Warning – Although this is a remodeling blog – I sometimes choose to ‘go reflective’ on lessons life is teaching me. This post falls in this category.
I’m in the most dynamic place of my business career (at the ripe young – yes that is underlined for importance – age of 59). It’s amazing how a new product launch with a laminate shower wall panel system with unlimited potential can light a fire under this young (OK – I’m stretching young a bit here) dude.
I see many of my similar-aged business buddies winding down. They’re retiring, selling their businesses, or hanging on to work a few more years.
Me, on the other hand, I’m doubling down. I’m taking bigger risks. Ideas are exploding in my brain. I’m experiencing opportunities larger than at any other point in my career. I’m a man on a mission. I’m moving at a pace like I’m 29 or 39 years old.
All of this sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Well, while it is darn good (and I’m blessed indeed for these opportunities), but perfect it’s not. As my father Joe told me when I was a green-behind-the-ears 25-year-old, “Son, you will be tested.”
While Dad was right, what he didn’t tell me I was going to be tested again and again and again. Life would not, can not and will not be a straight line up (and that sucks). I’m still dealing with (whether I like it or not) my (un)fair share of battle scars.
Warning – This post is not about home remodeling. It’s about reflecting and being thankful for today.
I’m so excited for Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Our dinner includes my sister in laws world famous (OK – I’m exaggerating, but not by much) Greek-style chestnut stuffing. In fact, I don’t let her in the house until she turns the stuffing over to ME! My sister Venera makes a killer classic cheesecake. My brother in law Gulio’s takes control of two fried turkeys (he resembles a master scientist in his meticulous cooking process). And I can’t forget Rose making my (almost) brother in laws Mark’s favorite – baked brie with cranberries on the top. Yum!
There will be laughter. Lots of laughter.
There will be candles burning and a table setting fit for a King and Queen (no King and Queen have shown up yet…maybe this year).
After dinner I will be manning my “battle station” (AKA the kitchen sink) along with Mark. We will be hand washing the fancy stem wear and huge platters which only come out on special occasions. I love doing this job (yes – I’m weird). The kids (note: these “kids” range between 15 years old and 29 years old now) will be playing Candy Land (a fun traditional my daughter Jade looks forward to).
While all this food, family camaraderie and cheer are fantastic – this IS NOT what Thanksgiving is about to me.
Thanksgiving for me is about reflection. Reflecting on my too-many-too-count blessings. As someone reading this post you are part of these blessing as well – even if I’ve never met you before yet (read on to find out why).
I hope my blessings (I’m an eternally optimistic glass-half-full guy) help you find good things to embrace in your life today (even if you’re going through tough times).
This week I’m veering off the remodeling path in this reflective post about personal inspiration – back next week with more remodeling thoughts.
Taking time to reflect
I don’t mean to be “Mr. Downer” but if God wanted me out of here I’d be 6’ under by now. That’s what 2 significant heart events in less than a year will make you – or me in this case – think. However – I’m still ticking. Running an hour a day. Working more hours than I should, writing two blog posts per week, trying my best to be a good Dad and husband. Life’s challenging health events haven’t slowed me down but they have kicked up my desire to reflect on life’s journey and to keep plugging –keep moving –keep learning – and keep growing.
Who the heck I am?
In case you’ve arrived at this blog for the first time I’ll give you the 2–minute low-down on me. I’m a 56-year-old “slightly graying” (being generous to myself here) married guy from C-town (Cleveland) with 3 somewhat grown kids (their maturity and mine depends on the day) who is a fanatical entrepreneurial business owner, Christian, over the top runner and just dumb enough guy to be a Cleveland Browns fan.
Back to the story
I’m on a plane now headed on the cross-country trip to Portland Oregon to my nephew Nate’s high school graduation. While others are sleeping, watching YouTube videos or talking to their seat mates, I’m alternating my time between writing (on a “vacation day”) and reading an excellent book by John Maxwell titled 3 Things Successful People Do and the moment hit me like a ton of bricks. Why am I wired to keep doing when others are relaxing? Am I nuts (OK I might resemble this remark)? What makes me inspired to do what I do – and more importantly, what can inspire any of us (even if life has you or I down right now) to dust ourselves off and gain inspiration to keep going, striving and progressing?
Where I’m going with this post (striving for more evolution)
My goals in this post are two-fold.
First, I’ll share with you my personal reflections and what’s keeping me moving these days despite a crazy-busy life shared between faith, family, friends, business and more than a bit of writing.
Second, and most importantly, I’d like to talk about “evolution” – but not in the scientific sense (definitely not bright enough to talk about that!). I believe as people we are all in one of 3 states. We’re either evolving (learning, growing, trying new stuff), revolving (stuck in the cog of life’s grind) or we’ve dissolving (bitter, hurt and headed down the abyss of negativity). From day to day and even moment to moment life’s circumstances can move us back and forth like a human yo-yo between these 3 states. The goal in life (in my humble opinion) is quite simple. It’s to evolve, to live out our purpose, to be used up at the end. Towards that end, in the last part of this article I’m going to pose 5 reflective questions I use to guide me to get back into the state of “evolution” when life’s twists and turns want to pull me down. My hope is these questions will help you too. So, as Larry the Cable guy would say, “Let’s get ‘er done!”
This post is about learning from life’s circumstances, it’s not going to help you with your home remodeling project – but it could help you with (what I’ll call) “personal remodeling!”
It happened again…. another fateful Saturday morning run
I’ll admit it right up front – I’ve got an obsession with running. Every single day, 1 hour a day (and I frequently post to social media while I do it). Yes, I’m a sick guy! But this post is not about my continual daily jogging discipline, it’s about the pain near my heart (again) which stopped me in my “tracks” (or basement concrete floor in this case) – and the personal learning which followed.
Taking a quick step back
For those of you who have been following along at home (and like reading my blog) you know on a beautiful sunny morning on June 4th 2016 I suffered a heart attack while running up a hill in my Akron Ohio neighborhood. I reflected on this event and what I learned from it in a post titled, “I get to live my 1%, 7 simple steps on living life more fully.” But let’s get back to today’s story.
Saturday January 7th 2017 – Local ER trip #1
There was nothing special about this day. I was doing the usual – early morning laundry, blog writing and social media posting. Then it was time for my run. I’m 35 minutes into and my mind is escaping into the exercise – getting into that “runners state” most people think you’ve got to be crazy to experience. Then it started.
A pain and pressure in the center of my chest. What????? Not again!!! The pain wasn’t crazy and nasty. Something told me it’s just not right. I didn’t fall off this cardiac train yesterday.
I was smart enough to stop – but then kept walking for a bit (need to try to get that 1 hour in). I told Rose (my wife/Dr. and smart one in the family – ha! ha!). I knew where this was going to lead. The ER.
Emergency room trip #1. Blood enzymes – good. EKG – good. Blood pressure, pulse – excellent (I always rock those stats). Got to watch the Steelers blow up the Miami Dolphins 30-12 in between waiting for all the test results (I know my East Coast business partner and friend, Ron Clelland, is smiling about this game). I’m sent home (cool) with a date for a stress test on Tuesday January 17th.
Warning – this post is about life, not about remodeling!
Early Saturday morning writing and posting ritual
Saturday morning June 4th started out in my usual wacky entrepreneurial way. Got up at 4:15. Put on my running clothes. Fed the cats. Got the laundry started. Went into my den (joined by my favorite pet Sammy – a beautiful Maine coon cat). Started cranking out another remodeling article for my blog. Got the first draft done. Then did a little bit of social media posting (I’m not only an owner of a few remodeling businesses but I’m also a CDMG – Certified Digital Marketing Geek!). Normal day… so far.
It’s now 7:30 and light outside and a beautiful sunny day for my morning run through my peaceful suburban Copley Ohio neighborhood. A little stretching, crank up some R & B tunes on my Spotify playlist and I’m ready to rumble for my one-hour EVERYDAY run (I am a bit – OK – maybe more than a bit – obsessed with running). I’m ten minutes in (not really rocking it yet) and started making the trek up Regalstone Dr. hill like I’ve done thousands of times before. I’m feeling a bit more tired than normal, not sure why. Then I start to notice a throbbing pain on the right side opposite my heart. I say to myself, “You must be imagining things. Suck it up and keep going.”
On I went for another 10 minutes and the pain is still there. Not an unbelievable crazy nasty pain – just something I’ve never felt before but it’s consistent. Divine intervention (as I will figure out later) tells me to stop running.
When I’m running I never stop (that’s what a somewhat crazy type A driving entrepreneur does – we never stop!). On this day I did stop. I thought should I call my wife Rose or just walk back. I opted to walk back, the pain’s really no big deal. I saw a 30-ish woman run by me with her child in the baby jogger. I was perturbed. I felt defeated and thought “who am I – some old guy who has to walk for exercise? I’m a runner – doggone it! Yes, I’m 56 years old but I should be blowing past this woman with her kid in tow (now there’s the competitive entrepreneur coming out of my brain)!”
Got home. Told my wife Rose about the pain and said I’d drive myself to the Akron General Emergency Center 2 miles from the house (I’m thinking, “I got this – I’m in control!”). Rose – being the smarter person (and also Dr. in the family) says “Not so fast. I’m driving you Mike.” Leave it to wives to stop husbands from doing stupid things. Of course I took a shower first (don’t want to be smelly in the ER!)