Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Take a moment and prepare for the worst

It is amazing to me that in a world where movies and pop culture thrive on end of the world scenarios that there are still stories of people totally losing their minds over a storm.  I am not making light of Hurricane Matthew and what effect it will have on the world. I have many friends in its path.  What amazes me is that people are still caught off guard. Fights over bottled water, shelves being cleared of food, people not leaving their homes because they fear to forget something important.  We don't need to be "doomsday preppers."  We just need to be able to pick up and leave with little or no thought to how it will happen.  I am not a prepper, far from it, but I have been through some times where people "lose their minds"....  The Flint water crisis,  Toledo water contamination, the Black out that took out the east coast,  Blizzards, hurricanes, floods, locusts... these happen pretty often in our lives (ok not the locusts but a lot of the other stuff.)  Why aren't you ready?

This was going to be a simple Facebook post but it got away from me. I have many Facebook friends who have been posting of their experiences and while this blog post smacks of "I told you so" it is not my intention. Follow my thought here....

Your Governor just announced a state of emergency and by 3pm tomorrow you need to leave your home for somewhere "safe." Are you ready?

Truth be told I am not. My businesses aren't. My family isn't.

Yet this happened just yesterday in Charleston, South Carolina and I was planning on traveling there this weekend.   From Wilmington, NC to the Florida Keys, similar warnings are being issued.  People are clearing the store shelves... fights are happening... people are going to have to do without something.






There is a checklist and planning website put together by the Center For Disease Control that is pretty good.  Look at it now while you still have power and internet connectivity.... yep, those could go away.

https://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/index.asp

Since I tend to shop for my family only once per week, I am pretty set to shelter in place for three days. We always have full cases of water in our house or the ability to fill water bottles. As far as having to evacuate, I really don't have a plan. That is something I am going to work on.

Another good website is https://emergency.cdc.gov/

With all that is going on it is probably a good idea to take a moment and at least think about it.  Make yourself ready so you don't have to concern yourself when the next "big thing" happens.

Let me know your thoughts... all the best!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The new world

It never seems to amaze me how so many people in this world go through life seeking adversaries instead of partners.

First some back story.  I have spent the past couple of month connecting with some amazing people all of which have something to offer this world in a positive way.  I have created friendships that I know will last a long time and I have had great experiences and, more importantly, learned a few things.  I have made some personal strides in my personality and have tried to do my best to become more a role model than I used to be. To me there is nothing more important than being able to spend time with people and have conversations offline, but rather face to face.




One of my bosses from years back once taught me "there is no emotion in email"  The thing is that we read something online and we tend to put the emotion that we are feeling into it.   Some people are just angry people so they will read whatever they want to read as a negative.   This is true in conversation and relationships.  How many times have we typed something, re read it and then looked at it again and added a :) at the end to soften the blow and prevent misinterpretation. Our world is manipulated by emoticons rather than taking the time to talk on the phone or in person.

I am constantly reminded that there are awesome people in my life.  There are also a few complete jerks.  I know, I had times where I was more of the latter rather than the former. The past six months have been a journey of development for me where I have been doing my best to rid myself of anger and negativity which, in turn, has made me reconsider my relationships with negative people and people who do not necessarily have my best interests in mind.  Thing is that I like (liked) a number of them.  It is difficult to endure negativity when you are looking to better yourself.  It's difficult not to take it as a personal affront when one of your "friends" supports a competitor instead of you.   It is also difficult to look at things in a clinical, objective way without the emotion associated with it.  Before I make a decision about someone I ask myself "what do I like about this person"... sometimes the answer is "nothing" but in reality most people have something to offer.  Once I find the attribute I enjoy in a relationship then I seek what is bothering me in the interaction. Measuring the pros and cons I make a choice.  Sometimes that choice is to just agree to go our separate ways. Other times, especially when there is a professional need to interact,  I do so in as professional way as I can but no longer let them influence me or my inner circle. In no way are they allowed back into my private life.  

On to my point.  In the partnerships that I have with people, those who choose to be partners benefit from me as much as I benefit from them.  This is a true "win- win."  These partnerships are far rarer than I would have ever imagined and before the introspection of the past six months I would have doubted their true existence.  The industry that I am in seem wrought with people who believe the "other guy" is their competition.   In this day and age the competition is the need to look at everything adversarial rather than cooperative. The competition is the absolute addiction we have to our phones and the internet.  I know for a fact that I can give up my phone for a day or two,  could you?  I could name at least 10 examples of interactions that were adversarial that did not need to be.  A lender doing what he could to destroy the business of the person borrowing money,  the landlord who looks for ways to nickle and dime their tenants through fees and miscommunication,  the dive shop owner who badmouths their competition instead of looking for ways to partner with them,  the angry individual who thought the grass was greener but found it wasn't, blames the company he left...   the list could go on and on.



Be done with it.   In social media its easy.  Block them, unfriend them,  move on.   Sure, they will trash you but you just won't have to follow it.   There are people who read blogs like this one or in my case listen to my podcast to look for any reason to be critical.  Don't be "that guy!"  If this is your reason for reading something, the problem is you, not them.  

It doesn't always have to be adversarial.  It doesn't have to be us vs. them.

Yesterday a young man came into the dive shop who had worked for me about a year and a half ago.  He had been going through some personal issues and had just decided not to show up again for work... before yesterday I didn't know what happened to him.  He came in yesterday, a year and a half or so later, just to apologize.   He also thanked me for giving him a shot and for showing him that his life was more than flipping burgers.  He now had a house, a strong relationship, and a great sales job.   He was one who changed, he (through influences I am sure) thought me his adversary while I was trying to make him better.  The light clicked on and his world changed.

A quote I find awesome.  "Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners."   This is so true.  Ask yourself where your focus lies.

Aspire to greatness, don't belittle it.  Work towards improving others and your own world will grow.






Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Whole 30, Back on track after a break...

July is a fantastic month for me!

It is the peak of the dive season, the pinnacle of Midwest Diving and some of the most amazing trips for getting to know people and seeing the best that Michigan has to offer.  The month starts with the holiday, every weekend there is something diving related and ends with an epic fundraiser at White Star Quarry.

July is also a month for eating what other people are making... i.e.  a bad month for a fad diet.  So I took the month off from eating "right" and put the whole 30 aside.  I had hit a plateau anyway so why not take a break for the month.  

The result?  I feel like total crap.

Over the course of (moderately) sticking to the diet I realized that there were certain things that did not do well with my body and certain things that didn't seem to matter.  The occasional desert? No worse than a headache the next day.  Adult beverages?  No drawbacks except that they just made me sleepy. Processed foods seemed to be the real killer.   Over a month though it added up.  A month of keeping sort of with the portions but not with the reading of labels really took its toll.

To be fair I did spend the month diving more than usual but towards the past week or so the aches and pains came back.  The stress built up in my shoulders and my mood darkened.  It seems that we really are slowing digging our graves with our teeth. The only good thing about this "experiment" was that there were no violent reactions towards anything I ate.  I was worried that once I cut it out of my diet it would be difficult to process some foods. Back to the beginning and the whole 30.

It is harder it seems to really be a strict disciplinarian about my diet now that I have adjusted but along with everything else I gained some weight back.  I don't want to be "that guy..." ever... so I am back to a strict regimen.  Back to the diet that I know works for me.

So yesterday was day one.  I fell off the wagon a little at dinner when my salad came with cheese and some crispy things that were probably poison.   It is going to be tougher than last time to stick with it because fast food is way more convenient and reading labels on everything just plain sucks.  And I will miss Beer and ice cream.  But, as I have been preaching to everyone who wishes to know and everyone who reads this blog (all five of you,)  Anyone can do anything for just 30 days.  So time to get back on track.

Start today.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A simple accomplishment...


Just before I fell off the grid for a week, my good friend and dive buddy on many dives, Aaron Oaks posted that he had just completed the epic accomplishment of 200 logged dives.  Since I had been made aware that posting in the 100's is a big deal (on the 100th and 1000th dive you are supposed to make the dive naked or so they tell me) I wondered if on the Isle Royale would I make a century dive. 

As it turns out, if I worked a little at it I could.  I needed to double up on two of the dive sites. As it worked out, the rebreather let me do two additional dives as no decompression dives even though the previous dive had been to normal no decompression limits and my surface interval was about 10 minutes including the time at the safety stop.  Love theses machines. 


On the last dive of the trip, on the epic dive site known as the Chisholm Engine,  I made my 3600th logged dive with Jill Synowiec, Wayne Rush, Jack Papas, Monica Dobies with Jesse Rush and Capt. Ryan Staley watching topside.  The trip was epic and the pictures will be posted at the Divers Incorporated Blog in the coming days on on the Divers inc Facebook pages.

 Hope you are along with me on the destination for the 3700th dive... if my life is consistent it should be in Bonaire...   March 2017.. you need to be there.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The problem with raising your standards

Since the CDTC I have been faced with a dilemma.

While I was in Punta Cana, the people that I associated with were of the highest caliber.  True, we were all working towards a purpose, but the true character of truly remarkable people emerged.  The dilemma I face is that I want them daily in my life without any possibility of that happening.

While I have talked or communicated with most of the Aquanauties on an almost daily basis since the CDTC and have had some awesome times with others, I find that I am setting the bar in my daily interactions to that standard.  In some cases, such as my wife, manager and many friends it is an easy goal to achieve, in others I find that they just don't stack up.  Many are ok with me helping them achieve greatness, others are content with mediocrity.  Some would rather bring me down to their level rather than allow me to bring them up to mine. It is hard to explain other than this: While the awesomeness is amazing, the mediocrity is frustrating... hence my dilemma.

This evening I spent a couple of hours with someone who is truly of a remarkable caliber.  I had not seen her since we both graduated high school together 30 years ago. The conversation that we had was if we had never parted and it gave me another characteristic of a truly remarkable human being. In the conversation afterwards my wife and I tried to describe to each other what we had experienced. The answer was simple, events are more important than things, people are more important than events.  What good is a selfie compared to a groupie?  While you may experience a place what does that compare to experiencing a soul?

Philosophy aside the answer is simple.  Spend time with people and put your phone away. Spend time with people because they are awesome.  If you find you are with people and have a desire to be elsewhere, change your people.  

The simple explanation is this:

If people make you better, spend time with them.....if people need help, help them... if people are beyond help, spend some time trying to encourage them and do what you can for them... if people are destructive and negative, thank them and move on.




Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ran out of time at the CDTC... but this happened!

I started with some awesome aspirations to write a blog entry every day but by day three it became too much work to add to what I had to do already. I actually had to blog as part of a marketing contest we were doing so I didn't want to let my group down by doing this one.  More to come but the simple truth of the matter is that I passed the program.

I am a PADI Course Director!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day Two - PADI CDTC Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

It was an emotionally trying day.  As much as I tried I could not get over my nervousness.  The level of understanding and empathy that I have for my fellow candidates and for future IDC Students is something that, If nothing else, is the biggest take-away from this program.  That and the people that I am working with on my team.  They are simply the best.  We have people from all over the world on my team and they are amazingly talented individuals.   It is a joy to work with them and after today I feel that they will be people that I keep in touch with forever.  The other candidates are equally as talented, we have just been concentrating on working with our team.

So the day was supposed to be a day where we lecture in the morning,  do our first confined water presentation and out first confined water evaluation in the ocean in confined open water.  I had sat up late and prepared, double checked my outline and I was ready.   Then we had an announcement just before lunch.  We were not going to confined water in the ocean but were going to be using the pool and we needed to prepare our second confined water evaluation. We were given about an hour and a half for that preparation and lunch.  The nerves came back.

The level of perfection that I witnessed in the pool was awe inspiring,  the first three presentations given were flawless and it increased my anxiousness. I was the first evaluator.  Needless to say I was really confident but when you give a person such remarkable scores you get the feeling you may have done something wrong.   You see, as an evaluator we have to match the scores of the control or CD -Trainer who is also evaluating.   That has, in the past been something I excelled at so the only part I was concerned about was that I would miss something.  There were nearly 50 people sharing the pool.

When it came time for me to do my presentation I choked a little.  Got through it, knew I had made a mistake and also knew that I didn't have to be perfect just score better than average.  

When it was all over we waited for the CDTC Trainer to give us our scores and counsel us on the mistakes we made.  Other than being the last one to sit for it, it was the best experience because I was able to remedy my nervousness and self doubt a bit.   I had passed...  with a perfect match on the evaluation and only having missed two of the possible points on the confined water presentation.  I know that they will not happen again.

Passed the second day.  Win!