It has been over a month since I've had a chance to ride my bike. Today's adventure crossed a state line leaving tracks in North Carolina and Virginia. I definitely plan to bike some more at False Cape State Park in Virginia.
John Kirk II started working at One-Stop Communications almost 15 years ago. To be honest, I had my reservations about how long he would last at our company when we hired him, but it quickly became apparent he had a special gift that does not always come easy for others. When you walked in the door of our store, he had a unique way to make you feel welcomed and comfortable that just came naturally to him, even when life was throwing him curveballs.
It also became apparent that not only did Kirk have a unique way of dealing with customers, but he also found a special place in my heart. Like all of us, he would make mistakes, but he had no problem owning up to them and taking responsibility. I trusted him and would often seek out his help taking care of unusual situations that needed a little extra attention. I always knew he would make every effort to help our customers.
Over the years, Kirk became a friend and mentor to many of the new hires at our Lewistown store. With his ability to make others comfortable, solve problems and create value, he was always one of our top-performing sales reps, but he had no problem sharing his formula with others. When I would see him teaching others what it took to be successful in our stores, it only reinforced he had a heart of gold. It was clear he wanted everyone around him to succeed.
If you visited our Lewistown Cricket store over the last five years, you most likely had the pleasure of working and laughing with John Kirk. Our hearts are heavy, and we are at a loss for words with his passing. He will be missed, and there will be a void that will be impossible to fill without his presence.
Kirk loved riding motorcycles, especially with his dad, who had passed away years ago, and he missed every day. Today I am positive he is on his motorcycle riding around with his dad making others smile and laugh.
We will miss you, Captain!
This photo represents the end of 2020 for me in so many different ways!
Sometimes we get to pick which direction we go, and other times we may be forced in a direction that was not planned. Either way, I am determined to enjoy the journey and find beauty and opportunity no matter what direction I end up going.
Usually, I find the unknown paths lead to some of the most rewarding destinations.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been decompressing from the world. After having an unusual and somewhat hectic end to 2020, I must admit I was ready for a change of pace.
I have limited my social and mainstream media intake to focus on enjoying time with my family, spending time outside, reflecting on the year, and planning for the future.
I wish all my friends and family success, happiness, and joy in 2021!
This year has been one crazy year, and I certainly wish some things were different. Although the craziness of 2020 has only made me more thankful and grateful for everyone in my life, even if I haven't been able to see or spend much time with you.
I am incredibly grateful for the additional time I have spent with my wife and son. These two have been there to entertain and take care of me as life went into hyper gear dealing with everything in the outside world.
Everyone I work with regularly has been extraordinary. We have and continue to battle uncertainty every day. This year, every week seems to create new challenges, and those around me continue to step up and tackle those challenges as a way of life.
My friends and family have been there even when we haven't spent time together as usual. There has been no shortage of support and willingness to help when needed.
As I reflect on the year, I feel extremely fortunate, even as difficult as some things have been. In the end, I am most grateful for everyone that touches my life in some way. For those I haven't seen much of this year, please know I miss you, and once things slow down and this pandemic is over, I look forward to spending time with you!
Happy Veterans Day, and thank you to all those who have served and those who continue to serve! I am grateful for your service!
Did you know the monument in downtown Lewistown, PA was rededicated in 1969 to become a memorial to all service people from Mifflin County who fought and died for the country?
Want to learn more about Monument Square? Check out www.monumentsquarecenter.com/square.html
The only stone ever removed from Lincoln’s tomb can be found at the base of this monument.
Since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated and curious about anything that flies. Everything from birds, planes, helicopters, kites, rockets, butterflies, you name it...if it is in the air, I will stop and look at it.
If I hear a plane, I will stop and look up. My office sits near a helipad, and as soon as I hear the distinct sound of a helicopter, I stop whatever I am doing to watch it come or go. Birds soaring high in the sky can distract me just about anytime or anywhere.
I love being a pilot, and the feeling you get every time the wheels of the plane leave the ground. Being in a hot air balloon floating above the ground is peaceful to me. It is fun to dangle your legs in the air when parasailing. Skydiving out of an airplane is exhilarating to me!
Flying a kite makes me feel like a kid. Throwing a frisbee is relaxing. Flying a model plane or helicopter brings me joy. I am excited to launch model rockets.
What are you fascinated and curious about?
I feel like someone put life into hyper gear this year. Normally life is always busy for me, and I never have a shortage of things to do, but this year has been different, to say the least.
Sometimes I find myself overreacting to others, especially when it comes to polarizing subjects, which there seems to be no shortage of right now. I have to remind myself we all look at the world from a different set of lenses with our own life experiences that make us unique.
I took this photo a few weeks ago on an evening bike ride. These rides help pull me away from the crazy days and reflect on everything going on in the world and my interactions with others. I apologize if I have been quick to counter your take on current events.
Please be kind, calm, and patient with others!
Thank you to everyone that supported the book launch of Success Habits of Super Achiever! We hit number #1 in 30 categories during the Amazon launch, which is absolutely incredible!
A common theme you will find in this book is the importance of relationships. When I reflect on life, there are just so many people that have impacted my life and made it better. I am grateful for my family, friends, employees, business partners, and everyone that has touched my life in a positive way!
This will now be the second book I have co-authored where I get to tell my story how I struggled due to my learning disability, how I managed to work through it, and the people who helped me along the way. I hope that I can help others understand a learning disability is simply a learning difference and does not dictate who you are or where life will take you.
Success Habits of Super Achiever contains over 80 stories and success habits from truly amazing people. I feel fortunate to call many of them friends and learn from them. The relationships created by being involved in a book like this end up being one of the most rewarding aspects.
Kyle Wilson is the mastermind behind the books I have been involved with. He is gifted at pulling people together from all over with unique backgrounds. Not only does he create #1 bestseller books, but he connects many of us to form a community that supports each other.
For those of you that would still like a copy of Success Habits of Super Achiever and live in my local community, they will be available at The Crooked Shelf Bookshop in the coming weeks once we receive additional copies from the printer. As most of you know, I would much rather support a local business over online shopping. For those that did buy from Amazon, I am still grateful! The proceeds from the book launch are going to a great charity.
Wishing you success, happiness, and joy!
Thank you, Rhonda, for supporting local businesses!
The ability to pivot, make changes, and adapt is not always easy. Having a community and chamber that supports their local businesses is part of the solution to a strong and vibrant community.
I am grateful for you and the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce!
I am incredibly excited to share some big news with the release of Success Habits of Super Achievers.
This new book I co-authored is being released this morning! And I’m asking for a favor and your support to help us hit #1 bestseller status on Amazon! This book is amazing, and I'm honored to be counted among the iconic thought leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals, coaches, authors, investors, and musicians, including:
As part of the release, we put together special pricing and bonuses.
Plus, 100% of the Amazon launch week book profits from both paperback and Kindle sales will go to an incredible charity, Angel House (https://angelhouse.me/), which builds homes for orphans and freshwater wells for their communities in India.
You can order the Kindle version TODAY for only 3.97 and the paperback for 11.97.
Order today -- http://GetSuccessHabitsBook.com
And remember, after you buy, send an email to gifts@SuccessHabitsBook.com with your Amazon order number, book quantity, and your comments so we can send you over $500 worth of gifts as a special thank you!
All of the co-authors and I will be updated on who buys, their comments, and also their Amazon review of the book. Thank you in advance!
Bonus gifts include:
In this book, authors share wisdom, insights, proven strategies, and success habits they have implemented to reach their successes and how they made it through some of life’s biggest challenges to find their triumphs.
This book is designed to inspire and give hope, ideas, and strategies that will impact you both personally and professionally.
Order today -- http://GetSuccessHabitsBook.com
After you buy, send an email to gifts@SuccessHabitsBook.com with your Amazon order number, book quantity, and your comments so we can send you over $500 worth of gifts as a special thank you!
On behalf of me, our designated charity—Angel House—and all the Success Habits of Super Achievers authors, Kyle Wilson, Carlos Delherra, Linda Septien, Dr. Tom Burns, Greg Zlevor, Lynn Yangchana, Darren Hardy, Gary Pinkerton, Robert Crockett, Ryan Pettitt, Dr. Amy Novotny, Freddy Perez, Denis Waitley, Mike Buffington, Mauricio Rauld, Greg Self, Jim Gardner, Anna Kelley, Phil Collen, Dugan Kelley, Marco Santarelli, Neelu and Robert Gibson, Ben Suttles, Mike Muhney, Stephanie Wankel, Adam Buttorff, Tyler Gunter, Seth Mosley, Jerry Horst, Dr. John. R. Obenchain, Jeff E. Thornton, Sophia Stavron, Les Brown, Ravin. S. Papiah, Brad Niebuhr, Dana Samuelson, Jo Hausman, Robert Helms, Dave Zook, Jennifer Moran, Billy Brown, Andre Paradis, Lisa Haisha, Jim Richardson, Troy Hoffman, Greg Junge, Todd Stottlemyre, Todd Sulzinger, Mahealani Trepinski, Pancham Gupta, Michael Blank, John Assaraf, Rich Danby, Jessica Waters, Louis Melo, Dr. Karl Jawhari, Josh and Emily Houser, Ron White, Michael Becker, Sheldon Horowitz, BJ Johnson, Kevin Eastman, Steve Lloyd, Rebekah Loveless, Dustin Miles, Tim Cole, Rick Gray, Adam Levy, Sherry Patterson, Howard White, Tom Ziglar, Clair Hoover, Dr. Nicholas J. Scalzo, April Crossley, Chris Widener, Zach Haptonstall, Takara Sights, Eli King, Mark Victor Hansen, Ben Nelson, Alfredo Bala, Kelli Calabresse, Andrew Lanoie, Newy Scruggs, Chris Mascarin, and Brian Tracy...
WE THANK YOU!
Everyone involved has put a lot of work and energy into making sure this book and the wisdom and lessons inside it will make a positive difference in the world. We are honored that you are taking the time to read.
Thank you for your support!
PS – Click here to get your Kindle or Paperback copy http://GetSuccessHabitsBook.com today. We hope to see your name on the book buyer and review list! Make sure to email gifts@SuccessHabitsBook.com with your order number and qty so they can send you your gifts and let the authors know you purchased. This book makes great personal development reading for everyone!
PSS - Please leave a review after you buy your copy (and click Yes on other 5-star reviews to let others know they are helpful)! NOTE: To leave a review, you must buy a copy and be signed in on Amazon, or your review will be removed from Amazon and will not count.
I am extremely excited for Sophia Stavron! She is a friend of mine who co-produced, DREAMER, a new documentary. This movie features true stories of big dreamers who turned their dreams into reality to impact millions of people. It stars Lisa Nichols, Peter Diamandis, Jessica Cox, Anousheh Ansari, Richard Branson, Seth Godin, Dean Kamen, Naveen Jain, and many others. The director, Nick Nanton, is a 15x Emmy-award winner.
I have always admired Richard Branson. Like myself, he struggled in school with a learning disability. His learning disability certainly didn't stop him from dreaming big, building an incredibly successful business empire, and helping others.
You can reserve your spot to watch the official global online premiere on Monday, July 20th, at 8 pm EST at www.dreamerdocumentary.com.
I know what I will be watching this Monday night! 😊
In my Pennsylvania hometown communities of Mifflin and Juniata counties, new geese are migrating to the area. These are not the typical geese you will find enjoying the bodies of water in our state. These geese could be scary, but they are not. They are almost five feet tall and have a slight grin that will make you smile if you look them in the eyes. These geese do not look like any other goose you have ever seen before.
You could say Community Partnerships are the parents of the new Wild Geese: Flock Together public art project. They are the ones behind the project, making sure these geese land in our community. Without them, these geese wouldn't have navigated their way to their new home. They keep a close eye on these geese once they arrive, but eventually, they kick them out of the nest where others take them under their wing to make sure they grow into their own unique goose.
Since the project started over a year ago, it has been fun to watch the support these geese receive. Others are spending countless hours and resources to make sure these geese survive and flourish. It takes an entire flock of people to make sure they remain safe and receive the attention needed before they land at their permanent homes. What is really amazing to me is seeing how our local artists transform these geese into something so incredible.
These artists help each goose mature with paint that makes each one unique and captures part of our local community. Once the artist is done working with each one of them, they take on a very unique character to show off the beauty and what makes our community special. It is hard to imagine when these geese first arrive with only white feathers how they develop and mature.
These are not just any ordinary geese. These geese represent pride in our community, celebrate our unique Goose Day tradition, embrace the artistic talents of others, and simply make our community a better place.
I would like to personally thank everyone that has been involved with the Town Goose commissioned by my family and One-Stop Communications. It is such an honor and pleasure to be involved with this project. Jessica Miller's painting on the Town Goose is absolutely incredible! https://www.facebook.com/JessicaMariePaintings/
To learn more about Community Partnerships and the Wild Geese Project be sure to visit
The Town Goose has been virtually unveiled, and you can take a sneak beak through the windows of UCP at 3 West Monument Square in Lewistown this Friday, June 5, as part of the First Friday Downtown Art Walk sponsored by the Mifflin-Juniata Arts Council and Lewistown Printworks. “Florence Nightingoose” with art by Steve Torok, commissioned by Kay Hamilton, will also be on display for sneak beak at UCP. https://www.facebook.com/lewistownpafirstfriday/
If you are not from central Pennsylvania, you may wonder what the heck is Goose Day. If so, you have to check out https://www.facebook.com/JRVGooseDay/.
The other day I was accused of being too happy and told I better be careful someone may end up shooting me. Don't get excited - this was not a real threat. It came from one of my best friends that I love like a brother. We often joke and are extremely blunt with each other. From an outsider's point of view listening to our conversations, it may be hard to believe we are such close friends at times. We don't always agree on things, but this does not change how much I care for him, and we would do just about anything to help each other out. He is a true friend, which is something I value greatly.
His comment did make me think about my happiness. If you see me regularly, I am generally happy and in a good mood. The day I saw him, I might have been feeling a little over the top and mentioned I was feeling spectacular, which is not that uncommon and was the truth at that time. I was having a good day, and it was great to see him!
During this pandemic, I have remained energetic and happy - most of the time. This does not mean everything is always going my way, or I am not dealing with some sort of crap in my life. In the last two months, my personal and professional life has been turned upside-down in so many different ways - like my son having emergency surgery, my mother-in-law being diagnosed with cancer and having emergency surgery, suspected staff COVID-19 cases (fortunately none ended up positive), store closures, staffing shortages, inventory constraints, tenant dilemmas, cash flow challenges, sourcing protective supplies for staff, system updates not going as planned and the list could go on. Normal life throws plenty of curveballs, but add a pandemic, and I don't even know what type of game we are even playing anymore or where the next curveball will come from.
So how do I keep a positive attitude when life has been turned on its head? In my opinion, it all starts with gratitude, and gratitude is attitude. I feel fortunate to be living a life surrounded by so many wonderful people. By taking pleasure in the small things, all the big wins seem extraordinary. I focus and take action only on the things I can control and try to accept or ignore the things out of my control -- this is especially helpful during a pandemic. When something seems bad, ugly, or out of control, I always ask myself compared to what. Most of the time, any situation could be much worse, and the outcome is not as bad as perceived in our head.
It is not always easy, and certain events weigh heavier on me than others, but I make a choice to find gratitude, and that choice almost always changes my attitude to make me a happier person. Most of the time, when I sit and think about the things I'm grateful for, it is just overwhelming, and it is difficult not to be in a good mood.
Today I am grateful to live in the United States of America and honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country!
PS...This is one of my favorite photos of my son and I taken in 2015 by my wife on a family trip to Washington, DC. Every time I see it on our digital photo frame I have to stop to look at it for a few seconds.
It is hard to believe it has been 4 years since the big CVS construction project in downtown Lewistown.
Recently someone shared my time-lapse video of the project and stated Lewistown has been a "ghost town" ever since. That statement really bothered me. Obviously, this person does not spend any quality time in our community. I am in Lewistown 4 to 10 times per week, and there is always something going on, even during a pandemic. Many wonderful people are working and living in downtown Lewistown. It is actually pretty impressive to watch the transformation occurring with all the new businesses and people deciding to call downtown Lewistown their home.
I will agree - retail is not what it was in the past, but this is the case for most American towns and is not unique to Lewistown. Consumer and business demands have changed and will continue to change if you shop at Walmart and online retailers over your local retailers. I have not stepped foot in our local Walmart for over five years. I do shop online if the product I am looking for is not available locally out of necessity. Unfortunately, this occurs more than I would like to admit, and I do wish it was different.
Even with the retail environment being different, our downtown is transforming into something pretty darn impressive. In reality, there is very little vacancy on Market Street in Lewistown. Most of the places that are vacant today are either in need of major repairs to be functional or oversized for most small businesses. Either scenario requires major remodeling and expense to make the property viable for most, especially with today's building codes.
Our downtown is not a "ghost town." Our downtown does not look like it did in the past. Our downtown is transforming. Our downtown is a wonderful place to be!
How are you supporting your downtown and all the local businesses in your community?
Last year I was struggling to see things clearly when reading anything right in front of me. You see, my eyes have been slowly changing as I get older, and I didn't even realize it and didn't want to admit it.
It took a family trip to New York City for a long weekend to get me out of my normal routine to realize I needed a different set of lenses for a new perspective.
One night I was paying the bill after a wonderful dinner at a little Italian restaurant, and I was having a tough time reading our bill. My wife said you really need to get your eyes checked. I barked my eyes were just fine and told her it was the poor lighting in the restaurant. Yes...I received one of those looks we all know too well, but I was still not willing to admit I was wrong and needed to see things from a different set of lenses.
Later that evening, we stopped at the hotel's gift shop for a few things to take back to the room. As I was looking around the shop, I picked up a pair of reading glasses they had for sale, slipped them on, and looked at the receipt I had in my pocket. As I was looking through these new lenses, I said "OH MY" out loud. Of course, my wife turned to see what I was commenting on to see my look of surprise as I was seeing things from a new perspective with much more clarity.
I quickly conceded I needed reading glasses, and now you will rarely see me anywhere without a pair of glasses on top of my head. I will pull them down in front of my eyes anytime something is not clear. These glasses quickly provide me with a clear view of what is right in front of me.
In business (and life), it is not uncommon to lose our way because we cannot see clearly. Usually, we just need a new perspective on our surroundings with a new set of lenses to clearly find our way. To do this, you will need to take some time to try on some different lenses to determine which ones are right for you and your business. And over time, you will most likely need to change those lenses, just like glasses.
I find it extremely helpful to look through the lenses of others to gain their perspective to find solutions that are beneficial to everyone involved. If we put blinders on, we will have tunnel vision, and it will be a small world without many opportunities, especially during uncertain times.
Have you tried on a new pair of lenses recently? If so...how has it changed the way you see your business, others, or the world?
PS...My wife snapped the photo at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City before I would admit I needed reading glasses.
As a business owner, the last four weeks have been challenging, to say the least. I'm even having a hard time believing we have been dealing with all the pandemic changes for so long now. To me, it feels like this all started just a week or so ago. In reality, it has been well over a month now. I wish this pesky virus would just vanish as quickly as it altered our lives. There are many aspects of all the changes we must adapt to that I wish were different. Unfortunately, many of these changes are for the good of others or out of our control, so I continue to move forward with the things that are within my control and take action to make the best out of the current situation.
Even with all the social distancing, I managed to connect and make a new friend on the west coast. It turns out there is more than one Michael Buffington on this earth, and I received a message from one of them a few weeks ago. By chance, the other Michael Buffington Jr. found me and read the chapter I authored in the book Desire, Discipline, and Determination. I must admit it was a little strange replying to a message from Michael Buffington, but I am sure glad I did. It turns out he is an extremely talented concept artist in the video game and entertainment industry that is currently a professor at the Academy of Art University in CA. He has been the Concept Art Lead in the School of Game Development since 2012, which now is ranked as the number 1 school in the country.
We ended up connecting by phone after several emails, and it was such a pleasure talking to him. We certainly lead two very different lives, but we also discovered many similarities that quickly made it easy to have a conversation that lasted almost one and a half hours. I found it fascinating to hear his story and learn about his passions in life. It still amazes me we talked for so long. In one of his messages to me, he said the following really resonated with him from my chapter in Desire, Discipline, and Determination.
"None of this matters if you don’t have the right attitude. Attitude is the one thing we have total control over in our lives. No one else controls our attitude. You have a choice of how you are going to react to anything thrown at you in life. The wrong attitude will quickly break any family, business, or organization. We truly are a product of our attitude. I believe life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. You are in charge of your attitude!"
I wrote this way before the current pandemic, but feel it resonates with me more now than ever, and I am glad the other Michael Buffington reminded me. As things are changing so rapidly and many of them seem out of our control, it is so important to remember its not really what happens to us. It is how we react to it. We owe it to our family, friends, employees, customers, partners, and community to take charge of our attitude and react in a way that is beneficial to all concerned.
How are you taking charge of your attitude that is beneficial to all concerned? If you need someone to bounce ideas off of or just chat, feel free to reach out to me. I will help in any way I can!
Stay safe, healthy, and sane!
I am honored Michael Buffington Jr. gave me permission to share some of his work with you. As I said before, he is extremely talented. You can see more of his work at https://instagram.com/drawaholic1124?igshid=1pqa1rwhagqp2
I am incredibly grateful Hungry Run Distillery helped One-Stop Communications with hand sanitizer for our employees and customers. I was already a loyal customer of theirs, but now I am a loyal raving fan of theirs! The power of helping others is incredible and will not be forgotten!
My favorite drink of choice during the quarantine has been their Blackberry Vodka mixed with Sprite. Easy to make and tastes great!
-- WARNING --
None of these blog posts have been edited or proofread by an editor. You may find words misspelled, improper grammar, and incorrect punctuation. Sometimes the words may not even make sense. When I post something here, I am merely expressing my feelings. If you don't know my story, you must know I have a learning disability, and I don't always see and hear words the same as most.