40 Thoughts After a 40-Year Journey

Nothing better in 40 years than watching my sisters become wonderful mothers.

I’ve been 40 years old for four months. In those 40 years I’ve experienced success at a high level in sports and career, and have fought out of the lowest depths of my life in failed personal relationships and emotional distress.  We all have strife, struggles and pain that we feel. On the other side of those low points in our life though, is the good stuff. And the good stuff is ready and waiting for us. This morning during my morning routine, I sat down and thought about all the good stuff, reflected on the ugly stuff, and captured what I have learned over the past four decades.

Here is my list of 40 thoughts, after a 40-year journey.

  1. Mistakes are okay, excuses are not.
  2. Gratitude is the most wonderful mindset to be in. Spend as much time there as possible.
  3. Exercise and smart eating are better for my mind than they are my body. Take good care of both.
  4. Forgiveness is a virtue. Go first. And start with yourself.
  5. Family is everything. Meet them where they are – not where you think they should be.
  6. The Law of Attraction. I subscribe to it.
  7. Relationships take time. Time to invest in them, time to trust, time to heal, time to forgive, time to love… choose relationships intentionally and make the most of your time.
  8. Children are the future. Teach them to be kind to one another, and let them fail once in a while.
  9. Having a beer with an old friend you haven’t seen in 10 years is a blessing. Reach out to them more often.
  10. Writing a hand written thank you card is the art of connection – be connected to people.
  11. Meditation, prayer, and spending time in nature are good for the mind, body and soul.
  12. Goals are more likely to be accomplished when they are written down. Write them down.
  13. Call your mother. How many friends do we have that would love just one more talk with mom?
  14. Self-help books are meant to be read and re-read. Then pass them on. Someone will be grateful that you cared.
  15. A morning routine is your best time. Protect it with a good night of sleep.
  16. Laughter is great medicine. Taking ourselves too seriously and holding on to past pain prevents laughter.
  17. It’s a lot easier to blame and complain than it is to understand and take responsibility.
  18. Good things come to those who go get them.
  19. We feel better when we are tan and able to play outside. Go outside more.
  20. A little bit of everything is generally ok. Too much is always too much.
  21. There are no shortcuts. Spending time looking for one is a waste of time.
  22. Your title at work means very little to anyone. Your reputation on the other hand does.
  23. Work on things you are passionate about. You will have very little to complain about if you do.
  24. Learn to say thank you and accept a compliment gracefully. Don’t deflect it. It is yours.
  25. Stay in the moment. Put the device down at the table when you are with your person. Quality time is precious.
  26. Farmers produce our food. Get to know them, and understand what they do. You will appreciate meal time a little more.
  27. Treat your restaurant server like you would the owner. Please say thank you.
  28. It’s ok to be vulnerable. When we are vulnerable, we find strength in ourselves we didn’t know we possessed.
  29. Reach out to coaches and teachers and let them know that the work they do matters. Long after retirement, a teacher is still and will always be a teacher at heart.
  30. Technology moves fast and it takes a little effort to keep up, but don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it.
  31. Politics and religion. Figure yours out, and I’ll figure mine out. And let’s still be friends.
  32. Sportsmanship and teamwork are more important than trophies. Collect teammates for the rest of your life and hang sportsmanship on your walls.
  33. Believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will either.
  34. Remember where you came from. Your roots are still planted there.
  35. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, you are not alone. Make the call, ask for help, and do it for you. What other people think is not important. You being here does.
  36. Everyone’s journey moves at a different pace, in different directions and at different times. Your journey, regardless of where it takes you, is your story. Write it the way you want it to be read long after you are gone.
  37. It takes courage to grow up and be who you truly want to be. Be a lion. Your future self will thank you.
  38. Listening is easier when we make eye contact. Be present and intentional about listening.
  39. Be a gentleman. Open doors, stand to greet her, share your jacket. Young men are watching your example. Be the example your sisters and daughters deserve.
  40. We can make more money. We can’t make more time.

Updates from UpField

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It’s been a few months since we opened our doors and now that the dust has settled a bit, I wanted to again say thank you for your friendship, well wishes, and for allowing us to share our very first newsletter with you.

As we enjoy the final weeks of summer here in the Midwest, Friday night lights are again shining on high school football, the pageantry of college game day has begun, and the NFL has brought us football on Sunday (and Monday and Thursday, on demand on Tuesday and anytime we want it throughout the week on their network.) By the way, did you know that according to a recent Global Web Index poll, 65% of Americans say they are fans of the NFL? At UpField, we’re excited to have our favorite sport back, and even more excited to be working with our football clients; Fuel Up to Play 60, the NFL Alumni Association, and Glazier Clinics.

Our team here at UpField has been extremely busy moving the ball down the field for our clients. We’re developing new business opportunities and most recently signed a merchandise licensing agreement for a client. We have taken positive steps in the right direction as a new company, and as we look at where we have been and where we are going, we recognize that we are in the business of strategically connecting organizations and causes while simply trying to help people.

Best of luck to your team this season and thank you again for being a part of our professional network.

Mark

Broncos get Right Coach for the Job

The Denver Broncos recently hired a good friend and college teammate as the newest member of their coaching staff. Craig Aukerman was named defensive assistant coach after serving in the college ranks for ten years. I’m extremely proud of my friend and do not have a doubt in my mind that he will be an asset to their coaching staff. Craig has always displayed greatness on and off the field and I am confident that he will continue to be just that.

As we talked yesterday on the phone I asked him what he thought of the playbook and the sytem the Broncos exercise on defense… As I expected, he mentioned learning the extensive playbook would be his first challenge as a new coach in a new system. – Knowing Craig though, he will impress the coaching staff in Denver with his work ethic and football intelligence; and ultimately learn the playbook.Earlier today I read some cynical comments on Bronco blogs negatively portray the Bronco’s hire due to his small college experience at Western Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), and Kent State. I don’t want to bash the fans because they are the reason the NFL is what it is, but if you are hating on a guy because of where he learned to be a coach I have to ask the question… Are college athletes really that different in the MAC than they are in the Big 10 or the ACC or even the SEC? Does teaching a five-star collegiate athlete better suit a coach for the next level compared to teaching a three-star athlete? – I pose this rhetorical question because I don’t know the answer from a psychological perspective… From a physical ability standpoint I think generally we all agree that athletes are better equipped at Ohio State University than they are at Ohio Northern Universtiy but that’s the obvious.Here’s an example: Take a small college safety compared to a NFL safety reading the eyes of a quarterback from a cover-three zone. This means that the defensive player is watching the quarterback prepare to throw the ball and then breaking in the direction of the pass as soon as he believes he knows where the pass is going. A small college safety who runs a 4.6 second forty yard dash may have great instincts and as a result have many pass break ups and interceptions throughout the course of a season. The NFL safety who runs a 4.3 forty yd. dash may have decent instincts but not as many pass break ups or interceptions over the course of a season despite having more opportunity and more physical ability- Granted the quarterback play is much better at the NFL level so it’s not entirely an apples to apples comparison but it works for the sake of our discussion. Also assume the atheltes are similar in their preparation, intelligence, and reaction time; however, one is simply physically superior to the other. From a coaching perspective, if a coach is teaching the small college athlete what to look for in the quarterback’s progression and he is anticipating where the ball is going and is correct with his assumption, but he just isn’t fast enough to make a play on the ball; there’s not much else a coach can do or say to improve that athlete.While the athletes Aukerman coached at his previous assignments may not be capable of making plays in the NFL, I can assure the bloggers of Denver nation that they were well-coached and better men because of him. His ability and potential as a coach is part of the reason the Broncos hired him, but also measured by the Broncos organization is the quality of man becoming a part of their team and community. Don’t forget that building a TEAM takes more than talent sports fans. Jim Collins stresses in his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Other’s Don’t, the importance of having the right people in the right places to ensure your company, brand, or team’s success. Craig Aukerman might not be the powerful household name Bronco fans were expecting but either was Josh McDaniels when he came to town. The 33-year-old had a lot to prove in Denver and I look for the new 33-year-old Aukerman to do the same.