Tag: Motivation


June 19: Throw Caution to the Wind

Every once in a while, you need to stop playing it safe, stop making excuses and throw caution to the wind.  Take a chance on someone.  Take a chance on yourself.

Today, instead of giving made up examples and speaking to direct reasons to take my advice, I am going to share a story and throw caution to the wind in hopes that my readers can glean my message from my story.

Just 1 year ago, my (then) fiance and I had just returned from our trip up to Sonoma and Napa, CA where I proposed (and she said YES) to our routine daily jobs and our stable, safe life.

In that past year, we have been a little busy:

Needless to say, we have thrown caution to the wind a few times.  But nothing like this weekend.

This weekend’s excursion was decided upon less than a week ago and turned out to be such a great experience, a testament to my optimism and belief in the generosity of others and how paying it forward really works.

It was around 4 weeks ago that I first came across Team Cocktail on Twitter through a Thursday tweet up that happens ever y week.  We had exchanged tweets, I had checked out their website and loved some of their gear.  I had even tried out a few of their cocktails that were posted on their blog.  I was a fan. I even bought a shirt.

After multiple more interactions, all on Twitter, Juliet and I took a big leap of faith and threw caution to the wind.  Team Cocktail was announcing their plans for their 2012 cruise, a group discount brought the prices down to a reasonable level, so Juliet and I jumped on it. We put down our deposit and are booked for the Team Cocktail Cruise in January 2012, our first cruise, headed towards the South Caribbean and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You heard me correctly, we booked our first ever cruise with a group of people we have never even met in real life.

Shortly thereafter, I did a blog writeup for Team Cocktail about one their amazing pineapple mojito.  Great advertising for my blog and their site, it was a win-win situation and helped out Team Cocktail as they prepared for their trip from Kansas to Washington D.C. for  the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Fest.

A few more emails were exchanged and on about a week’s notice, Juliet and I made the 310 mile trek down from NY to DC to help out Team Cocktail with being exhibitors hawking Team Cocktail swag to all of the party-goers in Washington DC!

We drank, ate, partied, sold, bartered and had an absolutely great time with Trey and Lyndsey from Team Cocktail and are looking forward to the January cruise even more so now that we have met Trey and Lyndsey in person.  Great fun, great people and the start of a great friendship.

None of this would have been possible if we didn’t take a chance, threw caution to the wind and made a 310 mile drive to meet some people from Twitter.

Day 19. Way 19. Throw caution to the wind. Take a chance. You might be surprised with the outcome.

Share a story about when you threw caution to the wind and any success stories to go along with it in the comments below!


June 18: Create a Bucket List

This is a guest post by fellow blogger-extrordinaire Elle Swim.  She writes a Bucket List blog, so this is kind of her specialty.

Do you ever feel like your days are slipping away from you?  Do you ever wish that you accomplished more over the weekend or wonder where the time went? Are you tired of experiencing the same thing every day?

What did you accomplishment this week?  This month?  What are your upcoming goals?  What would you like to achieve?  Examine the things that you have done and consider the things that you would like to do.  Having a bucket list reminds you of what is important to you and what goals you would like to achieve.

Creating a bucket list is much like planning out the things that you want to experience in your life.  By writing things down, you are more apt to achieve them. Take time to reexamine and reevaluate your desires and then head out and do them.

So, are you ready to live the life of your dreams? Are you ready to create a list of your own? If you need a little inspiration or a few ideas, please take a moment to look over my list.

Now think.

  • What if you were to die tomorrow?  What would you like to see or do before tomorrow comes?
  • Who would you like to meet?
  • What would you like to see?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • What would you like to do?
  • If you won the lottery, how would you spend your winnings?
  • What achievements would you want to have?
  • What are your hopes and dreams?
  • What skills would have liked to acquire?

Think of as many things that you would like to see, feel, experience, accomplish and do and jot them all down.  Aim for at least 100 goals and you pass that amount than good for you.  The sky is the limit! Get busy living!

Day 18. Way 18. June 18: Create a Bucket List. Stop living vicariously and simply start living.

Where would you like you go?

What would you love to do if money and time were of no importance?

What is on your bucket list?

Share your thoughts, ideas and dreams with us in the comments below!


June 17: Set a Deadline

I admit it. I am a lister.

I create lists for everything.

  • task lists
  • to-do lists
  • grocery lists
  • project lists
  • wish lists
  • contact lists
  • activity lists
  • bulleted lists
  • see my point?

For me, they are easier to manage than random notes for things I need to take care of.  It offers organization and sense of order.  They help me prioritize the items that need my attention.

But they haven’t been working for me.

In business, I have made heavy use of Microsoft Project and Gantt charts to help define large scale projects, establish timelines, responsibilities, target start and completion dates, available resources as well as estimated deadlines.  These charts, commonly displayed as a task list, were essential to almost any project because it kept my engineering team and myself on task, on schedule and within budget.

So if these lists that I love and abide by so much in my professional life are working so fantastically, why aren’t they working for me in my personal life?

I have had lists in one way, shape or form for some time.  From using sticky notes, written notebooks and dedicated applications. Nothing was working.  I was using Evernote for my task lists and other miscellaneous lists.  It worked great, synchronized between web, computer and phone.  But the one feature it is lacking for a to-do list application is the feature that I needed the most.

The ability to set due dates and deadlines.

I had these great lists, things I need to do, items needing my attention.  However, without actively staring at sticky notes, opening my notebook or loading up Evernote every single day to check when things were due.

It was not until about a week ago when I started using a program called Wunderlist that I realized the error of my ways.  The program is awesome and I love it as a dedicated task management app.  You can create tasks, set due dates, set priority, everything.  It lets you know when items are due in the next 7 days, due today, or overdue.

I need deadlines.

Now with deadlines and alerts, tasks are getting knocked off my to-do list left and right and ahead of schedule.

Now it is your turn.

Take your to-do list, or create one if you don’t have one.  Prioritize it and add deadlines.

Look good?  Awesome.

Now take those deadlines and bump them up a day.  Agressive? Yes.  Out of the realm of possibility? Of course not.

Push yourself to get things accomplished.  Even the smallest, most mundane task.  Get it knocked out ahead of schedule.  It will energize you and boost your confidence and make taking care of the next item on the list, just that much easier.

Day 17. Way 17.  June 17: Set Deadlines. Knock tasks off that list.  Boost your confidence.

Do you use lists like I do?

What do you use to manage those lists?

How do you keep the deadlines that you set?

Let me know your methods or suggestions in the comments below!

hourglass photo / clock face photo


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 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!


June 12: Take a Hike


Be Gone.

Take a hike.

Find a mountain

Find a trail

Grab a few bottles of water

Take a walk.

Get the blood flowing.

Hiking is great for the mind, body and soul.  It get’s you out into nature where you get away from the toils of society, the hustle and bustle of the city life and everything that comes with it.  It provides opportunity to connect with nature, free your mind to wander to different places and find a different focus.  It also provides us with one hell of a workout.

Now maybe a hike or workout is associated with losing weight, and in reality, we don’t all need to lose weight, but there are benefits that can be gained by simply being more active are well proven.  There are many stories of people that have bettered their life through leading a more active lifestyle coupled with a complete and healthy diet.

I had a friend whom I used to work with that over the course of 12 months, she walked between 2 and 4 miles on her 1 hour lunch every day.  Along with eating healthy, she lost 75lbs during that time.  When I would talk to her about what she gained the most from it, it wasn’t the weight loss, it wasn’t the fact that clothes fit better or she had more confidence.  Her favorite part of the whole endeavor was that she now felt ALIVE.  She had energy and she wasn’t afraid of anything.  She beat her weight, she could beat anything.  Already a strong single mother, her weight loss journey turned her into someone with a zest for life that was unparalleled.

But I am not here to tell you about leading a healthy lifestyle, or watching your intake of calories, or any other diet/health related topic.  There are plenty of online resources that are qualified to tell you about those things.  I am not one of them.

What I am here to challenge you to do is to get out and find a mountain.  Then fucking conquer it.

You have absolutely nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

Think you can do it?  I think you can too.

Day 12. Way 12. Find a mountain, take a hike, conquer it.

Are you a fan of hiking?

Have any hiking stories of amazing peace and tranquility or any photos of amazing views?  Share them below in the comments!


hiking photo credit


June 9: The Long Road Home

As of January 28th, 2011, I walked away from corporate America.

Since then, I have not driven to work, or home from work. I have sat behind a computer in a hotel, driven Juliet to and from work in the snow, driven cross country, everything, except for gone to an actual job, which means, I miss the most important part of my day that I looked forward to for so many years.

I can’t take the long way home from work.

The short way home is filled with other motorists, other commuters, large, monotonous interstates, boring scenery, exhaust fumes, McDonalds, car dealerships, everything I hated about Southern California.  Only when time was of the essence did I take the short way. Whenever possible, I opted for a different alternative.

My mindset was that we, as cubicle dwelling, corporate America denizens, spend 1/3 of our day staring at computer screens, muted cloth walls, drab meeting rooms, stoic water coolers and so much more, why not take advantage of the time away from work, the time we feel is ours and ours alone.

When the opportunity presents itself, indulge your curiosity, discover your inner explorer and find a new route home from work.  Take side streets, a different interstate, a canyon road, a dirt path.

Leave the worry of work behind and embrace the unnatural path.  Free your mind, seek out empty roads.  Discover an unknown road. Don’t make your drive home just about getting home, make it an adventure.  Enjoy the journey for the journey, not just due to the destination.

Too often the drive home from work is nothing more than an extension of job that we just spent the last 9+ hours at, yet we are not getting paid to think about/worry about/dwell on MORE WORK.  The mental break needs to come when you hit the driver’s seat.

Break the monotony and change up the drive home.  Take the long way.  Change your scenery, change your view.  Arrive home with a clear mind, a fresh outlook and a renewed vigor for life.

Day 9. Way 9. Change your scenery. Change your view. Break the monotony. Take the long way home.

Do you take the short way home, or the long way?

What do you do to break the monotony?

I would love to hear your methods of breaking the work mindset, please share them below in the comments.




open road photo credit


June 8: Relax!

In this series of posts, only a short 8 days in, I have brought up relevant ways for you to take action and get busy living your life.  Most include pushing yourself outside the boundaries of the social norm, outside of your comfort zone.

But what happens when you have an 8a-5p job, a spouse and 2 kids?  5 days a week you come home from work (or are home with the kids all day) and make dinner, take care of the kids, wash dishes and all sorts of other household chores

My guess is adding something like getting lost, spinning the globe, road trips and everything else just seems tedious, too expensive or just not a reality.

I understand.  I have been there.

The last thing you want is something else taking up your hard earned money and your precious little time.  This is just for you.

Once a day, when your day is winding down, instead of moving onto the next “to-do” item, instead of checking those work emails on your Blackberry, put down Twitter, log off Facebook, and do something you probably haven’t done today.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

Take 30 minutes and just relax, sit on the porch and enjoy the sunset, talk to your spouse, enjoy a cigar, enjoy a glass of wine, just… do nothing.  And LOVE it.

With such a busy life, the 30 minutes should give a good time to just unwind, work through things in your mind, clear your mind even.

So, stop reading my blog, and go relax…

Day 8. Way 8.  Do Nothing. Relax. Unwind. Love it.

Do you take time out to just relax and do NOTHING?

Where is your favorite place to sit, relax and reflect?


rocking chair photo credit


June 6: Get Lost

In today’s world we are ruled by technology.  Even our vacations and other travels have become ruled by technology. We research vacations online, we book hotels, airfare, rental cars, excursions, all online.  We get to our vacation area, put an address in the GPS Navigation on our phones or in the car and off we go.

Thanks to technology, we now know the shortest, fastest, most efficient way to get from point A to point B.  Typically, that route includes major interstates, highways, thruways and routes.  Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.

Besides, with technology now, we don’t need to actually go out and discover the world around us.  Google Earth does that for us.

When we want to find a new restaurant in town, we don’t go find one, we get on Yelp or Foodspotting.

The examples could last for quite some time, but the fact of the matter is we, as a society, myself included, have become far too dependent on technology in our daily lives.  I even know people who use the GPS in their cars to navigate them from their house to the office and back, just so they don’t have to really pay attention to the world around them, they have a computer telling them where to go and where to turn.

For sure, you have to be lost to find a place that can’t be found, elseways everyone would know where it was.

And just when you think you are completely lost, keep going.

See what you find.  See all the new areas you discover.  Maybe you will end up in a neighboring city you had not visited before.  Maybe you will come across a waterfall and river you never knew were there.

Don’t get frustrated you are lost.  Being lost is the point (so long as you aren’t going in circles, then, by all means, be frustrated) of these excursion.  To find new things in the world around you.  To find a new you in the world.  Time to think. Time to dream. Time to enjoy the unknown.

Only when you are good and lost (or find yourself in the ghetto) go ahead and turn on the GPS navigation, get your atlas or map out, and find your way home.

Day 6. Way 6. Get Lost. Find yourself. Or at least find out more about the world around you.

Have you ever found something while lost?

Have you ever gotten lost on purpose?

What is the best restaurant/city/landmark/landscape that you have found when lost?

Share your getting lost stories and photos in the comments below!

Also, props to anyone who can name the movie which I took that quote from, without googling it.

Photo 1 Credit


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.