Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take Off Towards a Full Life

Not sure if my wife and I are the only ones in TV Land that watch ABC's PanAm on Sunday nights, but there was an extremely metaphoric event for Lifting your life a few weeks back.

To give you some back story, the PanAm flight of the week was headed down to South America when a passenger on board had a heart attack and they were forced to land in Haiti at an old dilapidated airport that was shut down for the night. As predicted, the crew got in touch with someone on the ground who then switched on the runway lights just in the nick of time for a successful landing. Once on the ground the co-pilot and one of the stewardesses took off into the night in search of a doctor to help their ailing passenger.

Fast forward to the end of the episode when the flight crew realizes the runway is damaged to the point where it is too short to take off given the weight of the passengers, their bags, and the fuel on board. In attempt to lighten the load they ditch all of the bags on the tarmac and begin to burn off fuel in an effort to (hopefully) get to an acceptable takeoff weight. Sure enough, when the bad rebels are storming the airfield to try and seize the airplane, the pilot hits the throttle and barely scrapes off the ground for a flight back to a more friendly location.

There is a great lessoned to be learned from this failed flight to South America as it relates to improving our daily lives in that we are often allocating too much mental energy to certain events from our past or general themes that it restricts us from taking off towards our dreams.

Take the theme of social acceptance as an example. From the time we are in grade school through the end of our lives there will be some part of us that thinks about measuring up to our peers or society in general:
  • Do I have more friends than average?
  • Am I in better shape than people my age?
  • Is my retirement lifestyle better than my friends?

Or look at an "if only" event from your past:
  • "If only I would have sold when the market peaked I wouldn't be in this financial mess"

When we let these thoughts run our lives they become bigger and bigger users of our mental energy. Since we only have so much mental energy in a day that means that other, more productive uses for that energy are being neglected.

Say the energy you allocate to your passion.

Or the energy it takes to stay present in a conversation with a loved one.

While the effort to come to terms with an event in your past or to unwind these habits is not small, you can start chipping away at these thoughts by becoming aware of their presence. When you catch yourself you will start to notice their destructive tendencies and feel empowered to win back that wasted energy.

And a funny thing happens when you start allocating your new found energy to things you love:

Lift off...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Latitude Update

Very exciting news to share. In addition to recently celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary with my wife and son in downtown Chicago, on December 8th I celebrated the one year mark since my last chemotherapy treatment.

Wow does that feel nice to say.

A lot has happened during the year to say the least. One of the things I am most proud of is the Latitude concept I rolled out earlier this year. For those of you who are unaware, here is the original launch post: Latitude Announcement.

In short, your Latitude is a place you mentally escape to when you are stressed or in a situation you would rather not want to be in at the current moment. Think of it as a highly nostalgic place or feeling you default to when day dreaming. For me, it was a place I thought of frequently when going through a chemo treatment or in recovery at home on the couch.

While not everyone in the world thinks of the word "Latitude" in this way, it is my intention to change that.  Over the past year the Latitude concept pops up on a frequent basis, often cloaked in another form such as a Corona commercial:

Or the lyrics of a Coldplay song ("Paradise"):

Life goes on, it gets so heavy
The wheel breaks the butterfly
Every tear a waterfall
In the night, the stormy night she'll close her eyes
In the night, the stormy night away she'd fly
And dream of para-para-paradise

My theory is that if we can spend more time in our lives practicing the emotions associated with our Latitude we can lift our lives above the stresses that inhibit our growth as individuals and as a society.

Some great friends, family members and complete strangers helped me launch the Latitude concept by writing entries on I am happy to announce that we are continuing the Latitude love beginning this Thursday where we will hear about my buddy Jon's Latitude, which is just tremendously written.

Also, as a holiday/re-launch special, all shirts on will be 50% off through the end of the year and as always include a $5 donation to the associated charity.

Come check out the Latitude website this Thursday, be sure to hit the Facebook "Like" button, and tell all your friends!

Will 2012 will be the year you start to Live Your Latitude?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Experience of You

Trophy from Buddah's Golf Tourney
What do you and I have in common with the reason why Starbucks can charge $5 for a grande-nonfat-with whip-white mocha or Apple can charge $600 for an iPhone?

If you said because we are delicious and pleasing to the eye you are only partially right...

The bulk of the price of the items is for one thing:

The experience of the product.

I received the unfortunate news of a dear family friend passing two weekends ago, which sparked loads of memories and subsequent reflection.  In short, "Buddah" was an amazingly gracious man that touched an incredible amount of people in his time on earth and will continue to do so in our memories as we live on our days.

The more I thought about Buddah, the more I realized my memories centered around the experience of being with him versus any particular event. Whether it was around a dinner table, on a golf course, or on Christmas morning when he would show up at our house in full Santa gear (a perfect match!) there was something about the mood that would consistently change for the better.

The concept of the Buddah experience got me thinking about how others experience me in my daily life in different environments.

Pre-cancer I was absorbed in the popular concept of personal branding from the perspective of what I wanted my target audience (boss, client, friend, or even family member) to take away from an interaction with me. These takeaways were often generic traits of what "experts" from books and magazines believed were necessary in our current society.  The problem with this approach is that it frequently involves trying to be something you think others want to experience versus who you really are as a person.

Better known as acting...

Or, as I like to call it, the antithesis of authenticity.

Anytime I am forced to face mortality time slows down, priorities shift, and my daily approach to life changes for a period of time. It happened at Buddah's funeral this past Thursday, and it happened on April 9, 2010 when my oncologist told me I had cancer.

It's at these crossroads that one can choose to continue on the path they were on, or make an adjustment based on the lessons they learn. Shortly after my diagnosis, I chose to adjust by hanging up my acting career and starting to live life in a manner consistent with my true self.

Over the past (almost) year of blogging on and 300 consecutive days of sending out Daily Lift Tips on my Twitter account (@LiftLiving), I've attempted to chronicle this new approach to life and the lessons I've learned along the way.

It wasn't easy to make this shift, but as I continue on in my daily life I am confident that I am delivering a true experience of me in everything I do and every person I encounter.

And the best part is I will never forget to "act" a certain way as I am simply being me.

At its core, authenticity is built from consistent interaction. Whether it was a joyous occasion such as Christmas or after a crummy round of golf, Buddah was Buddah. He showed up as his authentic self in everything he did and as a result had a profound impact on all he touched through his life.

So, next time you are waiting in a Starbucks line checking your iPhone don't just think about the consistent experience Starbucks or Apple is presenting to you, remember that you also leave an impression on everything you touch and with everyone which you interact.

Make the experience of you a consistent one in line with your true self and you will lift your life to a whole new level.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learn to Understand

Cancer gave me tumors in my body, lesions on my bones, and scars on my skin. It filled my blood with chemicals, my stomach with pills, and my eyes with tears.

And that was the easy part...

Understanding what my cancer journey was teaching me was another story.

Growing up I looked at the learning process as more of a chore than something to take seriously. I was more interested in playing sports than cracking books, but did what it took to keep my parents, coaches, and teachers happy. My parents told me the minimum grades I could get were B's and turned it into a nifty jingle worthy of an auto insurance commercial:

"No B's, no keys"

I was a good enough student to earn student athlete awards, but not good enough for honors classes. It wasn't until second semester my freshman year at the University of Michigan during a bout with mononucleosis (a precursor to Hodgkin's Lymphoma) I realized I was smart and, more importantly, actually enjoyed the process of learning.

Doctor's orders for mono were to get loads of rest, minimize activity, and eat what you can get down your sore, sore throat until healthy. With this in mind I structured my days around going to class, doing my homework, and ordering an insane amount of Frosties from the Wendy's at the Student Union.

Sorry Mom...

The key to me finding my capacity as a student was really understanding the material and not just cramming it into my head the days before an exam. I did all the assigned readings, asked questions in class, and went to office hours if I needed to clarify something in my brain.

In effect, I took apart the concepts, saw how they worked, and then reassembled the information in my head so I understood them and it became intuitive. When it came time for quizzes, tests, or essays the material was second nature to me and naturally the grades followed. And to be honest, I began to care less about the grade on the paper and more about the challenge of understanding things that peaked my interest.

I found that the two critical components of the learning process are to Ask effective questions and Listen intently. The intersection of these two activities is where the proverbial "magic happens" and you Understand (see visual above).

People ask me if I thought "Why me?" when I got my cancer diagnosis and the answer is yes.

I asked it a lot...

But I listened even more because I wanted to grow as a person from my cancer experience.

Effective self-reflection is the process of asking yourself a lot of hard questions and listening to the answers that are out there in books, conversations, reflection, songs, therapy sessions, etc.

Only when you take yourself apart, figure out how you work, and put yourself back together in a manner that is intuitive to you will you truly understand your potential.

As for what my cancer journey taught me?

It taught me that each moment holds an opportunity to Lift your life towards maximum fulfillment.

Are you ready to start Lifting yours?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All You Can Do

Present meets future at Mite Nite
This past Saturday was "Mite Nite" where two of the Mite teams (ages 6-8) from the organization where I coach hockey went down to a Chicago area rink to watch a heated high school rivalry coached by their own coach, Coach Scott (pics HERE).

Scott and I played high school hockey together back in the day and this season he asked me to help out with his Mite teams, which frankly has been a highlight of my year. Prior to the game I asked Scott what his message to his high school varsity team was going to be heading into the game and he said:

"One shift at a time"

If you are a golfer like me, this phrase is very familiar. In addition to ice hockey, I spent a large portion of my youth on various golf courses around the Midwest. I originally was drawn to the game when I wondered why my Dad didn't go to church some summer Sundays when I was required to go...

I was quite an observant 7 year old...

Shortly after taking up the game I was hooked. Not sure if it was the hot dogs in the clubhouse or the occasional good shot, but there was something about the sport that demanded my attention. As I honed my physical swing my coaches and mentors began enlightening me about the mental aspects of golf. Funny stuff happens to your golf swing when you start thinking about the score you will shoot or how you are about to beat your Dad for the first time.

In short, you get ahead of yourself and out of the moment that requires your immediate attention resulting in poor shots and the dashing your hopes of a personal best or bragging rights at the dinner table. Thus, one of the greatest pieces of advice for any golfer is to take your round:

"One shot at a time"

The concept of one shift/shot at a time was something I leaned on heavily in my cancer journey. I had one chemo treatment every two weeks for 8 months and certain days with upwards of 5 different scans and tests. From the day of diagnosis through my last treatment I was looking at about 9 months of "the fight" which was a familiar number to my wife and me seeing that she just carried our son in her pregnancy for the same time a year and a half prior.

That's a long time... And a lot of McDonald's strawberry milkshake runs...

Standing on the first tee of my cancer treatment, I committed to taking my journey one task at a time until my oncologist told me to stop. If I was in a scan I would lay as still as possible so the pathologist could get the most accurate picture to make their diagnosis. If it was a treatment day I would give my body the rest and nourishment it needed to handle the stress of the chemicals.

The key to this lesson is to maximize your effort in the current moment understanding that it is all you can control. If you start getting ahead of yourself thinking about future outcomes you are only taking away from your potential by robbing the current task of your attention.

This life lesson is not restricted to an ice rink, golf course, or Chemo Den. It is one we can practice every day in our pursuit of fulfilment. By staying true to yourself and executing each task to your utmost ability when it is time to reflect on your path you will see that you lifted your life to a higher level.

It's all you can do...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finding Inspiration for Battle

Young or old, inspiration lies within...
What happens in the moments after you are told you have cancer?

Or when you are let go from a job?  Or when you go through a break up?  Or when you lose someone close to you?

That, my friend, is up to you.

I've been into self help books ever since I spent more time reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey than studying for finals my sophomore year at the University of Michigan.  I don't remember how I scored on the finals, but I sure as hell remember that there is a gap between a stimulus (cancer diagnosis, pink slip, break up, etc.) and your response to said stimulus.

In that moment (and all the moments to follow through your journey) you have the ability to choose how you will move forward.  Not how society expects you to be in your given situation...

How YOU choose be.

I've previously talked about how when one is faced with an immanent scenario the initial choices get easy (Post Here).  In the case of a cancer diagnosis it's either to seek out the right treatment or to let nature take its course.

Pretty cut and dry.

While the choice of your initial path is relatively simply, the day-to-day gut checks and pondering of your new and future reality is the hard part.  It takes a lot of effort to stay up in your battle and you are likely going to find yourself in some valleys.  It's all part of the process.

I often found myself seeking outside advice from fellow cancer fighters, online support forums, and oh yes, self help books when looking for inspiration through my cancer journey.  I also enlisted the help of a family friend (Jim Warner) who is a world class whole life coach, author (check out his new book Drama Free Office), speaker, and entrepreneur, with a personal track record of self discovery.

He gave me an arsenal of tools and opportunities to discover who I was as a person and what I was capable of coming out of my cancer journey.  Going into our work I expected to go through the exercises and he would enlighten me with his wealth of knowledge or the answers would reveal themselves based on an answer key or something of the nature.

Kind of like all of the self help books I've read since sophomore year in college...

Not so much.

The greatest lesson I learned from Jim, and I am sure this is why he is worldly renowned for his work, was that I didn't have to look further than my own life to find the inspiration I needed to move forward.

When reflecting on my life path I found multiple instances where I was dealt a horrible hand and figured out how to overcome and thrive in my new reality.  I reflected back and realized that no matter what the struggle, when I stayed true to myself and learned from the situation, I inevitably came out a better person on the back end.

This revelation calmed me down and made me confident about my future, however long it may be...

As much as our society pushes the success stories of others who overcame great odds on us as the way it has to be done, you often don't have to look further than your own life for the inspiration you need to move forward.

And who better than yourself to Lift your life?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Welcome the Uncomfortable

Coach Lumpp (L), Coach Scott (C), Coach Mike (R)
I recently started coaching Mite level (6-8 year old) travel ice hockey on the weekends, which brings back an insane amount of memories from my youth.

I grew up playing in the same rinks for another team in the area which is making life come full circle in a sense.  When standing at certain point on our home ice I can vividly remember a shot I took, a pass I made, or when I almost threw up from my coaches skating us so hard.

Glory days!!!

In hindsight, my Mite AA coach Ken Johnson’s 60 second conditioning drills were almost as bad as chemo recovery…

One thing I learned from hockey was that if you put in the work and did it the right way, you would always improve.  As coaches we ask our kids to push their comfort level by skating as fast as possible around cones or stick handling while skating backwards.  By pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone they may fall a few times, but will grow and improve over the course of the season.

If they short circuit the drill just to finish first and be seen by us coaches and their peers as the “winner” they inevitably take away from their future potential.  This is a tough lesson to learn as a 7 year old when you live in a society that emphasizes winning above all else.

Not to mention a tough lesson for a handsome 32 year old named Roger who blogs on Lift Living....

I think it's safe to say that being uncomfortable in a situation or nervous about an upcoming event are emotions we frequently feel during our lives.  In the past I've personally spent a lot of energy analyzing different scenarios and approaches to a situation or even avoiding the uncomfortable feeling by taking an alternative route to resolution.

Recently I've realized being uncomfortable or nervous is not something we should be afraid of, but something we should welcome.  Those feelings are physical indicators from our bodies that we are on the precipice of a chance to improve ourselves.

When you recognize this opportunity and push through it you will be building your confidence and lifting your life towards a higher level.

And if you fall along the way take it like a 7 year old hockey player...

With a smile.

Friday, September 30, 2011

In This Day

The start of a new day from my driveway...
This is the day I let go of all that burdens me,
forgiving and learning from my past.

This is the day I choose to see opportunity,
when others see no way out.

This is the day I choose to focus,
on all I know I can be.

This is the day.

This is the day.

In this day my confidence is unshakable,
staying true to who I am.

In this day my integrity won't be questioned,
no matter how hard the decision.

In this day I give life my all,
not afraid of what will come.

This is the day.

I am this day.

© 2011 Roger Lumpp, All Rights Reserved
(I wrote this poem to remind myself not to wait for some future event to start living my life as my true self.  I plan to read it every morning and make the most of every day I have left on earth.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FAQ - Part III (with David Haas)

Anatomy of  deliciousness....
I made a pledge when I was diagnosed with cancer that I was going to try everything at least once.

For example, I never gave Chicago Style Hot Dogs a chance due to the raw onions of all things.  If you lived in Los Angeles this might be fine, but I've spent my whole life living in the Chicago area!!!  Let me tell you that the combination of mustard, raw onion, relish, tomatoes, pickle spear, and celery salt (tried peppers, not a fan) on a poppy seed bun is LIFE CHANGING...  I implore you to try one as soon as possible.

In the spirit of trying everything at least once I am welcoming David Haas of "Haas Blaag" to Lift Living to give some perspective on the world of cancer support.

One thing I learned from cancer is that there are a ton of us out there all willing to lend a hand to help each other through our journeys.

David is another one of those kind souls and will help answer the next FAQ in my series.

5.)  What kind of cancer support networks are available to those impacted by a cancer diagnosis?
By: David Haas

A cancer diagnosis can be very overwhelming and upsetting, and sometimes the best option is to get in touch with somebody who has experienced the same things that you are going through. While support from family and friends is vital, the people that you can connect with through support groups can offer insight, advice, encouragement, and care that others that have not been through it may not be capable of.

The support options for cancer patients are as broad as the types of cancer diagnoses. Whether you have
breast cancer, prostate cancer, mesothelioma, leukemia, or any other type of cancer, there are programs
and groups available to help you cope, lend a listening ear, offer suggestions, and lift your spirits.

Whether you prefer online group interaction, or would rather meet face to face with people in similar situations, there are support networks and programs available to suit your needs.  A great resource for finding these types of groups is found on the American Cancer Society's website, which includes links to survivor's networks, support groups, and cancer education classes offered both in person and online.

Some of the things that support programs and networks can assist with include answering questions you might have about treatments, offering you an outlet to share your feelings and concerns, helping you find additional sources of support and education, and sharing personal experiences. Regardless of where you
are in your journey, seeking assistance through support networks and groups can prove to be an extremely valuable resource through all aspects of the treatment and healing process.

While the battle with cancer can be a long and arduous journey, it absolutely is not a road that must be
traveled alone.  Knowledge is power, and sometimes just knowing what to expect, or having someone validate the feelings and emotions you are having is just what you might need to pick yourself up, move forward optimistically, and fight your disease with courage and hope.

[Roger here...  personal plug for Imerman Angels 1-on-1 Cancer Support  Thanks for the GREAT content David!]

Friday, September 16, 2011

Down With Average!

OneRepublic, not your average band...
Has anyone ever wanted to just be average?  

Average weight, average height, average salary, average looks...  If you can find this person I bet they would be, well, average.

When you are diagnosed with cancer, you are provided with a plethora of statistics that ultimately lead to the million dollar question:  

"What do the averages say about me being alive in 5 years?"

After grappling with this new, very real statistic and talking with a few close advisers I realized there was only one statistic that mattered in my fight against Hodgkin's Lymphoma:  


Things were going to work out (100%), or they were not (0%).  It was that simple and all I could do was fight hard and have faith in myself.

I had the incredible fortune of sitting down with the band OneRepublic this past week and we were talking about the importance of staying true to yourself, or in OneRepublic's case, their sound.

Too often we are tempted to imitate others past formulas for success in pursuit of beating the average.  In the case of a band this could mean modeling your music after what's worked for others in the past or what has the highest sales volume at the moment.

The problem with this approach is that when (and IF!) you experience imitative success it will likely be temporary as you had to become something else, something against the grain of who you are to achieve it.  In order to maximize fulfillment in your life - the ultimate success - you must stay true to yourself and the values that define you.

Your sound.  

In a society laden with measurable comparisons, my sense is that everyone has an average in their life they think about on a frequent basis and how they can stay ahead of or keep up with it. If you are not careful you may make decisions against your better judgment which can be detrimental to your life’s ultimate fulfillment.

Thanks for the drumstick Eddie!
The true measurement comes at the end of the day when you look back at yourself from the mirror knowing that you stayed true to yourself.

Do this and you will be living, as OneRepublic puts it, the Good Life.

(Click HERE to see how OneRepublic's song Good Life helped me through cancer)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hurricane't Stop the Roth Wedding

Wedding day from the hotel room window...
"You would do the same if you were in my position" is a familiar phrase you hear from people who have faced a life threatening situation.  And yes, I would tell you the same given my experience over the past 16+ months with cancer.

I never connected this phrase with anything else in my life until this past weekend at my buddy Dave's wedding in Charlottesville, VA.  Dave and Leigh Anne were supposed to have an outdoor affair at an incredible vineyard on Saturday, but on Friday morning (36 hours from game time) Dave got a call from the vineyard saying the wedding couldn't be held there due to pending hurricane Irene...

Despite her laid back demeanor, there was no way Leigh Anne was going to handle this news easily: 

"Hey honey, you know that wedding we've been planning for 7 months? It was just cancelled and we have less than a day to plan a new one..."  

I'd been a part of many weddings in my day as a groom, groomsman, guest, usher, singer, cocktail hour entertainer, and even a ring boy in my youth.  This was a total nightmare scenario you only see in the movies or read in as a fictional article in a wedding magazine.  Not good, but not the end...

Through talking with Dave I learned Leigh Anne took the news hard for 10 minutes or so, but then pulled herself together and took the challenge of finding another vineyard in the area and coordinating with the 140+ guests head on which resulted in one of the coolest wedding I've witnessed. 

I mean who gets married in a wine cellar!!!???

From the outside looking in I was amazed at the selflessness and grace Leigh Anne and Dave exhibited throughout all the festivities.  It was only at the end of the weekend chatting in the airport with Jeremy (the best man from my wedding) that I realized the parallels of my experience with cancer and Dave and Leigh Anne's experience on their wedding weekend.

The most interesting groom in the world....
When faced with an immanent scenario, you just do what it takes.  Your choices get limited and you make the best with what you are given.  That's why we feel like everyone would do the same as we would if they were in our shoes.

The hard part is to be humble and appreciate your circumstances when you have everything going for you. 

If you can meet that challenge you will lift your life and those around you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cancer Journey Mixed Tape - Final Song

Getting chemo, listening to tunes...
While the unknown can be scary, it also contains opportunity...

As I neared the completion of my treatment regimen I began to get extremely anxious about life without bi-weekly visits for chemo. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to not have to deal with the nausea, bone ache, zapped taste buds, etc. that accompanied recovery, but knowing that the chemo ninjas were not in my blood stream seeking out cancer cells was scary.

In addition to closing out the treatment part of my cancer journey, I had to say goodbye to my old self and let go of some of the aspects of my pre-cancer days that were holding me back from maximizing fulfillment in my life.

The final Song on Roger’s Cancer Journey Mixed Tape is a song about letting go of the past and embracing the infinite possibilities of your future.

Artist: Graham Colton (Link)
Song: There Comes a Time
Album: Pacific Coast Eyes

The first time I heard this song live was at a solo acoustic gig at SPACE in Evanston, IL. I was two thirds of the way through chemo treatment and, lucky for me, the concert was on a non-recovery weekend that also happened to be near my birthday. Erica, my hot wife, hooked us up with a private little table and Graham gave us a glimpse of new songs on his upcoming record.

As a guitar player, I envy Graham’s ability to turn simple chords and melodies into incredibly powerful songs. It also doesn’t hurt that his voice is pretty much money and adds a thick layer of greatness into each tune. Alright, enough man crushing...

Towards the end of my 8 month chemo adventure, the reality that I was no longer going to be constrained by a treatment schedule started to set in and I began to test drive the new me. However, I found it hard (and still do at times) to let go of old, comfortable habits I developed through life. I caught myself wanting to hold on to those old familiar feelings even though I knew they were holding me back from being the best I can be:

Do you feel like your own home is a castle made of sand?
Trying to hold on before it slips right through your hands
You breathe in and breathe out, but the air is stretched so thin
You're thinking it outloud, if you could just get back again
But no one's there...

As a part of the work I did with my whole life coach (Jim Warner) I learned to take a hard look at all aspects of my life, understand how each served me, thank them for taking me this far (even if it was a negative aspect!), decide how to move forward, and commit to it. Going through this exercise was extremely empowering and realigned me with my true self.

Graham’s chorus completely nails how it feels on the backend of this full life analysis:

There comes a time when you realize, the past is over
There comes a time when you decide, that your life has just begun
There comes a time when you will say, that it's undiscovered
There comes a time, there comes a time

I can’t express how excited I am for my future and all I know I can accomplish if I stay true to myself. By doing so it won't matter when my days are done because every day I live until that time comes will be lived on my terms and will add to my life's fulfillment.

"There Comes A Time" is closure rock at its finest. Take a listen and let it help you close out something in your life whose time's come.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cancer Journey Mixed Tape - Song 6

Getting chemo, listening to tunes...
The phrase “You are in remission” is not one you expect at 31 years old, but I’ll take it.

Cue the smiles, the relief, the thankfulness, the hugs, the celebratory meal at the overpriced lunch place next to my oncologist’s office with my hot wife...

If you can cue it, and it is positive, I am sure we did it.

There were previous times in my life where I thought I had it all like when I won a golf tournament in my youth or when I realized I was smart in college (post HERE). There is truly nothing like having a new lease on life. Even if it was temporary remission, I was - and am - going to make the most of it.

Song #6 on Roger’s Cancer Journey Mixed Tape is an anthem to live by no matter what your circumstances.

Artist: One Republic (Link)
Song: Good Life
Album: Waking Up

A good friend of mine (Luke Westra) turned me on to this song the day after my “you-are-in-remission” appointment with my oncologist. Luke and my relationship got off to a stellar start playing Hootie and the Blowfish covers back in our dorm rooms freshman year in college and we have shared similar musical taste ever since. Needless to say, the song struck a chord with me immediately with the chorus:

This has got to be the good life, this has got to be the good life
This could really be good life, good life
Got this feeling that you can’t fight, like this city is on fire tonight
This could really be a good life
A good, good life

Through my cancer experience I became more and more aware of how I interacted with life. Never before had coffee taste so good as it did after my chemo hangover wore off and my taste buds were back to normal. Nor did I notice how wonderful it was to just be a participant in everyday events like getting the paper off my driveway, having food on my plate, or coming home to a loving family. The mundane details I used to gloss over became vibrant with my senses and I absorbed it all:

When your happy like a fool
Let it take you over
When everything is out
You’ve got to take it in

Pre-cancer I was prone to making excuses for my circumstances or bad things that were happening in my life. A “woe is me approach” that left me playing defense on a daily basis. I sense that this attitude is very present in my and younger generations where we all feel entitled to something and our lives could be better “if only” another force would take pity on us:

We are god of stories
But please tell me
What’s there to complain about?

As I worked on myself through cancer I realized that I was wasting a ton of energy making up excuses and shifting blame when I could be out there focusing that same energy on things in line with my values, my passions. I can't express how much this shift of thinking will lift your life.

It's time to stop playing defense in your own life and CHOOSE to make your's a good one.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cancer Journey Mixed Tape - Song 5

Getting chemo, listening to tunes...
I originally wrote about the next song as it related to the Latitude concept I came to while going through treatment (original post: Here). This song has developed into a more powerful force in my post cancer life in my quest to live my life in line with my True You and inspire others to do the same.

We live the majority of our formative years in life under a bevy of influencers telling us what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s acceptable, what’s been done before, etc. It’s only when we take a step back from our current situation to examine the relationships with our influencers that we can move towards living as our True You.

Song #5 on Roger’s Cancer Journey Mixed Tape is a song that came to me when I took back control of my life and realized what I am truly capable of while on earth and in legacy.

Artist: John Mayer (Link)
Song: Bigger Than My Body
Album: Heavier Things

When this song first came out I was more drawn to the melody than the lyrics. In hindsight, I think there was a larger force at play that was bookmarking this tune for the right moment to inspire me with the words. This time came during my cancer fight when I had to take a step away from my life and take time to heal.

At first I didn’t enjoy the feeling of life being on hold. If this was the Indy 500, I was parked on pit row getting body work done while all the other racers continued around the track setting personal bests, moving up positions, or simply driving in the race. The sound of race cars whipping by – eeeeeeeeeyyoohh! – echoing in my head as I grew more and more anxious to get back in the race.

Yes I'm grounded, got my wings clipped
I'm surrounded by all this pavement
Guess I'll circle, while I'm waiting
For my fuse to dry...

As the months of treatment wore on I realized I was living my days in a job that didn’t line up with my values. It was putting negative pressure on the relationships that were most important to me and, to be honest, was not challenging. At a certain point I came to the conclusion that I was not living the majority of my waking hours for me but for other people and in certain cases their personal interests.

This was a critical realization that made me decide I was going to live life on my terms after cancer. No matter how big or small the decision I was going to do things in a manner consistent with the fabric of my being. It was an extremely liberating, almost scary decision in knowing how underutilized I was pre-cancer under my old way of living, and what I was now capable of taking life into my own hands post-cancer.

Someday I'll fly, someday I'll soar
Someday I'll be so damn much more
Cause I'm bigger than my body gives me credit for

When you turn the corner and start living life in a manner that’s consistent with your values you will realize how underutilized your life has been to that point. It is a scary-exciting-inspiring-powerful feeling that every living person should experience sooner rather than later.

So, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cancer Journey Mixed Tape - Song 4

Getting chemo, listening to tunes...
There were some dark periods in my fight against cancer.

They usually didn’t come in the Chemo Den, scan session, or when I was recovering from treatment. During those times it was easy to block everything else out of my head and have singular focus of doing whatever was needed for my body to heal. The dark days came in the days when my mind had time to wonder...

Why was I chosen to receive this situation?

What is the purpose of this test in my life?

Why on earth am I going through this at age 30 with a wife and young son?

The best way I can explain these periods is walking down a hallway towards a closed door. There is only one other door and it is the one behind you that just closed on life as you knew it. This hallway is as long as it needs to be for you to gather yourself before opening the door at the other end and entering a new phase of your life.

Song #4 on Roger’s Cancer Journey Mixed Tape is a song that perfectly captures the mood of all these periods combined. The beginning is when I was reflecting on my previous life, the lull in the middle is me looking myself in the eyes and determining my own fate, and the last minute and a half are when I start running towards the door because I’ve figured it out and am ready to burst through to the other side.

Artist: Jason Mraz (Link)
Song: Song for a Friend
Album: Mr. A-Z

One thing I love about Jason is the story of how he made the decision to pack up his life in New York City, stuff his personal belongings in a car, and set out to San Diego to pursue music full time. The world is full of similar stories where someone dropped out of college to start a software company in their garage or someone excused themselves from public office to pursue breast cancer philanthropy in honor of their sister.

The list is long and inspiring.

What is rarely explored in these stories is that there was a point in each one of these people’s lives where they had to make a decision to stay in their normal, or put it all in line to chase what made them tick inside.

The ending of this song must be the script the little voice in your head is reading you as you ponder this decision:

Climb up over the top survey the state of the soul
You got to find out for yourself whether or not you’re truly trying
Why not give it a shot, shake it take control
Inevitably wind up finding for yourself
All the strengths you have inside of you

I mentioned that I figured “it” out above. “It” is going to be different for every one of us. The only way you are going to find out what “it” is for you is to take a hard look into your soul and conduct an honest assessment of the life you are currently living versus the life that makes your soul burn.

If you are like me, you will realize that things weren’t lining up. And in that moment you have a choice to stay where you are, or to fill your life with fuel that will make your soul shine brighter than you or anyone else thought imaginable.

For now, I will be on the other side of the door at the end of your hallway waiting with open arms.

You can do it.

And you can do it now.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cancer Journey Mixed Tape - Song 3

Getting chemo, listening to tunes...
My wife and I have been to more concerts than we can remember. Our paths in life first crossed at a concert at the House of Blues in Chicago when she was on a blind date with a lawyer for some corporate outing and I was with my friends (the only other young 20 somethings in the Foundation Room) using my best buddy’s Anheuser Busch credentials to pre-party on the other side of the bar by seeing who could drink more Jager Bombs before the show started downstairs.

We must have been doing something right, because she ditched her date to hang out with us.

Gotta love fate...

Shortly after we were engaged I surprised her with tickets to a small venue show in Grand Rapids, MI to see our new favorite band: Angels and Airwaves (AVA). AVA was a relatively new group of guys who had all had considerable success in different bands and wanted to explore creating music with a mission.

And man did they deliver...

Song #3 on Roger’s Cancer Journey Mixed Tape is a song that helped me make sense of my new reality and got me living in the moment.

Artist: Angels and Airwaves (Link)
Song: Young London
Album: LOVE

Pre-cancer I was constantly trying to get to the next level at work or in my personal life. This would lead to me thinking about where I wanted to be in the future instead of celebrating life as a young kid out of college with the world in front of him.

I’ve said numerous times that the hardest part of my diagnosis was that my life was on hold while I got treatment. As I learned to get present in the moment and enjoy everything around me the break in this song just resonated so hard in my head:

Suit up boys let’s ride it’s the weekend
Get down girls and dance with your best friend
Show yourselves and take what you ask for
Let it go no fights on the dance floor

As I came to the realization that life’s about living and enjoying every moment together it struck me that I didn’t want to live in the future anymore. I wanted to be present, focus on the right things in my life, and enjoy the ride knowing that it will take me wherever it’s supposed to.

Kind of like how it took me to the House of Blues that night were my wife and I connected for the first time. I think AVA wrote the following about my wife, son, and my life going forward:

The night gets better the wait so wonderful
They move together and dance so colorful
And kiss like flowers that breathe with pheromones
Songs get louder it feels so natural

I wasn’t able to attend the last AVA show in my area due to chemotherapy, but you can bet your ass I will be there with my wife and all the other fans in the room taking it all in from the dance floor.

Suit up boys!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cancer Journey Mixed Tape - Song 2

Getting chemo, listening to tunes...
The first time I experienced warm up music in hockey was in 1987 when I was 8 years old in the championship game of the Northern Illinois Hockey League’s Mite A-2 division. The song?

“Mony Mony” by Tommy James & the Shondells

Not my top choice for getting pumped up, but we really didn’t have a say in it...

Fast forward 5 years and our team was able to pick the songs that would play during the 5 minute warm up before the game to get amped up and set the stage for an ass kicking on our home ice. “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N Roses was a favorite as well as “Right Now” by Van Halen during our National Championship game (we lost, but it’s still a great song...).

Song #2 on Roger’s Cancer Journey Mixed Tape is my warm up song for fighting cancer.

Artist: 30 Seconds to Mars (Link)
Song: This is War
Album: This is War

When you are diagnosed with cancer, there is a moment when you can choose to let the disease take its course until you die or you can choose to seek treatment and fight. For me the decision was easy: fight (hard!) for my wife and 2 year old son.

No matter the physical pain, strain on relationships, mental stress, side effects, or length of the fight:

A warning to the people
The good and the evil
This is war.
To the soldier, the civilian
The martyr, the victim
This is war.

The fight is often a lonely one, but when you are at your weakest it's often your support network that lifts you up and carries you through. One of the coolest parts of this song is the intro. It is a building cheer from the fans which reminded me of the walk from the locker room to the ice during my hockey career. The noise from the fans crescendos at the beginning of the song and comes back in the end as background chanting/singing.

My cancer fight included thousands of prayers, cards, smiles, hugs, laughs, and tears of my supporters, my fans. There is a point in the song where the fans are chanting:

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

It’s in this chant I imagined each of their faces pulling me through my darkest times when I was at my lowest. Chills is an understatement of what I had thinking of their strength while getting chemo. This song gave me the energy I needed to fight with all my might against anything and everything I faced to ”the edge of the earth” until “the war is won” and I entered “a brave new world.”

Jared Leto was probably not thinking about cancer when he wrote this, but I couldn’t have said it better. Thanks Jared.

You helped me win my war.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Roger’s Cancer Journey – A Mixed Tape

Getting chemo, listening to tunes...
Music is a HUGE part of my life. I would argue (with passion) that music is the common language of the world. It can generate similar emotions between two individuals that speak different languages and come from polar-opposite cultures.

I used to think I would be awesome at creating soundtracks for movies given my mixed tape ability as a kid, but reality checked in when I needed a paycheck... I was feeling the mixed tape urge this week as a way of expressing my cancer journey by putting together a list of songs I relied on (heavily) to get me through chemo treatments, recovery periods, and in making sense of my new situation.

I am going to release one song an entry starting with a little background of what it meant to me and how it helped me through that part of the cancer journey. Feel free to comment if it draws any emotion out of you or relates to your life. We are all in this together after all...

Artist: The Alternate Routes (Link)
Song: Carry Me Home
Album: Lately

I ignored some pretty powerful emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis when I entered fight mode for treatment. It was near the end of my 8 months of chemo that I was sitting in the Chemo Den getting my bi-weekly chemo cocktail that I first connected with this song. My Dad was there with me, which was a change from my usual chaperon (Erica, my hot wife). Carry Me Home is the first song on the album and it just crushed me with the opening melody and verse:

Oh lately, the winds have been threatening
Things have been getting so hard to control
But your love is holding me close
Like a rope on a flagpole
It won't let me go, it won't let me go

I immediately thought of Erica, what we were going through, and how she was my rope… The next verse took it over the edge:

Well you can't stop some poison from spreading
Once it gets let in it knows where to go
But you saved me faster than a heartbeat
Wider then these arms reach
More then you know, more then you know

I did everything I could to not lose it in front of all the nurses, fellow patients, doctors, Dad, and supporters in the Chemo Den. We are all warriors and it’s not fair to the others in the room to detract from the positive energy of people fighting for their lives.

When I got home I played it for my wife and it was the first time I cried (hard, in her arms) about my reality. This song perfectly captures the emotions I had going into my fight and still strikes a raw nerve today.

It’s the theme to the opening scene of what would turn out to be a life changing film of my 2010...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Static vs. Action Words

Welcome to Lift Living’s English class!

Grammar police officer Roger is back and encourages you to put your feet up on the desk for this week's lesson:

Static vs. Active Words

I was wrapping up an email the other day and used the word “hopefully,” a frequent favorite, as a plea for action by the receiving party. Only this time I finally realized I've been letting others dictate my future by passively giving them control of something I wanted to accomplish. I was just sitting idle waiting for them to "hopefully" influence my next step in a static state.

Active words help drive and motivate us towards achieving our goals. They take back the control from "hoping" something will happen to making it actually happen. Or at least getting the ball rolling where we can fail, adjust, fail, adjust until we ultimately meet our goal.

If you sit around and rely on hope for things to happen in your life you are going to be static for a long, long time. And by doing so you refuse the right to complain about your lack of progress.

  • Lesson #1 (see post Here) : "i before e AND WILL, except after c"

  • Lesson #2: Get rid of the static.

Class dismissed.

[Extra credit: For someone who spent their youth dreading English class, I am finding it a bit comical how I am finding ways to enjoy grammar all of the sudden. It's not so much that I am polishing up on sentence structure, but for whatever reason my mind is finding cool translations of lessons I am learning in the context of grammar. Maybe it's the chemo brain???]

Monday, June 13, 2011

Top 3 Lessons I Learned from Cancer

I recently read Jim Higley's book, Bobblehead Dad, which chronicles his journey through prostate cancer and the lessons he drew on from his youth. He'd been living the corporate life for 20 some odd years and his diagnosis forced him to take the summer off to heal from surgery. In his recovery summer he realized some deep truths about himself that nearly everyone can relate.

Jim's book got me thinking about lists... Not like the top 10 lists on Wayne's World or the ones we'd make into t-shirts in college, but a legit list of the top lessons I learned or carried into my cancer journey.

So, from public access Blogger on the couch in my basement...

The Top 3 Lessons From Roger's Cancer Journey

#3 Spend energy on healing, not score keeping
Over the course of my life I was conditioned to compare and keep track of my performance as it related to others. Was the gift I gave my friend "the best" one he got for his birthday? Did I beat the field in my golf tournaments? Did my bosses like me more than my coworkers?

My college roommate gave me a glimpse of this lesson while we all were adjusting to his new disability. Some acted how he thought they would, others, not so much. It wore on him for a bit, but he came to the conclusion that there was no right way to grieve and he would let people come to terms on their own and be there when they arrived.

I carried this lesson into my cancer journey and it allowed me to focus my energy on healing instead of keeping tally on who was bringing meals or sending mail. I appreciated everything equally.  (Full entry on this topic here: The Score Sheet)

#2 Present is a state-of-mind, not something you give your boss
I've mentioned in previous posts that one of the hardest parts of being diagnosed with cancer was that my life was on hold while I got treatment. I was forced to sit idle for 8 months while all my friends and coworkers continued to ascend the corporate mountain.

Funny thing happened... When I stopped thinking about where I wanted to be in a year, what meetings I had that week, or what my boss would think about me taking a day off shaving I was forced to get present in the moment and find what was truly important in my life.

If you are too busy living in the future, it's going to take you a long time to line up your priorities with your values. And chances are, it's gonna be too late.

#1 Live life as the True You
Before cancer, I built my life on the guidance of others including teachers, parents, siblings, peers, media, etc. The list goes on and on. I thought I was living a pretty sweet life in the eyes of everyone else, but you know what? There is only one set of eyes that look back at you from the mirror at the end of the day:


This final lesson is what sparked Lift Living. I want to translate the impact of receiving a cancer diagnosis into something the every day person can internalize and implement in their own lives so when they look into the mirror they can't help but smile.

Imagine a world where the term "Bucket List" has no meaning because we didn't spend our lives neglecting the things we wanted to do the most. It takes courage, acceptance, patience, and determination to live your True You, but if you are willing to put in the work you are on your way to a fuller life.

And that's a lesson worth living.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hall Pass

Not sure what they have in schools nowadays, but when I was growing up and needed to navigate the hallways of my middle school while class was in session, I requested a hall pass. These little guys permitted you to roam freely in the halls without being chased down by teachers or administrators and sent to the Principal's office.

I was not one for rocking the boat, so the last thing I wanted was for Mom to receive a call from Dr. Wagner about how her son was caught out of English class stealing chocolate milk from the cafeteria coolers...

In short, hall passes were gold and allowed you to freely express your path through the hallways between point A and point B without fear of reprisal.

Three weeks ago my wife and I had a check up with my oncologist to go over the results of a follow up CT scan of my lungs. My previous scan had a few very small spots he wanted to monitor over a 6 week period. Turns out the spots had gone down on their own since my last scan, and therefor everything looked normal.

When we were wrapping up the appointment he said my next scans were set for the first week of August, to which I immediately thought: "Summer Hall Pass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Last summer was a struggle spent primarily indoors recovering from chemo or resting up for the next treatment.

This summer? Not so much...

Look out cafeteria coolers...

I am coming for your chocolate milk and taking it to the beach, pool, and golf course to share with all my friends.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Your Life Filter

As I stated in a previous post, we are all born as a Blank Slate. It is through our experiences and guidance from others we develop into our sense of self including the lens through which we view the world. This lens guides us, protects us, and helps us process the various influences as we move through life in our relationships, vocation, and awareness of self.

Getting glasses in high school was one of the more amazing lens related moments in my life. I'd spent hours upon hours on the golf course watching a little white ball fly great distances down the fairway or towards a pin. The whole process was rewarding, even when I was squinting like a grandpa....

The first round I played with glasses was a bit frustrating from a scoring perspective, but absolutely jaw dropping from a visual perspective. All the sudden I could see the individual leaves on trees blowing in the wind, the crisp lines of fluffy clouds in the sky, and the blades of grass on a putting surface. Not to mention exactly where my golf ball ended up...

Golf was not only fun, but it was beautiful!

If you wear glasses or contacts you will recognize the machine in the picture above. If not, let me enlighten you... The optometrist makes you read one of those letter charts through this mechanism as they flip various lens combinations asking "number 1...? Or, number 2...?" until your vision is clear and you can read the smallest letters on the bottom row...

Or in the case of ForEyes commercials, obtain the power to shoot lasers from your new glasses: ZAP!

Wouldn't it be cool if there was a similar process to refine the lens through which you process the world in everything you do? Not from a strict visual perspective, but from the viewpoint of your character?

My vision, no pun intended, is for everyone to walk through life processing circumstances, emotions, and opportunities through their personal life filter. Not the one that was forged through years and years of others imposing the way they thought the world worked or the way things ought to be. But the one that is determined on their terms through deep introspection and light guidance from their mentors.

This will minimize regrets/what ifs? down the road in life and increase fulfillment along the way.

Through cancer and through the work I did evaluating my life I feel like I am close to finding MY life filter. And the good news is that I have been taking notes along the way I plan to put to good use as a teaching tool to help others locate their life filters.

I've almost got my life filter figured out. Lasers or not, it's going to be amazing to process the world as I know it through this new lens.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Turn It Up

A week after my retreat to the foothills of the Rockies and I am still digesting all of the lessons learned as I make sense of them in my head. One realization I had out in the mountains is that I want to spend the short term spreading my message to groups of people as opposed to coaching small groups through life transitions. I do think I will end up in the small group space eventually, but for now my message and situation packs a particular punch as one of a few young cancer survivors in my age bracket.

As a result, I have been researching youth motivational speakers to get a flavor for what life would be like on such a circuit. I feel like I have learned some pretty serious life lessons early in my life and if I can pass them onto the youth of our nation (tentatively defined as seniors in High School through mid-30s) prior to them getting hit in the face with a huge life event, the easier they will transition through it.

My theory is that if I can plant the seed (or seeds) of my message in their heads early in life and make them more aware of themselves and the possibility of an in-the-face event, they will be better equipped to live a more full life, as defined in their terms, moving forward.

I came across a guy named Josh Shipp (here’s to another 2 p’s last name!) and one story in one of his videos struck a nerve with me. In short he was an orphan and class clown growing up. One of his teachers pulled him aside and told him that he had the ability to make his friends laugh and in that moment when he has all their attention, it is up to him to say something positive.

I recently attended a going away dinner (9 months posthumous...) for a coworker that left the company I work for with other guys my age. It was all work jokes and shenanigans until I start talking about my cancer journey. Everyone at the table shut down what they are doing and started to listen. Part of it is societal pressures of not knowing how to act, but I sense that they are hanging on my word and in that moment I have the opportunity to say something that will stick with them more than it would have pre-cancer. Much like Josh, a light clicked on in my head.

Back in Colorado my whole life coach and I were chatting about ways to approach my concepts and spread my word. He loved that I started a blog, and practically insisted I write a book. Seeing that the first book I read cover to cover was junior year in high school (thank you Cliff Notes!), I am a little intimidated by the prospect of the project...

But I have my message. And I have my personal mandate. And it will happen.

I have to do this.

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they get a sound of their calling. It’s up to you to listen to it and make the sacrifices it takes to turn the volume up so as many people as possible can hear it.

Cancer may have hit me in the face at a young age, but I plan to take it and make it my calling to Lift as many lives as possible.



Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gunga Galunga

I had a "total consciousness" moment (ala Carl Spackler in Caddyshack) developing my Daily Lift Tip today. To be honest I didn’t have any idea of what I was getting into when I committed to writing a Daily Lift Tip on Twitter. I was (and still am) new to Twitter and felt like a daily Tweet in the Lift genre would enable me to get a flavor for what it was like to use the service and generate some content for my Lift Living site. Some days I feel like I find the right words to express how to approach the struggles I am facing and other times I have to replay my day to come up with something Lift worthy...

With the foresight of what lay ahead for me this weekend, I effortlessly wrote Daily Lift Tip #78:

“Self reflection pays more dividends than self projection”

I think it is extremely important to always be improving yourself by making sure you are in touch with your values and approaching life through your filter. The flipside is settling for where you are and justifying your suspended state to the world through self projection.

The longer you self project the smaller the impact becomes on your audience. Think about it… How old do those high school glory stories get after you hear them 100 times?

I am currently at 36,000 feet heading out to a coaching retreat with my whole life coach (Jim Warner of OnCourse International) this weekend on a small ranch an hour north of Denver. I know that I am going to come back a stronger Roger and hope you take some time in the coming week to reflect on yourself and find ways to keep moving your life forward...

Saturday, April 23, 2011


One of my favorite games from growing up was the Connect 4 / Checkers combo pack. I preferred the Connect 4 contraption, but just when you were getting bored you could take apart the apparatus and pull out Checkers for some good old fashion chip jumping fun.


There are other connect games out there that have occupied my time over the years on road trips (tic-tac-toe), hanging out with friends (6 degrees of Kevin Bacon), and in the corporate world (LinkedIn).

I found another when I was diagnosed with cancer and it seemed everyone knew someone close that was touched by the disease in some way or another.

These are some tangible ones... But what about the intangible connections?

You ever notice when you smile at someone in passing they smile back even if you are in a strange town?

Or how people in different countries get the same flood of emotion when they listen to Bob Marley?

Despite some incredible barriers in our world including language, socioeconomics, age, location, or world view, we are all connected. We all breathe the same air, see the same stars, and come from the same big bang.

All 6,830,130,134 of us... and counting (Live World Clock)

Think of the awesome possibilities if we can create rifts of positive energy in the world through our connectedness. Flash mobs of smiles or Bob Marley hour for example...

In a nut shell, this is what gets me so pumped about the possibilities of the What's Your Latitude? movement. Shortly after I developed the Latitude concept I realized that everyone on earth has one...


Next time you are in traffic look at the people in the cars around you.... Or the guy going up the other side of the escalator when you are heading down at the mall... Or the students studying at the local coffee shop on a Wednesday night... Or the old lady everyone seems to ignore because life's too important to respect our elders like we used to...

Each one of these people have Latitudes that are just waiting to be shared. And the positive emotions associated with them are infectious. Trust me and anyone else who reads the weekly updates on Just like the Lay's potato chip tag line: "Bet you can't just read one."

So come on, share your Latitude with someone. Anyone. We all have one.

It's just one more thing that connects us all...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Motivational Grammar

I have a confession to make...

During the first day of Mrs. Talbott's 6th grade English class we were asked to write a quick essay on what we did during our last summer before junior high.

Simple enough, right?

I thought so...

I collected my thoughts about my weeks at camp and days at the local golf course. Life was good.

My essay was going smooth until I tried to write the word "of" with my #2 pencil. I forgot how to spell it... How did that happen!!! I was convinced it was o-v for a while but cooler head prevailed after scanning the room for the word in all the fancy, laminated motivational English posters on the wall.

Thank goodness for scholastic wall art...

I was not a huge fan of English class to be honest, but I did the work and learned fun things like: "i before e except after c"

Gold star, thank you very much.

Twenty years later I am here to propose a change to the aforementioned fancy saying to the following: "i before e AND WILL, except after c"

Hear me out Mrs. Talbott...

This simple change in the English language will make self questioning statements into motivational gold.

Don't follow? Check it:

Will I get into college? ----> I will get into college!

Will I find my true passion? ----> I will find my true passion!

Will I get through cancer? ---->I will get through cancer!

Boom! Just imagine all the new posters...

So here is my challenge to you all:

In the comments section below write a "Will I?" statement you are currently experiencing in life and then rework it using my proposed change. Then go out into the world and live it!

You will feel the lift.