A Journey of Creating a Story Through Adversity

Hello all, welcome to hauslifecoach!  This is where I write about solutions, inspiration, thought provoking ideas, and exploration as a means to create success in your future!  Sorry if there are weird spam links showing up on my blog.  I’m working to get those fixed!

The title of this blog post is really why I write this blog.  The story of our life is told through the journey that we take, mostly through overcoming adversity.  I’m 26, and the story that I am creating is one of someone who did not know what they wanted to do after graduation from college.  I have always just taken the next thing that has came up, especially in my career!  Up until the last year, there was no real thought as to why I did what I did in my career, or what jobs are a good fit for me.

So that’s why I am here.  To help you gain clarity on your purpose in life!  I’m going to write some quotes that I recently read from a book titled In a Pit with a Lion, On a Snowy Day, By Mark Batterson.  After each quote I’m going to give you a little insight.

Quotes:

The outcome of your life will be determined by your outlook on life.  – First off, I love this quote.  If we are constantly in a negative mood, dwelling on the bad things, the outcome of our life will probably end similarly.  On the contrary, we can choose to view life positively and keep striving for more.  Sure, we will have bad days along the way.  But if every day was a good day, we wouldn’t know what a bad day was, right?  Try to think positively today about your life.  I think you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel.

Failure helps us appreciate success. – Losing sucks, let’s face it.  If you’re competitive at all, you know that losing is not fun.  Some of us are more inwardly competitive, some are more outwardly competitive, and some of us aren’t really that competitive at all.  We’ve all lost, which helps us appreciate when we win even that much more.  We’ve had adversity in our life, and times when things didn’t go our way.  What I’m suggesting is that you use the adversity to fuel success.

If you don’t turn adversity into ministry, then your pain remains your pain – This is the sole purpose of why I write here.  I feel like I have endured quite a bit in my life thus far.  Lot’s of adversity, lot’s of cool experiences, travel, thoughts and wild ambitions running through my head constantly.  I write because I don’t want life to remain my pain, or your pain.  Life shouldn’t be a pain, it is life!  It should be filled with exploration, fun activities, and doing what YOU WANT TO DO.  When we start doing those things, we gain clarity and life becomes an exciting adventure.  My friend and I were sitting down with his dad about a month ago talking about some things in our lives.  My friend’s dad said something that was so simple, but yet sometimes seems so hard to do.  It’s your life, do what you want with it. 

The more problems you have, the more potential you have to help people – Now I don’t think going out and looking for problems is a good idea, but this quote seems like it could have some merit.  For instance, why would someone want to learn how to quit smoking from someone who has never been through that same experience?  Why would you want help from someone on starting a business who does not own a business themselves?  Why would you want career advice from someone who has never thought twice about what they were doing in their career?

It makes sense.  I think on some level we all want to help others.  What are those things that you have had happen in your life, where you could then make a difference in someone elses life?  Helping others and seeing their success is where we find fulfillment.

Maybe the problem you never thought you could overcome will turn into a 500 LB. opportunity – This is the last quote, and it hinges on the previous quote.  Maybe you’ve had a tough experience that you’ve had to overcome and that is your opportunity to make a difference for others. 

Here’s a scenario.  A 30 year old smoker decides she is ready to quit.  She painstakingly quits off and on for 2 years before developing her own plan for success.  She is now 35 and has not had a cigarette for 3 years. 

This person not only endured adversity while quitting, but now has a story to help others.  She can use her story and success plan to create the same for others.  What a huge opportunity!

Now, if you’re ready…. here’s my scenario.  Presently: A 26 year old employee has held 5 job titles since finishing college 3 years and 3 months ago.  He likes change.  As a full time employee he likes his job, but he knows corporate America is not the right setting for him.  

Future:  He develops a plan (done) and begins to help others create a plan for success after college.  Through stories and examples he explores creative strategies to help others achieve more success in their lives than they ever thought possible. 

What are those adverse things that you have overcome in your life?  Could you see yourself helping others do the same?  Use adversity to fuel success. 

Onward!

Dan – 8/7/11

 

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What are you turning Pro in?

We are extremely fortunate here in Cedar Rapids, IA to have one of the best golfers in the world from our town, Zach Johnson.  On August 1st, Zach held a fundraiser at his home golf course here in Cedar Rapids to benefit the Zach Johnson Foundation which supports elementary school students in our area.  The cool thing about the fundraising event was that Zach brought a bunch of his friends from the PGA Tour to town for the event as well.  A lot of good Professional athletes came to Cedar Rapids, IA to take part in the fundraiser. 

Rickie Fowler and Davis Love applying sunscreen, it was hot!

 Rickie Fowler, Stuart Cink, Davis Love III, Jonathan Byrd, and Kyle Stanley all joined the fun from the PGA Tour.  Former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner was also taking part!

It’s not every day that we get to see these type of faces in Cedar Rapids, so this was a pretty cool event for everyone who witnessed!  Not to mention that the Foundation was able to raise over a Million in cash for local elementary school students!

 

 

Zach talks to the crowd while the others warm up

So while we had a bunch of well known professional athletes and superstars from around our area signing autographs and playing golf for charity, it got me thinking about everyone else there who was watching.  What are the rest of us going PRO in?  All of the professionals who were playing obviously had a dream to be pro in the sport they chose, but what about the rest of us?  Unfortunately we will not all be professional athletes, but what about professional artists, teachers, creators, planners, managers, doctors etc.

Just because we may choose to do something that will not bring us into the limelight like a professional athlete, doesn’t mean that we cannot be a PRO in our chosen line of work! 

We can all be PRO’S.  I challenge you to think of yourself as a PRO in whatever line of work you are doing.  It’s easy to become PRO in something that your passionate about, that aligns well with who you are and what you are naturally good at.  Whether that is cutting grass or open-heart surgery, we should do the absolute best we can. 

Let’s not give up on our dreams.  As I mentioned earlier, all of the professional athletes had a dream at one point to be who they are today.  Identify what it is that you want to do in your career and start taking the necessary steps to get there.  A little bit of movement can create a lot of clarity in becoming the PRO that you ought to be!

Dan 8/3/11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Power of Un-Plugging – A Follow Up to Exploration and Adventure in PlayaCar, MX

After a rough start to my initial travel to Playa Del Carmen, MX (see last post) I settled in and had a great week.  I missed a scheduled blog post, but I’m okay with this.  My plan for this trip was true vacation.  I was disconnected for the better part of 6 days.  I didn’t turn on my cell phone once, and I only got on the internet twice for very brief instances.  We all need that sometimes don’t we?!  I’ll answer that for you, YES.

Vacation was good to get out of the office, but I didn’t do absolutely nothing all week.  I worked on some Effective Life Experiences, and had fun with family.  17 other family members and myself were on this trip.  It was a good time for all of us to meet up somewhere outside of Iowa (where we all live). 

I will say that the Yucatan Peninsula is not the most comfortable climate in late July.  With tempuratures in the mid 90’s each day and not much wind, it was definitely steamy and there were a lot of insects along for the journey.

I had a question right after we landed in Cancun, MX.  Where the hell am I?  I hadn’t looked at a map before we went, so I was unsure.  We landed in the middle of a tropical rainforest… and I loved it.  A runway in the middle of a rainforest is perfecto in my book, seriously!  After looking a little further into where I was, this is what I found.

On the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is Cancun.  We flew into Cancun (3 hours 30 minutes flight from Chicago), then had a taxi ride south to Playa Del Carmen.  This was a 1 hour ride. 

South of Playa Del Carmen, you’ll notice a city called Tulum.  You might remember this city from your 4th grade history book.  This is where I did some exploring and what others would call sight-seeing.

I won’t go into a whole lot of detail, but Tulum is an ancient Mayan city which was inhabited from 1200 to around 1600 AD.  Tulum means “Stinky Place,” but it didn’t hold true to its name.  In 1519, Spanish Conquistadores attacked the city by sea and took it over.  I got a picture at the beach where the attack happened, a beautiful setting, I don’t know how else to describe it.

It’s fun to think about the history, or the legacy that was left here.  492 years ago this beach was attacked! Okay, not much action today, but understand my need and excitement of exploration.

Here are more pictures of Tulum.  It was tough to be photogenic with the temperature reaching 115 degrees inside the ruin walls!

Ruin Walls

Overlooking the Caribbean

Stairs to ruin overlooking Caribbean

So why am I sharing this with you?  My purpose is to help you explore creative strategies for success in your future.  Well, I also look for other things that I can start to explore in my life for success, or just for fun.  I’ve determined two new things that I want to learn from this trip.  #1, I want to learn each Country and it’s Capital City on Earth by the end of 2011.  Pretty easy right?  #2, I want to be fairly fluent in Spanish by the end of 2012.  Right now mi Espanol is muy mal (very bad).  This might mean another trip or more to Latin America to help!  Using the 80/20 rule, I should be able to accomplish this early.  But in the mean time, I’ll be looking to connect with some Spanish speaking locals in Cedar Rapids, IA.  Anyone out there??

What are you wanting to accomplish the rest of this year or in the near future?

This trip was vacation for my family that I went with.  Usually I am much against vacations unless they include some productivity!  At some point, we get tired of sitting on the beach and want to do something productive.  I tried to stay as productive as possible writing in my journal and reading.  Here is a journal entry from last Wednesday 7/27:

Cozumel is in the distance at 9AM on a cloud soaked morning in Playa Del Carmen.  I’m on the beach looking out at where the dark blue sky hits the clear blue water of the Caribbean.  A couple of jet skis pass and high powered boats heading out too sea.  Isn’t there more to life?  If I sat on the beach everyday, would life be complete?  Vacation with no activity can only be fun for so long until we reach boredom.  On some level, we all want to be helping others and making progress in our lives.

Progress + Activity = Fulfillment

Understand, my purpose is to help you live and create the lifestyle that you want to live!  I had some conversations with family members about mini retirements, company benefits, doing what they want in their lives.  Their response was funny to me… “Oh that makes sense, but…” But what.  Henry David Thoreau said that most people die with their greatest achievement still in them.  My focus is to NOT be those people!

Alrighty, let’s take a look at some other fun photos from the Yucatan.

Entrance to the beach where I stayed in PlayaCar

 
 

Sunrise at 6:15AM over the Caribbean

 

An iguana catching some sun at Tulum

 

Signing off - Dan - 7/31/11

 
  
 
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Traveling to Playa Del Carmen, MX

Things aren’t always as they seem.  My travel day yesterday, which had me orginally getting to Mexico at 12:30 PM, didn’t work out like I had hoped.  Some thunderstorm delays, equipment malfucntions on not 1, but 2 other planes, and I didn’t arrive in Mexico until almost 7 PM!

A long day, for sure.  My initial reaction was panic after I learned about our plane trouble and how I was going to lose most of my first day of vacation.  But amidst being stuck on the tarmac and numorous different planes for the day, I tried to focus on staying calm.  It wasn’t easy because I wanted to be here, in Mexico, on the beach or kayaking.

The plane’s engine problems and weather delays were out of my control.  So here is what I learned yesterday.  Don’t try to control things that you can’t control. 

When we try to control things or even people that we have no control over, this causes stress and frustration.  I could have went into panic mode like a bunch of the people on our plane, and I did for a bit.  But I quickly changed my thinking.  I thought about the worst possible outcome, and why in the big scheme of things this was a very small ordeal.

Constantly learning and trying to improve.  That’s what life is about.  Like the American Express commercial, “Never Settle.” 

Okay I know this was short and a little lackluster, but think about 2 things today in your life:

1.  Don’t try to control things that are out of your control

2.  Never Settle – Keep striving to be better and live and better life

Dan 7/25/11

 

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5 Mistakes I Made After College

We all make mistakes.  Some are big, some are small.  Some have an effect on the rest of our life, and some we barely notice a change!  Having been done with school for over 3 years now, I feel like I have a good perspective on some important decisions that I made directly after college.  How we learn and grow from our mistakes is much more important usually than the mistake we made.  We are human and this is natural, so I want to share 5 mistakes that I made right out of college and shed some light.

1.  Don’t Give up on Dreams:  My last semester of college I was certain what I wanted to do in my career.  I wanted to become a Sales and Marketing Director for a PGA Tour event.  I took the first step toward this and took an internship 12 hours from home working for the American Junior Golf Association.  Somewhere in the middle of my internship, I lost my direction.  I lost my ambition for the initial dream I had. 

Looking back, it’s easy to reflect and think that I should have kept pursuing my initial dream.  My dream changed, and I lost direction for awhile.  It’s important to keep dreams in our head and keep moving toward them.  Now I have a new dream that I am after!  Dreams are what gives us the motivation to get up and do what we do every morning so when we aren’t pursuing what we want, it’s easy to get lost.

2.  Do it Self Mentality:  I’m an extremely independent person.  I am an only child and have always done a lot of things on my own.  Unfortunately, this can also be my greatest weakness.  We need help in our lives after college.  If you are unsure about the path you want to take, seek council from friends, teachers, and coaches.

When I lost my direction for a bit, I shut down and didn’t want to talk to anyone.  If you are facing a big life decision, take some time to talk to people you trust and create a plan of action that will get you heading in the right direction.

3.  Live for the Moment, Not in the Future:  Right after college all I wanted to do was reach my initial career goal.  Knowing that it would take quite awhile to get there, I got frustrated.  I kept thinking about how great life would be when I got there, and where I could be living.  I didn’t live for the moment I was in.  I was too busy worrying about how I was going to reach the end goal.  Well, part of reaching the end goal is having some effective life experiences along the way!

Keep your eye on the prize with what you want to do in your life.  Make a bucket list.  But also make sure to take in the present, and enjoy every second that you have.

4.  Network:  I made a lot of great contacts while in college, one of which helped me land my internship right after graduation.  But I quit communicating with a lot of them, and for whatever reason we lost touch.  With Facebook and email, it’s very easy to keep in touch with the contacts you make.  Keep your options open with everyone, especially if you are unsure about what you want to do. 

I know networking doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re in college, but it is.  One of the best ways to get a job after college is to know someone who is working in a field that you’re interested in.  The more contacts you make, the better off you will be in the long run.

5.  Be Independent:  This might seem strange, considering one of the mistakes I mentioned was the “Do it Self Mentality,” but I’m referring to another kind of independence.  After my internship ended I moved back in with my parents.  I didn’t know what to do, so that’s what I did.  After being away for 5 years, I moved back in.  I’m sure this was tough on my parents, and it was also another adjustment for me.  It was a comfort zone for me, but the best thing for me at that time would have been to be out of my comfort zone and having new life experiences.

Independence also means meeting new people and forming new friendships.  This is how we grow as people and move forward with confidence.

Many of us after college now are having a tough time entering the real world.  The job market is soft, we aren’t sure what our next step is, so we take what seems like a logical route.  We take an internship, we move back in with our parents, or we go back to school.  We are anxious to get on with our lives and expect things to happen quickly.  I’ll argue that all of these are experiences we can learn from, but they all delay the inevitable part of our lives of actually creating an income for ourselves.

So take some advice from my 2nd mistake, and don’t go at it alone.  Seek some council from trusted individuals and really identify what you want out of life!  Then start working towards that!  That’s when it will all make sense, when we are doing things that give us energy and purpose every morning.

Keep making mistakes and learning!  Don’t be afraid to mess up, we all do it.  It’s how we respond to those mistakes that will define us in the end.

Mistakes we’ll make, mistakes we’ll overcome, let’s fly around and have some fun! – Joe Link

Dan – 7/20/11

 

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Money, Effective Life Experiences, and Retirement

The relationship between how we save our money and how we spend our money is important, especially right after college.  Most of us have a great deal of debt which seems like an unsurmountable obstacle in our lives.  I’ll explain what I think we should be spending our money on after college, and how retirement is an old school way of thought.

Effective Life Experiences.  This is what we should be spending our money on.  What are Effective Life Experiences?  Here is my definition:  Anything that creates a story to tell.

Look at those things in your life that give you meaning and purpose.  When do you feel yourself come alive?  I’ll use myself as a guinea pig to illustrate the use of effective life experiences:

I played a golf tournament this weekend which cost $125.  While I didn’t play well and didn’t win money back, it was an effective life experience for me to go compete.  Over the next month I am taking trips to Mexico and Colorado!  While this is going to cost some money, I view it as life experience that I can’t pass up.  These things, traveling and competing, bring life to me!  These are things that are well worth my time and energy.  If they cost some money, so be it. 

Decide for yourself what those things are in your life that you think are effective ways to spend your time and money.  Obviously what brings energy to me isn’t going to be the same for you.  Look at what my friend Clint did for an Effective Life Experience.

So You’re Retiring?

Wikipedia’s definition of retirement goes like this: Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely.

This is true, and a I have a few things I want to add.  I would define retirement as the following:  When we start doing things (Effective Life Experiences) that we have always wanted to do.  In other words, retire today!  Or, just take a mini-retirement like I did in March.

For many, retirement means time to travel, time to play more golf, time to play cards and have drinks with friends.  All Effective Life Experiences.  My question is, why wait until you’re 65 years old to start doing these?  I hear people around my parent’s age talk about retirement.  They say ” Only 6 more years of this lousy job and I’ll be set.”  Set for what??  6 years in a lousy job is a long time!  I would suggest finding something you love doing that produces income, and work another 16, or 26 years! 

When you enjoy you’re work and don’t see any reason for retiring, the idea of saving for retirement becomes less of an obstacle as well.  Don’t get me wrong, I think having a 401K or IRA is a great idea because the money will multiply so greatly by the time you are able to draw on it without penalty.  Just make sure to spend money on Effective Life Experiences throughout your life as well.

What I Learned from Grandpa Chuck about Retirement

I lost my grandfather to cancer 3 years ago.  He was 72 years old.  For his work, he was a Carpenter.  A full time handy man.  Even after my Grandpa was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemo, he never stopped working.  He kept taking on new projects or building bird nests, picket fences, and painting.  This is what gave him energy.  Although he wasn’t taking on huge projects like he would have when he was 30 or 40 years old, he was still creating income and helping others around his hometown up until the day he passed away.

This is how I want to be.  Doing things that give me meaning and purpose while still creating income, well after most have retired.

Don’t wait until retirement to start having some Effective Life Experiences.  Do them now, while you’re young!  Life is really too short to not go and experience everything that the world has to offer.  Create some stories to one day tell kids, or grandkids.  

Live.

Dan 7/17/11

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Effective Marketing – The Art of Humanity

A great idea for a business is roughly 10% of the process to launching a successful business.  A much larger part is how we market ourselves.  A so-so idea with great marketing efforts has a much better chance of succeeding than a great idea with poor marketing.  The marketing includes the message we convey, how we reach out to potential customers, and the humanity we bring with our business. 

Experimenting with Humanity

Lately I’ve been sending emails to some pretty successful bloggers, business people and asking them all the same question.  “What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone about launching a business and becoming successful?”

I did this for a couple reasons.  First, I wanted to hear what they would say.  But more importantly, I wanted to see how they would respond to an email from someone.  You see, for the most part I knew the answer that I was going to receive from everyone.  Take action, start doing what you want to do.  By starting you will start to see yourself becoming more successful.

One person I emailed is a young, successful, marketing and business coach who lives in New York City.  She works with one of the top marketers in the country and interviews successful business owners all over the country.  Here is a copy of our email thread, starting with what I initially sent to her.  She is referred to as XXXXXXXX.

Hey XXXXXXXX,
 
I just came across your projects.  You’re working on some really cool stuff, which I love!  I’m working on a project of my own and wanted your thought on something. 
 
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone about launching or overcoming fear?
 
Thanks for your time and inspiration!
 
Dan  

Her Response: 

Take action. The more action you take, the more progress you make, the more confidence you gain.

Make more decisions in the face of uncertainty and you’ll live a productive and lucky life.

Sent from my iPhone

While I was excited to have her respond to my question, it left me wondering…. if she is truly a marketer and coach, why isn’t she connecting or building any type of relationship?  Her advice was spot on, I’ll give her that.  But what is she missing?  HUMANITY!

I’m sure this person is very busy, but how much more effort would it have taken to do something like the following:

Hey Dan,

Thanks for your message.  The thing I would tell you would be to Take action. The more action you take, the more progress you make, the more confidence you gain.

Make more decisions in the face of uncertainty and you’ll live a productive and lucky life.

What type of project are you working on?

Take care,

XXXXXXXX

See the difference here?  As a business person who is wanting to build a solid reputation and client base, you want to add HUMANITY to what you do.  Her response she gave me was generic.  It said to me – I don’t have enough time here, please leave me alone.  That is not how we want to portray ourselves in business.

Retail HUMANITY

This past weekend I went shopping for a new bed.  I visited 3 places who all carry very good furniture and beds.  At all 3 places I was approached by someone who was going to help me find a bed.  But at only one place did someone actually explain the benefits of each bed, and introduce themselves.  I am not someone to make a decent size purchase on the spot, so I thought about my options for a couple days.  On Monday, following the weekend, I made a decision.  I went to the store with the salesperson who provided the most HUMANITY.  It wasn’t the cheapest option I had seen, but the service and quality of how I was treated made a difference.  I felt comfortable there, and when I went back, the same person who had helped me a couple days prior came to help me again. 

The place offering the most HUMANITY got my business.

Take some time and think about how you are treating the people you come in contact with.  It does make a difference.  People don’t want to be cut short, especially when they are interested in what you have to offer.  Under-promise and Over-deliver on a person or client’s expectations.  It will make them feel special.

Dan – 7/13/11

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