Personal posts

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!

Who Will Show Up At Your Funeral?

Hello friends. It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

I’ve been thinking about doing this post for a few weeks now, but I struggled writing it and it never seemed like a good time to publish it. And I know this post isn’t about what we do at Blue Gurus or a tip on blogging or LinkedIn, but it’s something important to me and I hope it’s thought provoking for you.

I had some time over the long holiday weekend to put my thoughts down, so here goes. (Be sure to check out the link to the instructions at the bottom of this post for disabling a LinkedIn profile for someone that has passed, but their profile is still active.)

My Friend Jim

JimA good friend of mine, Jim Belfield, died on April 10th in a car wreck. He was only 54 years old.

Jim was a dentist with his own practice. I met Jim on the golf course and remember being impressed with how good a golfer he was. I mention this detail because it’s important later…

He joined one of the peer advisory groups I’m in and our relationship grew strong over many years together. We shared the ups and downs of life. We talked about business. We talked about family. We talked about leadership. We talked about providing for friends, family and those in need. We talked about stuff that matters. We shot skeet at Powder Creek together. And we loved eating goldfish crackers together at our business retreats at the lake.

Jim continues to have an impact on my life and I think about him often. I know there are literally thousands of people that can say the same thing.

Who Will Show Up At Your Funeral?

I chose the title for this post because for me, it’s the most important point.

The question is, “Who will show up at your funeral?” The answer for Jim was, “a whole lot of people.”

PAG at the LakeJim’s funeral was at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Johnson Drive. It’s a large church with a beautiful sanctuary. And it was completely full. There were literally hundreds of people that showed up to honor Jim and support his family. It was an amazing testament to the life that Jim led. He impacted so many people with his love and generosity.

I attended the service with the other members of our peer advisory group.

Mike Jones, one of the founders of our group, has always talked about how we are “stretcher bearers” for each other in life. That we would do life together for many, many years and ultimately serve as pallbearers for each other until we were too frail or too few to do so. We weren’t the pallbearers at the cemetery, but we were definitely Jim’s pallbearers in spirit.

One of Jim’s best friends and golfing partners spoke at the funeral. (His nickname is “Captain Fairway” because he usually ends up in the fairway when he’s golfing.) He did such an amazing job. I’d held it together pretty well until he told the story of he and Jim winning a Lake Quivira golf tournament.

Captain Fairway had a falling out with his next door neighbor. It was over something the neighbor had done. The tournament came down to Jim and Captain Fairway against the neighbor and one of his friends. When Jim and Captain Fairway ended up winning, it felt so good. He had finally beaten his nemesis and felt vindicated.

Jim walked up to Captain Fairway on that final green and said, “Can you forgive your neighbor now?”

It was a perfect example of the kind of person Jim was. And it definitely had me in tears.

What About Jim’s LinkedIn Profile?

Mic mentioned to me recently that he got a notice from LinkedIn that Jim was celebrating a work anniversary. Sadly, that’s not the case and it’s one of a million loose ends that hasn’t been taken care of when someone passes unexpectedly.

I didn’t want to bother the family about it, and they might not have known how to take care of it anyway.

If you know someone that passes, and you see that their LinkedIn profile is still active, all you have to do is fill out a form. You don’t even have to be a family member. Click here for the LinkedIn support ticket with instructions and a link to the form.

I miss you Jim. Thank you for being my friend and for giving me perspective. I will see you again some day, hopefully on a golf course with a healthy supply of goldfish crackers.

What Would You Do? The Story Of A Man Stuck In A Bank

Post author: Mic Johnson

LifeisgoodMy day started out as it so often does, sitting in my home office enjoying a hot cup of green tea in my LifeIsGood mug and doing a little meditation (I’ve been working on meditation and mindfulness for the last 3 months) using the Vision Pursue app I was introduced to from my friend Jon McGraw.

As the morning went on, I attended the monthly networking/education Business Book Review put on by another good friend, Shawn Kinkade. I then took my car to my friend Carl Casey at Casey’s Auto Repair to have him give the car a good once-over before we hit the road for a Memorial Day weekend trip.

I then headed to the bank to close out our safe deposit box. I knew it would only take a few minutes and then I’d be off to grab lunch and get on with the rest of my day.

And that’s when the day took a rather unusual turn.

safe deposit funI went into the vault with the bank representative. He put my key in one slot and then put the bank key in the other slot. But it wouldn’t open. He jiggled it. He wiggled it. He turned the key left and right. But the box wouldn’t open. Even worse, my key was stuck.

Then a manager joined us in the vault to give it a try. She wiggled it even more. She jiggled it even more. She turned the key left and right even more. Nothing. It was stuck.

I was standing in a bank vault locked out of my safe deposit box.

The bank representatives then told me that the only thing they could do was call a representative from Diebold to come to the bank and to break into my safety deposit box. He had just gotten to Lawrence, KS and was at least 45 minutes away. No problem, I thought to myself. I would just go grab lunch and come back when they got the safe deposit box open.

And that’s when they told me I couldn’t leave.

Apparently when something like this happens (at least according to the processes and procedures at this bank), the customer can’t leave the bank because it would open them up to a lot of potential liability (like if my passport or will went was missing, for example.)

My 5 minute trip to the bank ended up taking 2 hours. As you can imagine, this could have easily caused my blood pressure to rise, but I consciously decided to take a different approach. I wanted to share a few of the lessons I took away from that experience:

  1. MicInABankSMILE AND LAUGH. The bank staff were very friendly and apologetic, but every one of them greeted me with a smile. While I could have let out my frustration on them, I proactively chose NOT to do that. It wouldn’t have helped me. It wouldn’t have helped them. And it would have made a frustrating situation all the more frustrating for everyone involved. So I smiled back and even laughed a little at the unusual predicament I found myself in.
  2. WE WERE ALL IN IT TOGETHER. It wasn’t just my day that took a wrong turn. It impacted the bank representatives. It impacted the service tech from Diebold who had to drive back from Lawrence in the pouring rain. It impacted the customer he was going to in Lawrence who took a lower priority because of my situation.
  3. MY IPHONE WAS MY FRIEND. I posted about the situation on my Facebook page and several of my friends commented (and I’m assuming got a good laugh), so it helped lighten my mood as I joked about it being unusual trying to break OUT of a bank, how there was a security guard there who I pretended was hired solely to keep me IN the bank, etc. I also took the time to check email, make a couple of phone calls, and read some online content. And I texted Jason and my wife Missy and told them about what was going on.
  4. I WAS REPRESENTING BLUE GURUS. I was wearing a Blue Gurus logo’d shirt (provided by our friend Keith Steiniger of Proforma IDology Marketing Group) and was consciously aware that how I handled this situation would reflect not only on me personally, but on our company too.
  5. SafetyDepositFun (1)LIFE IS 10% WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU…and 90% how you react to it. Life rarely goes exactly the way we want it to. Adversity comes in many forms. We all have a choice in how we respond to situations. I’m thankful I was able to pull from that life lesson that day.
  6. FIND THE SILVER LININGS. I left the bank and the bank manager kept telling me “You are awesome. I’ve never had someone handle a situation like that so well.” The situation also gave me a blog topic to write about. And my lovely wife made a delicious salad that was waiting for me when I got back to my home office.

I hope this post made you laugh a little. I hope it made you think about how you handle adversity, in whatever form life decides to serve it up to you. And I hope you take these lessons and think about them the next time your day takes a wrong turn.

Thank you for your support of Blue Gurus and our blog. It means more to us than you know. If you know of a company looking to redo their website, wanting to start blogging, or needing help with LinkedIn…call or email me at 913-645-6650 or mic@bluegurus.com.

Blue Gurus Turns 7 This Week. Wow.

Post author: Jason Terry

Jason HugHello friends. Coming up with an idea for this week’s blog was easy. We celebrated Blue Gurus turning 7 years old on April 26th. It’s amazing to me, and I’m so thankful!

None of this would’ve happened without the people that have trusted us to help them. Thank you to our friends and clients who allow us to make a living doing work that matters. Anybody that wants a hug or fist bump, just let us know. We’ve got an endless supply for you.

I remember being nervous about taking the leap even though there was no doubt I was committed to starting my own company.

Thank you to my wife Trista for believing in me. I told her that I wanted to start my own business on a rainy day in April 2009. And then I proposed to her. I hit her with a lot to process all at once and thankfully she said “yes” to everything!

She has encouraged and supported me through the ups and downs ever since. I heard a great story recently from a really good guy talking about getting his wife to marry him. He said she was out of his league, but convincing her to say yes was his best sales job ever. And that’s exactly how I feel about Trista. She’s amazing and I am lucky to have her in my life.

I remember thinking when I started Blue Gurus that I wanted to work with someone because otherwise it would be really lonely.

Mic CelebratingI’m glad it took less than a year to figure that out. Thank you to Mic for believing in me. Mic and I reconnected at a Kansas City Chamber event right around the time I was starting Blue Gurus. It was too early to bring him on financially, but we wanted to work together and stayed in touch with each other.

Several months later, we were finally able to start working together. He’s become one of my best friends. He’s done so much for me, our clients and for Blue Gurus. This journey has been even more rewarding because Mic has walked most of it with me…always trying to keep me from getting distracted by shiny things.

I remember the list of clients from our first year.

I use Quickbooks Online to manage our accounting. (It’s GREAT for service-based businesses!) I remember wrapping up the books in December 2009 and looking at the list of clients who had written us a check. It wasn’t a long list, but it was an important one. I remember hoping that someday I would have to click the “next” button on the list of clients because there were so many that I had to page through them. I was so happy at the end of the next year because we actually got there… Woohoo!

And now when I look through the list, every company name brings back memories. I remember how we met. Who referred us. The work we did together. And the fun that we had getting things done. Thank you!

Challenge #1: The Great Recession

We all went through the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. So yeah, I started Blue Gurus in the worst economic decline since World War II. Smart, right?

People weren’t spending much money on training or marketing. They were slashing head counts and doing whatever they could to get by. In spite of that, there were enough opportunities to make a living. One of the nice things about LinkedIn and blogging is that you get so much bang for your buck. I’d had success using these tools to double the revenue of my previous company in 18 months and was able to tell that story confidently and passionately.

The measure of a person is the amount of adversity it takes to make them quit. Click To Tweet

I had that quote on a piece of paper on my desk that first year. It was a good reminder to stay the course.

Challenge #2: Social Media Infancy in Business

It’s true when I tell people that we were doing LinkedIn and blogging way before they were cool. Today, most people know it’s an important part of doing business. The first few years we were selling the vision required much patience and constant education. I remember sitting in a boardroom full of business owners saying things like, “I’m not going to spend a dollar on social media if it doesn’t make me two dollars.”

Wow. We’ve come a long way since then.

Thank you. You mean so much to us.

I don’t know how you found this blog post. It could have been a link you clicked from a status update on LinkedIn. You might be subscribed to our blog updates through email. It might have been a link on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter.

But no matter how you found it, you’re reading it.

My gut tells me you wouldn’t have clicked or read if you didn’t care about us personally. We believe that the relationships we have with family, friends, clients and peers are incredibly important…some of the most important things in life.

So thank you for being such an important part of our world!  We appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

Thank you for celebrating 7 years with us. We’ll continue to pour everything we have into our relationships for many years to come.

[Virtual hug and fist bump.]