2017 Bucket List

2017-bucketlist

My theme for 2017 is Fitness, Fun, & Family. Not necessarily in that order.

  1. Track my workout routine for 60 days
  2. Complete three 100 Pushup Challenges
    • 100 pushups in 24 hours
    • 100 pushups in 5 minutes
    • 100 straight pushups
  3. Bench Press 225 lbs.
  4. No soda for 60 days
  5. Family trip to Hawaii
  6. Attend Las Vegas 7’s Rugby Tournament
  7. Go skiing or snowboarding
  8. Go golfing
  9. Go clay pigeon shotgun shooting
  10. Go stand-up paddle boarding
  11. Go camping with the family
  12. Go snorkeling
  13. Hike Timpanogos Cave
  14. Attend a cultural festival
  15. Coach a youth sports team
  16. Visit an Aquarium
    • Feed penguins
  17. Attend a professional work conference
  18. Attend a trade show
  19. “Read” 8 books
  20. Start a Travel site
    • Reach 100 followers
  21. Write 30 articles / posts
  22. Reach 1,000 Twitter followers
  23. Reach 300 Instagram followers
  24. Spend 1v1 time with each kid, each quarter
  25. Go on a weekly date with Melissa
  26. Take a trip with Melissa
  27. Go on a mini-getaway with Melissa
  28. Visit somewhere new
  29. Help Melissa compete in a triathlon
  30. Help someone achieve their goal or Bucket List item
  31. Attend a play, musical, or concert
  32. Attend a Real Salt Lake soccer game
  33. Attend BYU football games
  34. Visit each of my siblings:
    • Brother in Northern Utah
    • Brother in Southern Utah
    • Sisters in Arizona
  35. Try 12 foods from different cultures:
    • American BBQ
    • Brazilian Churrascaria
    • Chinese
    • El Salvadorian pupusas
    • Food Truck!
    • Greek
    • Indian
    • Sushi / Japanese
    • Thai
    • Italian (non-chain restaurant)
    • Vietnamese
    • Something else?
  36. Do something spontaneous
  37. Go to bed earlier to get more sleep

Bonus Item: Take a trip to Brazil

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2015 BUCKET LIST

The Sky's the Limit
Wow, another year in the books, another chapter ended and a new one begins. I didn’t complete all of my 2014 Bucket List items; it was a great year though – two trips to Orlando, days at the beach, Sevens Rugby Tournament, a trip to Brazil that included visiting Rio de Janeiro, fishing, kite flying, hiking, camping and so much more including a new job.

This year’s Bucket List combines travel, personal improvement, professional development and well… hopefully lots of fun!

1. Travel to international destination
2. Attend 3 trade shows or conferences
3. Spend a day at the beach
4. Take Melissa horseback riding
5. Go on a trip with Melissa
6. Take Melissa dancing
7. Go on a family campout
8. Travel to Arizona to visit my sisters
9. Attend a BYU football game with Dylan
10. Attend a Real Salt Lake game
11. Travel to a soccer tournament for Brendon
12. Read 6 books
13. Listen to 12 audiobooks
14. Attend a play or musical as a family
15. Try a new restaurant
16. Bike 250 miles
17. Go mountain biking
18. Go skiing or snowboarding
19. Hike Timpanogos Cave
20. Go hiking in Southern Utah
21. Enter a Biggest Loser weight-loss contest
22. Lose 35 lbs
23. Play on a sports team
24. Become a USSF licensed soccer coach
25. Take a photography class
26. Take an online story writing course
27. Have a water balloon fight
28. Take the family sledding
29. Go fishing with the family
30. Go ice fishing (3rd time is the charm)
31. Write 25 blog posts
32. Get a guest blog post published
33. Increase blog followers by 25%
34. Increase Twitter followers by 20%
35. Write 2 chapters in a book

LIFE: A GRACEFUL SPRINT OR A GRIMY SCRAMBLE?

A couple weeks ago I took part in our company’s annual 5K run. It’s the 4th year I’ve participated which is quite impressive considering I don’t like to run – at all! This explains why I was completely content to walk most of the 3.1 miles.

Someone once tried to explain to me how running is a metaphor for life. Something about only really competing against yourself, pushing to continue when you just want to stop, and the sense of accomplishment at the finish line. Not going to lie, the metaphor just didn’t sink in. Life isn’t a well groomed path where the only real obstacles are based on your own physical and mental toughness – at least not my life.

Dirty_Dash_muddyshoes_2014Last Saturday I had the chance to run another 5K with my wife and several friends. This was a different sort of race called The Dirty Dash. Participants can choose the 3.5 or 5.5 mile version (we wimped out and opted for the shorter run). The race began by running (by that I mean stumbling, slipping and sliding) up a muddy embankment with water spraying overhead. There were no smooth paths here; instead we encountered dusty, grimy and swamping trails. Obstacles are placed throughout the race including stacked hay bales to climb over, murky pools where you sink two feet deep into sucking sludge, slimy mud walls often only scalable with the help of someone on top, and a 200 foot waterslide where you get hosed down right before being jettisoned into another hazel colored pond of soot and soil.

It’s physically and mentally exhausting. It’s oddly therapeutic. It’s a blast!

No one gets through the race unscathed, scratches and scrapes are common. To say participants get dirty is an understatement. Mud cakes your shoes and clothes, weighs you down, and saps your energy with every step. It clumps in your hair, smudges your face, and obscures your vision. The occasional water break is a welcomed respite as much to quench your thirst as to be used to clean your face and hands.

Some of the obstacles feel impossible to conquer. You get through by laughing, or crying or grunting. You overcome the challenges with the help of your friends and teammates. Often you get a boost from a total stranger. In return, you turn back and lend a hand to the random guy or girl behind you as they struggle to make the climb.

You don’t always clear a hurdle on the first try, so you step back, take a deep breath and try again. Sometimes when you see an obstacle on the horizon you smile and say “bring it on!” Other times you see an obstacle and exasperatedly exclaim “You’ve got to be kidding me.” You leap over some hurdles with ease as others struggle to do the same. Then you find yourself clawing, fighting and crawling along while other people sail past.

Dirty_Dash_2014Finishing the race is great, but it’s not really the point. The joy comes in the journey, in the doing, in the accomplishing, in the overcoming. It comes through the experiences and comradery discovered along the way. It seems to me that life feels far less like a marathon sprint and far more like a dirty dash.

Running the Dirty Dash was on my 2014 Bucket List. Good job me!

No More Reign for Spain

Soccer Abstract_32Almost every human being in the world is acutely aware and keenly focused on the 2014 FIFA World Cup, well everyone outside of the United States. The 31-day, 32 team soccer tournament, this time hosted in Brazil, is the largest sporting event on the planet.

Coming into the competition returning 2010 Champions Spain was ranked #1 in the world. The Spain squad has been on a terror of winning the past several years raking up an impression collection of championships.

An overflowing trophy case, pre-tournament hype and vast amount of talent on the field are great, but it still comes down to wins and losses, and with 2 of 3 matches already in the books, Spain has been eliminated after two straight tournament loses. The first lose was suffered at the hands of the Dutch (5-1) a repeat match of the 2010 championship game. If this wasn’t bad enough, Spain tuned around and was dealt a devastating blow, losing 2-0 to Chile in a David-vs-Goliath type effort.

No one can deny the greatness of the Spanish squad over the past five years, but great lessons can be drawn from their abrupt and fatal demise.

Some pressure is good… some.

Other than possibly the host country Brazil, no one came into the World Cup with as much pressure to win as Spain. Pressure to succeed is good when it fuels passion and creates focused energy. Teams can become galvanized create a strong bond, extreme pressure and scrutiny can quickly cause a team to buckle under the pressure. Spain collapsed.

Hard Work still matters

Chile is not the most talented squad in the World Cup. The Chilean team came into the tournament generously ranked 14th in the world, a far cry from Spain’s #1 ranking. Chile’s 2-0 win over Spain was the result of 90 grueling minutes of hard work. Every Chilean player ran harder, fought more and out worked their Spanish counter parts. What they lacked in skill and talent they made up for in effort.

Sweat the Little Stuff

Soccer is a series of small seemingly insignificant actions that eventually can lead to a big play. A thrown-in, a pass, a deflection, a sprint forward, a quick cut back. Each single movement or act appears trivial. However, the collection of these actions equates to an entire game and when executed expertly creates a fluid, free flowing game – “jogo bonito”. Spain was constantly looking for the big play, but struggled with basic game dynamics; their passes were off, players weren’t getting back defensively, communication amongst players seemed to be nonexistent. A complete game was not able to be accomplished due to the lack of focus on the small stuff.

Fight for the Big Play           

No one enjoys watching a zero to zero game. (And in the business world a tie equals a loss). The purpose of the small stuff is to lead up to something huge, an awe inspiring moment. When all the minor components come together you should find yourself in that unique position to make a spectacular big play. Against Spain the Netherlands did so 5 times; Chile did it too, scoring twice. In contrast powerhouse Brazil controlled much of the game against Mexico, but couldn’t finish the big play, ending their match with a 0 – 0 draw. All the hard work and little stuff will only be worth it if you take the risk and make the big play happen. Sure it’s about the journey, but the finish is crucial.

“Great moments are born from great opportunities” – Herb Brooks

That’s Why You Play the Game

Switching sports, what if the Soviet Union had continued their dominance beating the US and winning the 1980 Olympic gold medal for hockey at Lake Placid? What if the New Zealand All Blacks had throttled the South African rugby team again in the 1995 Rugby World Championship match?

No one would have made a movie about that.

The movie Miracle and the movie Invictus harold the efforts of teams that came together and won despite all odds. People love sports because the outcome is unknown until it actually happens.

The script for life is also being written on a minute by minute, and day by day basis. Life is an adventure, a game waiting to be play and an outcome waiting discovered. Spain’s outcome for the 2014 World Cup was far different than the expected, while Chile’s possibly far better than they could have hoped.

A Bucket List for 2013

In business we create BHAG’s and WIGs, that we work towards throughout the year. Making these goals visible and tracking our progress increases our chance for success. At work I have many things I’ll be working towards, but decided to create something similar for my life outside of my day job.

Interactions with others and personal experiences shape who we are. Some of life’s moments are big, others small and simple. So borrowing the concept from Bucket List Publications, I create a list for myself for 2013. This year I have no major travel or vacation plans already in place. In fact, when sharing the 2013 Bucket List with my family, my kids laughed at some of the things I put down. That’s okay. My goal is to create some fun experiences and memories for me, my family and friends. Many of these are things like flying a kite and going to the zoo seem almost silly to place on a list, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I did either one.

Here’s to a great 2013!

DJ’s 2013 Bucket List

  1. Help 3 other people achieve success
  2. 24 Blog Posts
  3. Cut out all soda for 3 months
  4. Get down to 200 lbs
  5. Go Skydiving
  6. Register a domain name
  7. Visit a new place (city, state or country)
  8. Completely finish a room in the basement
  9. Go camping with the family
  10. 2 Getaways with my wife
  11. 1-week family vacation
  12. Go Ice Fishing
  13. Go skiing or snowboarding
  14. Play in a sports league
  15. Take the kids to the zoo
  16. Go horseback riding
  17. Fly kites with the kids
  18. Go hiking in Moab or Zions National Park
  19. Attend Sevens Rugby Tournament in Las Vegas
  20. Attend BYU game with the family
  21. Attend Real Salt Lake game with the family
  22. Actually read (not listen to) 4 books
  23. Do something new

Blitz Day

November 1, 2012 is being designed a “Blitz Day” in our side of the office. Sales, operations, support staff and managers participate in this one-day office event that embraces the Work Hard, Play Hard mindset. The goal is to dedicate a day to a high-level of productivity by being extremely focus. This isn’t to say people don’t work hard and aren’t productive on other days; Blitz Day however is about taking it up a notch (or three). The problem is daily workload, multiple tasks and various projects often weigh us down. Meetings, emails, and task jumping make focusing difficult. Most of us have a variety of responsibilities that require our attention making it challenging to get things accomplished. Then there’s the issue of multitasking that can slow and even halt productivity all together (just ask author Dave Crenshaw).

Blitz Day is the opposite of taking a vacation, but can have the same effect. Vacation time should be used to relax, take a break and enjoy yourself. The effect is to regenerate and refresh. Blitz Day is a lot of work, but with an undistracted laser-like focus that allows a stretch goal to get completed that may otherwise take weeks. The sense of accomplishment is refreshing and energizing. A specific goal is set beforehand to define exactly what will be achieved on this day.

  • Example: A sales team might use the day exclusively for prospecting and making new decision maker presentations. This means no meetings or follow-up calls. It’s all about finding new prospective clients. The goal is quantifiable – something that can be measured.
  • Example: A manager might use the day to finalize all quarterly reports and knock out the first draft of new strategy he or she has been contemplating. Normally a few hours would be set aside over several weeks for this task, but it can all get completed it a single day with the right concentration.

Besides the main goal I have three Blitz Day sub-goals:

  1. Instill Work Hard / Play Hard Attitude
  • If everyone normally works at a fast speed, we’ll call it Mach 3 – then Blitz Day is about going Mach 5. Going Mach 5 for a day is exhilarating; doing it every day would burn people out.
  1. Build Team Unity through healthy competition
  • Set a goal that challenges the status quo. Whether several people are competing to do better than each other or an individual is competing against their own personal best – this is a day to instill healthy competition.
  1. Break the Routines and Daily Grind
  • We all get into routines. Routines bring familiarity and consistency to our work. Ditch it all – for a day! Cancel all meetings and minimize office emails. Use the out-of-office reply to let people know you’ll be in, but not checking email, just for a day. This alone makes Blitz Day worth it.
  • Bring in drinks and snacks throughout the day and provide lunch. This keeps people onsite, no need to run to Starbucks or to the gas station to grab a Coke. It also shows appreciation for the added effort people are putting in.

 

Preparation is crucial to success. Goals need to be determined in advance, meetings rescheduled, and notification sent to other divisions. Everyone participating should be part of the process. Employees should establish the goal so they’re committed and invested in achieving it. Managers should clear the path to minimize distraction and ensure success.

It sounds like all work and no play, where does the play come in? I’ll admit a Blitz Day is a lot of work – that should be the expectation. To infuse an aspect of play designate a few times throughout the day for everyone to take a break. I’m a big fan or Guy Fieri so we take a page from his show and play a couple Minute-to-Win-it games. These games are easy to set-up, quick to do and a ton of fun. It gets people off their chair, away from the desk or out of their office and gets the blood circulating. A bit of fun and humor is appreciated (by most people) and is quite therapeutic. Give the winner of each game something simple like a $10 iTunes card. Spent a bit more and you’ll see how a $25 restaurant certificate does wonders to get the competitive juices flowing.

Make the work itself fun by rewarding results. Throughout the day pay attention to accomplishments and achievements. Then, during the designated breaks recognize individual successes. Make it feel more valuable with gift cards and prizes – It doesn’t take much. Recognition combined with a feeling of self accomplishment is a powerful motivator. Make it public and make it positive!

When it’s all said and done everyone should feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Yes, it will be exhausting, but worth it.

At the time I post this, our Blitz Day has less than 2 hours left. People are still cranking thanks to a strong will to win and determination to succeed – and possibly fueled on by a steady flow of Rockstar Energy drinks, pizza and chocolate. My goal was to write a blog post about my Blitz Day concept and strategy – goal accomplished! And to ensure the rest of the team has a successful Blitz Day as well – we’re looking good so far!

Taking a Vacation to Improve Business

Recently I spent a week on vacations with my wife and a couple friends. We took a cruise on Carnival Cruise lines to the Western Caribbean. Despite a slew of bad press I still believe cruises are one of the safest and most enjoyable ways to travel. During the cruise I was reminded of a few business principles that are too often forgotten.

Service: There is no replacement for great customer service. I didn’t say good service, I said great! The ship we were on had approximately 3,000 guests. However, the house keeping staff and each of our waiters always greeted us by our first names. The service was personal, it was friendly and it excellent. It reminded me that we need to do a better job of providing not just good, but great customer service.

Be Daring: Every night at dinner there was a different appetizer called DIDJA (Did you ever want to try?). Our waiter encouraged us to try the daring culinary creations. Over the week long trip I tried alligator fritters, frog legs, escargot and more. Some of the appetizers were delicious, others I wasn’t a big a fan of. Tasting new and unique foods was the highlight of our dining experience. Had we not been a little daring, we’d have missed out. The same goes for business; sometimes we need to take some risks and try something new. Employees should feel comfortable doing the same. Giving people a little latitude could create some unexpected, yet impressive results.

Disconnect: Traveling outside of the U.S. with little to no access to internet proved to be a nice break. For 7 days I didn’t carry a cell phone or log on a computer. A week of no phone calls or email was bliss. Business owners, managers and employees all need time to relax and recharge. Allow yourself, your employees and/or your co-workers chances to disconnect. People are generally more productive and less likely to get burned out.

Connect: You’re thinking “Wait, didn’t you just tell me to disconnect?” Often when we hear ‘connect’ we think of phone calls, email, texting, and technology. On our trip we connected with dozens of people through personal interaction. Interactions occurred during a bus riding through the jungles of Honduras or on a boat being ferried to the island of Grand Cayman. We interacted with people sitting near us at dinner or while lounging around the pool. We meet many staff members, allowing us to get to know people from all over the world. All of these interactions were personal conversation, handshakes and often hugs.

When at work, find more ways to connect. Connect with co-workers; learn more about the people around you. Look for opportunities to develop true partnerships that can mutually benefit all parties involved. Above all else, go out of your way to connect with customers. Customers are the lifeline of your business. Notice I said “connect” – emailing and posting to your Facebook wall is not the kind of connecting I’m talking about. When you connect with people personally they’ll be more likely to continue to do business with you.

Traveling is one of my greatest joys. I love seeing new places, meeting amazing people and building long lasting memories. Learning from my vacation was a wonderful added benefit. I’m already anticipating the next adventure, wherever that might be. In the meantime, hopefully a better job can be done while at work; making a job and a career, an experience in itself.