Realization.

What I was having a hard time admitting was that I was burned out. Nothing was making sense because I couldn’t grasp what was happening around me, I had fallen into a autopilot mode and was just doing the bare minimum to get by each day. Once I was able to come to the realization of what was happening to me it broke me down a little more than I already was and then allowed me to begin to pick myself up and retake control of myself and my surroundings.

Yesterday I talked about walking the dog and just listening to nature around me and taking a little time to read something every day. Those are two big parts of what has helped me regain some sense of control of my life. The following are two more things that helped me stand a little more confidently and are still helping me today; Eating less sugar, and exercising more gratitude.

I’m not here to tell you how to eat, I here to tell you about what I was eating too much of and too little of. I am the type of person who can pick up a group sized bag of chocolates and eat the whole thing by myself in one sitting. I have a sweet tooth that loves to be fed and all too often I just feed it without thought or care of how I will feel afterward. I have known this for a long time and it hasn’t bothered me because I feel that I live a fairly active life and don’t carry too much excess weight on my bones.

This past month I started using sweets and treats as they ought to be used as a way to treat one’s self once in a while. It was a struggle for me as I mentioned before because I am a sweet eater and indulge a little too often historically. I started taking better snacks with me to work like cheese, fruits and various nuts to snack on instead of sugary treats. I also limited my soda intake to one can a day and that can be after work when I made it home to relax. It made a huge difference in my daily attitude and helped me be a little less cloudy than I was before.

I believe I mentioned this before in a few different posts but this is one that really rings with me and has helped me see life in a better light, expressing gratitude more often. Yes, I have always tried to express gratitude each day but I wasn’t expressing gratitude to the right people nor seeing gratitude in the little things around me. I was grateful for having a place to work, owning a house, a car, and a family but I wasn’t able to express that gratitude directly to the little things that really mattered.

I started saying thank you to my spouse more often for the little things she did, I started looking more at the good things that I had worked toward in my life such as my car and home ownership. I started admitting that I was avoiding seeing the good things in my life and swelling on the holes and how much more I needed to be happy. I personally don’t think that I need material possessions to be happy, but I was starting to think those were the only things I needed to be so. You can be happy with very little should you choose to be grateful for the life you have and the opportunities that have come and are coming your way.

As I stated before I’m not saying the things I’ve mentioned above are guaranteed to make you happier than you already are or will pull you out of a funk or burned out stage of life. What I have mentioned above has helped me live with fewer clouds in my head each day. They were part of the tools I personally used to be a little happier than I was yesterday.

Thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Mom, for everything you have done for me thus far in life. You taught me how to live a life filled with love and adventure. To smile when things are tough and to welcome challenges into my life with open arms. You showed me how to step up when others wouldn’t and how to find joy in serving others. You showed me that I could be myself without fear and that it was okay to make mistakes because we are human and everyone does.

Thank you for keeping me grounded in reality by teaching me about the real world, but allowing me to dream big and understand that achieving my dreams requires hard work. Thank you for sharing so much of your time with me when I needed you most. For listening to my joy, sadness, anger, and misunderstanding when you had a busy schedule that day but knew I needed a little extra time that day. Thank you for picking up the phone and talking with me every day you have five minutes, as I’ve grown older our conversations have helped me through many challenges and kept our bond strong.

I feel the same as Abraham Lincoln when he spoke this about his mother, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”. I am very fortunate to have the mother I do, she accepted me as a child and gave me opportunities when others might have held me back. She inspired me to step up and become independent by facing challenges that haunted my early years, she told me no when I needed to hear it, and encouraged me to try one more time to see if I could tie my own shoes this time.

My Mom is everything to me, because of her I have a foundation in love that can never be shaken. She took in four children, gave us opportunity and love, taught us about love and guided us through life with love every step of the way. I am forever grateful to my mother, the greatest woman I have ever known.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there.

Women.

Today is for you, today is because of you and all the things you’ve done, are doing and will yet do. To the women in our lives who have built us into better humans, who have shown us how to stand tall, to laugh, to be brave when we are afraid, to talk when you need it, and to love. The greatest thing our world has are strong women who have risen up to break down barriers and injustice. Thank you for showing us a better way, one day at a time.

Today we celebrate each of you and your courage. Your abilities to stand tall when others would hold you back or beat you down. Thank you for standing up and making your voices heard, for showing us the world is better with women in politics, as business owners, as assets to society.

Thank you for rising up after each time you were told what to do and how to be. For your willingness to say what needed to be said, for standing together for equality and changing our views on what the world should be.

To the women who have pushed the boundaries of science, the ones who have run races organized only for men,  to those who have sat when some demanded they stand, to the ones who have taught in schools and in the home, the ones who have advised and lead the way when we needed them to, and to the ones who speak when we need to listen we thank you for being you. For helping us understand that we can be anything we want to be in this life, that the path to success isn’t always what we hoped it to be but can become what we need it to be.

To the woman who gave birth to me, thank you for giving me this life filled with opportunity.
To the woman who raised me, thank you for teaching me to be strong, to stand up and say what needed to be said, to love unconditionally, and to share my feelings when life was heavy. There are countless more things I could say, but I’ll save them for a future day.
To my wife, thank you for your patience, strength, willpower, and desire to build a better world for everyone.

To my countless friends and colleagues thank you for always standing tall, for showing everyone that the world is a good place that is becoming a better place because you are apart of it.

Google Maps.

I spend a lot of time using google maps to daydream, plan, and see the world as it is laid out by city and region. The first time I logged into google maps and stared at the grainy images I was hooked on looking at the places I’d been, seeing if I could remember the streets and shops that I had visited in my travels. I also began using the database to locate local spots that I might not have known about in the cities that I wanted to visit. Google maps has opened the world of geographical research to a wider audience and on a simple to use platform.

I worked at a company for three years where I used the maps feature to map out mini road trips around cities so that people could explore different routes of their local surroundings. This allowed me to watch the traffic reports and better estimate the time it might take participants in my event to get from point A to B, and what optional routes might look like for myself as I drove large trucks around the city hauling event supplies to the different locations. These tools that allow us to see the city and its different estimated routes have changed the way many of us travel today.

When I am planning a trip to a new place I use the tools on the site to get an educated look at the region I am staying around along with a few vital need to know areas for the bet experience possible. I usually look up my Hotel or Airbnb and see were the nearest public transit is to my location. When we travel we strongly rely on utilizing local public transit to get around town due to ease of access and hopefully being able to avoid renting a car on the trip. I always keep in mind where the nearest hospital is just in case it’s needed, safety first, hospital second right?

I also look up major attractions in the area along with the distance between each destination to see if walking is an option to see more of the city. Knowing where things are in relation to each other allows us to better use out time experiencing the things we want to see rather than just packing up and going from point A to B. Plus, you can plan better food stops!  Knowing these things set me up for full comfort in a new city that might use a different language, currency, and more often than not a different measurement system.

After that slightly geeky rundown of my google maps planning sessions I am grateful to Google for having an easy to use tool that helps people around the world plan better for the experiences we hope to have.


Validation.

Not everyone can admit that they like to feel validated in who they are and what they do. Validation is something we all seek after unconsciously or in a very conscious manner. Why is this? Because we like knowing that we are doing good, that we are doing okay. It can be an extremely strange feeling wanting someone to say something about what we are doing but when they say something it can be the sweetest moment.

Have you ever wondered why we enjoy being validated, it’s a reassurance that what we are doing is making the cut. The understanding that our efforts are being recognized by others helps us continue to pursue the best direction in our personal and professional relationships. As business professionals, we need to know that the hours we toil on projects are paying off not only for our personal portfolios but for the organization who employs us. The projects we are able to successfully complete can be stepping stones to greater success in our chosen field of employment. The failures we experience will also be stepping stones of evaluation and remapping our pathways to successful days of validation in the future.

In our personal relationships validation is key in the sustainability and health of your relationship. If your partner or friend does something right let them know, give them a pat on the back, a hug of gratitude, or simply use your words to say “Thank you.”. We need validation in our relationships as reinforcement for the rocky times that are guaranteed to happen throughout the life of any relationship.

Being able to be genuinely grateful for the things your partner or friend does can build up emotional storage of affirmation and validation that can carry a friendship through the dark times.  We need to remind ourselves that from time to time we will not be in the best emotional state to be a good friend, but to be a friend who needs a good friend to drag us out of the muck we are laying in, clean us off, cheer us up, and help us move forward with life.

We need to remember to be a good friend who is grateful to our friends, acknowledging and validating their good traits, so they know where your friendship stands then can be there when you need it most. Providing that feedback isn’t always an easy thing to do, it is, however, an essential thing to do often in healthy relationships.

Thank you, friends, for reading this simple message. May you find a way to validate your friends for the good people they are and help them become the people they hope to be.