Personal posts

When You Help Others, They Will Help You. Including Google Reviews!

Last week, I asked a question. The question was, “are you feeling overwhelmed?” And one of the solutions I talked about was walking. The reason this works well for me is that it gives my brain some space to work and it also crosses something important off my list… exercise.

The day after my post went live, I went for a walk at the Lenexa Rec center. I’m always looking for something interesting to listen to while I walk, whether it’s a new Spotify playlist or someone talking about an important topic. I’ve mentioned Simon Sinek in past blog posts… and I stumbled on one of his speeches that I hadn’t heard before.

That link will take you to YouTube, and the video is 39 minutes long. My hope is that you can listen to this next time you are walking, on a long drive or have some downtime. I think you will find it worth your while and maybe even inspirational.

When You Help Others, They Will Help You

Helping OthersOne of the things I took away from that presentation was the real world examples he used to prove that when you help others, they will help you. He goes into a story about how the military works. How the men and women in service are willing to give their lives for each other. He explains how this happens, and it’s compelling. (Here’s a direct link to that part of his speech.)

Basic training is where this begins. Many of the people joining elite branches of the military are incredibly fit and physically capable. And at first, the goal for some is to try to finish first, to prove how good they are. They want to impress their instructors.

But the military knows that the only way for these men and women to succeed and form a bond with their fellow recruits is to put them in situations that they can’t accomplish on their own. They make obstacles too wide to cross without the help of a teammate. The recruits that aren’t willing to help others get to the finish line, so that everyone can finish, end up being excluded from the group. They learn the hard way that they’re going to succeed as a team or not at all.

This story was part of a bigger idea… paraphrasing, “We have to feel safe with the people we live with and work with. If we don’t feel safe, we’re forced to spend time and energy protecting ourselves from each other. This makes the entire organization weaker and exposes us to external danger.” And the only way we’re going to feel safe with the people we live and work with is by supporting each other through many situations. Consistently.

It really does work… Google Reviews for Blue Gurus

Leaving a Positive ReviewAs I was thinking about the idea of helping others, I realized that this happened for me recently.

Blue Gurus only had two reviews on Google… because I’d never really focused on it. I decided to send out about thirty requests to people that I trust, respect and do business with. People that I’ve known for many years. People that I have strong relationships with because we’ve helped each other through many situations.

I asked them if they would be willing to give me a Google review. The shocking and humbling result is that every person went online and gave a 5-star review for Blue Gurus. I even got apologies from some… because it took them a week to get to it. This happened right on the heels of me listening to Simon Sinek talk about how far people will go to support you, when you’ve supported them. Cool.

So next week, I’m going to share how you can ask people that you trust for a Google review. There’s no easy way to send a link that they can click on to get to the place where they can leave a review. But I figured out how to create that URL and will give you step by step instructions.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you end up watching Simon’s presentation, and what you think about his content.

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

There have been plenty of times in my life when I’ve felt overwhelmed. The good news is that I’ve been in a pretty good place for the past few months. The reason I’m writing about this is that I’ve had people tell me recently that they’re stressed out and feeling a bit overwhelmed. And not just one or two people. It’s at least a dozen. Many are professional relationships, the rest are personal relationships, and they’re all people I consider friends.

Definition of overwhelm

How do you define overwhelmed?

There are lots of definitions for the word overwhelmed. For me, it’s when too many things are coming at me and I don’t feel like I have enough time to get it all done in a reasonable time frame.

The definition I found in the dictionary is “bury or drown beneath a huge mass” or “giving too much of something to someone.”

Real world examples include too many emails to keep up with or too many appointments in a day or week. It could even be something small like too many Happy Birthday/Anniversary/Job Promotion wishes on Facebook and LinkedIn that you feel obligated to reply to. Or something big like, “if we don’t sell enough in the next quarter, we will have to let good people go.”

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

OverwhelmedWhen I feel overwhelmed, I usually react in one of two ways. One is positive and one is negative.

The negative reaction is despair and procrastination. It’s embarrassing to admit, but true. And the unfortunate thing is that this kind of response causes a downward spiral. I have an active imagination, so I tend to dream up lots of ways the challenges and problems are worse than they actually are. And by procrastinating, nothing is getting done, which just piles on to the idea that there is too much to do.

My positive reaction is to go for a walk. When I walk for an hour, I’m crossing something off my list for the day… exercise. And the feeling of crossing something off my list gets me on the right path… getting important things done. And walking feels good. When I’m feeling good, I’m in a better place to mentally process the things I need to get done. The list doesn’t seem as long or as hard as it did when I was sitting at my desk. Oh, and because I have an hour of walking to do, I can make some calls (productive) or listen to podcasts or YouTube (fun). Both are helpful.

Go for a walk?

Jason HugMy hope is that this story finds you happy and healthy. But if you’re not in a good place and feeling overwhelmed, I hope you’ll consider taking a 30 minute walk to see if it works for you like it does for me. And if not that, then do something you love for 30 minutes that doesn’t take a lot of focus. Biking, running, listening to music, whatever.

And there are going to be a few people reading this that know I’m talking about them in this story. The ones that have recently shared their stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Please know that I’m rooting for you.

And for those of you reading that I don’t know personally, I’m rooting for you too.

How Happy Are You?

Post written by Mic Johnson, talking about routinely asking yourself, and others, about happiness

How Happy Are You

Jeff Serven showed up at my house at 6:30 a.m. with the book “The Slight Edge” in his hands. We had talked about the book on one of our previous morning walks together.

Jeff said he loved the book and thought I’d enjoy it too. (I’m only three chapters in, but I definitely like what I’ve read so far.)

Now I normally take my morning walks alone, but when Jeff told me he’d like to join me, I was totally up for it. (If you want to join me sometime, shoot me a note at mic@bluegurus.com.)

It wasn’t just that I’d have someone to walk with that interested me about Jeff’s request.

It was the fact that when you’re walking 3-4 miles, you’ve got nothing but quality time to talk…REALLY talk…about things that matter and not just the small-surface-level-kind-of-talk.

I crave opportunities like this and, as I’ve gotten older and presumably wiser, the small talk is of less interest to me.

As we hit the final strides of our walk and had talked about all kinds of topics around life and business, I asked Jeff the question that inspired this post:

“On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you?”

Jeff answered the question openly and honestly. I could tell it really made him do a quick mental inventory of where he was at in his life.

I loved listening to his response, hearing the great things that bring happiness to his life, while at the same time highlighting those things he’s still working on.

Jeff then he turned the tables and asked the question of me. Ironically, it actually caught me a little off-guard. No one had ever asked that question of me before.

I shared my open and honest feelings with him about those things in my life that are bringing me joy and happiness…and those things that I’m still working on that would move my happiness needle a little bit further along.

It was a great way to spend the last few steps of our walk together. I appreciated his honesty, his vulnerability, and his desire to continue to work on improving himself.

As I contemplated our conversation on the way back to my house, I realized that I’m routinely asking myself, sometimes consciously and oftentimes unconsciously, how happy I am. I think it can be a healthy practice to do a regular “check in” with yourself from time to time.

It also reminded me of the importance of routinely scheduling awesome people and things in my life to make sure I’m doing my part to contribute to my own happiness.

Finally, in an odd twist of fate, as I was writing this post, I got a text message that said “Walkabout Wednesday or Friday?”

It was from Jeff.

The journey to happiness continues…

LEGO is for big kids too. Especially the LEGO 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon.

By Jason Terry, talking about his love of LEGO and recently building the biggest LEGO set ever produced, the LEGO 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon.

As I was getting ready to write this story, I had my doubts. LEGO is a hobby that I’ve loved since I was a little kid. I’m now 47 years old and I still buy LEGO sets. As I thought about sharing one of my hobbies with you, my internal negative voice said, “but it’s not professional… are you sure you want to risk putting that out there?”

My answer? Absolutely. Why? Because no matter what you love to do when you aren’t working, there are a ton of people that share the same passion. And putting it out there is the first step in making a connection with someone. So yeah, it also has a business purpose.

The LEGO UCS Millennium Falcon (Ultimate Collector Series)

LEGO 75192 Millennium Falcon: Starting to BuildThe LEGO UCS Millennium Falcon is the largest LEGO Star Wars set ever produced. For that matter, it’s the largest set LEGO has ever made period. I’m a huge fan of the Star Wars franchise, and when you combine that with LEGO, count me in. A typical LEGO set might have a couple hundred pieces, some of the larger sets around a thousand pieces. The UCS Falcon has 7,541 pieces and the instruction book has 468 pages with 1,379 steps for putting the set together. Want to see what that looks like? Here’s a link to the PDF of the instruction book.

When it was released in September of 2017, it sold out in a few hours. Keep in mind that the set is $800 and the LEGO Group had produced thousands of copies. They had no idea how well it was going to be received. I woke up at 2am on the morning it was released to try to order it online and it was already sold out. Sad face.

eBay to the Rescue

I ended up finding it on eBay a few weeks later at a premium, but not too much over what I would have paid in the store. Happy face!

I started putting the set together a little bit at a time. There was no way I was going to knock it out in one sitting like some people did. Their build times ranged from 13-15 hours. I wanted to enjoy the process and see it come together over time. It took me a little over a month to finish in 30-minute increments a few nights a week. And it was worth it. It’s the most amazing LEGO set I’ve ever built.

LEGO 75192 Millennium Falcon: Making Progress LEGO 75192 Millennium Falcon: Almost Done

When I finally got the set built, I realized just how massive it was. And it was going to be a problem to find a place to put it. I realized I needed some kind of stand to put it on so that it would be on its side. That way it would be taller, but have a smaller footprint. I found instructions from a LEGO enthusiast named Efferman. He created a LEGO Technic Display Stand as well as the instructions to build it. The only problem is that I didn’t have the four hundred and seven LEGO pieces required to build the (complicated) stand.

BrickLink to the Rescue (Lots of Rescue Going on Here)

Efferman's LEGO Falcon Technic StandRemember me telling you that there are a ton of people that share the same passion you have about a particular hobby?

There are thousands of people that sell LEGO pieces in an online market called BrickLink. And when a build like Efferman’s LEGO Technic Display Stand becomes popular, the sellers on BrickLink package up all the required pieces so that you can buy them with the click of a button. So I went to the “Buy Parts” link on Efferman’s site and found a bunch of BrickLink sellers offering the parts for the display stand.

The guy I ended up buying the parts from lives in Stelermark, Austria. His name is Daniel and his BrickLink store is called Alpine Bricks. He currently has over 10,000 lots available for people to buy, so it’s actually a small business. And he’s just one of thousands of sellers on BrickLink. It’s crazy, right?

Anyway, I got the LEGO parts in the mail in less than a week and built the stand. (It was a complicated build on its own!) But when it was finished, it was sturdy and would position the Falcon on its side. It ended up looking like it was in mid-flight!

Done. Finally.

LEGO Falcon CompletedHere’s what the LEGO Falcon looks like displayed in my office. I put it on top of one of my book shelves because that’s about the only place I had room for it.

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you may notice the Death Star coming out of the wall to the right of the Falcon. It’s a cool decorative light from 3DFX. (Yes, it has batteries and can be turned on when the lights are out.) And fans of the Pixar movie WALL-E might see a familiar face on the shelf under the Falcon.

And there you have it. I obviously love LEGO and put some energy into writing this story because I care about my hobby. Some of you won’t have gotten this far because you could care less about LEGO. Others might feel a little spark of delight because you remember building LEGO as a kid. Or maybe you’re still building with your own kids.

It will be interesting to see how people react to this story. Do you enjoy LEGO? Is there a hobby that you are just as passionate about? I would love to hear about it. And don’t forget… don’t be afraid to share something that you love to do with the world. Yes, even if it’s in a business setting.

The Only Real Goal I Have In My Life

Mic JohnsonHey there, thanks for stopping by. It’s Mic Johnson here, and I wanted to share some thoughts on the only real goal I have in my life. 

I’ve heard countless “experts” on life and business over the years talk about the importance of setting goals.

Now, to be sure, there’s nothing wrong with setting goals. Do whatever works best for you.

Personally, I haven’t really subscribed to that philosophy over the better part of my post-college personal and professional life.

I’m not sure exactly why that is, but I think one of the reasons is because I lost my dad at such a young age (He was 46. I was 23). That moment in time has stayed with me all of these years and has been my constant companion, reminding me that we only have one life to live…so we would be wise to make the most of it.

It’s not that I haven’t had aspirations about my life, career, retirement, etc. I’ve just never been one to listen to other people who tell me I HAVE to have a 5-year plan, 10-year plan, and so on.

In fact, the only real goal I have in my life is this:

I want to have as much fun every day doing things I love with people I love.

Only GoalIt’s really that simple for me. I regularly remind myself of this life-goal and I’m intentional about setting up my days, weeks and months accordingly.

Here are just a few examples of some of the things I do to be true to the spirit of that goal:

I love meditation.

I start almost every morning with 20 minutes of meditation. It’s a great way to start the day and set the tone for everything that each day brings.

To learn about my meditation practice, check out Get Out of Your Mind and Get On with Your Life.

I love taking long walks in the morning.

An hour-long walk typically covers about three miles and it’s a great way to clear my head, listen to music or podcasts, get some sunshine on my face, get some exercise, and have time to contemplate where my life is and where it might go.

I always feel mentally and physically refreshed after a good, long walk and I’m super excited that Spring finally appears to have come to Kansas City for good.

(Jason got me started on regular walking last year. You can read about his journey here: How Fitbit is Changing Jason’s Life…10,000 Steps at a Time.)

I love working with my Blue Gurus clients.

I get a lot of energy from spending time with my clients, helping them share their stories through their blog, building websites and coaching them up on LinkedIn. My clients mean much more to me than what they pay me to help them with.

I’m acutely aware that their trust in me and what Blue Gurus does allows me the opportunity to do a lot of other things I love to do.

My clients are my friends and an extension of my family. I will do whatever I can to help them personally and professionally.

I love spending time with awesome people. And I’m intentional about making sure it happens.

I have two peer groups that meet monthly called Introducing Awesome and IA2 (Introducing Awesome 2).

I also have quarterly lunches set up with select people who give me positive energy…and for whom I do the same. Knowing that each week usually involves a handful of awesome people routinely gives me something to look forward to.

FrontPorchFriday

A glimpse of #FrontPorchFriday in action.

Oh, and one more thing…My wife Missy and I also started a tradition a few years ago called #FrontPorchFriday, where we’ll start the weekend a little early and enjoy food, drinks, friends and family on our front porch. We do it as often as possible when Mother Nature and our schedules allow.

I love using WhatsApp to keep in regular contact with friends and business contacts.

If you haven’t checked out WhatsApp and aren’t using it to keep in touch with people/groups who give you energy, check out How WhatsApp Helps Me Build Personal and Professional Relationships.

It really is a fantastic tool that has a lot of practical applications for personal and business interactions.

I love helping my wife Missy grow our meeting and event planning business, MJMeetings.

Now in our fifth year in business, I love seeing how many clients Missy and MJMeetings have been able to help with their annual meetings, fundraisers and other events.

She’s learned so much over the years after taking the entrepreneurial “leap” and it’s rewarding to see her work with people who truly value who she is and how she works. Because we’re both home-officed a good portion of the time, I also love talking about business and life over our “lunch breaks” several times a week.

Those are just a few of the things I do with regularity to help support my life-goal. I’m curious what YOU do? Do you set regular goals or do you have one primary goal like me? What kinds of things do you do that help you in your life?

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and share this post with others!

Do you have a problem unplugging from work while you’re on vacation?

By Jason Terry, talking about the importance of being disciplined with your email and unplugging when you take vacation.

I often ask for blog ideas from our subscribers, and last week I got a great email from Tony Sheets, Principal at Umzuzu. Tony and I are in a peer advisory group together, and we refer a lot of business to each other. He’s a good friend and ridiculously smart when it comes to Google and other cloud based technologies. (If you need help with Google Apps, he’s the guy you should talk to.)

Here’s what Tony said in his email:

You have one of the best platforms for sharing things about good people practicing good business. Joe noticed I had vacation on my calendar for next week and took it upon himself to send me this article. (Emailing While You’re on Vacation Is a Quick Way to Ruin Company Culture.)

I’m a firm believer in not “checking in” on the weekends, evenings, and when I’m on vacation. But, I’ve slipped during vacation in the last couple of years. I’m glad Joe sent this as a reminder and thought you might want to share it with your audience.
Tony Sheets, Umzuzu

It’s way too easy to stay glued to your cell phone or iPad while you are on vacation. For some, it’s an addiction.

Do you have a problem unplugging from work while you’re on vacation?

Blue Gurus: Staying unplugged while on vacationI was on vacation last week for Spring Break and had my out of office email response turned on. I had decent internet access where I was at. And we had a laptop with us, so it would have been easy to work at any point during my trip. But over the years, I’ve learned how important it is to unplug as much as possible when I’m on vacation. It’s one of the times I give myself permission to relax and recharge.

I understand that you want to be available to your family, your clients and your team in case there’s an emergency. It’s a tough balance.

A compromise.

Maybe a reasonable compromise is to build some discipline and structure into the way you check your messages while on vacation. I talked to Dan VanDonge at Straub Construction about how he handles email when he’s on vacation. He checks his email once or twice a day and only responds to really important emails; leaving the majority for when he gets back to the office.

That’s how I handled emails on my trip last week. I was scuba diving in the mornings and spending time with my wife Trista in the afternoons. So most evenings I checked my emails, deleted the junk and marked the items that I would need to address when I got home. And yes, I responded to a couple of emails to move some things forward. Funny enough, I was chastised by my good friend Jim Stuelke at Extreme Coating Solutions for not staying unplugged.

I also scheduled an “administrative day” on the Monday after I got back. This allowed me to catch up before getting right back into my normal routine. As a result, I’m still relaxed and have better perspective as I look at the work ahead of me over the next couple of weeks.

If you went somewhere for Spring Break, how did you do? Were you glued to your phone or was it a non-issue? If you’ve got a trip coming up, I hope this story helps you in some way. I hope you’re able to stay in the moment and be present for yourself and for the people you’re traveling with. Mastering this can be life changing… speaking from personal experience.

I hope you’re having a great week!

Get Out of Your Mind and Get On with Your Life

Mic Meditation

Here I am meditating with my favorite “Life is Good” mug.

Post written by Mic Johnson

Imagine yourself sitting in a chair, eyes closed, a cup of hot green tea in your favorite mug warming your hands, earbuds in, eyes closed, and sitting in silence with only your breath and mind to keep you company.

This is how I start my day several times a week. I began meditating a couple of years ago (I currently use the Headspace app) after learning how the regular practice of meditation has numerous benefits and can literally change the way your brain works.

Get out of your mind and get on with your life. 

This is one of my #micnuggets, which are things that basically come out of my mind and that I’ve been recording for years. I have hundreds of them, but this is one of my favorites.

I don’t remember exactly when I came up with it or what inspired me, but my guess is that I was, as I tend to do, spending too much time thinking about something that I likely had very little control over.

And while I find myself “in the zone” of life sometimes where everything seems to be going well, I also often find myself thinking about things that do very little but cause me spikes of anxiety, doubt and fear. And that’s when I need to remind myself…

Get out of your mind and get on with your life. 

Mics Corner

My meditation spot in our house.

This can happen multiple times within a day, week, month and year. It’s as though I’m in a constant mental tug of war with myself, one side pulling me away from perspective and mental clarity…and the other side pulling just as hard the other way.

And that’s just one of the reasons I choose to meditate. I want to be intentional about taking care of my own mental health.

And I have to be honest…it’s amazing to me, even two years later, how hard it is for me to sit in silence and how often my mind wanders during one of my 20-minute sessions. It’s natural I suppose.

On the bright side, I’ve gotten much better at bringing myself back to the meditation practice and refocusing when my mind does wander.

Get out of your mind and get on with your life. 

Without fail, as the meditation ends and I open my eyes, the sense of calm that I feel is a great way to set the foundation for the day ahead.

To be sure, I still get caught up in the ups and downs throughout the day, the roller coaster ride that is life and business.

But I’ve also found that I have a better overall sense of calm in my body and mind.

When I get off track, I’m able to bring myself back quicker and easier than I used to be able to.

I’m more present in moments than I used to be.

I’m sleeping better.

And I’m more aware as I go through each day of how fortunate I am on so many levels.

Get out of your mind and get on with your life. 

As I wrap up this post, I hope I’ve given you something to think about…and maybe even something for you to meditate on yourself.

If you’ve made it this far, I have a favor to ask. Leave a comment below or send me an email at mic@bluegurus.com and let me know what you do to start your day. What are your secrets to keeping yourself in balance mentally?

Hinrich

Our dog Hinrich has mastered meditation.

Don’t Wait for the Funeral

I spoke at my dad’s funeral when I was 23. In recent years I’ve given a eulogy for a grade school friend of mine, written and read a poem graveside of a friend I’d known for over 20 years, and counseled another friend who was writing/giving a eulogy. I often say “The hardest thing about perspective is keeping it.” For me, perspective has always been at its peak when I’m at a funeral.

While funerals are often somber and sad for all the obvious reasons, I also find comfort in how they bring people together. I’m also moved by how people treat one another with the kindness and compassion that so often comes when facing our own mortality.

One thing that’s really struck me in recent years is how everyone says so many nice things about the person who passed. It might be how they loved their smile, laugh, attitude…how they helped people…how they gave to others…and on and on.

I often tell my wife Missy that I want to be a guest at my own funeral…not for egotistical reasons…but because I’m genuinely interested in knowing how I’ve impacted people’s’ lives over the course of my own.

Pat and Mic Johnson

Pat and Mic Johnson

I recently experienced something similar to what I described above when Missy planned a surprise 46th birthday party for me. You see, my dad was 46 when he passed from cancer, so this birthday was a uniquely special one for me.

One of the things that Missy did (besides planning the most stressful event of her life) was have several people record video clips letting me know how I’ve impacted their lives.

To be honest, I’m still not sure I’ve processed it all. But one thing I can tell you for a fact is that it was one of the most amazing and touching experiences of my life. I will never forget it.

I even watch the video periodically when I need a pick-me-up. Tears well up in my eyes every time. (#imnotcryingyourecrying)

I’m also reminded how Jason and I regularly communicate this way with one another. I can’t tell you how many texts, emails and voicemails we’ve shared over the years talking about how grateful we are to go through life and business together. What’s amazing is how often those messages seem to come at just the right time.

We don’t take our unique relationship and experience for granted. We often say “Love ya brother” at the end because we have a genuine love for one another.

These personal experiences got me thinking how everyone should be so lucky to feel the warmth that comes from knowing they’ve impacted people in a positive way.

The good news? You can start today.

I’m challenging you to take a few minutes and make a list of the people who mean the most to you in your life, both personally and professionally.

Next, one by one, let them know. That could be a text (one Sunday morning I recently sent heartfelt texts to several friends…and was blown away by their responses back to me), an email, a phone call, a handwritten card…whatever feels right to you.

Don’t wait for the funeral to tell people how much they mean to you.

Heck, send something RIGHT NOW to someone who’s been on your mind. You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel, how good it makes them feel, and how much closer you both will feel after you’ve connected in this meaningful way.

“Listen to the voice in your head telling you to reach out to people who’ve been on your mind. There’s magic in those moments.” – #micnuggets

How Fitbit is changing Jason’s life… 10,000 steps at a time.

Author: Jason Terry

Hello friends. It’s Jason again with another Blue Gurus blog post. This story took some courage to write because it’s even more personal than normal. I hope you enjoy it, and if you use a Fitbit, please comment or contact me directly to join me in the Fitbit community so we can walk our tails off together.

My story begins on April 21st, 2017. I woke up at 3am that morning feeling like I couldn’t breathe and I had some pain in my chest. It turns out that it was an unfortunate combination of allergies and acid reflux, but it could have been so much worse. And it was one of those life wake-up calls… the ones that teach you that you only have one life to live. And that nothing is guaranteed. It was scary. At the time, I weighed the most I’ve ever weighed in my life and I knew I had to make some real changes. And the changes needed to be life changes, not just a diet.

I’ve lost substantial weight a couple of times in my life. At 46, it’s definitely more work than it was in high school and in college. But I’m on the path, and my new Fitbit Alta HR is a critical part of my journey.

I started walking.

Fitbit Alta HRI’ve heard plenty of stories of people in their 70s that walk every day to stay in shape. So I committed to walking 10,000 steps a day. This number represents about 5 miles of walking per day.

I rarely got anywhere close to 10,000 steps per day previously. (I’ve worn a Fitbit for a couple of years.) My job is primarily a desk job because I work on a computer most of the day. I would usually get home with around 3,500-4,000 steps. And I was tired because I was carrying too much weight and not exercising enough, so I would eat dinner and relax for the evening. Ugh.

The first week that I focused on hitting 10,000 steps per day was eye opening. It was the week of May 1st. What surprised me the most was that it really wasn’t as hard as I thought to get to 10,000 steps. Simple things like choosing to park across the parking lot, or getting up every hour during the day for a water or bathroom break made a big difference. I was getting home with closer to 5,000 steps. And then all I had to do was a 30-45 minute walk.

A walk in the park.

We live right next to Shawnee Mission Park. There’s a great path I follow that is a one hour walk from my house, through the park and back. It’s a little over 3 miles. For me, 3 miles is around 6,500-7,000 steps. So I started doing that walk after dinner every night for a couple of weeks. I was easily getting to 10,000 steps a day and starting to feel a bit better. I wasn’t losing weight, but I wasn’t feeling any soreness like I did the first week, and I found myself walking a bit faster and a bit longer. And I loved being outside walking in the park. It cleared my brain. And it gave me time to process daily issues and listen to great music on Spotify.

I love music by The Chainsmokers. Their song “Something Just Like This” is my personal anthem. I could walk for two hours to that song. Trista has complained about me shaking the house with the subwoofers in our basement when I play that song too loud. (To be clear, she is very supportive of me in this effort.)

It’s Social.

Kandy Meehan at Home Rental Services has been a client since the beginning of Blue Gurus. I work closely with her daughter Caitlin when I am there. Caitlin offered to join me with her Fitbit to compare daily steps as my accountability partner. Awesome.

There are various ways to compete with your walking friends in the Fitbit app.

Workweek Hustle is the total number of steps walked from Monday through Friday. At midnight on Friday, the steps are tallied and compared and the winner gets a badge and kudo notifications.

The Weekend Warrior challenge is the total number of steps on Saturday and Sunday with another badge for the winner.

Caitlin and I started talking about and comparing our daily step counts when I went into the office. And then more of the team started getting involved when Jennifer joined us. Then Kandy. Then Oretta. Then Caitlin’s husband Brad. Then David. And recently Joshua. It’s now a team thing involving most of the company and it’s helping to keep me accountable more than anything else I’ve tried in my life. And the interesting thing is that it’s positively impacting the culture at HRS.

People are walking at lunch. People are taking their kids on walks in the evenings like never before. And when we’re very close at the end of a weekly competition, I’ve heard things like, “don’t make me do laps around the living room and kitchen again, it scares the dogs!” It’s not just my life that’s being changed or impacted with healthy exercise and improved discipline. This is the ultimate win/win for me… helping myself while helping others. Wow. (Thank you HRS… love you guys.)

It’s Working.

Jason at Mic's HouseI’ve been doing this for 7 weeks now. I am stronger. I regularly hit 13,000 steps a day and have had 3 days in 7 weeks over 20,000 steps. I’ve done quite a few 5.3 miles walks in the park. I’ve lost 16 pounds and I am starting to see it in pictures. It’s early, and I have a long way to go, but it’s a really good start.

For the week of June 5th – June 11th, I had the following statistics:

  • I hit my 10,000 step goal every day during the week
  • My best step count day was on Sunday with 20,321 steps
  • I walked 94,419 steps during the week, about 43 miles
  • I burned an average of 5,448 calories per day. (With a 3,000 calorie diet, that’s at least a 2,000 calorie deficit every day. That usually equates to losing a pound or two a week.)

Join Me

If you have a Fitbit, I would love for you to join me on this journey. The most important part of this is going to be the ongoing discipline of maintaining this lifestyle change. It’s already becoming a habit for me, but every person involved helps. Comment on this post or send me a message if you want to connect in the Fitbit app.

And thanks for reading our stories. It means so much to us. And after reading this, if you decide to get involved, you will be part of a story that ends with me losing 65 pounds. From the bottom of my heart… thank you.

Fitbit Stats for the week of June 5th, 2017

 

It Doesn’t Take Much To Make Someone Feel Loved And Respected

Author: Jason Terry

This week, I thought I would share a story about something that happened to me recently. It’s a story about a random act of kindness that reminded me it doesn’t take much to make someone feel loved and respected. And it involves one of our clients, Umbrella Managed Systems.

Umbrella Managed SystemsWe’ve been doing business with Umbrella since 2010 in various capacities. Umbrella has had a lot of success over the years and we’re honored to have played a small part in making that happen.

They’ve been in the Top 10 list of Network Support Companies in the Kansas City Business Journal’s Book of Lists since 2011 and they were #6 in 2016.

A Long Day

Last week, I was working with Umbrella on their blogging efforts. It was their first real month of storytelling with our help and we had a lot of things to get in place for the process to work. I was scheduled to be there until 2pm but ended up staying until after 5pm getting everything knocked out.

Heath Stover is one of the principals of Umbrella and is also my friend. We worked together all day in his office and he felt bad that it was taking so long to get everything done. He felt even worse when he overheard me talking to my wife Trista about pushing back our dinner plans. (Which wasn’t a big deal for us at all!)

Special Delivery

Trista - FlowersSo the following Monday, Trista got a special delivery at the hospital where she works. It was a beautiful flower arrangement with a note from Heath apologizing for keeping me late. She was so surprised! She called me to tell me the story and I could hear in her voice that it had made an impact.

And I got to thinking about what that simple gesture meant. It told me a lot about the value that Heath places on our relationship. It told me that he appreciates me and the work I do for them. It told me that we have a relationship that matters. And if you don’t know me that well, that’s really the most important thing to me in the world.

Random Acts of Kindness

The cost of a flower arrangement (or Chiptole gift card, etc.) pales in comparison to the benefit you get from taking the time to do a random act of kindness for someone. An employee. A vendor. Your business partner. Whatever.

The challenge is finding those moments to be creative and make someone smile. It has to be something you keep in the back of your mind so that when the opportunity presents itself, you are ready to act. And then of course you have to follow through and take the time to act!

My Challenge to You

Find an opportunity in the next week to tangibly thank someone who makes a difference in your life. (If you already regularly do that, nice job! Share your stories in the Comments section below.) And if you accomplish that… try doing it every week…and then every month….for the rest of your life. I am 100% convinced it’s one of the ways you will find…and spread…true happiness.

P.S. – Heath, if you’re reading this… thanks man. I really appreciate it. See you soon for our next round of blogging!