Monday, June 29, 2015

Ante Up and Go "All In"

Why a poker face is not nearly as important as what
you’ve got left at the end of your bluff.

Remember when you were a kid and the sky was the limit?  You only had to wish or imagine what your future would be…and you were young enough to believe it was as simple as going and getting it.  You hadn’t hit any real obstacles yet… and life was fairly simple.  A lifetime in front of you seemed much like one continuous fast pass, with only a short wait in line before the next thrill ride.

As time goes on, you begin to set limits and consider the climb before taking your first step.  Maybe it’s a missed try-out for sports, a hill that popped your tire instead of the planned epic jump…or it’s the first girl or boy you liked, who didn’t like you back.  Early disappointments and bruised egos start to shape and shorten your runway and adjust your ultimate goals.

Your frame of mind has everything to do with your potential and when you limit your dreams, you create an invisible safety net…a stopping point, where you’re unwilling or afraid to go further or step forward across new bridges of opportunity and risk. 

I’ve been guilty of casting that invisible net in my own life as well as that of my three sons.  I have had the best of intentions, trying to shield my kids from being hurt or disappointed.

And despite those good intentions, I realize I’ve also passed on my fear of failure and inadvertently caused them to pull back when they should lean forward.  Like a game of poker, you bluff, you raise the stakes, sometimes you fold…but you always have to show your cards at the end of the game.

The game is a delicate balance of starts and stops, wins and losses.  And what if someone calls your bluff early?  What if you don’t get the card you’ve been waiting for?  If you fold, will you still be able to maintain a poker face and move on to the next hand?

It’s no secret that I have kicked my own game into high gear a little later in life, and most recently, I finally edited and published a book I wrote nearly 20 years ago.  But my kids have been cheering on the sidelines all along and at some point, my fear of failure gave way to setting a better example for my boys.  I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but my poker face was transformed and I was suddenly “all in,” moving from a good bluff to deciding which cards I had left to play in my hand.

Now every new experience or challenge I take on is embraced with reckless abandon and relentless tenacity.  I think in terms of what’s possible and rarely settle in and consider the impossible.  It’s changed my view and line of sight.  I’m older, questionably wiser…and yet somehow more determined and deliberate, ignoring my ego and embracing my battle scars, hard fought and earned.

I changed my mind in the middle of this particular game.  I realize now that the greatest barriers we face in life are the self imposed shackles and constraints we put upon ourselves.  You can’t be afraid to try and you have to be willing to take a few bad hands along with the good to win the game.

And finally, and most importantly, as a player, your definition of “winning” should be self defined and not based upon the chips distributed around the table.  I’m “all in” and I expect my boys to pick up their hands, with endless possibilities and Aces…and a few wild cards just to make life interesting.

If you believe you’ve got a great hand, you need to up the ante…because you could cash out at any time.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Top Ten Reasons Blue Collar Dads Rock...and Why I'll Always remember mine as the "Big Watashi"

  1. My Dad could make an ordinary weekday a supernatural wonder, whipping up magic potions from some leftover dry ice.
  2. He made the coolest banks ever, crafted from a metal clad pipe, welded closed at both ends, with just a sliver of an opening for deposits…but absolutely no withdrawals without Dad as the bank teller wielding a torch!
  3. Dad always had cool “stuff” and tricks well beyond “pull my finger”…as a kid I knew what mercury was way before Chemistry, having had a chance to see it up close and personal, rolling along the edge of a weathered and much loved work bench that rivaled even Santa’s workshop.
  4. This amazing and almost ethereal workbench, lit by a hanging, swinging fluorescent light fixture, with a vice grip anchored to its top for fixing and breaking just about anything we came up with.
  5. The brilliance of a dad, who could fix the unfixable…and the summer our dreams came true when he brought home a broken water fountain and tinkered with it to dispense chilled water, installed on the back of our house.  Forget the hose! We were livin’ large J
  6. Dad kept our “wheels” moving, replacing flat tires and broken chains effortlessly on 90-degree days, with sweat dripping from his forehead…and usually ending up with a fresh gouge or cut of some sort further demonstrating his already Herculean strength with a set of hands that refused to yield or surrender to any peril.
  7. Firm, strong hands made for holding my hand, pulling me back from danger, and letting me go even when he knew there was still unavoidable danger…the natural and painful learning process every child goes through in growing up. 
  8. Dad was a race car driver extraordinaire, making even a trip to the grocery store a fun adventure sitting in the back of an old blue Chevy station wagon.
  9. My dad had the absolute best retro vinyl recliner, constructed with more wood than fabric…offering plenty of room room for all of us to climb, cuddle, and wrestle with the self proclaimed “Big Watashi.”
  10. And when I was a little girl and too tired to climb the stairs and go to bed, he gathered me up in his arms effortlessly, even though he was already carrying the weight of the world and taking care of our family.
Here’s to every blue-collar dad out there being a hero to their kids every day.  Trust me, they will remember…and you are bigger than life to them!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Purge...Making Room to Grow!

Sampling of Sale
Took a break from our Saturday morning treasure hunts and decided to do a little cleaning out of our own…it only stands to reason that if you are a collector, at some point, you need to do a re-fresh and make room for new finds.

Not family heirlooms or anything like that…anything that remotely belonged to a family member or close friend, I cherish forever.  But all the “second time around” stuff…other treasures from different trees, they don’t always make the cut when I’m trimming my forest J

And so on this particular Saturday morning, I purged boxes and boxes…old and new stuff.  A few items, my husband had to pry out of my hand before I could let it go.  And wouldn’t you know, the items I hoped to keep (and priced especially high) were the ones that sold!

Made a little extra spending money, sent a bunch of remaining stuff to Goodwill…and importantly, made room for new and ever changing d├ęcor!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Social Media and explained by a couple of ten-year-olds

It’s a late night tonight for the middle of the week.  I’m sitting up watching my boys and a friend playing Minecraft on their tablets.

I have just recently embraced Twitter and am still learning the brave new world of social media and enjoying making friends virtually everywhere.  I know the basics, but I recognize I still don't completely understand the etiquette of conversations taking place in the biggest marketplace of ideas in history.

So when one turns to the other and says, “I hate trolls,” it catches my attention.  Not because I’ve never heard this term before but because I saw an opportunity to explain something new to them.  So I asked, “What is a troll?”  Without missing a beat, the youngest says, “There’s this really cool world we want to build in and this guy keeps trying to destroy everything.”

As the evening goes on, they keep trying to make him go away, but acknowledging his obnoxious behavior only further feeds his obnoxious behavior.  He keeps destroying the virtual buildings and treasures my kids spent hours building and then they realize that if they ignore him, he will go away on his own.

I am immediately reminded of the same sage advice shared with adults...“Never feed the troll.”  That always makes it worse.  If you leave them alone, they will go away on their own, without anyone’s platform to grab hold of.

At ten and twelve, my boys have figured out what companies spend big time budgets on in social media to protect their own treasures…little things like brands and reputations, owned assets with great followings and good conversation.  Take it from a couple of kids, who know how to play Minecraft in “survival mode.”  Much like kids with Minecraft, we are all "living" and trying to survive in the same world, trying to build it up and make it better.  Social media is one more tool to help enable all of us to make a bigger difference.  Don't feed the trolls and "don't mine at night!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Writing a Wrong and Picking Up Speed

Day two of my “stay-cation” and not feeling much different than when I’m working.   I’m spending my vacation trying some grassroots social media efforts around the launch of my self-published book, Following the Path of the Dinosaurs, A Childhood Saved From Extinction.

This project started twenty years ago (earlier if you count the lovingly saved and incorporated journals from the 1980’s).  About six months ago, I joined the blogging community, after realizing that my time capsule of journals simply had been born at the wrong time, and that there was a brand new marketplace of ideas just waiting to engage and share with.

I won’t quit my day job.  Yeah, I do Google AdSense for site clicks.  And yes, I’ve got a decent following of my small, but well nourished blogs.  But this has always been a passion play and I realize that saying I am a writer does not mean it is profitable or sustainable, without a successful career at my day job.

What I do know for certain is that something went into overdrive for me as if a light switch turned on, waking me early on Saturday and Sunday mornings, keeping me up late night.  Suddenly I found myself working under self-imposed deadlines.  And my capacity to do more happened almost instantaneously, as if a storm cloud cleared the sky, and the sun brought an abundance of light and energy to my creative side.

My net worth on AdSense is a little over a dollar and I’ve given away more books than I’ve sold at this point (about three weeks after my book went live on Amazon and Kindle). 

And I’ve taken the most logical next step; I started writing my next book.  Because I recognize that writing a wrong and realizing a dream is way more fulfilling than living in the “what if” fairy tale land.  We all have day jobs, solid and successful careers.  We bring more passion to work when we feed our individual passions.  For me, it’s writing a wrong…and becoming a long overdue official author.

I realized that sleep is over rated and that if you stop thinking about all the things you want to do when you have more time, you’ll find that taking it to the next level…going from wishing and hoping….to going and getting…will make dreams reality and importantly, carve out time when you’re already running a fast sprint.  Dig in, feel the burn, and you’ll see the finish line is closer than you think.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

#followdinopath free Kindle e-book! Ends at midnight

Want to read my book for free?  Act now or before midnight tonight!
#oldschooljournaling readers:  If you like my blog, you'll love my book.  Enjoy e-book free until midnight tonight !