Strength and Courage

I believe that strength and courage go hand in hand. I even composed a quote years ago that touched on this very belief. It is as follows: “Have the strength to use the courage you have within, and have the courage to use your strength when it’s needed”.

Strength and courage can find and take many shapes throughout our lifetime. It doesn’t necessarily speak to physical strength or courage in the face of dangers. It could be those situations, but also any number of others. You could be at any number of crossroads where you may need one or both of these attributes. It could be a geographic change that you may be facing, a job or career change, a relationship or personal matter that may have you concerned, worried about, or struggling with. It could be literally anything at all. See, that is where the tricky part comes in. If it was easy we wouldn’t need either strength or courage. We always need to try to stay very much in tune with what is happening in our lives and what we are dealing or struggling with. Sometimes the easiest thing is not always the best thing and sometimes the gut can be wrong. Sometimes we just need the strength and courage to follow our heart and trust where it will take us. That can be a very rough road at times, but I will tell you that, many times, it will all be worth it in the end. Stay the course. Keep your chin up, an eye on the horizon, and the better times will come and be oh so worth it. I recently compose another quote that states: “A heart is never to damaged to follow”. Recently, I have come to realize how true that statement is. Our hearts get damaged, broken, and scarred over the years. That is part of life. What we have to do, is to try to not let those fears and scars from the past, dictate our future paths. If something feels right, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Its not always that simple, but it is usually a good place to start.

There is no question that life can get crazy and really suck at times, but it will not be that way forever. People will come and go as well from your life. Trying to realize which ones are worth you needing to hold on to and fight to keep in your life versus if they were just meant to teach you a lesson can be so very taxing. It can take a great deal of strength to weather some of those storms as well. Nothing in life is a straight line to where you need to be. The twists, turn, trials, and hurdles always find a way of telling us and directing us where to go and weeding out the unnecessary things and people. We just have to see it and find the strength and courage to tackle those obstacles as they come. The right people and opportunities will stay in the fold and be there until we finally realize that it is where we were being directed all along. We just don’t always see it at first. It’s funny how that is sometimes. I am a very firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Relationships, friendships, and life events. They are all placed in our paths for a reason. To prepare us for the great things that will be presented to us! If it wasn’t for all of the struggles, hardships, and scars, we wouldn’t truly appreciate the great things when they do come to us.

You may be asking yourself by now, “What does all of this have to do with strength and courage”? That is pretty simple. Simply put, life is hard and will chew us up and spit us out like nothing if we let it. Life doesn’t care. It just wants us to get to where we were meant to be no matter the cost or toll it takes on us. Making it through all of that takes a great deal of strength and courage to endure. Some of us have tougher lives than others. That makes us have to be that much more strong and courageous to withstand it all. However, nobody has an”easy” life. If they tell you the do, they are lying.  So as I said before “Have the strength to use the courage you have within, and have the courage to use your strength when it’s needed”. Make the hard choices. Stay the course. Be patient. It will all unfold and be worth it in the end!

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Attention Ladies…

Ok. So this has been on my mind for a while now, but after seeing and hearing some of what several of my female friends have gone through, and are going through, as well as a song that I heard recently that I could really relate to myself, I felt compelled to put my personal opinion out there. If it reaches or touches one person, then it is worth it to me. And yes, some of this will be scattered with my own first hand thoughts and experiences.

 

Several women that I know have had, or are having, problems with relationships with guys that either use, abuse, cheat on, or are jerks in general to them on a somewhat regular basis. Sometimes it is the same guy over and over. Sometimes it is different guys in a clear pattern of a “type” they claim to attract. I hear about this very often and sometimes see it first hand. It is actually heartbreaking because i care deeply for these women and hate to see them hurting so much. They are all strong, intelligent, beautiful, and caring women. They are the type of women that any real man would love to have in their life and treat her like the special women that they are. Yet, they are constantly treated like crap and complain about guys being jerks, disrespectful, dogs, assholes, etc. Saying they have no luck in finding the right guy who would treat them like they should be. Matters are not helped at all with unsolicited guys blowing up their feeds or phone wanting to hook up, sending nude pics, wanting nude pics, etc. That behavior is ridiculous and uncalled for. Yes, I am a guy who also finds that kind of unsolicited thing offensive and rude. To attract a woman, you must first act like a man, not a middle school boy just hitting puberty. Anyway, I digress.

 

Let me lay this out there for the ladies to think about. Most of you look all over app, after app, after app trying to find the right guy. Sometimes you do meet people out and about, yes. However, in today’s society, online “dating” is all around us and seems easier due to our demanding schedules.. There is one major flaw I see in the online options, especially the apps we use. Those are heavily based upon looks and outside appearances, not who people really are. Even if there is a space for a bio or an about you section, those areas are usually heavily limited in space that you can have to say what you need to say. So, we are becoming more fixated on someone’s appearance. If they aren’t hot, a certain height, or have some other physical attribute, we swipe no and keep moving. Sometimes it is materialistic things you look at. What kind of car he has. What are his living arrangements are. Does he have a house, apartment, or does he live some other way. All of those things are superficial and will get you nowhere in most cases if that is what you are focusing on. That is not learning about WHO he is or what type of man he is. Are some of these things important? Yes, to an extent. Physical attraction is part of the equation, but should not be the entire formula.

 

So, I say this ladies. I’m fairly certain that most of you have several guys in your life that are friends, or have been friend zoned by you, based on one or more of the previously stated restrictions you have put into place. In those groups, I am almost certain that most of you have exactly what you are looking for in a man and how he should treat you right under your noses. There are guys I’m sure in those areas of your life that care for you, support you, listen to you, etc. like no other man can. Not because of how you look, what you have, or what you may be able to do for them, but because they like you for YOU and who you really are. That you that could be no make up, bad hair day, bumming it out in sweats(or whatever), or just being you. They probably know more about you anyway because with the “friend” label” you feel more free to just be yourself around them, talk to, or confide in them. I bet you that they know these things because they actually listen to you when you talk. I can almost guarantee that there is at least one guy that is everything that you have wanted in one of these areas, but they are never given the opportunity to show you that side of themselves based on whatever excuse that you have labeled him with. So, you go about your life complaining about this guy or that guy while everything you want is right under your nose. Chances are he listens to all of this, but in the back of his mind, he is telling himself that he could treat you so much better. To treat you like you should be treated.

 

So, take time and evaluate those areas a little closer. Given an honest chance to prove themselves and show you who they are and how they can treat you, you may just see someone in a different light that you would have never seen them in. Sometimes the greatest things and people in our lives come out of the blue or unexpected places at unexpected times. Your “Mr. Right” could be right under your nose right now, or he could pop into your life at any moment. Don’t be so quick to label or assign someone as “friend zone” material. It could be the biggest mistake of your life.

 

P.S.- The song I mentioned earlier is “New Light” by John Mayer in case you were curious.

People in our lives

Life doesn’t always introduce you to people you want to meet. Sometime life puts you in touch with people you need to meet….to help you, hurt you, leave you, and love you. It gradually strengthens you into the person you are meant to be. ~Anonymous

I saw this quote today and it immediately struck a chord with me. It seemed to hit me right at home with some things on my mind as of late.

People come in and out of our lives all the time and for various reasons. As the saying goes, People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I, myself, am very guilty of trying to hold on too tight to people who are only meant to be seasonal ones. I try to hold onto everyone and make them lifetime staples in my life. I think that it is also fairly safe to say that many of you feel the same if you were to be completely honest about it. It is somewhat human nature for that to be the case I think.

Some people come into our lives and turn it upside down. That can either be in a good or bad way.  It is my belief that everyone we meet has been put in our path for a specific reason. It could be to teach us any number of things. It is up to us to determine what category to place these people. Their place in our lives can also be altered. Just because someone may be initially be placed in a seasonal status doesn’t mean that they stay there and couldn’t be moved to another place in our lives, such as a lifetime role. We are put in touch with people that we need to meet. We have all had people come into our lives that we thought would be there long term but are nowhere to be seen now. Was it a mutual decision or was no reason ever given? Who knows?

We all have people that we say we have regrets about. Am I right? However, would we be the same person we are now without them crossing our path? I’d say probably not. Did they leave you or cause you pain? Perhaps that was the lesson we were meant to learn from them. Without pain, how can we really feel and appreciate love? Without love, how can we feel and appreciate pain? Appreciate pain you may ask? Yes, pain sucks and nobody wants it. I get that. Without pain though, how can we really feel and appreciate the love in our lives.

People teach us things all of the time and we are usually totally clueless to it. All of these lessons build over time and make us who we are today, and who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow. We are ever changing. That is the beauty in life. People may hurt you, love you, leave you, or help you. All of these things make us who we are. If it wasn’t for the pain and hurt that you have endured, would you have the strength that you have right now? If it wasn’t for the love in your life, would you be as kind, caring, and warm-hearted as you are? If you took just a moment to think about your life, I could almost guarantee that you would be thankful for all that you have been through. Both good and bad. It all has combined to make you who you are at this moment.

We all need people in our lives. Every one of us. We need to know that we can still feel pain, love, happiness, and fear. To be reminded that we are not as cold and numb as we think we are sometimes. I am guilty of that as well. I feel cold and numb more often than not and am working hard to change that. I hate feeling that way. Yes, life has dealt me a lot of crappy cards that have affected me in a lot of bad ways. That does not have to define who I am or who I become. That is totally up to me, as it is up to you as well.

The people in our lives are also ever evolving. That is an absolutely great thing. That challenges us to grow and be better versions of ourselves by the things we learn and are taught by these people. Sometimes someone you have known a very short time has a deeper and more profound effect on your life than someone you have known for years. Feelings like love and happiness should not and cannot be determined by time. Someone you meet today may get you and understand you better than someone you have known for years. Isn’t it funny how that works sometimes? Perhaps the person that crosses your life is meant to learn or be helped by you. Maybe you can help them get through a rough time they may be having because you have been through the same situation, or a similar one. People aren’t just meant to help us become who we are. We are meant to help them become who they will be also.

I ask you to take just a moment today and do this one simple task. Just sit for just a moment and think about your life. Reflect for a moment on where you have been, where you are now, and where you want to be. Then thank the people that have helped you get to where you are now, both good and bad. You don’t have to physically thank them. I know that we all have people that we no longer want, or need, to associate with. Just utter a thank you out to them. Then, take a look at the people currently in your life. Thank them as well. They are teaching you things now that you will carry with you to help make you who you are meant to be in the future. You are NEVER alone in life, nor can any of us do this life alone. We all need each other, whether it be for a reason, a season, a lifetime, to help you, hurt you, leave you, or love you.

Things Larry Taught Us

I guess that I should start by giving you an idea of who “Larry” is. He is the father of two friends that I grew up with that recently passed away unexpectedly. People that I have known for 30+ years. That is only the beginning. There was way more than that to that man. As I sit here writing this, I don’t pretend to have known him as well as some others that may read this. You see, Life has taken me away from this area several times in my adult life. Thus, losing close contact with many people. However, I write this based on my personal memories as well as stories and memories from people closer to him than I had become. Those include his children, wife, other friends, and even my own brother.

Larry was much more than a father, husband, neighbor, and friend. He was a teacher. He taught those who knew him many things. Some on purpose and for a reason. Others he taught us without him even knowing. He was one of the hardest working men, if not the hardest, that I’ve known. I don’t mean just physically. I’m talking about his determination and commitment to anything and everything he was doing. Whether it was his work, his family, his friends, or just things he liked to do. Whatever it was got his full and maximum effort. He was all in with everything he did. He believed that whatever it was, do it right. I remember growing up that he worked a lot, but when he was home, that’s what seemed to get his focus. That is one thing that has always stuck with me. The ability to multi-task while giving your all to everything. He taught us that. To give your ALL in EVERYTHING you do no matter how big or small.

He wasn’t just a father to his kids. He was like a father to us all. If it was jut his children, the neighborhood kids, or friends that came home from college. No matter how many or few of us were there, we felt like his own. He showed us what it is to have a warm heart and an open home. Sometimes kids just seemed to miraculously multiply, but he didn’t care. He showed us all love and respect. Don’t get me wrong, if someone needed to be set straight, he would be that kick in the pants too. Larry was a firm believer in the philosophy that you could do anything that you wanted to. You just had to give it the effort it deserved and set your mind to it. He lived that way as well. If he wanted to do something, he found a way to make it happen. Nothing was ever out of reach for him.

As he became older, health issues started creeping into the picture. That never slowed that man down. He fought against insurmountable odds at times through several battles. He always came out on top. He kicked cancer’s ass twice! No matter what tried to break him down, he got back up, stood a little taller, a little stronger, and just kept moving forward. Not once did any of it break him. If anything, it made him even more stubborn. I mean that in a good way. He refused to quit or even give up a little at all. He just kept fighting and living life to the fullest. Nothing at all was going to stop him or break his will. He lived life his way and that was that. He was very involved in his kid’s lives as well. I mean seriously involved. Every play, game, graduation, etc. If they were doing something, he was there. His family came first, and he wanted it no other way.

Sadly, he was taken from us recently. It came very quickly and unexpectedly. Just like that, he was gone. The man had taught us to be caring, loving, strong-willed, determined, committed, and stubborn men and women. The man that taught us about overcoming adversity and difficult things, living life fully, being happy, and opening our home to people. The man that taught us all so much more than I could begin to put into words here. The man that not only taught us with his words, but with his own actions and life. With his passing, we are each grieving in our own ways. Therein lies the last, and probably most valuable, thing that he taught us. He taught us that we need each other. That family is not always by blood.

Godspeed Larry. You are missed greatly, but we will carry on the lessons you taught us. You were and are more than a father, a neighbor, a husband, and a friend. You are family. Now, us family that you left behind will take care of each other. Rest easy good sir. You did your part. Now it’s our turn.

Don’t quit

This topic is one that is VERY close to me, as myself personally and some people close to me have dealt with it on occasions. This particular one has been brought back to the forefront of my mind by news of a few events from friends of mine this week. What am I talking about? Suicide.

In my opinion, suicide in today’s society seems to be getting more common, especially with our youth. One of the things it carries with it seems to be a stereotype, or certain negative connotation, about why without us really talking or taking a look at the underlying issue(s) that caused it.

Life treats and affects everyone differently. Some of us are stronger or weaker than others. Meaning that something may not affect you much, if at all, yet that same thing could effect me very deeply and significantly. When talking about ANY mental health issue we need to keep this in mind. We are all different. With suicide, what also adds fuel to the ones left behind are a multitude of questions as to “Why” this happened. Even if a note is left(not always the case), there are questions about what led up to this tragic event. I believe that our youth are under a lot more pressure than we think these days. Not just from the parents and normal peer pressure but, also with the heightened presence of social media adding fuel to that fire. Today’s children are under a lot more pressure to “fit in” or keep up with so and so because they see someone else’s life, that they may present in an exaggerated light, plastered all over social media. It could be that they feel that their life is not good because it doesn’t “seem” to be as amazing as one of their friend’s might “appear to be” online, cyber bullying, a bad home life, or that they may just feel like they don’t measure up just to name a few. It could be any number of things that we don’t know or understand because we either choose to ignore it, or because we are so wrapped up in our hectic lives these days. I don’t think any of us can disagree that our society has changed dramatically in the past few decades after the introduction of more advanced technology and the ease of access to “stay connected” while also disconnecting with each other as a society.

As I said before, everyone is different and handles things differently. Along with that, successful and unsuccessful suicide attempts both usually are results to situations that, in many cases, are temporary and could be different. It is often hard for our younger people to see and understand that. Many things that are trivial to us are a big deal to them at this point in their lives. We need to try to remember that. Especially when dealing with younger people regarding this issue. As far as older people battling situations that may push them to suicidal thoughts, it is usually not a trivial issue but, more of a more significant situation. It too is usually just a temporary situation that gets to a point that they think it is too much for them to continue to deal with. Many of us left behind may not understand why one chooses to end a temporary situation with such a permanent result.  To be honest, when someone gets to that point, they often are so deep into whatever it is that nothing else matters or weighs too heavily in deterring them from what they are contemplating. Family, friends, or even spouses are often not enough of  a factor to stop them. This is not because they do not love us or care, they do. They are just so far into a place that they feel they don’t have a choice or that everyone would be better off with them gone. Their rational thought process is usually compromised by whatever they are dealing with at the time. It is one of those things that unless you have been there, it is very hard to comprehend. I say this not as total speculation but, from experience. I have several failed attempts in my past ranging from my late teens to as recent as the end of 2008/early 2009 with my most recent and last attempt. That was a span of almost 30 years to that point. In my cases, family, friends, my kids, etc. were not huge factors in stopping me. I loved them VERY much but was in such a dark place that their light wasn’t bright enough to shine through the darkness that I was facing. They were also each different but, took me to the same dark place. So, I partially speak from my own experiences. I would like to also add that I chose myself to seek help. I will never let myself get to that place again because of changes that I have made personally. I am not the same person that I was then, nor am I in the same place. I grew immensely from it. There is no “cure” for the battles and demons that some of us face. However, with the right tools and people around us, we can manage them in a much better way.

With that being said, to anyone out there that is in, or may be headed to, that dark place, I beg you to talk to someone. Anyone. Seek help and talk to anyone and everyone that will listen. Get whatever is weighing on you out in the open so that you can get the help you need to get through it. It will get better. I promise you that. I know that you may not see it now but, it will. Whether you are young or old, whatever it is, it will pass. So please seek help somewhere. You may think that you are doing people around you a favor but, you are not. You leave behind pain, hurt, tears, and many questions that we will not have the answers for. I know that you don’t want that anymore than we do.

I leave all of you with a few messages to carry forward…

We need to be more understanding and compassionate for each other. We do not know or understand what someone may be going through. The smallest thing or gesture can carry an enormous weight for someone else. Good or bad, it could change a life forever. To those battling something that may be getting you down, get help. Talk to someone. We love you and want you here. Whatever it is, it is guaranteed to be temporary. No matter how difficult it may be, it is temporary. Don’t quit!!

Gump was right…

Forrest Gump was right. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are gonna get. Let me dive a little deeper into my point if you will.

Let’s look at a box of chocolates shall we. Inside there are many different shapes, sizes, and colors. They all look a little different on the surface. Some are solid and some are filled with various fillings. Some of them we find pleasant, some of them we don’t care for. Does that sound pretty accurate so far? Ok, good.

Here is how life is very much like this box of chocolates. These chocolates are like the moments in our life. Even though some may look very similar, each one is different and holds within it something that no other has. I think that we can all agree that life itself is one giant continuous journey(the box) that is filled with so many smaller moments(the chocolates). Although life itself is quite important, what really matters are all of these moments that it holds. These moments are each unique and special. Some may look and feel similar, but no two moments are exactly the same. Each one is special unto itself. Each one also being filled with different things. Some moments are filled with things that make us happy, excited, feel good, etc. These moments, like the good chocolates, we like and want more of. We want to fill ourselves and our lives with as many of these pleasant moments as possible. On the flip side however, there are moments filled with hardships, sadness, pain, loss, etc. With these moments, we want as few as possible. Just like the chocolates that we don’t care for. Some of our bad or tough moments that we encounter, we need to dig deep and fight through to the finish. They won’t last forever. Other moments, we may be able to stop and take a different direction before we see it through to the end.

So I think that life really is like that famous box of chocolates. One enormous container that is full of many, many little moments. That, in my opinion, is the most important thing in life. The little moments. Some sweet, some sour, but all unique and full of surprising things. So, savor and enjoy the good moments, and do your best to make it through the tough and not so sweet ones. Make the most you can from all of them. None of them will last forever and you never know how many more you are gonna get.

Yeah Baby!

Every once in a while, if you are lucky enough, you come in contact with a person who is truly a life changing individual. Such is the case with myself and many others over the years at North Davidson High School in Welcome, NC and the surrounding area. People in that area know exactly who I am speaking of, Mike Lambros.

To many of us over the years, he has worn the hats of coach, teacher, mentor, father figure, and friend. Referred to simply as “Coach” or “Lambros” to many of us, Mike Lambros has had a monumental impact on all that have come in contact with him over the many, many years. Most of which has probably been an unknown to him until recently. You see, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer and has been defying odds in his unbelievable battle for the past 14 months. Since he was first diagnosed, there has been an outpouring of support for Lambros and his battle. This past week however, he took a turn for the worst and entered into in-home Hospice care. That is when the flood gates opened even wider and the love this one man has spread over the years came flooding back to him. For such a humble man, I’m sure all of the attention he has gotten has been heart filling, yet hard to take.

I’m fairly certain that no one that has had the privilege of meeting him will ever forget his infectious smile, love, or his trademark “Yeah Baby!”. I know I haven’t. I have been lucky enough to be one of the ones that he has left a lasting impression on. He just has a way of connecting with, uplifting, and inspiring people. He is just one of those people that you never forget. On and off the field he has definitely left his mark on the community that will live on long past his time here. That is quite obvious by the immense show of respect and love he has been shown this past week. From those whose lives he has touched, to the Reynolds building in nearby Winston-Salem lighting up the night sky in bright orange. This man knows now that he is loved and respected far more than he ever could have imagined. Respect and love of that magnitude is not given. It is earned!

What we do while we live can’t really be quantified. It is all relative. I do believe however, that your worth is not measured by material things, but in what you give of yourself…the people you touch. That is your real legacy….and the best legacy a man can leave behind is the people’s lives he’s changed. He always said “Be part of something bigger than yourself”. You sir have once again lead by example and have accomplished both. Although your impressive 800+ wins and 2 state championships are great, that is not where your true legacy lies. Your legacy lies in all of us that you have touched.

We love you Coach Lambros and you will live on in all of us by who we are and what we do because of you. #WeLoveLambros #LambrosStrong #ForeverABlackKnight

Travis Adkins

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Stories have two sides

Recently there was a tragedy in the area in which I live. After hearing some of what has been going on, it caused me to think more. Not so much about the incident itself, but more of how there are two sides to many stories or events. I have thought about that topic before, as we all have, but this time I felt inspired to speak for one reason or another. There are many instances in our country lately of just this and more.

This particular incident, a young boy lost his life. That is a tragic occurrence in any situation.  As with many of these ordeals, there has been an outpouring of emotion and conflicting stories of who this young boy really was as different people knew him. I will not get into this particular story, that is not what this is about. It is more about how these events, and others, usually have two sides, especially with young people. they often lead two lives. one their families see and are part of and another when they are with their friends. Both sides are part of these individuals as they are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in this world. This also applies to people of all ages, professions, and ethnicities. Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning the actions that some people choose to do or be a part of. There are still usually two sides. This applies to people on both sides of the law. I will state at this point that I am a very proud supporter of Law Enforcement, our Military, as well as our Firefighters, EMS, and other emergency service workers. I also not so naive that I believe that all are good or do the right things. However, the good far out weigh the bad. The same goes for those on the other side. Not all individuals are guilty, bad, or do wrong. That is my point. There are two sides and to most events. It is not fair, nor our place, to pass judgement on a person without knowing the whole story. Also, it is not our place to pass judgement or look at whole groups of people based on what a few do or the typical stereotypes that may be portrayed. At the same time, we may not like the outcome of what is found to be true. We need to grow up and just deal with that. Life doesn’t always go the way we want it. That’s ok. It is no reason to go all crazy and wreak all kinds of havoc because something didn’t go our way.

Our country, and world, are plunging into turmoil more and more everyday because of actions like these. Our judgments of people or groups based on what we believe to be true or by things we are simply told or overheard are absurd. The only way we can begin to make this a better place is to not be so quick to be judgmental or prejudiced towards people or groups. Who are we to do that? We all have to share this rock we live on. I understand that there will be conflicts, wars, etc. What I also understand is that we have to attempt to be civil and to cohabitate on it. It is vast, but also so very small. So, what I ask of anyone who reads this is simple. Be kind, be understanding, be compassionate to others situations and stories. We all are the same yet vastly different. Under all the clothes, social status, places of origin, and color of our skin we are ALL exactly the same. Like it or not, we are all connected in that way. Don’t be so quick to judge. Would you like to be judged only be someone’s perception of you and not the reality? Every one of us has a story, most of which have at least two sides. Think about that, just think. We can make this country and world great again, but it starts with us, not our leaders. We have to be the leaders and set the example from the ground up. We the people.

Paths we take…

Many times when we meet someone new and special that enters our life, we sometimes ask them “Where were you so and so years ago?” or a similar question. Is that really a fair question to ask anyone? Yes, you may, and probably do, wish that you came into each others lives sooner. However, let’s really think about that question for a moment. If you had come into each others lives, let’s use 15-20 years ago as an example, you both were probably completely different people at those times in your own lives. Would you still have some common interests? Maybe so, but there would probably be widely different other ones. Think about it for a moment. What events and circumstances have changed and shaped your own life over the past 15-20 years? Did you have children during that time? I’m sure you wouldn’t change that at all….right? What other people or things have come in and out of your life that made you who you are today? What life circumstances, such as employment…military service…changes in geographical location, have you undergone? Are you beginning to see my point yet? I bet you are. I am a firm believer in the thought that “Everything happens for a reason”. We may not know it, or see it at the time but, I believe that everything is a stepping stone to something or somewhere else. Some of those things are most certainly our own choices but, I’m not saying to always be looking for the next good thing either at all. Choices are merely just the best, or worst, decisions we can make at any given time with the knowledge that we have at that time. Nothing more, nothing less. Some are good…some not so much. That is part of the beauty of it all. The beauty in the realization that there is something much greater(whatever you choose to believe in) at work in our lives to get us where we are meant to be. How many times have you thought to yourself “Man, I never would have seen myself here X number of years ago.”? I can almost guarantee it has been more than once. That is precisely my point! Wherever we are in our lives currently, we are most certainly supposed to be there. Everything up to this point has led us directly to that point even though it may feel indirectly in our minds. Think of it like this. Let’s say you are walking down a path in the woods. Every step you took to get where you currently are on that path was made purposely but, without even really thinking about it or regretting any one or more steps before. Without those previous steps, you would not be where you are on that path. Am I correct? So, while you are on your path, don’t necessarily pay attention to your steps, but more so on the location of the path you are on. Enjoy it. Live it. If need be somewhere down the path, veer off onto a different one. Just make sure to be on the path you want to live on at this moment in your journey. Everything ahead is still being built and laid out before us.

Don’t defeat yourself…

As humans, it is human nature to feel fear from time to time. That is perfectly ok. It is what you do when faced with that fear is what is important. If you are faced with an emergency such as an accident or fire, then yes, most definitely run if you are inclined to. I know that there are 2 types of people referred to in these types of instances….Run to and run from. I, myself, am a run to. If you are a run from, that is perfectly ok….Run.

However, that is not the type of fear I am talking about. I am talking about personal fear. That fear of the unknown as we are faced with daily decisions in some cases. Those decisions that lie at the edges of our comfort zones. The ones that keep us from changing or doing great things. That fear is a sign that there is change or progress near. That is nothing at all to be scared of! That fear is merely an obstacle that is put in place to try to keep you in your comfort zone. Comfort zones are good but we should never live there permanently. We should always seek to grow and be better than we currently are. Whether that be personally, financially, or whatever the case may be. It feels great to face that fear, kick it in the (insert body part here), and move on to bigger and better things. That is the only way we can grow and improve. News flash, that fear will ALWAYS be there. as you move from place to place and continue to grow, that fear will present itself over and over again to try to hold you back. Get used to it, but never back down from it. Don’t defeat yourself, or cheat yourself, from something great that lies just beyond that fear. Face that fear with confidence, stare it down, and walk right through. I believe in you! You can do it!! Never stop trying to improve yourself or your life. That complacency will kill your dreams, your desires, and eventually…you. Leaving you with nothing but regrets. You are better than that! I know you are. You do too. Go make your life great and be happy in knowing that you are looking ahead while enjoying the present. Just because you like the present, doesn’t mean that the future can’t be even better. Let’s go live life and make it great! Who’s with me? Let’s go! Time to roll out!

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