Smile Because it Happened.

What a fitting quote [by Dr. Seuss] to start a brand new year with. I saw it on Twitter earlier and it inspired me to quickly sit down an write this post.

dont-cry-because-its-over-smile-because-it-happened-148Today will be my first day back at work after my festive break and I’m finding myself sitting here – writing this – with a smile on my face.

This has literally had to be the best holiday that I’ve had in my entire working life. It was jam packed; with friends, family lots of laughter, lots of food, lots of wine, a long walk on the beach, reflections and realizations of how easy it is to miss out on things that are actually important in life.

Now, I feel focussed and ready for the 2015. 2014 was tough, but it was necessary and good. There were many milestones that I’ve [you’ve] managed to check off my [your] list and that should inspire us to keep moving forward and setting our bar even just a bit higher in all areas of our lives.

So to you (my; friends, family and acquaintances) who returned to work today, let me take this moment and welcome you to it.

Here’s to more success stories, to reaching more milestones, to learning more new things and smelling all the flowers as we go about achieving our ambitions.

Image Source: http://www.quotesvalley.com

Nothing Controls Me, Until I Decide To Give It My Permission To Do So.

I'm Doing This for MeToday was a pretty BIG day for me, I’ll tell you why. Thirty days ago I agreed to a sugar-free challenge with a very close friend of mine – someone I consider to be an older sister, a person I have a lifetime’s worth of respect for. I am so happy that I agreed because, today marks DAY 30 and therefore the end of the challenge, yet the beginning of a brand new lifestyle for my wife (who was in on the challenge – and was totally amazing), our kids and I.To understate what, and how I feel… I can only but say that I feel, absolutely, amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t and cannot say that we went completely sugar-free, but the cut-back on our sugar intake was in my view notably significant. It is important to note, the principle behind our decision; to take back control from what we believe was dictating our eating habits, that completely dwarfs the nitty-gritties of this challenge.

Trust me, there are some of my very close friends who will remember me taking a whopping 8 – yes you read that right, I took EIGHT – teaspoons of the white stuff in my coffee up until 2002. In that same year I cut back that intake to a meager two in… just one decision. Then in 2007, with the encouragement of another amazing friend, I cut it right down to zero in [good] filter coffee and remained on two in any other forms of caffeine.

In addition to my passion for the powder in all things edible; I love cake, fizzy drinks, tarts, chocolates, the list goes on but guess what, I made it through 30 days without any of it and that in itself is amazing for me, Elridge.

I think what stands out for me about these last few days and what I’ve learnt from my personal experience, coming through what seems like a process is this. Sugar didn’t control me. It was me telling myself that I needed it, because of cultivated bad habits which I developed and nurtured over time. I realized that I am not dependent on anything unless I choose to be. Yes, nothing controls me until I decide to give it permission to do so.

Now, looking back, I am proud to sit/stand here -30 days later – knowing I’ve accomplished something which I (after I gave my yes) thought I would never get through. I’ve taken control of another area in my life and look forward to do the same in the next.

Truth is, I’ll only get one shot at this life, why not live it healthy, free and full of energy. Oh and I feel good, because this time… I’m doing this for me!

Image Source: http://goo.gl/cHj0zx

The Things Successful People Know About Turning Your Passion into a Dream Job

Boeing LandingYesterday, on our way back from a family gathering, my wife got into an intensely stimulating discussion about our dreams and ambitions. It was one of those conversations that had the potential to last for hours. But… in the middle of my tangent – about what I really want to do – vocalizing my elaborate desires and dreams, she utters with a slight hint of a smile; “There goes your passion.” It was a Boeing 737 flying overhead, on its final approach to the nearby Cape Town International Airport.

I immediately went quiet. For a moment I couldn’t believe that I just let go of that dream. I wanted to be a pilot with all my heart and I love flying till this day. I am sure I never pursued my dream due to my inability to stick close to or surround myself with people who were in a position to take me toward that dream. In hindsight I now realize I in fact had such an opportunity (Vanderbijlpark, ZA – 2002) and I didn’t even get the hint. So, I think I needed that nudge and probably even owe a thank you to her for unintentionally dusting off and flipping that switch for me.

And now in celebrating my moment, and perhaps a moment you may have had, I am certain you’ll find the essence of this article as inspiring as I have.

Originally Written By: Michael McCutcheon

A fifth grader from Georgia goes to space camp and experiences weightlessness for the first time. A few years later, he’s standing spellbound at an airshow. At 22, he walks into a conference room to broker the sale of a multimillion-dollar airplane and a business is born. Jamail Larkins, now 30, is the founder and CEO of Ascension Air.

It’s an incredible career full of lessons learned, and if you ask him about it, he’s still at the beginning. Ascension Air leases small aircrafts to pilots, who can then access a fleet of planes for a fraction of the price. It has 24 full-time employees and bases in Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale and, with $8 million in annual revenue, it’s already a success. But his vision is bigger. Larkins wants to operate in every major metropolitan area. He wants to turn Ascension into a household name.

In an interview with Mic, Larkins, who’s often mentioned as one of the top entrepreneurs under 30 in the country, lays out some of the biggest lessons he’s learned about identifying one’s passion and turning it into a dream job. Because for so many young people who want to make an impact, the challenge is often identifying the what — what do I love to do and how do I make it happen?

  1. Identify the experiences you can’t shake.

Don’t waste a moment sitting behind your desk wondering, “What should I do with my life,” says Larkins. It’s the wrong question to ask.

The better question is: What experiences have you had that you can’t shake, that have had a profound effect on who you are? Build your identity around those.

Upon asking Larkins if there was a specific moment he could pinpoint, where he knew what he was going to do with his life, he laughs. He identifies a few different experiences that stayed with him instead, like going to space camp for the first time and later an airshow: “I thought it would be so cool to be one of those [pilots performing in an airshow] … everyone just watching me.”

He kept following his interests. After the airshow, Larkins started taking lessons. A year later, at 14, he petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to let him fly solo. The FAA wouldn’t let him (you have to be at least 16 to fly solo in the U.S.), so he traveled to Canada, where the age restrictions are looser. By then, flying was his full-blown passion.

  1. Surround yourself with those experiences.

Once you know which experiences really speak to you, immerse yourself in a related industry.

When Larkins got back from Canada, he landed jobs selling flight instruction manuals and washing airplanes. He continued doing things that kept him close to flying.

“I came from an average middle-class family. I realized as a kid that if I’m going to fly when I want to fly, I’m going to have to afford to do it on my own.” That’s when the pieces started coming together.

  1. Make connections and be ready.

It’s one of the most important lessons. Larkins does everything he can to stay up-to-date on the industry and the people in it — what they’re doing, what interests them — so if he’s ever in a room, he can connect with them and be ready for any opportunity.

“Networking is huge,” he says. “It’s hard to describe how important the people you meet and know are … and that’s really about preparation. Whatever it is you want … you’ll never get it unless you’re ready for it.”

When Larkins was in college, a wealthy friend was interested in leasing a plane. Larkins said, “I can help you with that,” and called someone he knew from Embry-Riddle, an aeronautics school, to help him broker the deal. His first one.

  1. People will discourage you, but forget them.

Don’t let other people’s hang-ups over your age, race, gender or anything else deter you. Larkins recalls walking into the conference room to seal that multimillion-dollar deal.

“The closing guy representing the company … when I walked in, he looked at me like, ‘There’s no way that this is the guy signing the paperwork.’ Looks can be deceiving,” Larkins says, laughing. No one knows your dream better than you do.

  1. Keep your eye on your goal and don’t stop.

Big dreams can seem so far away it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin. But if you have the guts to start, with every obstacle you overcome the more you’ll want to achieve.

Today, Larkins operates Ascension Air with bases in Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale, but he has expansion plans that put every U.S. city in his sights. It’s a daunting vision that leaves an incredible amount of work undone.

“We’ve got a really long way to go,” Larkins says. “We may never accomplish it, but it’s the goal I’m going for.”

  1. Find role models and people you can learn from.

You’re not the first person to walk this path. If you need inspiration, it’s everywhere.

“I read a lot of biographies of people who have nothing to do with aviation,” Larkins says, “but are successful in their own way … and I look at the things they’ve done and try to apply them to my own life.”

Chances are, if you do the same, your career will start taking shape and bend closer and closer to the dream you’ve always had.

 

Information Source: http://goo.gl/BUWaFH | Image Source: http://goo.gl/4spxn5

 

Quote of the Day: Aim High

We’ve made it to the end of yet another week and we’d like to send you into your weekend with a good old dose of inspiration. Have a great one, be safe and remember; “Everything goes Full Circle.”

Angry Birds

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

Information Source: Quote of the Day: Aim High | Full Circle Careers.