I STAND

Inspiring transformation will ignite discomforts.

With the praise will come the critique, especially from those who
will not offer a solution,
are engaged in the oldest of traditions, and
believe their rituals are the only way.

Reality is that outside of a small number of men,
we get no hatred,
no vitriol emails, and
few to no trolling comments online.

This discovery does not make me better than those few men who speak their disagreements.
This discovery simply opens the door to help me consider WHY and WHERE they come from,
… to consider how to engage that particular person;
… to do so without losing my own voice and being; and
… through authenticity that is filled with love, compassion, and respect for all.

Why do the “few” who speak out with disagreement matter to me?
Because I choose to believe they matter.
I ask people to treat each person as someone who deserves
the basic dignity and respect of a fellow human being.

“Each person” means those who agree and those who disagree with me.

Regardless of how you view me or my words, I stand for YOU.
Your words may stagger me.
I will stand for you.
I will work harder to find a way to engage you, to connect with you,
and to hear you.

While standing for you, I will stand for all, including myself.

Sometimes I will fail. I will catch myself reacting with
an energy that does not lead with love and compassion.
I will acknowledge that moment and commit to finding a better way
going forward.

For each day the journey to stand for dignity and respect starts anew.

Starting with patience, understanding, and passion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

i-stand-for

41 Hours

4 hours in an airport
6 hours flying
5 hours in a hotel
2 hours in an airport
16 hours flying
2 hours in an airport
4 hours flying
1 hour through customs and getting to lodging
41 total hours to arrive at the military installation
to live the mission
to serve
to share
to engage
to provoke
to teach
to discover
to grow
to impact
to love
to give

41 hours to get me to work.
For the joy and fulfillment the work brings me, the journey is short.
41Hours

Flying through the air on my way to work

Your Online Voice

Do you ever find yourself holding back?

You see something on Facebook you want to share and think,
But if I do, Person A is going to be disappointed in me.

Voice

What do most of us do next? Is our choice impacted by who Person A is? A boss, a friend, a parent.

Is it possible your boss, family member, or close friend will be disappointed in your post?
Yes.

And so sometimes . . . I didn’t post the comment or image. Fear would hold me captive. I’d make up a story of disappointment that I didn’t even know was true – to stop me from sharing the post or making the comment.
I still posted a lot of comments, stories, videos, and/or images – just not the ones I thought could be “too” controversial – even when I may have believed in the message being shared. I feared judgement and/or disappointment.

Have you ever done this? You really liked a post and strongly believed in it. And you didn’t share it?

Then the irony struck me.

In my work with The DATE SAFE Project, I sometimes get brought in specifically to have conversations many people can be uncomfortable engaging in.
And I do not hold back.
Sometimes might an audience member disagree with me? Yes.
And while I engage that person with respect, I do not hold back.
Why?
Because I believe in what I am saying in that moment and in the value of the message we are discussing.

To be authentic means to be our truest voice in every aspect of our lives – to face any fears of judgement and choose to move forward being honest with ourselves. For me, the key has always been to do so with respect.

“With respect” does not mean I will say and/or share in a way that never bothers another person. While I do my best to be aware of the potential consequences of my words (to do no harm), I cannot know how everyone will interpret my words at all times.
For me, “with respect” means doing my best to lead conversations with love and compassion for all.

Whether it be on social media (Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, etc..) or in-person, may each of us speak openly and be true to what we know, feel, and believe in. May we always do our best to share our voice with respect – with love and compassion for all. And to do so freely.

Your voice matters. Honor it!

P.S. Are you thinking, “Mike, what about the people who engage me online and do not do so with respect, love or compassion for all?” Unfollow the person. You have the right to choose who’s newsfeed you look at. Surround yourself with the people you want to surround yourself with.

Share your voice and thoughts below in the COMMENTS section.

Why I Cry

I cry.
Why?
Beautiful eye with tear. Tattoo style illustration.Because . . .
I choose to feel deeply and fully.
I feel compassion.
I feel energy.
I feel pain.
I feel connection.
I feel hurt.
I feel inspiration.
I feel sadness.
I feel empathy.
I feel LOVE.
I feel joy.
I FEEL.
and oh how wonderful it is to feel.
. . . and some moments hurt.

 

To download this poem for yourself and/or to share, click here.

Capture the Moments

Today, I was golfing with my Dad. Pretty much the only time I golf is with my Dad, which is typically 3 to 4 times a summer.

While I really enjoy the game (that I am not any good at), the time together is what makes golf so special. Today, we had the golf course to ourselves.

At the end of the round, I realized I don’t have any pictures of my Dad and I golfing together – except a group one we take on Father’s Day. And so today I asked, “Dad can we get a photo together? We don’t have any of us from golfing.

He smiled and Taa Daa …

Dad-I-golfing

Having these moments in time is priceless.

Today’s “TinkerProject” is a reminder to be grateful for time we get with the ones we love! Capture the moments in your memory to enjoy and cherish forever.

Tinkering brought me to LIVE FB Video

How does “Tinkering” impact you? You think differently once your mind is in the place of “Tinkering.” I’ve known about Live FaceBook Video discussions since the feature was activated by FaceBook. However, I never tried it. Today was Day 4 of my #TinkerProject and suddenly at 7:35pm I thought, “I should do a LIVE Video Chat in 25 minutes on FB.”

My first LIVE VIDEO FB Chat

My first LIVE VIDEO FB Chat

I didn’t know how and so quickly looked it up and announced it 15 minutes beforehand on FaceBook.

What happened? 34 people joined in the conversation. Over 15 minutes in and a phone call interrupted. Oops need to turn my phone into privacy mode to avoid calls. Lesson #1

Moments later, the Internet DROPS OUT and we lose the video chat.

I race downstairs start a new one and within minutes we are back to 34 people participating.

We ended up going 1 hour with 34 people!!! Awesome.

I didn’t know what I was getting into, except the excitement of trying. #TinkerProject.

How My Bike Freed My Brain

Saturday night, my mind just wouldn’t quiet down. Work was running through my head. I had just watched a show that ended in a depressing moment. The combination of the two was not doing me any favors for getting to sleep.

Then I thought, “What if I rode the Ride for the Arts tomorrow morning? I could do the 45 mile route.

Moments later, I texted my friend, Jeff, and he was all in.

Was I ready for a 45 mile ride? If it was nice and easy, Yes I was.  And I knew it would get my mind off all the thoughts running through it.

Sunday morning, Jeff and I take off. Right off the start, we have to ride up the Hoan Bridge (along Lake Michigan and high up) into the wind. We were both saying, “Once we get through this, the rest is going to be easy.” We had ridden this ride 2 years ago, but this portion was new …and exhausting.

Something happened as we came off the Hoan Bridge. I didn’t want to slow down. It felt good to ride fast (well what is fast for me – not hard core cyclists). Suddenly, we had hit the 10 mile mark well ahead of the goal of when I needed to be done (my son is graduating high school later in the day). That got me pumped up to maintain the pace. My legs were already started to burn.

“So what, Mike, keep it going” – that was me talking to myself.

27 miles in, legs burning and still feeling good with the burn.

35 miles in and 10 miles to go. Now I’m feeling a little more mental exhaustion while still thinking, “Come on. Keep it going.”

The last 3 miles felt like they took forever. We get done and our average speed over the race was  actually faster than 2 years ago when we did this ride. Why did that surprise me? 2 years ago, Jeff and I were riding quite a bit before we did this ride. Plus, this year’s course was tougher and longer by 7 miles.

Mike and Jeff Ride for the Arts

What was the difference? I was in a zone. I needed the mental getaway. Sometimes physical activity is the greatest gift we can give our brain and emotions.

A huge shout out to Jeff for being such an awesome riding partner and friend. A huge THANKS to my personal trainers. While I wasn’t riding much this year, the conditioning they had me in for my overall vibrancy paid off.

What do you do physically to give your brain and emotions the break they need?

Tinkering with a KipUp

This morning after I had just completed my workout, I was feeling energized and thought, “I wonder if I can do a Kip Up. It has been YEARS since I’ve successfully done one.”

The song that was blaring at the time had me rockin’ and so I turned to my trainer said, “Do you think I can do this?” He smirked and said, “50/50“.  When I popped up from the floor, the look on his face was priceless. I was just as surprised and ecstatic at the same time. I wish I had filmed it for my own memories.

…. and so I tried it again. While the Kip Up I do in the below video is not as pure of a Kip as the first (and definitely not to the same music), I was still happy. I started doing KipUps when I was very young break dancin’. To know I’m still doing them at 46 years old, especially after not being able to do them for several years, is a definite boost.

The irony? I attempted it purely to TRY – knowing full well the result may not be the outcome I wanted. The point was to go for it. And thus today’s Tinker Project is doing a KipUp.

What will you try today? What will be your TinkerProject?

P.S. Remember to visit my friend Jason Kotecki at www.EscapeAdulthood.com to learn much more about #TinkerProject.

My Tinker Project

A BIG THANKS to Jason Kotecki at www.EscapeAdulthood.com.

Brittany Gibbons Makes Me Laugh Out Loud (and think)!

Looking for an insightful and funny (laugh out loud) book filled with honesty? Get Brittany Gibbon’s book Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It today (click here to order).

BrittanyGibbonsFatgirlWalkingI found myself laughing out loud in airports, on the front porch of our house, on the top deck of a river cruise – pretty much everywhere I had Brittany’s book in my hands. Her writing is honest throughout. Through her descriptive writing, Brittany has a gift of bringing you inside her mind. Her wording is so detailed that you feel like you are back-in-time with her.

Inside of all that humor, Brittany shares poignant lessons exposing elements of our society that too often people shy away from discussing. As the subtitle of her book says, she addresses sex, food, love, and body image (plus parenting, marriage, and much more) – from childhood to adulthood. Brittany’s skillful words have a magical way of connecting to you, the reader and your life. I found myself thinking,  “I’ve thought that before.”

In the speaking industry, a concept that is often stressed is “authenticity.” Brittany’s writing is an ideal example of being authentic. Without having an intense social media strategy, she drew hundreds of thousands of readers to her blog. Why? Because people were looking for an authentic voice and she provided it (and continues to today).

You’ll find that same captivating voice in her book. Treat yourself to the hilarious and powerful Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It today (click here to order).

P.S. You can read her blog at www.BrittanyHerself.com