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Life Happens - Finding the Vision

IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT ME: Well here we were in the beginning of another football season all focused on our goals and wants for the season and we were re-visited by mother nature for another scare of the Cedar River flooding. We spent about 2 weeks hearing about it, and then folks trying to get ready for it, (sand bagging, barricades, and evacuations), and then 3-5 days waiting to see how high the water would actually get. It did rise but not to the level of 2008 (thank goodness) but it caused a lot of problems and for some it was again devastating. But it did cause a week long closure of the Linn County Courthouse and we are still working our way out from that with the courts trying to make up and take care of all of the cases that had to be cancelled. And as I am writing this Hurricane Matthew has battered the east coast and caused loss of life and millions and millions of dollars in damage in flooding and other problems. So thoughts and prayers out to all those impacted by these natural disasters and a reminder daily of high life can change in an instant from things we think are important to life altering events that can challenge our very survival.

So while I was just trying to be a dad to a kid playing football life kept forcing me to realize over and over that the things I want to focus on and spend my time on are not always the top priority. And then for whatever reason a few months ago I agreed to be the keynote speaker for the Iowa Association of Corrections 2016 Fall Conference. This is a collection of correctional professionals from staff in prisons, to probation and parole officers, to wardens, and administrators and the like. I have a long history of working with corrections beginning back in the 90's when we were living in Wisconsin and I was teaching at the University of Wisconsin Law School in the Remington Center. This is a legal clinic that provides legal services for inmates in the Wisconsin prisons. This is also where I was introduced to a concept called "Restorative Justice." But for around 7 years I was in prisons for about 2-3 days a week on a regular basis.

During this time (late 90's) I did a week long training with the Iowa DOC where I met all kinds of great people and made connections I still have. Eventually after we moved back to Iowa I took a position with the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services doing re-entry work. This is the group that does probation and parole in our area of the state of Iowa, including Linn and Johnson Counties, where I live. Anyway, this is longwinded explanation of how I know all these people and why they invited me back.

When they called they told me I would be the last presenter of the conference on Friday morning (not good) and that they wanted me to do something to "wrap it all up" and it needed to be "high energy," "motivational," and "inspiring." Of course with that description I said no!! But we kept talking and I eventually agreed, thinking it would be a good way to put some of my "Open Windows" concepts to work. So I said yes and presented on Friday (October 7).

IT STARTS IN THE LOCKER ROOM: I will spare you all of the details of my presentation but I talked

about the "Open Windows" concept and how life presents these opportunities as well as some lessons along the way. One element I stressed was how important it is to have a vision for your life. I first heard about visioning from Coach Fry, who I already introduced you to. But Coach would do a visioning exercise before every home game. He would have everyone lie down on the floor of the locker room maybe about 30 minutes before kickoff, turn off the lights, and then lead us through a guided vision process where we would see ourselves playing great, making great plays, and winning the game. I do not know how much all of this impacted everyone else but I always thought it was great and really helped. But it left me a life-long believer in the process and the power of having a vision. It is a practice I still keep today and encourage my kids and family to do as well.

YOU GOTTA BELIEVE: So a thought to you today as you go through your goal setting, dreaming, or whatever you do, HAVE A VISION! See it in your mind. Set goals to achieve it, then work each day to get it done. Visions do not get fulfilled by accident or chance, they take hard work, lots of it. And once you have that vision you have to invest in it with not only hard work, but you must BELIEVE in it. Really believe. And do not let anyone tell you you can't do something, or that you are not good enough. You can do it and you are good enough (and if you need to gain new skills or something else go do it!).

And I know we can be afraid of change and taking risks, and I will do more on this in another post, but let's just say we have to overcome our fears and get out of our comfort zones to reach our dreams. So encouragement to keep dreaming, have a vision, and do not listen to those who say you can't or the voice in your head that says it is too scary to do. You can do it!

FLOYD STAYS IN IOWA: And oh yea, the boys in black & gold were able to travel up to Minnesota and find a way to win. Good job fighting through some adversity on the road and getting it done in the 4th quarter. They just kept playing hard and believing good things would happen. They did and so get to bring Floyd back home and keep him for another year. And to those of you who think it is just a bronze pig and no big deal, I can only say it is so much more than that. But we are hopeful that this was a bit of break out game and a turning of the ship in the right direction for the rest of the season. But winning each week for these Hawks requires a vision and it is something I know George does daily. Keep your vision strong, see it in your mind, believe in it, work to make it a reality, do not listen to those who say you can't! And keep looking for the lessons in the windows of your own life. Have a great week and may the "Floyd's" of your life always stay with you!

PS: A very Happy Birthday to my boy George!! Today (October 9) he is 23 years old. We were blessed on his birthday and have been since.

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