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?


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-


Pick a Direction and Go!

October 16, 2009

Football Victory

When I came into the life insurance industry, I was blessed with great success—success that many never thought possible.  Much of that success was due to mentors who took a direct interest in my dreams and goals and worked hard to help me see them to fruition.

One of those mentors was Chuck Cutler.  In college, Chuck was a great wide receiver for BYU, and as such had already won my adoration.  But, it was in his personal interest in me, and my success during my work at Mutual Of New York, that he won my respect.

I learned many things during my time under Chuck’s management, but one of the things that had the most lasting impact came from a story he told me on our way to an appointment.

Now, this wasn’t your regular “across town” appointment.  This sales meeting was at seven-thirty in the morning in the little town of Montpelier, ID—just over three hours away from our offices in Salt Lake City.

I picked Chuck up at our offices at 4:00 a.m. so we could be on time and prepared for the appointment in Montpelier.  We had both been working into the late evening the night before, so in an effort to stay awake we tried to keep the conversation lively.

As we made our way, the conversation eventually turned to his football days at BYU.  With him being a former athlete at the Y and me having been a Brigham Young fan from essentially birth, neither of us was surprised. We both knew it was bound to happen.

Reminiscing about his time playing ball, he came to a story from the early days of his career at BYU.

It was the middle of practice, and what with him being a young wide receiver in a program filled with great receivers, he wanted to make sure to make a statement from the get go.

He lined up in front of one of the team’s senior defensive backs, the quarterback called the signal, the center snapped the ball, and Chuck was off.  As he ran his appointed route he worked hard to juke left and right in an effort to lose the defensive back.

The longer the back stayed with Chuck, the harder Chuck worked to lose him.  He pulled out all his best moves, shucking and jiving down the field. Eventually all this work brought forth some results.

As Chuck moved back and forth, he eventually slipped and twisted his ankle.  The play ended, and the coach walked over to where Chuck was on the field—an embarrassing situation that Chuck had in no way intended for.

The coach pulled him up from off the ground, and simply said (as much as any football coach can simply say anything), “Pick a Direction and Go!”

I think often about this story and it’s message.  Sometimes as we work to gain success in our lives, we end up doing just what Chuck did; we shuck and jive our way through life, trying to go in too many ways at one time, leading to a lot of movement, but little progress.  When try to focus on too much all at once, everything just ends up blurry and we end up with little more than an embarrassing story and a twisted ankle.

Conversely, when we pick our direction and go, our chances for success increase exponentially.  We become dedicated to one destination and with that in mind we are more likely to complete our routes and catch the ball.

Try it; pick one area of your life, then pick a direction—and go. If you will, your ability to succeed will increase, your life will be littered with achievement, and you’ll end up with an “All-American” attitude will make you unstoppable.

Jh-

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The Saving Grace of Hope + DVD Giveaway

December 13, 2008

sunrise1

After the EMTs brought me in from my major car accident and the doctors and surgeons in the ER and OR did their part I was placed in the intensive care unit to heal. As life-threatening as those first weeks were, the first days were an hundred times more harrowing. My body was battered and broken and one big bruise. As difficult as the battered and broken parts were it was the “bruise” that was putting my life in danger.

Think back if you will to the last time you saw a black eye. Remember how the area around the eye swells and fills with fluid. Think now about my body as one big black eye. The accident had caused my legs to break badly enough that I slipped out of my seatbelt and “ping-ponged” around the front of my van. My body therefore, like a black eye, was swelling and filling with fluid.

The damage was so extensive that on about a third day after the accident my tissue became saturated and the fluid began to fill my heart and lungs. On that third day as my family came into the hospital the doctor pulled them to the side and told them that if they wanted to say goodbye to me they’d better do it that day, because I wouldn’t be around the following day.

Curious about what the doctor meant exactly my family inquired further about my chances. They wondered if the doctor meant I might not make it through the night or I probably wouldn’t make it through the night, to which the doctor replied that there was no chance I would make it through the night.

That night was as difficult a night as I have ever had in my entire life. My lungs would begin to fill with fluid and my ability to breathe was seriously compromised. The only way to alleviate the situation was to have a Respiratory Therapist come in and suction out my lungs. This required the RT to slide a tiny tube down my nose and into my lungs to draw out some of the fluid.

The process was painful but when they were finished I could breathe again. Unfortunately, my situation was so dire that 45 minutes to an hour after the procedure was finished my breathing would become labored again.

I would push my nurse’s call button and when the nurse arrived in my room I told her that I needed to be suctioned again. She reminded me that it had barely been an hour since I had been suctioned last and that because of the pain I might want to wait a little while. I told her that I didn’t feel like I could make it a little while, and regardless of the discomfort I needed to be suctioned. The RT would again come to my room and take some of the fluid out from my lungs.

All night long this process was repeated. Nearly every hour for the entire night I pleaded to have the Respiratory Therapist do the procedure and nearly every hour through constant reminders of the intense pain my pleas were heard and the procedure was done. It was difficult, it was hard, it hurt, and when the sun rose the next morning my hospital gown was covered in blood, but I was alive.

As I think about that night and what it took to stay alive the primary ingredient was hope. I hoped to live. I hoped to breathe. I hoped for the courage to endure the pain. I hoped for the intestinal fortitude to see the morning come. All I had to hold onto through that most difficult of nights was hope.

Luckily when the doctors told my family about the severity and potential fatality of the situation they elected not to tell me. This allowed me to hope. I never once considered that I might lose my life. Hope kept my mind focusing on the positive instead of becoming mired in the negative. Instead of wondering which hour would be my last, hope allowed me to think of every hour as one bringing me closer to new health.

There is a saving grace that comes with hope. Hope can change our hours as we think about our opportunities instead of our pitfalls. Hope can change our days as we concentrate on how things can become better instead of worrying about how things will become worse. Hope can change our lives by allowing us to maximize what we can do instead of being weighted down by what we can’t.

I am thoroughly convinced through my own experience and through those experiences that I have seen others overcome that 90% of success is waking up each morning with a little hope in your heart.

So hope; hope that things can be better, hope that you can accomplish your goals, hope that your life will be filled with the richest blessings of your dreams. Just hope, and let that hope chase all the fear and doubt from your heart.

Jh-

Leave a comment of something that brings you hope and one of the comments will win one of my autographed DVD’s (or click here to purchase your own). I can’t wait to see the things that bring you hope. I can’t wait for your hope to increase my own. Comments close at 9pm PST Tuesday, December 16.


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-

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