THRIVE THURSDAY 😀

Have you ever thought about how often we think about building our future? When we are young it is almost all we think about. People are constantly asking us, “what are you going to be when you grow up?” Sometimes we even ask ourselves that question. Children can often be heard saying “I can’t wait until I’m 18 and can make my own decisions and live my own life!”

Then what happens? We do grow up. We can make our own decisions and live our own life. Sadly, we often forget, or take for granted, that we have this power. Our thoughts, which when we were young were almost always about building our future, have become almost entirely about surviving our present. How to pay the bills. How to get the kids on school today.

Today let us change that up. Whether you are 18 or 80, you have a future. Devote at least one day a week (Thursday thrive?) To building your life and not just surviving it. Learn something new. Invest in improving yourself. Think, and put into action, things that can improve your relationships.

Let us go back to when we were young. Let us decide again what we want to be when we grow up. That doesn’t have to start when you are 18, and it never has to stop.

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE PATIENT

It is the middle of the week. Might even be the middle of the day when you read this. It might be the middle of your life. I bet, if you are any kind of achiever, there are a few things you expected to have done by now that are not complete. Usually, this leads to a feeling of frustration. This feeling seems to grow as does the time since you began work on this goal/project. I get it. I’ve been there myself and still experience this. Especially, when it is something I am excited to achieve and complete.

What can we do to remain patient and, more to the point, sane while we are waiting for this goal to manifest? Also, what does this picture of my hiking path I took the other day have to to do with any of this? The answer is in the first picture. “The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” This is easy to understand when it comes to growing fruit, but not so easy when it comes to reaching goals.

What can we do if we want the fruit to grow faster? We can make sure it has the right amount of sunlight and water. In other words, make sure it has all the ingredients to help it grow as quickly and as strong as it can. What else could we do? We can remove any rocks or weeds around it. In this case, removing any obstacles that will prevent its growth.

On the other hand, what happens if we try too hard? What happens if we just keep pouring water on the seed? What happens if we put it in the sun too long? It will either flood or dry out in either case it will die.

You may be thinking “that’s great Neil, but I’m not trying to grow a plant!” Whether you are starting your own business, trying to get in shape, or learn a new skill, the answer is the same. Once we begin,or plant the seed, there is only so much we can do. We can work on creating an environment that will make it likely our goal will succeed as soon as possible. Just like watering and making sure our seed has enough sun. If we overdue it, like flooding our seed, it may kill our goal. Think of checking in on other parties that are involved in our goal. Do that once a week or so, it may remind and motivate them. Do it once an hour and you will lose their assistance.

How about removing the rocks and weeds? We can remove obstacles that may prevent our goals. Get all the junk food out of the house if you are trying to eat better. Does this mean you will be skinny tomorrow? Of course not. Does it make it less likely you will fall victim to temptation? Absolutely. Are you more likely to eat junk if you have to get dressed and drive to the store to get it or if you can stay in your pajamas and walk to the fridge?

Just like the tree in this picture, to grow it takes time. Sure, the tree will grow quicker if it has the right amount of sun and water. It will be more likely to grow if all the rocks and weeds are away from the soil. However, it will still take time. Not only does the time it takes a tree to grow vary according to the type of tree,just like it varies depending on what goal you are working on. It also can vary according to the individual tree and the environment it is growing in. Just like the same goal can vary from person to person.

When you find yourself growing impatient, work on both improving the environment and removing obstacles for your goal. When you have done that and your goal has still not manifested, repeat to yourself, “The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” When you have been eating good and putting in the effort at the gym, but you feel like your getting nowhere, say this to yourself. You never now what it happening with the seed under the soil.

KEEP CRUSHING IT! 💪

The weekend is coming! Certainly, there will be time for some well deserved relaxing. Don’t forget, however, this is a great time to pursue your goals and chase your dreams! While many of us think extra sleep and drinks with friends are the best ways to recharge our batteries, I disagree.

There is nothing like getting one step closer to realizing your dreams to put a fire in your heart and passion in your veins. Whether that is a great workout to get you one step closer to that body you want, or 1000 words to get you closer to writing that book you have been talking about. Getting closer to your end goal builds excitement and certainly recharges the batteries. This weekend take some time to relax, but also use some of this 48 hours to work on your goals and your dreams. They deserve it and so do you!

THE IMPORTANCE OF A DREAM

One of the many things in my life that I am grateful for is the amazing people I share it with. There are so many that I am proud to count among my friends. Today I would love to share a tale of just such a man. In doing so, however, I would also like to share a lesson with you. That lesson in the importance of having a dream and having a strong enough ‘why’ to back it up. You may be wondering what having a dream would get you out of life. It is not what you get from having a dream that is important, but what it gives you. Before we get to in deep with this theory, allow me to share the story of my friend and we will circle back around for the lesson.

The story I am going to tell you is about my friend Travis, who goes by the name Treezy. We met over a decade ago when I was bartending at a small corner bar. He came in shaking his head and sat down at the bar. He ordered a Budweiser and proceeded to regale me with the story of his previous evening. It would appear this gentleman, who was to become a life-long friend, had a terrible misadventure with a young lady at a hotel. The story was a comical one that ended with Treezy sitting in front of me wondering just how he got there.

This man’s way of delivering a story was both funny and captivating. He came across as both humble, yet charismatic. It reminding me a bit of…well…me. The bar had just opened up and the owners were friends of a friend. I had come out of my retirement as a bartender to help them out and was working for tips. I had built up quite a following on the weekends and was looking to grow the crowd even more. I knew just the thing that could do it. “Want to make a few extra bucks?” I asked the young man. He eagerly informed me that he did and a partnership was born. While I serveved drinks behind the pine, my new friend energized the crowd and sold trays of shots. We both were working for tips, but still did quite well for both ourselves and the bar. Unfortunately, the owners turned out to be very unethical and I left a short time later.

I had lost touch with my new found friend and figured that would be the last time I would see him. Years went by and I found myself working at a new place called “The Hideout”. One fine afternoon, as I was cleaning and getting the place ready for the busy evening ahead. Crouched down below the bar I heard a voice say “Yes I’ll have a bottle of Bud.” Which was strange because I didn’t recall asking anyone if they wanted one. I popped up to see a man in a St. Louis Cardinals hat. It took a second but slowly it dawned on me. We both were shocked to realize who the other was.

To keep this blog post from becoming my third book, I will fast forward a bit. In the time we had been apart, young Travis had discovered karaoke and his ability to entertain and lift people’s spirits. “We don’t have that here!” I explained most assuredly. Months later we would have karaoke at that bar. It happened to be the very DJ that introduced him to it and he returned. Now we had a new way to team up. Myself behind the bar and him on the microphone. It also came to be that the karaoke DJ would gain another follower. This time it wasn’t for karaoke though. That person was Margie, who became the love of my life.

Through our years together, the three of us have went on to be an incredible team. We worked together to bring as much positivity to whatever setting we are in. Margie being the incredible DJ she is, Treezy being epic performer and myself fitting in. First, I was behind the bar, now I am behind the microphone as an MC of sorts. Deep in his heart Travis knew what his passion was and that was to entertain people and to lift their spirits. Often, this was an all consuming endeavor. By that, I mean both in terms of time and money. Unfortunately, for Mr. Treezy, being the self-proclaimed ‘Greatest karaoke rapper alive’ does little to pay the bills. If you have ever had the pleasure to see him perform, it is a title he arguably holds. Through a set of trying circumstances which including losing both his job and his mother, Travis found himself back in his hometown of St. Louis struggling to survive. This even included being homeless for a while.

Still, his passion to entertain others and bring a smile to their face burned deep inside him. How to be able to live this dream? He returned to Milwaukee and this year made the decision to become a DJ himself. He continues to work hard and is adding shows to his list of entertaining venues. He kept faithful to his dream. He refined it. He held true to it when it had seemed if the world gave up on him. He is now not only able to entertain and bring that joy to others, he is getting paid to live that dream as well. As his friends, Margie and I could not be happier for him. We are both extremely proud to not only be a part of his journey, but we are proud of him as well. Dare I say, I think his mom would be too.

If you have a dream and the world seems to be against you, do not give up. Stick true to that dream. Remember why it is important to you. If you keep doing what feeds your soul, opportunities will present themselves. It may take longer than you desire and you may have to go through some pretty lean times, like our friend in this story, but if you persevere and keep the faith, life will let you Live your dream.

YOU CAN CHANGE, JUST STAY FOCUSED

There is a thing that Les Brown, one of my favorite speakers, says. When referring to his health journey and his battle with the temptation of sweet potato pie he says this, “I have lost 22 pounds, hundreds of times.” I think a lot of us can relate to that statement. What it means is that he lost the weight and then gained it back. Then he had to refocus and get back at it. Life is like that in many ways. Take getting in shape for example. Another speaker and author I admire a great deal is David Goggins. In his quest to go from 297 pounds to 185 and become a Navy seal he had a lot of training to do. On the first day he decided to run four miles. Being someone who weighs almost 300 pounds and didn’t do much cardio, you can imagine how this went. He ran a quarter of a mile, stopped turned around and walked back home. When he got there he sat on the couch and cried. It is ok to feel sorry for ourselves…for a little while. The next day he tried again with similar results. At this point many people would give up. That would be understandable. He did something different. He changed the plan and not the goal. He said to himself, “Ok, I cannot run. What can I do?” He began to ride a bike. Then he added swimming. Soon he lost some wait and was able to run a mile, then three, then six. Now he is one of the best ultra marathon runners there is.

Whether it is someone like Les Brown, David Goggins or Thomas Edison who went through countless experiments to invent the lightbulb, they all have one thing in common. What is that trait that allowed all of these men to end up a success when life would have had them believe they were destined to fail? The didn’t give up. The stayed focused on the goal. Failure is only permanent if we give up. If we don’t, failure serves as a teacher. It can tell us the way we are going about something isn’t working. That doesn’t mean the goal can’t be reached. All that it means is we have to adjust our plan. Often, even mistakes can be valuable. There is the rather well known story about how post-it notes were developed. The inventor was working on creating an adhesive that would last forever. He obviously failed in that endeavor, but look what it created!

Next time it feels as if you are failing at something in life, remember it might just be the plan that needs changing and not the goal. Look for the lessons in the failure and start again only more well-informed.

YOU CAN DO IT!😀

We have reached the mid-week point once again! It is about this time that we all need a little pick-me-up. Energy seems to be draining and everything we thought we would have got done seems like a far away dream. It is that last thought I want to address here today. If there is one fault I would really like to work on with myself it is allowing thinking ahead stopping me from starting. What do I mean? Let give you an example. When two of my wonderful friends told me I should write a book, I shot them down almost as soon as they suggested it. Why? Did I think it was a bad idea? Of course not. Did I know that the information I had to share would be helpful and valuable to others? Yes I did.

If I knew all of this, why did I not want to write a book? I was thinking, and by that I mean worrying, too far ahead. How do you publish a book? How do they figure out what to write on the back? Do you have to know the font? What about cover design? All of this before I even had word one. three books written and two books published later, I can tell you these things still amaze me and it feels like more of an adventure, but not impossible. I love the separation of the word shown in the picture shown above. Next time you are thinking something is impossible, just remember to focus on yourself, not the challenge. Whatever you are facing may seem impossible, but guess what? I m possible! That’s right you are possible! You are the maker of miracles and the one who can make dreams come true!

I shutter to think how different my life would be if I had never published a book or another book after that. I am so excited to be bringing my third one to the readers this summer. If I had just tried to solve all of the challenges before getting started, I would have never gotten started. Life is about learning as you go. Whatever your dream is, get started today! You don’t need to know all of the answers before you begin. It is an old question, but one Margie reminds me of all of the time. Eating an entire elephant may seem impossible, but not if you do it one bite at a time! (Important note: I am not advocating the eating of actual elephants and I do not do so myself) Don’t look at the often overwhelming act of accomplishing an entire goal, just focus on working on the first step. If you are interested in either of my books, click the link below and you will be able to order one or both! They make great gifts for anyone who is looking to live a more positive and fulfilling life!

CLICK HERE TO GET MY BOOKS!

A QUICK REMINDER ON YOUR SECRET POWER

THIS IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF FOCUS. “WHATEVER THE MIND OF MAN CAN CONCEIVE AND BELIEVE, IT CAN ACHIEVE” WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON? DO YOU BELIEVE IT WILL COME TRUE FOR YOU IN TIME?

I SUGGEST THAT WHILE WE WORK ON ACHIEVING ANY WORTHWHILE GOAL, WE ALSO WORK ON INCREASING OUR FOCUS AND BELIEF. BY DOING SO, THE ACHIEVEMENT WILL COME QUICKER AND WITH LESS EFFORT. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND DOING TO INCREASE FOCUS AND BELIEF? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

USE THIS WEEK!

THE WEEK BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS IS ONE GENERALY FILLED WITH LOTS OF EXHALING AND RELAXATION. DESERVEDLY SO. THE SHOPPING IS DONE. THE CRAZINESS OF THE HOLIDAYS IS WINDING DOWN. TOWARDS THE END OF THE WEEK, SOME PEOPLE BEGIN TO CONTEMPLATE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS. YOU KNOW, THOSE LOFTY GOALS WE ASPIRE TO IN THE COMING YEAR.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS ARE VERY GOOD IN AND OF THEMSELVES. IT IS ALWAYS ADMIRABLE TO THINK OF WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN IMPROVE OURSELVES AND OUR LIVES. THE PROBLEM IS MOST OF US JUST WAIT UNTIL A FEW DAYS BEFORE AND CHOOSE SOME RANDOM OR MAYBE EVEN INTENSE GOAL. WE DON’T SPEND MUCH TIME AND THE PLANNING AND THEN ARE SURPRISED WHEN WE HAVE FAILED ALL OF OUR RESOLUTIONS BY FEBRUARY 1ST, IF NOT BEFORE.

THIS YEAR, LET’S DO IT DIFFERENT. SPEND THIS WEEK THINKING OF THE AREAS WE WISH TO IMPROVE IN THE COMING YEAR. DEVELOP NOT ONLY A PLAN FOR HOW TO DO IT, BUT WHAT TO DO IF WE FEEL OURSELVES AND OUR MOTIVATION SLIPPING. ONE OF THE BEST WAYS IS TO COME UP WITH A STRONG ‘WHY’. THE REASON BEHIND WHAT WE WISH TO ACCOMPLISH. LET US WRITE DOWN BOTH WHAT WE STAND TO GAIN BY ACCOMPLISHING IT AS WELL AS WHAT WE STAND TO LOSE IF WE DON’T.