Wow! What a ride! I promise no spoilers. It’s a brisk Sunday morning in St. Louis and I just finished a highly anticipated book on my “to-read” list. Happywork by Chris Reimer. It’s hard not to be bias after numerous conversations I have had with Chris over the years but this book is simply culture changing. The idea is simple: Let’s have a happy place to work every day! I’m in!
When Chris first announced his book and the premise thereof I was so intrigued because I was going through a change at the company I work for. Being in Information Technology (IT) it can be a very stressful non-happy working environment sometimes. Chris does such a great job in presenting a fictional company who is struggling, and at the end wants to change the internal culture of the company for the good. Will change have to happen? Yes, but for the greater good of the company.
So if you want a long review of this book, you won’t find it here. My review is pretty simply. Go buy a bunch of copies of this book and give them to friends that you see struggling at their place of employment. Give a copy to owners, presidents, CEO’s of businesses. This is a culture changing book. The premise is simple. We should be happy at work, period. We spend so much time at work why not be happy!
Happy Work is a simple read. It’s fun, energetic, and at the end of the day provides a roadmap that can help a struggling business that has internal attitude challenges.
Some might think that the premise of the book might be a “pie in the sky” effort but I disagree. A smile, a kind word, buying your co-worker lunch, going the “extra mile” are common sense things we need to remind each other of. What the Happy Work book does is reminds us that companies can be turned around. Culture can change. Work can be happy.
Thank you Chris for such a refreshing read. I’ll never forget the time we sat at the bar at Robust Wine bar at the MX in downtown St. Louis and you said something that will always stick with me: “It’s not always about the money but being happy and confident in what you are doing right now.”
Don’t forget to check out Chris’ YouTube channel that highlights some of the things in the book. Chris gives some additional perspective into the agreements found in the book between the employer and employee and vice versa. https://www.youtube.com/user/RizzoTees/videos.
Cheers – Jason
I have my original bag that the Apple store gave me when I purchased my first iPhone 3G at the Apple Store at West County Mall in St. Louis, MO. That special Friday in the middle of September is always a special time for us who love the rush of getting the newest iPhone.
September 2014 seemed different. It was tougher this year in making a decision. My iPhone 5s was perfectly fine. It was fast, comfortable and it did what I needed to do in business and socially. But on Friday morning September 19, 2014 I stood in line at 5:30am at a corporate AT&T store and waited in line until 8am. I purchased (Through AT&T Next) an iPhone 6 – 64GB – Gold.
I contemplated my decision the whole day. The phone sat on my desk at work and just seemed so HUGE to me. The experience was definitely different.
This weekend the new iPhone 6 has grown on me. It’s slim, sexy. light, has a beautiful display and an updated camera. I haven’t had a chance to really test out the camera but in previous reviews I agree that it handles light much better than its predecessor the iPhone 5s. Battery life on the iPhone 6 is slightly longer lasting.
After using the iPhone 6 for 3 days now I can say that Apple will need to have an updated iPhone 5s type size phone in the future. In real honesty the iPhone 5s or even the iPhone 5 were perfect sized phones. Some people just have smaller hands, some people simply want to use a phone with one hand. The previous Iphones allowed us to do that.
Is this the end of the Apple iPhone 4 inch screen?
I have been wanting to write this blog post for quite some time but life has been a little rough for the month of June 2014.
From finishing up a large work project, working through tooth pain and then ending up having a root canal it’s been a long painful month of June. The root canal was perfectly painless. A big shout out to Dr. Charles Clarke in South County for being a cool cat and letting me watch Iron Man, listen to Above and Beyond in my ears while loud drilling sounds echoed through my ear canal. The pain before the root canal was not cool.
I feel peaceful tonight. One of the large projects I have been working on finally wrapped up. I have closure! It was a project I have been working on since March 2014. I have logged over 184 hours on this project in addition to my daily duties in the life of an IT Solution Architect.
With all the above being said, I felt average start to creep in during these past months. When I mean average I mean “not awesome.” One of things I read recently from Jon Acuff was the comparison between average and awesome. Anyone can be average and go through the daily groundhog day to day routine, but to be awesome you have to go through the pain and suffering to hit a homerun at the end of the day.
“You don’t need to go back in time to be awesome; you just have to start right now. Regretting that you didn’t start earlier is a great distraction from moving on your dream today, and the reality is that today is earlier than tomorrow.”
― Jon Acuff, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters
Through the past several months I wanted to just be average. Life has been hard lately. Why can’t I just be an average person doing average things? Well I believe that God put me on this earth not to be average. I truly believe that God put me on this earth to be awesome. To serve people. To give. To love. To provide mercy. To provide grace in difficult circumstances.
Being average sometimes is going through the motions everyday at your job and being that person that says well I’m here to just collect a paycheck. Being awesome is working for your paycheck and going beyond what you would normally do during your 8-5 job.
Average has a tendency to creep in within various aspects of our life. Our jobs being one of them but they also could be our personal life and family.
So at the end day when you feel average creep in on you take a moment and pause and say NO to average. Be awesome instead.
#nowplaying – Deadmau5 – while (1<2)
So you probably have noticed that I have been posting photos every week from Trader Joe’s of things we have purchased. As consumers, especially when we are trying to lose weight or make good decisions with our food choices we have no idea where to start or what to buy. Meat – check. Vegetable – check. But what about everything else that is in the store.
Rule of thumb: Outside perimeter of the store = healthy (in most cases).
I have had several people ask me to list the items that appear in our Trader Joe’s shopping cart on a weekly basis so here it is:
- Trader Joe’s Dry Roasted and Salted Pistachios
- Organic Cashew, Almond & Cranberry Trek Mix
- Trader Joe’s Medium Sized Cooked Frozen Shrimp
- Trader Joe’s Crumbled Feta with Mediterranean Herbs
- Trader Joe’s Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Strips (Heat it up. Great dinner item when you are in a hurry!)
- Trader Joe’s Haricots Verts (French Green Beans) (yum! – load them up with butter and salt!)
- Trader Joe’s Smoked Apple Chardonnay Sausage
- Trader Joe’s Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage
- Chunky Spicy Guacamole Auténtico (Yum! – Use the roasted plantain chips with this stuff!)
- Head of Cauliflower (Sky’s the limit. Great rice or mashed potato substitute)
- Green onions (6 oz)
- Trader Joe’s Cage Free Eggs – Hormone & Steroid Free
- Trader Joe’s Butter Lettuce (Super Awesome Lettuce. I’ll eat an entire bag!)
- Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Bisque (Love this stuff. Great if you are not that hungry on a Sunday evening)
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Trader Joe’s Roasted Coconut Chips
- Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Red Peppers
- Trader Joe’s Ridge Cut Sweet Potato Chips
- Trader Joe’s Cashews – Organic Dry Roasted salted (no soy, no peanut oil. Look for the ones that are just cashews and salt)
- Trader Joe’s Roasted Plantain Chips (These things are legendary!)
- Trader Joe’s Fresh Shallots
- Trader Joe’s Valencia Oranges – Organic
Total items: 34
Total bill: $115.18
May 1, 2014 brings a re-tooling in my life. New hustle. New goals. New ideas. New dreams.
Retool: Adapt or alter (someone or something) to make them more useful or suitable.
The month of April 2014 brought a lot of “lessons learned” in my life. The month of April 2014 was one of the toughest months I can remember walking out in my life.
I’m encouraged that at 38 years of age I’m truly still in the editing part of my life.
Your 30s are a period of Editing. This is the decade of sorting out interests, where you discover what you really care about and who you really are.~Jon Acuff
May 1, 2014 brings a fresh new set of days.
May 1, 2014 brings a fresh new set of memories.
May 1, 2014 brings new life.
I have been part of Jon Acuff’s #30DaysofHustle since January 1, 2014 and can’t thank Jon enough with all the pouring out of wisdom he has been giving thousands of people. May 1, 2014 starts new challenges for hustling in my life.
For me my hustles this month are:
- Take my weight loss journey to the next level.
- I have been maintaining. Time to start losing again! I want to lose 5-10 lbs this month.
- Continuing Education
- Complete one IT Training Course in some type of discipline whether it be a Microsoft Server training or project management.
- Blog more
- Blog more on FatManOnaDiet.com
- Love Outrageously
- Everyone needs a hug! Give more of them. Reach out to more people who need an encouraging word, help, or simply just a hug (or a fist pump).
So, there is lots to do. Rise up and be part of the Awesome Revolution!
Thanks for listening. Love – Big J.
#nowplaying – Ray LaMontagne – Supernova
It’s been a while since I have written on my blog. I’ve been kind of busy. Work, church stuff and daily life. It’s sometimes feels like Groundhog Day.
Recently, I had to make a tough decision in my life that was made simply on a matter of principle.
When something doesn’t line up with your principles, then never look back. Move on. Move forward. Continue to be awesome!
Since last Thursday, I have been off the social media grid. I have to say it has really been refreshing. What’s weird, though, in order for you to know how somebody is doing these days all you have to do is simply go onto their Facebook or Instagram feed and you can know everything you want to know in less than a couple of hours.
So what did I learn by unplugging for over a week? I’m definitely an extrovert and I miss the interaction of people on a daily basis.
The very short time I have been disconnected I have had time to clear my head. I’m excited for things ahead for my wife Rachel and me. We have some internal projects we are working on and hoping to launch some things online this summer.
Rachel and I are passionate about healthy eating and living. It’s important to us to stand with people and support them in making changes with regards to their health. We want to be a resource for people.
It’s time to start being awesome – 2014 is not over yet. There are plenty more days in the year to say “good morning” with a smile, buy someone a cup of coffee, open the door for someone, say an encouraging word, or give someone a hug.
I’m currently reading a book by Bob Goff called Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World. So far it has been changing the way I think about things. It’s showing me to live life outrageously.
Thanks for listening. Love – Big J
Even though I have dedicated my blog to living life well in 2013 it has been an outstanding year in music and I wanted to share some of my love for music and the artists that have inspired and moved me (literally) in 2013.
I have been contemplating for over the past several weeks, so the winner of my number one favorite album of 2013 goes to Disclosure’s album “Settle”. Putting it simply, I am blown away by the talent of the two very young individuals that make up this band. Not only was this album well put together but the vinyl pressing and packaging was excellent. I have also seen live shows via YouTube and they bring it. My favorite song on the album is “Latch.”
Runner up would be Pretty Lights “A Color Map of the Sun”. Another amazing album that took some time to put together. Watch the documentary on how they put the album together here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpcs0Caq9A0&feature=youtu.be
My Top 10 Albums of 2013:
Disclosure – “Settle”
Pretty Lights – “A Color Map of the Sun”
Paul McCartney – “New”
Washed Out – “Paracosm”
Kaskade – “Atmosphere”
Young Galaxy – “Ultramarine”
Nine Inch Nails – “Hesitation Marks”
Daft Punk – “Random Access Memories”
Tegan and Sara – “Heartthrob”
The Digital Age – “Evening:Morning”
I took some time and put a rad Spotify playlist together (62 songs) that showcases some of my favorite tracks from 2013. Enjoy! If you like an album, buy it on vinyl!
For me 2013 was a turning point in music. Both for vinyl record sales but also in creativity and artists digging down deep to put out epic product.
My favorite Vinyl record pressing in 2013 would have to be Paul McCartney’s “New” album. I pre-ordered it in October 2013, the pressing was delayed for 2 months and I finally received before Christmas. The packaging was beautiful and came with a very nice photo booklet and interview of Paul McCartney when he was making this record.
So that’s it. We say goodbye to 2013 and look forward to what 2014 will bring.
Thanks for reading -
Jason Robison @bigjstl
I just recently finished a four-week stint with a personal trainer. It was quite an enlightening experience. I have been working out regularly since I was 17. I always thought I knew about everything there was to know about working out. The problem: I was bored and needed a kick in the butt.
So, 4 weeks ago I signed up for a $99.00 jumpstart program through Dynamic Fitness Management (DFM) at Club Fitness in Arnold, MO. My trainer was Mark Feinstein. My initial session was to check my weight and measurements and then my body fat. During the initial week, my body fat was 28.6 percent.
Having a personal trainer was very fabulous. Having someone coach you along and then help you stretch after each session was very motivating.
I learned the proper way to do dead lifts. Dead lifts will kick your but and help you build strength.
Now the disappointing factor. After four weeks, I had to stop. The amount of money that is required (at least by Dynamic Fitness) is nowhere near what I would call economical or feasible for someone who is on a budget. All I can say is at a minimum my buy-in was between $500-$1300 for 1-3 months of sessions. After finding out how much this cost I was quite depressed and wish, there were alternatives that Dynamic Fitness could offer me. Unfortunately, after speaking with their Arnold, MO site manager the price was the price.
The good news: I found out that DFM offers a Synergy Class (free!!) that Mark teaches during the week and the weekend. I’m hoping that these classes can help solidify my basic foundation that Mark has provided to me already.
Additional good news: Within these four weeks, my body-fat percentage went from 28.6 to 26.6 percent.
Bottom line: Definitely do the $99 jumpstart program. It gives you a new start on working out. I can’t tell you how much more motivated I am now.
My compliments go out to Mark Feinstein. I highly recommend him. If you are looking for a personal trainer, then you can reach out to him at the Arnold, MO Club Fitness. Not only was he personable but was professional and has a sincere heart to help people. He was also very knowledgeable of the exercises we performed and went above and beyond my expectations each week. Thank you Mark!
Health Update: There is always the skeptics out there that say that you should have whole grains and eat less fat. That is completely false in my book. With the obesity rate over 30 perfect in the United States things have to start changing. My recent blood tests are proof that you can eat all the fatty foods you want. I eat no grains and consume less than 150 carbs per day. Did I mention no grains? No bread, no cereal. No Red Lobster cheddar biscuits!
My previous and recent cholesterol and triglycerides reading:
March 6, 2010: 175 / 129
December 20, 2013: 123 / 43
2014 is upon us! Happy New Year. Let’s all agree 2014 is going to be an epic year of change. What change do you want to make in 2014? If you are going to make a change in 2014 with your weight make small baby steps. View my long journey on my blog and let it be an encouragement moving forward.
My health and fitness goals for 2014:
Lose another 20lb and/or get to 199lbs. My current weight is around 221-225lbs as of this writing.
Reduce my body fat by another 10%.
Cook my own meals. Experiment with new recipes.
Help more people lose weight.
Serve more in the community.
So I had this crazy notion to get down on the floor and start doing push ups. For the longest time when you are 100 pounds overweight you tend to have a hard time pushing up!
So tonight I just decided to do ten push ups. I probably could have done five more. I can’t express how excited I am. I can do a push up now. This is huge for me. This is also a new challenge for me. When I was one of those, you know, muscle heads in the late 90’s I would get up in the morning and just starting doing push ups.
So guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning when I wake up now? Yes, push ups!
Oh. I’m down a total of 94 pounds now since 7/2010.
Love – @bigjstl
Can you believe it? It’s October 1, 2013. Fall is here. Hay rides, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cooler weather.
Today marks another significant achievement in my weightloss journey. I’m down -90.6lbs. My goal now is to be down -100lbs by 12/31/2013.
September 2013 marked another amazing experience for me. On September 3, 2013 I ventured into doing a 21-day detox from meat (red meat, chicken, turkey and fish). I’m happy to say that out of 30 days there was only two days that I had meat (fish and some turkey). The experience was not that difficult. I really don’t feel any different but it has allowed me to change some of my eating habits for the good.
Note: I dislike people labels. After this experience with eating no meat I truly respect people who make that choice in life to be a vegan or vegetarian. For me I consider myself a Vegetarian before 6pm. I do see myself moving away from bulky red meat and sticking to fish and other lean meats.
Three more months left in 2013! Challenge yourself to do something awesome for the rest of the year. Volunteer. Help someone in need. Journal your food for a whole month. Be awesome!
Love – BIG J