There are two ways to live life, one is on the sidelines and one is on the field. I want to be on the field. I want to participate in life, not watch it like some TV show.
 
For me, I focus on three things:
  1. Push past my comfort zone
  2. Erase boundaries
  3. Be intentional

PUSH PAST MY COMFORT ZONE

I’ll never be able to master this one. As soon as my comfort zone expands, I’ll need to work harder to grow it.
 
This applies in all facets of life – from school, work, sports, home, food to travel.
 
I suck at tennis and as someone that played sports growing up, I also hate to lose. This one is hard for me, but I’m trying to get better.
 
I also discovered a few months ago that I am terrible at writing. But I’m trying to change that. To get better I need to push myself to do a lot of things that are uncomfortable. I get up at 5am to share a lot of stories that I’ve never told anyone.
 
It’s funny how something that was so scary a few months back, is now enjoyable.
 
To help me stay on this path I am watching for ruts. I use what I call the “brushing my teeth test.” If a week goes by and it feels like I was on autopilot, I know I’m not pushing myself enough.
 
I also apply a little common sense. If something won’t hurt me, isn’t bad for my health and is new – I should try it (at least once).
 
I want to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
 

ERASE BOUNDARIES

There are 195 countries in the world, I’ve seen 13. There are 50 states in the US, I’ve been to half of them.
 
Boundaries don’t stop with travel. As I’ve gotten older, I realize the most valuable thing I have left is time. Because of that I found myself doing more of what I know. Playing more golf, doing more home improvement projects or reading the same types of books.
 
This was a mistake. I need to embrace the unknown and put aside some time to do it. That may mean a little less time for things I know and love, but I might surprise myself and discover a new passion.
 

BE INTENTIONAL

This year I am trying to be more intentional with experiences. I am focusing on creating opportunities vs. waiting for them to appear. One way I did it was with a family travel plan hack. Another way was scheduling dates with you kids.
 
New experiences in San Francisco

Cooper and I touring San Francisco on a 3-wheeler

So far, it has been an exciting year of firsts:

  • Travelled to some great places like Cuba and Costa Rica
  • Experienced San Francisco as a tourist, not just for business
  • Caught spotted trout off the coast of Galveston
  • Started playing Tennis
  • Took 6 different online courses
  • Learned how to surf
  • Started writing
  • Invested in cryptocurrency
You think about a lot of things when you turn 40. One thing I thought about last night was how much time I have left. The average US man lives to be 78.74 years old. If that is what my future holds, I have less time left, than I’ve spent so far. I better use that time wisely.
 
A lot of people my age start creating bucket lists. This is a set of things people want to do before they die. I started one of these lists a while back. I had some great things on there like:
  • Swim with a whale shark
  • Swim with a manta ray
  • Go on an African Safari
  • See the Masters
  • Play Pebble Beach
  • Take a sabbatical with the family
Pretty good list, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. I’m missing the most important thing. Time. If I don’t set a deadline, I may never complete the list. Without a specific time frame, it becomes too easy to say I’ll do it next year. The reality is, next year may never come. Heck, tomorrow may never come.
 
I’ve started to update my list. For example, I want to see the Masters by 2019. That means I have two chances to make it happen. This makes it real and it forces me to take action.
 

BENEFITS

These new experiences have changed me in all sorts of ways.
 
First, they help me connect with others. I met a group of Australians a few years back in Colorada. Because of a trip I took after college, there was an instant connection. That led to a great conversation where I learned a lot.
 
Second, I have something more to add to the world. I try to share my experiences with anyone that they can help. For example, I have 20 years of experience in high tech. The lessons I’ve learned, challenges I faced or solutions I’ve found might help others.
 
Third, new experiences are inspiring. I met a guy at a conference once. It was for retailers and the vendors that served them. This guy worked at a tobacco company. That stopped me in my tracks.
 
What on earth would a cigarette manufacturer be doing at a retail conference? He told me he always made a point to visit at least one conference a year that had nothing to do with his space. He said it helped him look at his own business from a unique perspective. What a brilliant idea. You can manufacture inspiration by forcing a new experience.
 
I look forward to seeing what experiences you will embrace. I for one will see you on the field!
 
This post is part of a series of letters to my kids. My goal is to reflect on and capture as many life lessons as possible. Here is the current list I am working from.