IS MY CORONAVIRUS JOURNEY OVER?

This is me holding a copy of my book during a video shoot for a position I am applying for. As you can see I am also wearing the amazing smiley face shirt that my lovely Margie bought for me. The attention to happiness is not only for the video I was shooting, but it is also because I believe my journey with coronavirus is almost at an end.

Tragically, I heard the news was not so good for a different local family. A young lady lost her battle with this virus. It really touches home when someone in your community loses their life to the very condition you also have. I am so grateful my symptoms did not develop into something more severe. As I forge ahead with finding out the details on where I go from here I will make sure to keep all of you posted.

The health department told me I would be cleared 3 days after displaying no symptoms. My primary care doctor has cleared me to go back to work on the 31st. It is strange that there is no actual test to clear you. Instead we are to rely on time elapsed since my symptoms were first shown (14 days) and since I last experienced them (3 days). I have also learned that 2 of the countries who displayed some of the lowest mortality rates with the virus (Germany and South Korea) have done so through extensive testing. On a personal level, I find that our country being one of the wealthiest in the world has no excuse for not having more tests available. It is my sincere hope that we have all learned something very valuable with this crisis.

On a professional level, I hope we have learned to take care of health care workers by making sure they have the right protective equipment and medicines they need to diagnose and treat those infected. In the same light, I hope we come to better appreciate the ‘essential’ workers such as grocery store employees, gas station workers, people involved in the shipping industry and others who still had to show up when others were at home. Next time we go out to eat or even just for a drink or cup of coffee I hope we leave a little extra tip for these folks whose income was eliminated when businesses shut down.

On a social level I hope we better appreciate the time we spend with friends. Going out for coffee with those you enjoy will become something you treasure instead of something you take for granted. Seeing the smile on a friend’s face in person and being able to give them a hug will feel more like a gift and less like something that happens every day. May we take the time to gather more often and relish those times more when we do.

On a personal level may we have come to discover, or rediscover the beauty and wonder of those we share our house with. Not only does this strengthen the bonds of our relationships, but it certainly beats being cast for a reboot of The Shining. In my quarantine with my beautiful Margie I have been reminded what an amazing cook she is. I have enjoyed some of the most tasty dishes as she helped me regain my strength. I also found so many different ways in which I find her beautiful to me. Just last night she demonstrated what talent she has at drawing. This is something she rarely has time for. Even the frustration of having to maintain ‘proper social distance’ from each other made us appreciate how much we enjoy each others touch.

I hope when we look back on this period of time years from now we remember the many things we learned. It is my sincere hope we also reflect on the appreciation it gave us for the many things, and people, that we might have taken for granted. It has taught me that even having a potentially deadly virus can be turned into the blessing of helping others if you approach it the right way.

THE SECRET TO TURNING IT ALL AROUND

As this week begins, you may find yourself asking, “Where do I begin?” Sometimes we can feel so far down we can’t see a way out. If you haven’t been there yet, consider yourself quite fortunate. Personally, I have found myself there several times.

Whether it is thr loss of a job, loss of a relationship or loss of a loved one, life can throw us under the bus when we least expect it. We can feel like we don’t even want to get out of bed.

Even when things are not quite that bad but we are just frustrated with how our life is at the moment, what to do next can be confusing. What is the first basic step? Is there a universal action that can work for everyone in all situations?

The great news? There is such an action and I can tell you it has worked in my own life. That action is GRATITUDE. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for will change your life quicker than anything else.

There are many great books and ideas to help foster this ‘attitude of gratitude’. In my own book “A Happy Life for Busy People” I lost several fun activities that can help make gratitude a daily part of your life. If you are interested in getting your own copy, there will be a link at the end of this post.

Whether you use my book or any other method, begin to use gratitude today, and watch your life transition immediately!

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH MORE IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!! 🙂

A BETTER RELATIONSHIP IN 30 DAYS GUARANTEED (IDEA #2)

The title of this post makes a bold claim. Follow the plans laid out in the following paragraphs and I promise you that your love will be more amazing than it ever has been. You will feel closer to your partner. There will be a greater sense of intimacy. Your partner will appreciate you more and you will appreciate them more.

All of this is 30 days? That sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? Well it isn’t and it is easier than you think. This will work whether you are in a new relationship hoping to develop that closeness, you have been in a relationship a long time and are looking to rekindle some of that passion or anywhere in between. How do I know this to be true? Not only am I a certified life coach and self-improvement author with over 20 years of experience, but I have made enough mistakes in my 44 years on this planet to know exactly what doesn’t work. Add to that I now have an amazing relationship that grows closer and better each day and you will understand I am coming from a place of knowledge.

Does working on your relationship conjure up feelings of arduous evenings of long conversations and hard feelings? Does the thought of even discussing emotions fill you with dread? Do you feel a busy schedule and lifestyle will prevent you from the quality time you need with the one you love? Fear not! None of this will prevent this idea from coming into fruition. Even if your schedule or lifestyle prevent much face to face time this idea will succeed. If your ability to convey romantic feelings is severly impaired, this idea will work. This idea will work for any relationship. Are you excited to take your love to the next level?

If you recall last post we discussed how to increase the quality and closeness of the relationships in your life. Briefly, it involved filling out a simple ‘thank you’ card noting what you appreciate about each individual. We are going to do much the same thing but take it deeper to strengthen the most important relationship you have – the one with the love of your life. Single? Don’t worry. This exercise will work if you are trying to gain the attention of that special someone. Not looking to get into a relationship any time soon? This will deepen even the most platonic relationships as well.

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We begin the same way we did last post, by purchasing a set of generic thank you cards. For this exercise you may wish to pick out a design the person you are giving them to would find pleasing. My only caveat would be not to get any with too much printed writing inside. You will be filling this up with your own words. Don’t worry, it will be fun and easy I promise. Pick a 30-day period in which you will be able to devote roughly 5 minutes a day to this project. Keep in mind the payoff will be the deepening of the most important relationship in your life. The premise is simple. Each day you will write one thing in the card you are grateful for in your partner and why you are grateful for that.

I suggest leaving them in different places your partner will find. By the coffee maker, on the bathroom mirror, on the kitchen tables or other places you can fairly count on them being found. You could always hand them over in person, but I find allowing them to read them when you are at work or otherwise occupied adds a special something. I would also recommend numbering them. Writing ‘#1’ or ‘day #1’ or something similar alerts them to the fact there will be more to come. If you anticipate a busy stretch coming up you can always write a few out in advance.

Make sure you write both what you are grateful for and why on each card. It is the ‘why’ that makes it compelling. This works to make your relationship amazing on several levels. The first, and obvious reason, is it provides your partner with 30 reminders of things that make them special to you. I don’t care how wonderful your life or relationship is, we all have days when this extra reassurance would come in handy. As the days pass you may find it hard to come up with things to write. It will change your focus to one of looking for things to appreciate about your partner. It also will lead to your partner appreciate you more as well.

There are different ways to word your cards as well. “I really appreciate ____ about you because____” is the simplest. “You make a difference in my life because _____” “It really makes me feel loved when you____ and I want to thank you for that.” are others. By the end of thirty days you will have an entirely different relationship. It will appear as if things changed by magic.

I look forward to hearing how your relationship changes for the better. In 30 days you will have an amazing relationship. It will open up to new possiblities. 

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #30)

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.

Our last day of gratitude posts. I am already missing sharing this experience with you. We have covered some interesting areas of life that we may often forget about. I have enjoyed rediscovering how much I have in my life to be grateful for. Throughout the course of this challenge I have learned a lot about myself, my friends and even a few strangers. One of these days even gave me the motivation for my next book. Which one? That you will have to wait and see.

Today’s subject delivered two pleasant surprises. When I first glanced at this question (I always wait to do so until right before I begin to write) the answer that popped in my head was “the skill has to be writing of course!” With only a few more seconds of thought, the answer changed. The skill that I have that I am most grateful for is being able to help others feel good. When I DJ my goal for each person I call up is to help them either laugh, feel good about themselves or the one they love. Usually I can do at least one of those three. Daily, I do my best to treat others as I would love to be treated. This includes being polite and letting everyone know the things that are amazing about them. To know that I have positively affected someone’s life, or even just to see a smile spread across their face, is the greatest reward for me.

This post does not stipulate that we must pick one or the one we are most grateful for. To that end, I am going to mention a few other skills I am grateful to have. I am certainly grateful for the skill of writing as mentioned before. Being able to put thoughts and emotions into words is just something that comes natural for me. I never thought of it as much of a skill, I am guessing because it does come so natural. As the years go by I am learning new ways of putting it to use in serving others. I am very grateful for the skill of learning. I have a fairly decent retention that makes learning easier for me. (Although it does exasperate Margie at times) I am grateful for my skill in seeing the positive in most situations. It has not only made my life more pleasant, it has allowed me to help others.

How about you? What amazing skills do you have that you are grateful for? Share them with all of us.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #29)

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!

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING! 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #28)

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.

Just like yesterday’s post about small objects we use, small things that happen may get quickly forgotten if not overlooked entirely. I’m not sure about you, but I find myself guilty of doing that myself more often than I care to admit. The most wonderful thing could happen to me, perhaps the nicest twist of fortune, and I could forget. Have just one thing go wrong, however, and it seems to stick with you. Why is that? I think we are so determined to avoid pain that the emotion tends to be a little more pronounced.

Isn’t it true if we stuck with the small things that we could be grateful for as long as we stuck with our small irritations that life would be a lot more enjoyable? The answer to that is obvious. We would all like our lives to be more enjoyable or else we would not be reading a blog called Secret2anamazinglife. Then why is it so difficult for us to do? It certainly is not complicated. Just remember and think about the good stuff more than the bad.

The answer, I believe, is not only emotional as mentioned above, but practical as well. Gratitude is a habit, a way of living that needs practice just like anything else. Ever try eating healthy after years of consuming pizza and rum? It is not that easy, trust me on this one. Again, not that complicated. Just eat more healthy food and less junk food. Why does it seem to be so difficult? We are used to doing things in a certain way. We are used to complaining about the boss or coworkers when we get to work. We may be used to complaining on social media. We may even be used to focusing on how upset a certain person or situation has made us.

This is why this 30-day gratitude challenge is so wonderful. It has us focus daily on one small area of our life to be grateful for. It is my sincere hope that when the 30 days are complete all of us, including myself, will live life in spirit of more intense gratitude. The payoff will be a happy disposition, more inner peace and hope, and a more amazing life. If that is not motivation to answer these fun questions daily, I don’t know what is.

As for my answer, my small thing was a fairly good experience at Walmart. I am not sure how Walmart is where you live, or if they even have one, but here they can be quite an adventure. The one I usually stop at in Greenfield Wisconsin has me dodging carts in the parking lot, walking over and around things laying in the middle of aisles and enduring some of the worst customer service one could possible experience. Today, however, none of that happened. The parking lot was relatively clean. I even parked fairly close for it being a busy time of day. I found the item I was looking for and had eye contact with my cashier. All together a rather positive transaction. Tonight, I will have dinner with Margie, her daughter Siraya and my mother. That should be a good time as well.

I am always suggesting journaling for a million different reasons. It serves as an excellent way to develop an attitude of gratitude. Writing one thing you are grateful for each day and why will force you to stop and think of something you are grateful for. There are several other tips for developing this grateful attitude in my books. Feel free to click the link below to get your copy.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING! 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #27)

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.

What small thing that we use daily are we grateful for? I love these questions that cause us to think about things that may slip our minds in the regular course of life. A popular answer to this question I assume would be ‘cell phone’. After all, we can use it to listen to music, check our email, enjoy social media, navigate and read great blogs like this one. Quite a powerful tool for something that can fit into our pockets. The folks at Google, Samsung and Apple are always giving us new and improved ways to put this pocket-sized device to work for us.

What other small things that we use daily can we be grateful for? How about our credit/debit cards? We can have access to our money without carrying around a bunch of bills or ending up with a pocket full of change at the end of the day. There is no counting just a slide of the card and we are off. We can use them to pay for things online or over the phone. This allows us to order things that may be out of reach for us and certainly allows us to get them quicker.

How about something as simple as a travel mug? Being able to have a container that allows me to take a cup of hot coffee with me when I leave for work at 4a.m. is a God send. The fact that many of them keep this coffee warm for hours, or at the very least until the car warms up, makes them worth their weight in gold. Imagine trying to hold a regular mug while driving. Not only would your mouth not be able to enjoy your hot coffee, but your lap probably would. Yes, travel mugs are a small thing I use daily that I am grateful for.

I’m sure given a few more minutes of thought I could easily double this list and then some. That is the beauty of this 30 day gratitude challenge. If asked out of the blue what small thing you use daily that you are grateful for, many of us would struggle to answer, or give the quick answer such as ‘cell phone’. If we sit for even a few minutes and think of answers the list becomes quite extensive.

This is true not just for some objects we use daily, but for life in general. If you give it a little thought you will discover just how many things in life there are to be grateful for. 

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING! 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #26)

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 one of those “I have never thought of that before.” moments. Form of expression? There are so many ways in which we can express ourselves. Vocally, literarily, musically, physically, artistically, through dance and a million different ways. With the advent of the internet we can express our thoughts and opinions to individuals halfway across the globe.

Personally, I am grateful to be able to express myself in the written word. Although not really introverted, it is a great way for individuals that may have difficulting expressing themselves publicly to still be able to share the important stories they have. Our friend Nicole expresses herself through drawing. Fortunately for me, I was able to employ that talent to provide Margie with an amazing and heartfelt gift. Speaking of my lovely Margie, she expresses herself in a million different ways. Through her cooking, painting, singing, the way she arranges her flowers, the way she decorates around the house and many other ways. I think the more you pay attention to someone, the more you will observe them expressing themselves in everything they do. This can be extremely helpful if you are relating to someone who may have reservations about expressing themselves openly. With a little extra effort, you will still be able to deduce their feelings and desires.

How about you? What is your favorite way to express yourself? Where do you channel your emotions and feelings?

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!! 🙂

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #25)

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.

This day of gratitude happens to fall on a Monday. That is actually perfect for us. As we read these words, think back to the week prior. What moments are you grateful for that happened the week proceeding this one? Sure there were ups and downs, but let us start this week by thinking about last week and what went right for us. There is no better way to start the week than to do it in a spirit of gratitude. In fact, that is the best cure for a case of the ‘Mondays’ I can think of.

What are your moments of gratitude from last week? Mine was being able to spend the new year at home with those I love for the first time in many years. Being a bartender and DJ, your services are usually in high demand this time of year. Especially if you are good at what you do. It is also one of the least enjoyable times to work in those professions. This year I was able to relax with some excellent food that Margie had cooked and enjoyed watching a great movie with her, my mother and her husband. I wook up the following day feeling well rested. It was great.

How about you? What in the previous week has brought joy to your heart? I look forward to hearing all about it.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!!

30 DAYS OF GRATITUDE (DAY #23)

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.

As we continue our journey of gratitude into the new year, we take a look at traditions. This is something I think changes a little as we age. When I was younger I used to find certain traditions archaic at best and ridiculous most of the time. Fast forward many years to my current state looking over this keyboard as I watch the sun set as I write. Now, I find myself looking forward to taking part in certain traditions and even creating others.

To me, traditions offer us a chance to mark time when it comes to certain aspects of our lives. When you are younger, you have little or no choice in what traditions you take part in. I think parents could benefit greatly by allowing their children to have more of a say in the creation of traditions the family observes. As we grow older, however, we more or less choose what traditions we wish to observe and which ones no longer serve us.

When it comes to creating traditions these days, I focus on those that bring joy and togetherness. One of my favorite yearly traditions is the Wisconsin State Fair. Not only to I literally jump out of my skin when the first day arrives and it is time to go with the love of my life, we found ways to create traditions throughout the year. I enjoy taking a day off of work and going with Margie to purchase our tickets in advance and then go out to breakfast. We make rough plans for the things we look forward to seeing and doing together once the time arrives. In the summer there is a 5k run that Margie, her daughter Siraya and I have done the last few years. It is great fun and gives us chance to see where we are at physically. It also gives us something to work toward in these cold winter months.

Another tradition I love is the yearly bike expo here in April. By this time my Seasonal Affective Disorder has usually gotten the best of me and quite often there is still snow on the ground. When I walk into the expo hall to attend this great event held by local bicycle company Wheel & Sprocket, it is as if the warm weather has arrived. There are many bikes to choose from all at good values. There are clothes, helmets, and accessories to purchase. There are also bicycle clubs to join and rides to sign up for. It gives you hope and something to look forward to in the warmer weather. Walking hand in hand through this event with Margie gives me the resolve to make it through the remainder of the cold weather.

What traditions are you grateful for? Being that we are reading this in the beginning of the new year, what traditions would you like to start this year? How do you think traditions can be used to positively affect our lives and bring more joy to them?