Presentation.

Today I remembered why I enjoy presenting in front of people, the thrill of sharing a message that some need to hear is exciting. Tonight I was apart of a basic presentation for my marketing class, I shared about four minutes worth of information to a audience that wasn’t interested in the subject we shared but listened for a grade. I tried to keep my talking points simple yet entertaining and felt the audience heard what I needed to say.

In the past, I have been privileged to present in front of groups from twenty to a thousand people and have loved the opportunity to share my story. A story that to me is normal life lived as I do, one foot in front of the other and adapting to the world around me. I have been blessed to have a story to tell others, one that people say inspires them to live a little happier each day. As a person with a disability, I find joy in living independently yet can happily acknowledge that I need help from time to time. This has not only humbled me but has given me the opportunity to openly learn how to ask better questions.

As a speaker and storyteller, I am often asked to share my journey, the ups, and downs alongside the lessons I have learned as I’ve grown little by little. It’s never easy to be vulnerable, to allow others to know your weaknesses and fears. Yet, it is surprisingly freeing to tell a story built off those pillars and develop a message that can inspire others to recognize the good in their lives. I love hearing the good and seeing the good that others have in their lives.

This desire to hear the good has led me to the next leg of my journey a podcast, a bi-weekly segment highlighting the good of the world. I can’t wait to present you with the release date of my podcast, “What’s your take?” launching May 2019.

Destination.

No matter what we are all moving in some direction and will end up at some destination. Often our destinations can be loosely based on an idea such as “I’d like to get into better physical shape by March.” This idea is based around attaining some form of betterness through physical activity but has no clear destination. Other destinations are more apparent and thought out such as “I’d like to visit all fifty US States between July of 2019 and July of 2021 and must stay in each state for twenty-four hours to count it as visited.” That is a well-defined goal with a timeline and sub defined goal to make the experience equally measured.

Tonight I want to share about a destination I am currently working towards. It’s a project in my backyard that has been staring me in the face daily since we moved in. Repairing the weather-worn pergola in our back yard so that we dare to invite guests over for summer bbq’s and I can have an outdoor space to read, write, and lounge about. This is a very selfish goal that I want to complete so that I can reap all the rewards. As I have been working towards repairing the floor I have realized this is going to be a larger project than expected.

I have been surprised each time I remove a few more rotted floorboards from the base of the pergola how much water damage has taken place where I couldn’t see until the floorboards were gone. As of right now, I will need to remove the entire base of the pergola and start over again. Is this what I had expected when starting this project? Not at all. Is it something that needs to be done to guarantee quality and extended use and satisfaction? Yes, and when the work is all done it’ll be even more relaxing to relax under something I repaired/built with my own hand(Not a typo).

Our lives and our journeys never tend to go as planned, there are always bumps in the roads that may require a few extra steps to reach our desired destination. We are always in control of how we react to these extra steps or unprecedented situations we are placed in our decision on how to act will shape how we move forward. Whatever your destination may be, decided today that a few detours along the way can’t hurt your progress toward where you want to be.

Act.

As a young sixth grade student in rural America, I wanted to be a part of the yearly school musical. In fact, little did I know I wanted to be a part of my middle schools first play / musical. I auditioned for and got the role of a cabinet member in the Annie musical. I had exactly one line and I performed that line near perfectly as I can remember. My acting career was off to a good start and a great finish as I have never acted again since that play.

I look back fondly on my time as a cast member in my school play. It was a simple goal to become an actor in a play and I took the steps to join the play and act. That’s the main message of tonight’s writing, think it and start to act. I have always enjoyed being a person who is known to act, to set their mind to something and get it done. These days one of the most important things that we can do is set a goal and get after it.

I was recently listening to a podcast that touched on the best thing we can do is take opportunities to learn a skill and act on that newly learned skill. That is the best way that we can learn mastery of the skill, just by doing it and seeing the outcome we can better learn the subject matter and improve the ability we have to reach the desired outcome we seek. Just by doing we can become masters of the skillsets we desire to have.

Once we feel competent in these skills we can then teach others how to do them and improve our skills as we go. The best way to learn and retain information is to teach others what you know and how to gain results, Whether that is creating a podcast, woodworking, or sewing a skill learned and shared is a benefit that comes around full circle.

Starting today, take the opportunity to act on your vision and get things done.

Dog Bath.

We try weekly to bathe our dog June, there are times we skip a week and there are times when she gets multiple baths. It all depends on how dirty our dog is after playing outside, and how ambitious we are feeling. Today was the day to bathe the beast and help her smell a little better.

Every time we try to trick our dog into jumping into the tub she catches on to what we are doing then tries to evade us at all costs. She runs around the house as if it is a game of tag, with her heart and mind set on avoiding the suds of cleanliness. Once we are able to catch her and talk her into climbing into the tub she sits down in the back of the tub as far away from the showerheads reach as she can.

June hangs her head in defeat while she is bathed and seems to hate every minute of the bath. As soon as we are finished with her bath she shakes twice in the tub, then leaps from the tub and is ready to zoom around the house scattering water wherever she goes. We’ve trained her to run to the living room and roll around on a blanket, which she does with more stoke than a Fin taking a winter swim then dashing back to the sauna. As much as our pup pretends to hate baths she does enjoy the ten minutes after when she rolls around and dries off on the blanket.

The reason I share this story of the weekly dog bath is that many of us are like my dog, we dislike the tasks that will improve our quality of life but are often energetic after we buckle down and do what needs to be done. It’s never easy to dive into a challenge, we have to build ourselves up to the task often playing a little tag till we get there. Yet, once we commit to the idea and just do the thing, we are rewarded with good feelings all around for accomplishing the tasks.

Consumption

It seems that everywhere we go we are faced with ads and marketing campaigns that are designed to do one thing, get us to make a purchase. This buy-in might be to visit a local lawyer if we’ve been injured, visit a local car dealership because they listen, donate to a cause because you care, or purchase a product to change your life. We live in a world that is built around you or I spending money after being advertised to. We are a generation of consumers.

Some are in constant search for the newest item that will make them appear smarter, trendier, and more tech savvy than others. Some build their self worth and esteem based off the brands the shop and use on a day to day basis, this practice can be freeing for many and depressing for some. Not only are we surrounded and influenced by the consumer culture we are built or broken by it at times.

For those who have extra funds to buy the premium products they are easily able to attain their desired status amongst their peers and are often early adopters of the latest fads and trends. For some their path to attain products to boost status can be lengthy and combined with a uphill battle as they attain the products later and they may attain them well after a newer iteration of the product arrives and others mat remind them of how “behind the times” the late purchaser might be.

As consumers, we need to be better at finding satisfaction with the products that we have. I mean do we really need the latest and greatest or will what we have do for another year or so? What does a new product in our hands really change about us? For many it is all about the self confidence and self esteem that comes along with the items, but this is not the case for everyone.

Finding happiness with what we have could pay off in the long run if we are willing to be okay with having things for a long time. It could allow us to be happier in the current moments we have and less focused on the fleeting moments ahead. As a consumer, you should remind yourself that things don’t define your actions and personality do.

Confront.

I talk to heaps of angry people, people who are blindly angry because of the things they do not know and don’t want to understand. There are so many people who would rather stay in perpetual annoyance and misunderstanding than invest a little time to learn something new. I spend plenty of time helping people recognize change and do my best to help them learn the changes and adapt.

This is often met with pushback from the people I am attempting to educate. I often find myself confronting these people with the fact that life and technology are changing and will continue to change. People dislike this a lot, they dislike change because it is unknown and nobody is comfortable going into the unknown. It scares us more than we would like to admit and we allow ourselves to change little by little so we can adapt easier to the change.

I hate confronting people and I have a strong dislike for change. Yet, I know that change is a constant and I try my best to roll forward with the change. Often when I confront people for being stubborn about the change I meet a wall, a wall that has stood in the same place for a number of years and has no plan of moving in the coming years. This wall is called the comfort zone, we love our comfort zones. However, with most walls, there is a gate that allows things in and out. This can be said about our comfort zones, we gradually open up and allow new things in to change who we are and let the old ways fall out.

Accepting the changes that are happening around us is a true challenge. Acknowledging these changes takes time to digest and become accustomed to, allowing ourselves to be willing to educate ourselves on the change will help us to welcome change better. I’d recommend we all think about how we accept change and how we adapt then confront our weaknesses and strive to open our comfort zone to new things.

Best.

As often as we can my dog and I go out hiking in the mountains and hills near our house. As soon as I mention the phrase “Let’s hike” my dog immediately runs to the door and begins an impatient session of whining to go and running to me as I prepare to venture out. Once we get in the car she eagerly awaits our adventure with her paws on the center console and eyes peeled on the road. Once we arrive at our destination she begins a little dance to get out and begin smelling everything, running to and fro, and keeping her stoke high. June lives her best day ever each time we go out.

That’s one of the best things about having a dog is that every moment seems to be the happiest moment she has ever had. Whenever go out she lives those minutes with bliss as she experiences the world around her. I think we could all take a life lesson from dogs by living our best days every day and every opportunity to do something is an opportunity to smile and be fully invested in what we are doing.

Too many people drag themselves from one place to another and go through the expected motions we lack enthusiasm as we go along and often do not enjoy our lives. We need to enjoy our lives more, by finding a better life balance that allows us to do the things we want to more often. Whatever we enjoy doing we need to find time to do it. Allowing ourselves to become distracted with too many other things that a corporate society demands of us. We need to spend less time following the rules for life that others have created for us and more time creating the life we know we want to live and actually believe in living.

Be like a dog heading out to hike and live your best day ever every day.