A Christmas Gift

A Christmas Gift

 “It’s about whether you are working the plan, instead of trying to make a plan work.” 

I am sitting on a plane this New Year’s Day.  Not returning from vacation during the holidays, but heading out to be “on the job” first thing on January 2nd.  For me, the Holiday season ends today, we have endured countless hours of Christmas shopping, Christmas music and Christmas food.  I have always gauged how well I manage Christmas by how much I spend and how much weight I gain.  In the past the latter was always the one where I fell apart, often gaining 10-15 pounds during the holidays.  Recently, with lifestyle changes, now I just feel the additional pressure in the pocket book.

This year was a “big pocket book” Christmas.  We went home to Colorado for the first time in nearly 3 years for the holiday.  It is always a time to rush through seeing all the immediate family members.  A time to finalize Christmas shopping, wrap remaining presents.   Preparing food for the traditional Christmas Eve chili and Christmas Day ham and turkey.  We typically spend 4-5 days in Colorado and it goes in a blur.

This year was no different, with the exception that my daughter’s boyfriend was with us.  First of all, it is a weird place in life when your children have a “+1” that joins the family traditions.  Really confirms that while I act like a 12 year old, I am actually quite a bit older.  Second because we had a new comer to the Colorado Christmas, we of course had to find things that were unique to Denver since it was his first time in the Mile High City.

The big day to experience some of the uniqueness of Denver was the Sunday before Christmas.  The big plan: 1) Eat at White Fence Farm (a Denver staple, that was closing on the 31st), 2) Ice Skating at Belmar (a tradition with family friends), 3) Red Rocks, 4) Dinner at Casa Bonita (if you’ve been to Denver, you know why you go there…its not for the food), then, 5) Christmas lights at the Court House.

At least that was the plan, until the universe stepped in to “correct” our plan.  You see, while this was our plan, this was not what the Universe wanted to give us for our Christmas present.  It started with a 2.5 hour wait at White Fence Farm, apparently everyone else in Denver suddenly was going to miss the place so much that they had to eat there on the 23rd also.  To be clear, it is good, but there is no fried chicken worth a 2.5 hour wait.  Plus, that would kill the rest of the plans.  So, we scrapped White Fence Farm and went to Buffalo Wild Wings where we could eat quick and watch football…or so we thought.  Ironically we ended up waiting for a table and food at B- Dubs almost 2 hours!   So we scrapped Red Rocks as we were pushing back Ice Skating.

Move ahead to Ice Skating, where we encounter a 25 minute wait to buy tickets, where it will be a 40 minute wait after tickets to skate…for one hour.  On top of that about an hour prior, the family friends had to cancel on skating as well.  So, I am not a math wizard by any stretch but even I know a 65 minute wait to do a 60 minute activity where you freeze for the last 30 minutes (by ourselves) was a deal breaker.  So now we are 0 for 3 on the big Colorado “tourist tradition” day.  We grab some Hot Chocolate and decide since it is near dark, to head downtown and see the Christmas lights early and then head to Casa Bonita for a late dinner.

Until the universe decided again to correct us.

We get downtown, it is dark…but the Christmas lights are still not on.  We are driving two cars and trying to figure out where we can park as we wait. Panda and I, in our separate cars, decide on a parking garage attached to a mall downtown, where we can at least use the bathroom.  We park, we go up to the mall, we get off the elevator to see the mall has closed and it is all office space.   There is something about needing the bathroom and not having one around that makes the urgency all the more worse.   So, we search out the second bathroom in the old mall area…it is locked.

Across the street is a Starbucks.  Panda says “Lets just go over there”, I am stubborn and insist we can find one on our side of the street.  Across the pedestrian bridge is a Westin hotel, we have used that lobby bathroom several times when running around downtown in our younger days.  We trek over to the hotel only to find…yep, it is locked, you need a card key to use it.  We step outside to explore our options, Panda says again, “Let’s just go to Starbucks”.  Having just grabbed chocolate and a late lunch, I relent thinking we are going to have to buy something but agree to go ahead and run across the street.

This, my friends, is where the universe wanted us to go.  As we walk in, at this point in a near panic to find a restroom, I hear someone speaking loud in the crowded coffee shop.  As I walk past the guy sitting on stool he yells my name.   I turn.  I look.   There in front of me sits, “Casey”.   Casey is like a big brother, Casey has been a family friend for 20+ years.  Casey has a huge heart and a somewhat troubled soul.

When we moved to Tennessee 10 years earlier and Casey and his wife were our best friends.  Shortly after we moved fortune turned for Casey and his wife.  They ran into the housing bubble problem everyone experienced.  They had layoffs, they had financial trouble.  Casey ended up with medical issues and eventually Casey and his wife separated.  I knew this as I had stayed in touch with him.  Until about a year and a half ago, when his cell phone was shut off.   I have often worried about my “brother” and hoped he was OK.   Our last conversation was less than ideal, based on a misunderstanding.  Before we could resolve the issue, his phone was shut off.

This my friends was my Christmas gift.  The universe plotted to move us to the small, overcrowded coffee shop at just that exact time on the 23rd.  We had no intention of being in that part of Denver, had no inclination for a late afternoon coffee, no intention of doing anything but drive past some lights on the City Courthouse.  But the Universe knew exactly what, myself, Panda, my family AND Casey needed.  You see… it wasn’t coincidence.  Casey doesn’t live downtown and wasn’t finishing up last minute shopping.

You see, Casey is homeless.

Down on his luck, he lives on the street now and as he stated after the tearful reunion in that coffee shop, he had given up hope of seeing anyone he loved this Christmas.  He felt like life was pretty meaningless and questioned why he was still around.  Then, God, the Universe, brought us into Starbucks in search of a “biobreak”.

We spent over an hour catching up (I never did use the bathroom, LOL).  He has a new number, we committed to talking again after the first of the year (which we have talked twice briefly since).  We talked about how we can continue to try to help him, while we are so far away.  Casey stated that he now felt like he had a purpose and talked about how he was lining up an apartment after the first of the year.  To be clear, this isn’t a Hollywood movie type of ending, where Casey suddenly turns his life around by the end of the film.  Casey has issues and guilt for a lot of things that have happened in his life.  The turn around, if it happens, will take months if not years.

What this is though is a confirmation that there are no coincidences in life.   What it is, is an affirmation that even a smile, a hug and 60 minutes of small talk can be a great present.  It can be an inspiration to be better, be kinder, be more appreciative of our place in life.   What it is is proof that we are all connected.  Those we touch and those that touch us will always be a part of our story.  We chose to support those in our story or ignore those in our story and support (no matter how great or small) always feels better than dismissal.

We gave what cash we had on hand to Casey…we promised to stay in touch.  We took pictures, he gave hugs, I gave kisses.  We all gave love.  Close to 90 minutes later we headed out to the final stop of the night, Casa Bonita.  We arrived 45 minutes before close and wouldn’t you know we stood in line for 30 minutes.  We talked a lot about our friend.  At one point in the conversation, we discussed how wonderful the day had turned out, exactly NOT how we had planned it out.

It was then that it occurred to me, as I shared with the kids.  “Today was an example of being open to where life will take you.  Today we worked the plan, instead of making the plan work.”  We could have forced all of our plans to go exactly as we wanted and forced ourselves to do all the things we need to “get done”, or we could have done exactly as we did and simply keep working on the plan.

When something didn’t go as we thought it would, we simply made adjustments.  We followed our intuition and took the next step for the day.  We didn’t bemoan all the things we thought we were missing out on, we simply kept an eye on moving forward and making the most of the plan we had set forth.  At the end, the universe gave us more than we had planned at the beginning of the day.

So my message to all of you, understand that there is a bigger plan for all of us.  When we try to make our original plan work, when we force things to work in our vision and we meet roadblock after roadblock, it is God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it…correcting our plan.  Be open to the correction and be like a 5 year old on Christmas morning, hardly being able to wait to see what the next step in the plan will reveal.  Adjust the plan, step forward with anticipation and continue to work the plan that has been laid out in front of you.

For me, it gave me the best Christmas present I could have hoped for receiving.  Don’t get me wrong, the custom CrossFit shoes and tactical weight vest are awesome.  Just not quite as rewarding.  For my family, it gave them a valuable life lesson both in how fragile life can be and how rewarding it can be when you work from intuition and faith.   For Casey, I hope it gave him a greater sense of purpose, a mission to continue to work on himself and forgive himself for all the guilt he carries.  For all of us, it brought our family back together, hopefully on a more permanent basis.

BY the way, we did drive by the Christmas lights at the Courthouse after the coffee shop…they were especially bright and beautiful for some reason this year…

Can’t Get Ahead if your Wheel Don’t Roll

Does it feel like sometimes you just can’t get ahead?  No matter what you do, it’s “One step forward and two steps back.”  You have set out the best laid plans for getting ahead.  You know exactly how the week is going to go.  You have prepared for the interview and know you are going to nail it, then later in the afternoon you are going to hit the gym.  Six months from now you are going to have those six pack abs, a new job and will be working on learning Mandarin Chinese.  Why Mandarin Chinese?  Just because that s**t sounds cool.

Fast forward six months, yep, you landed the job, but it has kept you so busy you haven’t hit the gym, in fact you are pretty sure you have covered those abs with at least another 1/4” of fatty protection.  Going out for Chinese food is about as close to learning Mandarin as you have gotten.  So, you are a bit better off financially, the opportunities for advancement may be a bit limited but it pays the bills.  You will set a goal to start eating better next month.  And, Mandarin Chinese is now learning the phrases on the back of the fortune cookies.

You hope one day you can find the time to do these things, in addition to the rest of that bucket list, but in the end it just feels like you will never really get there.  You are left thinking, how do some people manage to do all this, maybe they just aren’t as busy as you.  The real problem though may not be the “busy”, the real problem may be the “balance”.  Life is a delicate balance of 6 key dimensions, like spokes in a wheel.  The amount of time, energy or focus that you spend in each dimension determine the length of each “spoke”.  When the spokes are uneven, too much in one area or too little it creates an uneven, or flat, wheel.  And just like a flat tire on a car or bike, the journey or trip you plan to make becomes more difficult, sometimes impossible.

The video that follows shows you more about the six dimensions and how a coach can help you find the balancing of the wheel so that not only can you crush that new job, rock those new abs, but you can do so while bragging about it in Mandarin Chinese…so, take a look.  Maybe together we can get the wheel of life rolling smooth!

I’ve been gone for awhile…

I’ve been gone for awhile…

Not that I have a large following, a thriving practice or even a list of subscribers that have missed me…but just in case you were wondering… I was gone for awhile.

Life got in the way.

Rather… I let life get in my way.  You see, if you know me at all, have read my posts, seen my website, or follow me on FB or Instragram (Shad Lee, 1 Percent Living or Shad Morgheim), you will likely have heard that I am a life coach.  Currently I am unretained life coach… to which “going away for awhile” is a poor business plan.  I have this vision of what I am working 1% everyday to accomplish.  It is a Life Coach/Public speaker who helps those find their passion in life.  Once defined, then we work to map the steps to achieve that vision to fulfill that passion.  Helping others find purpose and experience the most enriching life they can define is what brings me an enormous sense of pride.

So…I have this vision…my future, spending hours each week helping others to obtain goals of all kinds.  In addition, I have this strong vision to be an inspiration for those in mid life to be an example that health and fitness can occur at any age.  SO…that is my 1% focus most days…until…life got in the way.

As I said, I am not making a living yet coaching and I am a far site away from being the worldwide inspiration of health and fitness that is bankable in any sense.  So I have to work to feed my dreams, to feed my family, to pay college tuitions, to afford my bacon and Fireball habits.   As we all do, I had a multitude of priorities sitting on my plate, so the things I needed to do to fuel my vision, to drive my passions, took a back seat.  Physically, I backed away from my exercise schedules and backed into too many bacon samplings.

Professionally, I made my job my primary focus.

This was life, day to day life, meant to pay the bills, keep us housed, and clothes on our backs.  This life that I put as my only priority is not bad at all.  I have a good job, working for an amazing company.  As a family, we moved into a new home, downsizing into something a bit more conducive to our lifestyle.  As a family, we enjoy date nights, we enjoy family game nights, we enjoying dining out.   To the everyday observer…I have a great life and I would agree, I have a fantastic life.

So, what’s the problem then with “life getting in my way”?  The problem is one I think the majority of us fall into.  We live a life that is “good enough”, a life where we are “satisfied”.  We talk about a life that is “blessed” or “lucky”.   But if we look hard enough is that the life you really want to live?  Is “satisfied” what you want to be, or do you want to be excited by each days events.  Do we want to be “lucky” or do we want to “step into our destiny”?  Do we want to simply live life or do we want to experience life?

Does the life you live today fit the vision you have for yourself?

Are you fulfilling your passion(s), not just professionally, but in all dimensions of wellness.  Do you fill your passions/purpose: professionally, intellectually, socially, spiritually, purposefully, emotionally?  For me, the answer is no, not according to what I have envisioned for myself in each of those areas.  I know what I see when I look deep inside at what the fulfilled Shad looks like and failing to dedicate 1% each day to achieve that version of me, meant I let life get in my way.

AND…that is just fine.  It is just fine, because I recognized that I stepped off the path that I was heading down and have committed myself to step back on the path.  It is fine because I realized, something felt “off” the last several weeks, while I was gone. I realized I was not pursuing my passions.

When we aren’t purposely working toward our passions, our balance in life gets out of alignment. 

During that time, we can get impatient, fall into self-sabotage, consume ourselves with self-fulfilling limitations.  So, it is fine, more so, it is great that I realized something was “off” and determined that my not working toward my true life was the cause for being off.    Now the work comes, to get back toward fulfilling my vision.  To experience life, but to not let life get in my way.

We all know deep down who we are called to be, what we want to experience and what we ultimately would love to do in life.  If we know what that is and are living a life that is getting in the way of that true self, that true passion, now is the time to make changes.  Now is the time to step on a path toward that deeper life, one that goes from satisfying to one that is thrilling.  I owe that to myself, I owe that to my spouse, and I owe that to my children, friends and family.   Furthermore, you owe it to yourself.  Deep down you know what you want, what you have always desired to do, see, and experience.

So make the step, 1% at a time to obtain that vision. 

Make no mistake, my life is great.  The people in my life are great, but when I fully step into my full vision of what I can achieve, not just I, but all the people in my life will benefit.

So yep…I was gone for awhile.   Life got me for a second, now back on the path to start LIVING again!

 

How do you show up to the party…of Life?

How do you show up to the party…of Life?

With St. Patrick’s Day recently passed a few weeks ago, I thought it might be the perfect time to talk about the party and the… Party of Life.   Personally, I am a “wee” bit pass the days of green beer and out all night.  St. Patrick’s day night we did go out to dinner at a restaurant that offered a bottomless liter of green beer for $20.  I passed…not because I don’t drink (you all know I love Stella and Fireball, @stellaartois & @fireballwhisky, sponsor me please ????).  I passed because 1 liter, refilled at 7pm means I am in bed at 9 pm.  Not really the energy I want to show up with on a Saturday night.

So Who are You…

Much like you plan what you will wear on St. Patrick’s day, what time you will arrive, who you will talk to…who you might flirt with…yes we all flirt…you also plan how you show up in life.  Unlike the party which is a specific and limited event, life is daily.  Life may be a grind, other times it is a breeze.   Some days the talk, maybe even the flirt, is natural.  Other days it seems like life is English as a second language and you are only in day three of “Second Language” class.

Also like a party, you see your fellow “life” party goers and without a doubt there is the one loud guy running around with a lamp shade on his head, slapping everyone on the back.  There is a small group of people anchored to the safety of the sofa. Texting someone about how boring this is and how annoying the guy with the lamp shade is acting.  More than likely there is someone who has overindulged and is currently paying the toll in front of the porcelain throne…in the party of life, they are all there.  The question is … which party goer are you? More importantly is that the party goer you really want to be and is this the party you wanted to attend?!

Well This Wasn’t the Party I Thought it was Going to Be.

You finally were invited to the party you wanted to attend.   You map out the people you will talk to, prepare your witty conversations.  You get there and 30 minutes in this is not what you thought it was going to be…so now what do you do?   You really were going to be the party animal you always wanted to be, you have a sitter for the night, you are free and in the time it takes to watch a sitcom you are ready to bail.  At this point you have two options, make the best of it or bail on it…

But Wait, There Is A Third Option

Option number three, is totally on you.  Option three is the energy you have brought to the party and how you use that to make the party, the party of your life.  In life, we present with a combination of seven different levels of energy.  This unique combination of energy levels range from the highly negative (catabolic) to the highly engaging (anabolic).  The most catabolic level, level one, is that of a victim. “Only I could be invited to the worlds most boring party”.  As energy becomes more engaging, we start to move to, “I am the only one who is interesting in this party”.  Then we become more engaging to “It would be great if everyone has fun, but only if I have the most fun.”

These levels, though, are all focused on me and me only.  When the focus is only on me…there is limited opportunity to make the most of the party or life in general.  If things do not go the way you planned, the party wasn’t what you thought it would be, then you see little way to make things better.  You simply don’t see the opportunity to improve the situation.

Moving Away from “Me” to “We”

As you continue to move up in energy levels, you move toward an approach of “We”.  In the fourth energy level you begin to think, “How can I get other people to have fun here”, with the fifth level of energy being, “We aren’t going to party until we all have fun at the party”.  In these levels of energy, we make the shift to bringing others along on our journey with the subtle difference that the fifth level we all need to benefit where as the fourth level the other people are the higher priority to gain benefit.

Moving Toward the Highest Levels of Energy – THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SUCCESS

In the two most engaging energy levels, people move away from the situation, away from “me” or “we”.  At these levels energy moves toward simply enjoying the experience at the party without judging it good or bad.  Just being in the moment and at the highest energy level, we are in “the zone” and automatically can change the tone of the party just by interacting with people and know exactly what to do next to make the party, a party of a lifetime.  In this highest energy level, this is this time in space where time slows down, things move in slow motion and you can almost predict the next step, the next conversation, the next activity.

You are All These Levels Combined

The key to the party is where you choose to spend the most time in each energy level.  Do you choose to be the victim of such a boring party?  Do you decide you are the only one to make this party fun?  Or do you decide that we all can have fun, how to get everyone involved?  Do you simply just enjoy the experience and see the opportunity to have fun with no labeling of good or bad?  The third option is you.  You can decide what you want the party to be.  Simply identify what level you are spending your energy in and consciously decide to be the most engaging level possible.

The “Life of the Party” or “The Party of Life”

Much like planning out the next big party, we plan how we want to party in Life.   The energy expended in life will determine how much “party” we will get out of life.  Is your energy spent on just “me”, are you focusing solely on the “we”?   Or are you focusing on the experience of life, the opportunities that are presented to you and how those opportunities help you achieve that passion and sense of fulfillment you have set as your personal goal.

The question is, How are you showing up to the Party of Life?  Is that really how you want to experience the party or is there more that you want to get from that party.  If there is more, then where are you spending that energy and what can you do to change that energy into a higher level so that you can experience the party you wanted to experience.  You and you alone can define what life holds for you and how you show up…so I ask again, How do you show up to the Party…of life?

The role I play in your Party…

If you find you can’t determine the way to move toward engaging energy levels that the Party of Life holds, that is where someone like a Life Coach steps in.   Think of the Life Coach as your personal party planner.  Through our work, we figure out how you want to show up to the party.  We determine through assessments and work what energy level you present the most.  Then we explore how that level is holding you back.  Finally, we work together to change the energy level to the highest potential for the best possible party and life going experience!  So if you find you aren’t showing up to the party the way you want to, remember that you control how great the experience is going to be.  If you can not figure out how to make the party memorable, then lets talk. Because nothing is better in life than a great party….lamp shades and all!

Everyday isn’t sunshine, but you choose how long the clouds last

Everyday isn’t sunshine, but you choose how long the clouds last

I have been struggling lately.  My attitude has been quite poor, overall I have really been down. I can’t quite define what it is, but everything seems “Cloudy with a chance of …”.   Physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially…it is all a bit bumpy.  Not in a way where I need happy pills or where some radical change is needed.  But in a way where a day long nap might be a step up in my productivity.

So lets be honest, we all have these days.    These days are what clears out the last of the Haagen Dazs.  This is when we binge watch two new Netflix series all night long.  This definitely can be what drives the bar tabs at Happy Hours.  But here is the reality…even though we all have these days, we actually choose how long these days last as well.  We are totally in control of how long the dark cloud remains.

As I was pondering the “whys”.  Why… Is it so hard to get motivated to coach lately? Why…Am I not making progress in my exercise programming?  Why… Do my friends all want to hang with other people?  I began to realize the common thread… ME!   I am telling myself to do my coaching work later, Haagen Dazs is calling.  I am the one not getting up at 4:30 each morning to work out. It is so much easier to watch Netflix late in to the evening and then sleep in.  I am the one limiting my time with others, sure if I bought at Happy Hour it would fix A LOT!

Great…problem solved, get up and get moving!  If only it were so easy, to remove the grey skies then we would all do it immediately, right?!  The fact is, getting out of our own way, whether it is in trying something new, advancing in a career or just changing your mood is unbelievable difficult.  But why?  In my opinion, we are scared…scared of how much we might like the new thing we try, scared of how successful we can become, and scared of how happy we could truly be.

Living our lives, as the victim of circumstance, not choosing to look at the positives in life, and accepting our “fate” are all catabolic ways of thinking.  Catabolic thinking is a thought process of negative/self-limiting beliefs.  This type of thinking convinces us we shouldn’t have what we truly want and makes us believe that we don’t deserve more than we have.  It creates a fear of moving forward, of creating that small 1% improvement each day.   Living in the fear of possible success and the false “security” of what is familiar, is harmful…not only to future success and fulfillment but also to our general attitude and in some sense our overall health.

So…how do we change this?!   First, it is the honest step of acknowledging that we “struggle” and in fact that “struggle” is perfectly normal.  Not only is it normal but it is a blessing to have.  The struggle we face is not a chance to retreat to safety, but it is the exact moment to bravely step forward and look at what opportunity conquering this struggle will give us in meeting our goals.  Second, once we acknowledge that struggle we now have the option to choose how long we want to call it a struggle or how soon we want to call it an opportunity.

When we finally label it an opportunity…to change our attitude, to try a new approach, to learn something new…we can then take the third step to make it a goal.  That goal may be to just smile and be more appreciative the rest of the week.  That goal may be make sure we only watch one episode of a Netflix series so we can resume the morning routine rested and ready to go.  Whatever that goal may be, we finally have a direction, an end point to work toward which moves us positively forward and before we know…the struggle is small speck in the rear view mirror.

It all starts however, with the acknowledgement that we are in a struggle, we accept that struggle and we look for the time for that struggle to change.  Every day is not full of sunshine.  There are days full of grey skies, sometimes severe thunder storms.  How we choose to approach these days and when we decide to acknowledge these days determine how long these storms will last…but more importantly how soon before the bright, warm glow of sunshine will appear in our lives.

But who are you really?!

But who are you really?!

 

I come with a lot of baggage, A LOT OF BAGGAGE. God bless my wife for putting up with my eccentricities, my gremlins and, as she puts it, my sensitivities. But when you think about it we all come with baggage, some with a steamer case full of items, others a hand bag of “trinkets”. Whoever we are though and however large our bag of issues, doesn’t really matter. This “bag” defines who we are…it tells us we are smart enough, strong enough, clever enough to accomplish things… or to “not” accomplish things.
 

The problem with everyone’s luggage is it is most often filled with self limiting beliefs. It comes with these messages we have picked up throughout life and packed into our bags ourselves. These messages then come to shape our self view and the expectations of what we will accomplish or what we deserve from the world. Here is the kicker about the luggage we have packed…most often we have packed the wrong things. Much like packing snow shoes for a trip to the beach, we spend our lives packing things in our bags that do not help us in life but limit us. The crazy part is we don’t know what to unpack to give us a more fulfilled life, or to simply get “what we want”. We know that if we packed our snow shoes for the beach, we simply need to remove them and add the flip-flops. However, in life we have no way to fully realize what is limiting us and what truly defines our full potential.
 

That, friends, is where a coach comes to the rescue. Think of me as a professional packer and unpacker, together we review all the articles in your bag and slowly remove the things that simply aren’t true about you. Through time not only do we make the bag lighter, but you get a better sense for who you really are and what you can accomplish.

So…how much is your bag weighing you down? Are you meeting your full potential? And…who are you really?