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Archive for Dedication

Creating a Red Letter Day

I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still (not yet) consumed by the fire.

—Stephanie Sparkles

Duff here. Seems to me this Quote has Different levels. At first, I thought of Our brave Fire Fighters, keeping My Home safe and secure. I am Grateful. Firemen have a Special Place in My heart, too, for They Once Rescued Me from Our locked Car. Mom somehow Left The Keys inside with Me, probably so No One would take the Vehicle. But that’s a Story for Another Time. Definitely not Living unstuck that day.

As I Consider this Thought More Deeply, I remember The Situations where People Help one Another. Perhaps Someone has Put on a Gala Celebration. And a Friend is Stymied as To how She will Throw Her own party. She is upset. Not Happy. Very Worried, for The Grand Event is quickly Approaching. Imagine Her relief as the other Friend offers Her assistance. And friendship. And laughter. Living unstuck.

How about You? Do You support Others Needing the Wisdom of Your Years? Have You stepped in To Help another Who is Struggling? Lending a Hand when Needed? I, Duff, applaud You. You have Created a Red Letter Day for Someone Else. And That makes All the Difference. Live unstuck. #unstuckliving#dedication#kindness

Underappreciated?

Feel underappreciated? Frank Gore should. He is a star running back for the Indianapolis Colts and is in the top 5 all-time rushing players. As a claim to fame, he has twelve 1,000 plus yard rushing seasons. At 33 years old, Gore already has 1,000 yards this year and is bound to surpass his own record. And all this, while playing on not-so-good teams the majority of his career. He was first drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, and struggled with a team that suffered numerous losing seasons. That is until Coach Jim Harbaugh stepped onto the scene. Gore helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012. Talk about an unstuck man!

According to his coaches and teammates, Frank doesn’t seem to age. His major qualities for success? Heart, vision, intuition and longevity. He is passionate about how he plays, about life. He has far-seeing vision both on and off the field. His intuition serves him well, for he creates spaces on the field . . . then flies through them. His longevity is legendary: he has played for 12 years and shows no signs of stopping or slowing down. As Frank says, “If you love this game, you’re gonna step up to the plate.”

What a role model! What’s interesting to me is he doesn’t allow the overall level of his team to dictate how well or how poorly he plays. He brings the same sterling quality onto the field each time he plays. Consistency is key, for he is running his own race. Frank doesn’t bother to check how his competitors are doing or how well another running back might be holding up through the season. He is challenging himself to do his best no matter the situation. He is living unstuck.

How about you? Time to make New Year’s goals is fast approaching. How would you like to challenge yourself? Be it large or small, you can compete against yourself . . . and win. Live unstuck!   #Unstuck Living

Quality is not an act; it’s a habit.

—Aristotle

Keep On Rolling

Professional athletes of any stripe have to keep in shape. From ping-pong aficionados to football players, from track stars to skiers, they all practice and work out, honing their skills for their best performance. Some are natural athletes, performing with ease. (Think Shaun White, snowboarding champ). While others work at it and endlessly rehearse until they smooth the skill. No matter the talent, they all live unstuck, focused on a goal.

And then there’s me, focused on walking my 10,000 steps a day to stay in my current wardrobe and ward off high cholesterol. And as the days grow shorter and seemingly darker and colder, it gets more difficult to roll out of bed to achieve this appointed goal. The Duff used to take the Big Walk, but due to age, has recently retired to the Shorter Morning Route to Relieve Himself. Once he is tucked in, I’m off.

If I time my walk just right, I am fortunate to meet up with Rhonda and Cassie. Now Duff used to take the Big Walk, but after certain distances, I would scoop him up to give him a break. My walking friends asked after Duff and I explained his situation. They probably suspected as much, for they had seen me carrying him at times. We also agreed he had the best of it: he was snug and cozy, fast asleep on the sofa. And we were not.

Before their walk on Friday, Cassie called Rhonda, asking, “Can I be the Duff today?” The response was without price. “No, you can’t stay home. And no, I can’t carry you.” And we all laughed. I’m still chuckling. The unspoken message: keep on rolling. Now that’s living unstuck.

Have you made a commitment to yourself, then found it difficult to follow through? Do friends and family help? Or hinder? Do you have a sense of humor about what you’re doing? Are you living unstuck? #Unstuck Living

Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.

—Gordon B. Hinkley

Still Tooting Her Horn and Loving It

Dawn West is a 52-year-old reading teacher who is living her dream. The very happiest days of her life were when she was a member of the West Virginia University marching band. But to achieve that goal she began way back in high school. She saved her babysitting money and bought a trumpet. From there, she taught herself how to play, hoping to successfully audition for the band. Even today, the memory brings tears to her eyes. She was unstuck.

Of course, she did make it into the band. What’s more amazing? She never left. She’s been in the band for 35 years, still going strong. Still tooting her horn and loving it. The kids call her Grandma, but they admit it’s not a very fitting nickname. The band leader said Dawn is usually the first one back in position on the field. He points her out to the other band members and tells them, “Be like her.” She hasn’t missed a step or lost an ounce of passion. She’s living unstuck.

Does the university let people stay in the band forever? No. Dawn was in school full time. That’s expensive. She took out loan after loan to be a part of the troupe. But this woman had a dedication to fulfill her dream. She had a passion. The university now lets her just take band. She is America’s only lifelong college student.

I, too, have dreams I’m working hard to fulfill. To hone my skills as a hypnotherapist. To help my clients with new and better techniques. To keep my mind active and learn as much as I can. To be the person my dog thinks I am. And can only hope I live up to the shining example set by Dawn. That kind of passion is hard to match. She lives unstuck. #Unstuck Living

Persistence Pays Off

Sometimes stamina and endurance is what it takes to succeed. Since she was a little girl, 4’8″ Felicia Perez had wanted to play football. Not just as a kicker. Or a safety. She wanted to be a middle linebacker and fullback, which would put her in the pileup every time she’s on the field.

Felicia began to play football when she was 7 but had to stop when she sustained injuries to her face when hit by a fly ball in a baseball game. She kept up her physical prowess by swimming and consistent, grueling gym workouts. When she entered high school, the thirst for football returned. This little fireball stated, “’I’m not a follower. I’m a leader. So I decided I was going to play a predominantly male sport.”

At first, her parents were skeptical. Initial responses to her requests led to diversions to cheerleading or water girl on the field. But Felicia wasn’t about to get stuck. First, she sent an email to the Brandywine, Delaware head coach Isiah Mays, putting forward her desire to play. When she met Mays, she gave him a firm handshake and looked him in the eye. He knew this young woman meant business. And the stage was set.

Felicia has also earned her teammates’ respect with her toughness. The quarterback, Jack Russell told of her getting “blasted back like 6, 7 yards after a hit during scrimmage. She just got right back up and anyone else would have stayed down.” Another team member was asked about her abilities. “She hit me hard.” He had the memory of that hit in his eyes. “That’s not a girl. That’s a football player.” Other teams also respect her. Felicia said, “They (the opposing team) decided they were going to run the ball my way. I stopped it both times. They don’t do it anymore.” She has an unstuck mindset.

Her coach notes, “The team has learned to accept her . . . She fits in, and she really does help make up our family.” And the family wouldn’t be the same without her. A short girl with a long view. She’ll never be stuck.

How about you? Pursuing your dreams? Persistence paying off? Or are you stuck?

#Unstuck Living

Make Something Out of Nothing

When Saquon Barkley was playing football at Whitehall High School in Pennsylvania, he was the same size when everyone else was growing. His 5’7″ 155-pound body was not exploding with growth as his fellow teammates. He was one of the best track and field stars but knew it was only to improve his football prowess.

He felt stuck. He stepped away from the game, feeling he didn’t have what it took to contribute to the team. His coach caught up with him, recommending, “There’s the weight room. Just work a little harder.” This year Saquon was #1 on the Sports Illustrated list of the top ‘Freaks’ in college football, those players capable of outrageous athletic feats. With a power-clean of 405 pounds, he set a school record. He also squatted 525 pounds, bench-pressed 405 and was hand-timed at 4:33 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

He applies the same principle to his playing as a running back at Penn State. And his life. When plays break down, he’s able to find a way out. He’s able to make something out of nothing. He doesn’t get stuck. His nickname is 26 Questions; his playing number is 26 and his coach says he has at least that many questions about what the opposing defense will do during each play.

His reward so far? Among other kudos, being named Big Ten’s offensive player of the year. And what stokes him up? When asked, he doesn’t mention his accomplishments, his awards. Instead, he remembers last year’s third-and-four in the fourth quarter against USC in the Rose Bowl, a play where he lost 7 yards. Never mind he made three touchdowns during the game. He set up that play as the driving force for his off-season workouts. His teammates call him the Humble Superstar. But for him, he’s still making something out of nothing. His legacy? That he was part of building something bigger than himself. He’s living unstuck.

Do you live unstuck?

If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride — and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.

— Paul “Bear” Bryant

Consistent Dedication

Long ago, Joe Thomas earned the title of NFL Iron Man. He has never missed a game since the Cleveland Browns made him the third pick in 2007. In fact, this 11th year man out of Wisconsin who plays center, has never missed a play in starting all 161 games of his career. He has passed a milestone we might never see reached again. He snapped his 10,000th consecutive snap on 9/18/17.

Joe was the starter from his first game in his rookie season when the Browns won 10 games and just missed making the playoffs. This streak is the longest of its kind in NFL history. Browns Coach Hue Jackson said, “This is kind of unheard of . . . Now, it amazes me if anyone comes out of a game having been around Joe Thomas and seeing what he has done. I think our players see that too. I think a lot of that rubs off in our locker room.”

When asked by an announcer if he was first good or dedicated, the center got a little grin on his face. He said, “No, I was good first. And then, I became dedicated.” He never even considered being stuck in mediocrity. In a Tweet, Joe says, “I’m really humbled by the outpouring of respect from people all over the country . . . I feel like a guy who’s just always wanted to be there for his teammates, and I blink my eyes and 10k snaps has gone by.”

The call for dedication comes for many, not just in the lives of football players. When you have a child, that’s an essential commitment of 18 years or more. Going back to school takes single-minded focus and determination. If you have an interest, say cabaret singing, that passion takes courage and a knowing of yourself. The Winter Olympics arrive in February, filled with athletes who have dedicated time, energy and money to be able to compete. It’s not time to get stuck.

When I set a goal for myself, I like to model my perspective on people like Joe Thomas. Folks with a mindset that embraces challenge. The men and women who set a steady focus toward where they’re going. And never look back. They are not afraid to grow. They don’t even consider getting stuck. And I don’t get stuck either. I don’t expect to be able to achieve a milestone like Joe’s, but I have my own landmarks. With inspiration from others’ dedication who arrive where they choose, I too can continue to live unstuck.

Are you living stuck?

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

— Jackson Brown, Jr.