Today’s photo comes from high over Boston as the sun rises on the east coast. This photo was taken from inside the John Hancock tower where I was working for a few months. Regardless of some of the slight reflections, this photo, posted today, signifies a new start, a new dedication and a new beginning. Read more “Foto Friday – June 1, 2012”
And here we have it. The last and final installment of the series. The last wise and sage bit of motivation and inspirational knowledge I get to impart for this series.
Some have asked me why I went with 31 days when June clearly only has 30 days. While a completely legitimate question, my intent with this was not to match the number of blog posts with the number of days in the month, it was more closely tied to the fact that on June 4th, I turned 31 years young. Also, when tackling the initial rush of ingenuity with this series, the piece that solidified my decision was the fact that the 31st entry would fall on July 1st, effectively giving me a final blog to help propel my readers into July and beyond, while offering a solidifying finale to the series.
If you have followed along with the series, I really have 3 running themes to all of these posts, 3 main areas where I believe that you cannot help but feel better about yourself and more alive, just by participating:
The underlying theme that I have been trying to convey is a pretty simple one.
It is absolutely necessary to push yourself outside of the confines of your comfort zone on a daily basis.
Far too often, as I have touched on before, Americans, hell, people, strive for COMFORTABLE. We strive to hit that point in our lives when we don’t have to work too hard, yet pull in a decent salary. Where we don’t have to try and constantly impress our wife/husband, but they love us anyways.
We strive to be AVERAGE. Not for excellence, not to be a superstar. We strive to meet the status quo. Not to beat it and call it our bitch.
Why is that? Why don’t you strive to be perpetually amazing?
Each and every day we need to push ourselves to be better, to achieve greater things. We need to push ourselves to achieve what we never thought was possible. No matter how big, no matter how small, we need to make forward progress each and every day.
Our limits are only defined by our previous shortcomings. We must constantly explore the boundary of what we have previously identified as our “limit” and then push those boundaries further.
Ordinary people don’t make history.
Ordinary people don’t even make the news.
Don’t be ordinary. Be extraordinary.
Day 31. Way 31. Be Extraordinary. Every. Single. Day.
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Day 30. Way 30. Get off the damn computer and go do something. Forget why you were on the computer in the first place.
Bare essentials. Basic message. Get off the computer.
What is your favorite thing to do when you drag yourself away from the computer?
I believe that a general sense of kindness is an integral part of the human nature. I touched on that with Be Kind, Rewind post from a few days ago, but based on some comments and recent events, I wanted to revisit this topic with a slight twist on the overall message, mostly based on some recent events and a story from today.
All too often, as I have stated before, society has forced the perspective of being only concerned for yourself. We put blinders on and rarely see the world, and people, around us.
We can do no great things, only small things with great love. -Mother Teresa
Sometimes, you need to go out of your way and go above and beyond for someone else. While it might not be a big deal to you, you never know how big of a deal it is to them until you do it.
I have always been a generous person, but after developing a strong business background, the analytical side of me wants to look at overall effort/time output to possible repayment gains. In business, that is fine, but in personal connections and friendship, a whole different story. There is just something that speaks to me about helping others out, especially when I am helping them with something I know a thing or two about.
It was only a few days ago, I found out a new friend was having a rough patch with the never-ending job hunt after some changes that came around earlier this year. After multiple interviews, I offered to take a look into their resume, just to see if I could offer a different point of view.
In my experience of interviewing dozens of people and helping other colleagues sift through hundreds upon hundreds of resumes for multiple jobs, I like to think that in addition to having a pretty solid resume myself, I have a good idea how to make a resume stand out.
Most people tend to make the mistake of not spending time on their resume and end up with a very bland resume that blends in with hundreds of others. Not what you want when you are competing against others for a job, typically based solely on your resume. You need your resume to stand out from the crowd. You already stand out, why doesn’t your resume?
This was exactly the problem with my friend’s resume. She a fantastic person with so much energy and passion, but nobody was seeing her through her resume. The information was there, the qualifications, the education, the drive. Her resume just needed a boost.
So I put off my blog tonight. Put off playing with the new Google+. I spent over 2 hours going through her resume, updating wording, updating the flow, but most importantly, updating the formatting and layout of it. I added color, varying font sizes, footers and bullet points. Now it is a resume that stands out from a crowd. Now it is one that will not get looked over.
And all it took was 2 hours out of my night to make a huge impact in someone else’s life.
If I can do it, anyone can do it.
What are you going to do today to go out of your way for someone else?
Day 29, Way 29. You will never know what impact your small action had until you learn what a big difference it made. Go out of your way to help someone else.
When have you gone out of your way for someone else, just because you could?
Share your stories in the comments below!
Handshake Photo Credit
I would venture to guess that one of the main forms of marketing that everybody from small restaurants to national tourism boards love to leverage are appearances on cable television shows. Speaking from personal experience, seeing shows such as Diner’s, Drive-in’s & Dives, House Hunters International, Drinking Made Easy, No Reservations and Mancations make me add new places to my list of places to visit every single time I see one of the shows.
For many people, this is their primary source of research for their upcoming vacations. Shows that focus on certain states or counties, or even dedicate entire shows to eating or drinking in specific locales are what drive vacationers to plan their trips around and to these destinations.
However, for so many of the people who will read this, including myself, one of two things happens whenever we go on vacation:
- We will take a vacation to a certain destination, fit everything we can into the trip and consider that location as DONE.
- We will visit the destination and spend the time we have dedicated to one attraction or activity, and proclaim as we leave that “I must go back” in order to experience everything else.
I cannot even begin to count the amount of places that I have visited, some as many as 5 or 6 times, and still want to revisit them, if not for the sheer purpose of experiencing even more than I already had.
What this has resulted in for me is scattered experiences for my vacations. To propose a solution for this, I believe it is time to introduce another travel game:
Choose Your Own Adventure
Pick your travel buddies. Watch some TV or do some online research. All depends on the House Rules.
You can set a pre-determined theme or pre-determined destination, complete with research, or you can decide to choose the destination and the theme when you arrive at the airport. Any mixture of this game along with First Flight or Spin The Globe is acceptable.
Once the destination has been determined, pick your theme. Some suggestions are:
- Microbreweries (or just Beer)
- Diners, Drive-ins & Dives
- National Parks
Then your trip has an underlying theme, such as hunting down every microbrewery within a 50 mile radius, or hitting every single restaurant from a No Reservations episode or Diners Drive-Ins & Dives season.
The joy in the simplicity is that instead of doing 15 different things around a city or destination, you are completely and wholly tackling an entire category. By the time you head for home, you can call yourself the not-so-resident experts on that category.
Beer Trip Boston 2011 Anyone? Who is in?
Day 28. Way 28. Stop running around. Choose your own adventure.
Has anyone ever done a themed trip?
Our last was a “Wine Weekend” in El Dorado County, CA.
Share your stories, photos and recommendations in the comments below!
As I sat on the train to NYC with my nephew, I started to reflect on the 31 days, 31 ways to Get Busy Livin’ series that I had undertaken just a few days prior. Besides the thought of “what the hell did I get myself into”, I started writing down possible topics for the month of posts.
Sure, I could blog for ages about traveling to exotic destinations, traveling for free, epic road trips and other great adventures (which I probably will), but the one recurring theme that really resonated with me was the fact of contributing to or giving back to something greater than just us. Making a difference.
I have written about charity walks and volunteering your time, both of which are very noble endeavors and I encourage everyone to participate as much as they can in any related activity, as their actions truly are making a difference in the world. Another tangent of that same discussions hits a chord very close to my heart.
Living in Southern California for pretty much my entire life, I was always surrounded with high-end shopping malls, big box stores and luxury everywhere. Mixed in amongst all of the high end shoe stores and chocolatier shops were designer puppy stores where they hawked puppies from all corners of the country for prices ranging from $800 and up. Most “purebred” puppies would sell for upwards of $2500. The smaller, the most expensive.
A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings
Yet no more than 10 miles away in any direction was a minimum of 3-4 pet shelters or rescue organizations that were overflowing with animals. Some were so packed that if a dog was in their facility for more than a few weeks, they were euthanized. Who would want a 5 year old mutt when you lived in Southern California where money grows on trees and dogs were made to fit in purses.
The problem is that this doesn’t exist just in Southern California, it is across the country. So many dogs, cats and other animals are being abandoned or picked up by animal control and placed in these humane society shelters, most to wait out their final days. Why? Because they grew up to be to big? Because they misbehaved?
There are so many wonderful people who donate their time and energy to saving animals from euthanizing by bring them into foster care, cleaning them up and doing their best to adopt them out to loving homes.
It was just a few years ago when I was looking to adopt a new best friend. After months of searching on Craigslist, Petfinder, and other adoption websites, I came across Theo. Theo was a wonderful, shaggy little Yorkshire Terrier/Wire Haired Terrier mix. He was turned into the shelter by animal control that picked him up on the side of the road. The day before he was sent to be put down, he was saved by a rescue organization who cleaned him up, microchipped him and got all of his shots current.
It was about a month after they fostered him, that I found and adopted Theo. Because Theo was an adopted name only a few weeks old, I renamed him Rusty.
What spoke to me the most was the ability to give a dog like Rusty a second chance at a good life. A life of not running the streets. A life of not having to search for his next meal. A life with a warm bed and the occasional road trip. A second chance at what he deserved.
And he has rewarded me with a great friendship, unmatched loyalty and adoring love.
My story is not unique. There are hundreds and thousands of stories out there, just like mine.
So I ask you, if you are looking for somewhere to donate your time, or even looking to adopt a dog, please look into rescue organizations in your area. Give a dog a second chance.
Day 27. Way 27. Give a dog a 2nd chance. Adopt a new best friend.
Recently I wrote an article on being charitable with your feet that brought up a number of good points that segue right into this blog that I have been wanting to write.
Charity sees the need, not the cause. – German proverb
So often there is a misconception that in order to help charities you must donate money. You see it all over the place. Donate money to help the children read, donate money to help build homes for the poor, donate money to save the rainforest, donate money to a scam that we just made up to get your money but we really are calling it a charity.
Fact of the matter is, there are plenty of organizations that need your time, not your money. Actually, most every single non-profit organization (NPO) thrives on the time and dedication of its volunteers. Whether you can donate 4 days or 4 hours, most any NPO can find a need, from helping build houses, to helping sort groceries, to stapling marketing materials. There are plenty of jobs, some that will use your talents, others that will just use your time.
What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? – Winston Churchill
Here is just a quick list of places and ways that you can donate your time without a penny out of your pocket:
- Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
- Assist with pet care and events for the SPCA
- Staff an event for a charitable organization
- Volunteer with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help cure breast cancer
One of the best places, besides the internet, to find organizations in need of volunteers is your corporate HR department. Most times, larger companies are involved in community driven charities and often use company driven recruitment to assist these organizations with their events.
Is money what all of these non-profit organizations need to function? YES. But the money doesn’t just come in by the truckload, these companies need to operate like a normal, profit-based business and use their events to aid in the fundraising. These companies need selfless volunteers to donate their time and expertise to run a business whose sole goal is to give back to their communities and their causes.
Day 26. Way 26. Selflessness and You. You don’t need to spend money to affect change on a large scale.
I left the list above with some question marks at the end. This is where you come in. Can you help me finish off that list with a recommendation for groups or charities that need volunteer assistance?
Share your recommendations and stories of selflessness below.
The purpose of my blog has been to show my readers that it is quite simple to take positive actions every day towards leading a life worth living, a life out of the ordinary and a life that you can be proud of. Things like changing your attitude, trying new things, getting lost, even relaxing.
But every now and then you need to do something that scares the shit out of you.
Get the adrenaline going, the blood pumping, the heart racing. As Lachlan says, you need to smash your fears.
“Sometimes, it’s the things that scare you most that are most worthwhile.”
Think about that quote and my post about making excuses. We make excuses out of fear. We shy away from things that we are afraid of, but really, why are we afraid of these things? Are we afraid of failure? Rejection? Consequences? Death?
Thanks to my good buddy Joel Runyon for the inspiration for this post, as he recently organized a group of 40+ people to jump out of a perfectly good airplane at a recent summit in Portland, Oregon.
I can guarantee you that a good number of those 40+ people were scared to go skydiving, but they threw caution to the wind, faced their fears and took a flying leap. If 40+ people can do it, why can’t you?
I have never been someone with a lot of fears, in the respect that I typically will throw myself headfirst into things like rock climbing, whitewater rafting and yes, even skydiving.
(unfortunately, I cannot find any of the photos from my skydiving experience, so these will have to do)
I was able to go skydiving a number of years ago for my birthday and let me say this, I would do it again in a heartbeat. After signing all of the disclaimers, waivers, insurance forms, etc, I got to meet with my tandem jumper, also known as the dude who will be strapped to my back for the jump. Typically, when they pair up a jumper with a pro, they try to pick a pro that is the same size or bigger than the jumper, as it allows the pro to be able to control the jump a little better.
For reference sake, I am 6’2″, at the time, around 160lbs. Needless to say, I was a little surprised when I met my pro, Michele. Not a female Michele, rather, a little frenchman, Michele. All 5’8″ and 140lbs soaking wet of him.
I wondered about this a little as we went over the basic instructions of how to do a tandem jump, as Michele explained to me how to hold my hands, arms, legs, etc. He addressed the fact of how much bigger I was and that I would need to listen to him.
Shortly thereafter, a group of 8-10 of us were airborne in a rickety little plan with no seats, just 2 benches. I already had Michele strapped to my back. We made it to our jump altitude and a little lump appeared in my throat.
“Holy Shit, I am really going to hurl myself out of this airplane”
Before I knew it, Michele and I approached the door and with a little tap on my shoulder, I jumped. It was fantastic to be looking down at the California landscape from a height I had only seen as an airline passenger through a protective glass window and pressurized cabin. Now I was hurling through the air at 60-80mph. It was then I realized why Michele was telling me I had to listen to him. Throughout our fall he had to keep kicking my knees and pulling my arms in, as I had a good 8-12″ wingspan on him, so with my arms and legs outstretched.
When we finally came to an unspoken agreement (and he could control our direction, airflow, speed) we fell for what seemed like an eternity. Seeing the Pacific Coast, Mexico, the California desert. It was phenomenal. Michele pulled our chute and we cruised around for a few more minutes, the ground closing in.
After landing safely and seeing the photos of a dot in the sky (read: me) as I descended, it hit me. I just threw myself out of a perfectly good airplane!! And I survived!
Day 24. Way 24. Take a flying leap and do something that scares the shit out of you.
Anyone else ever skydived before?
If not, is it on your bucket list?
I must admit, this is probably the oddest headline I have written, but let me explain, as this is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.
With so many charitable organizations to donate your time to and numerous volunteer organizations that need your support, you seriously cannot go wrong by choosing a cause to get involved with. While out in California, one that Juliet and I seriously got involved with was the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Without a big, long, drawn out explanation, CHOC is very near and dear to our hearts after being instrumental in helping ensure the health of many people very close to us. Children saved from cancer. Babies diagnosed and treated for rare sicknesses. CHOC is just an outstanding organization.
Charity sees the need, not the cause. ~German Proverb
The basis for this blog is one of the many fundraisers that CHOC has each year, but by a sheer numbers standpoint, it is also one of the most successful. The best part, it involves physical activity and over 14,000 of your best friends.
The CHOC Walk was started over 20 years ago, has grown to over 14,000 participants that take over the Disneyland Resort to walk 5 kilometers to help raise over $1.5 million to help CHOC and the children they save. On top of participating in a 5k, the overall event takes 2-3 hours and is an absolutely heartbreaking and uplifting event that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment that you are donating your time (and a few dollars) to a very worthy cause.
The day starts as any 5k does, with walker registration and the congregation of all participants at the end of Main Street U.S.A. within Disneyland. There is a general sense of camaraderie and a buzz from the crowd. Instead of thousands of runners warming up, you have thousands of people that have donated their time to walk for charity to support their child, or their brother, or cousin, or friend’s son, or any of the millions of families that are affected by CHOC.
Posters are held. Matching t-shirts have been made for the team. Babies in strollers. Survivors.
Everyone is there because they have personally been affected by such a wonderful organization as CHOC who dedicates their mission to helping children.
The walk officially starts and a Master of Ceremonies can be heard over the loudspeakers, welcoming each team, each group, each poster, anyone who walks by and waves. Music fills the air. The vibe and buzz never stop. The walk routes throughout Disneyland Park, Disney’s California Adventure Park and finally culminating in Downtown Disney.
Along the way are all the Disney characters, cheering the walkers along, high-fiving all of the walkers, stopping for photo opportunities and generally giving the whole walk a Disney atmosphere.
While the whole event takes over 60 minutes to walk 3.2 miles due to the sheer amount of people, nobody is here to set a record time, or even power walk, for that matter. Everyone is there to share their story, hug and engage others. This walk is for the kids and all the lives they have touched.
So hunt down a charity walk or run, and get involved. Get your exercise. Donate a little money. Give a little time. Be Charitable, with your feet.
Day 22. Way 22. Be Charitable. With your feet.
Have you participated in any charity walks?
If so, which ones?
What other ways would you recommend to be charitable with your feet?
Back on June 6 I talked about turning off your GPS, putting away the map and taking a road less traveled. Getting lost in your local area to find the parts of your town/city/county/state that you have never explored before. Today, we explore a different type of getting lost.
This type of lost is more time consuming, yet easier on the wallet and requires no use of GPS or a map.
Take a step away from work, away from the house, away from whatever your normal, daily life entails, and lose yourself in a story that transports you miles/years/worlds away from here.
Relax a little. Read a little.
No work manuals, no tech journals, no textbooks, no white papers, no cook books. Good old fashioned stories. Stories that engross you. Stories that envelop you. Stories that engross you to the point that before you know it you have spent the past 4 hours reading, completely lost in the story, without even realizing it.
“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” – Mark Twain
Ever since the advent of the e-Reader, I have fallen in love with reading again. I used to buy paperback books that looked interesting from the book store, but whenever I couldn’t find the time to make it down there, or Target did not have anything too interesting on their shelves, it seems that my recreational reading fell to only when I traveled, as I would but the books from the store in the airport terminal to read on the plane flight ahead of me.
Now, there is Amazon.
I have found my love of reading again. From fiction to documentaries, novels to short stories, the virtual book stores that can be found online, complete with recommendation engines, ratings, feedback, finding books has never been easier.
It has never been easier to find a story to get engrossed in, a story to lose yourself in.
A story to find yourself in.
Day 20. Way 20. Get lost, again, this time, in a book. Lose yourself, find yourself and be transported while doing so.
What books have you read lately?
What books would you recommend to others?
Share your favorites, stories and recommendations in the comments below.