Fully Committed

April 14, 2010

My Dad giving me a hand

Today is my Dad’s birthday.  I wish you could all meet my dad.  I know that you would be better for it.  He has a special way of connecting with people—they love him from the start.  I have to say, looking back, with as unbiased view as I possibly can, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love him

There are so many qualities that I admire in him.  He’s kind and loving.  He’s positive and optimistic.  He’s both successful and humble. But, one of the characteristics that has helped me the most, is his ability to be fully committed.

He has absolutely no idea how to go half speed.  It’s either full blast, or full stop.  What’s amazing though, is that of all the people I’ve met in my life who have this ability, I’ve never met one that applies it to every facet of their life the way my father does.  Whether at work, in the community, in our church, or at home he gives everything he does everything he has.

Of all the stories I love to tell about my dad, the one that exemplifies this unique part of his character the most, has to do with a bet.

Anyone who has ever spent any time trying to make his or her living selling life insurance knows that to be successful at it takes nearly every moment you can spare.  In doing this, you find a unique camaraderie with your colleagues.  For, many times you find they can be the best motivators on your journey to succeed.  For my dad, one of those people was Ron Nelson.

They had been working together for some time when they both wanted to step up their game.  In order to find the success they were seeking, they decided to make a bet—one that would motivate them both to do better.

They decided that for one month they would see who could get to the office the earliest.  This would allow themselves more time to prepare and prospect and there fore more success. Who ever arrived at the office before the other for the most days in the month, would win the wager.

The way they tell it, my dad started off strong and never looked back.  Ron once told me that every day he would set his alarm clock to go off a little earlier, and every day he would pull into the parking lot only to see my dad had already arrived.

According to Ron, there came a point when, tired of getting up so early, and tired of losing, he came up with a plan.

Late one night after we had gone to bed, he came over to our house, popped the hood of my dad’s car and removed the distributor cap.  Now, my dad has a number of talents and gifts, but, when it comes to things of a mechanically nature, he’s sunk.  Seriously…give the man the finest tools in the world and he still couldn’t fix his way out of a wet paper sack.

Ron knew this, and with the distributor cap removed, he went home sure that the tide of the contest was about to turn.

The next morning, Ron was up early and headed to the office.  He pulled into the parking lot and just as he’d assumed, my dad’s car was nowhere to be found.  Basking in his win he headed into the building.  As he made his way to his office, he passed my dad’s office, and to his utter surprise, there sat my dad drenching in his own sweat.

My dad had run the nearly 5 miles in his suit.

When he woke up that morning and found that his car wouldn’t start, I’m sure he popped the hood, hoping for divine intervention.  But not knowing what to look for, he missed seeing the distributor cap that was missing.

Most people would have simply taken a pass, found a mechanic and lived to fight another day. But that’s not how my dad is wired.  He’s fully committed.  When he found that the car was out of commission, he didn’t look for excuses, he looked for a way to get the job done.

I wonder how our lives would be different, if we took the same fully committed approach.  If we replaced our excuses for successes, and chose to be dedicated to every decision we made.

I know my life would be better.  Too many times, it’s too easy to take the easy way out.  When real happiness and true self worth comes in being willing to get where we’re going no matter what—even if it means we have to leave the car and run.

I love my dad, and maybe this post is just for me.  Maybe I’m the only one who feels they could be better of they approached life with more of an “all in” attitude.

If so, that’s OK.  What I do know, is that today, in honor of that man I love and admire so much, I’m going to recommit myself to my goals and dreams.  I’m going to work harder to give my all to everything I choose to do.

If you think it’d do you some good as well—join me.  Let’s find happiness and success in being fully committed.

Jh-

Happy Birthday Dad.


Every Day A Birthday

December 26, 2008

click image to download pdf of artwork

I know I said I was taking a break till the 29th but I couldn’t resist – today is my birthday. Yep, the day after Christmas. I don’t think I ever remember a time that someone asked me, “When is your birthday?” where my response didn’t bring a look of sorrow to their face. “What a bummer” or “That’s too bad” or some such comment always came in the form of an apology for the date my birthday landed on.

This has always seemed a little odd in that I love my birthday. In fact, I remember a time as a boy when my mom and dad gave me the opportunity to celebrate my birthday on my half birthday allowing me to have my birthday in the middle of the summer far away from Christmas. It never really was something I thought about. My birthday was 26th of  December and that was the day I want to celebrate.

I always wondered why everyone else thought I was getting the short end of the birthday stick and I didn’t. I always wondered why everyone thought I was getting ripped off and I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.

As I look back now I realize it’s because my parents and my family went to great lengths to make sure the my birthday was celebrated on its own. The presents I received were always birthday presents. I never received “Christmas-birthday” presents. We always had a special meal for me on the 26th where the family would get together and celebrate my life.

It was never a Christmas “add-on.” It was never an afterthought to the holiday. It was its own holiday–it was its own day–it was my day.

All of this work and all this effort was put forth to make my day a special day. It paid off. Every single year I look forward to the holidays with a little extra anticipation. For, not only did it mean Christmas but it met my birthday as well. A day I looked forward to as much as any other child look forward to their day.

I often think about what would happen if we put the same work in the same effort into making the days of our lives special and unique. If we took the time to celebrate every day we are given. If we made every day a birthday.

Consider how that would change your outlook on life. Consider how much more excited you would wake up each day. Consider how your willingness to make the most of every opportunity would increase if you could learn to separate each day and celebrate.

Birthdays are special days, celebrating makes them so.  Celebrating each day like a birthday makes each day special. It keeps us from living a life filled with days that simply run together and fill our memories with nothing but a blur. Celebrating allows us to look back with our minds eye on every day and see memories filled with vibrant colors and clear pictures.

So, celebrate today. Take some time to reflect on what makes you special, unique and wonderful. Notice something beautiful and relish it as your own birthday present.  Take a moment to show some love to another so they can be a part of the experience–no one likes to celebrate alone.  Then, do the same tomorrow and th dy after that.  Celebrate every day, and when you do at the end of your life you will look back on a glorious existence filled with thousands of beautiful “birthdays.”

Jh-

If you would like a copy of Kolette’s birthday wish for me, click on image to download it.


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