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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Day 154 – Thankful for a Successful Express International Leadership Conference

Today I am thankful for a successful Express International Leadership Conference.

Quick note, I’m pretty sure this is the earliest posting I’ve done on this blog to date.  Seemed like a good idea to write it while I’m chilling in the airport at 3:15am.  ūüôā

Over the past handful of days I’ve been blessed to spend time at the Express Employment Professionals’ International Leadership Conference.
We’ve had great speakers ranging from President George W Bush (amazing individual who really impressed me)  to Emmitt Smith (though I hated him in the ’90’s he was great to listen to) to Larry the Cable Guy (Hysterical!).  There’ve been many excellent trainers and learning sessions by Express colleagues and the sharing of many great ideas by colleagues. Throw in some awards and it’s been pretty fantastic.

The thing that I am most thankful for though is all of the rekindling of relationships with people that I sometimes only see one or two times a year.  It blows my mind how there can be such strong relationships forged through chance encounters, calls for assistance, and one time training sessions!  Many of these people I’ve gotten to know WAY back in my 16+ Express career, and others have bene over the recent years.  Regardless, there is always a huge hug and conversation about the most important things in our lives…  Our families.  Forget the work stuff, we can catch up on that any time.  The only exceptions are when we are celebrating successes of the other, remembering great memories, or helping to lift each other up after tough times.  These short conversations are what I hold mostly deeply in my heart.

I’d also be remiss to not give a special thanks to Terese Irwin, the person responsible for this fantastic event.  She did such a wonderful job of organizing this event.  Can you imagine trying to organize anything for over a thousand strong willed and independently minded individuals?  Not only did she crush it, but she accomplished something that I don’t think has ever happened before…  Everything started on time and in many cases was done at least a couple of minutes earlier than scheduled!  Awesome job Terese!!!

Thank you to all of my Express friends for your conversations, hugs, support, conversations, ideas, insights, and camaraderie.  You truly are my second family!  

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 153 РThankful for the Surreal Intersection of History and Reality 

Today I’m thankful for for the surreal intersection of history and reality.

We had much of the afternoon to ourselves in Dallas today and a few of us decided to head to Dealey Plaza.  

   
    
 Since my teen years I’ve been interested in conspiracy theories JFK’s assassination.  It’s been of interest because it seems that almost every American I’ve met who was alive at that time can tell you exactly where they were when they heard news of the event.  There’s only a handful of news events that have had that type of impact on me and there was an allure to experience a location where history was made.

I’m not sure what I expected, but this completely normal looking intersection was definitely not it.  This looked too ordinary, too small, too plain and too unspectacular to have been involved in a history changing moment of our country.  Notice that I only used the word “looked.”  How it “felt” is completely different.

It was so surreal to be standing in the area where JFK was gunned down.  To be able to see the 6th floor room of the Book Depository, an “X” on the road where JFK was hit, and the grassy knoll all from the same vantage point was incredible.  There was something about standing there that felt so bizarre.  I couldn’t help but imagine standing there in the plaza with my family watching the President go by and then to witness the horror that followed.  There’s just something about standing in a place that was so powerful in history that my mind just couldn’t quite comprehend.  I’m not sure that I’m explaining it well enough, but it was proof to me that some places just need to be physically experienced and not just studied.

And that’s what I’m thankful for today.  I was able to stand in a spot that was the location of an incredibly important event in history, disappear from today and reality, and slip back into history to experience something that put into perspective everything I’d heard about the event.  

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 152 – Thankful for a Successful Panel Discussion

Today I am thankful for a successful panel discussion.

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Earlier this afternoon I was a part of a panel discussion that was done twice for approximately 150-ish Express cohorts in Dallas.  Many of the participants had very nice things to say afterwards and said that we provided a lot of value during the time we were speaking.

Personally, I felt that it was a great success because I was able to learn from my fellow panelists during both of the conversations.  Between more books to read, recruiting ideas, retention ideas, ways to improve service to our clients, and ideas on how to be a better leader for my team, there were many fantastic nuggets of info that I picked up.

It was pretty awesome to be able to help train while being trained from some of the best of the best!

Thanks to everyone who attended, thanks for all of the great questions during the event, and thanks to the people who stuck around afterwards to discuss other ideas.  It was a great learning experience!

Thanks!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 151 – Thankful for Busting Out a Run in the Middle of the Day

Today I’m thankful for something that I haven’t done in a really long time…  Busting out a run in the middle of the day.  

After lunch there was a little bit of free time so I changed and headed off to the gym to go for a little jog.

It felt awesome after a morning of sitting.  The sessions I had were vey good, but I can only be caged up for so long.

Back in the day I used to sneak runs in during lunch and I’ve let that slip by the way side for a while.  After today I’m putting them back into the regular rotation!

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 150 – Thankful for Strong Candidates

Today I am thankful for strong candidates.

No, I’m not talking¬†presidential candidates… ¬†The top candidates for each side both suck pretty bad.

The candidates I’m thankful for tonight are the great ones I’ve been getting for our sales position in our Eau Claire office. ¬†Earlier today I had a handful of phone interviews, all of which went very well. ¬†In addition there were several other candidates that I received resumes from today.

Tonight I will sleep well knowing that there are many strong candidates for this position. ¬†That being said, if you know of anyone who is looking for a great opportunity to grow as a sales person and leader in the Eau Claire area I’d be all ears!

Thanks!!!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 149 – Thankful for Empty Flights

Today I am thankful for empty flights.

At first this was going to be about travel days and how nice they are to get caught up on stuff, but then when I got on my flight to Dallas I had this wonderful view next to me: 

 
YES!!!  How sweet of a bonus is it to have all that extra room?  No one smooshing into me, no epic arm rest battles, and no worries about the sudden recline seat in front of me.  I was able to just sprawl out, put my stuff all over, get comfy, and get my stuff done.

While I was still thankful for the travel time to get some work done, I am most thankful for all the extra room.

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 148 – Thankful for the Night Before Traveling

Today I am thankful for the night before travel.

While there is usually a fun stress and excitement prior to taking a trip, that’s not what I am thankful for today. ¬†The thing that sticks out for me today, the thing that I’m most thankful for is the extra appreciation for spending time with my boys (Becky and I are going to get some extra time over lunch tomorrow).

This one may be a little morbid, but you never know when it may be your last trip, your last time going around the Earth, or the last time you see someone you love. ¬†I don’t day that out of fear, but rather out of appreciation for knowing that.

As such, a night like this reminds me to be present with my boys and spend time with them. ¬†It makes me think that if this was the last memory they would have of me, what would I want it to look like? ¬†What would I do with them if I knew we only had one night? ¬†Again, it sounds incredibly depressing, but it’s actually a fantastically sobering thought.

With that in mind, guess how much time I’ve spent looking at Facebook? ¬†How many times have I checked my email? ¬†Can you figure out how many times I lost track of my focus on them? ¬†It was AWESOME! ¬†We planed a bunch of games and had a great time. ¬†We joked around with each other, gave each other a hard time, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. ¬†We didn’t worry about who won or lost the games, we only cared about how much fun we were having.

In his 2005 commencement address at Stanford, Steve Jobs said:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything ‚ÄĒ all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure¬†‚ÄĒ these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

And that’s why I am thankful for the night before travel today. ¬†For some crazy reason I mentally¬†equate¬†flying somewhere with death and take a little extra time to remember what’s truly important. ¬†It’s kind of a messed up concept, but¬†I really am thankful for it. ¬†I don’t dwell on death or fear death, rather, I am aware of death more keenly at certain times and use that awareness to focus on what’s most important… ¬†my family.

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 147 – Thankful for Cub Scout Winter Camp

Today I am thankful for Cub Scout Winter Camp.

The boys and I headed out to Camp Decorah on Friday night and had lots of fun with our fellow scouts and their parents & grandparents.  We got home late last night and all three of us are pretty well exhausted today.

Thile I could go on and on about all the reasons I’m thankful for Winter Camp, I think the following pics tell a better story…

IMG_8356Gavin after making a fire using only a flint and steel.

IMG_8367IMG_8379The boys had to build a fire from scratch and then get the flames high enough to burn a string that was above the fire pit.

IMG_8395IMG_8399IMG_8417One of the projects was building a birdhouse as a team.

IMG_8463IMG_8470S’mores… ¬†How can you really be camping without them???

IMG_8472Gavin decided to set a record for the most hot chocolate drank by a Cub Scout… ¬†Not sure it counts if over half of it ended up on his face ūüôā

IMG_8478Look closely and you’ll see a guilty pleasure that I have about once every 6 months or so… Shower beer. ¬†After spending time with all the kids running around outside, being around campfires, and not having showered for well over a day and a half I decided to partake. ¬†During the course of a 15 minute shower I relaxed¬†to great music, got cleaned up, and enjoyed some suds while covered in suds. ¬†Don’t knock it until you try it!

It was a very successful event, we’re all tired and have a ton of great memories to hold on to. ¬†And now time for bed… ¬†Zzz…

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 146 – Thankful for Making Fire – Old School Style

Today I’m thankful for making fire – old school style…

Ahh…  The smell of flint and steel striking together to make sparks to start fire.  Pretty sure it’s one of the rites of passage into manhood.  One of the only better ones is making a fire via friction.

   
 Last night at Winter Camp for Cub Scouts I had the awesome privilege of helping a few kids start their first fires using a flint and pocket knife.  It was a pretty epic experience!  Some of the kids got it figure out pretty quickly, some persevered and kept going until their first successful ignition.  The smiles on their faces were priceless, the high fives made me smile.

I am extremely fortunate to have been able to have played a part in their scouting experience!

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Day 145 – Thankful for Completing Childhood Dreams

Today I am thankful for completing childhood dreams.

Thanks to yesterday’s post I was thinking about something pretty awesome on and off since last night.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a paleontologist. ¬†Dinosaurs were, by far, the coolest and most interesting things ever. ¬†My parents got me an awesome Dinosaur encyclopedia that I read over and over again. ¬†I loved it so much that’s kind of been with me forever and is now on a shelf in Gavin’s room.

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This page showed one of my favorite dinosaurs…IMG_8350.JPG

And in the book there was a picture of what I was pretty sure was the coolest place on the face of the Earth…

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Sometime either before or after I read that I saw a short special on PBS  (one of the FOUR TV stations we had as a kid) on Dinosaur National Monument.  It was amazing, a wall of fossils that you could see up close and even touch!  After I saw it I knew I HAD to go.  Unfortunately, no amount of pleading could convince my parents to take me there.  In their defense, look up where it is, there is NOTHING else out there.  Oh yeah, and I had (have?) a habit of dreaming big and obsessing over new things every 6 months or so.

So fast forward to a few decades later as we’re planning our trip to Colorado. ¬†Becky makes a comment about how we should go. ¬†My eyes lit up and I got a huge smile, but then Dad mode kicked in. ¬†“It’s too far out of the way,” “It’d be a pain,” and “That’s a lot of extra driving” were amongst reasons why I said it was okay for us to skip it. ¬†Becky relented and knew how big of a deal it really was too me. ¬†I’m glad I caved!

So we drove a day or so out of our way specifically to see the place.  I was just completely in awe.

This is what we were looking at, and the pic doesn’t do justice to the size of this enormous wall of fossils:IMG_6224[1].JPG

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As the boys took off running to look at stuff I just stood there and couldn’t move. ¬†My eyes welled up with tears and I needed a moment to take it all in. ¬†While the place itself was completely unbelievably amazing, there was more to it. ¬†There was this awesomely surreal moment where I realized that something I had dreamt about over 30 years ago had come true… ¬†And it was even more fantastic than what I thought it would be. ¬†As I stood there Becky came up from behind me and started rubbing my shoulder. ¬†The smile on her face was beautiful. ¬†It was the smile of someone who helped someone accomplish one of their childhood dreams. ¬†I got myself back together and then we were off exploring.

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Today I am thankful for accomplishing childhood dreams, it was an even more incredible feeling than I ever would have imagined. ¬†I’m also eternally grateful to Becky, of course for many reasons, but this one in particular has a special place in my heart. ¬†Even though she didn’t know me as a kid she found a way to see the child I was as I stood staring at the wall of fossils I’d always dreamt of seeing. ¬†She has a knack for bringing that awesome kid out in me and I absolutely love her for it.

Now I need to head off for Space Camp! ūüėČ

Thanks!!!

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Uncategorized