Sunday, October 30, 2011

Accepting Change

This past week for some reason I have found myself in the position of embracing and supporting change.  Perhaps that is because it has been on the horizon, happening for several that have been very close to me, those that I lead and I feel that it may be necessary to think about and embrace the power of this change for myself.
When I think about last week, I was involved, lived for and my life revolved around being able to give back to my local community, supporting anything and everything in my community where I found a way to be something greater than myself.  Recently learning for myself that giving back was part of what was necessary to help overshadow by the change that surrounded me now.

Because my life seems to have been all about new beginnings over the past few months and unexpected change for a little over a year now, I found myself not able to really take in the importance of the powerful moment of giving back to my community.  I have also not able to wrap myself completely around the the change that engulfs the present moments in time around me.
I believe part of what has kept me from taking in the moment for myself is that I have been needed to ensure that these moments were successful for others, no matter what the end result might be for me or those around me.  Whether that is because I needed to support these new beginnings or change for those going through them this week, those that would be directly affected by it, to be part of the change necessary, as we became something bigger that ourselves by giving back to our communities, or that I played a necessary role as a leader in providing education and in establishing relationships for my local professional association, the pressure of new change has been all around me.

It became clear to me that sudden change can directly impact future moments in time for others, cause undue stress for those left behind, including intense pressure of how to get through to the next day for ourselves and for those around us.  I have learned over the past two weeks that it is how we accept it, introduce it and embrace it that will make all the difference in the world, allow us to keep pace with our responsibilities, those undone responsibilities left for us to do and to ensure not only for ourselves but for those we lead and the ones left behind that tomorrow will be okay.  I have certainly learned that any change, even change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts
No matter what the change, I will not allow it to get in the way of the goodness that we have done to support our community, what I need to do to support the needs and be a constant for the others in my life (personal or business) and what I may personally need in order to improve upon myself.

I am reminded of a beautiful quote by Reinhold Niebuhr, which says; "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My New Sister...and yes, My New Brothers too.

First, I want to wish our little sister, Kelly a Happy Birthday (on October 25th).

Now, I realize that I have been delinquent with my Blog posts the past nine days, but I have been spending the free time  that I have had getting to know my 'new" brothers and my sister and getting much better at checking in with all of them, including my brother, Jim Bob too.  This has been very important to me lately and I know that it is essential to building on these special relationships.

Why did I choose to write about my sister?  Well, actually I have written various little pieces about my brothers (all of them) and my sister shortly after my first trip to New York and my brother, Jim Bob's wedding in Idaho.  Regardless, before it is all said and done, all of my siblings will get equal blog time, but I chose to write about Kelly because she is my sister, girls come first and I feel as though I have missed so much, including the idea, as well as the possibility of spoiling a little sister.  Now, we have that opportunity and we are willing to get to know each other.  As Kelly and I discussed in our last call, while we can't back the years we have lost, we can make the best of the moments ahead of us.  Needless to say, I have started to make the best of those moments with each of my new brothers and my sister.

From what I have been able to learn over the past several weeks and whether we want to admit it now or not, we really do have a great deal in common.  Since my first visit to New York, I have learned that I share many of the same things with each of my brothers and my sister. From the years we experienced separately, growing up without each other to the present day, we are very similar in so many ways.  Where Kelly is concerned, I have learned that we have some of the same likes and dislikes too. We put our families first, no matter the circumstances or who it may be, we sometimes have trouble saying what is really on our minds and even what is weighing heavy in our hearts.  Don't get me wrong, we end up sharing what is on our mind, whether it be through the support of our mates or if it just takes us to time to process what we are confronted with for a bit.  In my case, I know that can be a very good thing.

What is so amazing about this discovery with my new brothers and sister is that despite our differences, we are all willing to find a way to move forward in learning more about each other.  Because of the way my discovery of my new family started, a relationship with one of my brothers is further along than some of the others. In fact, there are some days, it feels like he has been there with me my entire life.  I am not even going to try to figure that one out.  Nevertheless, with each of my sibling relationships, I am learning about each of them and I believe we are each discovering the next steps with the other.

With my sister, Kelly, I had the most fun and amazing surprise call from her last weekend.  She called me just to talk and to tell me that she wants to know more and explore this new beginning that we have been gifted.  I have to tell you that it really made my day.  No, it made my weekend.  I am very realistic and know that exploring the dynamic of our new relationship, or that of all of my newly discovered siblings, that there will be some give and take and I want them to know that I am ready to give what is necessary to get to the next step.

What is important to say and even let them know is that Jim Bob and I are completely aware that there is already a family dynamic in place.  We do not see ourselves disturbing that dynamic, only adding to it. After having had time on the phone talking with Jim Bob about all of this, we both agree that while our lives have been challenging and sometimes wayward, that we have so much family love and goodness in each of us that we have wanted to share for years and now we have been given that opportunity.  I believe, even with all of her past secrets and lies, that this was a definitely a gift we received from our mom.

So, while there will be more to share very soon about each of my siblings and this new adventure, I am very excited that I have the opportunity to return to New York on November 18th to see my new family.  My hope is to spend a few days with my sister and brothers over "coffee talk" and sharing some of the fun and the nitty-gritty that siblings share about life.

I am grateful for this opportunity and gift and I realize that I am a very lucky man in so many ways, especially for the gift of this new family beginning. 
Now, my next goal is to get to New York together with my brother,Jim Bob to make the family picture complete.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A truly amazing day.  I was able to see two incredible friends of mine from my former California life, and all in the same day.

Each of them, neither knowing the other, are in Chicago this week on business and sent me notes requesting to connect with me.  It was heartwarming to receive their notes after several years had passed.  Yes, we stayed in touch and communicated by email and when I returned to California over the past five years, I would always find a way to them, as with some others, for a 'catch-up' meeting or just to be able to share some special time together.  Today was one of those days and while not expecting it or requiring it, I was genuinely touched that they returned the favor to me.

My friends have added such beauty to my life.  I really could write individual blog posts for each of them, but they would ultimately read the same. They are my chosen family, they have been there for me through the good times, the indifferent times, hearing each other out, sharing life stories, party with and yes, to shake me silly when I need it and I do from time to time. I try to let them know that they mean the world to me and I never forget to share in their special moments. near or far.

It is true that distance can keep you apart from one another, when you'd rather be right there with them, but nevertheless, I know that I can pick the phone up and it would be as if I had never left, or if I move away, that we would all make the time to see each other when we were sharing the same city; much like today with my visits from Monika and Derick. 

So today, I dedicate my Blog post to not only Monika and Derick, but all of my friends, andall of the friends of the world.  Yes, that would include you, my reader and I leave you with my heartfelt thanks and to always remember that - Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Inspire Someone Today

I was recently inspired by a wonderful person whom I barely knew.  This person reached out to me to let me know that, while we did not know each other that my Blog has served as an inspiration and that because of reading it, took stock of their life and realized that they were very proud of the way they lived their  life.  She truly inspired me to keep on blogging.  Honestly, she made my day and that continuing with this Blog even more worth it to me.

We have all looked up to someone in our lives for one reason or the other.  I'd venture to say that part of the reason was that the person had a way of inspiring you to be all you could be. They are able to do that because they possess certain qualities in their character that enable them to inspire others.  Some of these qualities and characteristics don't require a Harvard education, as they could very well be inherent in us.

Inspiring others can be challenging. Whether it is to inspire your employees, a friend or family member in need of being inspired.  It could be someone you meet the same day or, as in my case. even someone that you just met or started to chat with and really don't know much until they reach out and find a way to inspire you.

It seems easy, but I suppose we have to first confirm with ourselves that we we are "worth inspiring," and then we will be able inspire others without even knowing it. As I said, is seems easy, but like any other endeavor or goal, the “how” aspect is not as easy.

Have you ever set the goal to stand as an inspiration to other people? There are diverse motivations why people would like to inspire others. For some, it is about becoming known for their abilities and for others, it may be about setting the example for other people. Even still, some do it for self fulfillment and self actualization. Whatever the reason, it is all about making a difference for yourselves or those who you may inspire.

I believe that people who inspire others are open-minded. They have the ability to listen to various ideas even if they know some of that information already. Remember, no one holds the monopoly of brilliant and or noble ideas.

Being open-minded does not entail considering every idea that is laid on the table. It is about recognizing that other ideas may be good options without wasting too much time dealing with every single idea. Being open-minded should be tempered with the ability to screen out what may and may not work.

I suppose that not everyone is always as 'open-minded,' or sensitive of what is going on around them, to know what needs to be changed and even how to change it. When I thought about being able to inspire others, I knew that in order to do that that I needed to be able to first inspire myself.  In order to do that it was about a few things for me personally.  It was about being inspired myself  and to know how to make a difference in a positive way, to do some great things or perform some little actions that makes a great impact.  These things help me daily to continue to inspire myself and others.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happiness...Search from Within

It has been another very busy weekend and now the work week seems to be 12-hour non-stop days of craziness.  I try to remember that is all about making the time to do the things that matter most...

The weekend was an incredible experience for me.  I am an avid Milwaukee Brewer fan and I love baseball.  Our very own Milwaukee Brewers are in the National League Divisional Series Championship and we have season tickets.  So, I spent the weekend at Miller Park Stadium with Steve cheering on our team to their two victories.  The sheer excitement of being in that stadium with 46,000+ fans yelling at the top of our lungs for our team to achieve victory created and experience of overwhelming joy and happiness for our hometown, team and ourselves.

I know that I am blessed in so many ways, but like everyone, I am human and that means that there are times in our lives, when we need to focus on our happiness and not the other stuff that goes on around us.  I believe we need it to not only experience for ourselves moments like I described above, but to be reminded of the gift that we all have within us to experience happiness on a moments notice. What is amazing about these moments, is that they are so simple and they seem to happen at the exact moment they are needed.  The key for us to remember would be to take in the complete moment and realize that these kinds of moments are with us all the time and not just when we are at a high energy ball game, or limited to the just the exciting moments in our lives. There is really nowhere we have to go and there is nowhere you have to be to find it. Happiness comes from within and looking for it outside ourselves will only lead you in the wrong direction.

Of course it almost seems natural for us as a human being to find ourselves looking outside our own lives for happiness, peace and to help us fulfill our dreams.  Personally, I am very much aware that it took me a lifetime to find my father.  However, what was important for me to realize about my search was my life was incredible already and that I unexpectedly found him when I already discovered my own peace and happiness within and with all things in my life.  I believe the gift and shock of "finding my father," alive came to me when it did was because of this reason.

So, why did I used my Brewer's playoff baseball analogy for finding your happiness from within?  The reason is really very simple.  It was about the power of now; another awesome weekend in my life created a 'now' moment of happiness with Steve and all from my very simple life, and it was one moment, of it seems many moments of happiness for me that I am blessed to be experiencing at this point in my life.  These moments not only make me happy, but I see the joy and happiness on Steve's and on the faces of our respective families because of these moments too.  And really, and as always, the analogy was a description I found easy to use because it  was from my heart and I find true happiness from within when I share with others from my heart.

All I ask everyone to to do is to try to imagine that it is as if ever since happiness heard your name, that it has been running through the streets trying to find you. All you have to do is slow down, look within, as it is your time to find it too.