The return to LA Fitness

(Image by Pexels from Pixabay

“You are only one workout away from a good mood”.

(Unknown)

Decided to test the waters and get back into LA Fitness to jump start my weight training program again.  I started putting extra emphasis on my running program in 2019 but I was still getting in four days of weight training while increasing my mileage.  I still made it to Momentum Fitness in Tallahassee in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Stopped going completely as the pandemic started to get worse in mid-March and switched to home body workouts until it was time to move to Fort Pierce, Florida in April.

I maintained my distance from the gym during my first two and a half months in Fort Pierce because I did not feel comfortable being around people in a confined space.  Note, I am still not completely comfortable but have allowed for limited time around people with proper physical distancing.

My new workplace has a small workout room, but I do not consider it a gym.  The weights and cardio equipment are in great condition but there are limited weightlifting options.  I ventured to this location a few times on the weekends just for limited workouts (cardio, legs).  Had this location to myself each time I went in so think I got a bit of confidence to explore a larger facility. 

My new habit is to carry Clorox wipes with me everywhere I go so I can wipe down everything myself prior to touching it.  Never thought I would be that guy, but yes, I have a pack of Clorox wipes in my gym bag and do not see this changing anytime soon.  A new normal for the gym has been born. 😊

LA Fitness

My history with LA Fitness began during my time living in Oviedo, Florida.  Really enjoyed the multiple cardio, weightlifting, basketball, spinning and yoga class options available at LA Fitness.  All these things were part of the regular membership and made the facility popular with my folks in East Orlando.  My experience prior to joining LA Fitness centered on fitness centers on military installations.  Always had what I needed in these facilities and never had to pay to get in a workout.

I decided to test out LA Fitness because I felt limited with the other workout options in Orlando.  Was able to get a great rate with a military discount and spent as much time in the facility as possible.  Made some great friends in LA Fitness and got myself in fantastic shape with all the options there.  So, as you can see, I have a fondness for the LA Fitness brand.

There are two LA Fitness locations in Port St. Lucie, Florida and I finally got comfortable enough to want to venture in to enhance my weight training.  Went on-line and signed up for a free guest membership which gave me access to the facility without having to commit or join.  Leveraged the pass to see how the facility was maintained and what protocols they had to combat COVID-19.  Was a bit surprised how clean they kept the facility and was happy there were not large crowds working out.  Made sure to only use equipment where physical distancing was possible and moved if anyone got too close to where I was working out.  Felt funny doing that but decided to air on the side of caution.

Waited a couple weeks and signed up for another free guest pass for the second LA Fitness location.  Wanted to see if there was a different vibe there and I was not eligible to get another guest past at the first location.  You are supposed to wait 6 months between passes at the same location, so I just moved down the road a bit for my workouts.  I liked the second location best because the shopping complex it is in has more options for me when I am done with my workout.  The equipment was the same, but the setup was a bit different–both locations were maintained with an eye towards maintaining physical distancing and cleanliness.

Quickly found out my home pushup routine was not the same to lifting weights.  Got a new level of soreness from lifting but it felt good to be back in a weightlifting routine.  Do not think I will ever lift heavy weights again but want to keep lifting for definition and to feel good.  Got several good workouts in utilizing the free passes and I am seriously thinking about joining the LA Fitness family again.  Will evaluate each location again to see which one makes the most sense for me to join.  I could sign up for a membership which gives me multiple location privileges but that may be a waste of money—we will see. 

Look forward to sharing more of my workout journey in the future—back to LA Fitness and enjoying it! 😊

“Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going”.

(Jim Ryin)

Poetic Fridays

Control 

Life’s limitations can only limit what you allow

You have control over all circumstances

This I will avow

The simplicity of life will make you see

The things most important can be

Right in front of you

But you must stay true

The vision you have requires additional work, time, and effort

Put the past behind

Start to remove the limitations from the process and let the simplicity of life

Guide your path

“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language”.

(W.H. Auden)

 

Making a difference–the first 100 days!

(Image by Free Photos from Pixabay)

“If you are walking down the right path and you are willing to keep walking, eventually you will make progress”.

(Barack Obama)

Love starting Walk into the Future blog articles with quotes to introduce the topic for each week.  The quotes are selected to get me into the right frame of mind to generate content my followers will enjoy.  I try not to overdue my Barack Obama quotes but he provides inspiration on multiple levels and I can always find something generated by #44 to help me find the words to make a positive impact with my writing.

I am an avid reader and discovered author Robert Hargrave’s book, Your First 100 Days in a New Executive Job:  Powerful First Steps on the Path to Greatness prior to taking my role in Fort Pierce.  Decided to leverage my first 100 days in my new role to find ways to make a positive difference in our daily operations.  The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has on normal operations was a huge challenge to me.  I accepted my position at Indian River State College in March 2020 with hopes the pandemic would be mitigated during the summer and we would get back to what use to be normal workday activities.  The COVID-19 numbers exploded over the summer and most of the country remained in a work from home mode out of necessity.

I did not let COVID-19 limit my focus on making a difference daily.  Referred to President Obama’s quote daily and looked for ways to chip away towards the progress I sought.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  How do you make workplace progress?  One project at a time.

My first 100-day point at Indian River State College was 7/28/2020.  The Career and Transfer Services (CTS) team was not briefed on my 100-day plan but were key players to ensure we got the results I wanted us to gain.  I take a lot of pride in being able to organize and execute action plans and set about getting a lot of things completed in the first 100 days.

Vision

One of my first tasks was to create and then share a vision for the CTS team.  This process allowed me to educate the team on how we would work together to help generate wins for our operation.  Robert Hargrove advises to seek out as many wins as possible in the first 100 days—it builds positive energy.

I went on a listening tour (virtual, phone, in-person) to speak with staff, colleagues, students, and faculty to understand the best way to partner with each of them.  I learned a lot during these conversations (good and bad) and discovered who I needed to mend fences with.  It was not important when the fences broke but it was my responsibility to get things moving in a positive direction.

The team conducted a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis to identify what we did well, our weak areas, improvement opportunities and organizational threats.  This was an eye-opening experience for the team because they had never analyzed the operation at this level.  I needed a full view of our operation to make the first 100 days productive.

We created action plans to mitigate weaknesses and threats (wins) because we could not grow without addressing these two areas.  This process led to improved training, better communication, and improved team interactions.  The SWOT analysis is a living document and will extend beyond the first 100 days but is a positive step.

We leveraged multiple teambuilding activities during the first 100 days to ensure our continued growth.  We leveraged the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), created team values statements, enhanced professional development training, and got on The Energy Bus.  Each initiative built on the previous one to help us all grow as team members.

This teambuilding process allowed us to create additional wins:

  • Produced a Career Ready Infographic
  • Created and produced a Resume Guide
  • Created and produced a Resume Rubric
  • Created and produced a Mock Interview Rubric
  • Created CTS branded PowerPoint template
  • Developed a CTS workshop library
  • Developed employer specific marketing

These are a few examples of our wins in the first 100 days—excited to add a few more wins as the team continues to grow together.

We continue to walk on the right path and progress is evident daily!

How do you measure your progress?  What steps do you leverage to continue to move forward?

“Little things make a big difference”.

(Picturequotes.com)

Vote 2020!

(Image by Venita Oberholster from Pixabay)

There is still time to register to vote!  Do not miss your opportunity to have your voice heard in the local, state, and national election process.

Registration deadline is October 5, 2020!

Thank you!

Have you registered to vote yet? 

https://registertovoteflorida.gov/eligibilityreactive

https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

Walking with a positive work environment

(Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

“Positive work environments outperform negative work environments”.

(Daniel Goleman)

Positive people make positive things happen is one of my favorite sayings to inspire people in my world.  I created this as a mantra when I enter a work environment to help my team understand the mindset, we need to get positive results.

I was introduced to Positive Psychology during my course work and it remains with me daily.  One premise of Positive Psychology is people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.  This could be on a personal or professional level.  I like leveraging Positive Psychology within the work environment to show direct reports how our mindset influences work outcomes.

I mentioned in an earlier post, my daily response to how I am doing is to say fantastic.  This is not a way to hide my true thoughts or feelings but a way to energize myself.  I found by saying I am doing fantastic provides a new level of energy for myself and it can inspire others around me to join in on the fun.  The word fantastic is not used very often in daily life so it makes people take notice and encourages them to get on The Energy Bus.

Now imagine if you had a leader who was always negative and never had anything nice to say.  How would this person impact the work environment?  I am sure this negative mindset would translate to everyone in the work environment and would not be a pleasant place to work. 

Leaders must be cognizant how their energy (positive or negative) impacts the work environment.  This knowledge will go a long way to build a positive work environment culture to ensure positive things get done daily.  Sounds simple, huh?

It takes a while for this positive process to take hold within a new work environment.  The speed of this process can be enhanced when everyone is ready to engage.  One negative teammate can slow or aggravate the process, but this can be mitigated by the rest of the team pulling in the same direction.  A new initiative for me is to follow Rule #6 from The Energy Bus—I have a sign posted that reads No Energy Vampires Allowed in my office in a prominent location.  I will point to the sign when the tone of a conversation starts to become negative.  I welcome different views and opinions but look to negate negative tone, language, or interactions.  It takes time to eliminate the negative, but the goal is to move forward in a positive manner.  I struggle sometimes because I want everything to head in a positive direction but also know things take time. 

A positive work environment is a place where everyone can thrive, grow, and provide input.  We spend a large amount of our lives in the work environment and I strive to create a space where we can work hard, laugh, and enjoy the process.  Leaders who understand work does not have to be stressful create a space where productivity can be displayed daily.  I have worked in places where people dreaded coming to work and I made a vow to never duplicate these types of environments when I reached the big seat.  Well, I have been in the big seat for a while now and smile whenever one of my tree branches reach out and say they want to work with me again.

I am sure not everyone feels this way, but I have enough of these folks to form my own wolf pack.  😊 Still learning and growing but will continue to promote positive work environments because they are productive and fun.  Imagine that, fun in the workplace!  Guess Google, Microsoft and Apple understand what people want in the work environment.  I do not have ping pong tables, yet, but play a lot of reggae in my office.  Irie!

What do you see as the benefits of a positive work environment?  How do you contribute to ensure your work environment remains positive?

 “Positive anything is better than negative nothing”.

(Elbert Hubbard)

Walking with a face mask

“Wear a mask, it saves lives”!

(Calvin Williams)

Decided to tackle the concept of people not wearing face masks or coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Hoped the concept of Americans doing the right thing to help minimize the pandemic would eventually kick in but it appears to be hopeless.

I searched for a clever quote I could use to start this post but did not find what I was looking for.  Thought about it for a bit and then just created my own quote to signify my thoughts on this subject.  Wear a mask, it saves lives!!!

It is beyond weird to hear and see Americans on TV exclaim how it is their right to not comply with a health initiative during a PANDEMIC.  They seem to think wearing a mask to protect themselves and others is an infringement on their freedom.  I do not get this mindset and honestly think the world is doomed with adults saying these things out loud.  Even worse, these folks are not joking when they state it is their right to not wear a face mask. Not wearing a mask to protect themselves and people around them is the right they are demanding!  What a great country!

Fairly sure most of the people saying these things have NEVER served in the armed forces to fight for the rights they want to hide behind—just venting, thanks!

We are seeing a trend where younger people are diagnosed with COVID-19 at a faster pace than some experts expected.  This appears to be because people in the 20 – 35-year-old range do not have a fear of the virus.  They are more likely to continue to hang out in large groups without physical distancing and of course, no masks.  I will not disparage everyone in this group because I know my tree branches are following proper protocols.  My point for this group is they are getting each other sick and then bringing the virus home to parents, grandparents, and roommates.

This cycle ensures the virus continues to spread and endangers more lives.  Wearing a mask may not save everyone from contracting the virus but it can help slow the spread.  I watch Dr. Fauci on TV almost beg people to follow the CDC guidelines because he knows this thing is getting out of control fast.  Hopefully, we will come to our senses as a nation and get back to basics to eliminate the spread of COVID-19.  Oh yeah, masks can help with this! A simple two-week period of masks and physical distancing may save thousands of lives.  Never imagined this pandemic would be worse in September than it was in April when I was terrified to move to Fort Pierce.  It is almost like the virus is just a normal part of life now—sad!

I am doing my part to keep the face mask industry growing.  I visit ETSY.com on a regular basis looking for new face mask styles to add to my growing collection.  Never thought of face masks as an accessory but I keep finding new and fun ways to express myself with face coverings.  This process feels like dressing up to me and I have joked about having a bandito look when I have my face masks on.  Maybe we should tell the people who get upset when asked to wear a face mask to visit ETSY.com and find a mask to express their frustration WHILE wearing a mask.  I am sure they can find a way to express themselves and still comply by wearing a mask.  Guess I do not understand why wearing a mask is such a hassle for these people.  Masks are light weight, easy to wear and can be worn to accessorize your daily outfits.  😊

Help me spread the word—masks can save lives and get us back closer to normal!

“If you do not like wearing a face mask, you are really not going to like a ventilator”.

(Anonymous work colleague)

Track Florida’s daily numbers here:  https://fdoh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/8d0de33f260d444c852a615dc7837c86

Rock the 2020 vote

(Image by amberzen from Pixabay

“Bad officials are elected by citizens who do not vote”

(George Jean Nathan)

November 3, 2020 is coming! 

There is no stopping the calendar from flipping to this monumental date in our nation’s history.  11/3/2020 will be here sooner than you imagine. Not trying to scare you but this is a date you must be ready for.  I will not tell you who and how to vote but vote you must. 

With as much turmoil we have lived through in 2020, voting should seem like a regular activity.  Not downplaying the risks involved with going to a polling location during a pandemic but voting must become a priority for all Americans.  There is still time to request a mail in ballot if needed but make sure you plan to get out and vote.

58.1% of the voting-eligible population voted in 2016.  You can see some citizens took the night off in November 2016 and simply did not vote.

Not here to condemn anyone but I never imagined the results from the 2016 presidential election would go the way they did.  Shocked would be an understatement of how I felt the next morning when I woke up and discovered a reality PERSON (not star) was the new president.  The disappointment I felt was numbing on that fateful day.

Now the pain I feel is a nation crumbling without credible leadership to help us get out of the pandemic, improve race relations, or become a world leader again.  Maybe the new slogan should be:  Make America a World Leader Again!  That would be a fantastic start to getting this country back on a path where we are not being laughed at by other countries.

I digress a bit—forgive me! 

There are 54 days left before the national election.  There is still time for you to register to vote and while you are at it, please get your family and friends to register too.  This would be an outstanding time to start a voting drive in your city or town.  This can be done while maintaining physical distancing.  We need people to get out and vote during this election cycle.  Will not say who you should vote for but vote you must.  Too many people have been beaten, threaten, bullied, and killed for the right to vote.  This is our time to exercise our rights and vote for candidates to represent us all. 

No more wishing for change in America, we must demand it.  Voting provides an opportunity for your voice to be heard—do not be silenced this November.  I do not want to be surprised again this cycle—thanks! 😊

Have you registered to vote yet?  Who can you help with the registration process?  What are you waiting on?  Let’s rock the 2020 vote!

https://registertovoteflorida.gov/eligibilityreactive

https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

(Get out and vote! Help your friends and family register–there’s still time!)

“The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violet tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it”.

                                                                    (John Lewis)

https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/post-election-2016/voter-turnout

Poetic Fridays

Poetry album

(Image by Lolame from Pixabay)

Why wax poetic?

Why wax poetic?

Waxing poetic allows me to find the flow

I need to make it through the day

This process provides the therapy, don’t you know?

You cannot get if you pay

Why the need you might say?

Thoughts, sounds, lights

Are all around

They color life for us all to see

The poetry provides my outline, the margins I need

To continue to color within the lines

Without the lines you have abstracts

And confusion

So, do you see?

Waxing poetic is just for me

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings:  it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility”.

(William Wadsworth)

Black Wall Street

hostility-sculpture-in-tulsa-3910356_1920

Hostility Sculpture in Tulsa, Oklahoma

(Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

(Dr. Martin Luther King)

My first introduction to Black Wall Street came when I served as a panelist for a Florida State University (FSU) Black Student Union (BSU) program.  The students invited me to enhance their professional development program, but I got a history lesson I did not expect or know I needed.

I love working with college students because they bring a passion for subjects they are interested in and that passion keeps them curious and intent on growing daily. My role on the panel was to help BSU students understand how to present themselves when networking for future career opportunities.  We got that process going and had a good question and answer session with lots of input from the students in attendance.

One of the students present asked the moderator why the activities for the week was labeled Black Wall Street?  The response is where my education on the subject began.

The BSU leaders saw Black History Month as the perfect time to educate its members and guests on important periods, i.e., The Harlem Renaissance, Black Wall Street, Black Excellence and Black Power.  I was familiar with each of the periods identified for the month except Black Wall Street.  I assumed this was BSU’s way to show members how to build financial freedom and eventually make their way to Wall Street (NYC).  I was wrong and totally missed the boat on the meaning of Black Wall Street.

The BSU leadership wanted to show members how financial freedom could be gained by following the blueprint laid out by the founders of the true Black Wall Street in Greenwood, Oklahoma (Tulsa).  I had never heard of Black Wall Street, Greenwood, Oklahoma or the massacre that happened there in the early 1920’s.  My students were more than happy to fill me in on another history lesson I never received during my formal education programs—this seems to be a common theme with American history.

The concept a black town in Oklahoma was self-sufficient in the 1920’s seemed unreal at first but decided to learn more after talking with students.  I consider myself a lifelong learner and this was another educational journey I needed to fully see the great things that happened on Black Wall Street prior to the massacre.

O.W. Gurley was a prominent figure who relocated to the Greenwood district and purchased land which then could only be sold to people of color.  This was Gurley’s vision to establish a place for the black population.  Most of his businesses were frequented by black migrants fleeing the oppression of the Mississippi delta.  Gurley worked with others to pool their financial resources and support the thriving businesses being developed in Greenwood.  The residents of Black Wall Street were doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. The success of the black residents of Greenwood played a role in the 1921 massacre because of the jealousy of their white neighbors in nearby Tulsa.

My Black Wall Street education increased my knowledge of this important period of Black History and led me to dig deeper on the actual massacre.  The news program, 60 Minutes did a report on Black Wall Street and the massacre a few years ago.  This led to additional investigations and a team has been formed to find and excavate hidden graves to bring closure for descendants of the massacre victims.  This painful piece of American history continues to garner interest and my hope is we never experience something like this again.

Learn more about what happened in Greenwood here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/antoinegara/2020/06/18/the-bezos-of-black-wall-street-tulsa-race-riots-1921/#65183f08f321

60 Minutes program on Greenwood, Oklahoma:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA8t8PW-OkA

“History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own”.

(Michelle Obama)

 

Poetic Fridays

Time

(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

Time

Watching Time

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Time slowly moves on,

You must use it wisely

Express yourself

Let your thoughts flow,

Inform all who do not know

Share life lessons learned

With this you cannot go wrong

Note:  All original verses by the author.