Look Up, Get Up, And Don’t Ever Get Up

After giving the presentation of my lifetime to a room full of my peers, we gathered around to watch the announcements of the award winners for the entire company.

I had really thought is was my year to take home the big prize.  The GM Of The Year.

I had thought I deserved it.  6 straight years of positive sales growth.  1st in the Division, 2nd over all.  Years of ingenuity and personal growth for not only myself but my entire team.

It would have put the feather in a capped to an amazing year long project of both personal and professional achievements.

As it became abundantly clear that my name was not going to be read, my head filled with disappointment.

I then began to think about Michael Irvin’s Hall of Fame Speech.  And I realized that even though I’m going to be disappointed for a while, I will need to pick myself up, redouble my efforts, and never give up.

 

 sat right here where you are last year and I watched the Class of 2006:  And I said, Wow, that’s what a Hall of Famer is.

Certainly I am not that. I doubted I would ever have the chance to stand before you today. So when I returned home, I spoke with Michael and Elijah . I said, That’s how you do it, son. You do it like they did it. Michael asked, he said, Dad, do you ever think we will be there? And I didn’t know how to answer that. And it returned me to that threshing floor. This time I was voiceless, but my heart cried out. God, why must I go through so many peaks and valleys?

I wanted to stand in front of my boys and say, Do it like your dad, like any proud dad would want to. Why must I go through so much?

At that moment a voice came over me and said, Look up, get up, and don’t ever give up. You tell everyone or anyone that has ever doubted, thought they did not measure up or wanted to quit, you tell them to look up, get up and don’t ever give up.

 

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School Season Begins – Time To Reflect

Typically the day after Labor Day marks the beginning of the school year.   

Lucas started first grade today.  Maddex starts sixth grade tomorrow and Liam begins his three year old pre-school on Friday.  

It’s like a birthday or holiday.  It’s a milestone that marks the passage of time.   And how time is flying by.  Feels like only yesterday when I went to Maddex’s Kindergarten graduation.   .

The days are long…but the years are short. 


Time Out

Lucas is back with his mom for the beginning of school and Maddex is back with his dad this week.  

So marks then end of another summer vacation.  Time for a break from it all.  

Check out this side by side photo of Liam and I.  Separated by 15 months.  Looks how much he has grown.  Maybe we both have. 

The Lucky Break

 

Today I take you back to February of 2011.  I was 24 years old, and even though I was a successful District Manager for a Dunkin Donuts Franchise in the suburbs of Rochester, I was enjoying the twenties lifestyle so much, that I had to work two other part-time jobs to support it and that box of a studio apartment that I passed out in.  Once in a while.

I had just found out that I was going to be a father and I hadn’t quite figured out what my next move was.  Like I said, I was working two other part-time jobs.  One being a bar back and cook at a local sports bar,  I was a bit overqualified for that position but I really enjoyed working there and for the couple that owned it.  And the other was a stint on the line at my current full service restaurant company.

I was hired with the company for the first time in late 2004 and though I had transferred and left employment from this company on three separate occasions, I always seemed to wash back on their shores in a moment of need.  Whether it was their need or my need depended on the situation.

Now, when it comes to my career.  I always have seemed to be in the right place at the right time.  “God protects fools and drunks” Anthony Bourdain once said.  And this occasion was no exception

 

Shortly after returning to life on the line that January, I remember how pissed off I was when I was scheduled against my availability to work the garde manger station on random Sunday afternoon.  That’s just a fancy term used to make a salad preparer sound more important, which these days depending on your restaurants concept can be very important.

Sunday afternoons were not in my availability and I sure as hell hadn’t worked that salad station in years.  Hell, I didn’t have a clue what half the preparations were.   But I showed up for the shift without complaint like the good soldier I was.   And there he was.

The “he” I’m referring to was none other that the Monopoly Man himself, the Regional Director.  He indeed bore a striking resemblance to Rich Uncle Pennybags from the famous board game and today he was going to change my life.

He and I locked eyes immediately.  Did the GM schedule me on this shift on purpose so that I would be here when he was here?  If so…well played sir.  I had worked with this RD before in many different restaurant locations and we had a great history, but I hadn’t seen him since I had left to gain management experience with another company.

And after hearing about what I had been up to lately and my son on the way, he inquired if I would be interested in getting into full service management.

The rest is history.  I few rides east,7795fdea050dd0849fbdf50e7bd76fc8--luck-of-the-irish-irish-luck to Syracuse in the winter for interviews and assessments, my POS Lincoln barely making the journey, and it was a done deal.  I relocated to Syracuse in March for Manager Training and my climb up the corporate ladder had begun.

Just Another Day : Turning 31.

One of the downsides of working in the restaurant industry, as well as many professions, is that if your birthday falls on weekend, You’re working it.  

Same goes for my wife.  Who also works in the restaurant industry and who’s birthday is also today.   

Yes, we share a birthday.  Just separated by 6 years.  

So for us it’s just another day in the neighborhood.   Exchanging a few moments with each other before she heads into work just minutes after I arrive home from my shift.  

There’s perks to sharing a birthday though.   

  • I will never forget her’s.  Trust me.  I’m bad at remembering birthdays
  • I share the spot light.  Too much attention on me makes me uncomfortable.  

I do miss having that special day sometimes, as selfish as that sounds.  When someone else makes all the plans for you and you don’t have to worry about a thing.  


Breaking The Workaholic Cycle

I saw my cousin over the weekend and she told me how much she loved the blog and about her recent efforts to live a more balanced life.  

She has been working 65-70 hours between getting her degree, working full time as a teacher and part time as a restaurant server for so many years. 

She realized that she was “missing out on this thing called life” and recently left her restaurant job to spend more time with her husband and hopes to be blessed with a baby in the future. 

She mentioned how hard is was at first  to break habit of working around the clock.  

The struggle is real Ashley. 

For so many years I worked 60-80 hours a week while life just flew bye.  I don’t even know where my twenties went when I stop to think about it.

 One major theme  of the project is to live a more balanced life.  It’s so hard for me to put down my work at the end of that day and not continuously check logs and emails in a business where I’m always connected.   But so far I think it’s been successful.  

I’ve been working non stop for sure…but working to live a better life and to be a better person. 

Mid Year Review

Today marks the end of month 6 of the happiness project.  We are half way there. 

I spent 4 hours in the car today reflecting on the year so far.  

After all my years in management I can’t help but treat it as a performance review.  Full of things to “start doing, stop doing, and continue doing” to bring more happiness in my life. 

Start: 

1. Focusing on building relationships \ building a network :  I’ve had a lot of success as a restaurant manager by working hard and focusing on operations but to really grow, I need to build relationships in and out of work.  Being the lone wolf can only get you so far.  

2.  Watch the over eating.  I might be exercising and drinking water but sometimes I used my other efforts as an excuse to gorge myself.  Diminishing my progress.

Stop:

1.  Stop giving a fuck…about the things that aren’t worth giving too many fucks about.   That’s really for me to decipher.  

2.  Stop worrying.  I spend a lot of worrying about the stresses of life.  “Stop whining, start grinding”. While i feel like I accomplish more than the average person, I can get a lot more done by just putting my head down and doing it.  One day at a time

Continue:

1.Exercising \ Drinking Water.  17 lbs down , 20 more to go. 

2.  Completing DIY projects / helping around the house.  Lots of learning as I go

3.  Using strong time management and delegation skills at work

4.   Travel.  Whether near or far my greatest happiness comes from exploring. 
Conclusion:

I have good days and bad days. But I know Im living a much healthier and balanced life than I was 6 months ago.  Here’s to another 6 months of improvement.