Elbow Grease Side Effects

Elbow Grease


It’s amazing what a little hard work will do.  It’s also amazing what a little physical/manual labor will do.  This past weekend was filled with both for me.  Outside of my son having a spontaneous teething situation, this weekend was a lot of sweat, fun and sense of accomplishment.

We started by painting our office/guest room.  If you haven’t painted or had a room painted, it is simply astonishing what a new coat of paint will do to a room.  It transforms it into, hopefully, what you are looking for and give you a sense of moving forward.  There are many lines that we can draw between ‘painting a room’ and ‘painting your life’, but that will have to wait for a non-Quick Shot post.

On Sunday, we did a lot of yard work.  We cleared and leveled an area of the yard that we are going to use to extend our patio and lay bark down.  We installed an arbor in front of our shed to make it look nicer and we dug up a dead tree.  YAY, you’re saying…this post is really interesting me….YEAH RIGHT.  Okay, so what’s the point…

Well, as we were working, and when our son was not fussy because of his teeth, he started to explore our back yard by himself.  He started to really independently play.  He would carry on conversations with the trees, the dog, the grass and the fountain.

All of a sudden, when mom and dad were working, he realized that he had this whole world to himself and we could see the endless possibilities in his eyes.  When we did have to finally go back inside, he was not a happy camper.  He’s always been an outdoor kid, but it moved to the next level.

Family time outside is now going to be a part of our routine, which it probably should have always been, but now that the weather is a bit nicer, it’s much easier to start forming that habit.

Sometimes it’s the ‘needs-to-be-done’ moments that create the ‘what-a-great-memory’ moments.  Don’t dread what has to be done, because sometimes it brings out one of the best things ever.  Inspiration.


Right Now!

Right Now!This morning I heard the Van Halen song, “Right Now” and it struck a chord!  No pun intended.  It reminded me that yesterday was nice and tomorrow is coming, but the here and now is the place to be.  The moment to make the most of.  The time to make the change.

When tomorrow comes, will you regret waiting?  Do you look back at yesterday and think, ‘Gosh, I wish I had done something different?’  If you have, that’s fine.  It happens.  Every day, we make the choice to either let it ride or change the course.  There is no need to regret the decisions of the past.  We should always look toward the future, but remember that the future means nothing if we don’t take full advantage of today.

As the first month of the new year rounds the end of its time, it’s a great opportunity for you to look inside yourself and figure out what you would like to accomplish this year.  Make the goals today.  Start working on the goals tomorrow.  There’s no reason to hesitate any longer or soon you will find that the year has blown by without any success.  Don’t like today slip away.  Make it real.  Make it happen.

Hey, it’s your tomorrow!



Knocking on Opportunity

Knocking on Opportunity


This is a quick follow-up to The End…  I woke up with a little inspiration and felt like I had a bit more to say.

The popular theme is to make sure you are ready for when opportunity knocks.  Take advantage and go for it.  Right?  Well, why are we waiting for opportunity to knock?  Go knock on opportunity’s door and say, “Hey, I’m ready, let’s go!”

In my experience, we as a society do ‘wait’ a lot for things.  I’m not saying that we should always take action 100% of the time, but more like make sure we aren’t waiting unnecessarily.

Is the opportunity for a better life not here yet?  Go make an opportunity.  Go out and see what’s out there.  Moving to a different state, looking for a different job, whatever the scenario might be, if you don’t go look for it, you may never find it at all.

So, don’t wait for opportunity, go make opportunities happen for you.


The End…

tyberonn_mayanCalendarWell, I’m sure you’ve heard this before.  The End of the World is coming.  Sometime in the next couple of weeks I suppose.  The asteroid is coming, or the zombies will rise.  The seas will flood and the earth will open spewing forth its molten core until the only things that survive are cockroaches and Twinkies….

Wait, what?!?  You’re telling me Twinkies are already on the endangered species list!  Maybe those Mayans WERE on to something.

Anyway, let’s say for a minute (or maybe 5, I haven’t decided how long this post will be yet) that those Yokels from the Yucatan were correct.  We only have 8 more days to live.  How do you spend them?  Do you turn to your deepest darkest desires and give in to the evil that lurks in each and every one of us?  Or do you turn to your….shallowest…lightest…ahh, never mind that’s a bad metaphor.

How about this.  What would be the last thing you want to do in this life?  What statement do you want to make to end the story that is you?  Are there things that you’ve always wanted to do and haven’t?  Well, 8 days isn’t THAT long, but I’m sure you can get some of those things accomplished.

The deeper question here is why haven’t you done them already?  Money?  Time?  Both very valid reasons.  Also, both of those reasons are able to be met.  You can make time and money.  Maybe not very fast, but it can happen if you really want it.

Do you really want it?  Why wait for the end of the world?  Take charge now and make it happen.  Make a plan and see it through.  Don’t wait for an ultimatum to make your wishes come true.

There’s still time!  Maybe 8 days, maybe 8 years, maybe 80 years.  But it all starts today.  The day you start making plans is the day you start realizing your dreams.  Stop waiting, start doing.  Make that your motto for the new year.  You’ll be amazed at how many things you can accomplish.



What if…?

What if...?

What if we had peace on earth?

What if you won the lotto?

What if that happened or what if this didn’t happen?

What if?

I find myself using that term a lot.  I use it a lot more than I probably should.  In reality, though, ‘what if’ is NOT reality.  ‘What if’ is a dream.  ‘What if’ is a fantasy.  And many times, ‘what if’ is a disappointment or a missed opportunity.

So, instead, try ‘why not?’  Instead of saying “What if I had asked that cute guy out?”  Say, “Why not take a chance and ask a cute guy out?”  Bad example?  Okay….how about this…Turn “What if I had gone for that job at the bakery?”  into “Why not look into owning my own bakery?”

See the difference?  Every ‘what if’ can turn into a ‘why not’.  This will allow you to realize that you still have the potential to do what you thought you missed.  More than likely we all have second chances.  You just need to reach out and grab it.

What If?  Why Not?


Hope in the Darkness

Hope in the Darkness

“There’s hope in the darkness, you know you’re going to make it.”

That was a line to a Savage Garden song I listened to today.  A song that I’ve heard a lot over the years as it is on one of my favorite CDs.  Yes, I still listen to CDs.  Wipe that shocked look off of your tapes, it’s not like I said 8-track tapes or something.  And Yes, I did just link to 8-track tapes….sue me! 🙂

Anyway, where was I…oh yes, Savage Garden.  Or music in general is where I get some of my most inspiring thoughts.  The quote I started off with always struck true to me.  It always told me that no matter how dark it gets.  No matter how hard it gets.  There is always a way up.  I’m not saying it’s an easy way up or even an obvious way up.  But that old truism is still true…ism: when you’re on the bottom, there’s only one way to go.

I’ve seen people at their lowest.  I’ve seen people at their darkest.  And MANY more times than not, those same people are much better off now than they were then.  They have been able to rise above the tragedy, the pain, the sorrow.

It puts it into perspective for me.  The simple notion that I’ve seen people rise up from situations MUCH more dire than I may ever face, so why I am I worrying about my petty (in perspective) setbacks?  Well, a little worry is okay, because it can be a strong motivator.  However, too much worry can be a delimiter.

How many times have I stopped progressing forward because of what I perceive as a blocker or bottleneck?  How many times have you?  What’s really stopping us?  Ourselves….that’s it…end of story.  We are the candle that will light our darkness.  We have it within us to lead our own path to righteousness.  We are the key to our own future.

Embrace the darkness….it can only get lighter once we accept the fact that it is ourself pulling the blinds or closing the doors.

Be the light that shines inside of you.


Hopes and Dreams

Hopes and Dreams

It’s my second favorite 4 year tradition….second only to Leap Day!  The Summer Olympics are HERE!  Growing up, I had two Olympic images in my head.  The first being that I would one day be an Olympic swimmer.  I remember dedicating myself one summer to being the best swimmer possible.  Needless to say, that didn’t quite work out.  The second image I had in my head was a time and place that the world could put aside their differences and just compete in friendly competition.  A naive thought, you say? Maybe…maybe not.

As I grew older, I came to realize the amazing accomplishments that an Olympic athlete is.  Not just what they do, but who they are.  They are the epitome of dedication and drive, hopes and dreams.  They are amazing athletes who show you that anything is possible.  Oh, and if you have this thing called natural talent, that helps too.

There are two cases I want to bring up in these current Olympic Games.  Two gifted athletes, Michael Phelps and Jordyn Wieber.  Two American athletes who have tasted their own flavor of defeat over the past couple of days.  Two of the most amazing and gifted athletes in the world who came up a little short.  What am I doing harping on the negativity when this blog is supposed to be about open perspective?  Well, let’s dive into it.

Mr. Phelps is undoubtedly one of the most natural-born swimmers to walk on two legs.  Tearing through both Athens and Beijing, he was unstoppable.  Coming into this Olympics, he was definitely a major favorite, despite his age and apparent lack of training.  Then all of a sudden, he lost.  Okay, he didn’t lose, but he got 4th place, which means no medal, which to an Olympian means he lost.  Still one of the absolute best in the world, but not THE best.  Why?  He, himself, said he didn’t put the training in.

I bring this up, because it seems like a slap in the face.  What sort of arrogance is going through your head to make you NOT put in the training and still compete?   He also was a part of a relay team for the US and they did not win Gold either.  Did his lack of training effect that performance as well?  I don’t want to speak for Mr. Phelps, but it seemed very self-centered to think he could walk into the Olympics and win without giving 110% to his training.  Oh, and it may have also affected his teammates.

Next, let’s take a look at Jordyn Wieber.  By all accounts Miss Wieber is said to have a very rigorous training schedule and a very dedicated ethic.  Watching her perform only verifies the previous statement.  She is a well oiled machine and one of the best female gymnasts in the world.  So, what happened?  Well, on that particular day, two of her teammates were better.  Sure, she made a couple of mistakes, but unless you’re Nadia or Mary Lou, nobody’s perfect.

Here is where these two athletes differ.  Both tasted defeat, but for very different reasons.  Mr. Phelps did not train as much as he should have and Miss Wieber just wasn’t the best on one particular day.  Later on the same day, Miss Wieber ‘tweeted’ that she was excited about Team USA finals and happy for her teammates.  Who knows what Mr. Phelps will do, but at least for the moment Miss Wieber is 100% a team player and representing her country well.

I don’t take anything away from Mr. Phelps, he is an amazing athlete and should be looked upon as a great role model.  But in this case, fame appears to have gotten the better of him.  He achieved his hopes and dreams, and got used to winning.  More than likely, Miss Wieber will not achieve her dream of an individual Gold Medal, but she still has a chance to be a part of a Gold Medal team and thus far it appears that she is embracing that as she should.

Who would you model yourself after?  The undeniable athlete whose character is slightly in question or the one who gave it her all, came up short, and is still pursing for the benefit of others?




They say that tomorrow is a new day.  A day to start over.  They say that no matter how bad it is today, tomorrow will be better.  Is that true?  Can we guarantee that tomorrow will be a better day?  That the sun will shine again?

The only guarantee in life is that there are no true guarantees.  Everyone has their own potential.  Every day has its own potential.  So, will tomorrow be better than today?  It CAN be and that is what matters.

Remember that tomorrow is always more important than yesterday.  Tomorrow you can fix what went wrong yesterday or at least head down the road of fixing it.  If there was no tomorrow, there would be no chance at salvation.  No opportunity for greatness.

But what about the flip side?  What about the potential for things to go wrong tomorrow?  Well, that exists too.  But the beauty of it is that you KNOW it exists, so it shouldn’t come as a shock.   You have the ability to make your own fate.  There are things that happen without explainable reason, and those things you cannot change.  However, if you stay fluid enough, you also cannot be broken by those things.

So, embrace tomorrow and whatever it may bring.  Want something to happen, start making it happen, you have a lot of tomorrows ahead of you to realize what you seek.


Extraordinary Feets

Extraordinary Feets

As you know, I am involved with a charity running group raising money for Childhood Cancer Research.  This past weekend, I directed back-to-back races on Saturday and Sunday.  This was a weekend of extraordinary feats (feets!) and inspiration.

I bring up running/walking a lot in this blog because I believe that it is a great testament to the power of the mind.  To see people push through perceived physical limitations is largely due to the strength they possess in their mind.

Here are some amazing things I saw:

  • A 9-year old boy and 14-year old girl placing 1st and 2nd in a 5K race easily beating 3rd place by 14 minutes.
  • My dad complete his first 5K, after being plagued by vertigo for the past few years, with my mom.
  • A woman with both a respiratory and sinus infection complete two 13.1 mile runs in two days.
  • 30+ volunteers staying out in the cold wind and rain, handing out water, taking picture, cheering, riding bike support, taking time and handing out medals.
  • A woman burst into tears after she sets a personal record for a half marathon twice in two days.
  • A lady running for her friend battling Leukemia.
  • A group of women who are going through Weight Watchers together
  • 6 different couples starting and finishing their races together.
  • Friends cheering on friends.

If you’ve never been a part of a race, look for one to volunteer at.  Watch people as they cross the finish line.  There is a sense of euphoria that is contagious and makes you believe that anything is possible, because….

Anything is Possible.


Double Down!!

Double Down!!

You know…sometimes inspiration just hits you twice, so a Double Post for today, you’re in LUCK!

So,  I was walking through the grocery store this evening, needing to pick up some essentials…you know, Cheerios and Milk!  Well, this particular grocery store caters to a specific crowd, usually the low-income crowd.  That means WIC and Food Stamps and all of that.

I’m sitting (okay I’m standing…I’m not THAT lazy) in line watching a mom unload her 2 carts full of groceries, whilst her three kids are running around screaming.  I offer to help, she snaps “NO, I’VE GOT IT” so I take my place behind her cart and wait while she finishes her labor.

While the check-out worker was scanning the groceries, the mom went to start bagging her groceries (yep, that’s part of the deal…great prices, U-Bag).  This time I didn’t offer to help, as I has already been told off.  The bill came in…I was astounded…I thought for a minute I had stepped into Costco, but alas….two full shopping carts = one huge bill.  Not to worry, she had her WIC checks and Food Stamps card, she was set….

Or, well….there was a problem.   I didn’t hear all of the details, but something was wrong….the balance wasn’t there, the checks weren’t good, not quite sure.  Bottom line, she couldn’t get her groceries.  As expected, she was furious, her kids started to cry, she stormed out of the place.

WOW….after that, I went ahead, fulfilled my duty as a grocery shopper and bought my groceries and went home.  I would have stepped up to buy hers….but I wasn’t prepared for the Costco X 2 prices that I saw….maybe someday I’ll have the cash flow to make someone’s day like that, but today is not that day.

I wasn’t upset with her for yelling at my assistance for help.  Obviously she is under a lot of stress.  I won’t conjecture what her full situation is or how she got there, because I have NO way of knowing and that sort of stuff has no use in this blog.  However, what I did walk away was with an infinite gratitude for what I have.

My wife and I have worked hard over the past decade to get where we are.  We’re not monetarily wealthy, but we are emotionally wealthy.  We have our son, we have each other and we BOTH have loving families that have been there and will be there for us if and when we need them.

I can only figure that this lady did NOT have that support system.

Here’s a favorite quote of mine…yes, MINE, I actually came up with this….I think 😉

“I have no control over which cards I am dealt, but I was blessed with the love and support to play them to the best possible outcome”

Double Down, Baby!  Okay, I just wanted to type that, I’m not sure it has true relevance to this article…but maybe it does.

To bring it back to the core…take a look at what you’ve got.  Use THAT to build toward what you want.  You can’t get there alone, so be grateful for the help you have around you…and if you don’t have help…find it.  No one needs to face the unknown without a little guidance.