The Downside of Success

Missing the TargetIn my last post, I told all of you about my weight loss and exercise program as part of Oakland Christian School‘s Biggest Loser competition.  Well today’s is to give you a little update!

On Wednesday, I received an email from Merianne telling us that we are in for a “surprise weigh in” on Friday.  Well, much to my delight, my initial thought was “Nice! I can’t wait to see if I maintained or maybe even lost another pound or 2!”

So this morning, I stepped on that scale and I actually GAINED almost 4 pounds!  Not the news I was hoping to get!  What happened?

I think a few things could contribute to this…those “few things” being the number of Christmas parties and pot lucks I’ve attended over the last couple of weeks!  More importantly though, I think I experienced the downside of success…complacency.  I took my eyes off the target of maintaining my weight and healthy eating habits and thought that I could now just coast.  Thankfully, the scale can be a painful reminder that in order to have continued success, you need to stay focused on your goal which for me was staying and eating healthy.  It’s time to refocus and not let this small setback derail all the work I’ve done up to this point!

As I look forward to 2013, this little year end lesson made me think about other areas in my life where I’ve enjoyed some success and maybe have given in to some complacency:

  • MY FAITH – my relationship with God is stronger than ever but still requires full commitment from me to live it out every day
  • MY MARRIAGE – Julianne and I will celebrate 14 years in August next year.  We’ve had our ups and downs but our relationship is the glue that holds our family together and I want make sure that she knows how much I love her and admire her
  • MY KIDS – These 4 little ones always bring a smile to my face and I take being their father seriously.  There are things I can (and will) do better next year.  In addition to spending more time with them individually, I want to provide them with their own targets / goals to achieve and hold them accountable.
  • MY JOBMRM Detroit has been great to me and it really is hard to believe I’ve been here for over 2 years now.  The leadership here has been very supportive especially when the account I came here for was closed.  They reassured me they would find a place for me, they did and now I have a reason to be even more appreciative with the recent promotion I received

So there you have it.  Along with my health, the 4 things I listed above need my continued focus and that means staying true to the goals I’ve laid out for myself in each of them.

Don’t take your eyes off the target or you might get stuck with an extra 4 pounds you don’t want.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Getting To Know…Oakland Christian School – @OCSchool

Today’s Getting To Know isn’t a person but a place.  Take a look at the video below…

We’ve been sending our kids to Oakland Christian School since Gina (my oldest) was in pre-school.  This place has been such a blessing to our family and to the many others that attend there.  The school has gone through some changes over the last year and I hope everyone is better for it.  As a new school year is now upon us and I know that my kids will benefit from God’s blessing us with the financial means to send them there.  If you want to learn more about OCS, you can check out their website.  There are 2 campuses, Auburn Hills, MI and Clarkston, MI.  You can also follow their twitter stream too!

Happy Friday folks.  Here’s Getting To Know…Oakland Christian School

Are You Smarter Than A Second Grader?


This week I had the pleasure of watching my daughter do her “Expert Report” on France at Oakland Christian School.  Definitely a proud dad moment as she walked her class through interesting tidbits of information on France like:

  • Paris is the capital of France
  • The red and the blue in the French flag represent the traditional livery colors of Paris
  • The white in the French flag is the traditional color of French royalty
  • The tallest mountain in the French Alps is Mont Blanc
  • There are 2,513 windows in the Palace of Versailles

In some ways, I think she is a better presenter than I am!  No nervousness.  Confidence in the information she presented.  At one point, she dropped her note cards but didn’t flinch and kept going.  It was awesome to see and even her teacher took notice!  Julianne and I walked out of there with our heads held high!

What did I learn from this experience or rather, what did I learn from the process Gina went through to get to this point?  Lately, I’m big on looking at the world through the lens of my children.  It’s often a great way to put things into perspective as well as remind yourself that life doesn’t need to be as complicated as adults make it.  In this case, I was reminded that as adults, focus can be lost as we dig into projects.  In this age of multi-tasking, things can often take longer than they need to.  E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader…all things that I have open throughout the day…can serve as a huge distraction.  When Gina was doing research on her project, she was singularly focused on finding out as much information as possible about France and illustrating it with her coloring.

It’s all about productivity these days.  Gini Dietrich recently wrote a blog on “Being More Productive Every Day“.  It’s smart and offers up some great suggestions on how you can boost your productivity.  If you think about it, I’m being productive just by providing you a link to great content rather than spending time thinking about how I can say the same thing differently!

Stay focused on what’s in front of you.  It’s pretty difficult to get from point A to point B if you are constantly being detoured.  If you stay the course, then you can give a great “expert report”!

Just for fun, I wanted to share with you Gina’s presentation.  I’ve discovered that blogs and the social web are great tools to share the home movies of the 21st century!

Great Expectations

I was having a discussion with Julianne this week about expectations.  Without going into too much detail, we both agreed that expectations can be dangerous.  Expectations lead to assumptions about other people and in the end those expectations are often unmet.  You also know what they say when you assume something…it makes an “a#$” out of “u” and “me”.  Why is it then that we continue to place OUR expectations on other people?

I’ve seen this in my own home where I have expectations of Julianne or the kids.  Take for example my innate need or expectation (call it OCD) for a clutter free home.  That is completely unrealistic for them to meet.  I have 4 kids 7 and under.  Julianne is home with them most of the day and just watching them is a full time job.  Not to mention she works at Oakland Christian School and has a million (well not really a million but rather a thousand) other activities going on during the week.  This expectation is mine and mine alone.  It’s instances like this that my expectations need to be adjusted and then agreed upon by the people they affect.

This is why communication is so critical.  You can assume you are being explicitly clear on things you need help on however, you are expecting people to know your process on how to accomplish it.  People are not mind readers and they may actually need step by step instructions on what you need from them in order to meet your needs.  I know I’m not providing you with any breakthrough thinking but for me the conversation we had this week was a fantastic reminder and lesson on open dialogue and how it constantly needs to be worked on.

Be clear and communicate respectfully.  If you do that, you’re more than likely to have at least 99% of your expectations met.  As for the other 1%, get over it.  We’re human and we’re not perfect no matter how much you can claim to be.


Votes Do Count

One thing that I’ve been wanting to consistently do on this blog is make you aware of the good things that are happening to revitalize the city of Detroit.  Much like Stephen Clark and his #backchannel creation which encourages the viewers of WXYZ‘s newscasts to contribute to the positive stories happening within the region, I want to hear about positive things happening in Detroit.  People across the country need to know that Detroit and the entire state of Michigan has a lot to offer.  “Michiganders” or “Michiganians” are a passionate bunch.  We want to make a difference in this community and we look for ways to DO things to make a difference rather than just talk about it.

This leads me to this week’s positive story.  Detroit Servathon has been around for the last few years and sponsored by Oakland Christian School.  The goal has been to raise money and make a difference in the Detroit community by having the students volunteer and serve others.  What a great teaching opportunity for kids from kindergarten to 12th grade to learn about serving others.

Detroit SERVATHON 2010 now includes five other Christian schools in Southeast Michigan: Franklin Road Christian, Macomb Christian Schools, Parkway Christian School, Southfield Christian School and Washtenaw Christian Academy.  Over 5,000 students from preschool to 12th grade from all schools will each have service projects to complete.  You can check them out here.  As a parent of an OCS student, it makes me proud be part of an educational community that teaches its students the importance of putting others needs above your own.  I’m really looking forward to sitting down with my kids and talking to them about their experiences on September 23rd.

The big project for Detroit Servathon requires help from you.  By now, you all have heard about Pepsi’s Refresh Project.  Through the hard work of many people, including my wife Julianne, Detroit Servathon can win a grant of $50,000 to install a playground in the Detroit Community under the guidance of Central Detroit Christian.  We just need you to go out and help us vote.  If we can finish the month of September in the top 10 of the $50,000 grant category, we can move forward with the playground.

There are 3 ways you can vote:

  1. Text your vote to Pepsi at 73774 with our project code 102331 in the message area
  2. Click HERE to vote for DetroitServathon and our 8 partners
  3. “Like” the Pepsi Refresh Application on Facebook, download the app, search for “Detroit Servathon” and VOTE

You can vote all 3 ways once a day until September 30th.  My hope is that we won’t need to try again in October.  My challenge to the Detroit community and the rest of you reading this is to propel this project into the Top 10 THIS MONTH.  If you think your vote doesn’t count, it does.  Please help us make a difference.