Chronicles of Kyle

Humble Husband * Fond Father * Enthusiastic Educator * Lover of Life

Category: Motivation Monday (page 2 of 3)

Make Productivity a Priority

When introducing productivity to students, I always use an example of a factory worker. Each day workers are required to meet a production number. I ask students what happens if the worker doesn’t productivity a priority the first time.

Usually it is a warning.

On the second offense it usually means a sit-down meeting to form a plan to address and fix the problem.

The third offense means the person is usually searching for another job.

Students usually understand the importance of productivity for class, but there are always a few who still roll the dice and procrastinate.

Productivity doesn’t have an age limit. As we get older, it just just becomes a more dynamic term from a professional, personal, and physical standpoint.

Professional Productivity

From a professional stand point, three simple expressions have always gotten me through when I feel overwhelmed and have lacked a productivity mindset…

This is the first phrase I say to myself when I have the urge to become whiny.

productivity, get to work, make it happen

There is nothing wrong with briefly whining to people we trust about not feeling great about a task that we are asked to do. However, there is a danger in staying in that negative place. Have a 10-minute pity party but move on to the next point which is…

G-S-D

This expression comes from my boss, and while it is simplistic, it has always provided me with more focus.

For the sake of a G-rated audience, I will just call it Get-Shhtuff-Done. 🙂 Divide and conquer.

This leads to the final step…

Prioritize and be deliberate.

Map out in your mind what must be done, and then write it down for the month and/or specific day. It isn’t enough to just make a mental note. Life happens, and without a detailed guide of what all we have going on, we forget some things or we devote too much time to things that do not matter or too little time to things that do.

Google Keep helps me keep my sanity for the day. It is super simple and I am able to keep up with a hectic schedule using this app. Everyone has their own approach to keeping track of a busy schedule, but whatever your approach, prioritize it and be deliberate in achieving each task.

Personal Life

Productivity in our personal lives takes an entirely different form. My priority people in my life, in no particular order, are family, parents, siblings, wife, and kids. When we leave our professional lives for the day, we must be productive with our priority people. They are the people who motivate us to go to our professional lives each day. So, why do we sometimes let our professional lives affect our productivity with our priority people when we go home?

Converse with priority people who don’t live in the same household, whether it be through a call or text. Touch base with those people to make sure they are okay. Never lose touch with the people who have always been there for you, even in your worst times.

Continue dating your spouse. That sounds a little silly, but it is OH. SO. POWERFUL. Ask how his/her day was. Go out alone together for dinner. Exercise together. Watch a movie together. Whatever it is, never give up what ignited the flame in the first place.

We are our kids’ worlds. We! Not a screen! Netflix is not the nanny! We must put our devices to the side and play with our own toys instead of allowing our kids to watch other kids play with toys on YouTube. Make up a scavenger hunt and go outside and search for things to get some fresh air. Go on a fishing trip. Kayaking is great exploration. Get involved in sports. Socialize with others at church or recreation centers. Wean the screen for what should truly be seen!

Be productive with your priority people.

Physical Productivity

Physical productivity or being a cheat all comes down to whether we move and how we eat. I will be the first to admit that I fall short often.

My shortcomings are due to the fact that I let distractions get in my way. Some days I don’t even go to the gym. Allotting one hour a day for physical productivity should be imperative. If we don’t, then we are only being selfish to ourselves, and we are shortening our lives for the people I mentioned earlier who truly care about us.

We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones.

Fitness should be deemed a power hour and not a social hour. Once we finally push ourselves to go to the gym, we need to be productive with that time, since it is limited.

Go hard. Go fast. Be strong. Remember the reason we attend the gym is to increase our heart rate, shock our muscles, and burn calories. It does not mean to talk for an hour. We should be so busy catching our breath that we don’t have the hot air to expend by talking.

Enter the gym with focus and priority.

be productive in the gym

Power Hour: What is your plan?

The same can be said for physical productivity as much as professional productivity in regard to writing down the workout we intend to follow during that hour segment. My go-to has always been compound exercises that cause improved aerobic activity within the body. The majority of my workouts incorporate mostly body weight exercises. I am able to get a nice pump and my joints feel much better than when I push and pull extremely heavy weight. Others may like a heavier workout, and that is perfectly fine. Find what appeals and do it.

As mentioned in prior posts, if weightlifting is not your forte, get on a treadmill. Go for a walk and admire the outdoors. Swim some laps. But always, always, stay away from the couch.

In regard to diet, I love the moderation approach and a gradual release mentality into an eventual full-blown change of lifestyle as referenced in the article entitled No S Diet Results.

The Magic Pill Thrill

Make no mistake, there is no magic pill or new groundbreaking protocol.

Improved diet is a no-frills change of lifestyle that should happen a little over time.

I highly suggest a journal or have a way of keeping up with what you are taking in on a regular basis. The No S Diet I speak of is simply a mnemonic that keeps people in line and is so simplistic that it is sustainable for a longer period of time versus a restrictive fad diet. There are some phrases to focus on when we make diet a priority: More moderation. Calories in vs. Calories out. Food group balance. Again, this is not reinventing the wheel, but instead, it’s being very deliberate in your chosen approach and making it a priority.

In conclusion, none of what I share on this blog is new information, but I treat it as a revival of sorts, to keep myself focused, and it serves as something that I can look back on as a friendly reminder to myself. Let’s be the best versions of ourselves today.

How Do We Want to Be Remembered?

How do we want to be remembered?

This is one of the questions that we ponder throughout our lives–HOW DO WE WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?

One of my memories from 7 years ago, January 21, 2012…

I sometimes worry that the rat race of life will overshadow the things that really matter. And then at the end of my life, I will be like where has it all gone? 🙁

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.”

 

Seven years have gone by since I wrote this, and this is still by far my biggest fear. Am I letting life alter my life? I have great intentions to get up and enjoy my family, etc. However, sometimes the stress of the day puts blinders on me. As I trot through life’s many obstacles, I miss important things right beside me.

Remembered for Loving

Remembered for love

Hollis Antle: My grandfather, a man I had great respect for, was in his final moments of life, and some of his last words will always stay with me: It has all gone by so fast.

This guy was a family man and had such a big heart for others. I never once looked at him and thought he had taken anything for granted during his time on earth. Yet, he still yearned for more time.

I am not even close to the man he was, but I would love to one day have his gentle demeanor, and when my time is coming to an end, it is my hope that people would think the same about me. I feel like that final moment would be easier to handle, knowing that the ones I love feel that I always gave them my all.

That I shed my blinders and looked at them straight in the eyes and listened attentively to the minor and major things they had to say.

That I showed and told them how I truly felt. I said it and didn’t just think it.

The Alternative

Remembered for work

On the other side of the spectrum is the individual who holds back. Someone who is uncomfortable with expression or just doesn’t take the time for it. This person lets work and trivial things yank him from priorities.

I sometimes feel I am this individual. I want to provide my family financial security, but during the process, I am missing out.

The regret, I would imagine, is unfathomable for this type of person who never makes adjustments to live the right way, to live for the parts of life that truly matter.

I am a work in progress but it is my hope to be the former person rather than the latter.

In the end, when we yearn for more time, is it because life has been such a beautiful ride or is it because we have urgency to make things right?

Ties That Are Never Broken

“Ties that are never broken…”

Ties That Are Never Broken

A few years ago, after class, a male student approached me and quietly said…

“Mr. Ballou, I am escorting a girl in homecoming tonight, and I don’t have anyone at home who can tie my tie. Would you care to show me how?”

I was more than happy to assist him. I made sure the length was right, and I showed him step by step how to do it. Later in the week he showed me pictures. He was wearing his tie and was sharply dressed. It looked like he had a great night.

Lately educators have come under fire. People outside of education devalue teachers and their responsibilities.

We are selfish for wanting security for retirement.

Teachers get summers off, so we are not underpaid.

We are lazy or ineffective because test scores fall into a category (insert acronym) that has been deemed unacceptable.

We have even been called “thugs”. The only part of that word that is true is that I have been known to give hugs.

You name it… I have heard it since I have been teaching.

Many haters are of this mentality :

“Those who can’t do, teach.”

This is my least favorite quote because the ones who say these types of things are the people who would never attempt to do what we do on a daily basis.

I don’t do what I do for the pay.

Teachers don’t go to work thinking about their retirements and benefits that we have been promised, yet are becoming more questionable with each passing year.

I don’t go to work to just to teach a subject.

While I appreciate the opportunity for each of these, I do what I do to form relationships, and, in the process, I integrate English class. 🙂

My mission? I care for kids, emotionally and intellectually. That is all.

That same boy who needed help tying his tie came back to me recently just to chat. He told me that the tie I helped him with still hung on his mirror and that it was still tied for the next special occasion, and in the meantime, it serves as a reminder to him of how I helped him when no one else was there.

Folks, statements like his are why I am still in the teaching profession. Kind words like his are a realization that I am making an impact and that all of my efforts are not in vain.

Education gives me the opportunity to form ties that are never broken, both literally and figuratively.

Be Willing to Laugh at Yourself

laugh at oneself

None of us will ever be perfect. Be willing to laugh at yourself! When we embrace the fact that we will all make mistakes, we are better because of it. It is the reality of life, and when we get to that point, I think we become more relatable with other people who experience similar things.

Having said that, I usually go big or go home when I make mistakes. I share this flashback with you to laugh at myself and to emphasize the fact that we are all human and that we sometimes get in too much of a hurry. 🙂

Big Blue Madness

Sometime in 2010…

It is the end of college football and UK obviously had a disappointing season. Today I was thinking about back when the Cats were actually decent and were eligible for a decent bowl game–back in the Rich Brooks era. A good UK football game leads fans to do some pretty silly things on the way to a big game. Read on to find out what I mean lol

Big Blue Madness is symbolic
A way for football fans to tailgate and frolic.

It was a cold winter day in January.
We were meeting and I had a lot of luggage to carry.

I threw it in the trunk and shut the door.
We talked about the game and predicted the final score.

Drinks, fried chicken, and corn hole
It was pre-game at the Music City Bowl.

Long runs, pass plays, and touch downs
Opposing fans left with disappointed frowns.

One of the few highlights of a UK football season
The excitement and pride was for a good reason.

The long ride home went rather quickly,
But the cold weather and hectic day had me feeling quite sickly.

Upon arrival back at my car,
I realized how rushed we really were.

I accidentally left my car running all day.
I just wanted to get an early start on our way.

I was impressed that my car had not died.
Then much to my surprise, my car keys were locked inside.

Word about this traveled really fast.
But I feel it’s a great memory from my past.

Big Blue Madness is symbolic
Making you lose common sense and all your logic. 🙂

Always Have a Plan B

Forecast Potential Problems

What is your Plan B? What is your next move? Back in 2010, there were budget cuts in education. I had not reached my tenured years. That year they cut all the teachers in my district with three years of experience or less. It was out of my power to prevent the inevitable.

My first reaction was to feel sorry for myself. I was leaving behind friends I had made, a position in which I was able to car pool with my wife, and a building that I was used to.

However, I have never been one to give up.

Wallowing in my own sorrow lasted a few hours, and then I was on the phone making calls. Before I ever got my official letter stating that my position had been absorbed, I was already offered a job in a different a district.

I say all of this not to pat myself on the back, but to emphasize the importance of planning your next move.

Never be at the mercy of the man or place.

Never feel so inadequate that your dependency falls on one single person or entity. Have that moment of sadness but move on!

Disrespect

In another instance, my job was secure, but there was this one individual who was vindictive and power hungry. She was not my boss, but she wanted to be. I think we have all experienced people like this.

Always attempt to get along with everyone.

Be a team player.

I strive for these things in my workplaces. But when it comes to a point that a person throws consistent shade at you and is blatantly disrespectful, then it is time to know your next move. Have a Plan B in mind.

In this case, the plan wasn’t to run or change jobs but to confront the problem. You see, I had documented each instance in which she attempted to belittle me or bring me down. I scheduled a meeting with that person. During the meeting, I kept a professional tone and told her the problem that I had with our relationship. When she began to deny it I took out the three pages of examples with dates. Her whole mood changed. She apologized and I was accepting of it.

My only regret was that I waited until the end of the year to just talk with her personally. I let it bother me for too many months before I carried out my Plan B.  My hope was that the relationship would change on its own. I look back and am glad I approached the primary person and did not talk bad about her with other faculty members.

Since that experience, I have moved on to a place with a great culture and people. I am blessed with how things have worked out for me!

Wear a Hat of Many Feathers

The final example of the importance of having a Plan B is to not become complacent with just making enough. Teaching salaries are ok but could be better. Do what it takes to become more stable financially. Whether it is to save more or make more or both, don’t settle for just one thing. Dabble in many things in case something were to not always be there. In addition to teaching, I do home bound and teach online. I am researching other ways I can earn also.

It is my goal to match my teaching salary with my Plan B.

In conclusion, I use examples from professional life but the same can be said for relationships as well. If something goes wrong and the future is bleak, have a second of sorrow, know your plan b, address the issue or move on, and NEVER NEVER settle! You deserve the best! I feel like I have found my place. 🙂 How about you?

Care and Prepare

Lately I have been blogging because it captures my thoughts and holds me accountable. Most of what I discuss revolves around the expectation that I have for students who enter my classroom. However, I always tell them that it is as much for myself as it is for them. It is so good for people to revisit core principles throughout the year. So far we have touched on peace, participation, and punctuality. It is also vital to prepare in our professional, personal, and physical lives.

Professional Preparedness

Professional preparedness is always being on time with deadlines. By striving for these standards, one stays in good professional standing and also sets a good example for others.

A seasoned teacher once told me two things to remember…

1.) Turn your materials in before the deadline date, even if it is only one day or a few hours before.

2.) If you find yourself on what she called a “short list email” then make a mental note and work your tail off to not make that list again.

When we prepare for the day, we are in a better place when approached by people. Our listening skills improve when we have a clear mind with no late work to bog us down. Sincerity resonates in us when we know we have given our best efforts, and as a result, people get the best of us.

The Unexpected

Professional preparedness is also anticipation that anything could happen and rolling with it. Adapt and overcome.

A lesson might not go as planned.

Violence might break out.

Our schedule might be interrupted.

Individuals might have had a bad night at home.

I encounter various personalities and a full gamut of emotions from 150 different students.

We must be prepared for anything. Not only educators but any career path. With this type of preparedness and flexibility, we become more helpful for everyone. We become that person people turn to when they can’t handle changes in plans or unforeseen circumstances.

Vision

Professional preparedness also means planning and goal setting. Set goals every quarter of the year. Let your months of reflection be in March, June, September, and December. What are your aspirations for each quarter? Did you reach your goals? How can you surpass or get better the next quarter? This helps us strive for professional prowess, and as a result, we stay hungry. Plans/Goals=More Efficiency with the time we have.

Personal Preparedness

Recently a man in my community slandered my name anytime he had the opportunity. He created this narrative of me that simply wasn’t true. For the longest time, I let the anger and resentment toward him fester to a point that it affected my overall mood. I lost sleep. Anytime I saw the individual out, I would literally become sick to my stomach from anger.

After close to a year of feeling this way, I finally realized that anyone who knew my true character knew better than to believe false statements from a man who made a habit of slandering others. He became so set on doing this that he wasn’t tending to his family affairs. His own personal life started to unravel.

I learned two things:

1.) He wasn’t prepared in his life if he were to take his final breath. He had way too much conflict in his life with other people and was never satisfied if he didn’t get his way.

2.) I was not prepared if it were my final moments either. I had made myself sick, angry, and even resorted to making fun of the individual on a regular basis.

For all of the ways that my foe and I were opposites, there was one commonality that we both had–unfinished business in life.

We did not have our lives in order.

As the old saying goes…

“Never let someone live rent free in your head.”

Once I freed my mind from the bondage of things that were out of my control, I was in a better place. I felt one step close to being prepared in my personal life.

Are you prepared in your personal life? Is there something that has made you bitter for too long? Is it starting to affect other parts of your life? Become prepared. Bury the grudge.

Physical Preparedness

The life of a car is getting its oil changed regularly. The life of our body is diet and exercise. If we eat junk and become inactive, we are taking years off our lives. This may sound morbid but it is the harsh reality. Are we physically prepared?

Exercise

Physical preparedness means figuring out an exercise routine and sticking with it. Find something that is sustainable for the long haul. Even if it is 30 minutes of walking per day. Movement to a point of sweating, that is repeated daily, adds to longevity. MOVE!

Diet

What we put into our mouths also takes a toll or helps us roll. Recently I posted my results by following the No S lifestyle that can be read here. I discussed how subtle changes and moderation in our diets will lead to extended health. If a full blown lifestyle change seems too restrictive, then pick one thing to focus on and add something new each week. Empowerment begins with identifying that there needs to be change and taking action, even if it’s small increments, to fix the problem.

Drink water instead of cokes.

Eat whole grains instead of white bread.

Focus on three balanced meals with healthy snacks.

Rome was not built in a day, but a few tweaks will put you on the right pathway.

Habits

The last aspect in regard to physical preparation is quitting bad habits like excessive drinking or smoking. Research shows that this takes years off a person’s life and leads to many life threatening diseases. A few nights of letting loose might not be felt, but if it turns into a habit, we are slowly depleting our bodies.

Resilience

Physical preparedness gets us ready in case bad things happen to us or we have an accident. If we are physically prepared with our fitness, nutrition, and habits, our bodies are resilient and ready when adversity strikes. I would imagine that that would be a huge regret, to have had the opportunity to prepare but never actually reached that point. As a result, the adversity of disease or injury would be much harder to overcome or deal with.

In conclusion, preparedness is all about focusing in all three areas of our lives. Preparedness is much different in regard to the three areas that I mention often, but they are equally important to ensuring a positive life. Are you professionally, personally, and physically prepared?

Punctuality: Always Be On Time

Punctuality– 1.) The fact or quality to be on time.

At the beginning of a new school year, students enter the classroom eager to get started. Fresh haircuts, new clothes, 10 minutes early to class to chat with friends about the highlights of their summers. But let’s face it…

It is a LONG year. We sometimes stay up too late. We have a mountain of work that needs to be tended to. It becomes more enticing to roll in on two wheels. Some students stay away from the place until it is the absolute final minute before another day of the grind begins.

Some don’t even arrive in the final minute before the tardy bell. They are 10 minutes late. The student might miss half the class or never come to class, period. That fresh haircut becomes bed head. The new t-shirt is now faded. That chipper tone is now a sorrowful sigh for being forced to show up.

This student is digging a hole that will be difficult to overcome if tardy slips and absences accumulate. Not only is the person late, but so are major assignments and other obligations. Eventually, the principal calls and says “Send Johnny to the office. I need to talk to him.”

The same can also be said in the professional world. Many employees fall victim to this. Some of the same late students also become late employees. Really it comes down to the idea of being on time or punctual in the three big areas I discussed in my previous blog post entitled Participation: How Broad is Your Scope?

Professional Punctuality

A man I greatly respect always said…

“Get to work 15 minutes early. If you are 10 minutes late getting your things together, then you are still 5 minutes early.”

This has always been what I try to remember in regard to punctuality for my professional life. If things get crazy, and they surely will, punctuality provides a buffer to help maintain sanity. That is not to say those people who aren’t early have a hard time, but for some, that level of “calm” takes a little longer to achieve.

Arrive in a timely manner. Be present more than absent.

Personal Punctuality

How can we be “on time” as people? Well, this type of punctuality is much different. We must be on time with our compliments and kind words. We need to approach today understanding that there are people who are starving for kindness. Some people have had too many consecutive days of being beaten down. A simple smile and acknowledgement that a person matters could completely put someone’s mental psyche back in the right direction.

School shootings are on the rise. There is much discussion about measures we can take to prevent more from happening.

More security.

Arm teachers.

Run. Hide. Fight. Protocol

While these are all great, how about we add to the list? Spread goodness. Adults and kids both need it. Maybe we can include someone different in our usual group activities? Talk to someone different than a usual circle of friends. Ask someone how he/she is doing. Be generous with compliments. You may be surprised just how “on time” you might be with such thoughtfulness and kind gestures. Do this sooner than later!

Physical Punctuality

This type of punctuality is simple.

  1. Raise your heart rate and then bring it back down as many times as possible for at least 30 minutes. A person will feel better because of it. A jolt to one’s body is “on time” each day we do it. We must designate time for ourselves.
  2. Break a sweat. This goes hand in hand with a high heart. If we are not perspiring, our heart rate isn’t where it needs to be. This doesn’t mean we have to feel like we might die or become so miserable that there is dread for the next exercise session. A good sweat is always on time. When a person might be nodding off to sleep at 3:00 in the afternoon, breaking a sweat releases newfound energy.
  3. The last type of physical punctuality is to be on time with encouragement for others to do the first two I just mentioned. It is amazing how many people avoid exercise because they are intimidated to do it alone. Be on time with your openness to invite someone along for a walk, run, or exercise session. A cordial invite may change someone’s physical and social life.

In conclusion, punctuality takes many different forms in our professional, personal, and physical lives. Always be mindful and on time with these aspects and you nor anyone else will feel left behind. Efforts to achieve all three, or at least get close, will lead to a more positive and fulfilling life.

Stop with the Sorry. Learn from the Mistake.

Picture this true story. My daughter Dori punches her sister, Holly, in the face. Holly is on the ground clutching her face crying. Dori sprints to the kitchen quickly to say three words. I. Am. Sorry.  Stop with the Sorry! Learn from the Mistake!

That is the what she always gets from me, along with a few swift pats to her behind . Sometimes she has a bewildered look on her face. She can’t believe that I told her to stop saying sorry.  I am very deliberate with this request because, frankly, I am not really buying the apology at the moment. In addition, I don’t want her always turning to that word in the midst of drama or conflict.

Wait.

What?

Aren’t we taught that we should always say sorry for wrongdoing? I mean, Holly’s face is surely hurting.

I always thought so too until God gave me girls, 3 daughters. Then my perspective started to change drastically. Something else that changed me was becoming a school teacher and seeing what cowed children go through at home and how some are treated at school.  Many feel inadequate and timid. Some lack confidence. They are willing to do or say anything to be accepted. It was then that I quickly realized that talk is cheap. Actions are so much more important and learning from our mistakes or negative things we may see.  This is a fairly common thought. However, that is not why I am writing this post. There are two reasons in particular that I am of the mindset to be careful with overusing sorry and this is especially true for girls.

1.) Habitually saying sorry makes the word lose its value. I think of my daughters in this situation. What if one of them were to fall into a toxic relationship? Let’s say one of them meets a narcissistic man, and he becomes a manipulator. I certainly hope this is just a hypothetical scenario, but just for example’s sake, lets go with it.

An overly apologetic person, who pulls out the sorry card, may be using it to just dodge confrontation. She may not be wrong in the least.  Forget the sorry and pin point what the root problem is, and if in the wrong, grow from it. Be willing to always make a mental note and get better. But if not, hopefully she can recognize that fact without quickly using sorry as a band-aid.  Never just use sorry as a quick fix  just to go back to a peaceful place. What eventually happens is that happy place ceases to exist.

2.) Redundant use of sorry makes a person look weak. Lately, I have been reading the book entitled Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, and it oftentimes emphasizes the fact that we need to build up our kids, especially girls. We must build them up in such away that no matter what type of toxicity might find them, they are quick to identify it and wash their hands of it. One of the ways to ensure strong individuals is to not overuse sorry. That aforementioned narcissistic person preys on the meek individual who murmurs sorry. Acts of kindness shown to each other after the mistake build relationships much more than those five letters when conflict occurs.

In conclusion, I am not saying that we should encourage others to do wrong, to be brats, and to never attempt to say sorry, but we should also be careful with the frequency in which we use the word. There is a fine line that we must be careful not to cross. A balancing act of sorts. It could be the difference in a strong person vs. a weak one, a powerful word vs. a worthless one.

Participation: How Broad is Your Scope?


Johnny offers participation by reading the paragraph during class but is monotone. Sally writes the paper for the assignment but scowls the whole time. Jenny gets all six lessons of Reading Plus completed. However, she grumbles under her breath that she hates the article topics. Harry sits in the back of class and doesn’t hit a lick at anything. How broad are their scopes?

Bill finishes a work project in record time, but it is lackluster in the eyes of his boss. Sue clocks in and puts in her time but is rude to the customers. Jack mops the floor, but he does it because he wants to leave the place that he despises. How broad are their scopes?

A Broader Scope Provides Hope

So what on earth do I mean by how broad are their scopes? Their scopes of participation. Are they only participating in their educational or professional lives? Are they only going to work or class, going home, getting a shower, eating supper, waking up and repeating the cycle? Some may not even have the luxury of all parts of this cycle. If this is the case, they need to broaden the focus of their scopes to include various forms of participation.

In the last blog post entitled How to Find Peace of Mind and Happiness, I discussed how one must have a balance of peace in three areas of life–professional, personal, and physical. The same is also true in regard to participation. In a professional or educational sense, we participate to fulfill our duties. We might have projects, assignments, or production to meet. Typically, we do our job to the best of our abilities. A person participates in the workplace and classroom as a team player to accomplish the common good for the company or business. We begin a career striving to meet the needs of the boss, the company, and ourselves.

Good Intentions Become Stale

A person begins a career or educational endeavor conversing with colleagues and taking advice from them with open arms in order to get better. The person never takes offense to anything and never talks behind other’s backs. There is peace, love and harmony.

Then it happens! The new wears off. That honeymoon phase has gone. The work seems monotonous and people begin to get on our nerves. People begin to talk about one another. Participation is there, but it isn’t near the quality that it once was. What happened??? Why do we do we get in slumps?

We have quit taking time in the areas of personal and physical participation. We are pouring all of our efforts into only one of the big three. Our scope is so narrow that all we see are our professional or educational lives. What does the personal and physical side need to look like in order to rid ourselves of the negative outlook with our professional or educational participation?

Personal Participation

Join a group of like-minded people, partaking in good conversation–conversation not pertaining to work or education.

Revival Comes During Participation

Such a group might be a church group if you are a spiritual person. There are various happenings in the church and this is a way to participate for personal well-being. There are classes on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Potlucks for the congregation are a regular activity. Joining a team of people who visit the sick within the church is also something that others appreciate. Oftentimes there are book studies to strengthen relationships among the congregation or husband and wife. The world is your oyster!

Enthusiasts Unite

If that is not your cup of tea, find others who share your hobbies and interests. My interest is the outdoors. Join such a group on social media and connect with people in your area to plan a kayaking trip. Touch base with other fishing enthusiasts to plan a day of wetting a line and catching your limit of fish. The possibilities are endless. Orchestrate your date with friends, related to things that you are passionate about.

Appreciation for the Elderly

Recently I took a group of teenagers to the nursing home. Many teens were reluctant participate in this type of task. I heard so many different comments.

The smell of the nursing home freaks me out.

I don’t know what to say to people I don’t know.

Old people scare me.

Everyone overcame their fears and apprehensions that day and some awesome connections were formed. Many of the nursing home residents do not have visitors all year. Our young people were filling that void. The kids and elderly harmonized their vocals to serenade the nursing home staff. We painted their finger nails. We played cow patty bingo. During these fun games, I noticed the elderly still have such a competitive spirit. 🙂 The day was a memorable one for all involved. Regular participation, for adults and youth alike, builds personal character and meaning in life. At the end of the day, the students were asking if we could come back the following day. I was glad they did because I felt the same way. 🙂

Cherish Children

Youth outreach comes in many different forms. Volunteer your time to coach a sports team. There is not a more humbling experience than taking on a role as “coach”. Many youth programs are under-served and would gladly welcome new individuals. Kids appreciate our time and attention. Many kids turn to coaches and sports if they do not get the attention at home. Other kids just like the extra-curricular opportunities.

Volunteer your time at a daycare. Any new faces who enter a daycare get a flock of little ones wanting attention. Just being a hero is young people’s eyes is enough to revive someone who is in a slump.

Helping the Sick and Underprivileged is a Privilege

One way to participate in this regard is to raise money for a trustworthy cause. I have a special place in my heart for the work that St. Jude Children’s Hospital embodies, so I personally donate, but I also share the great work they are doing in regard to children’s cancer research and the accommodations they provide for families. There are tons of causes and foundations. Consider donating and participate in getting the word out about the cause you support.

I also like to participate with a place called JOY ministries. They lead missions to help those who need food. JOY ministries also has outreach to emergency areas that have been impacted by natural disasters. One big project they recently led was raising funds for a new home for a family who had taken on extra children in their house after the parents tragically lost their lives. Their overall mission matches my passions.

Another way to participate is to sponsor a child for Christmas. My heart breaks for those family’s and children who do not have anything for Christmas. While this won’t cover all of the underprivileged children out there, at least it makes a difference to someone.

If our output at work is dwindling or our attitude stinks, personal participation like this type of outreach will make us enthusiastic to go into work or interact with others. We will be excited to share great news. It might just reinvigorate us in all areas of life.

Physical Participation

As mentioned in the article entitled How to Find Peace of Mind and Happiness, I said our physical life was as simple as breaking a sweat and moving.

Exercise with Others

As time goes on and exercise becomes easier, it is sometimes good to up the ante. Participate in an exercise class. Seeing other individuals working hard beside us is a great motivator. It pushes a person to strive for a few more reps.

Walk/Run for Extra Fun

If running is your passion, join a run/walk 5k. These are usually more laid back and just a way to interact with other people in a leisurely run/walk pace. Sometimes this is a change up from the tread mill that sometimes feels like a hamster on a wheel. If these get too easy, then there are always 10k races, half marathons, and marathons to satisfy the urge for an extra challenge and to share in the experience with others.

Run/Exercise Events

Those who want more adventure should try a try a triathlon or obstacle race like the tough mudder. These offer some variation in approaches and require that the participant be in ultra fitness and cardiovascular shape. A guy I work with did numerous races of different types I mentioned just to keep fresh interest and to have a goal in mind.

Of course these are all just suggestions. Every person is different in his/her approach and what someone may be comfortable with. Some may be satisfied with the previous mantra I mentioned of just breaking a sweat and moving. Regardless of preference, simply participate in something. Should you decide to exercise solo, I highly recommend a fitness tracker like the one at this link. A person can exercise alone but still enjoy challenges with friends, calorie tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and a whole plethora of other features. When I purchased mine, it completely changed my whole mindset of physical participation.

In conclusion, it is all about balance. We must participate in our professional, personal, and physical lives. We should never become so consumed in our professional or educational lives that we neglect participating in our personal and physical lives. If we do, we run the risk of simply being miserable individuals who are just mediocre at best. How broad is your scope of participation? Once your scope is focused and clear, it is time to reach your targets and goals. Ready. Aim. Fire!

When Mom Leaves the House…


“Today, as I changed Kylea’s diaper, two thoughts crossed my mind…

1.) There could easily be a TV show called “When Baby Diapers Fail.” I could provide the whole first season with traumatic events I have experienced.

2.) I have an invention idea for a baby pressure washer that attaches right to the bath faucet.

Chronicles of kyle, January 6th, 2017

Oh the adventures of fatherhood! I still look back on this experience and laugh. Diapers are great. Don’t get me wrong. Most of us have heard the expression “Up a creek without a paddle.”  Well, the diaper sometimes serves as a literal crap creek. It channels the inner mess from the diaper, up the back, all the way to the neck. Nothing is salvageable at that point besides, hopefully, the baby herself. It usually happens when Mom leaves the house. I resort to scissors for cutting off the outfit and then a match for burning it in the fire pit. In my opinion, I am out on the idea of scrubbing out the feces and tossing something so atrocious in the washer with unsoiled clothes or letting it soak in water and OxyClean. I am in the process of getting the baby power washer patented. Updates to come… 😉

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