Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

I’m very good at tying knots…at least tying myself in knots. I recently was revisited by my old friend chest pains. This time it was a bit more serious. I had been hiding a lot of stress and not having anything that could release it. My exercise was near zero, my meditation habits were poor,  I even had stopped listening to and enjoying music! Even those closest to me had noticed how stiff and rigid I had become.

Needless to say, my doctor was less then thrilled with me. Once again, I was reminded sternly that I was “a walking heart attack and if I don’t change I will be dead in six months!” I think that scared me more then the physical things.

I am now reminded that I need to take things less seriously. It was such an interesting 2012, with so many highs and lows, that I had forgotten what in between felt like. It seems like I have been living my life for the high and low moments. I need to find that proper balance and also do better about letting my stress go. Shouting if I need to, exercising more regularly, writing more often. Sometimes, it’s ok to be angry, it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to be happy.

I wise friend and mentor used to tell me all the time, “Craig, don’t take things so fucking seriously”. This was usually said in times of great stress.  I need to return to that advice.


It’s funny where life will lead us some times. At this time last year, I was really trying to get my bearings on life. I was really unsure of who I was and what I wanted. I have always felt that opportunity is always there…you just have to be ready and willing to take it. I spent six months of this year trying to rediscover who I was and what I wanted in life.

After a little over three years, it was time to leave Premier Mentoring. I will always be grateful for what they did for me and all the wonderful people who I met. I still keep in touch with a few of my clients that came into the program and really appreciate the learning that I did there.

So after a few months of running through my savings and doing a few consulting jobs, my dream opportunity presented itself…campaign manager for Liz Muniz in House District 33. It really was the situation that I had been waiting for, and wanting for several years. I was seriously involved with the Democratic Party many years ago, but left to raise my family and then never went back to it. I am so grateful for the many wonderful people I have met and have been so supportive. I plan on making the most of my new opportunity, and to help grow the Democratic Party in Utah.

I have under gone a complete makeover. New haircut, new clothes, and really a new attitude. Thank you Jennifer Imes for that and so much more. Also to Auretha Callison for help and advice.

On the really bad side, my dear friend Nan Chatwin lost her battle with cancer at the beginning of the month. She was truly my best friend. I feel lost at times without being able to talk to her. But, I am so happy that she is free of pain. She suffered so much, and as much as I miss her, I am glad that she is free. I have so many wonderful things and memories of her, so she will always have a special place in my heart.

So many people have made a positive influence on my life this year. It would take me forever to name them all. A special thanks to all at the Utah State Democratic Headquarters, you all were so kind. And also to all of those I met on the campaign trail…a big thank you.

To the Gonzales family…all of you…you are the family I haven’t had in a very long time and I will never forget how much you have done for me. You have my undying affection, respect, and loyalty.

I am very optimistic about the new year. I feel like everything that I have worked for will be mine.

I love the Olympics. You can always find a great inspirational story. Kirani James of Grenada, a country of only 109,000 people, won the men’s 400 meters for that country’s first  medal, let alone a gold. Pavlos Kontides won the first ever medal for Cyprus. What a great source of pride for these small countries. Then there are the individual stories. Missy Franklin winning five medals, including four gold, in swimming just days after her hometown of Aurora, Colorado was stunned by the tragic shooting at a movie theater.

An athlete who didn’t win a medal, or even make a final, but is still an inspiration to all, is Oscar Pistorius from South Africa. Born with missing fibulas, his legs were amputated below the knees as a baby. Using prosthetic limbs, and mounting a successful legal challenge, he competed in the 400 meters, where he made it to the semi-finals.

Probably the most inspirational for me was Kayla Harrison of the United States. Kayla won the first-ever gold for the U.S. in judo. But it came after she was sexual abused by her former coach over a period of years and in several different countries. She was ready to give up the sport, but six years ago joined with her current coach because she didn’t want to give up her dream.

To be a world class athlete takes so much time, dedication, hard work, and determination. To be a champion takes class. All of these athletes are champions.


We live in a very hate-filled society. More than anytime that I can remember, lines of hate and intolerance have been drawn. The ability to create violence and terror among people is way too easy today. Lies, distortions, and fear, have made people more willing to commit acts of violence. Technology, and again, fear, have created the ability for people to easily obtain and use instruments whose sole purpose is to kill or injure as many people as possible. Something really has to change.

Yesterday’s attack on the Sikh community in Wisconsin is another example of that. They were in their temple getting ready for prayers. A gunman walked in a proceeded to kill five men and one women, ages 39 to 84. At this point, we don’t know his motivations. The fact that they have brown skin and wear turbans, makes me wonder if he was so delusional, or ignorant as to who the were. Irregardless, in this country, EVERYONE should have the expectation that they can worship in peace. These were peaceful, devout, people who were practicing their faith.

Sadly, the history of our country is filled with examples of intolerance.  Violence against minority groups, whether racial, religious, or based on their lifestyle, is rampant throughout the brief history of our country. Hate is something that is learned. Intolerance is something that is learned. Love and tolerance can be taught. But before we can teach it, we must first practice it.

We live in a society where people are famous without having any accomplishments. We tend to throw the words “star” and “hero” and “talent” at people who really have done nothing to deserve them. People become famous as much for bad behavior as for good. Getting drunk, releasing a sex tape, exposing themselves in public, or just general stupidity. Why do we look up to these people? I want to give you an example of two actresses who really deserved to be admired.

The first is from the past. she was known for her beauty and talent. Her name was Hedy Lamarr. Ms. Lamarr was a film start in the 30’s – 50’s. Many poeple have heard of her acting abilities, but not too many know about her contribution to science. She greatly contributed to objects that we use today. Ms. Lamarr, along with a partner George Anthell, invernted “frequency hopping”, which serves as a basis for modern spread-spectrum technology, such as Bluetooth, COFDM used in Wi-Fi network connections, and CDMA used in some cordless and wireless telephones. So important was this contribution, that in 2003, the Boeing corporation ran a series of recruitment ads featuring Hedy Lamarr as a woman of science. No reference to her film career was made in the ads. But she was talented enough to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


The other actress is one who is a bit more contemporary. Her name is Danica McKellar. She first starred as Winnie Cooper on the show “The Wonder Years”. She has done many shows besides that, including many voice-over performances.  McKellar studied mathematics at UCLA, graduating with highest honors (summa cum laude) in 1998. As an undergraduate, she coauthored a scientific paper  with Professor Lincoln Chayes and fellow student Brandy Winn. Their results are termed the ‘Chayes–McKellar–Winn theorem’. McKellar is the author of The New York Times bestselling book Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, that encourages girls in middle school to enjoy and succeed at mathematics. McKellar’s second book, Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss, was released on August 5, 2008. The book’s target audience is girls in the 7th through 9th grades. Her third book, Hot X: Algebra Exposed! was published on August 3, 2010, and is aimed at girls in the 8th-10th grade, or even adults who want to learn algebra. All three of McKellar’s books made it to The New York Times children’s bestseller list.

These women overcame stereotypes to achieve great things that impact a lot of lives. How many of us buy into what others think we should be instead of following our dreams to achieve great things? We need to break out of the box that others have put us in to accomplish our goals and create great things.

For the Super Bowl…I have to repost

My first memory of football was being a Green Bay Packer fan. I was influenced by the book “Instant Replay” by Jerry Kramer. It helped that my town’s colors were Green and Gold. I was born and raised in the era of Packer dominance in the NFL. So I suppose I was kind of a front-runner. When I was 14 that was changed and I was shattered when my Dad was transferred to Denver. I was devastated. This was right before 9th grade, which I had been looking forward to. I even had four close friends come to the airport to see me off.

I think my Dad knew how I felt. Let me give you some background. I have 3 sisters. All four of us were born within five years of each other. Subsequently, my parents had to work a lot. That little quiet time with one or the other parent just didn’t happen too much. My only remembrance (and I do have a great memory) of any time alone with my Dad was when I was in 4th grade and he had me stay home from school so we could do some serious baseball shopping in anticipation of my first season in little league. That’s the other key component…my family is incredible sports fanatics. That was the dominant thing in our household. But back to my story.

I was pretty much alone and very miserable. One magical day, my Dad came home with Broncos’ tickets for the two of us. Even though it was a preseason game (against the Baltimore Colts), and of course the Broncos lost, it forever sealed a bond with my Dad and a love affair with the Broncos. When they finally, on their fourth try, won the Super Bowl, my first reaction was to call my Dad. By that time I had moved back to Salt Lake City. We celebrated that victory together.

My Dad passed away a couple of years ago. That day and the day of his funeral were the saddest days of my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. A picture of him is on my wall at work. As another Bronco season begins tonight, I will think of him and root for our team. Because of that, I am a Denver Broncos fan and will be for life!

It has been just over 51 years since man started travelling in space. I have been fortunate to be alive for all of them. I was about five months old when Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space. A few weeks later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, on a flight that lasted roughly 15 minutes. A couple of weeks after that, US President John F. Kennedy, set the goal of man landing on the moon, and returning safely, by the end of the decade. History tells us that this goal was met, with a few months to spare. Obviously, when President Kennedy set that ambitious goal, most of the technology needed to accomplish it, didn’t exist. But that didn’t stop them.

Sometimes, you have to set a goal and not let anything stop you. The space program confronted many difficulties along the way, including loss of life. But, they never stopped focusing on what their objective was. They never loss sight of the goal. And along the way, they created so much of the technology that is important today. As you buy your dad that cordless power tool for Father’s Day this weekend, give a slight nod to the space program. When you reset your smoke alarm, say thanks NASA for protecting me. How your water is filtered, lots of the computer technology, the lightweight material used for helmets, tennis rackets, and other sporting goods. The shock-absorbing tennis shoes and other athletic shoes. The teflon that covers most of the roofs of stadiums. That doesn’t even begin to cover it. There are medical advances like dialysis, the transitional artificial heart, and many, many more. All because they set goals and did what was necessary to reach them.

Many people run into problems because, although they know how to set goals, they aren’t willing to do the work necessary to reach them. They let problems deter them from achieving the success that they are looking for. Success takes sacrifice and hard work. But, look at the wonderful things that can be created along the way. Set a goal, and don’t let anything stop you from reaching it. Don’t just think outside the box, be willing to throw away the box and create something new. Yes, there will be setbacks, but don’t let those deter you from what you want to accomplish. The brave people in the space program worked together, worked as a team, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are people out there willing to help you reach your goals.

The lessons learned throughout our lifetime can help us learn how to have that drive and determination to create beautiful things in our lives and in our world. Dare to be innovative and driven and never lose sight of your goals. Never be afraid to set ambitious goals, but be willing to do the work necessary to reach them. Some would say “The sky is the limit!” I prefer to look at it as having no limits, you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to through hard work and determination.

It’s funny how procrastination can be most people’s undoing. I know I have fallen victim to this…more than once! We always seem to be our own worst enemy when it comes to starting or finishing projects…no matter how important they are. Even writing this I have found a couple of things come up that have slowed me down! Not even important things either…something on TV or someone’s post on Facebook.

One of my favorite books is “The World According to Garp” by John Irving. In the book, TS Garp was a novelist, who at one point stopped writing. After announcing that he was going to start again, he kept making excuses to put it off. He was always building bookshelves or working in the garden.

When I worked with people who said they wanted to start their own business or make extra money, they number one thing they said was holding them back was that they had to make sure that everything was perfect. They had to clear space, they had to make sure that everything was perfect before they could take action. We all know that opportunity rarely comes at an opportune time. When opportunity knocks, we must not only open the door, but invite opportunity in and fix it a drink! Be prepared to take action because you never know when opportunity will come around again.

No bookshelves or gardens for now…it is time to take action!

I feel reborn today. I feel like I am ready to be the best me that I can. They say that when you hit bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. Over the past eight months, I have certainly seen my share of bottoms…physically, personally. professionally, mentally, and emotionally. Almost to the point that I didn’t think I could go on another second. But, with the help of friends and my higher power, I not only survived, I came out stronger and better than ever before. I am now ready to be my best me!

It’s time to really focus on what I want to do with my life and how I can best impact the lives of others. Time to devote my life to helping others and doing what I can to better my world!

How many of us get in our own way? I certainly do. I seem to suffer from the “misery loves company” thing a lot lately. It affects my moods…it affects my job…it affects how I interact with people…it affects my health. And none of these in a good way. I seem to have lost a lot of my motivation. Time to wake up and change!

I think I lose focus on what I want…and what I need to do to get my wants. I tend to focus on negative aspects and not on the good things around me. I have some great people in my life. I have people who want to help me. But, I need to do it! Sometimes, it’s just hard to do…hard to paint that smile on your face when you are suffering inside.

I need to get back to my basics. I need to focus on positive people. Get rid of a lot of the anger. I need to exercise a lot more! I always feel best when I do. And I need to be more consistent with my writing!

Funny how we are always our own worst critic…and how we are also our own worst enemy. Time to be person that I can…and have been. It is all inside of me!