Impact and Value of Others in our Lives Deserve a “THANK YOU!”

As we look at our lives there are individuals and experiences that have positively impacted us, for me that is for sure, I have been blessed and filled with many diverse and meaningful individuals and experiences, how about you? When was the last time you told them? Have you thanked them?  Maybe after reading this you will feel that now is the time to do just that!

A sincere THANK YOU! is two of the most powerful words in a relationship!

As the 2016 year is near a close I felt that a Thank You Rambling (unedited)  would be most thank-youappropriate. I encourage all who read my ramblings to reflect on those who have touched your life this past year and thank them for who they are and how you appreciate their role and impact on your life. For me, with some degree of immunity, I write to those who have made a significant impact on my life this past year, helped me to change in becoming better in my developing a clearer picture as to my purpose in life and how to be better at relationships that count;

John – Thank you for your professional help in my dealing with my Father’s Death after 13+ years.  I waited way to  long and must also thank “K”  for encouraging me to take this step!  You brought to the surface deep Family of Origin understanding. You helped me to bring  to the surface deep emotions and equally important, understanding of where these emotions originated and how to deal with them in a healthy manner. You tore open my shield and got me to read Brene Brown, “The Gift of Imperfection”, something that I was encouraged to do earlier but I was too prideful and shameful to understand why I should at the time. For that I thank you

Sarah C – Thank you for taking my email and phone call seriously when I found you and asked to do an intensive Brene Brown, “Gift of Imperfection” 1:1 book club and study. The bi-monthly time we have spent together the past 11 months have been life changing, thank you for your professionalism,  your faith focus, thank you for your compassion, thank you for your challenge and encouragement to find the true Bob within me. You possible have had the greatest impact of anyone on my life. You have helped me develop skills in how I relate to those around me and believe. I believe that that I can belong and do not need to try to fit in! You helped me to understand the power and comfort of Courage and to have the courage to know that it takes strength and courage to admit personal limitations and the amazing power and wisdom of those around me can bring.

Terry E – I have always been an observer and absorbed by observation. You, Terry have impacted me in ways that you do not know with our time. Equally important has been watching the selfishness of your commitment to others and your faith. Thank you for sharing your books, both published and unpublished manuscripts to read as they have all impacted me in a different way.  Thank you for inviting me to your Spring Men’s Retreat you conducted, Thank you for your kindness, compassion as I have gone through personal struggles and your encouragement to continue my faith maturity. You have become a role model as to how I want to define and refine my purpose in my life with hopes that someday I can live out a purposeful life with a significant partner in my life in the same manner that  Mary and you have lived your life; filled with purpose, patience, passion, compassion and understanding.

Rick Warren and your book “Purpose Driven Life” – I have read it twice and with each reading I wish I had that someone to read and study with as there is so much within each day (Chapter) that warrants discussion and further discovery and application to personal life. Without that, I still have found enormous value and will strive to find a way to take what you have added to my life and bring to others.  You know, pay it forward. Thank you for the writing of the book and hope that my reaching out to you will allow us to get together for a meaningful face to face visit some day in 2017

Monday Men’s Group – I have been blessed to have taken the vulnerable initiative to be part of two Monday Men’s groups, both have made an amazing impact on me each in a different way.  They have both allowed me to grow and mature in my faith and reinforce the power of others in my life, especially in my relationship with God.

Kevin Meyer Thank you for your friendship and your role in helping me transition from one Men’s group to the current Men’s group. You have introduced me to a more meaningful opportunity to grow in my understanding of a relationship with God and to introduce me to a great group of Men. The friendships that are being developed and the learning and transparency of the group in how they have welcomed me is amazing and I cannot thank you enough.  Thank you for your confidence in me to ask me to tell part of my story at two of the Services at WFC in December, there was risk in your doing this as you had no experience in how I would represent you, Wayzata Free and my story, thank you for your willingness to take a risk and have confidence in me and my message.

Habitat for Humanity in Nicaragua – What a life changing experience that opened my eyes to what it means to serve and the meaning of happiness and joy. My perspective on so many aspects of life and those around me changed as a result of this experience. This trip and those within the group  lit a fire to expand my life with a greater sense of servanthood. I look forward to returning in March and finding a trip to Haiti sometime this year.

Kip C and 1st Friday – Who said personal life success, business success and a meaningful relationship with God and faith cannot co-exist? What an amazing group of men I have  been  introduced because of you Kip. Your willingness to invite me to be part of this monthly group of incredible men of faith and character is deeply appreciated , I always walk away feeling better each month we meet. Your friendship and willingness to reach out and have me part of this group and part of your life has branded my heart and  soul with an additional level of confidence, trust and self-worth that I am GOOD ENOUGH in who I am and not who I am supposed to be…thank you Kip

The Faith and Life Speaker Series – Not a person, but an organizations commitment to bring forth an opportunity to hear talented and successful individuals from all walks of life discuss life, faith, business and relationships. There is not a speaker that I attend that I do not walk away a better person, a more interesting perspective, a broader base of how to look at things differently than I have in the past and a better understand of the world around me. Thank you for your fulfilling your mission so well.

Amazon Prime Books – The discovery of reading, again, not a person, but a byproduct of all those I have thanked in this Rambling. Reading has added a dimension to my life, has expanded my understanding how little I know and how fun it is to become more interesting in my relationship with others around me….Not sure who to thank, I guess to thank all those I have mentioned and the experiences the past 12 months and the amazing ways  they have impacted me in different, yet meaningful ways.

To my Rambling Readers –  These ramblings are rather cathartic as one reader wrote to me. Thank you , my followers for letting me infringe on your life and email accounts as I send out new Ramblings. My objective of my ramblings has been to share personal discoveries with the hope that my writing cause you to reflect and lean into yourself if any of my comments and observations and lessons learned has value to you. So, Thank you for reading, thank you for your comments, both public and private.  The email I received below (in part) is encouragement that I just maybe accomplishing my objective, thank you my follower from Rochester;

“……I have enjoyed your comments and reflections. Just the exercise of putting words to ‘paper’ is so cathartic. It takes guts to put it out there in a blog. Good for you…..Your comments on family and personal growth are grand. They make me pause and reflect on my own life. Sometimes we don’t take the time, but by taking the time we make our moments hear on Earth so much more meaningful. Keep writing and keep the camp fire photos coming!…..A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.  I hope 2017 is your best year ever….”

 So as I end this Rambling, THANK YOU ALL



Chasing Meaning: Lessons from a Recovering Norwegian, Being true to yourself and those around you

This is one of my more transparent, personal, vulnerable and honest Ramblings. There is a core message around transparency in this Rambling that I hope will trigger reflection in the event that any of this applies to you, my reader.

As with most of my Ramblings, this Rambling came about as a result of the newfound enjoyment I have in reading and learning about a variety of subjects. I’ve also become more observant about what is going on around me. Recently, I ran across an article on the different types of conflict and how they can show up in our professional and personal relationships. Whatever differences may exist among the various stresses of life, there is one popular theory that the human body reacts similarly to all stresses by igniting either a “fight or flight response” in an effort to maintain an internal balance. (For those who have followed previous Ramblings, the two different EKGs that I used to have as discussed in the “This could save your life” Rambling is reflective of this theory.)

In the past, for me at least, the fight response would have revealed itself as a snarky (a little strong, but the adjective I will use today) defensiveness and the flight response would have involved ignoring the realities of a situation by retreating into a shell and hiding with shame and guilt. I used to do both depending upon the situation. I could totally internalize something, react in an aloof or guarded manner, or even try to avoid something altogether (a mechanism of the flight response). I have discovered that in fight mode, my past “snarky” or defensive comments caused those closest to me to feel that they needed to “walk on egg shells” if they encountered this response.

Both of these reactions shielded me from meaningful communication and created internal stress, something that is destructive to a meaningful and healthy relationship. I have now come to discover how freeing and wonderful it is in being honest with myself and those around me.

Chasing meaning

 As a recovering Norwegian, I have discovered that chasing meaning is better for your health and relationships than trying to avoid discomfort. Perhaps there are others out there who can relate to this. (You do not need to be Norwegian to experience this, however in my case, I will place responsibility on my heritage and to a lesser degree my family of origin.)
Recently, while at my ongoing Monday morning men’s group, I was reminded of something that I have learned in the past year: It’s about a trait (a behavior) that I never really understood or practiced to the level that was needed. It is rather shocking to me to accept that I thought I knew this, but never properly refined the skill, or practiced as I do now. This past behavior is something that created a quiet, subtle barrier, an armor, so to speak and tension in meaningful relationships. Here’s what I’ve come to understand:

It is not all about ME or what someone does! The key to meaningful relationships is to really get to know the other person, to really get to know yourself, and to have serious communication (dramatically different than conversations) as to the strengths, traits, habits, needs, support, dreams, beliefs, failures, struggles and values that are critical to yourself and those that are important to the other person. The ability to ask questions and then truly listen to others is a critical and powerful tool. It helps to remove the focus from oneself and instead place more focused and deliberate attention on the other person. For instance, now I say, “Tell me about you” and then shut up and listen intently without judgment!

 To really get to know another person you need to embrace totally non-defensive, collaborative truthcommunication that creates an environment of comfort, trust, and openness. This does not mean you always have to agree on everything. Think about how boring it would be if your closest relationships were based on saying “yes” to everything. You would be basing a relationship on something that wasn’t true and honest. I’ve come to understand we should do our absolute best to respect and honor the other person’s opinions, beliefs and input.

Understanding and respecting other perspectives, opinions, and insights expands our emotional bandwidth, strengthens relationships, and builds a broader learning curve. In the long run, it makes our relationships more interesting, healthy, and fun which is quite different than simply agreeing with another’s perspective. Living a full engaged life and developing meaningful relationships (personal and professional) means we must be true to ourselves and to those around us.

Say what you mean and mean what you say!

 This phrase hasn’t always resonated with me. Sure, it sounds nice but in the past I did not fully digest the words and the meaning. I lost the substance of what was being said. not-everyone-is-trueHowever, I have discovered how freeing it is to live this mantra.
It pains me to acknowledge my past behavior and failures as they have cost me so much in my personal life. However, I’m excited about what I’ve learned! Change is possible, yet difficult and takes incredible work and desire. Thank you to all who have helped me in developing this ongoing maturity. (You know who are!)
I remember a dinner I had with a couple whose husband I did not know well. It did not take long for him to talk about their son’s challenges and struggles. There was none of the superficial bragging about “the world’s greatest kid” that we’ve all experienced at some level. Rather, it was a fully candid and open discussion and that child and his dad became real to me. As a result, the evening was more relaxing as we all could talk honestly without judgement as opposed to find-something-beautifulmaintaining the superficial “egg shell” of polite chatter.
I have learned that slowing down and chasing the meaning and substance behind real opinions, conflict, stress, comments or feelings is far better for our physical, emotional, and relationship health than avoidance.

In conclusion, there are some key words that I want to briefly react to as I reflect on what I’ve discovered, It’s been an amazing learning curve!
I have discovered that an attitude and life of service, a life that is humble, a collaborative life of not being perfect, of accepting my weaknesses and flaws and living a life of being true to who I am, not who I am supposed to be all helps in building resilience to stress and maximizing life itself and the relationships around me.

How about you?