Perception of a hard day.

Each of us perceives the world slightly different from the other, this is what causes our realities to be different. The good things some see in the world could be seen as just okay or not noteworthy by others. Stressful situations for some might be someone else’s comfort zone and so on. The way each of us perceive the world is what makes life unknown in ways because we never know what someone might do or say when experiencing a situation.

We can all admit that there are days when we struggle to see the good in anything. When work sucks, our car sucks, our relationships are bad, or life just isn’t great at that moment. These days happen to everyone and can happen anytime. Sometimes life is just unpredictable. There are a few ways to combat these days when our perception of the world around us is abnormally harsh.

Take a little personal time and write down everything that is poisoning your day. Just write it down, get those terrible feelings out of you as quickly as you can. Writing these things down can be difficult because you may not agree with what you are writing, you might feel torn between how you feel in the moment and how you feel in general. Feeling this way okay, its the process of writing the rough moments on paper that help you think through the reality of life at the time and move forward. Give it a try.

Another great option to help adjust your perspective on a challenging day is to talk it out with a friend while doing some type of activity. Perhaps a walk around your office just to vent, working on a puzzle, playing laser tag, hiking, throwing axes, or boxing could be the best way to talk it out and work the challenges out. I have tried all of the ideas I wrote above and they’ve helped me personally, just tailor your activity to you and see how that works for you.

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.

You.

After watching another episode of Queer Eye on Netflix I’ve got to say it and reiterate it, you are great. Yes you, the reader you are great as you are. Many of us are on the receiving end of criticism that is ninety percent self-given and often not uplifting. We are spending too much time breaking ourselves down and not enough time building ourselves up. We need to spend a little more time each day loving ourselves.

I’m not saying that you need to start carrying around a notepad and writing down twenty-five reasons why you are great, worthy, and deserving of your own approval and love but that is one way to do it. What I am saying is that we can talk a little less negatively of ourselves and that starts when we think/talk to ourselves. You know those little conversations that we have when something happens and we replay the scenario in our heads? It is okay to evaluate your behavior and performance but give yourself the credit that you deserve. You do better than you think you do.

A few ways that I have been able to better love and appreciate myself include:

  • Talking about the things I enjoy doing and do well.
  • Smiling at myself in the mirror from time to time.
  • A weekly recap of the things I did well at.
  • Little moments of gratitude to thank, me. (Like this)
  • Belief in my abilities
  • Investing in my personal education and growth.

The list above is just a few things that can be used to look at yourself in a better light. We all know that self-love is a challenge that we battle differently from person to person. If you know someone who needs a little more love, tell them how great they are. Then help them to see that goodness and express the good things they see about themselves. Don’t be afraid to shed a tear or two as you love yourself and help others see the good they do too.

Aspire.

Who do you aspire to be? Why do you want to be that person? And what steps are you taking to evolve into the desired person? We live in good times, times that enable us to learn almost anything and become almost anyone. We are able to snap photos and record video of said interests and progress towards our desired destination of becoming someone known for our travels, achievements, and persona.

Who do you aspire to be? When I think of the type of person I want to become I think about the role models I had growing up. I think about their principles, behavior, work ethic, and abilities. I think about my Dad and his efforts to teach others how to do their best as athletes in their sport and their best as individuals in their family and community. I think about my Grandfather and his desire to be of service when he could to whomever he could be of service to. Being involved in continually doing their best wherever they went is natural to them, I’ve always aspired to be similar to them in that way. Whoever you want to emulate, find their good and try and tune yourself to do the same, just with your own personal touch of genuine goodness.

What steps are you taking to evolve into the person you want to become? If your goal is to become a better listener are you setting yourself up to be in a place that gives you the opportunity to listen? Are you putting yourself in places that will help you grow and utilize the desired traits you want to become strengths? This might require you to put yourself a little outside your comfort zone into the headlights of a growth or learning opportunity.

If you are not sure what you aspire to be in the future take a moment and jot down and fill out a list that might look something like this:

Positive traits that I have today:

Traits I want to have:

People who have the traits I aspire to have:

Their strengths:

My strengths:

What can I do to attain desired traits?

Just a few ideas to help you on your way to see who you want to become in the years ahead. Whatever you should do, aspire to be your best self, happiest self, and most honest self.

Passion.

I know that I’ve referred to Anthony Bourdain a few times over the past weeks as someone who lived a life that inspired me to get out there and be a better human. To get out there and find what connects us by sharing a meal, and talking about real issues that have impacts on the way each of us lives daily around the world. I recently started reading his book Kitchen Confidential and have learned about the experience that jumpstarted his passion for food and culture.

He talks about a summer spent visiting France visiting family, sampling new foods, and immersing his young self in a culture other than his own. He talked about his youthful attitude for testing the rules and his parent’s patience as they traveled around the country as a young family. The defining moment that eventually steered him towards a career in the culinary world, eating an oyster fresh from the ocean on a Frenchmans boat. That was the moment he knew that food was his future and he would eat near anything anywhere in the world. From here he became a chef, writer, and travel documentary maker each of his different professional ventures around food showed the world the flavors that connected us.

In my humble opinion, he lived a life that the “most interesting man in the world” could envy. He taught us how to be less afraid of what we don’t know, to live with others, to live with passion. That is something few of us can say they do well, living each day with a genuine passion for life and its twists and turns. Why are we afraid to follow our passions? Are we afraid of the unknown? Are we afraid to take the route that’s a little more exciting but a little less safe?

Living life with a passion for what we do daily sounds like a challenge for us common folk who work 9-5 jobs that we use to pay the bills just to get by. These jobs may not be our ideal / dream careers but they are a segue to bigger and better things ahead as long as you play your cards right and be invested in what you are doing at that time. Have passion in the little things so as you work to bigger things your passion shines through in full.

Speak up.

Speaking up can be a challenge no matter who you are in a uncomfortable situation. The ability to say what you need to when it’s needed to be said is a tactful gift that few have. A few thoughts on sharing the hard truth.

First off, use your words wisely. Say what needs to be said, don’t beat around the bush when delivering the message but be tactful with the way you say it. People may not appreciate you speaking up and saying what needs to be said at first but will respect you for having the gumption to say it.

Second, keep your message simple and filled with the truth. Allowing the discussion to be built around fluff and misinformation can deteriorate the trust you share with the person you are conversing with. Keep the message as lengthy as it needs to be but not too long. Use clear words that communicate the message effectively without question, use strong statements that effectively relay your message without belittling the person you are talking to

Thirdly, be mindful not to back your communication partner into a corner. When giving a hard message it’s essential to deliver a clean message with the intent to help not harm the other person. Giving others clear options will be a safe bet to avoid emotional defense and rebuttal from another. Although you clearly know where you want or need the conversation to go have options for another than can effectively lead them through the desert to the oasis that is your desired resolution.

Is this an easy skill to learn? Not really. Is it a good way to become a better communicator? Yes, say it as it needs to be said, use your words wisely, share the simple truth of your message, and keep the trail ahead open with options that lead your communication partner to a clear understanding of your desired outcome. You’ll fumble a few times until you get the hang of delivering the hard message, but once the message is delivered and you can breathe a sigh of relief it’ll be easier to relay the next time around.

Perseverance.

Tonight we sat down and watched one of my all-time favorite comedies, Hitch. There is a scene where the main character asks a potential date if she knows the definition of perseverance? He then responds with “Continuing a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure.”. Which sounds extremely well thought out to me.

The idea of setting out on a quest to achieve something big that we genuinely want is something most may have dreamt of as a child. At one time we might have dreamed of becoming an astronaut floating in space, a pirate on the seven seas seeking adventure on the open water, a firefighter or police officer saving the day. Those goals/dreams always felt attainable as a kid, because I believed I could be anything I put my mind to. As I grew and my goals changed my ambitions became smaller in ways because I lost sight of that belief that I could do anything.

This is something we need to stop doing to ourselves. We need to keep those dreams alive through the belief that even as adults we can become anything we put our minds to. Is it a bit more challenging as an adult to see and believe that you can accomplish great things? At times yes it is. However, if you pace yourself for the long run instead of a sprint you’ll be able to find greater success in reaching your goal of becoming whatever you might choose to be.

A friend of mine is currently in the process of becoming a pilot, something that she was inspired to become and has put countless hours into training for. The process has not been an easy one, she has had experiences that have tested her patience and confidence these past months Yet, she continues to study, fly, and improve at her craft as a pilot. Did she know all the details of this goal to become a pilot before she started? I doubt it. Each time we talk I hear the excitement in her voice as she talks about the next steps and the opportunities ahead for her as a pilot.

To me, this is perseverance, a journey with its ups and downs, with continued pace forward towards reaching that goal you set out to achieve in the first place.