Archive for June, 2011

betterME Day 31 : Holy Crap, I did it.

Posted in Comfort Zone, Empowerment, Self Improvement, Welcome on June 30, 2011 by cklaslan

30 days, 30 posts, 30 challenges. Some were hard (letting people go), some were easy (a day of rest).  Some where very successful (decluttering my inbox, random acts of kindness), others did not have the level of results I would have wanted (social skydiving, improving weaknesses).  Others led to long term goals (learning sign language, running a half marathon).

Over the last 30 days I learned that if I stretch my limits a little at I time there are many more things I can do — talking to strangers, yoga, making a conscious effort to smile and be happy.

So what next?  I don’t wanna stop.  I’m curious to see what else I can do and make myself better (and those around me).  But how?

The daily challenges were cool.  But I’m not sure doing something for 1 day is too much of a challenge for anyone.  I will finish this week with some random daily challenges but going forward the focus will be on challenges that last for a week.  I will revisit some of the daily challenges and see if I can get the same results when doing it for an entire week.  I also have a list of new challenges that are more appropriate for a weeklong try :

  • no snooze button for a week
  • no coffee for a week
  • go vegetarian for a week
  • take the stairs everyday
  • reduce sarcasm (haha)
  • learn a new word each day

At the end of the next 4-6 challenges I’ll re-evaluate again and perhaps go to month-long challenges.  Who knows?  As long as I feel I’m making myself better I’ll keep this up.  I still may be asking some of you to join and I’d still appreciate any suggestions of your own as well as your comments.

A reminder the challenge for this week is to start going green and I am still researching all the ways thats possible, that make sense.  There are a of “green methods” that arent’ really that beneficial.  On the home front we have purchased a lot of floor fans and upped the thermostat to 73 (used to 68).



betterME Day 30 : GOooooAaaalll !!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 by cklaslan

The challenge of the day was to create short term goals. At first I thought that might give me some trouble.  So for inspiration I spent part of the day reviewing the past posts I’ve made.  As I read them I noticed a lot of comments where I said “I’ll keep this up” or “I’ll come back to this later” so I realized that most of the short term goals have been made thru betterME.  So I used that as a starting place and then added a few more to the list.

Here they are in no particular order :

  • continue betterME in some format
  • smile and say “hi” to everyone I pass (week 2 challenge)
  • continue looking at ways to go green and implementing them (week 4 challenge)
  • beef up my training for the half marathon  (challenge 3)
  • expand my comfort zone in talking to strangers thru social skydiving (challenge 5)
  • at random times leave random notes (challenge 7)
  • do more geocaching (challenge 8 )
  • continue learning sign language on my own (challenge 9) : i’ve completed 3 lessons and signed up for a fall class
  • keep fine tuning ad adhering to a budget (challenge 14)
  • seek what needs to be improved and ways to improve it  (challenge 19)
  • practice random acts of kindness (challenge 20)
  • maintain my lists which include things that make me happy (24), things to be thankful and grateful for (25), and things I can’t control (26) : I’ve started using EverNote to keep my lists on.  EverNote has web, desktop, and mobile apps so I can read and add to my lists at my PC at work, laptop at home, and on my cell phone.  I’ll also maintain this list of goals (challenge 30 — LOL)
  • surround myself with people that help me achieve my goals and encourage me
  • get my 3rd tattoo within the next 60 days
  • continue working on relationships improving and reconnecting where needing, moving on where needing, and seeking new people to meet

I think that’s a pretty good start and for short term goals enough to fill my time and energy over the next few months.  What do you think?   What are your goals?  Got em?  If not what are you working towards?  What motivates you?

Go for day 31 is to decide what to do next with betterME!



betterME Day 29 : Service, Please!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by cklaslan

The challenge today was to contact customer service after GOOD service.  Since it was random there was no guarantee that a chance for this would come up.  I’m actually in a customer service oriented job (as most of us are) so the shoe is usually on the other foot, as it’s usually clients calling us to report on good or bad customer service.

However a situation did come up that fit the criteria for this challenge so I took it.

As you know last week I was out of town at a client site completing an 8-month long project.  It was a big project for a big client.  I was fortunate to work with 3 individuals on the project team that went above and beyond what most clients do.  They accommodated every request I made, made sure I had everything I needed and more, and took all the steps necessary to make the project a success.

The night we kicked off the final phase we ran into issue after issue and complication after complication.  Instead of laying blame, panicing, or giving up, they worked together, with me, as a team to focus on the issue and come up with a solution.  That made for an incredibly stress free environment.

They project went well, completed with zero errors or issues and everyone was happy.

So I found out who the Vice President was in charge of the division I was working with.  I wrote her an email praising the individuals I worked with, noting there dedication, effort, and help.

In return I got a message from my boss thanking me for sending the email to the VP and thanking me for my efforts on the project.  It’s true – what goes around comes around.

So when you get good or great service, let someone know!  Email it, call it, blog it, post it, share it.  Let someone know you appreciate service out of the ordinary!

The challenge for day 30 is to create some short term goals.

Coming to wind down and getting ready for the next phase of betterME, but what shall it be?

betterME Day 28 : How you durrin’ ?

Posted in Community, Relationships, Social on June 28, 2011 by cklaslan

Challenge 28 for yesterday was to catch up and connect with an old friend.  I wasn’t able to get in contact with the person I waned to yesterday so I tried again this morning.

I talked with one of my good friends, Alan, who lives in NW Arkansas.  I do consider him one of my best friends, despite having not seen him in almost 2 years.  We used to call several times a week and if not we at least kept in contact via text.  But in the last year we’ve both gotten so busy and our lives changed so much that we don’t talk nearly that often.

But as it is with good friends, despite the time and distance, once we said “hello” this morning on the phone it was just like we had seen and talked to each other last week.

I was on my way to work and he was on his way to work so we had about 20 mins to catch up.  And that’s just what we did.  It was a great and refreshing way to start my day.  It put a smile on my face and put me in a good mood to start work. 🙂

So who do you need to catch up with?  Give them a call right now !

So on to the weekly challenge to start going green.  While I’ve not put anything into place I have started researching what I can do to make my green effort a reality.

First, we already recycle at home.  We have a huge blue bin that we fill up.  So that’s at least a minor step.  But here are some other things I can start doing :

  1. Plant an herb garden : this is something I’ve wanted to do anyway
  2. Switch lights to CFL
  3. Make sure appliances are Energy Savers (most of them already are)
  4. Start using reusable grocery bags
  5. Use reusable water bottles and not plastic disposable : Easy to start doing
  6. Use reusable coffee cups : An easy switch as well
  7. Green power from utilities : Ga Power lets you purchase some of your energy from renewable sources.  I’m still getting the details on this one so an update will follow.
  8. Do a home energy audit : Done – you can actually do this through GaPower’s website
  9. Collect rain water
  10. Turn down water temp : Ok, I love hot showers and admittedly it’s turned up, but down it must go.
  11. Wash in cold water : Usually do this anyway
  12. Fix leaky faucets and toilets
  13. Use cloth napkins

I’ll continue to add to the list and make updates when I put them into place.  At least I’ve go some green initiatives going already!   What can you do to make things green?   Bet it’s a lot easier than you think !

And for today, the challenge is to call customer service after a GREAT experience.

See ya later today!

betterME Day 27 : Rest for the Weary

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2011 by cklaslan

Yup, even during a 30 day blog everyone needs a rest.  So today’s “challenge” was to take a day of rest and enjoy it. And that’s just what I did.  Anytime you’re in the middle of a long project or challenge (even a long run or workout) it’s good, and ok, to take a rest.

          • It gets you ready for more work & improvement after.
          • A little rest can make you more efficient as well.

“Rest when you’re weary.  Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit.  Then get back to work” — Ralph Marston

So I slept in this morning… till 9am which is really late for me.   Then I surfed the net will about 12:30pm and then took a 3mile run on the Silver Comet trail, walked a mile after that, and then did a 30 minute workout.  Now that may not sound like resting to most of you, but it is to me.  The Silver Comet Trail was really nice and since it’s shady and there was a slight breeze, it wasn’t as hot as it could have been.  Not to mention it’s outdoors and nature is always relaxing.  After all that I chilled at Starbucks for a couple of hours and updated the blog.  And YAY!, now I’m caught up 🙂

Now I’m home and doing some more chilling and that’s pretty much the plan for the rest of the night.  Tomorrow starts the final days and week of the original betterME challenge.

As  I mentioned earlier, the challenge for the week is to start going green where possible.

And for tomorrow, the daily challenge is to catch up with an old friend.

I hope all of you had a great weekend and I’ll catch ya tomorrow.


betterME Day 26 : That’s Outside My Boat

Posted in Comfort Zone, Control, Empowerment, Encouragement, Limits, Relationships, Self Improvement, Social, Stress on June 26, 2011 by cklaslan

Yesterday’s challenge was to list things that I could not control and start learning ways to accept that and be happy with them.

I’m not a control freak.   But I often do hold myself accountable for things beyond my limits.  Before my list, an explanation of the title of today’s blog.

Charlie Jones is a sportscaster who has covered several Olympic games in his long career. At the 1996 games in Atlanta, he was assigned to announce the rowing, canoeing, and kayaking events — a situation that left him less than thrilled, since it was broadcast at 7am and the venue was an hour’s drive from Atlanta. What Jones discovered, however, was that it ended up being one the most memorable sports events in his career, because he gained a chance to understand the mental workings of these Olympic athletes.

Preparing for the broadcast, Jones interviewed the rowers and asked them about conditions such as rain, strong winds, or breaking an oar. Each time the response was the same: “That’s outside my boat.” After hearing the same answer again and again, Jones realized that these Olympic athletes had a remarkable focus. In their attempt to win an Olympic medal, he writes, “They were interested only in what they could control… and that was what was going on inside their boat.” Everything else was beyond their control, and not worth the expense of mental energy that would distract them from their ultimate goal.

So, whats outside my boat? For the most part this is a fairly easy thing for me to do.  Those of you that know me know I am an incredible optimist and I am forever saying “stop worrying about things that aren’t in your control”.  And if it is something in control you shouldn’t worry about it either you should do something about it.

On the other hand, accepting that you can’t control something can be a different story.  One big thing popped into my mind immediately : I can’t control how other people react or treat me.  You see, I consider myself a good person.  I put other people first, I treat everyone well and I give my all for those I know.  At times I naively expect the same thing back and am often frustrated when that doesn’t happen.  For a reference point see the day 2 blog entry.

So in those situations I shouldn’t waste time wondering what I did, why they react negatively and what I could have done differently.  What I should do is realize I can’t control what and how they feel.  All I can do is be me and if they don’t like it then so be it.  Time to move on.  As a friend of mine says : “NEXT”.

So when you find yourself in situations where you can’t control the outcome, find a positive way to focus your energy and thoughts.  This is also a great way to keep stress down in your life.  It will put you in a better mood and those around you as well (yes most everyone can tell when someone else is stressed out).

Here are some other things I came up with that I can’t control and have to learn to deal with :

* Physical limitations : I can’t play basketball.  I just don’t have the skills or the height. And I’m ok with that. But what I can do I’m gonna do the best I can.

* Criticism/Rejection : Kind of like above, I can’t control when some likes or doesn’t like me or doesn’t like what I do or say, or even my body of work.  Again all I can do is the best I can and be happy with that.  However I will choose to surround myself with people that believe in me and will encourage me.  If someone doesn’t like you, accept it and NEXT them. 🙂

* Someone else’s choices : Not everyone has the same upbringing, morals, experience, and background.  Some people will make mistakes, over and over again, even when they ask for advice.  All you can do is be there for them and support them when you can.  If that doesn’t work then sometimes hard choices have to be made and it may be time to move on.

* As silly as it sounds, I can’t control traffic.  It’s part of living in Atlanta.  Sometimes a 15 minute trip turns into a 30 minute or 45 minute or even longer trip.  Getting stressed and complaining about it won’t make the traffic go away.

So what’s the purpose of this?  By realizing what I can’t control means I can focus my energy on things I CAN control and where I can make a difference.  That, my friend, is called EMPOWERMENT.  And that is what betterME is about — getting myself into a position where I make choices and put myself in places instead of relying on others.

So what’s on your list?  What can’t you control that you have to learn to deal with?  I wanna hear from ya !!  I challenge you to reply right now.  It takes less than a minute.  DO IT!  🙂

And for today the challenge is to have a day of rest!

And the weekly challenge for the coming week starting tomorrow is to Go Green where possible.

OK folks, heading into the last week and I feel good.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Other suggestions/challenges?

BTW, if you liked that “What’s in your boat” story check out the whole book.  It’s called “That’s Outside My Boat : Letting Go of What You Can’t Control” by Charles Jones.  You can get it at –

betterME Day 25 : A Day of Thanks (a day late)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25, 2011 by cklaslan

Sorry today’s post is a little late.

The challenge for yesterday was to make a list of things I’m thankful/grateful for.

We get so caught up in life it becomes a simple task to overlook what you have in life.  How many times do we read stories about someone that seems to have it all going for them but they choose to end their own life?

The best part about this is the fact by doing this, you don’t take up any extra time. You can do this in the shower, you can do this while driving to work, you can even do this while going for your run, all you need to be able to do is think about all the things you’re grateful for.

By doing this I found another thing to add to my happy list : making a list of things I’m grateful for — it can’t help but bring a smile to your face.  To no surprise many things on the list were on the list for challenge 24 (list things that make me happy).

Here’s what I have so far :

  • I’m thankful that God has given me everything I’ve ever needed, much of what I’ve wanted, been there for me when my absence from him has been great, been my everything, and never given up on me when I’ve given up on myself
  • I’m thank for my parents, for the love they have for each other, and for the values, morals, and beliefs they instilled in me
  • My sister and her family
  • For that matter, all my family — good memories in years past
  • I’m thankful for each and every friend I’ve had or ever had — you’re all incredibly special!
  • In these economic times I have a job and can make ends meet
  • The gifts, talents (yes I do have some), and skills I’ve been blessed with
  • I am honestly thankful for every person who as ever come into my life — I truly believe that people meet for a purpose and we glean the best of them and make it part of ourselves.  So we are in essence made up of everyone we meet
  • Music 🙂
  • Coffee 🙂
  • As I look around and see the way people are dressed and act, I’m thankful I live in a country  that is ‘mostly’ tolerate of diversity and individual expression
  • I’m thankful for my health

And the list continues.  As with my “happy list” this will be something I keep and continuously add to.  When things look down, I can simply look back on the list and remember how good I do have it.

I challenge all of you reading this to do the last 2 days of challenges : to list what makes you happy and list what you’re thankful for.  Beyond that I challenge to keep those lists, add to them, and periodically refer back to them.   Who’s up for it?

To the twitter reader who noted I didn’t have  weekly challenge this week, you are correct.  Since my week started out of town I didn’t get to select one.  But I will for next week for sure.

Continuing the recent theme of making lists : make a list of the things you can’t control and be happy with them.

There you go.. see ya later tonight (hopefully).