Recently, I held my book release party for my second book, Living the Dream. It was, by all measures a great success. Not only did I get to share my books with many new readers, but many wonderful friends returned to check out my newest literary offering. Having this happen made me realize several things. It also gave me several great feelings. Thus, I stole the title of this blog from a song in the popular Mr. Rogers children’s television show. I would like to share them with you in this blog here today. You will also have a chance to see many pictures of this fun event.
The first feeling was that of excitement. It may have felt like nervous quite a bit, but I was truly excited to bring this latest book to the world. It was 5 years of writing along with an additional 3 years to get it to market. After waiting a total of 8 years to share all you have learned with the world can feel like an explosion when it finally happens! It is my wish to put this book in the hands, and more to the point, in front of the eyes of everyone who could gain something from reading it. I was excited to see what everyone thought of the contents and excited to hear how it helped them. The initial response was that everyone loved the foreword written by my lovely Margie. As I write this blog the next day, I am still filled with anticipation and excitement to hear what everyone thought of the event and more importantly, what everyone thinks of the book!
Another great feeling I had was that of friendship. Wait, is friendship a feeling? I say it is. Seeing all of these great people I treasure so dearly show up to support me was overwhelming. I wish I had the time to sit down and thank each and every one of them. Later, as things slowed down, I did have the chance to walk around and thank a great deal of people. I was so grateful for all of the new friends, friends I have not seen in a long while, soul friends, coworkers, and my best friend and love of my life. I enjoyed taking pictures with several people and being able to discuss my first book with them, if they had indeed purchased one.
Most powerful feeling of the night? Grateful! There was so much to be grateful for this evening. Watching some people enjoy a beverage and others dive right into the book. The weather called for severe thunderstorms, it didn’t even rain. I was grateful to have a wonderful venue like Westallion Brewery to hold this event. Not only were people able to purchase one of my books, they were able to enjoy a wonderful beer and each other’s company after. An unexpected surprise was the adorable plant in a smiley face mug given to me by my great friend Shannon. I was grateful for the amazing balloon sculpture created by our friend Bella. So thankful that everyone seemed to have a good time and shared that feeling with each other. Margie gave me a lot to be grateful for as well. She made some delicious cupcakes that had smiles on everyone’s face. She helped me set everything up and take everything down. Not to mention she gave me a great big hug when it was all over. To have all of these wonderful people in my life is a gift that could not be bought for all of the money in the world. That, my friends, makes me a very rich man!
Enjoying such a great evening next to the lady I love, surrounded by great friends was truly Living the Dream. I could not have hoped for a better result. It is my sincerest desire that those who have this book will use it to help turn the lives they have into lives they love even more. I know that I am living the dream and I hope you are too!
Wealth can be defined many ways. One that I really think matters is relationships. Let us face it, if you have all of the money and possessions in the world but nobody to enjoy them with you are about as broke as they come. I have been wanting to write about my outstanding wealth of great relationships in my life for a while and thought that now would be as good of time as any. I wanted to do so in some sort of orderly fashion. I knew there was no way I would be able to include everyone. If you are not mentioned in today’s post please do not take it as a slight in any way. There are so many great friends I am blessed to have it would take a whole post just listing their names.
First, I wanted to talk about some of the people I have known the longest. These people have been in my life so long it has me wondering if I am that good of a friend or if I just happen to befriend patient and forgiving people. In reflection I would say it is a little bit of both. My friend Matt, or ‘Big Sexy’ as those close to him know him, has been in my life since the age of 7. Matt is not only a fun and entertaining person you would love to have at any party, but one of the most caring and honest people I know. Whenever I am asked to describe him, my answer is always the same. “Matt is one of those people you would give the keys to your house, go on vacation and not worry a second.” My friends Amy and Jon I have known since kindergarten. Both of them have went on to raise amazing families and are a great example of what a parent should be. I am lucky to still have both of them in my life. My friend Jeremy I have known the longest. I believe we met when I was 4. His mom and mine were close friends. Although I don’t have the pleasure of talking to him that much these days, I can admire his passion for his beliefs and for the arts.
The next group of people I have known quite some time as well, but I am only now able to appreciate how wonderful they are. My Friend Kelly and I went to high school together and interacted a little. Later, I discovered her wonderful ability to cut hair and she began to be the one to cut my hair every time I needed a haircut. It was Kelly that I went to when I decided to go from decades of long hair to a mohawk. I can still remember the combination of shock and excitement when I told her that is what I was looking for. My friend Jodi and I also had went to the same high school. We really didn’t talk much then, but reintroduced through a mutual friend Russ (more on him later) we reconnected and she has been so sweet to both myself and my lovely Margie (more on her later as well) My friend Angie has been in my life for a long time as well. We still run into each other at local functions. It has been a true blessing to see what a great mother and example for her children she has become. My friends Jennifer and Scott are both amazing people. I had the pleasure of knowing both of them for years. Scott I have always admired for his integrity. He has always been a man of great character. Jennifer and I started out on the wrong foot to say the least. When we met we were told the other was the cause of a host of different situations that was not true. Fortunately for me, I met Jennifer again through her father Dale, who was one of the nicest men I have ever met. We were able to discuss the misinformation we both received and have become fast friends. I admire the work she does with foster animals. Another great things about Jennifer and Scott is they got married and are raising a wonderful family. Great when 2 wonderful friends come together.
Next are people I have met through my career in writing. It is my passion and meeting these people have certainly impacted my life for the better. My Aussie friend Kaylene and I initially met discussing music we both enjoyed. We became good friends and remain so to this day. We have exchanged gifts with each other and I really look forward to visiting her some day. She is doing an amazing job raising her two boys. Andrada is a friend of mine in Romania. She is also an author and a host of an amazing podcast. She is a great example of how to put all of your skills to use. Aura is my Romanian friend who lives in the United States. She is the publisher of See Beyond magazine. I will be forever grateful to Aura for allowing me the opportunity to share my talents with her audience. Carole is another amazing and driven woman I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Carole is an accomplished journalist and now hosts a show called Positively Milwaukee. The show highlights positive things in our community. She put together an amazing piece on me and my writing. I was so grateful for all of her hard work.
Then there are the people I have met in my bartending/DJ career. My friend Bret is truly one in a million. Confident to be himself, but always caring about others. He has a great talent singing and performing as well as an amazing brother in Bart and sister in Alisa, both who also belong on this list. My friends Kelly and Steve not only look good together but are both amazing people. Steve has offered Margie and I some very helpful advice when it comes to our shows. Kelly is amazing behind the bar as we DJ, and does so much to help so many others. My friend Kelly (blushes) always has a smile for those who need it. She has a caring heart that can be seen in her work with the victims of child abuse and their families. Finally, my friend Travis. I met him when we both were in a club I was working at. Immediately we clicked and discovered my much our values aligned. Working together we not only helped a lot of people, we started a movement.
Even the Post Office, as dark and dreary as it can be, has offered some unique friendships for me. My friends John, Tom and Don all have been great to have in my life. From exploring culinary offerings to pondering the cinema, they have always brought a great deal into my world. My friends Jim and Tony are both great people. Tony and I have discussed music and Jim and I have went on road trips to experience great music. We even appear in a music video together. My friend Laura adds much needed comic relief to a serious atmosphere. Her wit and humor make the day more enjoyable. My friend Chris and I always have a lot to discuss. Whether that be just finding the humor in our work day or discussing some Native topic, it is always a better day when Chris is at work.
Then there are the people I really have close and lengthy conversations with. You have heard me mention my friend Nick before. We meet for coffee, although not nearly enough. We never know what the subject will be, but the conversation is always deep and thought-provoking. My friend Shannon has been in my life for a rather long time. We share many amazing deep conversations. We have many of the same literary tastes, love nature and both have a fondness for sunsets. We actually refer to each other as soul-friends, because ‘friend’ seems like to shallow of a term. My wonderful sister Michelle. Although we found each other late in life, we have made up for lost time. We have shared many great adventures and always have each others back. My ‘brother from another mother’ Russ is one person I really treasure. Friends since I was 13, we have been in bands together, we have been in trouble with the law together. We have seen each other through heartache and loss. We do our best to talk every week. When we do, something great always comes out of it. Although he was smart enough to move away to a warmer climate we still travel to meet each other.
Then there is my mother. She may never forgive me for putting her picture in here, but I couldn’t leave her out. We have developed a tradition of taking walks and exploring nature together. What amazing adventures we have had including getting stuck in the rain several times at my favorite state park. Speaking of which, every year we attend the state fair together. We have so much fun it would be hard to explain. Whether it is a fun dinner out or in, or even a game night, I am always thankful and grateful for times with my mom.
Last and certainly not least, is my best friend, my beautiful lady, my Margie. My great treasure. Together we have faced some of the hardest situations life can throw at a couple. We have overcome or are overcoming all of them with love. She is always there acting silly and making me laugh. She has brought into my life her fun-loving aunt and uncle, her wonderful children and grand children as well as many friends. Through her I have found a whole new way to love foods I didn’t even think I liked, new ways to enjoy the holidays, and ways to relax and be yourself. Most of all, Margie has shown me how to be a better man and a better person. It is because of her love that I am always looking to push myself to improve. She is always making me proud with her artist creations, the way she cares for friends and how much she loves family.
As you can see, when it comes to amazing people my life is truly abundant. I have been blessed greatly and I can imagine you are too. I invite you to share some of the amazing people you are grateful for in the comments below. Remember, if you have someone to share with in your life, you too have an amazing treasure.
Who wouldn’t want better friendships? Friendships filled with more understanding, more love and more productivity. It would be safe to say anyone reading a blog like this would. To do so we are going to take a brief look into the world of chemistry. Don’t let that scare you. We are going to keep this very simple. In school chemistry was not my best subject, so nothing here will be too complex. We are going to look at one of the most basic equations of chemistry and that is water. When two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen get together, it is not just 3 molecules getting together for coffee and hanging out. In this case a fourth thing is created and that is water.
You may be asking, and for good reason, what any of this has to do with friendship. It works the same way with people. In Napoleon Hill’s timeless book Think and Grow Rich, he mentions forming what he calls a ‘mastermind group’. That is a group of different people, all with different talents, that are working towards a common goal. The author claims that when these people gather together a new person is formed. One who is the combination of the thoughts of all the people present in that group.
One of the highlights of any day for me is to share conversation with someone who shares my passion in self-improvement. I always walk away with so much more knowledge and a different perspective than I had before the meeting. In the past week, I have had the pleasure of having 2 such experiences. The first came when a friendly and wonderful fellow named Ricky offered to buy me a cup of coffee for my birthday. It was the first time the two of us had an opportunity to sit down and chat. Ricky owns a local fitness studio called Peak Physique here in West Allis, where I live. Not knowing too much about each other I was wondering how the conversation might flow. It was amazing. We both spoke at length about topics in both the fitness and self-improvement industry. I left with a great deal of new information about the world of fitness as well as a new self-improvement book to read by an author we mutually admire, Jocko Willink.
The best thing about this meeting to me was the actions taken by my new friend Ricky. I am not sure why this is, but not many adults find it easy to make new friends. This gentleman thought that it might be beneficial for us to meet and become friends. Not only was this a very astute thought, but it took some courage to reach out and put into motion. I commend and thank him for taking this action. Not only did we both make a new friend, we discovered we also shared some amazing friends in common. Jodi, whom I have had the honor of knowing for some time, teaches yoga at his gym. Curtis, the gentleman who served us coffee, as well as several compliments, was a mutual friend. I want to take a second to recognize Curtis is also a man with a brilliant mind when it comes to self-improvement and I am eagerly looking forward to sitting down to a conversation with him.
Another divine new connection I made was with a very talented journalist, Carole Meekins. She had reached out to me to inquire if I would be interested in being interviewed for the show she hosts called Positively Milwaukee. It appears on WTMJ, the local NBC affiliate. As you can imagine, I am a big fan of this show which highlights the positive aspects of the city. Carole is a well-established journalist who is amazing at what she does. I was excited and honored to be part of this show. Little did I know, that would be just the tip of the iceberg of what I would get out of this meeting. I spoke on the phone with Carole a few days ahead of the planned day of filming to exchange information. I learned that not only was she a talented interviewer but had a warm and thoughtful personality. She was well read in the field of self-improvement and we talked for a good while about different authors and speakers we were familiar with.
The day of filming arrived and we shared some more great conversation. I hope this is also the beginning of a great friendship. It has always been my goal to host my own television show interviewing people and I cannot thank Carole Meekins enough for the opportunity to be a part of a show that displays how to do this better than any show I have watched in recent memory. From my new friendship with Carole I have gained a few different resources to explore as well as a renewed passion for exploring my dream of finding a medium in which to explore my desire to interview and uncover the beauty in all of the amazing people that surround us every day.
If you are thinking that you might like to establish a friendship with someone new, I encourage you to pursue that friendship. Both parties will walk away with far more than they started with. It seems comical to me that children seem far more adept at making friends than adults. If you need a little trick that might make it easier, I have one for you. As you are thinking about asking someone new out for a cup of coffee, a drink or just a great conversation, think of how you would feel knowing someone finds you valuable enough to want to pursue a friendship. You will never know the gifts hidden inside someone’s soul until you choose to unwrap them with friendship.
We begin this series with an idea that came to me as we were doing our 30-day Gratitude challenge. This idea will take a small amount of work, but the return on your effort will bring you closer relationships, happiness and a surprising amount of good fortune. I promised these ideas will be quick and simple but will have a big impact in your life and this first one is a great example.
Out of all the areas of our life, our relationships with others have the biggest impact on our life. It can be our greatest source of joy if we take care of our relationships. It can also be the biggest area of stress and sadness if we do not take care of them. Today’s idea will make sure in about 5 minutes a day we will breathe new life into every relationship we have. We will do so by increasing the closeness in that relationship and make the other party feel great about themselves. By the end of 30 days we will have a group of friends that are closer than ever and it will only take 5 minutes of effort a day on our part.
Does this sound like an impossible task? It is easier than you think and the results will surprise you. Let me off a word of encouragement and instruction as we begin. If you forget to do the exercise on a particular day, fear not. You can either do two the next day or extend the 30 days an extra day. We all forget or have tough days. If you do have a tough day, spending 5 minutes doing this exercise may help turn that day around. Now that we have covered the paramters, let us get into what we will be doing in these 30 days.
Before your 30 days are set to begin, there are a few things you will need to get ready. Go to your local store (Walmart, Meijer, Kroger or any other store will do) and pick up a box or two of thank you cards. These cards do not need to be fancy. Then compile a list of those people in your life who mean a lot to you. You will not need all 30 in order to start. Just a few will do. In this world of Facebook and email, it may surprise you how few addresses of your friends you know. If you do not have their address, just ask. Tell them you are going to send them a little something. Some people may need reassurance you are not going to sell them anything or put their name on a mailing list. This has nothing to do with either of those things.
Perhaps you have put together what we are about to do. Every evening you are going to write out one card thanking a person for what they bring into your life. You will address it and drop it in the mail the following morning. It is true we can do this via messanger, text or email, but in a world where those are all too common, an actual letter will help you stand out.
Instead of the usual bills and advertisement that we recieve in the mail, imagine opening a simple thank you card letting you know you are appreciated and why. How would that affect your day? How would it change your feelings towards the person who sent it to you? Now multiply that times 30 people, imagine the impact that would have on your life. This does not have to be limited to friends and family. You could send a thank you card to the staff at the local coffee shop you write at. You could send one to the teller at the bank that always provides service with a smile. You could pass a card to a coworker that makes your days on the job a little more bearable. The possibilities are endless.
At the end of 30 days you will have warmed the hearts of 30 people that share life with you. This will lead to 30 more smiles. It will help bring joy to 30 people when they think of you. It will help 30 different people understand they make a positive difference in the lives of others.
How do you think this will change your life? Your relaltionships will improve. Strangers will become friends. Friends will become like brothers. By taking merely 3 to 5 minutes to write a simple thank you card and listing some of the reasons you appreciate them, it will affect their lives and yours positively. I look forward to hearing who you send cards to and how it impacts their life and yours.
Tomorrow we will look at a way to magically transform your most important relationship in a mere 30 days.
Welcome back to our celebration of 30 days of gratitude. Each day we will focus on one area of our life to be grateful for. If this is your first day doing this I invite you to go back and do the days before this. You can do them in your head, write them down and home, but it is my hope you decide to share what you are grateful for with our community here on Secret2anamazinglife.com. There are no rules. Do one day or do all 30. Let us now look at today’s area of gratitude.
Another list that could be quite long. How do you pick just one? The good news? You don’t have to pick just one! If you are anything like me, there are just people you are grateful for. You think they are awesome and they make your life amazing. You just know that, but how many times have you sat down to actually say that? Better yet, how often do you tell them? I once had someone tell me, “I would tell somebody that I am grateful for them, but it just feels so weird.” That may be true for the reasons we mentioned last post. We are out of practice. I always respond by asking those people how they would feel if someone told them how grateful they were to have them in their lives. “I guess it would be a little weird, but it would feel good.” is usually the answer I get. If it would make you feel good why are you depriving someone else that same feeling?
We only have one more day of this 30-day gratitude challenge left. Perhaps you could start a 30-day challenge of telling one person a day that you are grateful for having them in your life? Who would you start with? Are there certain people you have in your life that always make your day a little more pleasant? Sometimes we may not even encounter these people, but just knowing they are there or reflecting on memories we have with them makes our lives better. Stopping for even 10 minutes to think about the people we are grateful for in our lives will definitely change our state for the better. It will also help us to realize how many amazing people we have in our lives. Journal about it and it will become even more powerful!
I am going to include the smallest of lists here. Trust me if I wrote everyone I was grateful for this would turn out to be my third book! If you don’t see your name on this list, trust that I am still very grateful for you. I am grateful for my friends Russ, Nick and Kelly (a.k.a. Kaitlyn Sr.) for having deep and insightful conversations. I am grateful for my friends Kelly and Sonny who do so much to help the victims of child abuse and their families. I am grateful for my friend Shannon who turns me on to great books to read as well as helps answer many of my questions on nature. I am grateful for my friend Kurt who is always available for a conversation. I am grateful for the coworkers who make my day job more amusing. I am grateful for my friends Alisa, Mary and Amelia who are brave enough to share their answers of what they are grateful for on Social Media. I am grateful for my new friend Eduardo who not only provides insightful comments on my website, but offers compliments as well. I am grateful for my mother who is not only up for most adventures, but keeps the attitude “It will be ok.”
No gratitude list of mine would be complete without mention of the most beautiful, wonderful person in my life, Margie. Not only I am grateful she is in my life, but there are so many reasons I am grateful she is. She provides encouragement when I need it. She pushes me when I might not want to do what I should. Margie loves me even at times when I probably do not deserve it. I am grateful for the delicious meals she cooks. I am grateful for all of the crazy things that she does that make her one of the most unique people I have ever known and give my eyebrows a chance to get some exercise. I am grateful (and very proud) to have such a beautiful and sexy lady to call my very own. I am grateful I am having to cut this list short or this could be my fourth book. How grateful to have a partner so wonderful that listing all of the reasons you are grateful for them would fill an entire book!
How about you? Who are some of the people you are most grateful for? Call them out! Let them know right here and now how grateful you are for them! It will make you feel grateful and them feel great!
Last week we began to look at what legacy we are going to leave behind. By taking a first look at my upcoming book How to Live Forever, we saw that the true way to live on after we are gone is to touch as many lives as possible while we are here. Today’s quote breaks it down a little more by letting us know that no matter what happens in life we should be good to each other.
My question for you, my amazing readers, is what will you do this year to be good to others and cement your legacy? Also, how are you able to treat others good while your own life may be in chaos? I look forward to hearing all of your ideas and suggestions. Let us start a discussion on different ways we can treat each other good.
In my book A Happy Life for Busy People, I advocate creating a ‘happy playlist’ for when life throws you a challenge. This also works well when your inspiration seems to be lacking. When Margie and I are about to DJ a show and I am just not feeling it I usually make some of the first few songs we play ones that get me fired up so I can do a good job for the people that are there for the show. Sometimes you just need a little injection of inspiration, and often times music is a quick and easy fix.
There is another element that I rely on to give me an extra boost of inspiration and that is people. Before we all bust out into a rendition of Use Somebody by Kings of Leon, let me explain what I am saying. After a tough day at my job in the US Post Office, or even after a long seminar or book signing I cannot wait to get back to the loving arms of my beautiful Margie. She can be so good at providing a sense of peace and repose. She also can provide love, encouragement and humor. I am grateful for her each and every day.
Just the other evening I had the pleasure of getting together for coffee with my good friend Nick. Both of us share with each other our thoughts on spirituality, motivation and all things metaphysical. When I leave the company of my good friend I not only am fired up to share some of the great conclusions we discussed, but also have learned a great deal by sharing a hot cup of coffee and a great conversation with my friend. I am also very grateful for Nick and the conversations we share.
Think about your life, do you have certain people who bring out the best in you? Maybe you have others that inspire you to be your best? It might serve you well to make a list of those people and what joy they bring into your life. Then, make a conscious effort to spend more time around them. Your life will automatically become one filled with passion and inspiration.
These days everyone is in the market for an all-in-one product. Hair and body wash, works on your dishes as well as the dog! That sort of thing. Who can blame us? In a world where there seems so much to do and so little time, those types of products can save us not only time and money, but stress and headaches as well.
Did you know there is an all-in-one product for your soul? That’s right! It can not only relieve your stress, put your problems in perspective, but can also do the same for others! That is helping someone with their problems. It may seem selfish to say altruism can do wonders for you, but it is true. Most of you know when I was down and out on my luck and my job had reduced my hours to a mere fifth of what they once were, I spent the extra time helping in a homeless shelter. Not only did that allow me to take my wonderful people skills to those who could really use a smile, but it helped me even more. Having a job that only was supplying me with 10 hours a week at the time seemed like a nightmare. When I saw and was able to help those who may have not been able to work for several years and did not even have a place to call home, I felt rather guilty for worrying about my problem. It seemed rather small in comparison.
Even more profound, was the fact that a lot of these people were happier than I was. They found the joy in something as simple as a smile. They knew what was truly valuable and taught me a great deal about maintaining a positive outlook in a challenging situation. When all was said and done, I can assure you no matter how much I helped them, I was the one who actually received the greatest help.
It doesn’t have to be the homeless or any other challenged demographic, although I would encourage everyone to lend a hand to those in need. It can be as simple as taking time out of a busy day to give your friend some of your undivided attention. Not only will you be doing a great service to your friend and strengthening your friendship as well, but you will leave with a peaceful joy in your heart at the very least. Knowing you are not alone in the problems of the world can help ease your stress and put a little spring in your step!
I am not sure why this is, but when it comes to doing anything for ourselves people have a very funny view about it. Whether that is spending quality time alone with our thoughts, needing to turn down a social invitation because we are a little burnt out, or doing something because it brings us joy, people view it as selfish. To be honest, nothing could be further from the truth. The greatest thing we can do is work on ourselves.
No matter what we are striving to do for others or the world around us, the happier and healthier we are, the more we can bring to the situation at hand. When you know people rely on you for transportation, taking care of your car doesn’t seem selfish does it? Of course not. When people are relying on your friendship, your support and encouragement should making sure you show up in the best state to help them be considered selfish? I think not. Working on your own happiness makes you a better friend, a better lover and a greater gift to those around you.
In this new year let us remember to take time out to do what makes us happy. Let us make sure the ‘Me’ we bring to the world is the healthiest, happiest more energetic ‘Me’ we can bring. If it is not, remember that it is ok to take time out for yourself. Begin today by compiling a list of things that replenish your mind, body and spirit. Make sure to not only want to do then sometimes, but to schedule at least one a week. Keep your joy and vibration up and you will be able to do the most for the world around you.
All this week we have been looking at questioning our thoughts, our beliefs and the inner dialogue we have with ourselves. Today we are going to take a look at something that needs no questioning. It will work with any faith, any belief (at least any healthy belief) and will improve not only your inner dialogue, but your sense of inner-peace and well-being. This is something that we should be doing not only during the holiday season, but all year long.
Making others feel good about themselves. After all, that is the point of gifts we give this time of the year. It is not merely an exchange of material objects, but the thoughts that we remembered those closest to us at a special time of the year. A simple card with a heartfelt message can mean the world to a lonely soul. A genuine compliment and sign of appreciation to a retail employee during a busy holiday shopping season can be a very valuable gift.
This holiday season start a practice to keep alive all year long. Begin today to look for ways to help others feel good about themselves. It doesn’t cost you a thing and can feel priceless to them.