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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The End is Near 12/22 - 12/27 Days 357 - 362

I discovered today that I cannot count and somewhere along the line I added in an extra day for the year, I guess I really did not want it to end.  Anyways, my running total has the final day of the year being the 366th day, can we just pretend this year was a leap year? :)

I had SO MUCH fun with the holidays around the world challenge.  Pictures of friends, family, pets, Christmas trees, FOOD, and other holiday traditions from all over the world made this challenge extra special.  To check out the photo album of it, click here: Holiday Photos Around the World

I would like to do one more event for New Years... would you all be up for it?

I have been getting a lot of questions about what is next for me.  I have a few goals and ideas which I will share with you all in the final blog and final ustream of this year.  All of which I will have out this weekend :)  One thing I can promise you is that the 1000 Challenge facebook page will remain.  We, as a community, have way to much momentum going right now.  We can not stop, we must keep going forward.

One of my best friends presented me with the following challenge as part of the 1000 Challenge.  He challenged me to find 10 things this year that I enjoyed enough that they would become a permanent part of my life.  His reason for this was to keep me accountable.  He wanted to make sure I did not just jump from one experience, one thing to the next.  He wanted to make sure I was taking time to stop and smell the roses so to speak.  My friend knows me well and is very wise for giving me this challenge as I thought about it often throughout the year.

My 10:

#1 There is no competition of what #1 is.  Without a doubt it is Photography.  A  few years ago you could not pay me to take a picture.  Now, you would have to pay me to stop taking pictures.  I love it that much.  Some of my friends are even jealous of my camera as it goes with me everywhere.  No exaggeration, my camera has literally become an extension of me.

I was talking with a friend about photography the other day and I think he summed it up as to why I love it so  much.  His words, "taking pictures, forces you to be in the moment."  He is absolutely right.  When you are appreciating something, or enjoying a site it is one thing, but when you are trying to capture that perfect moment in time it is a completely different experience.  It has been so special for me to look back at essentially me entire life this past year and see what I have done because I have captured virtually everything in photos.

#2 Helping people.  The only reason this is #2 and not #1 is because I knew I loved helping people before this year, and I did not have the same passion for photography in prior years.  The photography growth is much more drastic than the helping people by scale, but still, my number one passion, my purpose in life is helping people.  This year I received 1000's of emails, letters, comments etc... from people all over the world talking about the 1000 Challenge and what a difference it made in their life.  That motivates me and inspires me to do more.  I learned many new tools that I hope will help me be a better coach, teacher, speaker, leader in the near future.  What gets me up and gets me fired up and excited everyday is the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.  I only hope to build on that next year.

#3 Travel:  I loved travel before, but I have and even greater love for it now, largely in part because of #1.  I love travel because I love what I learn about myself through the experience.  I really love it now because I pretend I am a photographer going off on an assignment to capture wherever I am going on camera so I can share it with the rest of the world. 

Travel (and when I say travel I mean anything from the day trip out of town, to the airplane flight across the world) is great because it allows me to break the routine of things.  If I want to switch things up, I can hop in my car and 30 minutes later I can be somewhere different.

#4: Teaching/Public Speaking:  While most of the speaking has been limited to our Ustream chats we have, I really really enjoy those because of the opportunity they present me to teach.  I love teaching people especially when the topic is life and how to get the most out of it.  I really enjoy the speaking component of it.  It is fun.  I think teaching another is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have in our lives.  And I think it is vital to the success of humanity (when I say success, I am referring to quality of our lives and not the money we make).  If we have knowledge, a skill, an insight, that could improve the life of someone else, share it don't horde it away.  I love writing the blogs and tying it all into a life lesson.  Each blog and the lesson I try to interweave with it, is my gift to whoever wishes to read it.

#5 On the go lifestyle:  I do not like sitting still or sleeping.  I like going and experiencing.  This year I learned just how much I can see/do/accomplish in a year, and I loved it!  I loved the pace of life.  The few days I would be caught up with no plans I was going crazy.  Human beings are experiential creatures, meaning we need to be experiencing to be growing.  I love the weekend trips, the day adventures.  I love that I did  not sit still much of this year.

#6 Nature:  I have fallen into a much deeper love with nature this year.  The man made stuff is cool and one can't help but to be awe inspired by some of the architectural feats, especially those really ancient ones that were created without all the modern machinery of today.  However, for me the sunsets, the sunrises, the oceans, the mountains, the rivers, the trees, I am happiest there.  I feel free in nature, I feel more connected to myself.  Our natural environment is so so beautiful.  One of my plans for next year is to do a big challenge that allows me to share more of the natural world with all of you.

#7 Learning:  A few years ago I began to enjoy learning.  While I was in school, I really didn't.  It is ironic that I spent nearly 17 years of my life in school and it was not until after I finished school that I began to enjoy learning.  This year presented an abundance of opportunity to learn about myself, to learn about others, to learn what makes humanity as a whole tick.  The only thing I was bummed about this year is I did not create as much time as I would have liked to read the books I wanted to read.  I love the world of information books can open up for me.  Beyond books, I love the opportunity all the experiences I have had this year have given me to learn. 

#8 Driving:  Driving you might ask?  I have driven more this year than any other time in my life.  During that time my relationship with it has transformed.  Long drives are now part of the adventure, part of the process to get to my destination.  They are also an opportunity to explore the unbeaten path, to discover little hidden gems.  If I have someone with me driving becomes and opportunity to bond, to laugh, to share, to experience together.  If I am driving solo it provides me with a time to reflect and/or it provides me with a time to learn.  I have discovered audio books and how important they are.  With living my life on the go so much this year I did not make the time to read physical books, so I started really listening to audio books.  I have probably listened to at least 30 audiobooks this year while driving - 30 books I probably would not have gotten to read otherwise. 

#9 Boundaries:  This is a really big one for me, one I still struggle with, but am continually working to improve.  Why is boundaries on here you might ask?  Well let me explain. 

I want to help people, I really really do, so much so that I will often do it at the expense of myself.  Without going into all the psycho-bable about where this originates, I will say that I have been well known to give people chance after chance after chance.  I justify it by saying they are a good person, they mean well, that wasn't their intention etc... but all the while I continue to stress myself out about the situation.  This year, something had to change.  With the 1000 Challenge I put myself in a position where I was going to be busier than ever, but I was also going to be giving more time to more people.  I can't live me life and perform at the level I want to if I am I constantly giving time and energy in unhealthy ways.  So I started creating boundaries.  It was hard at first.  Some friendships I had had for a long time were severed, others altered.  However, as time went on it became easier for me to stick with the boundaries I had put in place for myself.  And as a result other friendships became strengthened. 

Here's the thing I really FINALLY got this year.  I am not going to make everyone happy.  That's a tough one for a people please-er like me, but it is so true.  As soon as I can let go of that desire to want to make everyone happy, I can really start focusing my energy on the people who WANT to be happy. 

#10 Being Happy:  I shared with you all the struggles I had been through that lead to the 1000 Challenge.  Were there moments of happiness here and there, absolutely, but was I happy as a whole, absolutely not.  Am I 100 percent happy with myself now, NOPE. 

Happiness and the acquisition of it, takes work - hard work.  It is so easy to not be happy.  It is so easy to blame the rest of the world instead of taking responsibility for ourselves and our own lives.  It is so easy to sleep a little longer, give 70% effort and get by rather than 100%... It takes work to get up earlier, it takes work to try harder, it takes work to have those honest conversations with yourself, and it really takes work to accept full responsibility for yourself, your actions, and your mental and emotional state. Probably the hardest job any of us will ever have in our lifetime is the job of being happy.  It is a job worth taking and it is a job worth giving your absolute best at.

I can tell you that I am much happier being happy than when I am not.  So much so that it is my #10 on my list as it is truly something that I want for the rest of my life and am willing to work for.  Sure it gets frustrating at times, sure it is hard, and sure, life can be cruel and unfair at times, but the thing of it is, I know that already.  I know the challenges that life can throw at me.  I know how cruel and unfair life can be.  And I know I can survive.  I have survived and I know I will survive again. 

Happiness is not about surviving.  At times it can be.  What happiness is really all about is thriving.  Thriving and squeezing every last experience and once of possibility out of life so that when it is your time to leave this earth, you can leave with a smile on your face knowing that you really lived and you were happy. 

At least that is what I want

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,



  1. Best blog yet! Oh the things we learn about ourselves. I like your top 10 ~ I am sure you will have no problem keeping up the momentum. Good luck on the journey! Peace, Lisa

  2. Thank you for everything you have done and will do the next year. You're a inspiring person for me and you can express your feelings and thoughts in word which I couldn't.
    Your important things of the life is similar to mine. You give me motivation to do a lot of things next year, a lot of MORE things that I have done this year. Thank you!!

  3. Thank you for sharing with us not only the good stories, but your troubled times.
    Thank you for inspiring us to go after our dreams, or to write our own list and work on it.
    Thank you for being open to all of our coments, emails, photos and everything we've sent you.
    I wish you the best of luck on your journey!
    I like the idea of the New Years around the world album, specially because I missed Xmas one :(

    Best wishes

  4. Thank you for sharing and congratulations for doing the challenge. I hope to read your posts in the future as well ;)