Beautifully Different

A sly smile when the going gets tough.

An open ear.

A big old bear hug.

For a very long time, I’ve tried to not be different, but only to be the best that I can be as a person.  I think a good place to start when talking about how I am different would be with the second half of the previous sentence.
For a few years now, I have been on a huge personal development kick.  It started with just ways that I could improve little things about me.  I was reading about how to have lucid dreams and how to move to polyphasic sleep.  I was picking my mom’s brain about some of my favorite recipes that she made.  After a bit more reading and conversing with people, I read “The Game”.

Neil Strauss was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine when he decided to learn more about the seduction community in an effort to become a “Pick-Up Artist”.  He also is the author of “The Game”, a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  There is a lot in there, but some of the biggest lessons that I got out of the book were that it was of utmost importance to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else (working on the inner me) and that you can and should treat women the right way (yet you can still maintain your ground and not have to heed their every beck and call).  I guess, in a way, it allowed me to sort of get a class on some of the specific social behaviors that I wasn’t able to pick up before.

The fact that taking care of myself is of utmost importance may sound like all I care about is myself and nothing else matters, but nothing can be further from the truth.  Taking care of myself allows me the flexibility and the ease of mine to put a lot more effort into caring for others.  If I am broken, how can I fix someone or something else?

Trying to be the best that I can be also forces me to be aware of what I could change about myself.  It has given me a whole new sense of awareness about myself and how I come off to others.  I’ve learned that perception truly is reality in many cases (for better or worse).

Going back to the beginning and how I’ve tried not to be different, for the longest time in my life I just tried to fit in.  I wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be.  I still suffer from this somewhat, and it has been the biggest transition post-college.  There was no one to guide my decision-making.  I feel like I have always leaned heavily on that guide.

“Que Sera Sera” or “What will be, will be.”

Great quote, but I think I am done with it.  If I learned anything in 2010, it is that I make my world.  If I am having a bad day, I can change it.  It all depends on where my mind is at.  True, you do your best and things will fall as they may.  I haven’t lived like that.  I never really took full responsibility for my hopes and dreams.  This year, that will change.  I want to be one of the lucky ones who chases and achieves his dreams.

So in 2011 I am going to go out and DO.

Note: This is a response to a #reverb10. #reverb10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. I mentioned in a previous post that I would come back to this.  So here I am, coming back.  Today’s prompt is: “Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.”

Think of me as a Refinery

What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?

I had three different reactions to this #reverb10 prompt (the last one of the year).  My first was echoing what many reverbers have been saying, and I think Dr. Crazy summed it up best:

Jesus H. Christ.  I’m just going to pretend that the whole “core story” business is not part of this prompt, because if I have a core story (and I’m not saying that I do, because eewww) I certainly don’t think that’s public property and I don’t intend to share it with the world.

I love what the internet is and can be, but I also learned long ago that I would rather all of my private thoughts stay my private thoughts.

But then my second thought was that my first thought was such a cop-out.  I totally understand not sharing.  My thoughts are not always public property.  But in the deep recesses of my mind, I just didn’t really want to have to think about my core story.  It’s the last day of the year, things are happening, and it would be easy to take the easy way out.  I could get really deep and share some pretty personal stuff or I could stay relatively shallow and come up with some sort of fun story to finish off 2010 with.

My third, and final, thought was, “Just do it”.  So that’s where I am now.  As I’ve been writing this I’ve realized what my core story is.  It didn’t take a whole lot of digging, as it truly is the essence of me.  It is the secret to understanding how I think and what I am.

Unfortunately, there is no way that I would be able to explain it all in one post.  But I’ll try.

Sometime over the summer, my office had someone in another department come over to our department and do some sort of team testing to see what roles we played within our department “team”.  I am simplifying here for the sake of brevity, but there were four different outcomes of the type of person you played on a team.  There was the big idea person, the person who promoted the cause, and the person that got things done.  I was in none of those categories (though, I do tend to slide more towards the executor side).

I am a Refiner.

What does that mean, refiner?  Well, it basically means that at the heart of me, I question things.  If you say that we need to have a big party for this celebration, I immediately think of how we can get to the details.  Do we need a tent?  How many people will we invite?  Do we need food?  It’s kind of like being a details person, but not exactly.

It basically means that it takes more effort for me to be a cheerleader for a cause, or to just brainstorm ideas without nitpicking them than it does for me to think about where things can go wrong.

Though I am a refiner, I’ve never liked being put in that box.  I don’t enjoy the fact that I refine all the time.  I am constantly checking myself to not do this as my first instinct.  Being a refiner has it’s place, but I try to keep it in it’s place as much as possible.

Obviously, this little team exercise isn’t the be all end all of me.  I can be any of the other three roles, but at my core, this is what I am.

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It has been a pleasure interacting with the #reverb10 crew.  I have enjoyed reading responses to the prompts when I’ve had the time.  Have a safe and happy New Year!  See you in 2011!

Note: This is my final response to the #reverb10 prompt (which just happens to be the last day of the year). #reverb10 is  an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Each day has a prompt. Today’s prompt is: “Core Story.  What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?  (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.) (Author: Molly O’Neill)

Food for Thought

What is the most memorable gift that I’ve received this year?

My very first thought was the gift of health (for me, my family, and my friends), but I think that’s a cop-out, as no one bestowed that upon me.  I think I am going to start with the definition of a gift so that we are all on the same page.  Here’s the definition that I’m going with, from dictionary.com:

gift – noun
1. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.

As I think back on the year, the most memorable gift that I’ve received (and Christmas/Birthday gifts are disqualified because of the recentcy of those events)… has been vegetables.

“Vegetables?” you ask.  Yes.  Vegetables.

My friend Alissa would bring me vegetables from her parents garden; zucchinis, cucumbers, peppers, squash, and tomatoes.  As health has been a big theme for me this year, being given vegetables was a great gift for me.  In fact, “health” probably should have been my word of the year.

She also knew I would enjoy them, so there was a purpose behind the act of giving.  And I DID enjoy them!  Very much!  I wish I had pictures of them, as they were beautiful vegetables.  No pesticides.  Just home grown, straight from the earth, veggies.  They taste so much better when they are fresh.

One more day of #reverb10.  It’s been fun and I am looking forward to this last prompt.  I hope it’s a good one!

Note: This is my response to the #reverb10 prompt for December 30. #reverb10 is  an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Each day has a prompt. Today’s prompt is: “Gift.  This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable.  What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?”

Defining Moment of 2011?

Oh boy, the #reverb10 prompt today hard.

I’ve thought and thought and thought about it.  I still have nothing.  Sure, I could come up with some way to avoid the question and say that I’ve had so many.  But to pick just ONE?!  But I will.  Just watch me go…

Back in June, I took hold of the opportunity to see and work out with one, Tony Horton.  This was the defining moment for me in 2010.

Why?  Why would meeting Tony Horton be the DEFINING moment in 2010 for me?  Am I just someone who gets my excitement from meeting famous people?

It goes deeper than any of that.  This was the year that I got really serious about maintaining myself.  I worked out hard, I ate very clean, and made some positive steps in maintaining my good habits.  But I also started a business as well with Beachbody, the company that Tony works for.

But why would meeting Tony define my year?

It was a moment of rising and moving on (it doesn’t show in the cropped picture above, but Tony is on his tiptoes), for the people around me.

It is no secret that P90X is huge right now.  But 2010 was the year that it REALLY hit the main stream.  Tony also has a book out right now.  So his year was on the up and up.

This happened with many people around me.  So many people have been climbing the ladder of life while I felt like I’ve stayed pretty stagnant all year.  It is kind of depressing to think about, but hopefully I will kick it up a notch in 2011.

Note: This is my response to the #reverb10 prompt for December 29. #reverb10 is  an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Each day has a prompt. Today’s prompt is: “Defining Moment.  Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.”

Here’s to Achieving in 2011

2011 is going to be a great year.  I plan on accomplishing a lot this year, but as of right now I don’t know what those things are going to be.  But a I do know that I am going to do three things:

LA La Land

I WILL make it out to LA to visit my best friend.  Mark it down folks.  Although I don’t have a ticket yet, I’m making it happen.

I’m finally going to pay off my student loans in early 2011 (if all goes to plan), and I will finally have some extra cash to spend and make some more trips.  I don’t have any excuse either, as I have a ton of time saved up at work to take off.  My buddy just needs to find a good weekend as he is a little busy.

This will feel great.  It is always fun getting together with him.  I feel obligated to go.  So once I get there, I’ll be able to not feel bad every time the topic comes up.

My Personal CareerBuilder

Professionally, I will come a little closer to what I want to do next.  Whether that involves heading down the path that I am already on, taking the fork in the road, or walking along the median and kind of do both.  It’s been 30 years, and I am going to make some sort of decision in this area, meaning, I’m ready to kick it into high gear.

Building Foundations

I definitely plan on continuing to build relationships.  Interacting with other people is what makes my world go round.  There is going to be a lot of change in this area in the coming year (at least within my day to day dealings with people) as I foresee and have already seen a few people move on to other greener pastures.  I am going to have to get to know a whole new batch of people.

Not that I feel that different from being 29, but 30 definitely is a milestone event.  It has gotten me thinking about where I’ve been and where I want to go.  I need to be more serious about my romantic relationships.  I have very much enjoyed my time with the people who I have spent it with, but I definitely need to pump the gas a little in these relationships.  I’ve been idling a lot recently, and I don’t really like that feeling.  It also doesn’t give the other person in the relationship a happy feeling either.  There needs to be some more forward progress.

If there are problems or issues, I need to deal with them rather than hope they go away.

Bottom Line

The 3 things that I want to achieve in 2011 are getting out to LA to see my friend, figure out what path I want to take in my career, and build stronger relationships.

Here’s the achieving them!

Note: This is my response to the #reverb10 prompt for December 28. #reverb10 is  an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Each day has a prompt. Today’s prompt is: “Achieve.  What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year?  How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it?  Free?  Happy?  Complete?  Blissful?  Write that feeling down.  Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.