YOUR Best

This company is intentionally called Bridges To YOUR Best. Not “Bridges to THE Best.” Or “Bridges to Better Than That Guy’s best.” It’s about pushing people, (selfishly starting with me) to reach higher and achieve more and, thereby, live more meaningful, happy lives.

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The basic premise is this:

  • We all CAN be better.
  • We all SHOULD be better.

You may disagree with the latter statement but as long as you are human there’s no arguing with the former. That’s because fallibility and imperfection are what make us human and, therefore, capable of being better…always.

Yesterday I ran my first half marathon race in about two years. My best time ever 5 years ago was 2:03 and I have wanted to beat that time ever since I set it. Being that close to a nice round number told me mentally that I could do better. I knew I could! And I, like you I’m sure, couldn’t stand around and accept that somehow that time of 2:03 was MY best. With just a little more effort couldn’t I improve? Couldn’t I get closer to my best?

Well, yesterday I beat that time. (See my results below.Chip time is what matters.)

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As I ran down one of the most scenic roads I’ve ever been down with thousands of my fellow runners, I found myself from time to time thinking “I can beat that guy” or “I can’t let her beat me.” Mostly arrogant, maybe normal, thoughts as I tried to control my speed and save something for the last 3 miles when the course would flatten out.

But what I learned was the wisdom of naming the company Bridges To YOUR Best. Did it really matter if I beat anyone else on the course? The reality is I didn’t know when exactly any of these people started the race-their “chip time” or whether I would pass them at the end. It simply didn’t matter and a little voice in my head (pretty sure it was mine 😉 said “Just run YOUR best.”

These two hours early on a crisp, beautiful Fall morning in the Rockies drove home deeply to me how life is the same way. My performance in life is not contingent on how well or poorly someone else seems to be doing (Facebook = Fakebook?) or how amazing I think I am compared to someone else. What matters is how I am really doing. How close am I to being my best?

So, while I am pleased that I finally broke the 2 hour mark, the truth is that the last 2 miles were a struggle and I realized that I could have trained harder to manage the home stretch better and beat my record by even more.

Guess what? I am already thinking of how I can break 1:50 next time and how I can be a better human being…always!

You with me?

Trapped? Look up!

Still in the middle of the most challenging year or two of my life and this week was exceptionally tough. Like “fetal position and tears” tough.

  • Scrambling to manage a major crisis with our refugee benefit concert caused by someone else;
  • Finalizing my divorce with the woman I was married to for 25 years;
  • Struggling financially through the slow summer months on Wall Street.

I’ve heard that “crises build character.”

I’ve also heard it said that “crises reveal character.”

After going through these brutally tough times I believe that crises actually do BOTH.

I consider myself to be someone who embraces the opportunities to do hard things and have generally (not always!) made the most of of my life by not shrinking from these “opportunities.” In that respect, my character has been revealed, if not totally exposed!, these past months BUT I’ve come to see that character, our inner strength, who we are down deep, can ALWAYS be built into something stronger.

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Unless we feel trapped, stifled, suffocated, desperate, etc. we may never know just how strong we can become. It sucks! It’s an almost visceral pain that has caused a pain so deep I literally felt sick and wondered what was the point of carrying on.

But this week I found a moment of peace and light in the middle of so much deafening noise and suffocating darkness that changed it all. I looked UP and found what I was looking for. A solution. A strength I almost forgot or maybe didn’t believe was ever there. It doesn’t matter what the answer was. What matters is that I found the strength to look UP and I was OK.

So, my life is not suddenly perfect (Psst–there’s no such thing!) and my problems are not magically solved. But things are looking UP.

And as long as I remember to keep looking UP I believe things will get better and my growth will continue.  And so will yours!

Children

The work we do at BRIDGES is really all about children. If you are going to make a long-term impact on the future of the world it’s going to be with the kids.

We have so many opportunities to help the children including reuniting 6 children with their families here in the USA now (read more below).

I love this kid, Luke Hopkins. Amazing voice, eternally optimistic and just simply a good young man.

I asked him to cover a great song by Justin Beiber, Children. Luke borrowed a little mojo from our friend, Alex Boye and “Africanized” the song. Hope you love it!

And if you do love it (which you will!) please show Luke and these other children by donating generously to our current reunification effort at http://PayPal.me/BridgesToAmerica.

Stay connected with Luke’s latest work here and watch his career progress.

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“Blind old lady”

Last night around 8PM as I was getting out of my car and about to head in to my place for some more work and maybe some sleep I saw this beautiful elderly woman. Her name is Ellen and she’s been blind since 2006 and has spinal stenosis. So she has a walker to help her walk and balance while being blind! As you can see from the picture she’s trying to take her garbage out to the dumpster.

I saw her was was moved to help. She was scooting along very slowly and carefully in and out of parked cars trying to head to the dumpster to take out her own trash.

I cautiously asked her if I could help her. I didn’t want to startle her or make her uncomfortable. She was pretty confused about which direction everything was and where exactly the dumpster was. She called herself a “blind old lady” but she is anything but that! (She’s “only” been blind for the last 10 years and I realized last night how tall the mountain must be to try and adapt to a world now in total darkness!)

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Rather than let me simply take the trash out for her, which would have taken me 60 seconds, she asked me if I would walk with her to the dumpster, about 100 yards from where we were standing and help her learn the way. I couldn’t say no to her because a) I was touched by her desire to be independent–she didn’t just want the task done for her she wanted to know how to do it for herself next time, and b) I was genuinely concerned for her safety. She later told me that due to her spinal stenosis if she falls she could sever her spinal cord.

She was a delightful woman and we talked about all kinds of things. When we finally got her back to her room 90 minutes later she was so grateful and I promised I would look out for her next time. (She also has my mobile number because she wants to help with our work helping Africans here and overseas and I plan to find a way to let her do that. She would be an asset and blessing to our work!)

Here is what my new friend, Ellen, taught me about the principles of BRIDGES:

  • Age doesn’t have to restrict INDEPENDENCE, not totally anyway. It’s about heart and mind, not body.
  • Inner STRENGTH is more beautiful and useful than physical strength. Ellen is absolutely one of the strongest people I have ever met. I would never have managed the challenge she did, certainly not with that level of calm and determination.
  • “Uselessness is the hardest thing.” Ellen said this to me as she pleaded with me to let her work with BRIDGES. Her sincere desire to be useful however she can despite her obvious physical challenges and age is such a great example of RESILIENCE and BOLDNESS.
  • GENEROSITY is such a beautiful, two-sided concept. I helped Ellen simply because she needed it with zero expectation of anything in return, But several times during our “walk” I teared up and felt my heart burn with understanding, gratitude, and hope and realized that, once again, my effort to help was dwarfed by the good I received in return.

I know any of you reading this would do the same thing so please don’t take this post as me patting myself on the back but the lessons are a great reminder to me, and hopefully you, that there is ALWAYS someone in need and it really doesn’t take much to help. (Psst…And the secret is that when help others we nearly always get more in return than the help we give.)

If you are moved at all by this don’t forget you have an opportunity to help two families TODAY in need by reuniting them. Read more below and donate here.

Own your day today! Someone is surely counting on you.

Let’s go!

Running to Reunite: Results

Running is fun. Reuniting families is amazing!

As you can see from my photo and race results confirmation, I ran to reunite today, as promised.

Now, all these families need is for everyone who reads this post to dig as deep as you can, or at least halfway, and donate. Click this link below to make any donation you can spare.


Running to Reunite is a team effort. I run. You help reunite by donating funds for one-way airfare.

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Pretty stoked to have finished my first official 10K ever!

Glad to have done the 6.2 miles well under an hour. Not bad for a 48 year-old 6'3" 200 pound dude. ;-)

Glad to have done the 6.2 miles well under an hour. Not bad for a 48 year-old 6’3″ 200 pound dude. 😉

 

Now to the serious stuff…we have two families to reunite, TWO! There’s a total of 6 kids in Africa that need to get to the USA and be with their families. It’s hard to know but the number of direct family members; parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles et al that are indirectly affected by the reunification is not a small number. WE have the chance to make a difference and change the course of a family forever and touch the lives of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of good people just trying to survive.

This is a picture of the father of two of these daughters stuck in one of the most war-torn and volatile countries on the continent of Africa, Central African Republic. See the latest news about the mess this country is…again!

He’s visually impaired and hasn’t been able to feel the touch of or hear the voice (except for via telephone occasionally) of his two daughters for 15 years!

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Two important things to note:

  1. Once these children have their entry visas issued by the US State Department they expire if they don’t actually enter the USA within the required window which is usually 60-90 days. If they don’t make the entry then they get to start all over again. This means more expense, time and effort to apply, pay fees, and get medical exams. All the while they remain in their dangerous countries and away from their families.
  2. One of the daughters of this good man above turns 18 next month: mid-August. If she can get into the USA before her next birthday then she will automatically become a US citizen opening up many important doors for this young woman to make her way in the USA and help support her family here. If we don’t get her here in time then it will likely take years to become a citizen. Here is a picture of her from her visa.

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The need is real…

The time is short….

The clock is ticking…

I hope you hear it and will join me in reuniting these families TODAY.

God bless you and yours.

10K for $10K!

One of the coolest, most rewarding things we do at BRIDGES is to legally reunite families. We have reunited 8 families and now have the chance to help more RIGHT NOW!

Can you imagine what it feels like to be involuntarily separated from your loved ones for an unknown period of time, rarely knowing when, or even if, you will see them again?

Now imagine what it would be like to be back in their presence and how much joy you would feel. Indescribable!

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We have TWO families that need to be reunited desperately. Both families have similar situations. Parent(s) here in the USA and at least one child stuck back in Africa in two dangerous countries: Cameroon and Central African Republic. (Click the links to learn more of the current situation there.)

Any of you who know me even a little know that I’m not one to sit around and hope that everything will magically work out. I have always worked for the desired outcomes. It hasn’t always been pretty BUT it has always worked.

We’ve had some support so far BUT we are far short of the funds necessary to help these two families that want nothing more than to simply be with their loved ones. Something we ALL take for granted most days.

So, Monday I’m going to run a 10K race here in Salt Lake City to raise $10K to help these families and others that I know are out there and will need our assistance.

Will you please support these families?

It is a lonely world when you don’t have your family. The heartache one must feel knowing their child is stranded back in Africa in an often very scary and tumultuous environment is unthinkable to many of us.

ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS MONEY.

Visas have been issued. Fees have been made. Medical exams passed.  All they lack is the funds to pay for the one-way airfare. It is critical to note that these families are here LEGALLY!! No shortcuts! Just plenty of money and heartache spent to get this far! Let’s get them over the finish line!

Support however you like. Every bit helps!

  1. Click this link to make your donation online immediately (preferred)



  2. Email me at adam@bridgestoamerica.org with your pledge if/when I finish the 10k Monday (I will finish by the way!) and I will send you an invoice to make your donation.
  3. Mail a tax-deductible check made payable to Bridges To America, Inc. to: 1790 S West Temple, B 301, Salt Lake City, UT 84115

Stay tuned to how I do in the race and more importantly to how WE do in helping these families achieve their most fundamental desire: BE REUNITED WITH THEIR LOVED ONES.

Let’s do this!

Follow the journey on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #Running2Reunite

Blind Spot?

I do something that most would think is a little quirky…and it probably is but I’m kind of proud of it.

When I go to my “day job” and park my car in the “big city” I can pay $2/hour to park on the street on the same block as my building OR I can park at the mall parking garage 3 blocks away and get two hours free. (Obviously with those prices I’m not working in San Francisco anymore 😉

Or I can walk 3 blocks every two hours to the garage, exit for free, drive 1/4 block and enter again to reset the 2 free hours clock.

The math works like this: $2/hour for an 8 hour day =  $16/day x 5 = $80/week = about $320/month just to park my car! 

I see the benefits as follows:

  • Save ~$300/month. Duh!
  • Regular break from the stress of the day job to clear my head and get some extra exercise
  • Built-in discipline to finish office tasks within a set time and beat the 2 hour clock

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This is really a no brainer!

I’ve been doing this for a few months now and I’ve got my little parking spot near the elevators all picked out and I was feeling pretty proud of myself…until TODAY!

For whatever reason yesterday I noticed that there is actually an elevator closer to the street. This means that I can save even more time by parking near that elevator. What is embarrassing is that this elevator is literally 5 feet from the parking pay station that I ALWAYS use and then walk further to my normal parking spot. I never noticed it until yesterday. Yikes!

So what? Not a big deal, right? Who cares about my parking situation?

Well, in the middle of my routine and my satisfaction at how clever I was to create it I became complacent but I learned a couple of things that you might find helpful.

  • Routines are fine but don’t get lazy.
  • Stay aware of what you are doing and try to remember there’s always a better way to do something. We all have blind spots and if we aren’t aware of them we will miss something.
  • Don’t be arrogant. Whenever I hear that little voice in my head telling me “You’re so smart!” what he really is saying is “You’re not that smart. Stay humble.”

May you continually find a place to park your car for cheap and may we stay ever humble and aware that there is ALWAYS a better way to live our lives even in the mundane things like parking. Watch your blind spots!

The Arena

I was reminded recently of two things:

  1. How hard and lonely it can be to chase a dream to create something out of nothing;
  2. How easy it is to criticize someone who is trying to create something out of nothing.

The world basically runs on mediocrity and smallness. Think about it. How many people do you know who are dreaming big AND working their ass off to make that dream a reality? Dreaming and doing are NOT the same thing. Anyone who dares dream big and jumps into the arena of risk and hard work is quickly going to feel the hardness and loneliness of the quest. Most people who feel these feelings (natural obstacles, by the way) eventually cut their dreams back so they can lower their discomfort, simply “manage” life and “hang in there.” 

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I acknowledge that life is hard. Trust me, I get it. But does that mean we back away from our dreams and live small?! Are you going to let the ups and downs of life that we ALL face keep you from reaching your potential? Happiness and peace in life comes from discovering who you are and what value you bring to the world. I contend that getting through the hard times, the harder the better, and coming out the other side–stronger, wiser, more experienced–enhances our happiness and deepens our peace. There is less satisfaction in easy things.

We all have value to add to the world on some level. It’s not about having more or less value or potential than someone else. It’s about YOU and becoming YOUR best. Happiness is within us if we don’t compare to others and shun those who would tear us down.

Unfortunately, some of the small souls in this world who are merely “hanging in there” may regret their decision to give up on their dreams so much that they become critical of those they see trying to actually become more. It’s like: “Dude! You’re supposed to hang onto !this rope of life, not climb it!” Don’t be a cold and timid soul. The world doesn’t need any more of those. 

Find your potential, get moving and be ready to fight like hell.

I leave you with this poignant and compelling insight from former US President Theodore Roosevelt who captures the absolute magic of the quest made by the bold and daring. Win or Lose. Perfection or Failure. The man (and woman!) in the arena is living life to its fullest and therein lies true happiness and peace.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Ignore the critics, take a deep breath, and let’s go!

Win the day!

Win The Day

Things in life can get bad…really bad. So bad you can feel desperate, hopeless.

But if you can find just 60 seconds to tell yourself it really could be worse then perhaps you will realize that as long as there is a sliver of hope, an ounce of possibility you simply can’t give up.

And not giving up means that you keep trying, that you rise, that you steel yourself for how hard it will be to rise but you do it anyway.

This is how you win the day. And life is made up of nothing but minutes, hours, and days. A life of greatness, your life of greatness starts TODAY, with this attitude.

Go get ’em!

BRIDGE!

This morning, two hours before I needed to leave for the airport for yet another trip to Nigeria, I decided to go for a run. I didn’t have much time but at least wanted to stretch my legs before cramming them into a flying tin can for 15 hours.

I decided to run to a bridge on the trail one mile from our house. When I started out it was raining and cold. Before I knew it the wind was blowing hard in my face and the rain turned to hail. First thought was “turn around and head back!” After all it was just a short run and I had to catch a flight soon. Almost as quickly as the rain had turned to hail the image of the bridge I was running to entered my mind and I knew I couldn’t turn back. This was my goal and I knew, despite the hail, that giving up would feel worse than the hail in my face. (Thankfully the hail didn’t last too long.)

Things with our project in Africa have been HARD! Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. BUT the impact of what we are doing is so real that, just like this morning, I can’t turn back.

What are you running to? If it’s not something that truly speaks to your soul and your heart you will likely turn back when the rain turns to hail, or you may not ever even leave the house.

Set your goal and move. Life is too short…