Emulate great leaders ‘and’ learn from bad bosses

“Never step on enthusiasm.”

(Colin Powell)

thumbnail_Leader

(Image by Jackie Zamora)

I love the image above for the simple message it sends.  True leaders are not afraid to engage to ensure team success.  Leaders display a level of humility when they show direct reports they are a part of the overall team, not just the person demanding results.

Contrast the two examples in the image.  Who would you want to work for?  The leader or the boss?  Why?

I have been lucky to work for some truly great leaders in multiple work environments.  They all shared a vision of what success looks like and made sure everyone was working toward the same goals.  These great leaders always led by example and made professional development/learning a priority in the workplace.  This enhanced direct report engagement and made everyone want to get more accomplished.  Regardless of style (authentic, transformational, democratic, etc.), great leaders provide positive interactions and examples we can emulate and utilize within our own leadership practice.

Luckily, I have not experienced too many of the boss examples in the image above, but I have made a point to learn from these people as well.  Don’t be so quick to write off the lessons you gained from a boss:

  • How did your boss make you feel daily?
  • How easy was it to bring them problems?
  • Did they explain tasks or just say go get things done?
  • How competent were they getting the job done?
  • How invested were they in your professional development?
  • How much fun were they to be around?
  • How much staff turnover did your office have?

I could add more things to this boss check list but believe you see my pattern now.  So, what lessons can you learn from a boss?  I’ve learned to never repeat a boss trait I viewed as a negative.

Getting up from behind a desk or closed door to engage with people daily is an easy task for everyone.  Never get so comfortable with a position you forget your responsibility to the people you serve.  Servant leadership is centered on the idea the leader serves their people.  Take the time to explain the WHY of a task not just the WHAT needs to be done.  Leverage the strengths of everyone on the team.  This requires the leader to know the strengths and weaknesses of each team member.

It’s okay to have fun at work!  No, really, fun and work can go together.  Look at some of the most successful organizations and the culture they build in the work environment.  Work still gets done but fun happens daily—may be a coincidence but these type organizations are able to retain their staff members.

Consider implementing a stay interview process.  Stay interviews allow great leaders to engage staff to see what they need in the work environment.  The stay interview builds a dialogue to enable both sides to enhance relationships and create a productive culture.  The leader does not have to promise anything they can’t back up and allows them to explain these things directly to staff members.

Note:  Had a great conversation during a virtual networking event last week in Orlando about the term stay interview.  Some organizations/leaders do not like this term.  That’s fine, call it ‘professional development interview, career development orientation, etc.’ but look for ways to engage staff on their professional needs.

So, continue to emulate the great leaders you have had in your work life but don’t miss the valuable lessons the bosses have provided.

What leadership traits do you emulate daily?  What have you learned from a boss (no names needed)?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

(Maya Angelou)

war chess

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“Play chess, not checkers.”

(Dr. Calvin Williams)

The Voice of a Leader

orange and and brown chess pieces

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“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed—Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection”.

(Sheryl Sandberg)

Had a great lunch meeting and chat with one of my Orlando tree branches at the end of May.  We were able to catch up before my scheduled guest speaking role on the Intern Pursuit podcast.  Always love catching up with my tree branches in-person and jumped at the chance to hear the great things she was doing in Orlando with her small business marketing firm.

We were able to share professional and life updates during this visit and got into the concept of leadership in the workplace.  Just general stuff but I’m a big believer in leadership development and the impact ‘good’ leadership can have on the work environment.

Most people have heard numerous leadership styles mentioned:  transactional, transformational, authoritative, authentic, etc.  I recommend new leaders have a good understanding of multiple leadership styles and then work to find their inner voice within the work environment.

What’s your inner voice?  This concept can be used to determine your true leadership style and then put things into place to ensure your work environment and people can grow.  I tell anyone who listens I’m a huge believer in the authentic leadership style.  Guess what, authentic leadership takes some of the best aspects of other leadership styles and packages them into a concise, four variable approach to leadership.  The variables of self-awareness, relational transparency, internalized moral perspective and balanced processing are used by authentic leaders to develop their inner leadership voice.  An authentic leader needs to ensure these variables are on display and utilized daily to truly be an authentic leader.

Please note, all leadership styles have variables of some level.  Transformational leaders are called ‘quiet leaders’ because they are described as leading by example.  Transactional leaders can be viewed as reactive and ‘may’ be more beneficial within large corporation settings.

So, as you can see, there are a lot of leadership styles available to new and experienced leaders.

“It can be done.  Leaders make things happen.  If one approach doesn’t work, find another”.

(Colin Powell)

The key to finding your leadership inner voice is assessment of your work environment and flexibility.  I can say I practice authentic leadership, but this style may not be practical for every direct report.  A direct report who is not performing to standards may need daily transactional interactions whereas the rest of the staff thrive with the authentic leadership environment created.  Knowing the needs of your staff is something that comes with experience, lots of reading and training.  The ability to adapt to changing work situations and needs of direct reports allows a leader to impact the work environment in a positive manner.

It’s okay to take a personal interest in direct reports and things they are interested in.  You may be able to adjust work assignments to keep them engaged based on strengths and interests.  It’s also okay if you can’t accommodate everything your staff would like to do in the work environment.  Example:  staff may want to work from home but if that model does not fit the mission then it’s up to the leader to say so.  Saying no in this situation is not a personal attack, it’s just the way the organization must operate.

A lot goes into being a leader.  Understanding leadership styles, your strengths and weaknesses as well as continual learning will help as you develop your inner leadership voice.

“Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their staff.  If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish”.

(Sam Walton)

blank paper with pen and coffee cup on wood table
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The happy spot: Negril, Jamaica

Curry Goats

Made my annual pilgrimage back down to Negril, Jamaica in May.  Decided a few years back I would travel yearly to Jamaica to enjoy the sun, rum and reggae.  I’ve missed a year here and there but have been consistent getting my Jamaica passport stamp.

The Jamaican Tourist Board (JTB) created the ‘Once you go, you know’ slogan in 2003 to generate tourism interest and get more people to visit the island.  I always thought about the slogan because I wanted to ‘know’ what Jamaica was about but thought it was beyond my price point.  A simple check on Expedia highlighted how affordable a trip to Jamaica can be—prices vary based on brand names (Sandals, Beaches, Palladium) to more economic options (Samsara, Legends, Rock House).  You can spend as much or little as you want based on resort brand, location and all-inclusive food/drink options.

Samsara

My preferred resort is Samsara which is situated on the west end of the island.  The unique feature for Samsara is the resort is located on a cliff.  The cliffs provide unique experiences for guest to ‘cliff dive’ while enjoying the water.  I don’t cliff dive but use the access to put my snorkel gear to good use.  I spend about 3 hours daily exploring underwater caves, following fish and watching Jamaican spear fishermen catch barracuda.

 

Samsara is close to other west end resorts, so I have made a point to visit some of them while on the island.  This allows me to experience additional waterfront views, menu options and drink specials.  My favorite lunch spot on the island is the Rock House.  The Rock House has an expanded menu with a lot of traditional Jamaican food options.  Steamed snapper, peas and rice and callaloo is my go-to meal ‘every’ time I’m there.  Callaloo has a look and feel of collard greens but I will warn you, the Scotch bonnet peppers are smoking hot.  I spend more time pulling them out, but they do add flavor to the dish.

Rock House

I got a bit adventurous and decided to stop at a new spot on this trip.  I pass the Kool Vybes Bar and Jerk Centre every time I’m in Negril but never stopped.  Just assumed everything on the menu would be smothered in Jamaican jerk sauce but they provide the option to have the sauce on the side.  The food at the Jerk Centre was great and may be the best food bargain in Negril.  I will ensure to make it back to the Jerk Centre—recommend getting the jerk sauce on the side if you’re not into spicy food—Jamaicans like food with a kick!

http://realnegril.com/koolvybes/

Jerk Centre

Samsara has a sister resort (Legends) on Seven Mile beach.  Guests have full privileges at both resorts which provides additional options while in Negril.  I can spend time snorkeling off the cliffs at Samsara and then trade for beach activities to include jet skis, catamaran excursions, shopping and dining.  This 2 for 1 resort option is a ‘hidden’ gem to enhance the overall enjoyment while in Negril.

7 mile beach

Reggae

My go to spots to listen to live reggae in Negril are Alfred’s and Bourbon Beach.  I always ask the locals for places to visit and they all agree Alfred’s Ocean Place and Bourbon Beach are the best places to hear live music and catch the Irie vibe.  I’ve never been disappointed with the music or the vibes while at either place.  Both locations are right on 7 Mile beach so you can kick back with a cold drink, listen to the bands and hear waves crashing at the same time.  Very enjoyable experience!

A new place I added to the rotation this trip was Roots Bamboo Beach resort.  Large stage with an impressive sound system with live reggae on Monday and Wednesday nights.  Roots Bamboo Beach is extremely close to Alfred’s and Bourbon Beach—went back and forth between venues when a band had to take a break.

Negril’s uniqueness with cliff and beach access keeps people like me coming back year after year.  It’s always great to meet someone from Europe or Canada and hear they are on their eight trip to Negril—most are like me and stay at the same place every time.  They are in the ‘know’ about Negril.

So, now you know—Negril is my happy spot and I plan to visit as often as possible.  Already looking forward to my next trip down.

What is your happy spot to visit?  When’s the last time you were there?

Sunset 1

Teacher’s pet—Lifelong impact of my favorite teacher

alphabet class conceptual cube

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‘I am not a teacher, but an awakener.’

(Robert Frost)

Who is your favorite teacher?  What did this person do to hold the distinction of your favorite?  Do you emulate the characteristics they displayed towards you?  How has this person impacted your journey?  (Trick question)

Decided to reverse my normal pattern and get right to the questions I wanted to pose to readers.

I’ve been contemplating writing something about teachers or role models for a while.  Just needed a little inspiration and a logical way to highlight the importance of my favorite teacher and how the Walk into the Future blog technically originated in a Typing 1 high school course.

Mattie Fouraker

Mattie Fouraker is my favorite teacher.  Please note, I’ve had some amazing folks to guide me throughout my entire journey, but Mrs. Fouraker provided me with the tool I use every day—the ability to type.

The Typing 1 class was an elective I decided to take in the 10th grade.  My main reason for taking the class was it was full of young ladies who had an interest in typing.  My interest was being in a class full of young ladies—almost had the class to myself but one of my male friends decided to join me.

My goal was to just sit in the class and do as little as possible—had no idea typing would be a central part of my adult life.  Mrs. Fouraker must have read my ‘thought bubble’ for why I was in her class.  She told me on day one that she expected me to keep up and perform as well as the rest of the class.  She never wavered on her expectations for me and provided the encouragement to learn, perform and get better every day.    My competitive nature came out as well because I wanted to get faster and more accurate.

Practice, repetition and encouragement produced results that allowed me to win a typing award for speed and accuracy.  I finished as the fastest and most accurate student in the class to the amazement of the other students.  My status didn’t faze Mrs. Fouraker because she saw ‘promise’ in me and nurtured the process to ensure I was successful—she even made a point to keep the young ladies in the class away from ‘me’ so I didn’t get distracted.

I had no idea at the time how valuable this class and Mrs. Fouraker’s guidance would be on my future!

Mrs. Fouraker and I still communicate to this day and she always asks me if I still type 65 words per minute. 😊 She occasionally reads my blog, so hoping she enjoys the fact I’m still typing away.

Projects (Book, dissertation)

My time in the Air Force allowed me to perform multiple roles:  computer analyst, instructor, leader and event planner.  The skill that overlapped in all these roles was my ability to type.  The computer analyst role required I write code for hours on end.  The amount of coding and testing we were able to complete was enhanced because of my typing speed and accuracy.  Who knew a class in 10th grade would impact the Air Force mission so much!

I was able to fulfill a lifelong goal in 2010 when I published a book.  The ability to type provided me with the foundation to generate enough content prior to editing the book.  Typing allows me to get my thoughts down since I’ve never been able to keep up with my ‘active’ thoughts writing by hand.  This also helps because I don’t have the greatest handwriting and have trouble trying to decipher ‘what’ I was trying to express—typing eliminates these issues for me AND anyone trying to read my writing.

My PhD dissertation topped out at 107 total pages, but I wrote about 3 times that amount of material to get to my finished product.  Mandatory edits presented to me by the dissertation committee members were quickly incorporated within the document with ease.  The typing lessons learned (proper hand placement, key locations, etc.) allowed me to complete this task within minimal time and check off another major milestone in my journey.

Blog

The published Walk into the Future articles are another example of Mrs. Fouraker’s impact.  Most of the published articles are conceived and written in one session.  I normally take a topic (suggested by a tree branch, personal experience, current topic, etc.) and sit down to find my inspiration to write.  I sit down and begin typing once I identify an angle I want to take with the article.  I can always go back and edit things to make more concise but most of what you read in the Walk into the Future blog was thought of and written in the same session.  Lessons learned in that 10th grade typing class provide me with the capability to generate ideas and get them down quickly.  FYI, I still don’t look at the keys or my hands when typing! 😉

Thanks!

Thanks to Mrs. Fouraker for providing me with tools I have leveraged my entire adult life.  Her dedication and patience displayed years ago enables me to chronicle my current Walk into the Future and continue to move forward—well done!!!

‘What we learn with pleasure we never forget.’

(Alfred Mercier)

blue computer keyboard on gray wooden surface
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No cell, no worries!

Up to 7 numbers now!

Walk Into the Future

‘Cell phones are so convenient that they’re an inconvenience.’

(Haruki Murakami)

turned on iphone x with yellow case Photo by Essow Kedelina on Pexels.com

Yesterday I had a small problem handling my cell phone.  Started my daily trek to the gym to get a chest workout in.  Nothing out of the norm so far, right?  Well my cell phone fell from my gym bag as I was putting it in my vehicle.  I’ve dropped my cell phone before so didn’t think this was a major deal in life.  Put it back in my bag and made my way to the gym.

Discovered the simple drop may impact my day more when I tried to listen to my favorite reggae station during my workout.  Turns out my phone showed the dreaded ‘black screen’ of death—still had indicator lights that I had incoming messages, but I couldn’t navigate to them without my interactive screen.  Still no big deal, so…

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Get up, Stand up!

beach ocean sand sea
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‘Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.’

(Winston S. Churchill)

Most people who talk to me or read the Walk into the Future blog know I have a love for reggae music.  Growing up I favored other music genres but never could get into reggae.  Really, I never took the time to truly ‘listen’ to the artists because I spent more time trying to hear something familiar as oppose to what was really being said.

Long story shorten, Reggae is what I listen to about 85% of the time when I have headphones on.  Hearing Reggae live in Negril, Jamaica was my turning point and I continue to gravitate to the beats and stories daily.

  • Reggae: a style of Jamaican music blending blues, calypso, and rock and roll, characterized by a strong syncopated rhythm and lyrics of social protest.   (Dictionary.com)

Bob Marley released his classic song ‘Get up, Stand up’ in 1973.  The intent for Bob Marley and Peter Tosh was to make a statement and speaks to a level of persistence in life.

Decided to revisit this classic song today from an angle to provide an ‘irie’ slant to my current Walk into the Future.  I was in negotiations with an organization to provide professional development training for their staff later in the year.  I was excited for the opportunity to make a positive difference for the staff and organization.

The organization ‘smartly’ surveyed staff members to get their input into the direction of the professional development training and discovered staff wanted/needed something else.  They let me know they were going in another direction based on staff needs.  FYI—I fully support the new direction they decided to go because staff identified what they needed—the goal is to build the organization based on their needs.

Most blog posts I describe my Walk into the Future with all the positive things it has brought me.  I share this story to remind readers that even though I’m enjoying every day of my current walk, I too experience things that don’t always go my way.  No worries!

Bob Marley reminds me to, “Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight”.  I view this small setback as an opportunity to sharpen my skills to ensure I can deliver additional speaking platforms to maximize organizations’ growth potential.  This is just one step of many on my Walk into the Future—I’m still moving forward.  Also, I have already started on my next proposal for the same organization because I haven’t given up the fight!  😊

My persistence remains and I will continue to find ways to make a difference! Everything Irie!

How do you handle setbacks?  What tools do you utilize to bounce back?  Curious, thanks!

‘The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job.’

(Napoleon Hill)

adventure challenge climb climber
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Planting trees–Who gave you a chance?

‘I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.’

(Oprah Winfrey)

I continue to express the benefits of building effective partnerships and how networking can enhance this process.

My current Walk into the Future provides multiple opportunities for partnering and networking to continue to make a difference in the world.  Current relationships (mentors, tree branches, etc.) can be instrumental for the development of new opportunities.

I was virtually introduced to Isabella Johnston from Intern Pursuit through a mutual friend.  We connected via LinkedIn and then followed up with a phone call to learn more about how we could partner (if possible) in the future.  Happy to say Isabella’s role with Intern Pursuit and other projects she has in the Central Florida area are making a difference daily.  Enjoyed learning about the exciting things she is working on and will roll out later this year.

We discussed the possibility of me coming down to participate as a guest speaker for her Intern Whisperer Podcast.  Participating on the podcast seemed like a perfect partnership so I was happy to accept the offer to continue to work with Isabella and her staff.

What a great experience to meet Isabella, her staff and recording the podcast!  Very engaging format with questions designed to allow me to provide professional and leadership advice to listeners of the podcast.  Had a blast with the entire process and looking forward to continuing this newly formed partnership.

An interesting aspect to my trip down to Orlando was I had lunch with a ‘tree branch’ prior to recording the podcast.  I had breakfast the next morning with another ‘tree branch’—tried to get a lot accomplished in minimal time.  The interesting part of my connecting with my Orlando tree branches is they both know (know of) Isabella and her work and she is familiar with their work.  They are all master networkers, so I’m not surprised these folks all know each other—looks like I was the last one to the party! 😊

Who gave you a chance?

One question that was presented to me during the podcast was ‘Who gave you a chance’?

You can hear my full answer by listening to the podcast.  I’ve had a lot of great people mentor me over the years but my answer to this question is Ann Loyd.  Ann allowed me to transition from the Air Force into a role within the Macon State College Career Center.  Nothing in my professional background directly translated to career services but Ann took the chance my dedication and passion to help others would translate.  Happy to say it did—I’m still making a difference because Ann saw something in me and helped me shape my world view on helping students succeed.  My Walk into the Future started with the chance she gave me.

 ‘It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute.’

(William Pollard)

So, I pose the same question to you–Who gave you a chance?  Who will you give a chance to?  Interested in your thoughts—thanks!

Intern Pursuit May 2019

 

 

On the good foot: The Brooks take over

‘I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.’

(Ronald Rook)

My current Walk into the Future has allowed me to grow in many areas.  One of those areas is my constant pursuit to run a half marathon under 2 hours.  I discovered the only way to meet the goal was to actual put in the work to get there.  I’ve documented my past training program consisted of the occasional 7 mile run before tackling the challenge of running a half marathon.  I was finishing the races but didn’t have the extra kick needed to really approach my running goal.

The new running plan now has me doing the following:

  • Tuesday: 5-mile run (or longer)
  • Thursday: 7-mile run (or longer)
  • Saturday: 10 to 15-mile run
    • Note: All adjusted based on weather or my schedule
    • Leverage the treadmill for speed work

This increased mileage has been good to condition my mind and body.  The mental and physical toughness generated was very evident in my last half marathon in Nashville.  Building muscle memory to continue to move forward even when it hurts is an outcome from the increased running workload.

Decided to utilize a local running specialty store, Fleet Feet to have my feet and gait analyzed to see if I could gain an advantage with my training.  Please note, I recommend everyone get a foot and gait analysis done before tackling the miles needed to complete a half marathon.

My foot analysis identified three issues I had but didn’t know about.  The first issue discovered is my feet are not flat, I have a low arch, but it still exists.  Was told years ago by a doctor I needed inserts because I had flat feet.  The second issue was my right foot is longer than my left.  The third issue was I always bought running shoes base on my ‘true’ shoe size.

The Fleet Feet staff recommended with the miles and races I participate in, I should buy running shoes a full size longer than my normal foot size.  The larger shoe allows my feet to breath better and provides a platform in case my feet swell while chasing additional miles.  The larger shoe also eliminated the discomfort I felt since one foot is longer than the other.

Armed with this new intel, I had the Fleet Feet staff recommend shoes to fit my unique feet (no pun intended).  They provided me with 3 in-store options to try and get a comfortable feel for.  Each shoe provided a different level of technology (arch support, roll bars, cushioning, etc.).  Decided to conduct my own research on each shoe they showed me but came away impressed with the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 model.  I switched from my normal ASICS GT-2000 shoes to the Brooks shoes two weeks prior to the Nashville Rock ‘n’ Roll 2019 half marathon.  This gave me enough time to get 30 miles of training in the new shoe—never race in brand new shoes.

Happy to say the Brooks running shoes performed very well for me in Nashville and training leading up to the race.  The support the new shoes provide eliminated foot discomfort, leg fatigue and joint issues.

Grateful to the Fleet Feet staff for helping me understand more about my feet and the need to ensure my equipment matches my needs.  I love the ASICS brand but was more than willing to replace them to keep my feet happy and moving forward.  Excited to see the future race results in my new Brooks—more miles to come!

Join me at the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in September to see how my new Brooks are performing!

‘Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, others head to the corner pub, but I chose running as my therapy.’

(Dean Karnazes)

Brooks

No cell, no worries!

‘Cell phones are so convenient that they’re an inconvenience.’

(Haruki Murakami)

turned on iphone x with yellow case
Photo by Essow Kedelina on Pexels.com

Yesterday I had a small problem handling my cell phone.  Started my daily trek to the gym to get a chest workout in.  Nothing out of the norm so far, right?  Well my cell phone fell from my gym bag as I was putting it in my vehicle.  I’ve dropped my cell phone before so didn’t think this was a major deal in life.  Put it back in my bag and made my way to the gym.

Discovered the simple drop may impact my day more when I tried to listen to my favorite reggae station during my workout.  Turns out my phone showed the dreaded ‘black screen’ of death—still had indicator lights that I had incoming messages, but I couldn’t navigate to them without my interactive screen.  Still no big deal, so I thought—figured I would reboot the phone after the gym, and everything would be back to normal.

Googled my phone brand and model to get the sequence needed for the reboot.  Followed the directions for multiple reboot sequences but the black screen did not disappear.  After experiencing a modest level of frustration for me, decided to go see my service provider for some help.  Presented my problem to the service technician and had to laugh because she went straight to Google to perform the reboot sequences I had done already.  Didn’t work for her any better than it did for me, so I felt good with the knowledge I could follow simple directions.

Got referred to a local U Break I Fix shop for a potential repair.  The owner was quick to let me know he sees my type repair daily and they should be able to get me fixed, no worries.  Turns out this drop of the phone did damage to my LCD screen.  The phone is still operating just can’t get the screen to show what’s happening.  Again, no worries!

I quickly learned from leaving my cell phone at the repair shop how dependent we have become on our phone and other technical devices.  Without a cell phone (24 hours only) it felt like I was invisible in the world—this made me laugh.  I realized there are only three phone numbers I have memorized—mine, my mom’s home number and my grandmother’s home number—that’s it.  I couldn’t contact anyone else even if I had a way to call or text them.  Decided to email a few folks to let them know I wasn’t ignoring them with my phone silence and had them notify others of my current lack of technology access.

Took me a little bit but soon discovered a type of freedom without my phone.  I’m a news junkie so when I have a phone, I’m always on it checking sports scores, CNN and MSN.  I got through my workout today quicker than normal because I didn’t take a break to read an article or check out the political landscape.  Also, enjoyed my lunch more since I couldn’t interrupt myself by staring at my phone instead of eating.  Took my vehicle for an oil change and was able to get in over 2000 steps walking instead of sitting in the waiting room on my phone.

None of the things I’ve done without my phone are earth shattering but it did show me there is still life events without having a phone in my hands.  Everything I needed to accomplish still got done—in fact it appears I’m more productive without having the phone as a distraction.

Lessons learned from this 24-hour period without a cell phone:

  • Quit dropping the phone
  • I need to have more numbers memorized—3 is laughable (technically two since one is mine)
  • Limit phone use in the gym
  • Put the phone down and enjoy my meals
  • Have backup communication paths—just in case

Surviving my 24-hour period without my phone wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Turned out to be a very peaceful time for me—very surprised but happy with this outcome.

So, my question for you:  how many phone numbers do you have memorized?  Be honest! 😊

Enjoy your walk!

KEEP CALM

Nashville & the Wildhorse Saloon

Rock n Roll Half Marathon

Made my way back to Nashville, TN for the 2019 Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in April.  This race has become a favorite of mine because it allows me to run Nashville neighborhoods and catch amazing musicians at multiple music venues.

My training approach for this half marathon and all others moving forward has improved tremendously.  The Walk into the Future approach has allowed me to increase my training efforts and logging ‘true’ long runs.  Long runs for me now routinely cover 10 miles or longer.  The longest training run I put in for this race was 15 miles—didn’t run this distance for speed but used it to build mental and physical toughness.  Turns out I needed all the mental and physical toughness I could display because somewhere in my love for Nashville I forgot about the HILLS there! 😊

The first 6 miles seemed to go uphill with multiple degrees of incline.  My training runs incorporated hills, so I was better prepared than I initially thought.  Decided to just put trust in my training and have fun as I made my way up each incline.  Slowly found myself enjoying each step with a smile on my face—guess I finally got that runner’s high people always talk about.

Fast forward a bit and I was able to finish in 2:08:21 (two hours, eight minutes and 21 seconds) which is my personal best.  Improved on my time from the 2019 New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.  I’m still a bit off from my goal of running under 2 hours but I’m making incremental progress towards the goal.  I will continue to take small bites from the elephant.  Next scheduled half marathon will be in Philly in September.

Nashville after race

Wildhorse Saloon

The Wildhorse Saloon is a place I visit every time I’m in Nashville.  It’s a great place to hear live music, dance and get some of the best food in Nashville.  Made two visits to the Wild Horse on this trip and heard some great new musicians.

Line dancing lessons take place when the musicians take a break and the dance floor was crowded with folks having a great time learning the steps.  The line dance instructor breaks each dance down with step counts and practice for the dancers before turning them loose.  It’s great watching people learn the dance and then actually perform what they learned—yes, I include myself since I first tried line dancing at the Wildhorse.  Believe this place is a must visit if you decide to head to Nashville.

 

 

NFL Draft

The 2019 NFL Draft was also in Nashville for race weekend.  This was an extra event to experience while in town.  There were over 600,000 NFL fans in attendance for the 3-day draft event.  Made my way down to draft central two days to soak in the excitement of the draft and enjoy the crowds.   Didn’t realize how many professional football fans were this invested in their team’s draft process.  The passion, excitement and team pride displayed was impressive and Nashville put on an excellent show for everyone in attendance.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were the most represented team at the draft.  Their fans travel all over the country to show their support.

 

 

My current Walk into the Future seems to keep bringing me back to Nashville and I love that fact!

I plan to return to Nashville next April to enjoy the race weekend and live music again—great place to visit if you’ve never been!

What’s your favorite place to visit?  How often do you get a chance to visit?  Thanks!

Jayla's Thoughts On

INSTAGRAM: @jayla_brianna

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