Category Archives: family

Thanksgiving – Have a Real Conversation

I would like to start off by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. This holiday is truly unique because it creates a great opportunity for us to reconnect with our family and friends. Even though we associate Thanksgiving with food, this is also a social holiday.

I recently took a break from writing blogs, due to my busy schedule. However, it was a blessing in disguise because it offered an opportunity for me to reflect on what matters. As I’ve said in previous blogs and my latest book The Best Version of You, we are very disconnected due to technology. Sure, technology is supposed to keep us connected, yet–that’s not really happening. We would rather hide behind our phones or computers, instead of making eye contact with the person we’re talking to. Sure, FaceTime and Skype are unique but they are not the same as a face-to-face conversation.

Now that we can text and e-mail, people would rather text, instead have a real conversation. Consider this, if your son had some great news to tell you, which method would you prefer:

  1. Text version: “Hey dad, I have a great news. I got accepted to the Ohio State University.” Your son has to wait for your response because he can’t see you. Therefore, he doesn’t see how excited, proud, and happy you are, for him.
  2. Face-to-face conversation: “Hey dad, I have a great news. I got accepted to the Ohio State University.” You embrace him and tell him how excited, proud, and happy you are, for him. Instead of him reading your response (text message) and guessing how you felt, he can see it. This helps create authenticity. Not only did you convey you’re proud of him, you demonstrated it. We really can’t do that when we send a text or an e-mail. We might think a creative emoji conveys the same message but trust me, to your son, it doesn’t. Have a real conversation.
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Nothing replaces quality time with your significant other.

I am hoping you selected option 2: Face-to-face conversation. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, your loved ones deserve your full attention. By only communicating via texts and e-mail, it might convey the wrong message: You are not a priority to me. This might seem extreme but to a child or loved one that desires your attention, it might be a huge deal. Take a step back and ask yourself, “How would I want to receive this information?”

Here are some benefits of a face-to-face conversation:

  • It creates authenticity.
  • It displays your true emotions and reactions. [body language]
  • It conveys a more powerful message.
  • It builds relationships.
  • It helps prevent an argument or disconnect, due to eliminating the risk of typing a convoluted text. [What did you mean?]
  • It creates additional conversations.
  • It builds connection.
  • It builds winning streaks.
  • It tells people, what you have to say, matters to me.

I challenge you to implement this into your Thanksgiving dinner, regardless if you’re celebrating at your house, a family members house, or a friends house. The world can use more face-to-face conversations and you have the opportunity to help cultivate it.

For more information about the author:

Capture
https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Lee-Hughes

Recognize What You Love | An Attitude For Gratitude

The world would be a better place if we focused on things that we love, instead of what hate or dislike. That is why I highly recommend you develop an attitude for gratitude. Here are just a few things to consider:

  • I love people regardless of their gender.
  • I love people regardless of their age.
  • I love people regardless of the color of their skin.
  • I love people regardless of their sexual orientation.
  • I love people regardless of their political affiliation.
  • I love people regardless of their abilities and disabilities.
  • I love people regardless of their looks.
  • I love people that have a different opinion as me.
  • I love people for their uniqueness.
  • I love people for their originality.
  • I love people that challenge me and other people.
  • I love people that are obsessed with success.
  • I love people that are comfortable in their own skin.
  • I love people that value doing what’s right.
  • I love people that understand and practice selfless service.
  • I love people that choose not to conform to society.
  • I love people that support equality.
  • I love people that take ownership of the failures and success.
  • I love people that don’t settle for their comfort zones.
  • I love people that crave self-development and self-improvement.
  • I love people that understand when love is not always the answer.
  • I love people that recognize when something is not for them.
  • I love people that welcome the next chapter in their life.
  • I love people that are not afraid to take a stand.
  • I love people that challenge themselves.
  • I love people that can control their confirmation bias.
  • I love people that can identify their thinking traps.
  • I love people that own their happiness.
  • I love people that can fight off the comparison trap.
  • I love people.
Love, happiness, and positivity create winning streaks.

This list could go on and on because once you recognize what you love or what you’re grateful for, you will begin to notice more and more things. Love, happiness, and positivity create winning streaks. Set yourself up to win.

LGBT Pride Month – 2018

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (or LGBTQ) is currently celebrated each year in the month of June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.

To read about the full story: https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month

Every year the LGBT community is faced with difficult questions and comments, such as:

  • “Why don’t we have a heterosexual Pride Month?”
  • “Why is this even a thing?”
  • “Why do I always have to see this stuff?”
  • “This is ruining social media and television.”
  • “Why do they have to remind me of this, every year?”
  • “These people are annoying…”

Although everyone has the right to ask questions and express their opinion — it is still important to think before you ask or comment. Information changes the situation. As discussed in the About – LGBT link, everything has a meaning. Plus, regardless of what people think or believe, everyone deserves something to celebrate and be happy about.

As a sexual assault victim advocate, a man, a father, a husband, a human, and someone that values basic human rights: supporting LGBT rights are extremely important to me. This community holds a very special place in my heart. For that reason, I am a proud member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo

For more information about this great organization, visit: https://www.hrc.org/

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community uses the rainbow flag

(commonly known as the gay flag or pride flag), which has different colors to represent the diversity of the community. Here are a few examples:

At the end of the day, LGBT Pride Month is about the celebration of people loving other people. Even if you don’t believe in this, due to religious or personal beliefs, it doesn’t matter because everything can’t always be about you. There are 7 billion unique people on this planet and it would be a tragedy if we were all the same.

Seeing people happy or in love, regardless if they’re heterosexual or LGBT, should bring a smile to your face. That is what life is all about. No, it is not teaching children something bad. Judging, labeling, or even committing a hate crime because you disagree with someone’s sexual orientation is what’s teaching children bad things. I would rather my children grow up in an environment where everyone is happy in their own unique way, then have them grow up in an environment filled with hate or worse — the fear of them self-identifying as LGBT. To me, this world has no place for that. After all, it is 2018, not 1418.

Additional helpful links:

GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/sites/default/files/GLAAD-Social-Share.jpg

Lambda Legal: https://www.lambdalegal.org/

The Advocate: https://www.advocate.com/

Mothers: The Worlds Forgotten Heroes

On January 30, 2000 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams (now LA Rams) hoisted the Vince Lombardy trophy over his head after winning Super Bowl XXXIV. The State of Missouri was filled with joy and labeled QB Kurt Warner as a hero.

Kurt Warner

Throughout the United States of America, Soldiers from all branches of service return from deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Medals and promotions were addressed to those that had earned their right to have them pinned upon their chest. Just like Kurt Warner, they were labeled heroes. These are two different scenarios that define two completely different types of heroes. But in the end, they are both viewed as someone we should look up to; heroes.

She does it all…

At the same time in a small, beyond repairable apartment in Boston, a single mother makes dinner for her 5 year old son after working 12 hours and earning only minimum wage. On the inside she is feeling defeated and embarrassed to face her family and friends. But on the outside, the side that her 5 year old son views everyday regardless of the circumstances, she is happy and full of life. She emits an amazing ray of light that says “No matter what we go through, I will be there for you son and you will never go without.” Despite how she feels on the inside, her son doesn’t notice due to her phenomenal level of compensation.

After evaluating all of the astonishing things this mother does for her son, at the end of the day, there is no Vince Lombardy trophy hoisted above her head. There are no medals pinned on her chest for her heroic deeds. There is no standing ovation or even as much as a, “Good job, mom.” No, the only thing this single mother gets is a new day to repeat the same processes.

Our society complains on a daily bases about not getting the recognition that we believe we deserve. Yet, there are so many heroic events happening around us without our knowledge because we are complacent. You as the reader may know this person; at least you should be familiar with them since they have already done so much for you and your siblings. They have a fancy title for her, they call her mom. Does she ring a bell? She should.

Mom is the one that carried you for 9 months when you were incapable of supporting yourself, yet. Mom is the one that helped you grow when dad was too busy or was away at work. Mom is the one that told you it was going to be okay even though she knew deep down inside that it really wasn’t that easy and it would take some time. Does mom ring a bell now?

As an avid sports fanatic I have considered many of my favorite athlete’s heroes. In fact, being a former fan of the St. Louis Rams (now LA Rams) I too labeled Kurt Warner as a hero. But now that I am older and wiser, I now realize I have forgotten the most important person that I have failed to acknowledge: my mother.

Every mother on this planet regardless if they are rich, poor, or even famous are heroes. Yes, there are some mothers that do not deserve such a title but I can assure you, the ones that do outweigh the few that do not. This doesn’t mean we have to present them with trophies and medals because I can assure you, those things do not mean a lot to them. In fact, I am willing to bet it is twice as special when she gets to see you being awarded these things.

So what does this mean? What should you do? Perhaps you should start off with something small like, “Thank you mom. Thank you for being there for me when no one else was there. Thank you for helping me grow-up to be the person that I am today. More importantly, thanks for being my mom.”

The world is full of people like Kurt Warner and honorable Soldiers that deserve to be called heroes. But none of these are more deserving than Mothers: The Worlds Forgotten Heroes. To leave these special and unique individuals out of the equation would simply be a tragedy. On behalf of all sons and daughters of the world, I would like to take this moment to say, “Thank you mothers of the world. You truly are heroes.”

Effective Communication | Put your Phone Away

Face-to-face conversations are the most effective way to communicate and create growth. Text messaging and emailing are a way to communicate but not the most effective, because there’s no connection.

For example: If I told you, “Hey Michelle, that shirt looks very good on you,” would telling you via a text be as impactful as telling you face-to-face?

Could you see this reaction, via a text message?

The answer is no because anyone can text that. Texting and emailing require no emotions and usually do not generate connection. All you have to do is just type and press send.

The only thing being communicated is: I’m acting like you’re not even here.

If you want to become a better communicator, have a face-to-face conversation, whenever it is possible. By doing so, it conveys: What you have to say, is important to me.

Having face-to-face conversations, also develop your communication skills, outside of your personal relationships. Just because we have multiple platforms such as: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, doesn’t mean we have to use them for every aspect of communication. “Sure I have time, Bob, pull up a chair and let’s talk,” demonstrates authenticity.

Take Action | Talking is not Enough

Telling the world what you’re interested in doing is not a bad thing. In fact, it demonstrates that you have a vision. However, until you put those words into action, they simply remain words.

Put your words into action
  • If you speak highly about a person that you care about, show them.
  • If you talk about being good at something, demonstrate it.

I just don’t tell my beautiful wife that I love her, I show her by doing things that demonstrates my love. In order to have a successful marriage, I have to do things that align with my (our) vision. This has secondary and tertiary effects: happiness and romance.

Words are very powerful; however, it’s the action that carries those words from point A to point B. Taking action is a way to demonstrate authenticity. Would you invest in a product if it could not do what the advertisement claimed? Probably not.

Do something great today by showing the world or someone you care about, that you are more than just your words.

Embrace Love

I thought that going to school for Criminal Justice would help me have a better understanding of why things happen the way that they do.

On the administrative side, sure, I get it. But the side that deals with emotions, specifically hate, I will never understand it because it is the opposite of what I value.

Hate has the ability to destroy cities.

I value and embrace love. 20+ years of military service, that involved training for combat readiness, doesn’t change that because the answer is still love and it always will be.

Sadly, the world – for the most part, doesn’t share that view. But I will continue to stay on the path with those that will join me.

Toxic People – Take away their power

Have you ever had some great news that you wanted to share with your friend but found yourself being apprehensive? Should I share this news? Why do you think that happens? It is because you have a toxic relationship.

Toxic relationships are relationships where two people do not share the same values and because of that, there is a lot of tension and negative energy. The problem is, we’re not always aware that we’re even involved in a toxic relationship. We think, No way, none of my friends are capable of that. Unfortunately, it is possible.

I am not saying that all of your friends are toxic. I simply mean, it is a possibility.

What should you do about your toxic relationships? The most important thing that you can do is take away their power by empowering yourself. Instead of arguing about a situation, simply say, “No thank you.” Or, try not saying anything at all. (I know, that’s not easy to do.)

Dealing with toxic people is something that we all will experience at some point in our life. Learning to mitigate issues before they have the opportunity to escalate is a skill that takes practice. I am certainly not an expert; far from it. All that I can tell you is that what works for me, might not work for you. We all handle toxic people differently and we have the same goal: Taking away their power so that we can focus on our healthy relationships.

Take their power away by not allowing your emotions or reactions to respond to them.

Signs that a Toxic Person is having a negative impact on your life:

  1. You’re emotionally affected by their drama.
  2. You dread (or fear) being around them due to their consistent negative energy. (Energy drainer)
  3. You’re exhausted or you feel angry while you’re with them or after your interaction.
  4. You feel bad or ashamed of yourself. They make you question your values.
  5. You’re stuck in a cycle of trying to rescue, fix, or care for them.

I recently read a fantastic book by Vanessa Van Edwards titled, Captivate. Vanessa conducts all of her experiments with her research via her Science of People lab.

Link: https://www.scienceofpeople.com

I first heard about Vanessa while listening to Tom Bilyeu’s Impact Theory (One of my favorite entrepreneurs and motivational speakers)

Here are 2 links from the episode that featured Vanessa. The first video is the the entire interview and the second video is the portion of the interview dealing with toxic people and toxic relationships. (Fake friends)

Complete interview: https://youtu.be/X8CD2QEYo6Q

Toxic people portion: https://youtu.be/HAo2qQA6510

I challenge you to take her advice into consideration. If you love to read, like me, you should purchase her book on Amazon. Remember, the more tools that we have, the better we can be in the face of adversity. If you feel that you know everything, you will stop growing in both your personal and professional life.

Your values | Are they aligned with your love for your wife?

If your values do not align with how much you love your wife/significant other, the path will be difficult for you.

What do I mean by that? If you honestly believe that you are above any task:

  • washing clothes
  • doing the dishes
  • purchasing personal items at the store
  • etc.

Specifically, based on the fact that you’re a male, it is pretty clear that your values don’t align with what you consider love. They’re out of balance. “But that’s not how I was raised,” doesn’t compensate. Make the change.

The fact is, your wife/significant other, aka the person that you love, is more important than any of these tasks. Stop trying to conform to what society keeps telling you and align your values with your capacity to love.

I’m certainly not an expert on relationships but I am confident on my ability to balance my values with love. My marriage is worth it and your relationships are worth it, too. It’s not a man thing, it’s a love thing.

Help People without a Reward

Regardless of your gender, age, and background, you are never above doing things for other people out of kindness. Helping other people will do the following things:

  1. Help develop effective communication that will promote positive energy within your circle of influence.
  2. Set a great example for the younger generation. Children are our future.
  3. Undermine the negative stereotypes that social media and television have created about people in their inability to do nice things. The world is not a bad place.

We are all on this planet together and if we truly want to survive as a species, it is imperative that we focus on our values and love for other people.

Our story is not over. Not even close.

“History is being read but it’s also being written by people with imagination.” – Les Brown