As 2014 comes to an end, it’s time for me to reflect on the events and accomplishments of this glorious year.  It has been a great year both in my business and personal life. My inspection business soared when I decided to jump boldly outside of my comfort zone and go nationwide.  Fear to the unknown kept me rooted to my known surroundings and with new competitors in my area, the business was not performing as I wanted to. Following a leap of faith, I took the initiative to go outside my local area and test the waters in other places. I basically became a “YES MAN” taking offers by contractors to do work in places no one else wanted to go.  With the help of MapQuest, my calendar and little creativity I took the job offers without hesitation. Then with much help of my wife Marie, who is a superb coordinator of resources and supreme supporter, worked out the logistics and made it happen. I could not have done this without her.

The open road and I became one; I have traveled to far regions of the Nation, spent weeks out in Maine and Seattle, visited Alaska twice and other States like Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.  My car was/is my rolling classroom and where I meditate and reflect on myself and my goals. Great things have happened inside my car; ideas, plans and decisions made. The open road has been witness of it; all 40,000 plus miles of it. What made it truly a success is that I was able to mingle my work with my Systema training.  I included the locations of Systema schools in my geographical logistics. The magic worked and my trips became an exciting adventure that later turned into my “work-cation”.  I was going to more places and had a Systema school within my traveling radius. I made money while meeting new friends and getting a lot of Systema training with it.

I am very grateful for having “jumped the ship” into the unknown.I learned from this experience that much of the fear and anxiety of the unknown and “what ifs” lives inside our mind and at the end they never happen or it develops in a way that it was different from what I thought originally.

My road of personal recovery is going forward; I continue to do what needs to be done, making amends with the people I have wronged in the past and continuing to strengthen my relationships.  This involves in continuing doing what works, exploring new ways of doing things and discarding what doesn’t work.  Simple and effective plan no doubt. Yet, it takes a lot of effort from me. Keeping my mind busy at all times also does the trick. I bring everything along when I travel; my musical instruments, my audio-books and exercise equipment. Everything I can pack in my car to make me feel at home away from home, productive and moving forward. Balance is fundamental.

I also make sure that the time that I’m away from my family on my trips, I compensate the time lost on my return. That includes spending quality time with the wife and kids, doing things together and even going on our own little getaways whenever possible.  That is of absolute importance to me. Strenghten the relationship with my wife which whom after 18 years of marriage, now is when we can really see each other eye to eye and discover many things that went missing before. My job, caring of the children and our relationship problems made us feel more like strangers, pulling away from each other.

“Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes things must fall apart so better things can come together”  Marilyn Monroe

I turned 40 this year and though I was preparing for this new chapter in my life, it came like a switch from good to better.  Many factors influenced this change. The chances I have taken in my life plus the choices I’ve made prompted to this change.  I was open and willing to take on new opportunities in my life and the chances that led me to where I am today. Everything happens for a reason; there IS a reason whether I understand it, agree on it or have any say on the outcome.  The following are my many “take aways” learned and implemented this year. Yes, they are many but each one was practical and even essential to me.

  • Find love within not outside. There is nothing to look outside myself that will make me happy.  I have all I need to be happy. I AM LOVE.
  • Lessons will be repeated, possibly the hard way, until they’re fully learned.  I learned this the hard way but it was essential to be where I am today.
  • You win some and you lose some. Make peace with that. There is someone better, stronger and wiser than me. I am who I am and I’m OK with that.
  • Ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. Do it and see what happens. Most of the things I worried about never materialized and if they did, it was in the most unexpected way for the better.
  • Whatever happened to me, I always come to reason that It could have been  a lot worse.
  • Opportunities become available when intention is there. That’s the power of intention.
  • Have a plan B and C and D….all the way to Z. If something doesn’t work, keep trying different things until it does.
  • If traveling find a group to share the things you’re passionate about.
  • Expect nothing from people, even the ones you love. Even in life; that will eliminate any disappointments that can bring you down.
  • If worry about finances, don’t check your bank account. Well, do check it but not all the time. If you know that money is coming in, give it a rest. Mind your spending though.
  • Know yourself, experiment. New experiences, different things.
  • I am responsible for myself, what I do and say. I am not responsible for other’s people opinions or what they think about me. That’s God’s business.
  • People may disagree with you but they should never misunderstand you.
  • If there is a will, there is a way. Otherwise you’ll find an excuse or justification for not doing it.
  • Self-love. It starts with me first. I cannot give to others what I don’t have nor can I find love in others if I don’t love myself.
  • Breathe in peace, breathe out tension. Personal mantra
  • When I don’t know what to do…  I start moving. Something will happen when on the move.
  • Be like water flowing around your problems.
  • If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. A must for me to understand changes in my life.
  • Don’t ask God to make things better, try to be better yourself
  • Don’t ask God to fix things for you; instead find out what you need to do to fix them. Be wiser.
  • DO ask God to help you to become  stronger
  • Say what you mean and do what you say you’re going to do. Other people DO have expectations from you.
  • Don’t take it personal. Let it go…it’s not always about ME.
  • Ask questions, make no assumptions. This will clear many misunderstandings down the road and save relationships.
  • Do your best, always. One day at a time.  God knows what you’re doing and people that care for you will notice…eventually.
  • Memories are two- fold; I remember the good things that made me happy and also the lessons learned to be remembered forever. Both memories are necessary to get the full picture.
  • Want change? Go all in! Change your environment, car, the way you dress, places you go, the things you do. Do a full 360 with your life. Why? Why the heck not?
  • Live and let Live. Not everyone understands your journey. They are living theirs; their dreams, their lives.  Respect that and don’t shove your  ways down their throats. Resist the urge to be the problem solver to others. Life unfolds without your help.
  • Never hold a grudge. Like the saying goes “is like drinking poison and expect the other person to die”. Solve it, make amends.
  • Mind the animal that lives within you. Be careful what you feed to it. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
  • Keep ego in check. Be proud but not arrogant. Stay humble.
  • Made a mistake? Be the first to apologize and make amends immediately.
  • Love with passion. Find the love language of your partner and give them what they want.
  • No regrets. Period. What is done is done. No reason to go back and cry over it. Get a move on.
  • Worries take away my happiness. They are useless  and serves no purpose. Let it go. Be part of the solution.
  • Life is a choice. It’s either this or that. Choose wisely.

I saved the best for last. These are my golden nuggets of wisdom; what made the change complete. I recommend that you reflect on it and see whether it can help you too.First, I recommend the following books. These books did change my life. It will take me much more writing in trying to explain, so take my word for it and find out for yourself:

  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman

Second, I like to share a story that I had one night in Georgia with my dear friend Baxter Martinez. It is one of those spontaneous conversations that come out of nothing but leaves you with the fire inside wanting for more.

A normal conversation about life turned about God and faith. I expressed  my feelings on the subject regarding getting answers from God,  asking for guidance and things written in the bible.

He goes on and tells me something that changed my life.  “When I ask God for help, He gives me the answers in the most usual ways whether I understand it or not.  That the only answers I will get from God is YES, NO and WAIT. “I think about it all the time and will never forget!

He goes on and tells me the story of a bird that got caught in a terrible winter. The bird was in deep trouble as it was freezing cold outside. He asks God for help but got no answer. Later a cow came by and shits on the bird. The bird was angry and disappointed because the cow shit a big steamy turd on him.  He was yelling out loud “why me… why you do this to me?” Then a cat came over and had pity for the bird. He listened to the bird’s cry of outrage while cleaning up the bird without saying a word. Then he ATE the bird. 

The morale of the story is to be grateful even if life shits on you. Help or God’s answers come in the most usual way. Be grateful. The bird didn’t realize that the cow’s shit was keeping him warm. He instead was angry. The cat shows that not all people that come to your help mean any good.

Very wise my friend, very deep. I will always remember this. Everything happens for a reason. Do what you need to do and trust the process. Have fun while at it!

I’ll just rollover into 2015 with these in mind, welcoming the unknown one day at a time.

Stronger, wiser, better…GMAN

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