Do we EVER really find what it is we are looking FOR?

Here you have it: People who know what they are looking for in life are the ones who actually make an effort to figure out what they really want in their life. Say what? In other words, do you find yourself genuinely satisfied or dissatisfied with yourself, income, home, and/or relationship if you’re in one? Even if you are happy with these things, are you consistently finding yourself looking for something better whether it is new landscaping inside or outside your house, a new recipe, job, car, friends, etc.? Do you find that you spend entirely too much time in your life trying to keep up with others, which cuts into your own happiness? I ask again… do you/we ever really find what it is we are looking for in life?

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I will be the first to tell you that are own human nature does not allow us to be content and if you are then lying to yourself, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough to get more, or you just might be content with the status quo. But how can anyone possibly be content with the status quo? Seriously? I’m not saying that there is not a way to be content or people cannot be satisfied in life with what they have, instead I’m saying that most of us blame and/or pretend that other people in our lives are the ones that cause us to be dissatisfied. Make since? Does dissatisfaction actually help create satisfaction? Or does unhappiness actually help create happiness?

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Over the years, I have learned that satisfaction, happiness, or finding what it is we are really looking for is in fact the by-product of living well just like Eleanor Roosevelt stated. We all have the right to be happy and we are the only ones getting in our own way of being satisfied or finding what we are truly looking for. As I continue to age, I am continuing to find what I am truly looking for in life, as my dissatisfaction with many things has indeed helped me to develop, improve, build, and accomplish many more things that I necessarily would not have. In other words and in as simple of a form I can state is that my dissatisfaction in life has indeed created satisfaction in my life. You?

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So, there you have it. Will you ever find what it is that you are looking for? Will you always be dissatisfied with the decisions you make/made or will you actually find what it is you are looking for and become satisfied with the things you do have? You graduated from school, got the degree or degrees, found the job, house, friends, and partner you desired. You have indeed found what you are looking for in life, so stop trying to tell yourself that you have not! Instead of creating doubt or unhappiness today, start creating satisfaction and happiness by embracing the things that you do have in your life (especially our children), as this simple suggestion will not only brighten your own outlook on life but also the outlook others have on their our lives. What is it they say? Happiness or unhappiness is contagious, so let’s all do a better job at transmitting happiness in our own lives, thus creating happiness in others. As always and with any of my articles, I hope you enjoyed it, look forward to your opinions here or on any of my other social sites, and your help spreading this or any of my other works with others. Moreover, until next time, and like always remember to KEEP SMILING, as it really does look good on you (>‿◠)✌

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CHANGE is the One Thing We Can ALWAYS Count On

ChangesEven though there are a million and one ways to describe a happy family there is not a universal way to describe the change(s) you and/or your family will go through. In fact, the one thing that is constant in our lives and that we all can be sure of is that… things will change. Yes, this may mean things will change for the better or they might change for the worse, as more and more people struggle to balance life, work, and the needs of their family and/or lives.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) English Naturalist

Ever since I was a young boy, I have never been afraid of change. Whether it was going to school, meeting new people, or going to new places I have embraced the changing landscape of my life, which is true to this very moment. However, it wasn’t until yesterday (my niece inspired me to think about this in her Facebook post) that I truly realized that change in my life is the one thing I count on and really look forward to the most. Even though my changing life has had both positive and negative aspects to it, for the most part it has been the negative aspects that have inspired me the most to embrace change further. Yes, I did say negative, since if I never had a negative experience I would have never moved from Michigan to Florida, gotten married/divorced, earned my Bachelor, Masters, or Doctorate, or even became a “Single Dad!”

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

Why then if “change is the law of life,” are so many people often frightened of change? Why don’t more people embrace changes in things such as technology, their lives, careers, or their family structure? Instead of thinking of change as a negative why, don’t we start to use the negative aspects of change as positive motivations for additional change? If you are anything like me you shouldn’t be afraid of change or failing (trust me it as it seems I have failed more than anyone I know) nor should you value other people’s opinions of change more than your own opinion of change. Don’t look at your disappointments in life as negative aspects of change but rather positive motivations for your long-term success(es).

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British politician.

Whether you are single, a cohesive family unit, or even a single parent if you want to be happier why don’t you give change a chance when it comes to advancing yourself, career, or raising healthy/happy children? As a single dad myself, I now realize this more than ever, as change has been the one thing constant enough in my life to help me build additional self-confidence, relationships, and my career even though these things may not had been the things I had always dreamed of. In order to further inspire myself and perhaps you through additional change here are a few things I do/have done over my life to embrace change.

1. Realize that your career and life will consistently change- The economy, people, and your career will change. Instead of feeling sorry about the situation, embrace it and adjust yourself to these changes.
2. Relieve your past experiences- Whether you are looking at positive or negative changes try to mold your future around them. Considering both positive and negative changes in your life will help you avoid these same changes later in life (perhaps this is more easily said then done?)
3. Take note of both positive and negative changes- Perhaps the best thing to do with anything or in this case, change in life is to write them down (i.e. positives and negatives). This should be as easy as starting or maintaining a journal or better yet with the advent of social media use Twitter, Facebook, or anyone of the other social sites to track your changes in your career or family. Remember documenting something in better than nothing in this aspect.

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Everyone whether you are young or old in a relationship or going it alone deserves to live a strong, happy, healthy, and successful life. If you identify both negative and positive changes in your past, perhaps you can do more to shape your future, while molding these changes into motivation that will help you change yourself or others you touch additionally. Remember if you have children to share with them not only the positive changes in your life but also the negative changes, as this also gives are beloved little ones the ammunition they will also need to embrace both the positive and negative changes in their own futures. As with any/all articles I write I would love your thoughts and/or your sharing/connecting further of this article on any of my/your social sites. Thanks again for stopping by and as usual until next time… KEEP SMILING ≧✯◡✯≦✌

Had I Knew Then, What I Know Now- Dating?

Who hasn’t said to themselves or others… “if I had knew then, what I know now?” I find if-i-knew then-what-i-know now-greenthis saying so cliché but so true, especially as a parent or in my case a single parent. As cliché as it may seem and what I really mean by that is if I had knew when I graduated from high school (or the other 4 times), got married, or had my child that life would not goes as planned, perhaps I would have made better choices in forming a life and career. In addition, if living life and managing your career aren’t hard enough (i.e. continually posing the I had I knew then what I know now question) throw in single parenthood and you have a sure recipe for the unexpected, especially when it comes to dating or even for that matter meeting another person.

As the story goes on, how about these “everything happens for a reason,” or “it is what it is?” Are these statements also cliché to you or do these statements carry the same merit as “had I knew then what I know now?” Does everything really happen for a reason or are things truly, what they are? Again, if single parenthood wasn’t hard enough and as time goes on, I must admit that I do believe everything happens for a reason and things truly are what they are just like if I had knew then what I know now. Nevertheless and as I continue down this new road in my life, what things can I do to further embrace these clichés and turn my poor judgment in picking women into a future built around a special woman that provides support, patience, and more importantly positive energy to me and my son?

everything-happens-for-a-reason-blueIt has been several years since I actually dated (i.e. had any type of relationship outside of raising my child). Before you ask, I’ll let you know that I have in fact tried almost every type of dating and even fishing off my own companies peer. However, each time I run into a potential partner, I find myself pushing her away before she can even ignite the relationship flame that burns inside of me. Why is this? The truth is I feel guilty that any potential relationship outside of raising my child will take away from his long-term success and happiness’s. More importantly, I feel if I do in fact fall for a new woman that I could potentially end up loving her more than I love my son (is that possible?) How then does one balance raising a child, continuing to build their career, and finding potential happiness with a new partner in this fast paced life we all seem to live these days?

I started this blog several months ago to not only write about life as a single dad but also ask questions that some of you may also have. Or better yet relate my personal and business life to yours, while providing sound advice and incorporating your feedback into my everyday life. Therefore, and especially since I want to get back it-is-what-it-is-limeinto the dating seen I know that I must lower my guard, feel less guilty, and stop questioning every little thing. Had I knew then what I know now, everything happens for a reason, and it is what it is have all changed my outlook on life but using these in a negative fashion instead of a positive fashion is what I (we) all need to do a better job at especially when forming new relationships. How about you? If you are single or especially a single parent how are/have/or do you tackle these questions in reference to the dating seen? What are some of the positives you have used? On the other hand, what are some of the negatives you have experienced?

As a parent, raising a child is probably one of the hardest things I have done or we can do and making sure we don’t let them down should always be our number one priority. Therefore, I welcome any and all replies here or on anyone of my other online profiles from y’all. Until next time and as usual don’t forget to keep smiling since it really does look good on you (>‿◠)✌

Stop Trying to be so MAGICAL & Just Relax

magic-kidJust stop it already! That is what I keep saying to myself anyway. Two weeks ago, I wrote an article on saying no more often to our children and it is something that I am continuing to make ends with in regards to raising a kid that is not spoiled beyond belief. Within this timeframe, I have also been asking myself why it is and more importantly, why it is I continue to catch myself saying yes, and trying to make my kids life so magical.

While I spend most of my time as a contractor for FedEx now a days, in the past I have been (still involved but not nearly as much) a blogger, consultant, teacher, and mentor that helped(s) to inspire others, their businesses, families, and children. Through these interactions and the continued evolution in my own life, I have had a front row seat to some good and bad behaviors others are and/or have exhibited in their own personal and business lives. These behaviors regardless of whether they are good and bad have allowed my own personal and business life to evolve. More importantly, I am continually learning that in business and life we do not need to hold some sort of magical halo over others and especially our children (i.e. trying to create some sort of MAGICAL world), as this usually doesn’t allow others (especially children) the opportunity to thrive or gain independence just like saying yes so often. Does that make since?

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” ― J.K. Rowling

As my time passes at becoming a better parent, my own parenting model also continues to take shape. What I mean most by that is what I (we) need to do more of is focus on the little things in our lives and not on all those magical moments others would lead you to believe are so important. I remember growing up in a world that was less connected online and more connected in real life. Not that it’s bad to be connected through social media but let us not use this as a median to compare ourselves with others all while trying to outduel each other. Additionally and as great as sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc are we should not let these and other social sites dictate to our young ones that there is some magic in doing things in excess to create some sort of magical childhood. Instead (this is especially important in a business acumen) let us get back to basics. Let us all do a better job at stretching our own child(ren’s) imaginations alongside ourselves by laying on the couch, taking a walk, or just sitting next to your little one(s) while you share a giggle or two. This my friends would be getting back to basics in a business since, while helping to create a more magically childhood for our children, not to mention relieving the stress of trying to keep up with the so called Benjamin’s (i.e. others on your friends list that consistently are trying to outduel everyone else on their friends list).

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Long story short and what I am trying to say here is whether you are going it alone or in a relationship with another person while trying to raise a little one or ones remember that us parents can easily make our child’s growing up magical by being simple. We do not have to take continuous vacations, throw extravagant parties, or take our kids places often. However, what we all should do a better job at is focusing on creating a magical childhood for a kids by simply being there for them, talking to them when times are tough, and simply hanging out. There are an excessive amount of parents out there that don’t even make an attempt to spend time with their children, even call them, or provide any type of support (financial or mental). Do not be one of those parents and simply take the time today, tomorrow, or the next day to spend a few minutes enjoying your child or children because time goes by way to fast for us not to. Don’t be like some of those other parents out there that overdue everything, simply do something, just a little something to create a real magical childhood for your child(ren). Until next time my friends have fun, creating real magical moments not made up ones. Oh ya and don’t forget to KEEP SMILING (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Why Do We Need to Say NO Anyway?

No!

Have you ever asked yourself what the true meaning of NO is? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, they define no as “a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer.” Doesn’t this definition seem pretty simple and straight forward? Why then do most people (especially parents) have such a tough time saying no to certain situations, others, and most importantly to their kids? Let’s face it saying no is probably one of the hardest things to say because most of us don’t want to hear it ourselves or be considered the bad guy especially when it comes to parenting our children, yes?

If you have been a reader or follower of mine for any length of time, you know that for as many years as I can remember (or you have read) I have been involved in sales/service throughout my career. With that comes a lot of NO’s. I have heard no told to me in just about every situation. The good… I no longer let a no get me down. The bad… I’m not completely sure that I am a good teacher to my kid in the no category, as I find myself saying “yes” to him quit often. Why is this? Why can I take a no but not dish out enough no’s in the parenting arena? Well the only way I figure I can combat my own weaknesses with the word no is to actually put into writing a couple ways to use no in a positive manner to actually help myself (more importantly) my kid grow up with a better idea of what no can lead to in the future for himself.

1) Honesty is the Best Method– I often hear other parents being talked into different items at different stores by their children even if they know they can’t afford it. Even if it’s a pack of gum or candy bar, more of us need to do a better job explaining to our children that even an extra dollar spent isn’t/wasn’t in the budget. A little honesty in saying no can/should go a long way and I would like to believe later in life my kid (yours too) should be more equipped to purchase things that he/they really need, not things he/they merely want. Be honest with them now and they will be honest with themselves and us later.

2) Find Replacement Words (Phrases) – Who doesn’t want to use other words that mean the same thing? Using alternative words or phrases for a simple no is a good way to mix things up, yes? We just mentioned that honesty with our children goes a long way perhaps instead of consistently saying no let us try to use more phrases like “maybe another time,” “let’s think about it,” or a simple as “not today!” These phrases are not a clear-cut no and give all us parents different ways to say no without be dishonest.

3) Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) – One of my favorite phrases throughout my sales career has always been KISS. This basically means that the more you talk the less people are going or be willing to buy. Why not use this same approach with our children when saying no? Instead of telling our kids no over and over again or using lengthy explanations, why don’t we try shorter explanations like “it is not okay to take the snack, controller, or toy away from that kid,” then simply give your kid an alternative like another snack, controller, or toy. This eliminates the use of no and replaces it an alternative explanation… KISS!

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Saying no to anyone, especially our children is hard. However, most people and more importantly children need to hear it and if they don’t then more times than not you’ll end up with a spoiled rotten brat, friend, or relative. I know this is a work in progress for my little family but I will continue to use my own strategies suggested earlier as well as others y’all might suggest. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and remember to keep smiling regardless of the circumstance.

Why Every Family Needs an “AUNT” and/or “UNCLE”

 

 

I love all my aunts & uncles

When looking back on my own life and now my kid’s life, I can’t help but think about how important an aunt or uncle maybe? Moreover, and yes, this also includes all of those aunts and uncles that we used to or now our own children refer to aunt or uncle because they are around so much just like a real aunt or uncle. Do you have or remember those family members or friends that treated you like they were your own aunt or uncle?

I am not too sure if this gives away my age or not? But do you remember Endora from Bewitched here is a refresher if not…


or the movie Uncle Buck?

If you remember either of these thanks in advance for not pointing out my age and I hope you had/have a chuckle on me for this reminder, as both of these characters in these television/movies are priceless. Do you think every family needs an Aunt Endora or Uncle Buck character in their lives? Again, I have to say YES, as these characters or actually people in many cases help our children with emotional and/or physical transitions. In fact, I mentioned these two (show/movie), as they are prime examples of how my own sister and other impressionable women (Endora) and several other men and friends (Uncle Bucks i.e. y’all know who you are) who have helped me and are helping my own child with answers to many overlooked questions. Yes, this also includes those simple questions that I personally don’t often ask or others that my son may and/or may not feel comfortable asking or even listening to me to come up in his own personal life answers.

As for my family, I am completely appreciative of my aunts (Endoras) and other friends/family (Uncle Bucks)  that continue to be a huge support for me and my kids life. Even though I am sure that I will continue to stumble upon topics and interests that I was/will not be able to address and/or handle as graceful as my aunts or uncles, I wanted to make sure y’all know how grateful I am for your support/continued support and advice.

aunt-and-uncle-happy

So my question to you this Sunday morning is, “Do you also have an Endora and/or Uncle Buck in your family, if so who and if not why do you think that is?” I hope posing this question makes you or others realize how important this role is in are young-in’s growth. Moreover, if you personally don’t have and Endora or Uncle Buck in your own life, I hope you at least consider enrolling one or more in your own or children’s life now (i.e. it’s never too late to start something new) in order to help fill those often difficult or overlooked gaps between you and your children (subjects and/or conversations).

Happy Sunday everyone and make sure you take a moment to tell someone close to you or others involved in your or your children’s life how important they are to you today. Until next time remember to keep smiling, as you know it really does look good on you!

Parenting: How Old is too Old or How Young is too Young?

parents-make-the-difference Do you ever ask yourself the question… how old is too old or how young is too young? What I mean by that is do you ever find yourself asking this/these questions in your personal, business, or children’s life? Think about it. How old is too old? Or how old is too young to play games or act like a child, how old or young do you have to be to make important business decisions, or how old does your child have to be in order to sit in the front seat of the car, sleep alone, or walk home from school?

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of being a single parent, life, or business in general is asking yourself questions that you may or may not have the answers to, hence another reason why I started blogging in the first place. The how old or how young questions and answers have been really been weighing on me lately, not because of my own decisions but instead because my child is now at the age I believe (he hasn’t mentioned this to me) that he is asking himself some of these same questions.

More importantly and one of the toughest things about being a parent (especially a single parent) is learning when not to become an over-bearing mom or dad by asking yourself the same questions every day. Let’s face it if you have kids or not who hasn’t watched the Pixar movie Finding Nemo? Remember at the beginning of the movie when Marlon (Nemo’s Dad) was thrown into the role of a single dad when a large barracuda ate his wife? Although this movie is fictional, I think that it portrays a good storyline of real life. In fact, this movie shows how parents (especially single parents) can struggle letting go of their children just like Marlon or as simple as when we finally have to let our own kids cross a road by themselves, drive a car, or leave the nest headed off to college.

Relating Marlon and Nemo’s story to real life, can you see the foreseen or unforeseen danger of letting your kids go? If you are like me… Probably not but one thing should be clear and that is if we don’t loosen up the reins on our kids more times than not they will start to rebel against us much like Nemo did when he intentionally sets out to rebel against his father for being so controlling. How old is too old or how young is too young to swim alone? With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment and share some of my own thoughts about how old is too old or young with all of you that perhaps we can all learn from or expand upon them even further.

  1. First and for the last eight years as a dad, I have learned (consistently learning) that we cannot prevent most of the mistakes our kids will make, however we can prepare for the mistakes our children will make by providing them with honest advice as they grow. This does not mean that we lie to our children either whatever the case. It simply means that we tell them the truth even if the truth hurts, as we do not want them to make the same mistakes as we or others in our lives have or did make, right? The simple what is right and what is wrong should suffice. Don’t be like Marlon in Nemo and be to over protecting or make up stories if you want to have an open and honest relationship with our/your children.
  2. Secondly, we all need to do a better job (i.e. parents, family, friends, teachers, etc.) at helping ours and other children become the people they are capable of becoming. Instead of consistently labeling one another as over-bearing, insecure, needy, show-off, helpless, timid, confident, etc., what we should be turning these labels (in marketing terms or in my point of view) “weaknesses” into “strengths” or in Marlon’s case swimming on your own.  Example– A couple of weeks ago my son (8 yrs old) and I were outside throwing the football back and forth to one another just like watching other older students or professionals on television. After a few throws, I realized that my son was having a difficult time throwing overhand and catching the ball (lots of pouting), so I decided to throw underhand and cradle the ball as he threw it to me (just like Marlon cuddling Nemo). Problem solved, right? Wrong, after a couple more throws like this I realized that if I continued to throw and catch this way (over protecting him from disappointment) he would give up trying to become better. So, instead I switched back to overhand, threw the ball up and made several catches to myself, and he got pumped up about the bigger, higher, faster is better approach. By leading instead of catering to him in just this simple game of catch, he realized that if he keeps trying with encouragement from me anything is possible. He now asks to play catch almost every day (positive reinforcement or strength), which is good and bad from an over worked 30 something year old man-lol.
  3. Lastly, we all need to do a better job at giving ourselves credit when credit is due. In other words stop asking how old is too old or how young is too young and start giving yourself/ourselves more pats on the back for being good parents because let’s face it there are a lot of parents that are not so good and involved in their children’s lives. Way to many times in our lives or parenting ventures we all become our own biggest critics or worst enemies. Being a parent is by far one of the hardest thing I done (ya and I have a DBA/PhD) but we don’t have to continually fight ourselves or over complicate things do we? Do we really have to listen to all the negative feedback by others personally in their lives or on Facebook and let that affect our own lives, careers, and parenting? Absolutely not! Lets stop being so hard on ourselves/yourself and start smiling more, admit to our past mistakes, and pass on our real-life past experiences of positivity to others and especially our children. Like social media and its ability to connect others, parenting should also be about connecting but instead of connecting with others we should be connecting more with our kids to show that we are there in whatever capacity (physically, mentally, or emotionally) for them. Today and every day forward, pat yourself on the back, give your kid/kids a hug, and tell yourself and others what a good job you/they are doing in whatever capacity.

Letting GO!

In the end of Finding Nemo, Marlon seemed too had learned from his mistakes and looked at parenting in a completely new light, I even believe they made another movie. Instead of being a parent that is consistently trying to secure your/our children, let’s all try to encourage and also not be such an over bearing insecure one. As parent’s we all must ask the difficult how old is too old or how young is to young but more times than not we need to ask these questions less (or at least I do). In other words, we need to water our seeds less and let them grow more, as they were intended to grow with moderate water and sunshine. These my friends are the trees (our children) that will grow into long lasting landscape that we are really trying to create, yes? Ask but not too much and plant but not too much water in order to maintain those landscapes of our future generation.  As always, I look forward to your opinions and like usual don’t forget to KEEP SMILING, as it really does look good on you!