, mindfulness, self-improvement | No Comments

I believe in disconnecting. I feel the world we currently live in is too connected and it can bog us down both mentally and physically. I like to take breaks from devices and screens, but it’s hard. A question jumps in my head and I have a super computer in my pocket that I can ask for the answer and get it immediately. In that same vein, I miss the days from high school and early college of sitting at a coffee shop or bar and having lively discussions over the answer to a stupid question and having no way to get the answer at hand. Now those lively discussions are ended before they even start. Who played the other robber in Home Alone, you know, not Joe Pesci? Just Google it.

In February of 2016 I started doing yoga. I got an app on the app store looking for part yoga part meditation and trying it out to unplug. I fell in love with it. I started the beginner sessions doing 30 minutes at a time and after 3 days in a row and showing up to work in a great mood (and a little sore), it dawned on me that it was the yoga. I ramped up to the intermediate hour long courses and at my peak in march completed 21 out of 31 days.  I was fitting it in wherever I could and jumping out of bed in the morning in excited to go through the program.

After March I needed to start training for a 5k obstacle course I had signed up for and so I started splitting time between yoga and running. Slowly I felt more invested in running and yoga was becoming less and less a priority.  I was focused on reaching my 5k time goals I had set for myself and a 1 mile goal time.

Throughout the year it became less about one of the things that had drawn me to it which was disconnecting for a while, letting my mind work through problems while my body struggled to stay in certain positions. It became a chore.

Then I hurt my knee running and I started incorporating kettlebell workouts into my routine (which I also now love), but I was still avoiding doing my yoga. I was doing 30 minute sessions from time to time but wasn’t getting that boost that I had once been drawn to.

Last week, when my stress levels were at a peak while juggling many projects, Christmas prep and prioritizing time with the kids I stopped and took an hour to go through a yoga session. I didn’t have the time, but I knew I needed it. It felt great and the results weren’t immediate, but the world slowed down a little and I felt more centered. By the end of the day I felt great and the next day I was good and sore, which was surprising after the kettlebell workouts I had been doing.

I realized that these sessions are good for body and mind for me and it’s important to have the time away from the connectedness that is so ingrained in us today. I would like to get into meditation as well, but for now this is a good start.

Moving into 2017 I’ve made it a goal to not go more than 3 days between yoga sessions. And no more than 2 days between a workout of any kind.

It’s important to find your way to disconnect even if it’s only for a few minutes a day, being mindful of yourself and your surroundings. Get away from the screens and gadgets and take care of yourself and your mind.

The app I use is called Yoga Studio and is available for iOS. It has 65 pre-made yoga and meditation classes. It tracks when you do it which helped me with motivation for wanting to get the day on the calendar lit up when I completed a session.

That other robber = Daniel Stern, and fun fact number 2, he also starred in C.H.U.D. with the Dad in Home Alone, John Heard.

My New Year’s Resolutions

By | self-improvement, starting, vision | No Comments

I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions anymore. I used to and like most everyone else a few weeks into the new year they would be forgotten and I’d be back to my old ways. So I’ve changed resolutions to goals.

And rather than New Year’s day, I like setting the trigger for my year on my birthday. It’s my personal day and the start of my personal year.

I take off work. I start the day by exercising followed by breakfast with my family. I spent my last birthday cooking a brisket and I’ll probably do that again this year. It’s an all day affair, and while it’s cooking I relax with movies or binge watching a show. Before all this goodness I use the weeks leading up to it to set my goals for the year.

The day you start or reset your year doesn’t matter. If New Year’s day is a trigger for you, then go for it and leave all those people with unachieved resolutions in the dust. Start by thinking about them as goals, instead of resolutions, and not just for this year, but for the next 5-10 years and then break down from there.

I have a vision of where I’d like to be by the time I’m 40 (in two short years) and how the work I do now will help catapult me to where I want to be by the time I turn 45. Honestly, I’ve only started taking this seriously in the past 2 years. Before that I had grand visions of what I wanted my life to be like, but was moving towards them in a very haphazard way. I have an amazing life that I’m very grateful for and even though I’ve achieved a lot, it wasn’t until I started writing down my goals and tracking my progress that I started to see much more rapid growth. And more rapid growth is not necessarily fast…but it’s focused, and that’s the key. Creating focus and moving forward, a bit at a time.


Happy Holidays

By | self-improvement | No Comments

Over the course of the next week I’ll be taking some much needed down time after a hectic year. In no way will that affect my goal of posting every day in December, but I thought it was important on Christmas day to point out the importance of work/life balance as well as taking time off.

I heard this quote earlier this year and it stuck with me:

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.” – Bryan Dyson, President and CEO of Coca Cola, during a commencement speech at Georgia Tech.

Having a fulfilling career and following your passion is important, but you have to take care of all parts of your life. This all starts with taking care of you. “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Make sure to take care of yourself and your health and spirit, they are the cornerstones of being there for your friends and family. In the upcoming year make sure as you plan out your goals in such a way that you are taking care of all aspects of your life.

Check out this article from Mollie Spillman on work/life balance if you want some more.

Happy Holidays to you and the important people in your life.


By | self-analysis, self-improvement | No Comments

For a few months now I’ve been writing out what I’m grateful for almost every day. Even when I miss a day I think about it. While I’m driving or running or working on this blog.  I think about what I’m grateful for and it’s made my life better.  The days in which I take the time to write it down it could be a quick 3 minute word sketch or end up as a 20 minute stream of consciousness exercise about the things in my life that I’m thankful for.  Ultimately I’ve noticed that it directs my life in a more positive way. I feel better, more confident and happy. The reason I started was an effort at focusing on the good things in my life, rather than the negativity that is very easy to focus on if you let it.  For me this exercise has been a big change in my life and while it might not be for everyone, I recommend trying it out for a few weeks.  After the 13 day point was when I could notice the positive impact and the longer I do it, the easier it gets. Also, it’s a good exercise to find the good in bad situations.