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.


Making Resolutions into Reality – Part Three

January 9, 2010

White Knuckle Necessity

My Idea of Heaven

Once our goals are properly set and we work to put them in manageable pieces so that we “don’t choke” thereby allowing success to breed success, we have to hold on.

­­I will never forget the first time that I learned to water ski. I jumped in the water from the boat and was thrown the skis.  With my life jacket keeping me afloat, I clumsily slid the skis on with an excitement I could almost taste.  With the skis finally on, I was thrown the rope and given my instructions.

With my buddy’s dad, at the helm of the boat, I received the two pieces of advice that were “guaranteed” to get anyone up on their first time.  From his seat behind the steering wheel, he barked out that to get up, I had to keep the rope in between the skis.  Then, he gave me the most important thing to concentrate on.

I was to hold on—no matter what, he told me that if I wanted to water ski, it was imperative that I hold on.  He said that if I would, I’d eventually get pulled up out of the water.  Once I was up, he was sure it would get easy and I’d figure it out from there.

The engine started up and the boat began to slowly move away.  The rope became taught, and as it did, I didn’t let that rope out from in between my skis for one second.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am most comfortable keeping the rules.  I’d been given two here and I was going to give all I had to keep them.

With the first part taken care of, I began to concentrate on the other piece of advice I’d been given, and over and over simply kept thinking, “Hold on. Just hold on.”

With everything in place I took a big breath, looked at my buddies sitting in the group and called out, “Hit it!”

The boat’s motor roared, and as the rope became taught, I looked down at my knuckles.  They were white.  I was holding on with such resolve—so tightly that the blood could no longer get through my fingers.

Holding on with all my might, the rope snapped tight and with a force I was totally and completely unprepared for, and yanked me forward.

I’d done everything I was told to the tee.  However, with the rope in between my skis and my legs unprepared for the strength it was going to take to keep them straight, I flew head first through my skis and, like a submarine, I was pulled underwater for what seemed like the entire length of the reservoir.

I couldn’t believe the water I was taking in, but I was true to the second rule and kept telling myself, “Hold on. Just hold on and you’ll get up.”

Of course, in the boat, they were having a good ol’ time talking and laughing, forgetting to watch the skier (me), and when they finally did look back and saw me skimming just below the surface of the water, they screamed at the top of their lungs for me to let go.  But I would have none of it.  I was going to get up and knew that the only way I was ever going to get that done was to hold on.  I have to admit it seemed an odd way to get up on skis, but I was going to keep true to the instructions I’d been given.

Finally, it was too much for my arms to bear; I let go, and floated to the top with a belly full of “Lucky Peak Reservoir” for my efforts.

Dedicated to get up, I got further instruction, and after a few tries, finally put all the pieces together and found myself upright on a pair of water skis.  Up on those skis, behind that boat I looked around and realized I’d also found one of the real loves of my life.

In the end, however, I understood that his advice was right—If you hold on, just hold on, eventually you’ll end up with success.

Success doesn’t come every time; we all know that—especially on the first try.  But, it does come, and most often to those who hold on to what they want with the same “White Knuckles” I used to hold on to that ski rope.

We have to decide what we really want and then hold on to those things with a “White Knuckled Necessity” if we want success.

If you want more money in 2010—a better job, less weight, more spirituality, better family relationships, or the like, you have to decide to use goals and resolutions to get there.  However, that is more that just wishing for things to be different.  Like anything worthwhile, it takes effort.

You have to make/set proper goals that are specific, have accountability and are measurable.  You have to break the things you chase into manageable pieces, so you “don’t choke” on your first try.  Then you have to hold on.  Through good times and bad, when you feel the goal is doable and when you don’t you have a chance, you have to use the same mantra I used to learn to ski, “Hold on. Just Hold on!”

When you do, you find some of the real loves of your lives.  I promise.

Here’s to a fantastic 2010 filled with resolutions accomplished and goals achieved.

Go get ‘em

Jh-


Making Resolutions Into Reality – Part Two

January 4, 2010

Don’t Choke

Joey Chestnut With The Famed "Mustard Belt"

Once we change our dreams into goals by being specific, becoming accountable, and making them measurable (for how to do that, click here) we then have to give ourselves a chance to succeed, and then allow that success to continue moving toward more success.

In order to do this, we can follow the example of one Joseph “Jaws” Chestnut.

In the world of eating competitions, “Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest” is king.

For those of you unfamiliar with the contest here’s a little background from Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog’s own website

The Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Each Fourth of July a group of 20 steely-eyed individuals line up behind a 30-foot table at Nathan’s flagship restaurant on Surf Avenue in Coney Island to begin the world hot dog eating championship. At 12 Noon, crushed by fans and media, the competitors begin the historic 12-minute contest.

According to archives, the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest was first held in 1916, the year Nathan’s opened on Surf Avenue. The contest has been held each year since then, except in 1941, when it was canceled as a protest to the war in Europe, and in 1971, when it was canceled as a protest to civil unrest and the reign of free love.

In the entire history of the contest, when those 20 “steely-eyed” individuals line up against each other in this test of gluttony, there has been one name feared above all the others—Kobayashi.

In his rookie appearance in 2001, Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi doubled the previous record by downing 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes (buns and all).  This number was so unexpected, that as Kobayashi’s numbers got higher and higher, the organizers ran out of signs indicating how many dogs Kobayashi had eaten and had to resort to handwritten signs.

From the day he stepped on the stage of competitive eating, Kobayaski’s name was synonyms with dominance. He won the famous “Mustard Belt” every year from 2001-2007, breaking his own amazing record every year he competed, save one.  Everyone believed him unbeatable, and the greatest competitor in the history of the game.

Everyone but Joey Chestnut.  In 2007 Chestnut lined up against “The Tsunami” for the third time.  His previous attempts were valiant—a third place finish in ’05 and a second place finish in ’06, where he lost by 1¾ HDB (Hot Dog & Bun),

2007 was different for Chestnut, as he finally beat the feared Kobayaski and set a new world record by eating 66 HDB in twelve minutes.

The question is how did he do it.  How does a man eat 66 HDB in 12 minutes?  Certainly not all at once.  He has to do it one HDB at a time.

As we work to tackle our properly set Resolutions and goals, we would do well to follow Chestnut’s example.

He would never have reached his lofty objective by trying to eat all 66 HDB at once.  He had to take them at his pace, a little at a time.  Even though it’s amazing that he didn’t choke eating 66 HDB in 12 minutes; he would have definitely choked on 66 HDB all at once.

We have to look at our goals the same way.

If we set a goal and try to accomplish it all in one chunk, then we will choke on our failure.  However, if we take our goals a bite at a time then, like Joey, we will amaze ourselves, an others, by the feats we “eat up.”

Look at your goals in small increments—break them down into pieces.  Then, reward yourself for every piece accomplished.  There is nothing that will spur us on than a good ‘ol reward—Problem is, if we have to wait until then end of the year to reward ourselves, all we get is a whole lot of discouragement and end up ready to quit before we begin.

If you have a resolution for the year, break it up into more manageable sections, and then reward yourself for achieving each section.  Achievement yields achievement, just like success breeds success.  Most of the time the biggest challenge in reaching our goals is our inability to allow ourselves to feel like we are achieving and succeeding along the way.

I often hear that people should have one-year, three-year, and five-year goals—and I think that’s fantastic.  But, if you ever want to accomplish your one, three and five year goals, you’d better have one, three and five week goals to get you there.

Break it up, and enjoy the journey.  Give your chance to feel great about what your doing right now.  Give yourself the chance to feel like you’re accomplishing your resolution, and before you know it, you’ll not only set New Years Resolutions at the beginning of the year, but you’ll achieve those New Year’s Resolutions at the end of the year as well.

Jh-

Check out part 3 of 3 in my next post

And, if you think you have the “stomach” for it, here is a video of Joey Chestnut’s triumphant win over Kobayashi.

FYI: Joey’s still the Champ. In 2008 when they changed the time limit from 12 minutes to 10 minutes Chestnut tied Takeru Kobayashi after eating 59 HDB in 10 minutes. The tie resulted in a 5-hotdog eat-off, which Chestnut won by consuming all 5 hot dogs before Kobayashi. In 2009 Chestnut topped his previous record of 66 HDB in 12 minutes by eating 68 HDB in 10 minutes.

Anyone want a Hot Dog?


Making Resolutions Into Reality – Part One

January 1, 2010

Combing My Hair

My Good Mom Right Where She's Always Been - By My Side

As we look to the new year, and the resolutions that we will no doubt set (hopefully you haven’t become so jaded that you’ve given up completely on the idea) we need to put in place some concepts that will allow us to succeed and achieve those resolutions so they don’t end up casualties of war by the 15th of January.

In our effort to effectively accomplish the goals we set, we must first make sure that we have effectively set goals.

When I think of what it takes to set goals you will accomplish, I remember an experience I had after my spinal cord injury.

Being in the hospital with injuries so severe, being unable to breathe for seven weeks, and learning how to live in a wheelchair, you can understand why my appearance wasn’t exactly at the top of my concerns. My mom would comb my hair each day, and unless friends (well let’s be honest—girls) made the trek from Boise to visit, I cared less about the result.

When I returned home in October, things changed dramatically.  Friends were over all the time, and now, this little piece of hygiene that mattered so little just weeks before, was now of paramount importance. So, unless I wore a ball cap, I counted on my mom to comb my hair.  For, just like every other teenager, I wanted to look good!

The more my condition improved, the more I cared.  It wasn’t long before I was back at school full time and dating.  Mom did great.  She found a way to not only keep me presentable, but fashionable as well.  I always felt confident leaving the house when my mom combed my hair.

As time progressed, so did I. My strength was getting better and better. I got stronger physically and socially.  By my Junior year, I was finished with therapy, had a full load at school, and was elected class president.  I was driving by myself, and with the help of a friend had actually figured out how to dance in a chair (for that whole crazy story, click here).

Finally, in December of 1987, nearly 1½ years after my accident, I reached a social milestone—I was on my way to my first formal dance.

I was really excited.  The girl who asked me was a cutie and a good friend to boot.  I went out weeks before the dance to get my tuxedo—I opted against a tuxedo with tails as the tails looked more like mud flaps than they did tails.

My mom helped me get ready for the dance.  I showered, shaved, and got into my tuxedo all with her help.  (The tuxedo was all white with a lavender tie and cummerbund to match her dress.  It was the ‘80’s, so I get a little latitude…right.)

Everything was finished but my hair.  Looking in the mirror, pleased with my appearance, I asked my mom if she would comb my hair.  Now this was something that I had asked her to do and she had happily done literally hundreds of time before.

I remember there was a long pause.  I looked up at her and she had a little sparkle in her eye. (I later learned to beware the sparkle).  She grabbed the comb and asked me, “How many 16 year old boys do you think are going to have their mothers comb their hair tonight?’

I wasn’t sure why she would ask such a silly question.  The answer was simple.  Sixteen year old boys combed their own hair.  I knew it and I knew she knew it.  My mistake, however, was in my primary assumption (you know what they say happens when you assume).  I was sure we were excluding me.

I replied, “None,” with complete confidence and a little impatience.

She then handed me the comb and said, “That’s right.  None!”

That was it.  That was the last time she combed my hair.  My hair looked terrible that night—it was like Don King with a bad haircut.  It didn’t get much better in the days to follow.  She had picked that night to make sure the message came through loud and clear—it was time for me to learn to comb my own hair, and although I didn’t have the strength I needed that day to complete the task, I’d never gain that strength if she continued on combing my hair.

Handing me the brush was like a gauntlet being thrown, and even though it took a while for the frustration to pass, and when it did, I learned that in throwing the gauntlet she showed me two things.  First, that she believed I could do it, and second that there were some occasions that wouldn’t allow a hat.

Her issued challenge gave me something to chase., something to achieve—trust me, I wanted to be able to comb my own hair.  Now all I had to do was turn that desire or dream into a goal.

As I began this pursuit, experience told me that if I were going to change my hope into goal it would require more than just wanting it.  Wanting is important, but I had learned through prior experience, that building goals from dreams meant meeting three pieces of criteria.  My experience since has only strengthened my resolve in these important steps.

1.)  Be Specific.

Anytime we have something we want to accomplish in our lives, it must be specific.  I couldn’t just say, “I want to look nice.”  What does that mean.  Working on goals that aren’t specific is like chasing specters.  You end up working really hard and end up with a handful of nothing.  When a desire isn’t clear like I want to make more money, lose more weight, or improve my appearance we have no direction.  However, when we get specific like, “I want to make $60,000, lose 20lbs, or comb my hair.” then we take the first step in making our wants become goals.

2.)  Become Accountable.

Nothing changes dreams into goals faster than writing it down and telling someone else about it.  First when we write it down we make a promise to ourselves.  It works like a contact between us and ourselves—and nothing gets things done like a contract.  Telling others puts us squarely on the hook.  It leaves us very few outs.  If we tell the people we work with, or live with that we are going to make $60,000, lose 20 pounds, or comb your hair, it makes us all the more motivated to achieve.  After all, no one wants to look at a broken contract or hear others ask, “What happened.”

That December, I took out two pieces of paper and wrote on them, “Comb your own hair.”  Then I placed one on the mirror in my room and one on the mirror in my bathroom.  That way I saw my contract multiple times a day, as did my siblings.  Now, my brothers and sister also knew that I was working toward combing my hair.  I was accountable to myself and to them, and my dream was nearly a full-fledged goal.

3.)  Be Measurable.

It doesn’t do any good to set any goal if it doesn’t have a due date.  The greatest stories in the world are ruined if we feel they never end. It’s great to dream about increasing our income, decreasing our weight, and improving our appearance, but if we don’t answer questions like, “by when,” or, “for how long” our dream just stays in the ether.  It becomes unachieved, and we become disappointed.  When we make our hopes measurable so we can know when the race ids finished, we end up with a real live goal.

Any thing of any worth that I have achieved in my life has, in one form or another, met each one of these requirements.  Whether it was becoming student body president at the nations largest private university, becoming one of the youngest to be a part of the top 6% of the insurance industry worldwide, living through two life threatening accidents, starting my own company, or combing my hair, it was because of goals—Goals that were specific, had accountability, and made measurable.

The hair thing worked out.  But the great thing was my mom was smart enough to understand that achieving one thing would lead to achieving others.  The strength that allowed me to comb my hair led me to do other things as well.

All because I was challenged to reach farther than I believed I could.

This New Year the first thing we must do is take those Resolutions—those challenges we’ve made for ourselves and make them specific, make ourselves accountable, and ensure that we can measure our progress.

Then we will be on our way to making our dreams into goals and eventually realities.

Jh-

Check out part 2 of 3 in my next post.


Successful Resolutions

December 30, 2009

As we approach and enjoy the New Year, people all over the nation will be setting their “New Year’s Resolutions.”  The irony, however, is that most of the people who set resolutions feel fairly confident that their chances of accomplishing those goals are miniscule at best.  Over the next few days, I’m going to give a couple tips that will help you successfully set and accomplish the goals you set.

So, come back over the next days.  I know it will allow you to have a great 2010, filled with goals both set and achieved.

Jh-


Make Your Move

December 11, 2008

1459

In the eleven years that followed my auto accident there wasn’t one where I didn’t spend at least two full months in the hospital. During the most intense of those years it was even worse. I would go into the hospital for whatever procedure and stay in until my body simply couldn’t take it anymore, when they would release me and allow me to stay out until my body was well enough to go back in.

For the most part this meant three months in followed by three months in the hospital repeated over and over again. In the midst of one of these multi-month stays, I had understandably gotten a bad case of cabin fever. I was so tired of being in the hospital I had to find a way out.

During this stay, like many of the others, while I was healing the doctors and therapists wanted me up in my chair as much as possible. Anyone who’s spent any real time in the hospital knows that as soon as they can they get you up and going. However, because of my health I couldn’t go far. Therefore, they would sit me up in my chair wrap three of their large blankets around my body (one around my torso, one around my midsection, and one around my feet), slide my Discman in the back of my chair with my headphones on my head so I had something to listen to, and allow me to cruise around the hospital in my wheelchair.

In those months I explored every inch of the hospital. From geriatrics to genetics, from examination to x-ray, and from the lab to the lounge I knew that hospital like the back of my hand. It got to the point where I spent so much time investigating the hospital and out of my room that the nurses didn’t think twice if I was gone for hours on end.

The day finally came when I had had enough. I couldn’t spend another day in the cafeteria, on the helipad overlooking the community, or in any other department of the hospital–I had to get out.

Knowing that I had at least three hours before someone would come looking I began to formulate a plan.

During that time I spent a lot of energy collecting comic books. The comics themselves were light enough that I could hold them in bed, and collecting them gave me something to pursue. Knowing that the new comics had just come in I knew that the comic store was going to be my destination.

Picking this destination made things a little tricky. The comic book store was nearly three miles away. In my chair that would just barely give me enough time to make it there and back before the nurses noticed.

That morning just like every other morning, the nurses got me up, wrapped me in the three blankets and loaded up my Discman. That morning just like every other morning, I headed off the floor telling the nurses I would be back in a while. However, unlike any other morning I made my way to the lobby.

As I came off the elevators I could see the doors leading out of the hospital. Unfortunately, I also saw the security guard who stood in the lobby to make sure that nobody came in who didn’t look like they belonged and that nobody went out that didn’t look like they had permission.

Obviously being in a wheelchair wearing nothing more than three blankets, what was generously deemed a hospital gown, and a pair of headphones, I was a little conspicuous. Sneaking out while the guard was watching wasn’t exactly an option. So I sat there in the corner of the lobby waiting for my moment.

That day when the nurses were getting me ready I had them put a Cd by the band Sugar Ray into my Discman. I sat in the lobby listening to different songs while I waited for the security guard to get distracted hopefully long enough for me to make my move.

Then it happened; he turned to talk to a colleague and I knew this was my time. Slowly, nonchalantly, I made my way to the automatic double doors that separated me from freedom.

Just as I passed through the first set of automatic doors listening to Sugar Ray’s song  “Falls Apart” from their album 14:59  I heard their lyric run through my head as they sang, “Runaway, Runaway.” I thought, “This is a sign, I’m going to make it. I’m actually going to make it. Then again, the refrain, “Runaway, Runaway” as I passed through the final automatic doors.

There comes a time when you’ve been in the hospital long enough and you don’t care what anyone else thinks. This time had obviously come for me, because all I cared about was the fact that I was out. All I had between my birthday suit and the rest of the world were three hospital blankets, but I was out.  Free at last, I began to make my way to the comic book store.

It was a precarious journey. Unlike many places in the United States many areas in the Northeast don’t have sidewalks lining every street. As I made my way through Norwalk, Connecticut I had to pick my route carefully. Sometimes the sidewalk was only on one side of the street, sometimes I would have to change the street I was on to find the sidewalk at all, and sometimes I had to make my way on the street with the cars.

Somewhere along the journey the hospital blanket that covered my legs came a little loose and got caught under my front wheel. Before I knew it I was down one hospital blanket. This was little disconcerting. Were I to lose another hospital blanket there would be few secrets left between me and the people of Norwalk.

But, I made it. I got to the comic book store, made my purchase (while the clerk gave me the oddest look), and made my way successfully back to the hospital. I reached my room in time minus one blanket, carrying a bag of comics on the back of my chair.

This was a huge success for me. I’d gotten out into the real world and procured my comics as well. This not only made my day, but my whole week.

I had so many opportunities to turn back, so many chances to give up. But like life, if we are to succeed there comes a time when we have to make our move. I’m sure there are people who saw me driving partially clothed on the road who thought I was crazy. That’s okay, sometimes success means being a little crazy. I’m sure the nurses thought it was unsafe. That’s okay, often success means breaking predetermined rules.

However no matter how willing I was to be a little crazy and little unsafe the magic moment came when I sat in the lobby. Right then I had to decide, right then I had to move forward or give up. Making my move made all the difference.

Each of us has times when we have the opportunity to make our move and succeed, or let fear win the day and fail. So, set your goals and pursue them for all you’re worth, and when those times come and you find yourself separated from your dreams by a security guard and a pair of automatic doors remember the wise words of Sugar Ray, “Runaway, Runaway” and make your move.

Jh-

Note for fellow Bloggers:  Check out Alphainventons.com to boost blog stats.


Sunday Driving

October 31, 2008

Growing up, Sunday meant church, family time, a roast with potatoes and carrots for dinner, and every once in awhile, a Sunday drive. On those Sundays when my parents felt so inclined, they would load my three brothers and one sister into the family station wagon and we would go Sunday driving (it was the 70s, so everyone had station wagons, ours was green with wood paneling).

I grew up in Boise, Idaho. Both my mom and dad also grew up in Boise. This meant that the drives on Sunday were usually a drive down memory lane. They would point out the schools they attended, the homes they used to live in, the playgrounds where they used to play, and any other little piece of nostalgia that came up along the way. As a 10-year-old boy the stop I hated above all else was when my dad would pull the car to the side of the road, point out a specific lamp post and say, “Kids, this is where I used to kiss your mother.” At that point in my life, girls were something to be chased at recess but never kissed. Although I knew my dad had some responsibility to kiss my mom, I really didn’t want to hear about it.

On our Sunday drives my parents were in sheer bliss. As kids, we were in utter misery. We had no idea where we’re going, and cared little about getting there. We were bored and tired and the only thing we really look forward to was getting home. The sooner it was over the better.

Conversely, every summer meant a summer vacation. We couldn’t wait. My dad would throw the same five kids in the same green, wood paneled station wagon and we were filled with vigor and excitement. It didn’t matter if we left at ten at night or four in the morning, we were literally giddy. The whole way we were singing. We would sing the Hall family song, “We are the Halls, the Stephen J. Halls, wherever we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell ’em,” or some version of, “99 bottles of (milk) on the wall” (Being Mormon, we didn’t sing about beer very often.)

What changed? It was the same kids in the same car. How could we be miserable Sunday driving then ecstatic on our way to our summer vacation. The difference was the destination.

En route to our summer vacation we knew where we were going and were excited to get there. Goals that are specific, written down and measurable help us define the destinations in our lives. They help us know where we are going and motivate us to be excited to get their. When we have goals that we have set up properly, keeping ourselves accountable all the way, we not only become driven but we allow that drive to take us all the way to our dreams.

Then, with goals clearly set and destination known we find ourselves excited even giddy about every day. Regardless of our start or how far we have to go we are filled with vigor and joy, singing all the way.

Jh-


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