Category Archives: Life

Blueberry Muffins: Update

Last night my iPhone alerted me that there was an iOS update. I set my phone to update during the night. This morning as I was preparing to make blueberry muffins my phone alerted me that it did not process the update because the phone was not connected to a power source.

I started to think about that alert message as I got out the mixing bowls, muffin mix and other ingredients for our Sunday breakfast. Could not update because it wasn’t connected to a power source.

As so often happens I started to think about life. Maybe it was the early hour of the morning or that I had not had my coffee yet, but that alert message got me thinking on a deep level.

Could not update because it wasn’t connected to a power source.

Isn’t that true for us?

Let me explain.

First, updating or improving ourselves. Whatever we want to improve; our health, attitude, the way we treat people. It is an act of updating. Updating ourselves to a new level. As coaches and teachers, we ask our students and athletes to do that, to become the best version of themselves.

Second, a power source. This is where my thoughts got deep… Because isn’t this the truth? That we can’t truly update ourselves unless we are connected to a power source. What that power source is, is up to the individual. It can be God, Love (as I have blogged about in my Love series), personal standards, goals, or other sources that provide a WHY for our lives.

Be honest, think of the times you tried to change something in your life… why did you succeed? Why did you fail? I bet the difference was because of your power source, your why. As I thought about my own kids, my past students, and athletes, I succeed at helping them be their best when I could articulate for them why it was important or tapped into their power source. Change takes time, it is difficult.

We can try all we want to do things better, but without a power source we will always get the alert that the update could not be completed.

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It’s Time to Run in the Rain

Muddy path between trees.

Like so many other times, life finds a way to reveal a lesson to me through unique events. This time it was my son’s conference cross country meet and a motivational YouTube video. Both of them showed me the importance of running in the rain.

First my oldest son.

Last week he set his personal record (PR) by over a minute at his conference cross country meet.  What was even more impressive is that he did it during a rainy day. Now it wasn’t a downpour when he ran, but it had rained all day, and the course was affected (the title picture is part of the course). My son didn’t complain. He ran. He ran the best time of his career.

A couple of days ago I came across a motivational YouTube video that highlighted speeches by Eddie Pinero (a motivational speaker and founder of the site: Your World Within). One section of the video had Eddie Pinero using the example of getting up early to run but it is raining. He expanded on the importance of getting out of bed and running in the rain, even though no one would blame you for staying in bed. But that doesn’t get you toward your goal.

These two separate moments highlighted for me – and this is a vulnerable statement from me – how I had not been working for my goals like I should. I needed to start running in the rain. And if you are struggling with accomplishing your goals, maybe you need to start running, too. Here’s what running in the rain does for us.

Pride

As a coach I always presented to my athletes the definition of pride as knowing you have done your best.

My oldest son has earned the right to feel proud. He has worked hard and ran his best time in bad conditions at the conference meet. As a coach, that was what I asked of my athletes, to be their best at the most important times. My son did that.

Eddie reinforced this idea in his speech. He expressed how you would be the only one who knew what you went through as you stood on the podium. The crowd saw you win, not knowing how many times you had to run in the rain.

Successful Habits

I love the way Eddie talked about habits. He explained how hard it would be to actually run in the rain the first time. But as you build the habit, the weather becomes a nonfactor. The running (or habit) becomes important, rain or shine.

My son also taught me this. He puts in hundreds of miles in the summer, but he also works on his other interests in the summer and on the weekends. He has created habits that allow him to succeed.

The Strength to Live Your Goals

This is the most important aspect, but also the most complex. So, let me see if I can connect the dots to reveal how running in the rain builds the strength to live an authentic life.

First, Eddie points out that when we focus on the weather, or external forces, we live our lives on a shallow level. We simple react to life. We make excuses and rationalize why our goals or dreams are not achieved.

Now my son has complained about the weather or the course, but I have never heard him make an excuse. He is so mentally strong. Not just with cross country, but with all his activities, and that is part of the strength running in the rain builds. It is not just to endure the weather, it is the strength to focus on what we want to do with our lives. To be able to adapt to external factors, not react. To be able to stay focused on achieving our goals, to live an authentic life.

My son and a motivational video by Eddie Pinero has shown me that it’s time to start running in the rain  – I have dreams and goals I want to achieve. I have been making too many excuses. So I got my shoes sitting by the door and I am thankful for their wake-up call.

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Letter of Resignation

Dear World:

I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as an active member of this company, effective today.

Thank you for the support and the opportunities that you have provided for me during the last 46 years. I have truly enjoyed my time, and am grateful for the encouragement you have given me while I pursued my professional and personal goals.

I know it is unprofessional to express why one resigns from a position, but I feel it is appropriate to articulate the issues in the company to help it move forward and find its way back to being great. There are many small things that have deteriorated over the years, but I believe that there are three main areas that the company could focus on that would take care of the small things.

Issue One: Communication

I know that the World is a huge company and that individual departments are busy with their own responsibilities, but there is no communication anymore. Not from the the top or between departments. Over time I have come to feel disconnected and isolated in this company. No one gathers at the watercooler or staff room to talk anymore. Also, we’ve stopped having activities that bring us together, like Christmas parties or company picnics. Everyday we sit behind our screens, ignoring those around us.  Unless there is gossip, then it gets ugly but I will address that with the second issue.

Issue Two: Culture

I am unsure how it changed, even though I think the issue of communication has a role in the negative culture the company now has, I can’t pinpoint when the company’s culture became so negative.  Every department blames the other departments for any failures the world has. And it has now come to the point that it is OK to publicly demoralize people in the other departments. It is not just gossip, but in memos and other official channels of communication I see negative and crushing name calling, blame, and threats for every employee of the world to see. The company’s culture is now divisive and walled. Each department only looks out for itself, striving to be seen as a great department.  We do not work together or work through differences for the betterment of the company, which is highlighted in the last issue.

Issue Three: Mission Statement

What is our mission statement? I haven’t seen it in awhile. Did we become too big to worry about having a foundation for our company? Even if it seemed like a cliche, a mission statement reminded us of our WHY. It highlighted the importance of our work and created a bond between employees. It focused our decisions and helped handle differences between departments. If asked, I couldn’t tell you what the World’s mission statement is. I don’t think any employee really knows. Each department has an unofficial mission statement, but the company has lost its own years ago.

If I can be of any assistance, please let me know. I would be glad to help however I can. I will be starting my own adventure as a writer.

Sincerely,

Jamey Boelhower

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Open Letter To My Younger Self

I have become a fan of The Players’ Tribune. A couple of my favorite essays are from Danny Woodhead and Ray Allen. (Not to mention the recent essay from Isaiah Thomas, but his doesn’t fit this blog theme). Danny and Ray write a letter to their younger selves. I wrote a blog similar to this idea, “Staying True To My Younger Self,” but it focused on my writing.

I’ll turn 46 in a few weeks. And this thought about what advice I would give my younger self keeps storming my heart. So, I thought I would get the idea out onto paper…

Dear Younger Me,

It is amazing to think that I am just over the halfway mark of this life. The first half seemed to take so long to happen, all the change and growth and heartache that has occurred in these 46 years is crazy to think about. But, the years seem to be gaining speed, and life is going by way too fast. The oldest son is a junior in high school and the youngest daughter just turned four. I have had five different professional positions. We have a minivan with almost 100,000 miles and still a few months to pay it off!

Be ready, you are going to need to work on a few things. This letter is going to be tough to write, I hope you understand it when you read it.

First, forgive them. Everyone. Do it now because if you don’t, each day adds weight to your heart and it becomes harder to forgive. In fact I still haven’t. I can’t seem to let go of the pain and disappointment and the what ifs. Ironically, part of the problem is the work you will do to create a better life for yourself and your family. I’m not father or husband of the year, but the dinner table is often filled with laughter. There are hugs and bedtime stories. Movie nights with too much candy and simple moments of joy that take my breath away. But I haven’t forgiven certain people. You know who I mean, so forgive them as soon as you can. You can still live your own life without them, but your heart won’t be burden with the weight of anger and pain.

Second, I hope you read this in time, but don’t quit football. Don’t make that mistake. It will be your greatest regret.  Also, write more, push to become the writer you have always dreamed of since elementary school.  I’ve learned that the door of opportunity only stays open for so long before it closes. And when you choose to close that door, it can get locked and you have to let a dream die. Football. Other dreams can still be achieved. Writing. But you have to find an unlocked window to climb through. And sometimes that window is on the forty third floor. You have to struggle more than if you would have truly pursue your goals when the door was open.

Third, tell people thank you and that you love them. Let them in. Not everyone. But the people who are helping you, sometimes believing in you when you are not. You might think you will have time, but you won’t. Mr. Holt will pass away before you can tell him thank you for believing in you. There are others, like the Hudsons, Scott, and Mrs. Lane, who you will take for granted while you grow up. Let them know you are grateful, today. “Thank you,” might be the hardest thing to say in life because it reveals how you were affected by someone else.  For that moment you allowed someone into your life with an open heart and you are letting them know that by saying thank you.

And finally, stay true to who you are. I know you will do this at times, you will make hard choices because deep down you listened to the quiet but strong voice. Other times you will feel lost and hurt and wonder why life is so dark. That happens when you lose your focus, when you let others decide your future. Your path will be clearer if you continue to make choices that align with who you are (and what your goals are).

You are going to make it. At the halfway mark of life you will be amazed at how far you’ve come (and that you have driven two minivans as a dad). It won’t be easy, but I hope you take my advice so that when you arrive here you would have experienced more joy than heartache. But even if you don’t take my advice, you will look ahead to the second half of your life and you will know, even though the years are speeding up, that they will be filled with love.

                                                                                             Sincerely

                                                                                              You at 45

P.S. Remember this song?

 

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Driving in a Fog

At times we can be on the right road, but that doesn’t mean traveling through life is easy, sometimes we come across our own personal fog.

country road with fog

I stopped this morning to take the picture above. You can just see the fog covering the road. Sometimes the fog fades quickly as you drive, but other times you have to slow down because the fog is so thick and lasts for the whole commute.

Fog is a cloud made of tiny water droplets that is suspended in the atmosphere. In life our fog is made up fear, doubt, self-criticism and other negative emotions. And sometimes that fog just rolls in without any notice. That makes life hard, even when we are on the right road.

So, how do we get through our own fog?

First, understand that most of the time the fog dissipates. Emotions come and go. We can wake up in a bad mood, but by the end of the day we are having a better day. No particular reason why, just that time passed.

Other times, especially with doubt, fear, or being critical, the fog has to be driven through. You have to focus on your driving, in the case for life it can be your goals that you stay focused on. As a track coach I would talk with my athletes about the voice in their head telling them to stop, or slow down. That voice can be loud, but it can be defeated by focusing on their workout, understanding how the pain was building strength to achieve their goals.

Driving through fog is not easy, but it can be done. Give yourself time and focus on your life, your goals, and you will make it to your destination.

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Why You Won’t Read This

Wall with title of the post

I know that you won’t read this post. Here’s why.

  1. I am not saying anything you don’t already know. Whether I am writing about fatherhood, love, school, or any other topic, my views are found in books, YouTube videos, and other blogs. At the moment of writing this there are already  2 million new post on the internet according to WorldOMeters. In fact even opposing views are found through these channels. My beliefs are centered on my personal story and do correlate with many other people, even you at times. I am not alone in my views, and neither are you.

 

  1. I am not popular. On Twitter I only have 2,477 followers. I only have 272 friends on Facebook. On Instagram I only have 58 followers, and my most like photo has 19 likes (I do have some videos with more likes, but I think it is because my sons are the subject of the videos, so they share them). Katy Perry has 100,365,254 followers on Twitter. Cristiano Ronaldo has 103,576,615 likes on Facebook. Beyoncé set the record for the most likes on Instagram with her pregnancy photo; 7.8 million likes in 24 hours.

 

  1. I don’t have a focus. Most of the advice on making a blog work is centered around focusing your message, or branding your identity. There is also the advice about writing great headlines or building email lists and that post should be short. I use the free version of WordPress, and have a basic layout. No pop-ups or banners to get you to follow me. I do have a Flickr feed, though, I think that is cool.

So why am I even writing this? Why have I been writing a blog (in some form) since 2009?

Because of you.

Because of me.

Because of life.

Because it is all connected…

If there is one post, one sentence, or idea that helps you make your life better, it was worth writing it. I may never meet you in person, but that doesn’t mean our lives are separated. Honestly, if you think about it, technology allows us to build powerful connections that can make a positive difference in this world. And not just in a grand way, but in our everyday life. A single tweet, picture we share, or reading a post can make a bad day better. That’s awesome.

So, thanks for not reading this post today. I hope it has been a bright spot in your day. I’ll talk (write) to you soon.

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Why Love: It Works

Bus with the title It Works

When I taught psychology class in high school, on of the best units covered the book, Tuesdays With Morrie. I even taught the book as the final work for my American Literature course. If you have read the book, you will recognize the following quote from Morrie:

“Love is the only rational act.”

Love makes sense. Love works. It is not easy. It is not weak.

Imagine… seriously…. Imagine if we chose to care about people and acted accordingly. And it is not just the grand moments that would be different. It is in the smallest, everyday aspect of life that we would see the change. Imagine how our decisions would change. How we would act in traffic. How we spent money. Imagine…

Love is the only thing that makes sense in this crazy world. Hate sure doesn’t solve anything. I can’t count the times that the newspaper or newscast left me wondering how bad can we make this world, then another story runs that reveals we can make it worse. We think love comes from the heart, and it does, but it also comes from our mind, our decisions. That is the crutch of Morrie’s quote, Love is rational.

I know that life will have hardships. I know in fact that this post will not change a thing in this world. But I believe that Love works, and I will choose Love everyday.

Thanks for reading this series. #OneLove

 

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