The Walk into the Future blog allows me to capture my thoughts, adventures and, plans in a way that I can share with my readers.
Never sought out a venue to capture everything but this blog provides an opportunity to highlight things I do to continue to Walk into the Future.
My new adventure was a trip to the Hard Ax Lounge in Fort Pierce for a round of ax throwing. This was my second time in the Hard Ax Lounge—several of us from work made it to the lounge in December for a teambuilding activity. It was the same day as our ugly sweater party, and I never got around to capturing my thoughts on the original outing.
Turns out I picked up ax throwing fast as I was the ax throwing champion for our group back in December. Never imagined I would be good at throwing an ax but maybe my small-town upbringing in Jasper, Florida translated to becoming an ax man. 😊
Made my way back for round two with a smaller group of friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I did not have preconceived ideas that my first ax throwing adventure would translate to this session. Everyone must go through the safety training—ax throwing can be dangerous, and it helped to get pointers from the ax experts that work there.
There are different ax sizes, and each ax performs a bit different from the next. The instructors show all participants how to hold and throw the axes based on size and weight. They offer everyone an opportunity to throw each ax to get a better feel for which ax works best. I had a lot of success with the smallest ax during my first experience so decided to stick with what worked best for me in the past.
The first part of the throwing session is just getting familiar with throwing the ax and working on form and aim. The concept is like throwing darts, but the ax does a lot more damage when it hits the target. We went through several rounds of practice before the ax experts introduced the ax throwing competition into the session.
The ax board is numbered, and scores are based on the number your ax sticks to (8, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1). The first game introduced was a game of 21. You throw with the idea of hitting numbers that add up to 21 to be crowned the winner. If your throw total goes OVER 21 then you go back down to 12 and throw again with the intent to end up on 21. Pretty simple, huh?
Throws are rotated between everyone on your lane, so everyone gets a turn in the rotation towards 21.
My throwing technique is very basic. I grab the small ax, position myself on the lane and then let it fly—not rocket science but I try not to overthink this simple process.
Fast forward and my throws got me close to 21 multiple times, but I had to go back to 12 since I kept going over. Luckily for me, others throwing on my lane could not take advantage of me having to go back to 12 and win the game. We played three rounds, and I was able to win 2 out of 3 rounds and leave as the ax throwing champion for the day. FYI—double champion!
Ax throwing is a fast-growing sport, and it continues to get bigger in the Fort Pierce area. I’m sure this is not the last ax win for the Walk into the Future blog.
Summertime is conference season for everyone working in Higher Education Career Services. We have multiple organizations that provide fantastic opportunities to network with colleagues.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Southern Association of Colleges and Employers (SoACE) and Florida Association of Colleges and Employers (Florida ACE) are three of the organizations I have membership or participate in professional development. My current role aligns more with NACE these days, but I stay up to date with SoACE and Florida ACE. I have a lot of my tree branches who are extremely active with the regional and state associations. I am proud to say one of my tree branches is the current President of SoACE. I have others coming up through the ranks so happy to watch them grow daily.
The Florida ACE annual conference was held in Jupiter, Florida this year and several of my friends and tree branches attended. I was not an official attendee for this conference since I was just returning from the NACE conference in Portland. I received several texts and emails from my folks in attendance that they wanted me to come down for the conference to say hello.
Decided to drive down to Jupiter for the last day of the conference which was a Friday. My current school is closed on Fridays during the summer so got up with the intent to catch the last portions of the conference and get a chance to catch up with my folks. Jupiter is about a 50-minute drive south from Fort Pierce so made my way down.
Arrived at the conference location and located the Florida ACE group on the second floor. They were wrapping up the conference with awards and door prizes, so I hung back to avoid disrupting the conference, but my friends spotted me towards the back of the room. Got a few smiles and waves but this did not distract from the conference.
I was able to see and catch up with friends once the conference ended. It was great catching up with people I have not seen in a while. Some of this is because of COVID and some was because I moved down to Fort Pierce. Either way, this was a fantastic opportunity to see some great people and reconnect! 😊
The original Square Grouper is in Jupiter, and I had never visited this location before. I am a regular at the Fort Pierce Square Grouper and wanted to check out the OG location for myself. FYI, one of my friends refers to the Jupiter location as the OG (Original Gangster) location so decided to join in on the fun.
Google maps got me to the Square Grouper in about 10 minutes from the conference hotel which was down the street.
Made my way into the OG location to see how/if it was different from the Fort Pierce location.
The bar setups were very similar, and the food menu was the exact same—not surprising. The difference I saw was what was beyond/behind Square Grouper. The Fort Pierce location sits on the Fort Pierce inlet and is great for watching boats on the water. The Jupiter location has a dock directly behind it with boats sitting. Not a horrible look but the views are almost night and day for me. Love the freedom and great pictures I get at the Fort Pierce location.
I’m sure the Jupiter location has a group of regulars who love their views, but I would not trade the Fort Pierce view, vibe and feel for anything. Plus, the Fort Pierce Square Grouper is 15 minutes from where I live as opposed to having to drive 50 minutes to Jupiter. FYI—the Jupiter location seems to get better live music options since it is closer to south Florida and the Miami music scene.
The 2022 Atlantic City Rock N Roll Half Marathon has been in focus for me for the entire year. I targeted this race since I have never run there before, and the course was described as completely flat. I wanted to visit the famed boardwalk and see how my training translated to the course.
Another exciting aspect of running this race was the opportunity to see my tree branch, Lauren Apgar again. Lauren has been a tree branch since our time in the Florida State University’s Career Center. We were able to connect during the 2019 Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon and I have not seen her since due to COVID-19. Atlantic City provided an opportunity for us to reconnect and for me to finally meet Reese, her boyfriend.
I signed up for the 2022 Atlantic City Rock N Roll Half Marathon back in June 2021 so had this destination on the running tourist calendar for a while.
I normally fly on Southwest Airlines, but they do not have flights directly into Atlantic City. Flying Southwest Airlines required me to fly into Philadelphia and then drive an hour plus over to Atlantic City. Took a chance and viewed flight options on Expedia and discovered direct flights on Spirit Airlines to Atlantic City from Orlando. The price point for the roundtrip flight was less than a one-way ticket to Philly on Southwest Airlines so Spirit became my airline of choice for this trip. I did not know much about Spirit, but the experience was great for me start to finish.
I flew into Atlantic City on Friday with designs to get use to the area and catch up with Lauren prior to the race on Sunday. My hotel was in Egg Harbor Township which is only 8 miles away from the famed Atlantic City board walk and race start line. Note: I will stay much closer in 2023.
Met Lauren and Reese at Chickie’s and Pete’s which is a local sports bar in the area. Lauren picked this location for us to help with the carb loading process and catch up for missed time. It was great to sit with her and talk about family, friends, and professional growth. The three of us were able to enjoy some good food, beer, and the reunion.
This was Lauren’s first Rock N Roll race experience so wanted to make sure she got the most out of the experience. We agreed to meet at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the EXPO the next morning. I was surprised to see outlet stores downtown as I drove into the heart of the city. I knew there would be casinos, but the outlet stores put a smile on my face since I love shopping outlets.
Lauren, Reese, and I entered the EXPO to check in for the race and visit with the vendors. We were able to navigate the check-in process and make our way to the vendors to check out new equipment, gadgets, and nutritional products.
The first vendor we encountered provided free sessions using the NORMATEK leg compression sleeves. We were able to plug in and enjoy the technology to increase blood flow and relax before race day. The 20-minute session was a highlight of the EXPO—I will have to research these sleeves more and invest in a set soon since my running program is ramping up for the Fall 2022 race season.
We made our way through the EXPO, and I got additional CEP leg compression sleeves. Decided this new color pattern would be a good addition to my collection.
A new feature for this EXPO was gaming tables that were setup to allow participants to try blackjack, roulette, and craps games. Race participants received a $100 coupon to play during the EXPO and we made our way to the roulette table. My favorite number is 15 so played that continually while at the roulette table. I was able to hit 15 once which pays 36 to 1 odds. I was excited to add chips to my growing stack. A few others won as well, and this is where it got interesting. We all assumed we were playing for prizes (water bottle, towel, etc.) but the dealer let us know we were just playing for fun. Most of us went all in with our chips after discovering we were playing just to say we were playing—no money, no prizes, and no glory. 😊
Left the roulette table and got some energy gels before heading out for lunch.
Got the customary EXPO shots most of you expect:
Made our way to Wingcraft Kitchen and Beer Bar for lunch. This restaurant was conveniently across the street from the Convention Center. They have a very nice menu but settled on wings, fries, and beer to continue the carb loading process. Hit the Nike and Gap outlet stores after lunch to pick up some sales before heading back to the hotel for a quick nap.
Had a pasta dinner at Jerry Longo’s which is inside Bally’s casino. Headed back to the hotel to rest up for the big race.
The forecast called for rain and fog most of the weekend and it was spot on. Woke up on race day to thick fog which equals a certain level of humidity. The temperature was in the mid-50s when I woke up, but the fog made it feels a bit warmer—not Florida warm but not exactly what I envisioned for New Jersey in April.
I was able to park and catch the shuttle bus to the start line with minimal issues and met Lauren at the start line prior. Lauren told me on Friday she planned to run with me, and we began to work on our race strategy. I told her my normal routine of running water stop to water stop and to take on fuel throughout the race. This also helps mentally break the half marathon distance into chunks instead of viewing it as one long race.
My plan was to run a smart tactical race and get us to the finish line while enjoying the process of racing. Mission accomplished!
Lauren and I ran the entire race together. I am extremely proud of her effort and perseverance during the race. She was able to set a Personal Record (PR) and took two full minutes off her best time. We crossed the finish line together, but she officially beat me by three seconds based on official times—congrats my friend!
“A half marathon is just a 5k with a 10-mile warmup”.
My Walk into the Future led me back to Nashville for the 2022 Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I have run this race 4 times prior but did not get a chance to run in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19.
My original race registration from 2020 rolled over twice to this year and I was thrilled to return to one of my favorite cities to run, explore and enjoy live music again.
Nashville did not disappoint!
The weather was projected to be hot this year and it was. Nashville normally is still cool in April but this year the high on race day was 85 degrees which is 20 degrees higher than normal. This impacts all runners, so the race organizers sent out messaging for runners to take extra precautions (dress with light clothing, drink plenty water, consider slowing the pace, etc.). The weather was like the 2017 race and most runners felt the difference with the heat and the hilly course that Nashville is famous for.
I did not enter this race with a projected finish time in mind due to the weather and the hills. I have run one of my fastest half marathons on this course in 2019 when the weather was much cooler–the weather was not favorable for this year. Training on the hills in Tallahassee helped as well. 😊
Decided to capture my time in Nashville with pictures instead of giving you a complete recap of the race—most of my readers are used to a full recap.
Here is the cliff notes version for the race: I ran 13.2 miles, there were hills, it was hot, I earned a medal, and they gave me beer at the end. Yep, it was worth every second.
(Got my race bib and packet)
(Scenes from the EXPO at Music Center)
Wild Horse Saloon
(Time at the Wild Horse Saloon / Line Dancing)
(New compression sleeves for the 2022 Nashville Half Marathon)
(2022 Nashville Half Marathon start line)
(Scenes before the start of the race, downtown Nashville)
(Rooftop bars on Broadway)
(Ice for my legs after running the Nashville hills)
(Venues = Luke Bryan’s, Whiskey Row, The Stage, Tequila Cowboy, Lucky Bastard)
(Last day in Nashville! Broadway, Union Station Hotel, The Stage (again), Wild Horse Saloon (again), Lucky Bastard and The Parthenon)
Two new restaurants I recommend on the West End of Nashville are the Midtown Café and The Row Kitchen and Pub. The Midtown Café is a great place to get a hearty breakfast. The Row Kitchen and Pub has a large menu but recommend getting the catfish dinner if you are ever in Nashville—it is worth the wait!
The weather and hills did not stop me from enjoying my time in Nashville. I am already planning my return next year for the 2023 Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon—I registered for the event as soon as I returned home. 😊
Who is joining me in Nashville?
“Congratulations on finishing your half marathon! Good luck walking tomorrow!
I start each year with a measured set of goals. Reading and writing are two areas I focus on for my goals.
These are the areas where I find a ton of joy daily along with my running program. My 2022 reading and writing goals are below:
Read bible daily / Proverbs, Matthew, and other areas for better understanding
Read 2 books monthly
Write daily (poems, journal, BLOG articles, LinkedIn posts monthly)
Publish Authentic Leadership eBook (April 2022)
So, this is where I update you on my progress.
I discovered the book The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott 15 years ago and adopted an aspect from the book into my daily life. The book highlights the benefits of Proverbs and how King Solomon identified secrets to success, wealth, and happiness. I originally read the book thinking it would TELL me how to become rich financially which did not happen.
I read the book and did not understand the lessons the author was trying to relay to the readers. I dismissed it as an attempt to get people to read the book because of the catchy title. Luckily for me I decided to go back and read the book multiple times and followed the directions provided to see where they would lead.
I adopted the practice of reading Proverbs daily because of the wisdom (secrets to success, wealth, and happiness) this book provides to readers. I have been a daily Proverbs reader for over 15 years now and continue to discover new wisdom insights. Decided to add other books in the bible to my daily reading program in 2022. This is the reading goal I continue to meet and/or exceed so far this year.
Now, let’s talk about my goal to read 2 books each month. I started the year off with a bang and was able to handle my book goal in January and February. I started to go downhill with my reading program in March. I added more racing and training to my routine to get prepared for multiple half marathons but that’s not the real reason my reading has been slacking.
I have not done a great job of identifying book topics/titles that keep my attention. I big part of reading for me is an interest in the topic/title and the author. I started grabbing books off Amazon based on recommendations but some of the books did not have a true flow and caused me to become a slower reader than normal. No excuses but it is taking me longer to digest and get through the books I have selected. I’m averaging a book a month but need to increase my pace or make the time to read these books. There is still a lot of 2022 left to get more books read but I may not average 2 books each month.
My writing program remains strong, and I am happy with my progress in 2022. The blog articles keep me searching for new adventures and ideas, but I am happy with my ability to create content. It helps that a lot of my life revolves around traveling, running and the beach. I am sure I will continue to have content to turn into another Walk into the Future blog article. 😊
I have published multiple articles and posts on LinkedIn so that is another goal win. I continue to look for ways to network and connect with a larger audience. LinkedIn has allowed me to attract readers to my blog and share my adventures and leadership thoughts. I will use LinkedIn to build my leadership audience so I can get back to conducting Authentic Leadership workshops for organizations looking to improve/grow.
I have rolled my publishing a leadership eBook into 2022. I have the content for the eBook but need to get busy with cover art and putting the content into publication. I will use the summer months to finalize the content and work to get cover art so I can get the eBook to market. It’s coming—I promise! 😊
Still got work to do but I am making progress towards my 2022 reading and writing goals.
How are you doing with your 2022 goals! I welcome your thoughts—thanks!
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”.
I am always searching for new adventures and ways to leverage my Walk into the Future journey.
Most of my Florida exploits are centered around me heading north to familiar locations: Jasper, Jacksonville, Orlando, Melbourne, and Tallahassee. I have never been a huge south Florida fan, so it never crosses my mind to explore locations down there except when outlet malls are involved. I love outlet malls! 😊
Decided to get out of my travel comfort zone and venture south to explore Jupiter, Florida last weekend. I always heard great things about Jupiter but never made a true effort to visit the area to see what it truly had to offer. The reports about this area are all true; the city of Jupiter and the beaches are well worth a trip down there.
Google maps identified Jupiter was only a 58-minute drive down I-95 from Fort Pierce, so it is extremely close to me so no real excuses for never going there. Got up early on Saturday morning with the intent of driving down and enjoying a day of dining, sightseeing, and walking on the beach. Mission accomplished on all phases of my plan.
A good friend in south Florida recommended the 1000 North restaurant as a place to get some great food, people watch and catch nice water views. I never heard about this place, but it turns out to be a very popular spot in Jupiter. It has a diverse ownership group that includes Michael Jordan and several other well-known professional athletes. Did not know this fact until I got there and saw the setup. Nothing over the top but they only have complimentary valet parking—a nice feature but not something I am used to.
There are multiple dining areas to include a members only private dining room. I stayed downstairs with the regular folks and got a seat outside with a great view of the marina. The atmosphere was fantastic and got an opportunity to people watch. There were several large groups outside and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the great location.
The menu provided an eclectic selection, but I decided to get the grilled chicken club with sweet potato fries. Never had a fried egg on a club sandwich but it was a very good addition to the sandwich. I would get this again on a return trip to 1000 North.
Left 1000 North with the intent to explore the famed Jupiter beaches. Made a quick 5-minute drive east from the restaurant and I was at the beach. It was cool by Florida weather standards, but the beach was crowded with folks. Got a chance to walk the beach for a bit and get some great pictures to document my exploration for the day. I did not bring my beach chair or towel, so my walk was the activity for the day. I will make my way back to Jupiter beach so I can enjoy a full day at the beach and relax.
My trip to Jupiter put me about 20 minutes away from the Palm Beach Outlet mall. I could not miss an opportunity for outlet shopping so made my way south. I did not need anything but that’s not the point—there are always good deals at the outlets, so it is never a wasted trip.
Hit the Nike store first looking for new running gear. The Nike store is extremely small, so the selection was limited I did not pick up anything during this visit. Visited the Columbia store and added to my t-shirt collection here. Walked around a bit more and visited a few more shops before calling it a day and heading back to Fort Pierce.
Nice little day trip for me to add to my Walk into the Future journal. I look forward to heading back down soon for a longer beach adventure.
Dictionary.com defines busy as having a great deal to do.
Conversely, Dictionary.com defines productive as producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.
So, which of these definitions describes your daily endeavors in the workplace?
People use the terms in a similar fashion, but I am quick to tell folks my goal is to be productive daily.
Busy can quickly become a mindset that leads to staff becoming overwhelmed with the tasks they must handle in the work environment. I ask staff members how they are doing throughout the day and when I hear someone say they are busy I simply ask: are you busy or productive?
This makes folks pause for a bit and then they want to know the difference. Again, I refer to the two distinct definitions. Someone who exclaims they are busy is identifying they have a lot of things to do, and they are thinking about that workload. Some will just come out and say I have a lot on my plate and need to get things done. Sounds reasonable but it can also cause a mental drain on the staff member and anyone else who hears a constant “I am busy” drumbeat in the work environment. Yes, there may be a lot to do but saying ‘busy’ does not move the needle to get things done.
Flip the script!
My goal is to be productive daily, and this starts with the concept of coming to work to get things done. The old saying talk is cheap would apply here. Talking about being busy does nothing to get task accomplished. A productive mindset allows staff members to come in with focus and take an active role in getting things done. Tools I use to increase productivity:
To Do Lists (daily, weekly, monthly)
Outlook calendar (meeting reminders, team time off, out of office reminders)
Face to face conversations
Large Post It Notes on my office walls
Staff meetings (group, 1:1, virtual)
I have used To Do Lists for most of my professional life and these lists help me plan/organize my day to keep me focused on deadlines and work products I need to complete. I begin each morning before going into the office with a list of action items I want to accomplish for the day. I sync this list up with any items I did not complete the previous day once I arrive in the office.
FYI, I am also the first person in the building most days so I can have 45 minutes to consolidate my lists and build a game plan for the day. Yes, I put this much thought into my operation to ensure I have a productive day. I am trying to maximize my opportunities to be productive and leverage all the tools available to help me with this. A secondary benefit of my lists is they allow me to pick up where I left off when I must help staff members with a task or problem. I can come back and pick up where I left off without wasting time trying to remember what I need to get done. Please note, staff and clients take priority, so I get a lot of practice coming back to my daily lists.
Face to face conversations are a great way to keep the productivity flowing. I find simply getting up from my desk and going to have a conversation is more productive than emailing back and forth. We can talk things through, come to a consensus and eliminate potential misunderstandings. Of course, this only works if the person is available to have a conversation. 😊
The large Post It Notes on my office walls is something I started while working in the Florida State University’s Career Center. The concept was for me to put big projects on Post It Notes so staff could come into the office and add updates to each project. I began to allow staff to build their own projects and put them on my office walls so we could work them together. I got the Post It Note idea because my white board was not large enough to highlight multiple projects. I purchase the Post It Notes from Staples and they stick to the wall. These notes provide a great visual to highlight how productive we are on any given day. One of my current staff members said coming into my office and seeing the notes is like being ‘in my mind’. I quickly told her to get out of there because there is a lot going on up there. 😊
There are other ways to become productive in the work environment, but these are a few that I leverage daily to help move me and the organization forward.
So, I ask you, are you busy or productive? What tools are you using to help your productivity? I welcome your thoughts—thanks!
“Life moves so fast. You gotta document the good times, man”.
Luke Combs is one of my favorite artists and he continues to generate hits on the country music charts. Hislyrics have a poetic flow and speaks to daily things we all experience in one form or another.
I discovered his music during the 2020 Country Music Awards (CMA) show and quickly identified him as a rising star and promptly added his song, Beer Never Broke my Heart to my running playlist. Yes, I run with country music! 😊
I continue to dive into his discography and discover songs that I identify with. I did not realize how long he has been in the music business, but I love everything he has put out. Fans routinely identify ‘Luke has never made a bad song’ comments on his YouTube channel. I am sure he has a dud or two somewhere, but I can’t find one. I have been on a monthlong binge of his music where I play his music at work, driving home and then again when I get home. Guess you can say I am a fan.
My latest find is a song he put out in 2019 called Refrigerator Door. Very basic concept where he identifies the family memories that are on the refrigerator door in his house. This is something we can all relate to, most of us have placed something memorable on the refrigerator door: report cards, kids sports schedule, family vacation pictures, etc.
Decided this was a great time to let the Walk into the Future blog readers in on my refrigerator door secret. I have never placed report cards, sports schedules, or vacation pictures on my refrigerator door.
My door is covered with magnets. Yes, you read that correctly. My refrigerator door is covered with 70+ magnets. I started collecting magnets as part of my travel while in the Air Force and never really stopped. My goal is to collect a magnet each time I travel to a new state, city, or country. I always thought I would get bored with putting magnets on the door, but it is exciting to me to look at the door for the memories that are hanging there.
I have had family members and friends who send me magnets from places they have visited, but I do not put those on my door. My entire magnet concept is to put magnets up for places I have experienced. This keeps me motivated to continue my running tourist momentum to find races in places I have never been so I can explore new places AND get my magnet.
I added Clearwater Beach (Florida), Norfolk and Virginia Beach (Virginia), Southern Shores and Duck (North Carolina) and Savannah (Georgia) to the refrigerator door in 2021. I will add Atlantic City, New Jersey to the door in May when I head up there for the 2022 Atlantic City Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I am sure I will find some other places to visit and collect more hardware for my door.
The memories I can capture with pictures are great, but my magnet collection allows me to relive great memories daily since I see the door every time I am in the kitchen. I know magnets may not be for everyone, but this is a simple, easy, and inexpensive way to capture memories.
My Walk into the Future allows me to continue to broaden my life experiences and explore new areas.
I write about my travels, running adventures and things on my mind to name a few. I am always looking for new things to help me expand the Walk into the Future reading catalog.
Being open to new things provides a solid platform to keep living this life and capturing my thoughts and adventures to share with readers. Please note, I pick my adventures and then decide which ones I can develop into a blog article to share with you. I find this process exciting because some adventures prove to be more challenging to capture than others. I do my best to document them but some I just can’t get a good flow to share. This is not one of those! 😊
Ventured down to Delray Beach, Florida which is just over an hour south of Fort Pierce. The attraction was the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. I heard about this site but never ventured south to experience this cultural treasure that is right in my back yard.
Extremely happy to get down there and expand my knowledge base and experience the history and culture this beautiful garden offers. My goal was to take in the garden and learn as much as possible while touring the gardens.
The peace, tranquility and culture had to take a back seat in the beginning. The first thing I experienced walking towards the gardens was the image you see below. Yep, made it down to see the gardens and there’s a typical Florida scene where an alligator enjoys lunch while tourists gawk. LOL.
This was the only alligator sighting while in the gardens, but I had to get that shot—it is classic Florida.
The grounds are separated into collections inspired by gardens in Japan. This was an amazing aspect to view for the intricacy it took to build each of the distinct areas. I enjoyed each collection but would identify the Bonsai collection as my favorite spot in the gardens. There were several bonsai trees in the collection that are well over 100 years old, and the delicate care needed to maintain these trees is amazing. A funny aspect here is each bonsai tree has a plaque displayed that identifies when it was born. Saw a few trees that are the same age as me—guess that was a good year for us all. 😊
There is a small café on the grounds which specializes in Bento boxes and provides a nice overlook of the gardens. This spot allows visitors to kick back and relax a bit before heading back into the gardens.
The museum is a space to view some unique Japanese artifacts with space to learn more about the culture. This was a very interesting aspects since I spent 2 years on the mainland of Japan and 3 years on Okinawa while serving in the Air Force. The garden and museum were great reminders of my time in Japan. These were great times for me, and this cultural adventure brought back some great memories.
Visitors can sign up for classes and workshops to immerse into the culture.
“The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark”.
Decided to check my 2021 goals in December to see how well I did to accomplish the things I projected to get done back in January 2021.
Yearly goals are a big part of my planning process and I love checking things off my list. The written goal is a way to ensure success and provides clarity on things to get done in the new year.
2021 presented some unique opportunities for me and I am happy to grow on a professional and personal level.
There was only one area where I did not meet or exceed my written goal. I started 2021 with a written goal to cook weekly and I started the year off well. I made a point to meal prep and utilized my crock pot for convenience. My cooking goal lasted about two months before the wheels fell off on my progress. Working late and my scheduled after work runs are the excuses but the convenience of the drive-thru is the real reason. Turns out it is a lot easier and quicker to pull up and order something without having to come home and cook. I realize the drive-thru is not the healthiest option for me, but I rationalize this process with an extra run or two to combat. I will do a much better job with this goal in 2022!
Travel was an area I wanted to hit specific marks in 2021. COVID-19 eliminated most travel plans in 2020 and I wanted to get back on the road once it was safe again. I was leery of the vaccine process early on but fully embraced the concept once the vaccine was available. I wanted to be able to see family and friends again without the concern of bringing the virus with me. I understand vaccinated people can still carry but felt a sense of relief once I received the Moderna doses.
I routinely took monthly excursions prior to COVID-19 and looked forward to doing this again. Clearwater, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Melbourne were targeted cities for my monthly getaways and happy to report I hit them all. Orlando and Melbourne were regular visits for me in 2021. I also made it back to Jasper at least once per month to see my mom and family.
My visit to Clearwater Beach back in January was my first time there. I always saw pictures and heard about the area but never took time to visit. I am happy I made the trip over and will return October 2022 to run in the inaugural Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon. Plan to get more sightseeing in when I get there.
Got in a few running tourist opportunities too: Virginia Beach, Savannah, and Orlando.
My last 2021 travel adventure got me back to Nashville, Tennessee to listen to live music and enjoy a great city. The Wild Horse Saloon was closed on this trip, but I will be back for the 2022 Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon in April. I will get my line dancing in when I return. 😊
Exercise is a huge part of my daily routine. This is an area I take a lot of pride in and hit all my goals in 2021.
The first thing I wanted to hit was 1,000 training miles. Happy to report I was able to finish the year with 1,055 training miles. Building training runs into my daily schedule allowed me to hit this mark without feeling rushed to get training completed. I will leverage my 2021 training routine to build an aggressive 2022 training goal to help me challenge myself. Will share this number in a later post.
I set a goal to break my Personal Record (PR) in a 10k race and beat my friend Lauren Kume’s time in 2021. I ran a PR of 55:57 (Fifty-five minutes and 57 seconds) at the 2021 Winter Park 10k in March 2021. I did not run faster than Lauren, so I get to try again in 2022. I am registered for the same race in March 2022 and will work to get closer to 54 flat—still more work to do but headed in a good direction. Seems I am always chasing Lauren, but she inspires my running program—thank you! 😊
My workouts in 2021 were much improved. I still make it to the gym for weight training at least two times per week and upgraded my home equipment to enhance my strength training. I got in 5 body weight sessions weekly to complement my work in the gym. I was able to add more muscle definition and maintain my weight even though I do not eat the healthiest. I will correct my eating habits in 2022.
I maintained a consistent writing program throughout 2021. I published several articles on LinkedIn and added my poetry to the Walk into The Future blog. My blog library allowed me to publish weekly content to share my thoughts, views, and travel with readers. I gained a few more blog followers and incorporated content several friends requested. I plan to continue to build new blog content in 2022—don’t know how much longer I will use this platform, but I have other areas I want to explore for the blog so keep sending me your ideas. I will work to build content to keep your interest.
I did not publish my Leadership ebook in 2021 but did work on content throughout the year. I talked with a designer to build the cover art but will need to reengage with him to finalize the cost for the project. This will be a rollover goal for 2022.
Happy with my 2021 goal progress and excited to launch my 2022 goals towards another successful year.
How did YOU do on meeting your 2021 goals? What big things do you have planned for 2022?
Make it great!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.