Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 10 list of weird things I've done for love

I've done some weird things in my life.  Embarrassing things.  Things that in any normal situation I would avoid like the plague.  Things that I hate to admit I've done for love.  I created this list, not to promote my weirdness, but for all of you to embrace your inner weirdness so that you too can feel free to be weird and be loved.

Hopefully you won't judge me.

In looking back at the last 9 years, here are the top weird things that I never thought would happen because of love.
  1. Gone shopping for feminine products.  (It's hard to even write this one)
  2. Choreographed and performed a dance to Michael Jackson's, "Smooth Criminal"
  3. I've written poems.
  4. I've carried a woman's purse. (Hence the picture)
  5. Driven all day so that I can be with loved ones for just a few hours.
  6. Held hands in public (this is still very hard for me)
  7. Went along for dress and shoe shopping.
  8. Went to a couple's spa party.  Can you say uncomfortable?
  9. Became the designated "puke cleaner" for the family.  Nothing says I love you more than cleaning up your loved one's vomit.
  10. Said yes to having a dog (twice).  Which means picking up dog crap and lack of freedom to get out of dodge in a moment's notice.
Embarassing list?  For me, yes.  Worth it?  Absolutely.  As a father of a little girl, I see myself taking part in future activities that will get me outside of my comfort zone.  Be it playing with dolls, or actually dancing with her at weddings receptions.  To me, I hope my wife and my daughter will look back on those embarrassing days and say, "Jeesh, he must have really loved me to do THAT".


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Problem With Goals, And How I Am Approaching The New Year.

2011 was a year without any goals.  Instead I created a theme for the year.  The theme: Intentional.   With the sudden passing of my grandmother, a young co-worker, and my former high school algebra teacher all within the span of a couple of months,  I was going to make sure that I was intentional with my relationships.  I regretted not spending enough time with those I love and needed to make a change.

I vowed to learn more about the only grandparent I have left.  I had a bunch of questions that I have always wanted to ask my grandma, but felt they were too personal and maybe too uncomfortable for her to talk about.  I wanted to know about her childhood, what she was like as a youngster, how she met her husband, and some of the secrets of her happiness.  I knew my grandma lost her mother when she was eight years old and wanted to know how that has shaped her.  But again, maybe that was too uncomfortable of a subject to talk about.

I wavered 11 months before I summoned up the courage to ask her about her childhood and her life.  I went over to her apartment on a November night and simply asked if she would consider giving me a Christmas gift of writing an essay about her life instead of a store purchased gift.  I said that there are life lessons in her experiences that I'd like to pass on to my kids.

I left her apartment feeling good that I at least asked the question.  If she decided not to write anything, then I'd be ok with that.

On December 26, exactly one year from losing my grandma, my only remaining grandparent wrote me and her children a 22 page life story that she titled, "Reflections".  It is a work of art that brought tears to my eyes.  It was the best Christmas present.

Overall if you asked me how I did on my "Intentional" theme for the year, I'd give myself a "B".  There were relationships that I didn't do so well in - but creating a theme for the year was really beneficial.  I liked it so much I've created a theme for 2012.  If you'd like to know my theme, email me at and I'll share it with you, as its a little too personal to share publicly.

Now about goals.
The problem with writing down your goals is that you have a high probability of accomplishing them.  All of sudden picking goals became a whole lot more important.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me writing down your goals falls under the category of: "Good idea, but very few people try it". 

Not having any goals for 2011, I found myself with a lack of direction in my career and in some aspects, with my family.  This year, I brought back goal setting and I spent a good chunk of time reflecting on two questions.

1) What went well in 2011?

2) What did not go well in 2011?

I asked those two questions for my job, my family, my finances, my faith and tried to come up with 6-8 answers for each category.  I then came up with several goals for each category.  The goals that I created are "S.M.A.R.T." goals.  Meaning they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.   Most importantly, each goal has to have a big "Why" behind it.  Why do I want to achieve this goal?  If the reason why isn't big enough, I scrap it from the goal list.  Not having a big why behind a goal leads to an unaccomplished goal.  If its not important enough, don't waste your time and effort.

One of my S.M.A.R.T. goals this year is to go on a date with my daughter once a month.  The reason why - my biggest legacy will be my children, if I'm not spending quality time with them, then I'm placing my efforts in areas that don't matter.  It's my hope that she'll look back on these dates with fondness and remember her old man in a positive way.  And in some way I hope she develops good character because of how I modeled it to her.

Once you have your goals written on paper, put them in a place where you will see them often.  Like next to your work computer, or on your bedroom door.

Then if you really want to make sure you accomplish your goals, share them with a friend or co-worker.  Telling someone else your goals gives you some accountability and hopefully, a source of support.

The summer before heading off to college I worked at the soft soap assembly line.  During a break I had told a co-worker I was planning on playing college basketball.  He replied, I hope you do - I'll make sure to look up your name in the box scores this winter.   When it came time to try-out for the team, I wasn't sure if I should play, but then I remembered my soft soap co-worker and if I didn't play, he wouldn't see my name in the paper.  He'd think I was a quitter if my name wasn't in the box score.  I did try out, and made the team.  Had I not said anything, had I not had the tiny bit of accountability, I probably wouldn't have tried out, and missed out on one the best experiences of my life.

Ex claimer:  I'm not an expert on goal setting, in fact - I can't give you hard nosed facts that this process will work.  Only thing I can give is hope.  It is my hope that this process will lead to the best year of my life.  If you use it, who knows - maybe you'll have the best year ever too.  Remember - we tend to underestimate what we can accomplish in a year, so set your goals high and see what happens.

I think it will be worth your time.  Have a great year everybody!