Irie

The easiest definition for the Jamaican word Irie is total peace with your current state of being or the way you feel when you have no worries (Urban Dictionary).

Spend anytime with or around Jamaicans and you will hear someone respond to a greeting with Irie ‘mon.  This laid back and carefree way of life can be infectious and inspiring if you let it.

So, how can you get to the Irie level in your daily life?  Positive self-talk!

Positive self-talk and thinking can transform your daily interactions.  The benefits to your psyche are visible as soon as you start the process.  How many people say they are not a morning person?  This is a negative self-talk concept.  You have just ruined your day by putting yourself in a negative state of mind.  Why not welcome the morning with open arms?  Change the negative thoughts of the morning with positive thoughts.  State today will be a great day and watch how your actual day matches up with your positive thoughts.

Positive self-talk can be applied in multiple areas of your life.  Apply for a new job with confidence and know you have put your best efforts into the process.  Don’t openly doubt yourself and take on the negative side of a situation.  Positive self-talk will allow you to enjoy the prospects of going to the gym, meeting new people, finding a hobby.  I could go on and on with this concept but hopefully you can see ways to incorporate positive self-talk into your daily routines.

Make a few declarations:

  • Today will be a great day
  • I’m a fantastic student
  • I’m feeling great
  • Looking forward to my run
  • Nothing can stop me today

How can you add positive self-talk into your personal conversations?  Curious!

Let’s get Irie!

Irie

Walk

Took a walk today in my hometown, Jasper, Florida.  Small farming community in North Central Florida on the Florida/Georgia line.

Why write about a walk in a small town?

Well, decided to take a simple walk after dinner just to get a few steps in.  I inadvertently left my cell phone behind but discovered this was a very fortunate mistake.

No cell phone, headphones or other electronics provided me an opportunity to truly enjoy my walk.  The peacefulness I found simply taking in nature (birds, trees, the sunset) was an amazing aspect of the walk.  Yes, I’ve walked in my hometown before but how many times have you really escaped from your electronics and just enjoyed the moment?

My stroll allowed me to burn a few calories and still enjoy the process of my walk.  No specific place to be or time to get there during this walk allowed me to get lost in plain sight and just enjoy the moment.  Enjoyed a two-mile stroll without ever thinking about the need to check email, text messages or my watch.  Felt funny at first but think I like getting away from my electronics for a little while.

Will look to make this type of getaway a regular staple to help focus on the important things in life.

When’s the last time you left your electronics behind on purpose?  How would this process help in your daily life?

Mentoring

A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” 

(Oprah Winfrey)

Having a mentor is an excellent way to walk into the future.  A mentor can help with your personal and professional growth.  I recommend having multiple mentors who can give you different perspectives and maximize your efforts to walk into the future.

Identify someone who has expertise in an area you are interested in.  Use your current network to help identify a mentor if you don’t have direct connections with the right person.

Reach out to a potential mentor and let them know your needs and gauge their ability to serve as your mentor.  Remember, this person will be ‘giving’ their time to help you grow so make sure the fit works for you both.

You should be responsible for setting the agenda whenever you meet with your mentor.  Provide them with regular updates so they can be prepared to sit with you.  This ensures your time together is productive.

I let my mentees identify the day, time and agenda for our regular meetings.  This helps them take charge of their meeting and helps keep us on track to meet their stated goals.  I find myself learning and growing during my sessions as much as my mentees.  This is another form of networking and I enjoy being a mentor.

I have multiple mentors and see my personal and professional growth expanding due to mentors who have ‘reached back’ to help me.  I continue to have my eyes open for new mentors to help my walk into the future.

How can you leverage a mentor/mentee relationship for growth?  Who can you mentor to help them move forward?

Note:  Received text messages from two of my mentees on the same day—they both accepted offers for new positions—well done!

For by wise counsel you will wage your own war.  And in a multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 24:6)

Make it a great day!

Mentor

Get Fit

Why not use your walk into the future to work on your physical well-being?

A lot of people make January resolutions to motivate themselves to get fit.  You don’t have to limit your motivational time frame to January, you can decide to work on your physical goals anytime of the year.

Check your local area for 5k races and sign up.  There are multiple ways to get ready for your first 5K (3.1 miles).  A very popular program is called ‘Couch to 5K’ which will start you out with a walk/run platform and build your endurance, so you can start and complete a 5K.  You can use this or a similar program to begin the process of joining in the fun of a race weekend when ready.  Remember to set measurable goals for yourself.  Example:  Complete your first 5k under 35 minutes.  Your training and mindset should be geared towards meeting or exceeding your measured 5k goal.

Another area you may want to explore is strength training.  Building muscle is a great way to reshape your body and enjoy yourself in the process.  Start slow and give yourself time to get use to the ‘gym culture’ and build an individual program.  You may want to utilize a personal trainer as you get started to learn proper techniques and to create a program to maximize your results.  Again, set measurable goals for yourself and make sure you stretch those new muscles.

My walk into the future has allowed me to update my personal fitness goals.  I read on Men’s Fitness.com about a guy who decided to walk/run a 5k daily to help him lose weight.  He was able to drop over 50 pounds with this process.  He started out walking and built himself up to being able to run a full 5k within his documented schedule.

I’m not trying to lose 50 pounds but plan to leverage a similar approach as I gear up for my next half marathon in October.  I have completed two half marathons so far this year (Rock and Roll New Orleans and Nashville).  My stated goal for 2018 was to run 4 half marathons.  I’m well on my way to meeting this written goal.  I recently adjusted this goal a bit to include running a half marathon under 2 hours.  My personal record for a half marathon is 2 hours and 15 minutes (2:15).  I believe adjusting to the daily 5k program will help me increase my mileage base and speed as I gear up for the next half marathon.  We will see how this new approach and mindset will work for me. Gearing up for the USO Armed Forces Half in October:  http://jaxusohalfmarathon.com/#info

(FYI—I completed 12 5k’s in July).

What fitness goals did you set for 2018?  How’s your progress towards meeting or exceeding those goals.  Don’t be afraid to adjust as needed but keep moving forward—you can do it!

SAMPLE Training plan below:Track Shack

Philly Soul

What comes to mind when you hear Hall and Oates?

Group from the 80’s, blue-eyed soul, lots of hit songs or I remember them?  I’m guessing all those things crossed your mind when I mentioned them and yes, they are still around.

I was extremely happy to discover Hall and Oates was touring the country again this summer.  I grew up listening to their music and watching the early videos on MTV and Night Tracks on TBS.  Turns out the Hall and Oates video for Family Man (H20 album) was the first video aired on Night Tracks.  It seems they were always churning out a hit or two that captured my attention and had me singing along with them.  (FYI:  Night Tracks aired June 1983 – May 1992).

Sometimes you forget how many hits an artist has until you see them live.  The closest place I could see Hall and Oates was in Orlando at the Amway Center.  I’ve been in the Amway for college and professional basketball games but never for a concert.  Multiple outlets had tickets available but decided to use Vividseats.com since this site didn’t have the ‘extra’ fees associated with booking directly with the Amway Center or Ticketmaster.  I’m always looking for a deal!

Train was the opening act for Hall and Oates.  I’ve heard some of their music but I’m not a fan.  I was pleasantly surprised to see and hear a lot of Hall and Oates fans singing along to every word of Train’s set.  Turns out the lead singer is from the Philadelphia area and has been influenced by Hall and Oates.  May have to give them another listen knowing this new fact.

Hall and Oates started their set with Maneater which was one of their largest hits from the 80’s.  Their sound and band were better than I expected.  The musicianship displayed was impressive and had everyone standing, singing and dancing along.  They covered about an hour and a half of their hits going back to the early days: She’s Gone, Can’t Stop the Music, Sara Smile, Rich Girl, Kiss on My List, Maneater, One on One and new stuff [Philly forget me Not with Train].

Texted one of my Philly area friends during the show and asked for her favorite Hall and Oates song.  She gave me two:  She’s Gone and Rich Girl.  I texted back my favorite Hall and Oates song is:  Sarah Smile.  Of course, this changed as they played hit after hit and I loved each one of them.  Guess my true favorite Hall and Oates song is the most recent one I hear.   Their sound and music carry well, and they will be making audiences smile for years to come.  Their last encore song was You Make my Dreams Come True.  What an appropriate song to send fans home–well done Hall and Oates!

Went back and watched their 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and they performed just as well there.  Hit after hit and making the crowd smile.

What’s your favorite Hall and Oates song? When’s the last time you listened to it? I recommend going to YouTube and experiencing it again—enjoy!Hall and Oates

Paisley Park

‘Paisley Park is in your heart’

This is a lyric from the song titled Paisley Park on Prince’s Around the World in a Day album.  It’s not one of his most well-known songs but the title was translated by the artist to name his artistic palace in Chanhassen, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Paisley Park is a combination of residence, recording studios, sound stage, video editing and party spot (concerts, DJ’s, etc.) designed by Prince in the late 1980s.  This is a place where he churned out hit after hit from his own recording platforms.  It afforded him the opportunity to create new music and concepts right where he lived.  Simply, come downstairs and walk into a recording studio to lay down some tracks that would one day become a #1 hit.

Paisley Park is a place I have always wanted to visit to experience the place responsible for the ‘soundtrack’ of my life.  I grew up listening to Prince from the very early stages of his career and wanted to ‘walk into the future’ and see Paisley Park first hand.

Wow…what an experience!  I decided to make a visit to Minneapolis and then venture over to Chanhassen to tour Paisley Park.  They have multiple tour formats to select but I decided to reserve my spot for the General Admission (70-minute tour) and was not disappointed.  There were roughly 20 other Prince fans along for my tour timeframe.  We’re talking people from all over the world who decided to make the Paisley Park journey to reconnect with Prince, his music and the place where he created magic.

The tour started with a brief history of his music, why he wanted Paisley Park and what happens there now.  The tour’s most emotional moment for me was when we stepped into the foyer at Paisley Park.  Prince’s ashes are encased under glass overlooking the foyer.  Didn’t expect the ashes to be there but it was a goose bump moment for a lot of us on the tour.

We were provided free time to explore multiple rooms dedicated to specific albums/tours (LoveSexy, 1999, For You, etc.) and his personal office.  The tour guide identified the office was intact just as Prince left it.  Of course, it was a very cool set-up to include video, music and a sitting area to entertain visitors.

The tour then took us directly into Studio A where most of his hits from the 1990s were recorded.  Very cool place to see and experience the sound system and unreleased music that will be coming out soon! Sounds great and you will love the concepts! (LOL).

His numerous awards (Grammys, BET, MTV, etc.) were displayed in hallway cases.  The effect of seeing these awards put a smile on most of our faces as we remembered watching Prince receive these awards on TV over the years.  Fantastic opportunity to actually see history.

Prince’s movies/soundtracks had separate areas at Paisley Park.  The Purple Rain display included the motorcycle from the movie, his iconic purple trench coat and the Grammy awarded for the soundtrack.

Under the Cherry Moon with the black and white theme provided a unique contrast to his other movies.  Graffiti Bridge, Sign ‘O the Times and RAVE were displayed, and all were shot on the sound stage at Paisley Park.  Speaking of the sound stage, our tour took us into the enormous space used by Prince and others for tour preparation, make videos and shoot movies.  Prince allowed other musicians to use this area to help them get ready for national tour dates.

The tour ended in the New Power Generation (NPG) club which is still used to host dance parties for Prince fans.  This area was used by Prince to host fans and sometimes play live shows for the few lucky folks in attendance.  It was noted Prince normally didn’t start playing until 2 am in the morning so you would have to be an extreme night owl to catch one of these impromptu shows.

Cameras are not allowed at Paisley Park so the memories from this experience must be lived and not ‘streamed’ out.  I believe this enhanced the overall experience for me.

Very happy my walk into the future led me to Paisley Park!

Where have you always wanted to go but never made the time?  How can you leverage a trip to help you decide to walk into the future?

Paisley park outside

Paisley Park inside2

Spin Class

When’s the last time you took a spin class?  Well, decided to get back in the saddle today and tried spinning again.  Wanted to enhance my current cardio routine with something challenging without having to go out and fight the Florida heat and humidity summer brings.  Found a local church with a Fitness Ministry where they offer multiple class formats and times to reach a larger population.

The church allows registered participants to attend the first class for free.  This was a bonus as I have been searching for additional ways to supplement my cardio and half marathon training program.  Thought spin would be a fun and challenging way to burn more calories and interact (network) with others in the community.

Our instructor was very nice and made everyone feel welcome.  She had to spend a little extra time with me to get my bike set-up since I haven’t been on a spin bike in about 4 years.  Once we got my seat and handle bar height levels corrected, the fun began.  Several warm up routines got us physically and mentally prepared for a hard, fun and energizing 45-minute ride.   The instructor made a point to let us all know the ride would be at our individual pace.  We were coached to take breaks, adjust pedal tension and get water whenever needed.  This made the class an enjoyable experience for me.  There were several times I didn’t know if I could make it over the next ‘hill’ but our instructor kept me moving forward and I was able to complete the entire 45-minute circuit.  Not bad for my first time back in the saddle after a 4-year layoff.

Looking forward to getting back and taking my next class.  Thinking about buying a package of classes since I know they will get used especially over the hot summer months.

An extra benefit of spin class was the mind cleaning aspects the ride had.  I was able to completely focus on riding my bike over the next hill.  The breathing techniques we utilized helped free my mind and created a unique experience for me.  I know it was just a spin class, but the enjoyment of the ride was eye opening and has me looking forward to my next visit.

This Fitness Ministry is an excellent way to give back and help the community!  Well done!

What have you always wanted to try or do but never make the time?  When will you free your mind with a ‘spin’ class?