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Change your environment

I hate work-life balance.

In my ideal world, my work informs my life and vice versa.

In fact, I desperately seek work that fulfills me each day and I love the feeling that comes with getting lost in something you care about.

The thing is, I don't get the chance to talk about these things with most of my friends. The conversations are usually limited to food, sports, music, and other group interests.

Don't get me wrong - I love sharing experiences with others and, at my age, many of these experiences happen in bars and other hangouts.

Yesterday, I met up with one of my best friends over lunch and our conversation drifted into this territory.

My friend has known me since seventh grade, which means he has seen all of the ups and downs that I've encountered while stumbling down my unconventional path. He knows how much pressure I put on myself and he is usually able to keep me in check when my ambition gets the best of me.

I mentioned how I wish our friends could share more of their work lives with each other and, as always, he dropped a little nugget of truth:

"If you want those types of conversations, maybe you should consider creating those types of environments."

I'm stubborn, but I couldn't deny how right he was.

The conversation I want doesn't usually happen at bars or while playing beer pong - it happens in a more intimate setting like coffee shops or at home.

Our environments really do impact our lives and the time we spent with others.

If you're looking for a change, try changing your environment first.

When worlds collide

There is no better feeling than when old friends meet new friends.

I love it when these worlds collide, the feeling you experience when the world shrinks just a little bit.

In fact, I wish it happened more often.

Unfortunately, work and other responsibilities get in the way.

Despite this inconvenience, I want to make more of an effort to facilitate these types of experiences, both for myself and others.

I wonder what type of format would work best. Dinner? Drinks? Some sort of shared activity or interest? These all work, but there are already plenty of options like these out there.

Personally, I would like to connect people using shared ideas and/or creative projects. This would give others the chance to flex their creative muscles a little more while meeting others at the same time.

As someone who values shared experiences, I always look for ways to include others as much as possible, even if I don't know a group of people.

After all, strangers are just friends you haven't made yet.


After reviewing my old journal and reflecting on the past 30 years, I am much more aware of the things that have been holding me back.

Yesterday, I shared my takeaways and people seemed to think I was being a little too hard on myself.

The thing is, I already celebrate and share my small wins with others and in my mind, it's our failures that give us a chance to learn and grow.

This was the perfect time to pick mine apart and learn what I can in order to move forward.

The biggest red flag was the fact that I continuously wrote about the same problems but never did anything about them.

Isn't this the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

I would guess that many of us fall into this trap, repeating the same mistakes day in and day out without doing anything about them.

If I revisit my journal more frequently (at the end of every week), I should be able to nip this in the bud sooner.

Dirty thirty

It's hard to believe I'm actually 30 years old today.

For the most part, it doesn't feel any different.

However, after reading each and every entry from my old journal (that started in 2014), 30 has become a little more sobering than I thought.

Now that I have taken a high-level look at the past few years, here are a few takeaways:

• I have an apparent problem with self-control
• I don't review my thoughts nearly enough
• My actions don't always align with my words
• I tend to ignore what is right in front of me
• I haven't (successfully) identified and solidified my long-term goals
• Which is why I haven't reverse engineered them into short-term steps yet
• I make a lot of excuses
• I unfairly project onto others more than I realize
• I consistently repeat the same mistakes
• My ambition constantly gets the best of me
• I haven't fully grasped what it means to "live with intention"
• I fall in love with ideas too easily
• I shoot myself in the foot by not saying, "No" enough

Looking back, I'm nowhere near where I thought I would be mainly because I wasn't 100% sure where that was in the first.

Maybe that's the problem.

We can't really move forward without first looking back.

In the future, I will revisit my own definition of success much more often while putting in place some tangible markers along the way.

Quality time

I value quality time with others.

It's only Saturday, and I've already had quality time with several close friends.

From kitchen conversations to walks in the park, I've had the chance to check in with people I care about.

I realize I don't do this often enough. Unfortunately, it's far-too-easy to get stuck in our own little worlds and forget that our friends and family members have problems, too.

Whether you agree or not, there is a certain expectation you put in place when you call someone a "friend." It doesn't mean you're available 24/7 to talk whenever they need it, but it does mean that you care about their hopes, dreams, fears, goals, and ambitions.

These are things we all have but don't often get the chance to share.

Instead of waiting for your turn to talk, try giving someone you care about the chance to voice what matters to them.

Sometimes listening is the easiest way to turn regular time into quality time.

Wedding weekend

I had an amazing weekend filled with love, laughter, and late nights.

I was lucky enough to see two friends get married and, as always, the wedding was made even better thanks to reuniting with friends from college.

The weekend reminded me how important it is to share experiences with people you care about (as well as drinking plenty of water before you go to bed).

We all have big milestones and it can be easy to forget that our friends, families, and loved ones make them even more special.

If we don't slow down enough to invite them, we can miss out on incredible moments.

That's why it's important to stop and celebrate, no matter how crazy things get.

The small things

I'm in Kansas City for a wedding and I can't help but notice the small things.

Sure, this city is filled with great food, colorful art, and more hipsters than you can imagine, but there is so much more than meets the eye.

Whether it's the perfect lines of the street murals or the finishing touches to every dish, you can tell this city cares about the details.

Somehow, it embraces the different cultures of each neighborhood while also rallying behind a united front.

From the grassroots efforts of the people to the institutional traditions, this city knows how to connect the dots in a way that St. Louis doesn't.

We could learn a thing or two from our neighbors to the west.

But not beer or baseball - We've already got that covered.