Stop Running

You run away from the call, the talk, the person, the moment.  You see the trouble that lies ahead and you can’t bare to deal with it.  You hide, you sliver, you ignore.  You run.

What you are running from is nothing compared to what you are running towards.  Fear, anxiety, unnecessary drama.  All can be avoided if you just have the talk.  The talk you are dreading.  The interaction between one human and another.

The answer to all of your problems.

35 Days Until 39

About 4 years ago I had the idea of making a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 40.  Making a million dollars was probably on that list.  Going to California was definitely on that list!  Getting my shit together was most likely number 1.  Here I sit 35 days away from my 39th birthday and #Before40 is a distant memory.  All but forgotten by the man who was determined to right the ship.

Everything is still good if not great in some areas.  I’m still happily married.  We have two healthy kids.  Two cars both within a year old, one within a week old.  A house that was only finished being built just over a year from the writing of this post.  We both have fine well paying jobs and we live in America were the possibilities of finding success are limitless.  We even have the world’s greatest dog.

But it’s not enough.  We are surviving, not thriving in most areas of our life.  We have debt.  Our credit scores aren’t tremendous.  We are not living the life of our dreams.  Not much (OK nothing) in savings.  And stress seems to get the better of me on an almost everyday basis.    Especially with my daugher, who I love very very much.  I’m short with her.  I get loud with her more than I hold her and love her.  Things need to change and they the change needs to start today.

Last night I started writing down goals.  When I stopped I looked down and counted 10.  Seems appropriate to me.  So here are my 10 goals for the next 35 days.

35 Day Goals

  • Financial – Earn $1,000 in side income.
    • This is anything on top of my salary as an insurance agent and could include commission from sales, ebay sales, Amazon sales, bartender shifts.  Anything.
  • Health – Look good in that red shirt.
    • I bought a red shirt that was a little tight before going to Disney last June.  I haven’t really worn it since as I didn’t really recover from that trip.  I will weigh myself just so I can track that but I’m not trying to lose any set amount of weight.  I’m not going to measure my biceps.  I’ll simply take a picture of before and then one after.
  • RBA (Work) – 1 blog post every day.
    • I’m not going to pound the pavement.  I’m not going to cold call 10 people every day.  I’m going to get in the habit of writing insurance blog posts, consistently, for the next 35 days.  I’m hoping this will increase in-bound phone calls and emails as well as get me more in tune with my career as an insurance agent.
  • Tatum – Grateful/Proud of 30 times
    • This is something Tatum and I do very often before bed.  But we have gotten away from it recently.  I am hoping that this small habit will rebuild a relationship that I have started to damage.  Tatum and I are fine but we could be a lot better.
  • Reece – 5 hours of one on one time.
    • Reece is in that middle school zone.  He is often out with his friends.  Which is fine. But him and I need to start having more one on one time.  Playing video games, shooting hoops, riding bikes, doing whatever we can do to spend time together.
  • Clarissa – Grateful list
    • I started a I’m grateful for you list for Clarissa at the beginning of the year.  Unfortunately I didn’t make it very far into January before I stopped.  A list like this will help me look for things about Clarissa that I am grateful for and will undoubtedly bring us closer.
  • Reading – Read 525 pages
    • This is 15 pages per day for 35 days.  It may not be easy and there will days were zero pages are read and days were 50 pages are read.
  • Writing Goal – Write 17,500 words.
    • This is 500 words per day for 35 days.  This is not related to the RBA insurance blog post.  It is in addition to it.  These words are not related to work but rather life.  Perhaps a daily update on this 35 day goal list.
  • Podcast – Create and ship 5 podcast episodes
    • I pay for a podcast, $7 a month.  It’s time to actually use it and create something.
  • Friend Goal – Contact 1 friend every day for 35 days.
    • This is a way for me to reach out to someone I don’t see or talk to very often.  I’m excited to see where this one goes.

 

Here we go!

 

Keith Laskey

 

A Note for my daughter, Tatum

Dear Tatum,

If ever I were to pass and did not get the chance to share our stories, there are some things I would like you to know.

You are 6 and I am 38 as I write this and I’m hoping we both live for many many more decades.

But you never know.  Life can be unpredictable.  That’s why we all need to be grateful for each moment that we have.

So, in the event that I leave you at a way too early age, these words are for you.

Our favorite game to play is called Count to 10.  I go in my room and count to 10 while you go and hide in your bedroom.  I come in and find an animal to talk with and ask, “have you seen Tatum”?  The first animal always tells me that you are in Reece’s room.  I ask the animal to stay put, not to move an inch, while I find you.  I search Reece’s room and of course, you are not there.

When I come back to the room the animal has moved to a different spot.  I get mad and say they are going to be in trouble, then I grab a second animal and try to find you again.

This goes on for a few times.  The animals tell me you are in my room, the laundry room, the bathroom, sometimes even downstairs.  Finally I realize that the animals all have the same voice and I start to ask them questions.  One of them or sometimes all of them will show me where you are hiding by pointing in your direction.  I finally find you and tickle you and carry you to the tub.  That’s our pre-bathtime game.

We also love playing a game called Pretend I need to take a Nap.  This is one where you crawl under the covers and I pretend to not know where you are.  I yawn and say ” I could really use a nap, I think I’ll lay down before putting Tatum to bed.”  I lay down on the bed, feel something that should be as soft as a pillow but feels hard like a body, and start to tickle feet and tummies.  I always then say, “hey, this isn’t a pillow, this is a Tatum!!!”

We love that game.

You also love playing in the bath.  You always ask if you can play in the bath while I’m getting your clothes ready.

 

tatum-and-me-reading

 

I always say yes.  Another thing you love to do, especially when Mommy isn’t home….ssshhhh……, is come downstairs after I put you to bed.  Sometimes I will put on movies like Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back when you come down.  You even like documentaries.  Actually, you really like documentaries.  Especially when they include animals.

Without question, our most favorite time together is when you go to bed.  Almost every night we ask a series of questions.

What are you grateful for?

What are you proud of that you did today?

Are you sad about anything?

What are you happy about?

I record it on my watch and then we listen to it.  You crack up!  You’re a funny little girl.  A handful at times. But still a funny little girl.  It’s impossible for me to stay mad at you.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Just before bed.  Every single night.  Just as I am walking out of your room, you ask me the following questions.

“Daddy, what if I have to use the bathroom?”  Then use the bathroom I reply.

“Daddy, what if I have to ask you a question?”  Then ask I question.

“Daddy, what if I have to do both?”  Then do both.

“Daddy, what if I need to make a statement?”  Then make a statement.

As I’m walking out the door, “Good night Tatum, I love you.”  I love you too, dad, you reply.  It’s the best part of my day.

We have a lot of fun together.  The idea of being without you or you being without me makes me incredibly sad.  I hope and hope and hope that it is a very long time before we have to go through that.

I love you, Tatum.  With every ounce of my heart.

Daddy.

5 Things I Learned from Reading The Godfather

I finished The Godfather last night.  As much as I want to think I am a hardcore reader I’m really not.  It’s not always easy to set aside time to read with 2 young active kids, a wife and a full time job.  But maybe because it was the Holidays and I had a little more free time than usual I was able to read it in about 2 weeks.  Not bad, an average of about 32 pages a day.  Although I read 130 of those pages the last two days to finish it.

It goes to show you that you can read any book if you just give yourself a little time.  Try for 10 pages a day.  My guess is you’ll find the time to read more like 20 – 30 pages.  Especially if it’s a good book.  If it’s not a good book, than put it down and pick up another one.  There are just too many great books out there to waste any time on a book you aren’t enjoying.

I have primarily been a Nonfiction reader the last few years.  The last Fiction book I was was Marley and Me and that was about 8 years ago.  It was Steven Pressfield’s new novel that got me thinking about going back into Fiction.  That coupled with Stephen King’s book about writing, “On Writing”, which I have been listening to on Audio caused me to develop a craving for a good story.

I found a copy of “The Godfather” in the FREE TAKE ME section of my library.  No cover, a little beat up on the outside, but free and perfectly fine on the inside.  And that’s what really counts, right?  The inside.

I tracked down the old book and opened it up.  Mario Puzo had me hooked within a few pages.  I have seen the movies many times but Puzo goes into so much more detail.  I always figured the book would be pretty much exactly like the movie.  The movie did a great job but what was a pleasant surprise was that parts of the Godfather II were in the book.

As you probably recall, the Godfather II focuses on the Don’s early life in NY as well as Michael’s new role as the Godfather.  I always loved the scenes in Part II seeing the history of Don Corleone.  I was thrilled to get a chance to read the story with so much more detail.

Clearly I am recommending this book to any adult interested in the mafia, crime, family or even love.  There are a ton of love stories intertwined.

 

 

 

Five things I learned from reading the Godfather

 

  1. You get a sense of accomplishment when you read a book of length.  I know that it wasn’t War and Peace at 1200 plus pages.  But it’s not a book you can read overnight.  You need to develop and maintain a reading habit and stick to it.  It helps when the story is good of course.  I did get chills when I finished the book.
  2. Your mood is altered when you read a book.  I first learned this when I read “The Catcher in the Rye“. I remember being so somber, almost depressed when I was reading that book.  This is true with Nonfiction as well.  Read a book on Happiness (like The Happiness Advantage) and you’ll feel happy.  Maybe that’s why Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular….
  3. You don’t have more time to read but you will use your time to read.  We usually sit around and watch tv.  Law and Order, sports, Speed, The Lost Boys, whatever we can find.  But for those two weeks I kept the TV off or if it was turned on, I was focusing on the book and not the TV.  There were also times when a game would be on,  the TV muted and my face buried in the book.  We still only have 24 hours but we can decide how to use them.
  4. You want to talk about the book to everyone!  That’s all you can think about.  You will seek out people you think would be interested in the book and talk with them about it.  You will start to think you are a weirdo because you read and not watch the latest episode of This is Us.  But you don’t care because you are so happy with yourself and so in love with the story you are reading.
  5. When you finish, you will celebrate briefly and then pick up the next book.  Congratulations.  You are now a reader.  You now have the habit inside of you.  Now you can move on to the next one and fall in love with those characters.  Remember though, if you don’t like it, put it down and pick up another one.

 

Happy Reading!

 

-Keith Laskey

 

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If you want to be Wealthy, study Wealth

Jim Rohn said that.  Actually his teacher, Mr. Shoaff, said that.  Mr. Shoaff was Jim Rohn’s teacher when Rohn was 25 years old.  Rohn has told the story many times about how he left college after a year and went to work.  At the age of 25 he had pennies in his pockets, behind on his promises to his young family, behind on his debts and just in all around bad shape.

He met Mr. Shoaff who took a liking to him and offered him a job.  Rohn became a millionaire in the next 6 years.

I’m listening to Jim Rohn’s “How to Have Your best Year Ever” audio right now.  Today he mentioned this idea that Mr. Shoaff gave to him during that 6 year span.  If you want to be wealthy, study wealth.

It’s mind blowing.  Such easy advice.  But as Rohn puts, it, it’s easy to follow but it’s also easy not to follow. We all have the information right in front of us.  Online, at the library, at the bookstore, on podcasts, on audio, YouTube, newsletters.  It’s everywhere!  All we need to do is take some action and go out and get it!

Another idea that Mr. Rohn presented was, if you want to be happy, study happiness.

Think about that for a second.  Have you ever studied how to be happy?  With books like “The Happiness Project“, “Better than Before” and “The Happiness Advantage” among many many others, you can find a ton of resources, references, ideas and ways to become happier.  Who wouldn’t want to be happier!!

But so many of us are not studying happiness at all.  We are just going through the motions, bouncing off of one situation after another one.  Never taking the time to master the skills that are available to us to become….happier.

If you are interested, here are  few techniques you can use to become happier;

  1. Meditate.  5-10 minutes a day.  Just sit comfortably and focus on your breaths.  There are a lot of people that can help you with this.  Just google “how to meditate
  2. Start a Gratitude journal.  Use the “5-Minute Journal” or just start your own.  I use a little notebook that my office hands out for free.  Try to feel the gratitude as you write things out.
  3. Give.  I read earlier today that when you give your time to help others it actually feels like you doubled your salary.  You get the same f
    eeling!!  We all have some time to give.  Be selfish, use your time to help out others and in return you will be helping yourself out.

 

no-one-who-wakes-before-dawn

 

 

Do you want some ideas on how to be wealthier?  I’m just an amature but here are a few;

  1. Cut back on what you buy.  $2 or $3 lattes won’t add up to much.  But drinks and dinners out 3 or 4 times a week will!  Start a spending log and see if there are any ways to cut back on what you spend.
  2. Use that money for personal development.  What’s better for you, a few drinks out or a new book about how to make you wealthy?  Skip 1 or 2 nights out and instead spend it on something that will actually benefit you!
  3. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.” – B. Franklin. Another similar idea to this is the Chinese Proverb, “No one who rises before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.”  Develop good personal development habits like waking up early.  Spend the early morning hours reading, exercising, and writing.

 

That all I’ve got today.  Have a great evening.

 

Keith Laskey