December Writing Challenge
December is usually a bad month for B2B sales. It’s not that businesses shut down for the Holidays, rather people start to ease into Christmas mode (and B2C advertising takes over).
This year I was able to deliver my clients’ Christmas campaigns early; leaving me more time to enjoy the Holidays. That being said, I looked into my own business operations and decided to do a writing challenge for my Holiday activity.
10 Things that Make Me Really Happy
The first topic of this writing challenge is to share 10 things that make me really happy. These might strike some of you as odd, but I’m quite comfortable sharing them.
Hope you enjoy!
1. Going to the Gym (Platinum Fitness in Glace Bay)
Nothing beats the feeling of finishing a workout. Whether I have a stressful day, or just ate too much food, the gym makes me feel amazing. Plus, the staff are awesome. Gail, Emily, Glen, Garrett, and Kelly always welcome me, energize me, and motivate me — I really appreciate all they do for myself and other members of the gym.
Next to staff, the “regulars” are a delightful addition to the experience. Between Monday and Friday, I can be sure to see the same people exercising and following a similar gym routine. Although I don’t know all of their names, we often nod at each other, fist bump, and talk about our fitness challenges.
We all push ourselves.
2. Coffee, Reading, and Writing
Early mornings and a quiet home. This is when I enjoy reading and/or working on my blog.
Writing began as a small activity to assist my professional profile. It seemed like a good way to learn about business, reinforce lessons, and to reflect on experiences. As the years passed, I observed what sort of topics draw readers; which was one of my learning goals for digital marketing.
Since then, writing has became one of my most enjoyed hobbies. Where some people meditate, I write.
3. Live Blues/Jazz Performances
El Diablo margarita, a Bud Light, and the sweet sound of music. Accompany that with some candle light or a fireplace… I’m in heaven.
Whether I’m in Florida, Nashville, or attending a local Christmas concert, you can be sure to find me at a piano bar or small pub listening to a mix of piano, saxaphone, and bass.
One of my favorite bars are “Dueling Piano Bars”. These bars feature a stage with 2 grand pianos facing each other. Lurking overhead is a curved mirror that wraps over the musicians; showing the full motion of their hands on the piano keys. It’s an incredible experience.
I’m told New Orleans has amazing jazz festivals — maybe that’ll be a trip for 2020.
4. Weekly Dungeons & Dragons
Ever feel like you’re losing touch with yourself? That you don’t use your imagination like you did as a kid? I did. Dungeons and Dragons has rekindled my imagination and helps me practice being creative.
Each week, myself and friends get together to roll dice and determine if our creative decision-making helps us overcome imaginary challenges; helping us advance our characters. It’s a lot of fun.
Dungeons and Dragons combines storytelling and improv unlike any other video game or board game; enabling players to expand their minds. Did you just save a small village from a hostile tribe of orcs? Ask for a medal for your bravery!
You can do anything in Dungeons and Dragons and your rewards aren’t limited by what is originally programmed in the game.
In a recent session, I accidently freed a villainous character who wanted to summon a monster to fight our group (requiring speech to cast his spell). I tried everything to stop him.
- I tried grappling him, but that wouldn’t stop him from speaking.
- I tried casting “Silence” to create a void where no sound could pass through, but he moved out of the affected area.
- I tried casting “Create/Destroy Water” to fill his mouth with water, but could only do this 3 times.
My last attempt was to perform an emotional takedown. I pulled a mirror from my investory and held it to the villain’s face. Aloud I spoke, “Look at yourself! I know there’s still good in you! The brave, kind child that once was there is still inside you. You just have to believe! You are good at heart!”.
I rolled a 2 on my persuasion check (failing the attmept).
This is Dungeons and Dragons.
5. Eating at Restaurants
A few years ago, I stopped viewing restaurants as a place to eat and instead began viewing them as a place to invest in relationships.
I eat out everyday (seriously). It’s can be expensive, but I really enjoy the stories, interactions, and memories I build with my family, friends, colleagues, and associates.
Restaurant conversations can lead to exciting opportunities in life. Brian Best and I decided to go all-in on Phased (a technology company) in a southern BBQ spot called Embers. Conversations I had with Jame Anderson (at SUP Baddeck) led to my eventual move to Toronto. Over the course of many lunches and dinners, Darren MacDonald warmed me up to one of my newer hobbies, skiing.
All these opportunities started with a meal!
6. Ski Season (Ski Ben Eoin)
When I was 12, I had a bad fall. The damage to my arm created a fear of skiing. I stopped the sport entirely.
At age 22, I met Darren MacDonald (an avid skier) and he began planting the seed for skiing. When I was 25, I put the skis back on.
I was nervous to get back into the sport. I figured other people would be much better than me; embarrassing me. This was not the case.
One day in Banff while discussing skiing with my brother, he showed me an Instagram account called “Jerry of the Day”. That Instagram account gave me the full view of what the ski community was really like: accepting, fun, and silly. Suddenly skiing became a lot of fun.
At the time of this blog post, I’m entering my 3rd year back skiing. I’m even heading to Ski Ben Eoin’s ski swap to buy my own gear.
Another great thing about skiing is that it gives you something to look forward to in winter. Over the years, my attitude towards winter was “wake me up when it’s warm”. Not anymore.
If you live in the Cape Breton area and are considering trying skiing, send me a message. I’d love to go!
7. Travelling with Friends and Family
I don’t travel enough. Partly because the mix of work, school, and scheduling with others distracts me.
As a kid, my parents wanted me to see different parts of the world. When I was in grade 10, I went to Italy. After graduating high school, I spent a few weeks in Egypt. In my second year of university, I completed a 8-week interational exchange program in Shanghai, China. Lastly, I visited Mexico to check out the Mayan Ruins of Tulum — this was all before I decided to tackle my entrepreneurial interests.
After starting, closing, and selling Phased, SUP Baddeck, MacInnis Consulting, and Marketing Qualified, I had the cashflow to do more in life.
In 2018, I went on 5 trips with different groups of friends. Out of all these people, the most keen to travel was Garrett Taylor. We went on a trip to Nashville and Calgary in 2018. We were also slated for a weekend in Moncton, but Garrett had to work. Other trips in 2018 included Boston and Toronto.
In 2019, I slowed down on travel. I went on weekend trip to Halifax and a family trip to Disney. Disney was a neat experience as my neice, Callie, was celebrating her 1st birthday! She was so overwhelmed with excitement and feelings that she began clapping and waving for the first time. She LOVED Donald Duck.
The reason why travel makes me so happy is because it exposes me to different environments and reminds me how big and beautiful our planet is. For years I didn’t take a trip; convincing myself I was too busy to travel. I’ll be making up for those years in the near future!
8. Not Playing Video Games!
I use to be a heavy video gamer. I don’t know when it happened, but there was a day I had a dream where I watched my life in fast forward (in third person).
The sun quickly rose and set day after day as I glued myself to a screen. I even watched my posture take a toll; developing “nerd neck” and gaining weight. That one little dream is what shifted my behaviour to video games.
When September rolled around and I was heading to my first year of university, I decided to leave my video games home. That was my official break up with gaming.
Don’t get me wrong, I still dabble in video games here and there, but I find there’s more good than bad when it comes to not playing video games. On the good side, I have expanded my interests. On the bad side, I don’t get to hang out with a certain group of my friends as much; collaborating to defeat an opponent or completing a common objective.
This is why I consider it important to invest in the social aspects of my life like going for coffee, eating at restaurants, and seeing movies.
9. Working (Yes, Really)
I know a lot of people dread going to work but honestly, I love it.
Unlike most people, I’ve spent many years trying out different jobs. I’ve dabbled in video editing, YouTube, paddleboarding, technology, information security, international business, etc.
Each road has led me back to the quantitative side of marketing; although I have a huge respect for the qualitative side as well.
Marketing involves a lot of problem solving. You might finish a campaign, but get no engagement. You then tweak the campaign, then learn your most engaged audience is mothers over the age of 45 (just an example).
There are many little secrets hidden in the weeds of marketing, but it’s very satisfying to find them and put them to use.
I like what I do for work!
10. My Cat and Family Dog
As a kid, I wanted a dog. Dad wasn’t too keen on getting a pet, so we didn’t have one for many years. Then we got Myah (Shihtzu).
Myah is currently 15 years old and will be 16 in February. Although she doesn’t have the energy and excitement she did many years ago, she still loves to follow her routine of going outside, napping, playing, having lunch, supper, and going to bed.
As for my cat, Chloe, she came to me while I was operating SUP Baddeck (2016). During that time, there were 2 stray cats that paraded around the Inverary Inn Resort & Spa. My good friend James Anderson, may he rest in peace, named the 2 cats “Legs” and “Ears”.
The cats had a litter of kittens and one of them was Chloe. Where Chloe’s brothers and sisters would run away from me, Chloe would sit and meow at me; stretching and wanting up in my arms. I bathed her, took her to the vet, and fed her. Before long, I took her in as my own — one fo the better decisions I’ve made in my life.
Like Myah, Chloe follows a routine. She meows at me when her bowl is empty, brings me her favorite toy when it’s bedtime, and waits for me to go downstairs in the morning (she doesn’t go without me). When going to bed, she eagerly jumps onto the blankets and snuggles into my side.
I think the reason pets make me so happy is because of the dose of responsibility they bring. As a young adult, there are times when I struggle with my life and career. When in these moments of deep thought, other responsibilities can begin to slip like going to the gym, doing laundry, and keeping a clean home.
When in a rut, my pets pull me back into reality; making me focus on basic needs like food and water. Instead of rocking back and forth, worried about life, I get a gentle meow and realize ‘Hmm? Oh, you need food’. It’s a very small detail, but an important one. It’s pretty easy to get into the weeds of work, life, and relationships. Having a pet steers me through the storm.