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.