2017 Goals in Review

Do you set personal goals every year? Then look back on them?

This is more of a random blog, from what I have recently posted, it’s a follow up to what I wrote exactly 11 months ago to this date in my blog, defining my personal goals for 2017 which came to mind again this evening, ironically, thinking about 2018.  It felt good to look at the goals I wrote a year ago and realize that I accomplished 95% of what I intended to do a year ago.  But from my perspective now, my goals could use a little elevation..more like a lot more elevation from 2017!  I guess that’s what growth is all about. Last year at this time, those goals were what I needed in my life, a year ago, but now it’s time to grow/push harder/further, make the goals more meaningful.  I think I gave myself the easy/feel good stuff to accomplish last year; not something that truly challenges me, it was more of a focus on quality of life; I certainly accomplished that, 2017 has been a year of fun and entertainment.

2018, for me, needs to be better though, a year with elevated goals; this is a little scary because results will be exposed at the end of the year once the goals are stated.  The things that matter to me haven’t changed, and I believe that we all need to make time for what matters in our lives, so I will continue incorporating time for these:

Faith | Family | Friends | Music | Outdoors | Travel | Architecture/Interior Design/Fashion | Health/Fitness | Personal Improvement

But for next year, the following needs more focus, here are my 2018 goals:

  1.  Increase the amount of “giving back”
  2.  Improve in providing value/service to others
  3.  Maintain consistency

It’s interesting looking back on a blog, especially when it’s about personal improvement, maybe I shouldn’t post this stuff!?

What to do in the Lou?

“The Lou” meaning: St. Louis, MO.

I’m a St. Louis native who doesn’t experience boredom because there are so may things to do!  Always having something fun on the calendar definitely keeps me motivated, so I’m continually looking for NEW things to do as well as keeping track of enjoyable annual events, and now I’m sharing them with you.  I intend to periodically update this post with Events and Activities as an evolving page, so if you check back at a later date, there will likely be new events added as time continues and I visit more places!

The types of Events and Activities you will find here are:  Comedy, Cultural Activities, Entertaining Kids, Fitness, Music, Neighborhoods, Outdoors,  Restaurants, Seasonal Events, Sports, Weekend Road Trip Ideas, Wineries based on places I’ve been, along with links to informational sites all centering around the St. Louis area.

Below each subject are website links to the venues or activities providing the most current information:

COMEDY

St. Louis Funny Bone, Playhouse @ WestportPeabody Opera House

St. Louis

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES/ART/HISTORY

Visit the Arch, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, The Muny, The Rep St. Louis, The Fox Theatre, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Lemp Mansion, Demenil Mansion, Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour, Peabody Opera House

DIGITAL CAMERAENTERTAINING KIDS

Magic House, St. Louis Zoo, Grants Farm, Eckert’s, Incredible Pizza, Six Flags, St. Louis County Parks and Recreation, Purina Farms, City Museum, Ted Drewes, St. Louis Science Center, Swing Around Fun Town, Chesterfield Sports Fusion, Flying SpiderBounceU, Pole Position, Pump It UP, Skyzone, Chesterfield YMCA (summer camps), Steinberg Skating Rink,  Challenger Learning CenterGirl Scouts of Eastern MO, Shaw Nature Reserve, Dixie Stampede (Branson- 4hr drive),

FITNESS

Hiking, Battlegrounds Mud Run, Tough Mudder, Various Organized Runs, St. Patrick’s Day Run

LIVE MUSIC

Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, Tin Roof St. Louis, Sky Music Lounge, The Pageant, Delmar Hall, Scottrade Center, The Blue Note (Columbia, MO), Old Rock House, Broadway Oyster Bar, Stovall’s (country music)Peabody Opera House

NEIGHBORHOODS

Soulard, Central West End, The Hill, The Loop, Clayton

OUTDOORS

Patio DiningThe Bull Float Trip (Annual Event), Meramec Caverns, Twin Rivers Landing Campgrounds,  St. Louis County Campgrounds
CieloRESTAURANTS

Outdoor/Patio Dining, New Restaurants Italian Restaurants,  Fireplace Dining, St. Louis Food and Drink Events, St. Louis Dining (Riverfront Times)

SEASONAL EVENTS

Mardis Gras in Soulard, St. Patrick’s Day Run and Parade, Purina Farms Easter Village and Haunted Hay loft, Fourth of July or Fall at Big Cedar Lodge, Historic Kimmswick Apple Butter and Christmas Festival, Lantern Festival, Winter Wonderland at Tillis Park, Historic St. Charles Christmas

Lemp Brewery Scarefest

Busch StadiumSPORTS

St. Louis Cardinals Baseball, St. Louis Blues Hockey, St. Louis Ambush SoccerMizzou College Football, Kansas City Chiefs Football

WEEKEND ROAD TRIP IDEAS

Kansas City, MO (approx. 3.5 hrs) Silver Dollar City Theme Park (approx 4 hrs),  Table Rock Lake, Branson, MO (approx 4 hours), Lake of the Ozarks (approx 2.5 hrs) , Springfield MO (approx. 3.5 hrs), Memphis TN (slightly over 4 hours), Nashville, TN (approx 5 hours), Chicago, IL (approx 5 hours)

Cedar Lake CellarsWINERIES

St. Charles area along 94:  Augusta Winery, Montelle Winery, Mt. Pleasant Winery, Chandler Hill Winery

Cedar Lake Cellars (about 45 from St. Louis)

Herman, MO – winery town (about 1 hour from St. Louis)

I hope you find this helpful and welcome any feedback or suggestions regarding places to visit! Happy Exploring!

 

 

Lack Patience? Get it by letting go!

Have you ever heard how “The Universe keeps giving us lessons until we learn the lesson”?  Well I guess I needed a lot of lessons to develop patience, but thankfully I made progress; it just took a long time! This past year, I kept realizing what little patience I had, but wanting to become more patient.  And while I wasn’t intentionally working on becoming patient, the experiences I had throughout my life taught me to become more patient.   These are my realizations about what I learned from experiences:

Simply described, I realized that becoming patient is achieved by practicing LETTING GO! I found becoming patient requires…

…letting go of:

  1.  Forcing anything– Patience is letting things happen naturally, slowly over time; this removes stress and adds peacefulness to our lives when we realize forcing something into our ideal time frame really doesn’t work.  Sometimes it’s as simple as letting time pass;  some things naturally work out on their own over time.
  2. Mistakes:  – keep improving when we mess up or life gets messed up, hit reset…a new beginning!  It’s okay to keep starting over when something doesn’t work, it’s not permanent failure, it’s only temporary failure! Patience lets us accept our mistakes and try again.  Each time we try again, we develop our patience and have another opportunity for success.
  3. Expectations of Others – this is out of our control anyway, so practice patience with others, don’t fit them into “our box”, “our way of thinking”, “our way of acting”: everyone is different, let go of expectations and let it happen as it is (Having patience with others will bring us peacefulness: when we have no expectations; there is no let down) Others are who they are- accept them “as is” work with them as they are.
  4. The future – we are not guaranteed a future.  All we have is our time, here and now.  We need to have goals or we will never accomplish anything in life and wander aimlessly, but this is about being present in the moment doing what we need today to reach our goals, pay attention to what is happening in our lives at the moment, don’t overthink the future, we don’t know the future and can’t predict it.  Patience lets the future unfold as it is intended and the future is more greatly affected by what effort we put in today anyway.
  5. Fear taking on the next challenge, pushing ourselves to do something we never thought we would or could do. Patience is developed as we slowly see progress along the way, in overcoming fears or achieving certain goals over time; then we realize that having patience helps us accomplish things in life.
  6. Control – have faith in God providing what we need in life, not always what we expect, or on our time-frame, but what we need, letting go and letting God take over. We become patient when we believe that God will guide us and provide for us; we have no anxiety. We are not in control of what happens to us anyway, only how we react to what happens to us.
  7. Seriousness–  it’s great to laugh as often as possible; we need laughter to help get through being patient when things take time and frustrate us!
  8. ONLY celebrating first place wins, acknowledge that second place is progress, celebrating the journey and the small wins along the way keeps positive motivation flowing. Recognizing small wins develops patience and the dedication needed for the big wins.
  9. The way we think it should bechange happens and we need to adjust ourselves to address the changes we experience; there is more than one way to do things.
  10. The past – let go of the past, something that didn’t work, didn’t work out for us: never settle. Never settling requires patience because it takes awhile before we find what is best for us.

So if we want patience, focus on letting go!

What???!!!

The best AND the worst thing in our lives is….

Communication! 

 

Isn’t that the truth? Besides golfing, communication is something none of us fully master, yet it is such a powerful tool, if we improve our skills!  Effective communication can rocket us to success or plummet us to a crash landing in our business or personal lives.  And the key to successful communication is understanding, to the best of our abilities, the audience or other person first.  This obviously takes time, so if we don’t invest the time first, there is a very good chance that our communication won’t be on target and may not be successful.

IMG_0482

CRASH LANDING

Sometimes we get so wrapped up with what is happening in our own business, life, relationships, world, etc. that we focus on ourselves instead of the audience when communicating.  We speak from our perspective, not from the audience’s perspective.  It’s easy to speak from our perspective because that is what we know, but it can be so much more effective if we take the time to get to know our audience, and speak from their perspective, in a way that they can best understand us and obtain value from us, actually hear and listen to what we have to say.

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Another hindrance to communication is fear.  Fear of the unknown, the outcome, etc.  Fear is a big problem, a huge deterrent in effective communication and acting out of fear produces regrets. Facing fear brings rewards:  success, honesty, understanding and maybe even new ideas, collaboration?

Being overly scheduled, committed, worked, not enough time, etc. also hinders effective communication.  This is probably something we can all relate to, but if your audience is a priority and important to you, show it by taking the time needed to communicate, because you may loose your “priority” person, client, etc. if you don’t make time.

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Interrupting is another way to have a “crash landing” in communication.  If we interrupt, we are not listening, we are talking and we can’t do both effectively.  Besides that interrupting is disrespectful and tells the other person what we have to say is more important than what they are saying; obviously this doesn’t “win any friends” for us.

SUCCESSFUL COMMUNICATION

Oddly, successful communication isn’t as much about talking, it is more about listening first and foremost!  We all know that feeling when someone is either engaged with what we are saying or they are in “la la land” thinking about something else; it’s easy to see.  If we are rushed, then we aren’t taking the time to listen, it’s better to slow down and focus on being mindfully present, not somewhere in the future on to the next event.  Time is precious, valuable and limited, so when we have it, it’s best to take advantage of it and make it count or we’ve wasted time.

'When I first started working here, I thought our boss would be a good listener. But, that hasn't been the case.'
‘When I first started working here, I thought our boss would be a good listener. But, that hasn’t been the case.’

Personally, I believe that successful communication involves honesty.  Most people can intuitively spot honesty and dishonesty even though we may not say anything.  If we are not being honest, there is a very good chance that the audience knows it, even if they don’t show it or “call us out” on it; and eventually truths become evident, so it’s just a matter of time. Again, it’s wasted time if we are not honest; both our time and their time. No one benefits and the dishonest person ruins his or her reputation in the process too.

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Successful communication involves being prepared, organized, thought through in advance.  Spontaneous communication sometimes misses some elements if we did not think it through in advance.

If we all work towards getting better at this:

  1. Get to know the audience
  2. Communicate from the audience’s perspective
  3. Face and overcome our fear
  4. Make time for communication, don’t do it when we are rushed
  5. Don’t interrupt
  6. Listen first, then respond
  7. Be honest
  8. Prepare and organize our thoughts first before communicating

Then we will be better communicators and avoid some stress in life!

 

Helping Frustration

We’ve all been there, on both sides, the giving or the receiving of a certain kind of “help” and I bet we can all relate to the frustrations that accompany it too.  Beginning as a toddler, we often hear “I do it” from them; and that doesn’t seem to change with age either, we all still want to do it.  We generally don’t look for help, because if we look for help, that damages our egos.  So then, when help is offered, we reject the help.

THE GIVING SIDE- OFFERING HELP

Avoiding frustration is easy if we recognize that we can’t change anyone but ourselves.  We often think that “our way” is the better way to do something, but is it?  We all learn from others because each person has unique qualities, strengths, talents and gifts; so “our way” isn’t necessarily the best.  We can offer resources so the person can help themselves, if they want it. The resources allow the person to help themselves and build confidence by accomplishing something on their own.  So don’t be frustrated if someone doesn’t accept help, understand that is a possibility before we offer it and accept that first, before offering help.

THE RECEIVING SIDE OF HELP

When someone offers “help” we need to be honest with ourselves and decide whether we really need “help” and if we do,  then we need to take action.  We were not born “all knowing”; we need accept that we are “life learners”.  There is always something new to learn in life, it never stops.  We learn from people of all walks of life, different cultures, ages, education, etc. there are no rules: old can learn from young and young can learn from old, the rich can learn from the poor and the poor can learn from the rich, basically anything opposite gives us a learning opportunity.  We learn from experiences and we all have different life experiences, so we all learn from each other.

If we accept help, then we need to remember that what we do with the help/the resource we receive is up to us.  Our future success or failure is our responsibility and depends on how we take action or inaction. There is no one but ourselves who is responsible for our success in life.  There are people who are tremendously successful who will be the first to say “I’m not the brightest, but I was able to get bright people to help me” and then created massive success. So in the public eye, the “not so bright person” ends up being the genius!

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS and “HELP”

We will all save ourselves time, frustration and pain if we remember to:

  1. Accept people as we are; don’t expect change, it typically doesn’t happen.
  2. Be authentic, be true, don’t pretend to be someone we are not, don’t ever change to “fit in”; only change if it is important to ourselves and our values in life.
  3. Be honest.  Destiny

 

Yes, It’s All About Me Right Now! Seasons in Life & Understanding One Another

Someone sent me a message today that made me stop and think:  The message started with a personal reflection from the sender, then said:  “I’m not sending this to you because I think you are self-absorbed, I’m sending it to you because I think we all need a reminder of 2 things,”  the message had an uplifting video link and shared the thought of living a “fulfilled life” by:

  1. helping others selflessly and
  2. taking risks to live life full, with no regrets.

My initial thought was: “Yeah, I completely ascribe to that!”  But seriously, would any of you just dismiss the “self-absorbed” part of the message?  Not me!  I pay attention to what people say and it made me reflect.  Ugh, I didn’t like my self-reflection, when I reflected!  I looked at my social media accounts (blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and what I’ve posted.  Yes, I hope that sharing my thoughts, experiences and stories might help others, but it seriously appears self-absorbed!  And quite honestly, it has been.  The past year has been a deep reflection period for me and writing was a release of what was in my thoughts, trying to clear my head.  But who cares about that?!  Well, if it helps someone, then it’s worthwhile, but if it’s not helping anyone, no one cares about that stuff! It’s kind of like an online journal.  Seriously!

This led me to recognizing an analogy between periods in our lives and the seasons of the year; we each have our own seasons in life; just like the year.  Our “seasons” in life are based on what is happening in our individual lives (and that timing is unique to each person’s circumstances), the person we portray at that time depends on the season we are in, but isn’t the complete picture of someone:

Our “Winter Season”

…consists of self-reflection or sadness – “the hibernation time”

Our Winter Season

Our “Spring Season”

…consisting of education and growth

Our Spring Season

Our “Summer Season”

…carefree, enjoying life, sharing with others, family and friends

Our Summer Season (2)

Our “Fall Season” 

…helping others and giving back, the holidays are even an example of this season:  Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas

Our Fall Season

It seems like we need to go through each season to arrive at the next, but if we stay stuck in one season too long and don’t experience the other seasons, it negatively affects us, or others, or both.

Throughout life we can’t avoid these “seasons”; and they ultimately help us.  We may be in a certain season of life when others are in a different season and then it becomes hard to relate to one another during those times in different seasons.

Because of this, it’s important to think of others and try to understand what “season of life” they are in, to relate to them better, to have empathy, to be able to help others selflessly.  For example, if we are in a “Winter Season” or “Spring Season” we may not be ready to help others; we need that time to focus on ourselves.

I believe it is important to take time to focus on getting ourselves in a “good” state before we can truly help others to the best of our abilities.  And yes, there are exceptions, as in being a parent: we can’t just quit that job to focus on ourselves, so it’s not always going to be easy, but hopefully our family and friends will recognize that season when it happens and help us have that personal time when it’s needed in life.  And similarly, we should help our family and friends when we see them in a certain season of life.  It’s not always all about us!  Living a full life with no regrets happens when we understand our own season in life:  if we are in one season, there will be others that follow; always think forward to the positive and don’t regret where we are in life, because it’s just a phase, a season and there are more seasons to experience.

Enjoy life’s journey and be compassionate to others!

Our Summer Season