Reconnect.

Spending time to catch up with old friends is a great experience to have. Especially if you and your friends want to spend time together but are often derailed from time together due to schedule differences. Reconnecting with friends is best done however you prefer spending time together playing games, eating dinner, or doing activities out on the town. Life is a series of moments that come at us fast. Spending time with friends is a good way to spend a few of those moments.

Tonight a group of my friends got together and we all reconnected after an extended time  of not seeing each other. It was an excellent time overall reconnecting hearing stories of other peoples lives and the new changes that have happened to each other through the months and years. We laughed and rekindled our friendship while enjoying a meal and a few hours of pop culture conversations. As we started to leave we all parted with happiness in our hearts and smiles on our faces not knowing when the next time we would all be together again.

Reconnecting with people from our past often can bring up warm memories of the years past. Often those memories connect with memories, these can be good and warm, memories of embarrassment, or bad memories we’d like to forget. Often we can forget the moments until we are back with the people we were with when those moments happened. Don’t be embarrassed or surprised if those memories rekindle feelings you’d thought you had long forgotten. Just take a few moments and remind yourself of the here and now and where you currently are.

When you can reconnect with a friend or two from the past who was a good influence on you, check in and see how they are, and how life is going for them. Try to do your best to be a listener interested in your friend’s life. It will be a refreshing experience you’ll be grateful to have.

Know.

I’ve been told many times that life is all about who you know more than what you know. Being able to use your connections to accomplish different tasks is key to finding success in much of life’s challenges. Think about all the people you know, they like you have different skills and interests that they utilize on a daily basis without much thought. Now think about yourself and inventory your assets or skills, you personally are probably skilled in 5 – 10 things well and those things might not always be the skills needed to accomplish the task.

Tonight truly reminded me why it’s so valuable to know and be friends with people with different skills than you. I have been building an e-commerce side hustle and I finally felt comfortable ordering some bulk product and seeing what I could do to move a larger volume of products. I needed some pictures taken that would encourage people to purchase these items and my iPhone photography skills wouldn’t do the job. I messaged one of my good friends and we set up a time to take quality photos to best move the product.

When I arrived I figured that we’d use my friend’s camera and just take some quality high-resolution pictures. He had lights’, a white backdrop, and the digital editing equipment and skills to make the pictures better than I had expected. I am truly grateful to know people who have skills that they can share to make my ambitions a reality without much work to them.

We can all think of times when our friend’s skill sets have helped us out when we needed a hand. We can also probably think of the times when we have done the same for others, showed up and helped out when needed with ease. We need to remember to integrate that into our natural motion every day, offering to lend a hand where we can and lift the world to a better place.

It’s all about who you know right?

Running.

Heavy steps as you move from place to place at an increased speed for what real purpose? Is your reason because you are afraid? A little out of shape? Or because you simply enjoy running from place to place letting yourself experience new things. Many of us in life are these different types of runners and when we run we run with purpose because running for any other reason seems pointless to most.

Do you run out of fear? Are you running from someone or something? Is it your past, your parents, or your present? Whatever is chasing you might be causing you stress and anxiety as you go leaving you restless and unsure of your footing as you go. Some spend their whole lives running from ideas of what might happen instead of facing the reality of what is happening and owning it.

Are you a runner to stay fit or to shed those extra pounds? Do you run to stay trendy and up to date on the latest fashions? Have you fallen prey to the idea that you need to run with those who pose for the cameras and record their workouts on social media? Have you allowed yourself to let the fitness aspirations of others smother your self-esteem and worth? We live in a world surrounded by double tapped celebrities who are pushing their ideal lifestyle on others, and everyone chases them in their own way.

These people who are encouraging you to join them in their followings and lifestyle can be extreme on all angles with the various amounts of fad dieting, exercise routines, or sheer laziness. THose who run the trends on social media may smile in front of the camera but are running wherever they think the likes might be and living less of their genuine selves.

Finally, there are those who run simply because they enjoy it and it makes them happy. These are the people who often smile for no reason, go on adventures with friends and family, and test their limits one step at a time. Often they may not be fancy or trendy but just interested in optimizing the life they have to live.

What type of runner are you?

Avoid.

Ever avoided something? Ever veered clear of taking an action or saying something that needed to be said? If you said yes, you’re not alone, people everywhere experience similar feelings as humans tend to avoid uncomfortable situations. It’s a natural thing to avoid the difficult tasks we need to accomplish due to our fears of upsetting others and disrupting a safe balance.

I have plenty of situations and conversations that I tend to avoid out of fear of making a mess of life’s good balance at that moment. I do this at home and at work and I hate myself at times for this behavior. I know that I would be better off if I just made the decision to say what needed to be said but I have an overabundance of concern for the feelings of others. I often allow this concern for others to walk over my feelings and grind them into the ground.

It’s a fault that I’m not alone in ownership of. We are more concerned than we want to admit about the feelings of others. It’s the real humanity in us, our ability to fear upsetting others that makes these hard times difficult to speak to and easy to try to avoid. We need to learn how to speak up without fear and skip avoidance altogether.

Think about what would make you happy, think about what you could say to someone else that would help make your life better. Now, look at the action that needs to be taken to get to where you need to be happier, prepare yourself to speak up for yourself. As you speak up for yourself say what needs to be said with empathy towards the person you are speaking with, remember to be honest and straightforward though as that will help all parties involved understand the changes that you hope to happen.

Don’t avoid speaking up when things need to be said, take some time and think through what you want to say then find a moment to share it. I cannot say the outcome will be ideal but you will feel better in the long run after speaking up for yourself.

Interest.

I’ve mentioned this before but learning new things by reading then applying is one of my all-time favorite past times. I love reading books that have a lesson to be learned and a new way to look at life. There are times when I am constantly reading the same styles of book, ones that promote self-improvement and time management. I get there are people who look at these books and think they are complete folly, but I take the good from them and apply them in my day to day life.

There are plenty of reasons to spend a little time each day invested in self-improvement. First to improve your quality of life, not because you are broken or need improvement but because too many of us fail to see the good we do and the strengths we have. Being honest we are often too critical of our weaknesses, we need to be more kind when we look inward at what we do. Investing a little time into self-improvement can truly make your mental well being better as you are a bit kinder to yourself.

Second would be to learn topics that can help you to be a better friend, primarily a better listener who can respond with better answers and follow up questions. There I said it, often times as friends we are needed as good active listeners who are able to respond with answers that add value to the conversation. These moments when we can add to the conversation will strengthen our friendships and help our friends have someone besides themselves to lean on. Obviously, you don’t want to take over the conversation but add enough value that your friend not only knows you are listening to them but you are invested in learning about their interests too.

You and I both know the list could add up to one hundred different points but that’s not why we’re here. Take a little of your time each day and work on learning a little about self-improvement, take a little more time to appreciate yourself and the good things you do. Be interested in adding to your quality of life and your personal happiness and everything else will follow.

Effort.

When you want to accomplish something you have to put in the work or the effort to get the desired task completed. An effort is a hard thing to have at all times, the willingness to put your best foot forward and making things happen can be compared to a wave, rising above the rest, cresting, then falling back lever with the rest of the water around it. Often when we set out to accomplish a goal we are fully invested in seeing it through and can easily see ourselves at the finish line of our desired goal. Yet, after a few weeks of struggle as you find momentum within the challenge the finish line can be hard to visualize.

I am this way when I start out working on different projects, I put forth as much effort and work into the motion as I can and after a few short weeks start feeling the burnout. My efforts began to fall a bit less than desirable and my attitude changes from one of delight while working on my goal to one that has a little drag in the step. I’ve felt this on both personal pursuits and professional work done for different companies I’ve previously worked for. When you realize you are drained and unmotivated to continue with the project your output falls short of your regular quality work as does your attitude in general.

Am I alone in feeling this way? I doubt it. I’d guess that I’m not alone in feeling this way after putting in the effort in full at the start and attempting to sprint to completion and end up sprinting to burnout. We need to set our efforts at a pace that can be sustained and build endurance. Gary Vee has explained it best as he consistently reiterates putting in the work and preparing for a marathon and seeing the long game. I think he is right in reminding everyone that we can be better prepared mentally for the tasks and challenges ahead if we escape the mindset of the sprinter and build the mindset of a marathon runner. We’ll be able to stay on task longer and have a greater output if we do.

So be smart how you use your efforts, set up for the long game and the struggles and add them to your strengths as you grow.

Pass.

With this challenge, I have been looking for an excuse to skip a day of writing since I began writing a little bit each day. This challenge hasn’t been a terribly difficult one for me either. I just need a spark of inspiration and a small amount of self-control to complete the task. This self-control needed is a key element in me completing this self-assigned challenge. At times I can take up to an hour to type out my three hundred words all because I choose to get distracted by articles on my phone, dog and cat videos, and episodes of my favorite sitcom.

Distractions are one of my biggest weaknesses because I am so easily attracted to distractions. I have had the longest relationship with becoming distracted and veering away from completing tasks from childhood to now. It always seems like a lucrative opportunity to multitask and improve on my skills as a multitasker yet falls flat on the face every time I become distracted. When I allow my distractions to take the lead of my direction I fall short of reaching my desired goal or outcome without delay and often I fail to complete my desired tasks.

As this challenge has progressed I have worked to overcome my distractions better. To remain focused on my writing and accomplish my desired three hundred word outcome. This has been a hard thing for me to do yet as I have become better at it I have found myself more interested in learning new words and seeking a better way to relay a clear cut message that I hope will inspire others to live a better life. It would appear that at times I fail to do this as my writing can feel like a maze with no clear outcome desired.

One of my goals with this project is to become a better writer, a better storyteller, and a better marketer of my opinions in hopes that I will be able to attract a larger stage to share my stories on. This may not happen in a year but I’m committed to testing the waters and seeing where they lead me. Here’s to writing and finding a reason not to pass a day without writing a little better and learning a little more than I knew before.