Until..

I was watching a clip on Youtube of the renowned motivational speaker Les Brown today. It’s something I’ve been doing a lot of lately–watching different types of instructional videos–since I found the YouTube app on my DirecTV receiver (Menu/Extras/YouTube). In the middle of watching today, something dawned upon me. It is something I do continuously, something that I feel helps me make sense of the world around me. It is also something that, more times than not, ends up bearing itself out to be more true than false.

What is it?

Well, I believe that, although difficult and challenging, life can often be broken down into manageable, even logical pieces. Anecdotes. Precepts. Tenets. And it is my belief further, that by applying these universal laws–rules, if you will–we can become better and more successful in everything we do.

Today’s thought and realization is based upon one very simple word. Five little letters, I’m convinced, that if eliminated in one case and embraced in another, will yield tremendous success.

Until.

U-N-T-I-L.

“Until?” you ask. “How is that going to help me?”

Well, let’s take the first case. Eliminating it. What one word have you used most in your life to excuse yourself from achievement and success? What one word has become necessary for you to feel okay with the status quo, with staying where you are? What one word has prevented you from taking full responsibility for your future, starting today, starting right now? Read more of this post

Belief..in Santa

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My kids still believe in Santa Claus. And I’m glad! I believe it’s necessary!

Well, another Christmas has come and gone. And faster than you can say ‘Bah, humbug!’, the presents that so beautifully adorned the base of our Christmas tree less than 24 hours ago are now opened. Like my parents did with my siblings and me, I tried to convince my children that they should keep their presents under the tree until January 1, when the tree goes back into the box. I lost that battle, at least in part, with my daughter taking most of her gifts to her room and my son… well his toys are all over the house. One, a BMX ramp I bought him so that he would stop asking me–his white collar father– to build him one, is even outside.

If I had to grade the day, I’d give Christmas 2012 an “A”. With all that’s gone on in our country and the world the last few months, being able to hold my children and kiss my wife is gift enough. Sharing some time on the phone with my father, baby sister, and big brother is necessary or the Holiday is not complete. And being able to tell my closest friends how much they mean to me is cherry on top.

That’s not to say I didn’t have my moments of angst and anxiety yesterday and today. Christmas was at our home for the first time in several years. This came after I’d held my annual Bluford Holiday party, started more than a decade ago to honor my mom who passed away in 1998, last weekend, spending more than ten hours preparing among other things collard greens, black eye peas, and my now famous rum cake. But like is normally the case when I’m stressed about something, as soon as the company arrived, my fears dissipated to a more than tolerable steady state. My wife’s brother had to stay home to attend to his sick infant, so the only guests were my wife’s parents and her sister’s family. Read more of this post

Negotiate on YOUR terms!

Like in sports, don’t let Life dictate to you. Live your life on YOUR terms!

“RIP 30s”. In other words, “Rest in Peace, 30s!” That’s what the sign read, the one that was on my door when I strolled into the office on my birthday—oops, 40th birthday– a few weeks ago. It was a loving gesture, to be sure, mostly from a group of coworkers whom I put through a battery of exercises twice a week in what they’ve come to call “Bobby Bootcamp.” Led by the ring leader, whose name has been omitted to protect the, umm, guilty, they also put together a gift basket of the most thoughtful items. Protein drinks. Nuts and other healthy snacks. Even some blue sports tape, the exact kind I put on my bad wrists when we train. Clearly, the group gave this gift a whole lot of thought. And I’ll never forget it.

And it may have been the best thing that’s happened to me in a while, even though it didn’t start out that way.

Let me explain.

I thought I was okay with it. Turning the big 4-0, that is. I even walked around bragging that I was the finest 40 year old in California, or at least in the top 10. I call it “play cocky”, only meant to make people laugh and smile as they wonder if anyone can really love himself that much. No, not really. I’d even given my brother a hard time weeks earlier when he turned 50. He felt similarly when he turned 40. I didn’t understand what the big deal was, this aging thing. I didn’t feel it when I turned 30, like many men and women do, and I was certain I would blow threw the 40-year mark just as easily. To be honest, I’d been saying I was 40 since I was about 39 years and one month old. That’s because, if anything, getting older strengthened the foundation on which my bragging rights are built when I playfully tease younger guys (and girls) who can’t hang with me and my often crazy workouts. “You can’t hang with a 40 year old?!?” has a certain ring to it. Read more of this post

Life’s Monday Morning Game Review

Events in our lives are normally not as good, nor as bad as they first seem.

After the Dallas Cowboys’ opener, a 24-17 win over the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, I meant to go online and book my flights and hotel reservations for New Orleans, the site of this year’s Super Bowl.  But I was busy, like most Mondays, putting out fires and readying myself for the demands of the upcoming workweek.  So I forgot to do it.  And I was lucky, because after my ‘Boys got what many in the media called ‘bullied’ the following Sunday up in Seattle, I was convinced we’d (real fans always say ‘we’ right?) have the first pick in the 2013 College Draft.  So, I readied myself for a Saturday of college football, looking to see which stars might be the missing pieces for a return to the glory days.

But then reality hit, also known as another weekend of football.  Like is normally the case, the Dallas Cowboys proved to be neither as bad as they looked against Seattle nor as good as they looked against New York.  They struggled to a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home opener and, as is the case more times than not, they were somewhere in between what they revealed the first two weeks.  Actually (and unfortunately), they were much closer to the team that flew up to the Northwest and got their lunch money taken than the one that traveled to the Northeast and ‘shocked the NFL world’, but let’s table that conversation for another week. Read more of this post

Our jobs as coaches, teachers, and parents

Our sole job as coaches, teachers, and parents is never easy and rarely appreciated. But as Allyson Felix and Bobby Kersee showed us in the 2012 Summer Olympics; it’s worth it!

Leave it up to the Olympics to help me get this writing thing back on track. And leave it to one of the darlings of the games- along with Gabby Douglas and the Golden Girls of Women’s Beach Volleyball, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh—to inspire me and this post.

I certainly enjoyed watching other sports and athletes during the Olympics. Watching the American hoops team bring home the gold was fun. Watching Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee from South Africa who advanced to the semifinals in the 400 meters, was nothing short of amazing. And watching a human being run as fast as Usain Bolt had the feeling of watching something that could, or at least should, not be possible. But Allyson Felix is the one who got me off my you-know-what, prompting me to pull out my laptop and write.

She did it for me. More importantly, she finally did it for herself. After finishing a close second in her signature race, the 200 meters, in both Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008), she grabbed the prize that had mercilessly alluded her, bringing home her first individual Gold Medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. The joy and jubilation on her face was almost as telling and transparent as the relief in her voice during the interview that immediately followed conquering what must have seemed like the most insurmountable of obstacles. You could tell she’d struggled with it, the disappointment of failure. You could almost feel it, the pain she had to overcome each time she fell short. And watching her, we all knew that she’d wanted to give up at least once or twice during the eight years that must have seemed like eighty between her first failure and her ultimate triumph. Read more of this post