Sunday, November 11, 2018

Stories...


I sit in a room with hundreds of people and watch a peer and a friend speak softly into her microphone.  A few minutes ago, I was stirring a coffee and mingling with others in the lobby. But now I am fully present in the room and her voice wavers only slightly as her lips move and her heart speaks to us all. She tells us of a coach and mentor who came to her aid as her child battled for his life. She speaks of recovery for the child and realizations of her own. She speaks of physical, financial and mental weight and how this friend and leader introduced her to our program and helped her shed them all. She reminds us of the importance of our job and the impacts we can make before inviting us all to share what we know to help others with those burdens. She bites her bottom lip as many in the crowd blink away tears or hide them with genuine applause and appreciation.

This was just one of many stories we heard over the weekend. I saw people I didn’t know and heard about families who were strangers to me, but somewhere along the way lines began pulling at my heart reminding me how we’re all connected and as the speaker said, “we’re more similar than we are different.” This wasn’t the first time tears welled in my eyes during the convention in response to a story of seemingly insurmountable odds met with overwhelming transformation (in health, in thinking and perspectives, and in time and financial freedom). Somewhere during the weekend, I redefined my “job” as a “mission” and my business plans became the blueprint of an empire.

I saw with perfect clarity that I am not a salesperson, but a guide. A coach to help others lay down weights they have no need to carry. I realized I needn’t worry about whether I should make a pitch, but to simply lead with my heart while listening with my ears to see how this program could help change a life. There is only one way to get to know a life and there are no shortcuts: it takes time and it takes questions, it takes a keen ear and an open heart. Once you know a life, you don’t have a pitch to make at all because now you simply recognize an opportunity. The only challenge is in knowing how to deliver it in the best possible way for the recipient to actually hear and consider it. To help them hear in a way that allows them to uncover their own motivation (or “why”) and leads them to dream. Dreaming is a talent so many of us lose early in life, so to be able to awaken that within someone and then to hand them a map on how to achieve those dreams is truly an amazing gift. My coach shared a gift with me, there’s not a bone in my body that feels like I was “sold.”

At this weekend’s event we did some good for others and plenty for ourselves. As I sit here watching the faces of strangers in the room, those faces become those of friends and family. The stories show what we have in common and they are the thread that hold us all together like so many braided blankets on a cold night. We’re lashed together by the common purpose of seeking to become the best coaches and friends we can be. I see determination in the eyes of my peers. I see wonder, love and a giving spirit in every smile. This is how we change the world, with strength and support for each other, with empathy and encouragement for everyone we meet.

The trip is over now and I’m thankful to be home with my family. Excitement and inspiration will undoubtedly fade over the coming weeks, but I notice many posts from fellow attendees showing happy reunions with families greeting them. It’s another set of stories, though I don’t cry this time, I just smile to myself. I love these stories. They play out every day in the conversations we have. How will the next chapter in your story begin? You won’t know until you start writing it.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Go Toward The Light

I've managed to lose 54 pounds in the last 4 months. No, I'm not done.

Somewhere along the way to my current forty something, I began hearing my doctor say things that I didn't want to hear.

"You're overweight, you're pre-diabetic, your blood pressure is high, your cholesterol is high. You are heading toward heart problems if you don't change your lifestyle."

I didn't like that, so I let it one ear and out the other. I was content to keep eating everything I wanted with no activity to speak of and a sedentary job. A friend reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in hearing a program he was on that had led him to lose over 60lbs (at the time... he's well on his way to 100 now). I brushed him off a few times and then, decided to hear him out. He explained the program to me and showed me how it would work and what it would cost (not much compared to what I was already spending on lunches, after work drinks and snacks).

I decided to give it a try and now here I am wondering how I have made it so far. My responsibilities didn't change, but my mindset did. It's hard not to believe in something when you see it working everyday. I just went back to the doc this past week and I'm now off my blood sugar medication (a shot I was giving myself in the stomach every day). I'm off cholesterol medications and I'm down to 2 of the original 3 blood pressure medications. My pulse is slower, my waist is smaller and I'm feeling great!

I really feel like I'm adding years to my life as I take inches from my belt. I'm not a guy with the most will-power, but the program has worked and there is no denying what a little discipline will do for you once you put your mind to it and find a program that works for your needs. I'm not working out, though I do try to be more active. I still get to eat some of my favorite things, but I'm monitoring my intake much closer now. Thank you to all who are supporting me and I encourage you to find a way to get healthier as well. Our children see us as super heroes and I'd like each and every one of you to keep that illusion for them as long as possible through better health and habits. If you need a hand in finding your way, please let me know because I would love to help you!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

On Changes... (two and a half years later)


It has been some time since I updated these pages, but I’m happy to report both J Bean and Link are growing like weeds and doing well. VV has a place nearby and we’ve been doing OK with the co-parenting gig, though we struggle with the occasional flash fire.

The person I alluded to in my last post as someone who thinks I am a better person than I am is now my wife. We’ll call her Serene here and she came to my world with two kids of her own, Bea and Nikki (also aliases). Serene and I bought a house and my career is back in full sing. As we have blended our homes into one giant Brady Bunch, we have dealt with hurdles in house rules, exes, schedules and the usual fun of living with someone new. Now our house consists of Serene, Dad on the Run, J Bean (9), Bea (14), Link (6), Nikki (10) and a puppy named Shade. I always dreamed of a big family and now when I ask for a table at a restaurant, the count is a half dozen! The puppy is an Australian Shepherd and we decided to get him because with only 4 kids, we found we were getting too much sleep and really didn’t have enough messes to deal with.

Serene and I met online and had a whirlwind romance, she is the most supportive and loving person I have ever met. She’s a wonderful mother, a beautiful person inside and out and I don’t know where I would be without her. Serene works on the IT side of a healthcare company, hails from Kentucky (which mixes well with my Georgia roots), and just happens to be one hot Mommy. In getting to know Serene, she took it upon herself to read my entire blog, which had the effect of allowing her to get to know me in ludicrous speed. After that, she was still interested, so what could I do but ask her to be my wife? Now, if I could just convince Serene to write a biography, then I could do the same. Much of her past seems a mystery to me, and she never thinks her story is as interesting as it is. I look forward to years of prying open that shell to find the pearls within. In the meantime, our magnetic attraction and complementary personalities keep life interesting. To say I’m in love would be an understatement and to write how happy I am would certainly fall short of reality.

I feel a little rusty in my story painting, so it may take me awhile to get the brushstrokes down again. I'll give you one guess on who has been begging me to start writing again for the past few years. Thank you all for your support over the past years, I look forward to sharing more in this new chapter.

From left to right, Bea, Nikki, Shade, J Bean and Link

DOTR and Serene

Nikki and J Bean