1,300 in 2022

Sunrise

If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else”.

(Lawrence J. Peter)

I start each year by creating a set of goals for myself to ensure I continue to Walk into the Future.

Past years I created a goal to run a set number of miles during the year (example:  1,000 miles) but decided to eliminate this practice and concentrate on run quality instead of quantity. 

My 2022 run goals centered around 3 quality runs weekly without the shadow of a set number of miles as the goal.  I always found myself singularly focused on the end number instead of the impact each run had towards my goal and fitness level.  Mentally I was always chasing a number I made up in January and that was not always a fun activity.

Fast forward and the 1,312 training miles I completed in 2022 is the most yearly mileage I have ever completed.  Launching my full marathon training program in July helped me clock miles but I was well on my way toward a mileage personal record (PR).  The marathon training process highlighted I needed to add training sessions and mileage to fully embrace the run challenge of a full marathon. 

I routinely ran 3 days a week prior to my marathon training program and needed a 4th day to continue to build my mileage base.  I also needed to create a true run plan to identify the targeted mileage for each session.

Prior to 2022 I would just go out for a run and then determine how far I wanted to go during that session.  Running in 2022 forced me to lay out a detailed weekly training program to identify how far I would run during each session.  I know this sounds simple and I’m sure most folks do this, but my running program had structure but needed more focus to get me to the start line for the Palm Beaches marathon.  I discovered putting a number on the training session (3 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Wednesday, 8 miles on Thursday, 10 miles on Saturday) made me hit my mile markers each session.  Anything less than what I projected left me looking for ways to get my miles in.  Weekly mileage numbers were critical to my running success in 2022.

Mile by mile, day by day allowed me to top 1,300 miles in 2022.  I’m sure I could have surpassed that number if I put more focus on the mileage for each session prior to July 2022. 

My 2023 run goal is to run 4 days weekly (25 – 30 miles total) with one day dedicated to speed work.  I am registered for 10 races for 2023 with a combination of 5ks, 10ks and half marathons.  I don’t know if I will tackle another full marathon in 2023 or ever but never say never.  I will let my weekly running sessions determine how many total miles I run in 2023.  Excited to track my progress and growth as I expand my running base and test myself with road work.

What goals do you have for 2023?

FYI:  Clocked 127 miles in January 2023! 😊

Irie!

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”.

(Zig Ziglar)

Oviedo Get Away

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

(Lao Tzu)

My Walk into the Future allows me to discover adventures large and small.  There are some weeks when I lay low and stay local and others when I get the urge to just get up and go.

Well, needed a bit of adventure in my life so decided to get up and go and make a circuitous route back to one of my favorite places Oviedo, Florida.  I spent 4 years in Oviedo when I worked at the University of Central Florida and still enjoy getting back over there when possible.  It has grown from a sleepy little town east of Orlando into a traffic heavy little town.  The urban spawl is real there.

I did not have a dedicated plan when I headed over, just wanted to see a few sights and enjoy being back in Oviedo.  I knew I could take advantage of the running trails as I continue to work towards my first full marathon.

Outlets

The Orlando outlet malls are not close to Oviedo so that’s why I described my adventure as circuitous.  Most folks know I love outlet mall shopping and will stop anytime I can get close.  The Orlando outlets are huge and provide access to name brand companies with the idea of good prices.  Some of the outlet stores are running sales and clearance specials, so the prices are even better now.

 I focus on Nike, Timberland, GAP, and Columbia stores when I’m in Orlando.  I added the Cole Haan outlet store to my rotation on this trip.  I have been in the store in the past but never really took the time to see everything they offered.  There were a lot of shoes marked down and these prices got better by joining the Cole Haan club (it’s free).  Just needed to provide my cell number and I was signed up to receive additional discounts while shopping.  Picked up a new pair of Cole Haan shoes on this trip and look forward to getting back for more deals soon.

Made my way down to the Nike and Columbia stores to find additional bargains.  My hope was to upgrade my hiking boots prior to my trip to Asheville but could not find anything I liked on this trip.  I have enough sneakers, so my Nike visit was to look for new running gear.  I picked up a few items in Nike and made my way over to Oviedo.

Seminole Cross Trail

I was able to leverage the Seminole Cross Trail again to complete one of my long training runs.  The trail provides 20+ miles of multi-purpose access for runners, bikers, and walkers.  This trail makes my long run process easier since I don’t have to figure out where and how I will hit a specific mile number (5 miles, 10 miles, etc.) since the trail is well maintained with mile markers easy to spot.  Needed to get a 10-mile run in while in Oviedo and was able to hit my mileage with plenty of shade to cover me during the run. 

Bob Marley’s

Bob Marley’s at Universal Orlando City Walk has been a favorite stop for me over the years. 

It’s a unique venue to listen to live reggae music and catch an irie vibe.  Some of the bands I have heard there over the years rival some of the best reggae artists in Negril.  Always thought that was amazing considering the musical talent that resides in Jamaica.  COVID-19 still influences the venue—it is mostly a dining place with a live band playing while patrons are eating.  Prior to COVID-19 this was the spot in Orlando to listen and dance to reggae music.  People came from all over the country to experience this venue and hear some world class musicians.

The music during my recent visit was still outstanding but most of the folks just sat at the dinner table and rocked their heads from time to time.  No dancing or excitement from the patrons but they appeared to enjoy the food while there.

I stayed for an hour or so and decided to call it a night—happy to get a chance to listen to live reggae again.

Finish off the adventure the next day at the local Costco to stock up on household items.  Made my way back down to Fort Pierce to get ready for the work week.

Quick little getaway but made sure to maximize my time while away.  LOL.

Where do you go for a quick getaway?

Irie!

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet”.

(Rachel Wolchin)

2022 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Conference

NACE2022

The 2022 NACE Conference was held in Portland, Oregon this year.  This was our first in-person conference since 2019 and there was a lot of excited and anxious people in attendance.  Safety protocols were taken to keep us safe, but you can never truly feel safe with over 1,700 people in attendance.

I have been a member of NACE for the past 15 years and have continued to look for ways to expand my role within the organization.  I have served in multiple roles which have allowed me to grow a network with professionals across the world.

I am currently finishing up my role as a Co-Chair for the Mentorship Enhancement Task Force.  I received a phone call from the incoming NACE President in July 2021 to talk about the task force and the importance he placed on mentorship.  He asked me to Co-Chair this critical task force and work to revamp the program and increase awareness/participation for NACE members.

Fast forward to the NACE conference in Portland and my task force was provided a session to discuss the work we have been doing for the past 12 months and highlight the improvements we recommend to the Board of Directors.

I have attended past NACE conferences in Anaheim, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, and Orlando but this was my first opportunity to present to my colleagues.  We were given a prime slot on the second day of the conference to present our work and recruit new mentors into the program. 

My Co-Chair who is based out of St. Louis, Missouri and I spent multiple Microsoft Teams virtual sessions going over the presentation format, slides, and flow.  We decided to give a big overview of the program changes and then jump into a panel discussion with current NACE mentors and mentees to get their perspective on the impact of mentoring for each of them.

We soon discovered the NACE conference committee booked our session in the LARGEST room at the event.  We had no preconceived perspective on how many people would attend our session, but we did not imagine we could fill every seat in this large space.  NOTE—we did not get close to filling all seats. 😊

No worries!  We had a very good crowd, and the folks were able to get a more personal touch from my co-chair and I.  These folks were able to ask the panelist questions and we had on the spot sign-ups for new mentors and mentees.

We shared the work of the task force and identified our strategies and marketing plans to create a world class mentoring program.

The new program will have 3 mentoring layers:

  • 1 on 1 mentoring (traditional)
  • Reverse mentoring (new)
  • Mentoring Circles (new)

Mentoring research identifies Reverse mentoring and Mentoring Circles are unique ways to increase mentoring awareness and participation.  We discussed the benefits of each mentoring model and introduced the software we recommended to match mentors with mentees.  The current matching process is manual and does not consider the demographics of the mentor or mentee.  This software matching process was a big hit with the NACE board and folks in attendance during our session.

The marketing plan will utilize all social media platforms and the NACE website to promote the changes and encourage NACE members to join the program. 

I was excited to see the NACE President, David Ong in attendance during our session.  This was his pet project for the year, and he was extremely happy with our progress and excited to roll out the new program to the general membership.

David gave us a by-name shoutout during the general session late that day to thank us for the work we put in over the year.  This was the highlight of the conference for me and got more members wanting to discuss the mentoring program and to sign up.  I walked around with sign-up sheets for the rest of the conference and got many mentors and mentees signed up.

My official Co-Chair role ends on 7/15/2022 but we still must complete one more project before our term ends.  I have decided to take a year off from serving on another NACE committee or task force.  This was my second national commitment to the career field in the past two years—time to take a small break and concentrate on my local duties. 

I plan to get back into the national work of our career field in 2023 by either serving on another committee/task force or taking a larger step up to become a NACE Board Member.  This would provide me with additional leverage within the career field as we set policy to keep us relevant.

Yes, I’m still dreaming big! 😊

My 2023 conference travel plans will be less than this year.  The 2023 conference will be held in Lake Buena Vista (Disney World) so I do not have to endure another 7 hours of traveling.  My travel time over to Disney World will be just over an hour and I don’t have to worry about flight layovers in Salt Lake City or Minneapolis. 

Look forward to getting the band back together next year.

Irie!    

2022 Rock N Roll Atlantic City

AC EXPO4

“Don’t dream of winning, train for it”.

(Mo Farrah)

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.

AC Lauren Reese

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.

AC EXPO1

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:

AC EXPO2

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!

Our race splits are below:

Mile 1:  9:28 / Mile 2: 9:35 / Mile 3: 9:26 / Mile 4: 9:52 / Mile 5: 9:32 / Mile 6: 10:29 / Mile 7: 10:10 / Mile 8:  9:53 / Mile 9: 11:14 / Mile 10: 10:59 / Mile 11: 10:48 / Mile 12: 11:33 / Mile 13: 10:38 / Mile 14: 1:56

We celebrated with pictures, beer, and breakfast on the board walk! This was a great course, EXPO, and race experience—so good, I have already signed up for the 2023 race.

I plan to stay closer to the boardwalk next year so I can enjoy the entertainment and shopping more.  Looks like Lauren will be coming back as well so we can get her another PR! 😊

Well done, Lauren!

Irie!

“The man who moves mountains begins by carrying small stones”.

(Confucius)

1000 North Jupiter, Florida

1000 North

“The smell of the ocean never gets old”.

(Pinterest)

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.

1000 North

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.

https://1000north.com/

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. 

Outlets

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.

What areas will you explore this summer?

Irie!

“In Florida we salt margaritas, not sidewalks”.

(Thewanderlustwithin.com)

Track Shack UCF 5 Miler

5 Mile race

“Every morning we are born again.  What we do today is what matters most”.

(Buddha)

Merriam-Webster defines resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

Happy to report there has not been any misfortune for me, but the change has been an adjustment to my training regimen.  I am still putting in work but not able to get the same quality sessions I put in pre-COVID.  This can be directly attributed to my work role in Fort Pierce but please do not think I am complaining.

We have made some major operational improvements and there is light at the end of the tunnel where we will soon normalize operations and I can get back to putting in more training miles.

The concept of resiliency reminds me of the old saying:  try and then try again!

Decided to use shorter races as a bigger part of my training program to get me prepared for the rigors of the half marathon distance.  I have the 2021 Rock N Roll Savannah half marathon in November and the 2021 Track Shack OUC half marathon in December.  My overall goal is to run a half marathon under 2 hours and the Track Shack OUC half marathon is the ideal setup to make this happen.  I need to put in additional training miles to build my endurance back to my 2019 levels. 

My fastest half marathon was the 2019 Track Shack OUC half marathon with a time of 2:05:51 (two hours, five minutes, and 51 seconds).  2020 was set to be my fastest year ever but of course COVID-19 shut down racing and my training lagged—that’s on me! 😊

So, what’s my plan to correct my training and speed issues?  Well, I check multiple running clubs to see what races are being offered locally and within driving distance to me in Fort Pierce. 

I routinely scan the Fleet Feet Stuart and Orlando Track Shack events pages to determine which races are available to help with my training program.  I just shared with my best friend I have a hard time training with race pace—it is a mental thing for me since I do not have competitors or anyone to pace with.  I am sure I may be the only active running with this issue but targeting real races seems to get my competitive nature going.  This may not be the ideal strategy, but I will try this out to get me closer to my half marathon goal. 

Made my way back over to Orlando for the 2021 Track U Can Finish 5 Mile race to get some speed work in.  I ran this same event when I lived in Oviedo, but this is the first time I tackled the race distance in 8 years. 

This is an interesting event because it has multiple distances available for runners to try.  The first event is the U Can Finish 2 Mile race and Track Shack has a distance dare.  Runners can sign up to run the 2-mile race and then compete in the 5-mile race right after.  The hook for distance dare runners is the opportunity to collect 3 medals:  2-mile, 5-mile, and distance dare medals.  Runners love their bling and a lot of them took part in the distance dare.  I did not—officially. 😊

Did something new on race day to ensure I got in extra training miles.  I stay in the same hotel each time I visit the Orlando area and it is down the street from the UCF campus. 

I decided to leave my vehicle parked at the hotel and ran the 2-mile distance to the UCF campus for the start of the 5-mile race.  Figured this was a great way to warmup and stretch my legs before my race and ensured I would get in a long training session—it was just broken up into segments.

Toed the line for the 5-mile race completely warmed up and excited to run on the UCF campus again.  The race village was setup directly in front of the Career Services building where I worked for 4-years prior to moving to Tallahassee and the FSU Career Center.  Great being back on the old stomping grounds. 😊

My goal for the 5-mile race was simply to test my endurance and consistently run miles splits with a 9 on the front of them (9:05, 9:10, etc.).  Mission accomplished.

The UCF campus is completely flat which helped a lot.  Went out with the intent to run my race based on feel and then push myself when I could. 

Mile-1 went by at an 8:44 per minute pace and I felt good with the effort.  Mile-2 through 5 were:  9:15, 9:33, 9:57, 9:42 which got me to the finish line at 47:29.  Targeted 45 flat but happy with my results considering I put in a 2-mile run before my race. 

Collected my 5-mile medal and took some pictures to commemorate the race and my time back at UCF.  Got some refreshments and stretched a bit before heading out.  I tucked my race medal away and began my 2-mile journey back to my hotel—yes, I ran back for a total of 9 training miles for the day.  Felt great every step of the day!

I will look for additional races to help me prepare for my next two half marathons.  Still have some speed in these legs, just need to release it in my unique way.

FYI—I am still on pace to meet my 2021 goals of 1,000 training miles.  Imagine my mileage if I could stay consistent with my training.

Irie!

How do you display resilience in your daily activities?  Thanks!

“Life does not get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient”.

(Steve Maraboli)

Intellectual curiosity

Creative picture

(Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay)

“There is no magic formula for great company culture.  The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated”.

(Richard Branson)

Psychology Today identifies intellectual curiosity as a deep and persistent desire to know.

Betterup.com dives deeper by defining intellectual curiosity as curiosity that leads to an acquisition of general knowledge. 

At this point I am sure you are wondering where I am headed with intellectual curiosity.  Glad you asked! 😊

This has become a major characteristic I look for when working with others.  I was never able to find the exact term until recently but intellectual curiosity in the workplace provides a foundation for success.

Interestingly, this is not something everyone is able to display easily.  I see people who practice this trait when something is near and dear to them on a personal or professional level.  The key for me is for everyone to translate intellectual curiosity daily in the workplace.

Why you ask?  Great question!

People who display intellectual curiosity can find new ways to get things done.  There are multiple work environments where the mindset is we have always done it that way. This may be true but organizations and people who cannot evolve are doomed to fail.  It may take time for the demise, but it will happen.

Intellectually curious people understand how things are done and continue to look for ways to improve the process daily.  I love being surrounded by these type people because they understand the concept of moving forward.  Processes and techniques change daily, and organizations need to be able to pivot.  Pivots and adjustments are needed quicker as we introduce more technology into the workplace.

COVID-19 allowed intellectually curious people and organizations to make the necessary adjustments to ensure services were provided.  Most of my work colleagues had never heard of Zoom prior to the pandemic.  Turns out the Zoom platform in the hands of intellectually curious organizations increased the ability to provide services and made meetings more efficient.  Staff did not lose time driving or walking to meetings anymore—they simply logged into their computers and joined the meetings via their laptops. 

I never imagined university career fairs could be done completely online.  Intellectual curiosity has allowed people in my career field to find more efficient ways to connect students and employers.  There are some organizations that have been slow to adapt to the changing world and they are rapidly being left behind.

I challenge staff to become intellectually curious daily.  This is the only way to ensure an organization has a growth mindset.  The way we did business two years ago is not coming back so organizations need the ability to adapt, grow and move forward.

I propose organizations staffed with people with intellectual curiosity will thrive—those without will slowly fade away.

How do you display intellectual curiosity?  I welcome your thoughts!

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong.  Instead, focus on what to do next.  Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding an answer”.

(Denis Waitley)

The grateful 5 (5 things I’m grateful for)

Grateful

“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles”

(Pinterest)

Dictionary.com defines grateful as feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.

Pretty simple concept and one to dig into a bit more.  I do a lot of reading and came across a blog article titled the Top 5 Things I am Grateful For.  The article and title are straight forward so I decided to try my writing chops to explore this from my perspective.

Family

Spend any amount of time with me and I will tell you about my family.  My family on my mom’s side consists of 5 uncles and 4 aunts.  The last time we counted I had 32 first cousins and 69 second cousins.  I know that last number has gone up, but we have not counted them in a long time.

This large extended family unit allowed me to grow up in an environment where most of my early friends were family members.   We did not add nonfamily friends until we started school because there were enough of us around to field our own teams in most sports.

I am grateful for having so many family members who go out of their way to look out for each other.  Seems like a simple thing but we spent most Thanksgivings with this large unit and enjoyed our time together.  COVID-19 put a halt on our large family get togethers last year but hopefully we can find a way to get the crew together this year—safely!

Friends

My Walk into the Future journey has allowed me to make some truly great friends.  Please note, I do not let a lot of people into my inner circle, so my friends are special people to me.  I have friends who are not cousins and I have known them my entire life.  We stay connected and get back together whenever possible and continue to grow our friendship.

I have friends I met while in the Air Force and we have become our own family unit.  I look forward to getting together and catching up whenever possible.  COVID-19 has put a halt to our running tourist trips, but I am sure we will get back on track in the future.  New Orleans is calling!

I met my best friend in the gym one morning as she bullied me to help her with the weights she was lifting—true story! 😊  Seriously, a simple gym conversation launched a great friendship, and we chat and catch up on life as much as possible.  See you on Park Avenue!

My tree branches are all friends I look forward to catching up with.  Could be a simple email, text, or phone call but love hearing how well my folks are doing in this world.  I enjoy seeing them exploring life via Instagram stories and pictures they share.  I live through them daily and enjoy seeing the growth of my tree. WE ARE!  Go Bucks! Go Noles! Go Gators!

Running

I found running later in life but cannot imagine a world without me putting in my miles.  The concept of running a half marathon was foreign to me in 2013 but now I run 6 to 8 half marathons yearly (pre-COVID).  I had no intention to run another half marathon after my first attempt because it took me three full weeks to recover.  Of course, I had no idea how to train, hydrate or recover properly—lessons learned the hard way! LOL.

My stated goal for 2022 is to explore my first full marathon.  I am hoping COVID does not come back like 2020 and eliminates all future running events.  I am always looking for motivation when I run so training for a full marathon should keep me putting in the miles for years to come.  Trying to convince several friends to come race with me. Let’s go Laurens! 😊

“Running helps me maintain my ‘never killed anyone’ streak”.

(Pinterest)

Health

Happy to report I can eat and drink whatever I want.  My running and weight training programs help with this, but I am blessed with good health.  Running has not caused undue aches or pains and helps me maintain a healthy weight without counting calories.  My weight training provides strong muscle structure to keep me moving forward.  My annual physicals produce good numbers, and the doctor does not have to get onto me to eliminate anything from my diet.  Grateful to continue to age well! 😊

My Blog

Started the Walk into the Future blog without a clear understanding how it would impact me.  I thought I would just write a few things down and see if anyone wanted to read my words.  Turns out the blog has become an extension of me and gives me a platform to share thoughts, ideas, and adventures.  My writing process has slowed down as my work obligations expand but I am still able to keep 4 to 5 weeks of blog articles in my production library.  I would like to get back up to 8 to 10 weeks of articles in reserve in case I need to revise or update them before publishing.  Not sure how long I will continue to publish the blog but still have a ton of material to explore so hope you stay with me on this journey! 😊

Bonus:  My readers

Grateful for everyone who takes the time to read my blog.  Your positive affirmations always put a smile on my face and inspire me to work to produce better content weekly.  Thank you for following the Walk into the Future blog!  Well done!

What are YOU grateful for?  I welcome your thoughts!

“The struggles ends when the gratitude begins”.

(Neale Donald Walsh)

Always remember Rosewood, Florida (Repost)

Justice

(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

(Nelson Mandela)

Happy to see the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement continue to draw attention to racial injustices.  The momentum gained after the George Floyd murder continues to lead people worldwide to protest injustices.  It feels real this time, but I thought that after Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, and Michael Brown.  Too many instances where black people are killed, and the justice system does not provide justice.  Not trying to be cute with words here but most of these examples were seen on video just like George Floyd but no justice for black victims could be found.

Would like to say these are just isolated examples and America really treats black people well.  Yep, we all know that would be a huge lie and I could not say that with a straight face anyway.  America’s majority has treated people of color horribly and then try to convince us everything is okay.  It is not and has not been okay for a long time.

Decided to go back in history and introduce Walk into the Future readers to Rosewood, Florida.  Most people have never heard about Rosewood or the horror the black families endured there.  It does not get the same press as the Black Wall Street massacre but is closer to home for me.

Sadly, I did not learn about Rosewood until the 1997 movie directed by John Singleton was released.  I grew up in Florida and never heard a word about the massacre in a history or civics class.  Rosewood is less than a two-hour drive from my hometown Jasper, Florida so it is equally shocking how close this type of mob/Klan activity was to my family.

I watched the movie and remember thinking this happened right down the street from my hometown.  How is it possible I did not know about this?  How could an entire town get wiped off the face of the earth and nobody said a word?  This appears to be the American way.  We condemn other countries and regimes for their atrocities and then hide ours from the public.

The movie stirred me to visit Rosewood in 1997 so I could see the place for myself.  Sadly, the only substantial thing to identify Rosewood is a placard to let you know you are in the place where the town of Rosewood use to be.  There are a few buildings there now but most of the things in the area are incorporated to Cedar Key, Florida.  Felt weird being at the site of a massacre of black people but believe this was an important lesson to never forget the past so these things do not repeat.  Like what is happening now; we cannot just let these injustices occur without responding in kind.

The BLM movement is here to stay, and we will need to remain vigilant to ensure human rights are respected for all.  Keep learning and growing tree branches—we need you to make this a better world!

Learn more about Rosewood, Florida here:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/03/rosewood-florida-massacre-racial-violence-reparations

“The scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in the American society”.

(John Lewis)

Repost from August 20, 2020.

Inspiration Man strikes again—Central Florida Economic Council

CFEC1

“Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher”.

(UK Wired)

Dictionary.com defines inspiration as a divine influence directly or immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.

I have multiple Walk into the Future blog posts discussing superpowers and why they are important in our daily walk.  Here is one of my favorites where I introduce my readers to Inspiration Man. 😊

My move to Fort Pierce has allowed me to make a difference but it is more of an organizational difference so far.  We have adjusted work product and flow in my first 14 months.  It almost feels like a complete overhaul of the organization based on how we revamped our services, products, and delivery methods.  I did not expect this level of adjustment when I arrived, but we have made steady progress on modernizing our services and delivery.

The concept of Inspiration Man came up to highlight how I make an impact in the daily lives of others.  Inspiration Man has been doormat, but this all changed when I received an email from a colleague in Orlando who works with the Central Florida Economic Council (CFEC) and Christian HELP. 

Both organizations work to help people in Central Florida get back on their feet—job search, housing, food, etc.  My friend is the Division Director for these organizations and asked me to speak at their May 2021 Job Fair.  I did something similar 10 years ago and she remembered my positive impact on job seekers and wanted me to share my knowledge again.  She does not know about my alter ego, Inspiration Man but she was about to unleash the superhero on the Orlando area. 😊

I quickly accepted the opportunity to move the crowd and share information with job seekers.  The topic given:  Job Searching in 2021—How to Adapt. 

This was not a topic I had in my speaking library, but the challenge was to find a way to cover this information and engage with the audience.  They provided an article with a ton of useful information, so this was the foundation of the presentation.

I never miss an opportunity to help, and this process was exciting; research, building and then presenting information to people who needed to hear from me.

I made my way to Winter Garden on the day of the event.  Decided to drive over and then change at the venue prior to show time.  My friend greeted me at the door, and we took a little time to catch up on life.  She remembered the book I published in 2010 and thought I had another one ready to present to the group.  FYI—I have been working on producing an eBook on Authentic Leadership, but it is not ready for public consumption.  It should be coming later in 2021—get ready!

Inspiration Man made a quick dash into the dressing room to change into my superhero outfit for the day.  Trying to be funny with that—it was a grey suit with a power blue tie.

Headed off to do a quick microphone check and make a quick adjustment to my slide deck.  The event was held at Mosaic Church in Winter Garden, Florida and they have a fantastic audiovisual team.  Sound checks allow me to gauge the acoustic of the venue to understand how loud I need to speak into the microphone.  All systems go!

https://thisismosaic.org/

I took the stage after the host took care of some announcements and introduced me as the featured speaker of the day.  It is always weird to me when I hear someone introducing me at an event—I want to look around to see who they are talking about, and it is ME. 

I like to start my presentations by building rapport with the audience.  One member spoke with me before the presentation and shared she was having a hard time finding employment.  She mentioned a few things she tried but was having troubles.  This quick conversation allowed me to bring a real-world situation into my presentation and highlight I was there to help.  I speak with slides, but this does not drive how I present.  Slides to me provide a foundation but I am not limited to the words on my slide show.

I am a huge fan of Jocko and introduced this video to set the tone for the day: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdTMDpizis8

Diving into the presentation I covered:

  • Trends
  • Search parameters
  • Personal messages
  • Competition
  • Presentation (Elevator pitch)

Each topic came directly from the article they provided, and I leveraged this data to highlight how the current trends favored the job seekers.  We jumped into new job search parameters and ways to gain and keep an employer’s attention.  The personal messages centered on building a WHY statement.  Of course, I shared my WHY with the group to show how it can impact a positive mindset. 

The competition on the job search is really internal—preparing well enhances the client’s ability to connect with employers.  The presentation centered on creating an elevator pitch to helps a client standout in a positive manner.

The audience responded well to each topic and had a lot of questions for me during my hour with them on stage.  This was the most fun I have had in a long time.  Working with motivated people who want to learn and get better brings out the best in me.  I was intent on moving the crowd during this event and happy to report mission accomplished.

Several folks waited to speak with me after and tell me their unique stories.  I listened and shared my contact information so they can reach out to me when ready.  I am happy to help them continue to grow.

Hoping to get additional invitation to help with CFEC/Christian HELP events again soon.  May be time for Inspiration Man to make another appearance! 😊

“Do not let yesterday take up too much of today”.

(Will Rogers)

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