Tag: Inspiration


June 16: Stop Making Excuses and Achieve Greatness

Seriously, knock it off.

All too often in life, we find ourselves making excuses for ourselves.  We are afraid to take risks.  We are scared of the unknown.  We are afraid to step outside of what is comfortable to us.  We are afraid to leave what is safe.

We are standing in our own way.

We work our way through high school and college.  From our first job to our first career. We work for years to build a life that for all intents and purposes is SAFE.  We begin to fill our life with “…but…”

“I should start my own business, I could TOTALLY do that better….. but, I don’t know the first thing about starting a business, so I will just go back to my 8-5 cubicle job where I hate my life but will never stick my neck out achieve greatness”

Who said you have to quit your job tomorrow and start a new business?  Find a business partner, a buddy who DOES know about business, or hey, go read a book. Go back to school. You CAN educate yourself to know how to run a business, but sitting there talking about it is just making you more bitter.  Get out there, make a decision and start controlling your own happiness.

“I really want to take that 2 week vacation to Europe…. but it will cost a lot of money and I can’t be away from work for 2 whole weeks like that, so I will sit here and look at pictures of castles and Mediterranean beaches while I plan my 4-day weekend, the longest vacation I have ever taken”

Take that vacation, trust me, the work will be there when you get back.  That is why you work 40-50 hour work weeks, to make this money.  Great, it sits in a savings account while you continue being miserable.  Spend the money, take the vacation, enjoy the hell out of it.  YOU DESERVE IT.

“I want to lose this extra 20lbs and get in better shape… but between work, friends and family, I don’t have the time to dedicate going to a gym every day, so I will continue to eat food that is bad for me while I sit my fat ass on the couch and watch Sportscenter and “unwind” from work”

Self motivation is hard, but so is losing weight when you don’t change your lifestyle.  Make the conscious choice to give up sitting on the couch, change your diet and start being physically active (walking to the bar for another beer doesn’t count).  Gyms are open 24 hours every day, you can sleep when you are dead. Or when you figure out how to balance your schedule.

“I would love to participate in that event this weekend, it only happens once a year!… but I already agreed to work this weekend, so, I will just have to wait for next year and hope that I don’t have an excuse next year when it comes up.”

The normal work schedule of a normal employee is 260 days per year. Some of us work more than that, inching up on 275-300 days per year.  An annual event takes place once per year.  Prioritize your schedule. Find someone to cover for you at work or make up the day later.  If you want to do something, stop making excuses and just do it. (Nike has nothing on me)

“Check out that girl at the end of the bar, she is so hot, I should go talk to her…. but, she is totally out of my league, so I am just going to sit over here in the corner by myself drinking my light beer before I go home to my parents basement to play video games.”

Man up, grow a pair and go talk to her. You will never know she is out of your league until she tells you she is.  Guess what, she turns you down, at least you tried, and now you know to try harder next time.

Fact is, we talk ourselves out of achieving greatness every single day.  We think we aren’t good enough. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the knowledge.  We stand in our own way.

So here is the challenge.

Stop making excuses. Stop talking yourself out of things. Get out of your own way and allow yourself to achieve greatness.

Day 16. Way 16. Stop making excuses and allow yourself to achieve greatness.

What are the excuses you find yourself making commonly?

How do you plan to overcome them?

What excuses did you bypass to achieve greatness?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


fitness center photo / office photo / beach photo / bike photo / bar photo


June 15: Sell Your Crap

Yup, you heard me.

Those excess shelves of random stuff you have in your garage.

All the miscellaneous boxes in your attic.

That part of the closet of clothes you never touch.

Sell it!

Have a yard sale.

List it on Craigslist.

Hell, give it away.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

In a consumerist society, we are  taught from a young age by marketing companies and other influences that we need a big house, a big car, a big garage, big EVERYTHING. In the end, we NEED these big items just so we can store all of our crap we have amassed.

Buy first, ask yourself a question.  Why?!

As some of my longtime readers have seen, aside from the motivation of moving cross country, I started Operation: Consolidation with chronicled my goal of selling all the crap that I kept up in my attic and never looked at.  Over the course of 2 months, I sold 80% of what I listed on Craigslist, traded a few things away and donated the rest to charity.

5 months later, I can honestly tell you I don’t miss it one bit.  Don’t miss the ATV, don’t miss my old truck, don’t miss any of the old toys, collections, memorabilia or the video games.  It had been in my attic for years without being touched.  And now it is in someone else’s house/garage, not mine.

Also around the same time, I started a new project.  Project 333 was more than an experiment in living with less, it taught me how much excess we all have, from clothes, to shoes, to everything in between.  After leaving a consulting job in favor of an employer with a casual workspace, I packed away all of my clothes except for 33 items.  And it was EASY.

Evaluate the amount of “things” you have in your house.  By “things” I mean items that you have not used in 6-12 months, clothes you have not worn in 6-12 months or really anything that holds no sincere sentimental value and is just taking up space.

Identify what you can get rid of

Sell what you can.

Donate the rest.

Clear your life of crap you dont need. This is meant to challenge your definition of what you need.  This is not meant to teach you to give up everything you love, or be a test of your will, this is to get rid of the excess.  Think of it as excess weight, excess baggage.  This is just taking up space in your house, in your life.

The less “stuff” and “things” that fill your life and space, the more free you become. Decisions become easier, moods become happier.

Day 15. Way 15. Sell your crap. Free your house. Free your life. Free your mind.

Have you gone through and de-cluttered any?

Would love to hear how much you got rid of, how well it went, and most importantly, how you feel now that it is done.  Let us know in the comments below!


June 14: Make Something New

As you might have noticed, I posted another blog earlier tonight.  The first one, a guest post I wrote for Team Cocktail, really got me thinking about actions that embody the mantra of “Get Busy Livin.'”  To speak to kindness and generosity, Lyndsey, the leader of Team Cocktail (her title actually is Director of Awesomeness) simply asked me if I would like to write a guest post on their blog.  Without hesitation, I agreed.  Not because I am hoping for more traffic to my site, not because I am making money off it, for no other reason other than she asked.  My first response was “hell yeah!”

After writing the blog and proof reading it, having Juliet read it, and re-reading it again, the second embodiment of my mantra really became clear.  The only reason I was able to have the opportunity to write for Team Cocktail is because I was willing to put myself out there and engage others, but what really drove the article was that I was not afraid to take the advice of someone else and try something completely new.

For me, that advice led to me trying a Pineapple Mojito.  I know, it is not that far of a stretch, but it is more of the concept that is the point here.  Do away with the old and tired.  Try and make something new.  Whether it is a new twist on an old dinner dish or something completely new that you have never had before. Even if you are out at dinner, or ordering a pizza for delivery, try something you have not had before.

The only way to find out if you don’t like something is to try it at least once.

A few years back, Mike relayed a story to me about how, when he was living in North Carolina with his roommate, they would trade off and cook dinner with a signature item as the staple.  One week they would each cook a new dish with leeks. The next week, they would each cook a new dish with sweet potatoes.

Nothing revolutionary, but they were expanding their culinary talents by attempting to cook new things, but also expanding their palette with new dishes, new ingredients and new methods of preparation.

There is a reason that there are multiple television channels, dozens of magazine publications, thousands of books and millions of websites dedicated solely to food/drink/cooking.  These outlets market to everyone, from those who have absolutely no idea where to start when cooking, all the way to dedicated foodies and home chef’s.

Use those resources. Use your imagination.  Pick out something new, and give it a shot. Challenge your palette, challenge your mind.

31 Days. 31 Ways. June 14 – Make something new, challenge your palette, and your mind.

What is the best dish you ever had for the first time?

Share your comments and photos below of how going out on a limb and trying something new really expanded your palette and appreciation for new food!


My Team Cocktail and Pineapple Mojito Addiction

This is a syndication of a guest blog I wrote for Team Cocktail.  Original article can be found here.

Lets get these 2 simple facts out of the way right up front.

Fact 1: Team Cocktail is a bad influence and will drain your bank account.

Fact 2: You will have no money in your bank account, but you will be rocking the most stylish fashion around, be surrounded by hoards of gorgeous supermodels as you wow them with your exotic drink recipes while relaxing on a white sand Caribbean beach.

Or, at least that is how I envision it.

But I am not here to talk about the white sand beaches, the gorgeous women or even the awesome Team Cocktail clothes and accessories.  No, I am here to talk about how Team Cocktail is a bad influence on me (and my wallet) and why I completely love them for it.

It was not too long ago that I came to know Team Cocktail in all of their online awesomeness.  I started following them on Twitter and quickly found out just what an awesome group they were.  I then found myself spending inordinate amounts of time on their website, browsing through all of their awesome clothes and accessories, all while doing my best to avoid breaking out the credit card to completely revamp my wife’s and my wardrobe.

Soon after came my demise. I found their blog.  Yes, this very blog that this article is being posted on.  I started reading updates about these amazing TEAM COCKTAIL APPROVED locations, these great bars, amazing adventures that the other fans were embarking on.

And then came the drinks.  My first foray into the Team Cocktail concoctions was “The Tornado”. I convinced a local bartender to follow the Team Cocktail recipe and was I ever glad that I did.  Smooth, yet sweet, the drink goes down way too smooth for a drink that potent.  Guaranteed to have you feeling like a Tornado hit you after only a few of these great drinks.

My absolute favorite so far (and my wife’s too) has got to be the Pineapple Mojito. As soon as we read that update, the shopping list was made and that was all we could talk about for 2 days.

Here is our journey, in photos, to the best cocktail we have had in quite some time:

The all-important shopping list:

Store #1: RUM

Store #2: A Muddler (we needed a new one)

Store #3: Brown Sugar, Club Soda & Mint

Store #4: Pineapple

Store #5: Mojito Barware

Yes, you read that correctly.  5 stores to get everything we needed to make the mojitos.  That is where this story was born from. I was taking photos of every ingredient as the shopping day went along. Slowest.Day.Ever. Seemed like eternity until we got home and got our mixologist on. (Well, my wife got her mixologist on. I got my bar back on. She used to bartend, me, there is a reason I drink beer)

After a few minutes, our exotic drink recipe turned this:

Into this:

…….And I realized, I have my supermodel….

…now where is my Caribbean beach….



June 13: Be Kind, Rewind

The famous words from 1990s advertising, pleading customers of video rental establishments to rewind their VHS tapes before returning them to the store, thus saving rental stores and subsequent customers from spending time to check and rewind every VHS tape.

Just think, back in the 90’s, the act of rewinding a video might have taken 30-60 seconds per video, yet so many customers finished a movie, hit EJECT and took the movie back to the store, figuring that someone else would remind it for them.

What if you were the person that rented a video from the store, got home to watch it, only to find it start up at the final credits.  Now, you have to take 30-60 seconds to rewind the video to start from the beginning. While 30-60 seconds does not sound like a lot of time, the perceived inconvenience and inconsiderateness of the previous renter is what caused the outcry that eventually led to that advertising.  Advertising that pleaded with customers to take 30-60 seconds of their time to BE KIND and think about others.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”

I don’t know when it happened, but it seems that more and more, people are only looking out for themselves. For Number 1.  What happened to the general practice of human kindness?

Kindness is addictive. Whether you are the spark or simply paying it forward, simply being involved is what matters.

It is such a simple concept, yet so hard to implement for the vast majority.

  • When someone needs to merge into traffic, let them merge. One car length doesn’t matter.
  • When you are the one who needs to merge, and someone lets you, give them a wave to let them know you appreciate it
  • Ask someone how their day is. Actually care about their answer.
  • Hold the door open for the woman pushing a stroller.
  • Give the homeless guy on the street corner a buck or two. Even a 40oz will make him happy.
  • Never forget to say “thank you”

Small acts of kindness. Big impact.  Simple as that.

31 Days. 31 Ways. June 13: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

What does kindness mean to you?

What suggestions for random acts of kindness would you like to share with everyone here?


A New Type of Blog

“Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning” – Chris Cavanaugh

One month ago today, I wrote about needing a direction and some focus for the blog.  I felt that I was scattered with what I was doing with the blog.  I was forcing myself to create. Create something for people to read.  I had gotten away from what I truly loved, in an attempt to drive traffic, numbers, stats, etc.

I nipped that shit in the bud.

It also didn’t hurt that I needed to take a little break from the blog to get myself and wife back to New York.  This past month has been a whirlwind, but it has been amazing that Juliet and I are settled back in snowy New York and LOVING IT.  Exploring new areas, meeting new people, growing our network.  We are creating memories that we will tell for a long time.

February also gave me the opportunity to get all of my thoughts down on paper, make sense of the random images, directions, blogs, content, dreams, trips, pictures…. everything.  It gave me the opportunity to present a clear, concise picture of what JustinHamlin.com will become.  It also gave me the opportunity to get back into the world of design with a personal project of customizing and adding graphic appeal to Get Busy Livin’.   You can see how much we have already changed visually.

You think that is awesome, just wait for the direction we are going.  More changes are coming to fine tune the blog and its offerings, but the content… the content will get you excited.

This blog is going to be different.

This isn’t your momma’s opinion-based, silver-bullet solution type of blog.  I hate those.  You won’t find that here.  This blog is going to be epic. This blog is going to be different Think of Get Busy Livin’ as more of a virtual campfire, than a virtual pulpit.  Drop by, kick your feet up, roast a marshmallow, listen to some kick-ass stories, heck, even chime in with one of your own.

Pull up a chair

Get Busy Livin’ will be my creative output for telling my adventures, and my stories.  I will also pull from multiple resources for content.  I will be inviting others to post guest blogs and participate in interviews on a regular basis.  These guest (and myself) will not be preaching.  We will not be speaking at you.  That is not the format I will be employing here.  I, personally, learn from the exchange of stories with others, and that is how I want to convey information here.

You will be hearing stories, directly from the mouths of the people who lived them.  You will be seeing the pictures that go along with those stories.  These stories you read here will be interactive, they will be graphic, they will be amazing.

There will be guest posts, interviews, question and answer sessions, and I am even kicking around the idea of setting up a semi-regular video chat with whomever wants to join.  Just to tell stories, catch up on the weeks past, without all the advertising and PR positioning that is Twitter.

I am freaking EXCITED.  All these ideas, all this work, I cannot wait to get down and dirty and take my ideas and turn them into something real.  I am completely jazzed to have you to join me.

First and foremost, welcome back to my existing readers, and welcome aboard to all of the new readers.

I look forward to having everyone join in, so if you think you have something to add, well, I am not a hard person to find.  I look forward to hearing from you. Email, tweet or leave me a comment below.  Your feedback, your ideas, your thoughts, your comments and most importantly, your stories, are important to me.


5 Reasons Why I Will Not Miss My Job

To say that I am excited for the next chapter in my life to begin would be an understatement. I have an opportunity staring me in the face that will ultimately help define the path in which will shape my life for the foreseeable future.

One of the greatest victories and what I am looking forward to the most is the thought of an extended vacation. Even if my time will be filled with freelance jobs, orchestrating a cross country move, finding my passions and exploring an entirely new area of the country, it will all be a vacation to me. The thought of not having to (begrudgingly) wake up, shower and head to the office everyday is so invigorating.

I think it is the monotonous routine that bothers me the most about a corporate job. I enjoyed consulting because for the most part, I was at a new client every day, or every few days, as well as the fact that I was never really expected to be at our corporate office for any extended period of time. This new endeavor that I took up 6 months ago has proven to be a learning experience for me, and it is now, that I look back at the time spent with my past 2 employers, that I realize what I value in a job, and what I do not. Read more “5 Reasons Why I Will Not Miss My Job”


Holy Shit…. I just Quit My Job

I fucking did it.  WOW.

I turned in my notice today.  In 2 weeks, I will be without a job, with nothing lined up, no income, nothing.  It really is happening, and I am balancing being scared out of my mind with being absolutely exhilarated at the upcoming opportunities that I have in front of me.

In 3 weeks, my journey towards an EPIC 2011 continues, with what will prove to be a life changing and inspiring transition.  My lifestyle, livelihood, profession, goals, will all change.

I will get a chance to take a step back from the corporate world and focus on myself, my family, my passion and my hobbies.  Something that I have not had a chance to do in 15 years.  I can pursue my love of photography or my newfound outlet of creative writing.  I can learn to cook (better).  I can start a new business or pursue a new an alternate career. I can do anything.

The Backstory

My wife and I have lived in Southern California for basically our entire lives.  She is a recognized top salesperson for the largest telecom company in the country.  I am a Senior Systems Engineer in the IT industry.  We have lived the corporate, rat race life that is typical of a Southern California couple with dual income and no kids.  Since we met, we have longed for a life outside of California.  The lifestyle of “keeping up with the Jones'”in suburbia.

Jet Settin'

6 months ago, I walked away from my 8+ year career with an IT Solutions vendor to take a job in the corporate retail space with a national clothing retailer.  That move scared me a little due to the fact that my job security with my previous employer was rock solid, as I had been with them through thick and thin, but in reality, had maximized my potential with my only hopes for a promotion being in the employment of another company with more room for me to move up the ladder.

For the 5+ years, Juliet has worked her way through the ranks as a very decorated and accomplished sales representative with a national wireless provider. For her, the only step up was to move into a managerial role.  With that in mind and the company’s non-official policy that in order to move up in the company, you need to be able to move to different regions, we began looking for relocation and management opportunities for Juliet across the country.  After various interviews for positions in Southern California, Northern California and Atlanta, Georgia failed to pan out, we decided that we needed to just live our lives and when the opportunity was right, it would come and find her.

Read more “Holy Shit…. I just Quit My Job”


Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a…

This is part 3 of 3 in the Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan series.  If you have not read Part 1 or Part 2, now would be a great time to get caught up.

In parts 1 and 2, we use the basics of project management to identify and achieve our goals, but also what to do when faced with something we call life.  In the 3rd and final installment today, we will tackle what to do when you follow your plan, adjust it around the inconsistencies of life, yet still fail.

Why is failure is so important? Keep reading.


Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face.  – Mike Tyson

You just set out a goal, planned it out perfectly, even adjusted when life presented challenges, and now you come to the point of success and you didn’t meet your goal.  You failed.

Fucking scary, isn’t it?

For me, it used to be. For a lot of others, it is everything they are afraid of and why most people do not set out to do anything even remotely extraordinary.

  • You are going to miss a deadline.
  • You are going to get fired from a job.
  • You are going to get dumped.

Sorry to break it to you, failure is part of life.

The sooner you come to grips with that fact, the quicker you can change your mindset to make failure just another step on the path to success.

How you deal with the failure, how quickly you get back on that horse, will define your resolve, your personality, your determination.  It will also define how you approach goals (and life) in the future.  It defines you. Read more “Your Life is a Business: Why You Need a Plan Pt. 3”


Project 333: An Experiment in Minimalist Fashion

3 Months

33 Clothing items

Could you do it?

My experiment in minimalism continues.  What started with Operation: Consolidation as a goal to de-clutter my life and my attic, has crept into my closet.

What originally started for me was reading an intriguing concept by Nina Yau, where she decided to push her limits and wear the same clothes to work for 7 weeks straight.  Seems like a strange experiment to most, challenged her mentally.  Best part, almost nobody noticed.

Then I found Project 333 by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. A challenge to all people dabbling in the minimalist lifestyle to take a long, hard look at their wardrobe.  For herself, she found that she would rely on a few staples in her wardrobe, just like most people.

Project 333 challenges anyone who is interested to take their wardrobe and pare it down to 33 items, and wear only those 33 items for 3 months, with a few notable exceptions:

  • Wedding Ring
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Gym Clothes
  • Around the house loungewear

So that means 33 items includes:

  • Work Clothes
  • Weekend Clothes (going out clothes)
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Jackets

While it might seem like a daunting task at first, I think it provides a worthwhile challenge.
Read more “Project 333: An Experiment in Minimalist Fashion”