What are you proud of?

Do you ever feel pretty proud of yourself? Kind of interesting the stuff that we get proud of. Here are some of the things I have been proud of lately:

1. stopped drinking diet soda. Used to drink it all the time, for years, but my mom kept telling me it would give me cancer eventually. Finally I decided it can’t be good for me, all that fake sugar. So I stopped. I forget when it was exactly. I think it was over a year ago. Since then, I can count on one hand the times I drank diet soda.

2. I ran a 5k. Actually finished it in 30 minutes. I think I may have come up with a new exercise program. Run a 5k every month and do nothing in between. I may do another 5k this Saturday, but I actually have run a little bit since the last 5k a month ago. But that last one was my first organized race ever. I liked it. Plus I got a free t-shirt.

3. I’m almost done with a Lyndon Johnson biography by Robert Dallek , part of my lifelong quest of reading a biography about every president. For some reason, this one has been tough sledding. But I only have about 100 pages to go. I’m proud of myself now, and will be even prouder when I’m done. Then I think I will next read the Nixon biography by Stephen Ambrose. (I’m a big Ambrose fan.)

Then I kept thinking about this stuff. Is this the stuff I want to be remembered for when I’m dead and gone? Strange how small things seem worth some pride even if it’s not anything of real eternal significance. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your friends and family to say about you? What kind of son, husband, father, brother, friend, boss, employee, or neighbor do you want to be known as?

Ok, gotta go. Need to knock out a few more pages of that LBJ biography before bed…

I come from a people who…

I am sitting here at Springfield Clinic getting a bunch of allergy shots. 27 shots, 3 at a time, every 15 minutes (and on my birthday, even). What better time to post to my blog?

Who do you act like? In my work with estate clients, I get to hear about the legacy that came before them and the legacy they want to leave to their kids and grandkids. Those who came before us play a big part in who we are. Who do you act like in your family?

People say I act a lot like my granddad, Arthur Bitzer. He passed away when I was 26 years old. I can see the resemblance.

We were both very curious. When the nurse was in here a minute ago, she had the pulse oxygen thing on my finger. (how in the world does that thing work?) And I was breathing deeply to try to get it up to 100%. I did it! Once, when my grandad was in the hospital, he was moving his arms and legs to get his heart rate up to make the monitors change. Nurses ran in, only to find out he was doing it on purpose!

We want things to be efficient. In fact, we both, independently, used to do the same thing with the microwave. In order to save a few nanoseconds, we would cook something for 11 seconds instead of 10, or 2 minutes 22 seconds, instead of 2 minutes. Didn’t have to move the finger to another button that way.

We like to analyze things. For instance, if my grandad was watching a high school graduation, he would time how long it took to give out 5 diplomas. Then he would do the math and figure out how long it would take to get all 200 graduates through the line. I’ve been known to do that kind of thing myself.

My grandparents, Arthur and Marjorie Bitzer, played a big part in my legacy. They wanted to play a part in getting me started in my legal career, so years ago they paid my fee for the law school admission test, fee to apply to law school, and fee to apply for admission to the bar. They didn’t get to see me in private practice, since they both passed away in 1996 while I was clerking for an Illinois Supreme Court justice. (They never spent an anniversary apart, after being married 64 years). But on my desk at Edwards Group LLC, I have a glass box with my granddad’s initials on it, AMB. It used to sit on his desk at the car dealership that he owned in Salem, Illinois – Bitzer Auto Sales.

Anyway, who has made an impact on your life and legacy? How would you answer this question:

“I come from a people who…”

Can you speak the language?

Part of feeling connected to a family, school, part of the country, etc. is the language we use. Our family (both my extended family, as well as Michelle, Bailey, and I) has all kinds of sayings for all kinds of situations. Once a year there is a day where I can use one particular saying.

“Did you know that today is the only day of the year that gives a command?”
March 4th!

My dad said it for years and now I say it. What sayings does your family have? I have a bunch of our family’s sayings listed on my info page on Facebook. There are tons more I plan to add to facebook, but I can’t remember them all when I sit down to type them. Although when certain situations come up, I just come out with them, like my brain is hard wired. It is one of the joys of following a legacy from those who have gone before. That I can pass down stories and sayings from my parents and grandparents.

When things get messed up

This afternoon, I hosted a roomful of financial professionals for a webinar. Where we all face forward, listening to a voice through speakers sitting in some other state and looking at a screen with a powerpoint presentation. And it was really great. Great content and a great group of professionals I respect.

Then it happened. The webcast audio just went out. Then the video. What now? Well, I didn’t have any jokes prepared and no one wanted to watch Elmo in Grouchland (left over from Bailey’s visit to daddy’s office a week or so ago), so we all chatted, ate some cookies, then confirmed that the webinar was out because the presenter’s internet went out. A little more chatting, then everyone headed out, back to their offices.

So what do you do when things don’t go right?

I’m strung a little tight so I have been known to let my frustration level get a bit high. (See yesterday’s post on my leather chair.) My wife can tell you the story about how I walked out of Panera because they were out of bagels. Also walked out of Baker’s Square once because they refused to serve the pies in the case (instead were holding them for the holiday the next day).

But, anyway, today I was fine with it all. Disappointed, yes. But not over the top frustrated. I had my perspective today. My goal wasn’t to present a flawless webinar, but to get a chance to learn and collaborate with great professionals who care about the clients as much as I do. Some I have known for months, some for years. And today was just one more step in a journey I am taking with them to serve clients together.

Tomorrow I may walk out of another restaurant. But today, I am at peace.