This began as a note/letter to myself on all of the ways I will stay grounded, stay positive and ultimately thrive during these uncertain times. It serves as a daily reminder of my game plan to come through this recession, depression or any other economic era ending in an
–ession better than when it began. I thought I would share it with the world and try to touch people to help them stay positive and together, our collective energy might influence a quicker turnaround.
1. Immerse Into My Family – I’ve been blessed with a beautiful, loyal and caring wife that is the glue of our family. She has given us 2 precious little girls that remind me everyday that laughing, playing and being creative is the key to happiness. Each day, no matter what, I will shut down and spend time with my family – whether it means watching Star Wars for the 100th time with Ava, teaching Maya how to color in the lines or just hold my wife in those rare quiet moments, I will make it happen.
2. Avoid Negativity – One way is by reading and/or watching as little news as possible. There is a fine line between staying informed and obsessing over the headlines. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy to only read the negative headlines. I will seek out the positive headlines in the news and read those first, whether a Red Sox win or about a good deed somebody did. I will also avoid consistently negative people as I feel them sucking the positive energy out of me and I can get caught up in their cycle.
3. Call My Mom & Dad – My Mom & Dad are great people. They provided a great childhood for us and did the best they could to give us more than they had. To this day, they would sacrifice anything for my brother and I. I don’t talk to them enough.
4. Simplify – Over the years, I’ve collected so much stuff. I’ve found freecycle.org and have started giving things away that I don’t need anymore. People want it more than me, so why have it take up space in my house? Every time I give something away, I feel a little lighter and less burdened. This will also apply to unnecessary bills, subscriptions or expenses. I plan on reducing the line items in my budget.
5. Do More For Others – Seems counterintuitive in times like these, but I have been more focused than ever in helping others. This goes beyond money and into areas of trying to help people find a job, give them advice on careers, donate valuable items for other’s benefit.
6. Watch More Comedy – I find that when I laugh, I forget everything. When I don’t laugh enough, I am grumpy. So, whether that means watching more 30 Rock episodes on NetFlix or seeing a funny movie rather than a shoot ‘em up action flick, I intend to shed more tears of laughter.
7. Be An Eternal Beginner – At the start of this year, I made a resolution to try new things this year, not necessarily master them, but feel like what it means to be a beginner. So, I started playing hockey, a sport I’ve had a lifelong passion for. It has been a great workout, but more importantly a humbling experience every time I fall on my ass. I also plan on starting up my guitar lessons, probably through the new Garageband in iLife ’09.
8. Defend Against Mediocrity – Accepting mediocre ideas will not be acceptable. While this can result in making fewer friends, it is the right thing to do for the company, our clients and our people – it makes everyone better.
9. Live In The Moment – Sounds cliché, but I feel like I can’t remember things sometimes because I wasn’t living in the moment in the past. I was probably thinking about something else or worrying about the future. I will work harder to breathe in the moment, try to be lucid and breathe it in – even if it isn’t a happy moment. There is a learning experience in there somewhere.
10. Tend To My Health – The strong survive and I’ve been putting off areas of my health that need to be addressed. Effective immediately, I am going to sharpen the saw and make sure I am as fit as can be for the long battle ahead.
11. Be A Student Of History – One thought I continually have is that while people like to say that we’ve never seen anything like this before, that arrogance amuses me. We’ve been through Civil Wars, Revolutions, The Great Depression etc. People forget that we are a resilient people and we’ve survived this before and will do it again. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression and thrived after they survived. They died happy and lived a very fulfilling life. Sure, times were hard and they lived hand to mouth, but they survived. I find energy in those stories.
12. Faith In Myself – The fact is, I’ve worked, lived and survived through 2-recessions in my career including 1991 and 2001. I’ve always made the right decisions, managed my skills and career the best way I could and know that I have the skills, the resolve and drive to survive anything. Nobody can take away your belief in yourself no matter how hard they might try.
13. Faith In My Team – Around me are people that are smarter than me. I will continue to believe in them and together we will come through this era stronger, smarter and better off for the future.
14. Appreciate What I Have – Knowing that going out and buying unnecessary items isn’t in the cards right now, I intend on reclaiming the joy I once felt for the possessions I purchased at one time. As I sift through what I want to keep as I simplify (see #2), I will appreciate what I have – whether my home, sunglasses, watches, clothes or whatever – It’ll do just fine.
15. Read More – While the web, my Google Reader account and reading on my iPhone has taken away from my analog book reading, I will get back to sitting in my brown leather club chair with a drink on the side table, a light over my shoulder and read. Some people meditate, I read.
16. Music – I have a passion for music – whether bumpin’ to Biggie Smalls or throwing up devil horns to Metallica, a proper song makes me happy. I will listen to more of it whenever possible.
17. See My Friends More – When I moved to Chicago, I have made some great friends. But, my posse, my blood brothers are back in Boston. We all have young families now and are happily tied up in all that comes with that, (see #1) but we must find time for an annual trip to the Superbowl, Golf or to Vegas.
18. Spend More Time @ The Ocean – Both my wife and I have a passion for the ocean. We love Mexico and S. Florida and don’t get there enough. When it is 5 degrees in Chicago, especially. We are happier when we are tan and are able to enjoy a drink on the beach.
19. Find Opportunity In Crisis – Projecting 5-years from now, I am confident that if I don’t buy a property at the crater, invest more in my daughters’ 529 or buy the right stocks now, I will regret it. The people that had the gumption to buy at the lows in the early 90’s or 2001 created wealth for themselves. People get rich when they buy, not when they sell.
20. Have More BBQ’s – We built a nice patio and gazebo in our backyard last Summer. I don’t think we used it enough and this coming Summer, I intend on spending more time out there with my friends and family. Maybe some nice outdoor speakers (see #15) will help?!
21. Get That Tattoo – There is a tattoo that I’ve been putting off getting that is a tribute to my grandfather Marobella. He had an Iron Cross on his right forearm that had a wreath hanging from it. He got it when he was in the military during the 30’s. He once told me it was the biggest mistake he’d ever made. I guess that didn’t sink in for me. It was a tribute to his Mom and helped him survive through the Great Depression.
22. Start More Traditions – Breakfast for dinner, Star Wars, Summer trips to Cape Cod, Winter trips to the Dells and more. Stay focused on creating traditions for our family and help our children create some incredible memories.
23. Re-Build Broken Bridges – Over the years, there have been some people that I was once close to but for some reason have lost touch. They’ve been important in shaping the person I am, today. I will be the person that reaches out and tries to re-connect.
24. Don’t Give Up Life’s Small Luxuries – A proper haircut, a well-fitting t-shirt, decent cufflinks, a Starbucks coffee, nice shoes, Burt’s Bees lip balm or a slick tie. In moderation, they don’t cost all that much and they make me feel better, more confident and just plain happier.
25. Don’t Give Up – No matter what, I won’t stop. I will not be outworked, outsmarted or outflanked. I might lose some battles, but I will not lose the war. And, this is all because of #’s 1-24.