Monday, July 29, 2013


How do you define yourself? Is your sense of self based on your level of success, what you have accomplished so far in life, or is it based on your values and how you decide to live your life. As for me, at this point, and for as long as I can remember, I have always been results and success driven. From my business life to my personal life, I felt I was only as good as what I had done lately. I have never been one to rest on my laurels, but I often use them as a stepping stone or foundation for future achievements. However, as I grow older, and hopefully wiser, I am trying to lead a values driven life. Intentionally making decisions throughout my day that lead to a better me. Rather than try and accomplish something that I think would look better to the outside world, I instead focus on accomplishing something that makes me feel better, and makes my family and family life better. From simple decisions, to complex actions, my goal lately has been to stay true to my word, take the path that may not be the easiest, but yield greater results, and to stand up for myself and what I believe is right.

While the values that I try to live my life by may not be all that complex at this point, they are at least a starting point or a road map for how to frame my actions. Growing up I was never given much direction from my parents. Other than telling me what not to do, I was never really told what I should be doing instead. Often times I will read an interview, or hear someone being interviewed on the radio and they will reminisce about how their parents or grandparents instilled a certain trait in them, or how their family had a certain code of ethics if you will. They will go on about how their father gave them advice on how to handle a situation, or relate an event from their childhood about how to handle a situation. I can honestly say, that as a 38 year old man, I have never even had a deep, let alone meaningful conversation with anyone in my family, excluding my wife and kids. From my parents to my grand parents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles or cousins, not once in my life have I, or they opened up, about anything. That is why as a 38 year old I am just now learning what it takes to be a man. I was never given a road map of the "right" way to act or live my life, instead I was taught to lie, cheat and deceive, to do just enough to make it look like you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.  But leading that sort of life has left me empty, it has left me wanting more, more from myself and others.

I have learned over the past few years that the truth is often easier than lies. My life is better now that I am honest with myself and those that matter most. Being deceitful, lying and dishonest lead me to become a person I never imagined I would become. But I never really had an idea of what I should become. I was never shown by example what a person with honor, integrity and is honest looks like. Instead I was shown the opposite. What sort of person was I expecting to become if the closest examples  in my life were failing me and didn't even know it? I was left on my own to figure out how best to survive, and I failed. I was never taught that the truth is the best possible answer, instead I was taught that perhaps the truth is what you decide is best at the time. Cover your ass, make excuses and hope for the best. What a great fucking way to live. Thanks mom and dad, great fucking job.

Having learned the hard way, I now like to think that I am finally getting better at the "right" way to live. I am holding myself responsible for my actions, and how they may impact those I love the most. And who knew that living the right way could actually be easier than living the way I did before. Now, I am able to have a clear conscience, because there are no lies. I am able to handle stress when it comes, because it is no longer a constant. Life is actually easier, more carefree since I started living the right way, I am happier and success is coming much easier. A clear, uncluttered mind is truly a beautiful thing.

I am also no longer looking for the easy way out of situations, no matter what they may be. Rather than walking away from a problem, I instead choose to try to and figure out a solution. Whether in family, or work or any other part of my life I choose the less easy path sometimes. Because I know that in the end, I will be much more satisfied having done something the right way instead of the easy way. If a problem presents itself, rather than throwing my hands up, I instead roll up my sleeves and set to work to try and find a solution. It may not always be pretty, but in the end, some sort of success is usually achieved, no matter how small. At the end of the day, I am always more pleased with myself knowing that I gave it my all, instead of just making it look like I did. Because once it is all said and done, when I am in the final days of my life, I would much rather look back and know I did my best when asked, and not just enough to give the impression of my best.

I am still working on who I want to be as a husband, father and man, but I have also learned lately that I can influence others, especially my kids. I can show them through my effort as well as by example what it means to be a good person. I can talk to them, teach them from my mistakes,
without revealing too much, right from wrong. I can actually do my job as a parent and lead them to become the best person that they can become. I can do all of this not because it is my job, but because I feel so strongly that it is the right thing to do. By teaching them right from wrong, I too will learn. By teaching them that you don't have to be the best at something, but you just have to try your hardest, and do the best that you are capable of doing, I too will learn. By teaching them that they are important, that they have a voice worth listening to, that their input counts, I too will realize the same for myself. I will teach them that a life lived without values, isn't much of a life at all.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Future Begins Now

I'd like to think that I am equal parts dreamer and equal parts doer. At least that is how I perceive myself. I wonder if I were to take a few steps back, to disassociate myself from myself and become a casual observer, would I feel the same way. Or would I see myself as a blowhard, someone who talks a good game, but never really comes through.

When I envision my future, I see a successful, accomplished future me. I see a man that has gone after what he wants, someone who has brought his vision to reality. Someone who has dug deep, discovered what he wanted, put in the hard work and will soon realize the rewards. I have a goal that I am finally about to see come to light, at least the start of it. After all of the talking about what I want do in the future, I am finally ready to bring the talk to fruition. I planted the seeds in my mind nearly two years ago, now the time has come to watch the seeds grow into something incredible, to watch them blossom into what I have wanted them to be. I am ready to meet the future me.

Now the hard work begins. The long days that I now "enjoy" have just gotten a bit longer. But I will not be deterred by hard work. I will start methodically taking the steps that I need to take to bring my latest project into the light. I will call upon all of my desire, talent and dedication as well as those that I assemble for this project in order to bring it from vision to reality. My dream will slowly become my reality, and as time passes, I will transition from being the dreamer to the doer yet again.

I have a fire and a drive inside of me to succeed that I can no longer keep at bay. Once I set something in motion, I need to keep moving it forward, slowly at first while I build the necessary foundation to guarantee success, then with ever increasing speed and determination until it cannot be stopped. This dream will be realized, and it will most certainly be a success. I know this for a fact because I will not let it happen any other way.

And so, I now set forth on my latest adventure...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Words of Wisdom

"Many of those who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters and bachelors of the most renowned universities."

Ludwig von Mises

Friday, July 19, 2013

100 Points To A Better Me

Years ago when I was just becoming a salesman I was given some advice on how to approach sales. In order to provide a little motivation or structure to ones day, you can play a game of 21 and assign point values to different tasks. For example, visiting a customer gets you three points, but calling them only earns you two. The theory was that once you reached twenty one points you had accomplished a pretty full day of work. Earlier today I was going over some strategies in order to better plan and structure my day and thought I could introduce a similar system to my entire day taking it a step further.

It turns out I can break down my day into four basic categories: Family, Work, Health and Life. Family and work are pretty obvious categories, the health category will involve mostly working out and diet and the so called life category might also be called personal growth or something along those lines. For the version 1.0 of what I am unofficially calling "100 Points To A Better Me" I have assigned the following values:

3 points-extended quiet time/conversation with my wife
3 points-play time or project with the kids
2 points-sit down meal
2 points-read with the kids
4 points-cold call
3 points- in person sales call
2 points-telephone call
1 point- email or text
1 point- adding a new item
1 point-20 push ups
1 point-20 squats
3 points-run
3 points lift
1 point-a fruit or vegetable
-1 point- a can of soda
-3 points-fast food 
2 points-floss
3 points-setting a daily plan
3 points-blogging
2 points reading
2 points-house work
1 point-guitar practice
1 point-juggling practice
2 points-meditation/reflection/yoga 
Now if I can make it to 100 points everyday will that make me a better person? Not likely. Will having some sort of structure in my life help me? Absolutely. I am going to give this idea a full 30 days to see how well I can implement it. I will add a widget on the sidebar so that I can keep a running total of how I am doing everyday as well. I look forward to seeing what the results end up looking like, because at this point I have absolutely no idea!  Perhaps I will be able to uncover what some of my strengths and weaknesses are, and then make adjustments as my day and week progresses. This is going to be interesting... 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


How many times in your life have you ever wanted to hit the reset button? I know for myself there have been plenty. But have you ever really pressed it? I have, almost two years ago, and I have never looked back. From the absolute darkest days of my life, I have reset the entire course of my future, and all for the better.

I wont go into detail here, at least not at this point, but lets just say that I wasn't the man I was supposed to be. I wasn't living up to promises I had made to others, nor myself. I had become someone I despised on a daily basis, I absolutely hated myself. And in a single afternoon, with only one conversation with the most important person in my life, my wife, I set out to change my life. And almost two years to the day, I can report back that it is possible to hit the reset button. You can change your life, as long as you are willing to do so. Not to sound cliché, but the journey was tough. Those that loved me most, probably doubted it was possible, but as I sit here writing this today, I am proof that if you no longer are living the life that you dream of, if you have gone down a path and cant find your way back or if you have lost sight of what is most important, it is possible to turn things around.

 I am hoping to use this blog as a teaching tool, not only for myself, but for other men that may need a little guidance in shaping their lives. I am not exactly sure yet at this early stage how I will best present my thoughts and strategies on how to become the man they believe themselves to be. But hopefully overtime a theme or structure will emerge from the chaos and randomness of my thoughts.  Perhaps by telling my story, someone will see themselves in me and be able to relate and realize that they too can change, that success is possible if you want it bad enough.

As this project unfolds I will present my side of the story of how I came to be the man I am today. Good, bad and ugly, and everything in between, I will let my mistakes, triumphs and tragedies be not only a source of inspiration for others, but a reminder to myself of not only where I came from, but where I plan to go.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Exceeding Expectations

I know I will never always be able to live up to the above axiom, but I sure am going to try like hell to do so, on a daily basis, with everything I do. Surely that goal sounds lofty, but after all, isn't that the point of a goal? Put something just out of reach of the ordinary, so that you have to work just a bit harder in order to achieve it. And speaking of working just a bit harder, today I did just that.
I had been in a bit of a rut lately with work, namely the part of my job that involves selling. It had been a while since I had been on a cold call, mostly because it sucks getting the door slammed in your face over and over again. But today was different, and I can thank my neighbor for spurring me into action. During a casual conversation about my work day I mentioned how there is an entire portion of the Chicagoland area that the company I work for is extremely under represented. While in other parts of the city we literally own the market, in this one region we are pretty much nonexistent, and it happens to be the area in which I now live.
While mentioning this to my neighbor I had the proverbial "A Ha moment", the light bulb went off, I saw the sign, whatever else you want to call it. I decided then and there, mid-sentence, that my new mission would be to grow the region to the point that we will have to expand our business just to keep up with what I am doing there. Years ago I had made some cold calls that never panned out and based on that I had turned my back on an entire region that I deemed uninterested, or just didn't "get" what we had to offer. So for years now I have never even thought of trying to pursue any leads, but would rather try and fight it out in the other markets with the other salesman. Why? I have no idea.
If today was any indication of how the future will unfold though, then I am ready and willing to capitalize. I took my new found drive and capitalized on it. I put myself out there, knocked on some doors and was greeted with open arms. I was right where I needed to be, back on top of my game, doing what I do best, making connections. I killed it today, although it was only a few hours, I was on top, I was making it happen, I didn't have a single misstep, I was exceeding my own expectations. If today was good, then tomorrow should be even better. I know it won't always come as easy as it did today, but that's okay. Because with everyday that passes that goes well, I add firepower to my arsenal, I put the proverbial money in the bank, I sharpen my game, and I add a few more tools to my bag. In other words, I am better than I was the day before. And that's a pretty good feeling.   

From This Day Forward

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle

You don't just happen to become great at what you do, whatever it may be, you have to work for it. Athletes train, fighters fight, writers write. You practice and practice and practice until whatever goal you are trying to reach or achieve becomes attainable. You can never expect to succeed by just willing something to happen, you have to work for it. That being said, I am putting in the work that I need to put in so that I can achieve my greatness.

My goals and dreams and aspirations are so much bigger than I am realizing right now. After a long talk with my wife this weekend, we both came to the conclusion that we are meant to do more, and be more with this life that we have been given. No longer will we sit idly by and wish  for an opportunity to present itself, we will seek out the opportunity. No longer will we hope for an easy life, but rather embrace the challenges that come along and find ways to overcome them. No longer will we dream of what our futures may hold for us, but we will shape our present day actions and thoughts so that we fully realize our potential.

While certain aspects of our future may remain unknown to us at this time, one thing is absolutely certain, we will no longer be reactive, but only active in shaping not only our individual lives, but our family life as well. The hours will be long, and our sacrifices may be great, but in the end we will be realizing our full potential, and that cannot be underestimated. To live a full, complete, happy life without regret or what ifs  will be the greatest gift we can give to ourselves.

Today marks a turning point for me. No longer will be I simply be a dreamer, but I will also be the doer. I will bring action to my plans and see them through to the end. I will embrace the challenges as they come, then find a solution for them. I will live in the present, enjoying the good life that we have, while laying the ground work for an even better future. I will work hard, not for my employers sake, but for my family's sake. I will not allow others to take advantage of me, but demand respect from those around me. I will stand up, be heard, and demand that others listen. I will achieve success once again, and fell proud of who I am and what I have created. But most of all I will create a life for my family based on excellence.