Stillness and Connectedness 

It is so interesting to see the ongoing assault proclaiming value (or lack there) of social media, importance  (or lack there) of technology in th classroom, greatness (or lack there) of connectedness, vitalness (or lack there) of access, etc..

I have long been done with both sides. Entrenched ideology is scary and both are so buried they are blinded and continue doubling down.

And this leaves a generation of youth lost. One side marvels at our technological creation. One side longs to return to a time that is gone. In particular, schools continue archaic ways and absolute positions at the expense of innovation.

I seek is meaningful, thoughtful directions that are bold but done with a spirit larger than one moment, issue, item. I want mindfulness, mindsets, and wellness to be our unifier. I hope for purpose, a purpose larger than personal interest masquerading as greater good. 

Until then, this gets my attention because it is a crossroads for human potential. Until then, I’ll find stillness in craziness. Until then, my energy is my soul. 

And I hope the words like Pico Iyer move us not towards an absolute or entrenched ideology but towards how to make the present meaningful and powerful: “Not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize”.

Live. Laugh. Love.

Drop the Ego to Connect and Grow

Maybe it was my Grandpa Thomson, the greatest story spinner I know. Perhaps it is my dad, the best conversation seeker I know. Or maybe my mentor Jeff Johnson, the most masterful connector I know. Most most likely, all three instilled in me a sense of childlike wonder that seeks out the wisdom of all those around me.

Life is so much about these connections and the energy each offers. I know that I am who I am today and I grow better daily BECAUSE of every person I encounter. These people offer insights that level up my mind, body, and heart on the journey for the creation of my best self.

It takes an unselfish, giving spirit. It takes listening skills. It takes an open heart and an open mind.  But it starts perhaps with dropping the ego and building the confidence that you only look foolish when your mindset is closed and fixed.

Olympic Coach Sommers said, "If you want to be a stud later, be a pud now". I must be well on my way because I constantly put myself in situations where I look and am a pud. _______ This picture means everything to me. Today, I learned so much. This day was about soaking up every piece of knowledge possible. Not just in words and teachings but in actions, approach, mindset, and outlook. It isn't about the weight, lifting, or ego. This is about learning, growing, friendship, and life. These moments are priceless and shape our very being long after the sport has passed us. Find and experience these pieces of life as much as possible. They are the essence of joy. ______ Thank you @fattestillinoislifter not only for identifying my areas of needed growth and showing me progressions to build upon, but for your mindset and passion. The athletes at Barbell Central@ are amazing with such wisdom but Barzeen, you my friend, are other level in terms of spirit, kindness, and wisdom. I hope I can somehow return the love! ______ #livelaughlove #mindset #growth #lift #lifting #BigvsSmall #ISuckatHeavy #crossfit #powerlifting #training #community #learn #lesson #Levelup #neverdone #CheckOutOurCalves #genetics

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Olympic Coach Sommers calls it being a pud: “If you want to be a stud later, be a pud now”. Egotistical people don’t have the confidence to be a pud, to recognize how much growth from others is possible, and to maintain a beginner’s mindset, a child-like wonder. Confidence is knowing you can do anything BUT understanding that means in part being open to learning from everyone and anyone.

Michael Strahan said one of his keys to success is knowing that “help will come from the most unexpected places. Be open to everything around you”. To see, however, means letting go of the blinding nature of ego.

Sharing Gift of Wellness; Cereal Celebration Menu

I continue to riff on the idea of spreading the gift of wellness via acts of kindness and play. Modeling in action and speaking about it only go so far. Immersing people into experiences are where change is likely to occur: Acts of Kindness + Great Attitude = Positive Change. 

Today, we tackled breakfast and the default of many working adults: either skipping it entirely or eating something quick (and perhaps too often unhealthy). And cereal becomes one such default if kids are in the mix. 

This is the menu shared with colleagues today at our Quest Cereal Celebration. People of all different ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels enjoyed this experience and shared how the food was surprisingly good! Hopefully, this gives these tremendous colleagues other options for them, their family, and their friends!

The Menu

A. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

  1. Chop up two Quest Nutrition Beyond Cereal cinnamon roll bar into 30 pieces each and place in a bowl 
  2. Pour Almond Milk, Fairlife Milk, or MuscleEgg vanilla in a bowl
  3. Sprinkle with Cinnamon 
  4. Enjoy!!

Macros (w Muscleegg) Cal: 360 Pro: 49 Carbs: 36 (6 net) Fat: 9

 B. Waffle Sticks

  1. Slice a Quest Beyond Cereal Maple bar in three
  2. Fill a ramekins with sugar free syrup
  3. Dip and eat

Macros: Cal: 110 Pro: 12 Carbs: 17 (3 net) Fat: 4.5

C. Protein Hot Chocolate

  1. Heat up water (or aforementioned milk)
  2. In a shaker, put one serving of Quest Nutrion chocolate protein with 16oz hot liquid.  
  3. Shake and pour into 2-4 mugs 
  4. Shave pieces of a Quest Nutrition S’mores protein bar into each cup 

Macros (w water and without bar shavings) Cal: 110 Pro: 23 Carbs: 4 (2 net) Fat:0

D. Blueberry Muffins

  1. Cube a Quest Nutrition blueberry muffin bar into 6-8 pieces 
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Place  piece on baking sheet for 3 minute, flip, and bake for another 3-5 minutes

Macros  Cal: 190 Pro: 21 Carbs: 22 (5 net) Fat: 6

E. Cookie Jar Cereal

  1. Chopped the Quest Beyond Cereal chocolate bar into 32 pieces and place in a bowel
  2. Microwave Quest chocolate chip bar for 10 sec, break into 12 pieces, roll into balls
  3. Bake rolled balls for 5 min at 350 degrees
  4. Place the baked cookies into the bowl with Beyond Cereal bar
  5. Pour 3/4c of liquid in the bowl and sprinkle with cocoa 
  6.  Place bowl in fridge for 3-5 minutes
  7. Pull bowl out and pour remaining 1/4c of liquid in bowl.
  8. Boom!!!

Macros (w Muscleegg) Cal: 440 Pro: 58 Carbs: 41 (8 net) Fat: 10

Begin Mindset Work Young

I’m wrestling with the influence of society on human performance and mindsets. Very quickly, we come to believe we lack the gifts/talents/skills/intelligence which leads us to 

  1. develop and HEAR self-destructive language 
  2. Value complacency and settling
  3. Dismiss our dreams as possible 
  4. Shift to coping with what life gives 
  5. Buy into social expectations 
  6. Become change averse
  7. Live with fear 
  8. Talk without action 

So I continue to engage my children in deeply philosophical and growth driven discussions. At the same time, I am now pressing them for action to anchor these lessons. Some people say they are too young to discuss, engage, and utilize these lessons.

While I don’t know for sure, I can’t help but believe that I can counter the norm if I 1) engage them here 2) model for them these conversations and 3) monitor myself in relation to their lives.

Here are two examples from Today

From my son as we drove to practice:

Me: what does it mean if you fail?

Finn: I’m still learning and not there yet. You never stop! 

Me: Will I be mad at you for failing?

Finn: Only if I give up or stop learning from it.

Me: will you fail at something today? 

Finn: No!

Me: If you do, what will you do?

Finn: hmmm…

Me: what could you ask your coach?

Finn: oh! How do I work on that area I failed!

Me: right on!

Before that at breakfast

Mac(19): talking about ISU

Fae (6): I want to go to @IllinoisStateU

Me: want or will- is there a Diff?

Fae: Will means I am – want means I might

Me: So…

Fae: I will! 

Oddly, this is the first time I’ve heard her use “want” instead of the assertive, positive language “will”. As we age, our declarative statements shift to these external hope and passive statements … I want… I’d love… Wouldn’t it be great…

As we enter into a new school year, I’m

constantly reminded of the paradox that exist between what we define as important and the actions we take to get there. This mindset work at any age along with the cultivation of social-emotional habits, dispositions, and skills through engaging, immersive experiences is where our work should sit. In other words, the growth of -self for maximum human performance. 

So what will be our work this year? What will be our driving focus? 

Will we think in terms of discipline? Content? Grades? Standards?


Will we focus on the cultivation of self? Human centric growth? Curiosity and Passions? Play and joy? All of the things that foster the mindsets needed to #livelaughlove for life and continuing growing!

Finding And Centering Around Your Purpose

Finding And Centering Around Your Purpose

I get a lot of questions about why I do all the things I do, why I can’t just be one thing, how do all these different interests link, etc.. All good, genuine questions.

Let me try and explain how I centered around my passions, which I believe can help everyone!

There are questions and there are life focus points that can help you find your true north:

  1. Where do you put your effort? 
  2. What’s your purpose? 
  3. What is a meaningful life? What is a life worth living? 
  4. What is your pursuit? 
  5. What gives you meaning? 
  6. What brings you joy (not happiness)?
  7. What’s your cause? 
  8. What’s your belief? 
  9. Why does your organization exist? 
  10. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? 
  11. How do you measure yourself? And why should anyone care? 

I believe in the need to discover a deep sense of purpose for one’s life. These questions help one center themselves to a purpose. Then one must not only believe it but live and work for it daily on fulfilling that purpose! As Terry Orlick eloquently proclaims, “The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion.”

 Define your horizon and anchor to it by exploring sparks, engaging curiosities, paying attention to where energy flows, and growing ideas. Passions will emerge and then you are free, you are born. If you don’t know, begin removing the things that aren’t/don’t.

Chasing and growing from my sparks, curiosities, adventures, and experiences has created a unique and diverse passion set. But… it has created an intersection that is my path, my vision, my obsession. My quest is the intersections of those many strange and unique passions (including a foodie!!): I want to be a blueprint for how one maximizes human potential in the area of mind, body, heart, and self – to help everyone #LevelUp. If I can learn with and help grow all of those around me, we can collectively rewire the human condition. Obsessed with mindsets and innovation, I am chasing that horizon to #livelaughlove to the fullest. I’m less an athlete, less an educator, less a leader. I am a human scientist using everything I can.

An ethnographer and seeker at heart, I’m constantly seeking new adventures, challenges, connections, and growth. Without that, I’m dead inside. Without that, I become fixated on being happy (things that often lead to bad decision making) instead of lasting joy.

#levelup #horizon #life #living #lifeworthliving #livelaughlove #growth #joy #happy #love #living #mindsets #motivation #mindfulness #passion #neverdone #myquest #questsquad  #fit #fitness #education #teacher #seeker #passion

My Morning Routine

My Morning Routine

I’ve always been an early riser. It is in my DNA. My day starts at 4am and I have a crazy habitual routine that I follow. I wake up jazzed. No alarm. No snooze. No willpower. My vision for life is so clear, so powerful that I can’t wait to get going in the morning!

Power of Routine

While I fear stagnation and embrace change, the power of routine is crucial to me:

  • It centers and grounds me in the moment.
  • It calms and focuses me on what matters.
  • It empowers me to make the day impactful and meaningful. 
  • It energizes me to live, love, and laugh.

My Morning

4:00-4:40:::: Preparing for an Awesome Day

  1. Drink one liter of water immediately
  2. Meditate for 10 minutes
  3. Fire up stove to cook veggies, brown rice, oats, and eggs.
  4. Read a book for 10 minutes while food is cooking.
  5. Write for 10 minutes while food is cooling.
  6. Cue a motivational talk or video via YouTube while packaging food and getting ready for the gym.
  7. Say a few words to my kids either outside of their door, peaking in while they sleep, or via a note if they are restless. I don’t ever wake them up!

4:40-4:55:::: Flipping the Switch

  1. Fire up the ol Mustang, cue one of my training playlists, and scoot to the gym.
  2. Reherse on the way my exercises, sequence, intensifiers, and goals of training session.
  3. Arrive.
  4. Be at locker #33 ready to roll by 5am

5:00-6:30:::: Fitness Mindset

  1. Training and conditioning.
  2. Chug a postworkout protein and glutamine bomb
  3. Get ready for work.

6:30-7:15:::: Growth Mindset

  1. Drive to work.
  2. 30 minutes of the commute is listening to a book on tape or podcast.
  3. Stop and watch the sunrise (a must for me when it is a clear sky). Eat Meal 1 of the day. 
  4. 10 minutes of the commute is asking how I will make a difference today, what will be meaningful about today, who can I bring joy to today, and how will today help me leave a lasting impact. I focus a lot here on dreams, innovation, mindsets, and passions. It is who I am!

7:15-8:00::: Professional Mindset 

  1. Connect with my team 
  2. Check voicemail and notes
  3. Create a To Do List using remnants from yesterday’s (different post but I love my To Do List approach)
  4. Scan my online readers
  5. Scan emails
  6. Brush my teeth again and then walk the building

My morning has officially begun!