Perseverance and persistence win the race

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The old story about the turtle and the hare exemplifies the importance of perseverance! That turtle never gave up, even though he was
excruciatingly slow. He kept going and was not distracted by his own over-confidence, as was the hare.  Of course, the turtle won the race,
because of his persistence and determination to success.

It would have been very easy for the turtle to quit – or to never start. The hare was so confident because he knew he was faster. What would have halphabet-word-images-1298865_1280appened if the turtle had agreed with the hare from the beginning and just said “forget it”?

For one, we wouldn’t have a moral-filled, long-beloved story to share with our children!

If the turtle had not even started the race or had given up halfway through, he would not have seen the results of his perseverance – his success! Likewise, if we decide a task is too difficult – or, in some sad cases, that life is too difficult – and don’t continue trying, then we definitely will not succeed. However, if we persevere, we can definitely have that access to success!

Don’t give up! Never give up! You may see others passing you by, but that does not matter. You may decide the race is too hard, but you are stronger than you may realize. You may want to hand the victory over to someone or something else, but you are the one destined for that success.

Keep going. Even if you find yourself on a slow path, your persistence is what matters, not your speed. Just ask that turtle!

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What’s the deal with the dog?

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Service animals tend to be a bit misunderstood. Misperceptions abound: they are only for the visually impaired; they are just nice companions to have; they shouldn’t be allowed in certain places. For those of us who need them, service animals can mean the difference between life and death. While that may seem extreme, it is absolutely, literally true.

To clarify a few points:

Service animals are usually dogs, but can also be a miniature horse or other animal.

Service animals are trained to assist people with physical disabilities as well as with psychiatric disabilities.

A service animal can help with basic, everyday tasks, and can also be a life saver.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.”image

So those are the facts. Now, what is it like to live with and to need a service animal?

Diva is my constant companion. She’s so much more than a companion, though. She has been trained to assist me when I need help. Given my injuries (sustained in a scud missile attack), if I were to fall and not be able to get up, Diva would be right there helping me.

She is trained to behave in public. As someone with a service animal, I have the responsibility to make sure of that. All service animals must be trained and must not be allowed to disrupt a public place.

Diva is my lifeline. She is not just a dog and she is not just a pet. Far from it. I need her to survive, as much as she needs me.

When I walk into a public establishment, I do get the occasional odd look and the questions about why I’m bringing her with me. Where I go, she goes.

For people who need a service animal, it’s not a choice. It’s a necessity.

Service animals belong in the workplace, in restaurants, on the train, anywhere we go. They belong with us – the people who need them.

If you feel you need a service dog, check out your local organizations that specialize in training these animals. Do your homework and find your lifeline!

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What’s your why?

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Why do you do what you do?

Finances?

Family?

Personal fulfillment?

Are you helping others? Are you supporting your family?

What is the why that got you started in the first place?

question-mark-1872665_1920In your business and in your personal life, there is always a reason for what you do. There may be times throughout the journey when you forget that reason. When your career has hit a brick wall or your business has become stagnant, you may start asking other questions. When you struggle in your personal life, with family or relationships or even with people you thought were supportive friends, you may begin to question your why.

When you become frustrated and are ready to give up, re-focus on your reasons for pursuing your goals. You started your business for a reason. You chose a specific career for a reason. You developed relationships for a reason.

Sustainability is fostered through focus. As you move through the stages of your business, your career, and your life, that focus will certainly change. You mature, you experience setbacks and successes, and you learn. Your why will hardly ever change, though.

Whether you’re in it to become financially successful or personally fulfilled, focusing on your why will get you through.

Revisit your why. Don’t give up. Shift gears, adjust plans, but don’t give up. Stay focused on your why.

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Transitions are all about “what’s next?”

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Change happens in everyone’s life, sometimes quite frequently. A new job. A job loss. A new relationship. A break-up. Births. Deaths. Upward career moves. Career shifts.

The question that hovers over every life change, every transition, is “what’s next?” Often we do not know the answer to that question right away. It might take some time to get all the information necessary to move forward through the moment of transition. It will most certainly take courage and determination, a fog-1819147_1920“never quit” attitude to navigate the transition successfully.

Easy words, right? We can all sit back and tell someone else to not give up, to keep plowing through. I can tell you that . . . from experience.

My life has been a very long line of transitions. From abused child to adopted child. From soldier to wounded warrior. From a series of operations to health and fitness.

What’s my secret? Focus and determination. I’ve asked myself “what’s next?” at every step, to prepare myself to be successful with the next transition.

Of course it’s not easy. The pain is real, both emotional and physical, for those (including myself) going through challenging transitions.  I will not tell you I’ve flown smoothly through the transitions in my life. I will not tell you that I’ve never been frustrated.

I will tell you I’ve never given up. I’ve always known there would be something behind that next “what’s next?”

What keeps me going now? My five principles of:

~~Faith

~~Fitness

~~Finances

~~Family

~~Fostering sustainability

I am focused on succeeding. I am focused on helping others succeed – and sustaining that success.

What’s next for you? Are you navigating through your own transition?

You can do it! You don’t have to do it alone. Contact me and let’s walk through your next “what’s next?” together!

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Fitting in Fitness

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Fitness is not all about body building. Fitness encompasses mental, physical and spiritual wellness.

For me fitness was always in a gym, in an arena, and, eventually, on the battlefield. I spent decades chasing traditional methods of fitness such weight training, martial arts, and aerobic conditioning. The problem I eventually became acutely aware of is the emptiness in spirit.

Trauma can happen to the body, mind, and soul. Unfortunately, the standard and orthodox western methods do not appear to completely compliment trauma. We have a multi-billion dollar fitness industry in this country but formal programs aren’t always appropriate and they don’t always work for everyone.

For myself, soon after I turned 45 my body began to show painful signs of accelerated wear. Joints, tendons, and muscles were taking much longer to recover, and in the meantime, of course, there was always pain. Yes, pain is the reward for pursuing health!

I began paying close attention to my body’s need and responses to stimuli and discovered that I don’t need to work out any more than necessary (still finding out what that means) and I can enjoy activities other than typical impact-filled “gym work” such as:

~Walking!shoes-584850_1920

~Biking

~Hiking

~Yoga

~Swimming

What does this mean to you? You can do it! You don’t need billions of dollars. You don’t need a formal program. You just need to get started.

Start with the 3 rules:

~No lies – Be honest with yourself (and others) about why you want to change.

~No excuses – Establish a firm date and time of when you will start.

~Never quit – Don’t force yourself; find yourself!

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One suicide is one too many

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There have been a number of discussions lately about the validity of the veteran suicide rate being popularly quoted as “22 a day.” Different research reports and studies do come up with different numbers, just because they tend to look at different types of statistics.

Many of these reports do not count veterans if they had been discharged more than six weeks prior.

Some states don’t report numbers at all.

The bottom line is that even if the statistic is one veteran suicide a year – that is veteran-1885567_1920one too many.

A new VA study published in July of 2016 stated that “roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide, according to new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Whether 20 or 22 or 2, the number itself doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it continues to happen.

The questions much bigger than the “how many?” are the “why?” and “what can be done?”

For the last question, we all need to be able to recognize the signs. Check out a helpful list at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/SignsOfCrisis/Identifying.aspx. Among the signs listed are:

  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep
  • Frequent and dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame
  • Feelings of failure or decreased performance
  • Feeling that life is not worth living, having no sense of purpose in life
  • Talk about feeling trapped—like there is no way out of a situation
  • Having feelings of desperation, and saying that there’s no solution to their problems
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities—seemingly without thinking
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, and/or making out a will

The “why?” is more difficult to answer. More veterans have thought about, attempted, and committed suicide since 9/11. When soldiers at Fort Carlson, Colorado, were asked the question of “why?”, their primary answer was that they had “a desire to end intense emotional distress.”

Being a soldier is hard. Coming home is often harder. The transition needs to be handled appropriately or soldiers will be left with a sense of uncertainty and despair that leads to that intense emotional distress.

Stop worrying about the numbers. Focus on the warning signs, the “what can be done?”

Let me know how I can help.

#transition #success #veterans

 

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Understanding makes it harder to hate

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How many of us make snap assumptions based on the superficial? We decide what someone else is like, what their situation must be, and how we will react to them simply because of the way they look, where they are from, or even the way they talk or walk.

What would happen if we got to know people as individuals?

How many times have we decided what a particular person must be like and then, after getting to know them, found that they were nothing like what we first thought?

It’s so much harder to hate when we actually understand what a person’s life is like, what kind of circumstances have shaped that person, and the struggles that person may be going through.us-flag-1779063_640

We could put an end to bullying, to discrimination, to hatred, just by taking a few minutes to ask someone a question or listen to their story.

Instead of criticizing someone with no apparent health issue for parking in a handicapped spot, ask that person if he could use some help walking to the store.

Instead of classifying someone of a particular religion in with extremists who falsely claim that same religion, take the time to learn what that person’s faith is truly all about.

Instead of looking down on the person in front of you digging through her coin purse, struggling to pay for her groceries, pay it forward and offer to put a few items on your bill.

Yes, I realize this is a dream. But all it takes to make a dream come true is a little action. If each of us stopped – today – and took the time to understand more about someone else, we could contribute to making the dream a reality.

It doesn’t take a grand gesture or a wide-sweeping movement. It only takes only person at a time deciding to gain a better understanding before deciding to hate.

Try it out. Get to know someone better. Offer to help. Work on understanding. Then spread the word.

Let me know how it goes.

#DREAMS #veterans #students

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A man and his dog . . . a message of hope and dreams

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Often we hear people ask “I’m just one person – what can I do?” The answer, of course, is plenty! One person can make a difference to others in so many ways.

 

Most of us had a favorite teacher in high school or college. That teacher may have encouraged you when you doubted yourself or perhaps even influenced your entire career path.

 

Many have an encouraging friend or family member who spends time listening to imageyou just when you need it the most.

 

Our co-workers, our neighbors, even strangers on the street who take the time to open a door or give a hearty “hello” and a friendly smile, can make a tremendous difference.

 

How many other individuals have you had in your life who were able to make a significant impact on your path? With even the tiniest of gestures, we can each make a huge difference in the lives of others.

 

People who are going through a life transition, in particular, need those gestures of encouragement, of guidance, and of hope. Students in high school and college face incredible pressures. They are trying to figure out their lives at the same time that they are dealing with issues such as peer pressure and academic challenges and perhaps even family troubles.

 

Veterans transitioning back into civilian life face the challenge of re-adapting, of finding a meaningful job and perhaps even a decent home. They must learn to live with their loved ones once again and to work through the PSTD caused by the traumas they have faced.

 

What can one person do to make an impact on such enormous issues? Plenty! Diva and I are just a man and his dog, but we are working hard to make a difference for students and veterans. We will continue to share our journey as inspiration for hope and direct facilitation of making DREAMS come true.

 

By helping students understand that they achieve their dreams, we can make a difference to those who doubt themselves or who are struggling to understand where life might take them. By helping veterans make a successful transition from active duty to civilian life, we can help reduce the number of men and women who struggled to understand why they should even continue living.

 

A man and his dog can make a difference – and so can you.

 

Thank you for continuing to follow our journey! Please contact me if I can help you make your DREAMS come true.

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Do you still have DREAMS?

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When you were younger and in school, did you have dreams of greatness and success? Have you made those dreams a reality yet?

So many young people have dreams and goals that may seem out of reach or unrealistic to them. We have to work to help them realize they can achieve whatever goals they set for themselves. We need to encourage more young people to have dreams and to work toward fulfilling them.

What are my DREAMS? I want people of all ages to understand what they need to do, to overcome the negative thoughts and the idea that they don’t have what it takes to move forward with their lives. How much could we all do if we were encouraged and supported?

Even though this is written with those young people in mind, it applies to you as well – parents, mentors, business professionals, anyone who wants to achieve more.

How do you achieve your DREAMS and encourage others to do so as well?

Dream

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Engage

Achieve

Maintain

Share

It starts with a vision. It continues with education and support. It requires adults who can be positive role models and reassure young people they can make a positive difference by becoming the person they want to be.

What have you done today to encourage a young person – or a dreamer of any age?

What can I do today to help you and the young people in your life to achieve those DREAMS?

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Sustainability setbacks or setups?

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When I first began this latest leg of my life’s journey, I promised myself (and my followers) to be as honest and as open as humanly possible. More importantly, I promised not to train, recover or heal my wounds with any of the anger that has plagued almost all of my childhood and adult life.

True to this commitment, I offered to share my evolution of creating a tiny home space, vetting a homeless veteran pilot and sustaining a more minimal ecological footprint while healing from some pretty intense surgeries. The easy portions of this odyssey are the success stories for Diva and me.

Delivery of the “shed,” the acquisition of electricity, climate control and consistent cooking access all hedged our ability to somewhat mitigate the harsh circumstances and elements we previously struggled to endure.

Some of the other projects in this part of my journey require some genuine ability to think outside the box. The most memorable example is using ice cream and other seasonal confections as fun training aids for Diva during intently warm weather.

 

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The other project of note I reported as a success story has now been reclassified as a life lesson. I constructed a rock porch about 2 weeks ago. I moved 5 ton of rocks that were generally the size of a softball and as large a football.

Despite my reservations, I completed the task in an afternoon. I took several breaks for water, stretching and essential oil rundowns of my recovering post-operative wounds. From many years of weight lifting, I know that (almost like clockwork) at the 2 day post workout mark, my body exhibits signals of distress and the need for recovery in the form of muscle soreness, limited mobility and increased exasperation of my severe chronic pain.

Well…

This time everything I thought I’d escaped or avoided happened on day 3.

Imagine my surprise as I was driving back to Denver (nursing a cracked transfer case, I might add) and my legs and back were spasming so forcefully that I would need to stretch every 40-50 miles.

My body was and is beat up!

Today marks 2 weeks, not 2 days, since my successful rock porch project and I can still hardly stand or walk. The pain is so bad that it literally makes me cry almost daily! My path has given me an incredible pain tolerance. It is a pretty rare occasion when pain can make me cry and yet I am here daily.

Chronic pain is exhausting!

So while I was calculating how much pain I’ve experienced in this crazy life of mine, Diva looked at me a certain way that is difficult to articulate on paper. What I felt is an amazing sense of gratitude, peace and hope. This puppy’s look somehow reminds me that I have endured pain so that I am prepared for what life serves and helps me stay focused on the message, “Everyone can win as long as they never quit!”

You see my mom insisted that I get a puppy rather than rescue an older dog and train it for service work. In the spirit of honesty, I preferred an older dog because in the back of my mind I refused to commit to needing as long to heal as it takes to properly raise a puppy. I was ready to be done healing very quickly and that is not my reality.

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Mom was right.

Diva came into the picture at almost 9 weeks old and has really helped me pace my recovery based on her growth and physical maturation. Most days she is my sole companion. She gives me a sense of purpose and offers me hope along with a sense of accomplishment. She is and always has been a “stunner!”

Presently this magnificent creature is working on fetching two toys thrown in different directions from sit/stay and down/stay. She goes up and down escalators, sits while I open doors or gates, and then enters and sits just inside/outside. In restaurants and on the train, she lays down under my legs and seat. This girl is so sweet.

Satin Diva is 6 months old and 73 pounds on Sunday. She has lost five teeth that I witnessed in the past week. Her most notable gift is her innate ability to bridge generational, educational and social status barriers in this often divisive climate that is now America, as folks from all walks of life exclaim, “LOOK at the puppy!”

 

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We’ve had an interesting two weeks. I’ve had to stay a little closer to Denver Sports Recovery Center and, as always, a perfect solution appeared at the appropriate time. We are in Evergreen for a spell and I have plans to bring my Dawg House here to complete the interior.

More about our current digs, later…

We are fortunate to connect with like-minded individuals like SC, to train with a beautiful 9 month old, 95 pound, all blue European Great Dane whose beauty rivals Ms Diva’s, and a pair of new beasties, Echo and Bergen, and to reconnect with some close friends.

In sharing our status, my goal is to let you know that what most folks consider “setbacks,” I relish as “setups” for success.

The key? Adaptability.

Learn what your mind, body and spirit need to perform, rest, and recover. Listen to it with an open mind because nothing works for all people but everyone can find something that works. When you find a treatment, exercise, a therapy or a protocol, do all you can to improve your position, be honest about your plight and potential consequences but don’t make/accept excuses. Make a plan and never quit.

Sustainable Success in just on the horizon! ?????

All Love,

T

 

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