Saturday, July 30, 2011

A message from Kevin Eastman....

Hi Max!

Your mom and I are at the James Malinchak Big Money Speaker in Las Vegas and you are playing with Grandpa and Grandma Soetaert! Guest speaker Kevin Eastman of the Boston Celtics just outlined a great Vision Exercise.

1) Take a moment to write down all the things you think it takes to be a success.
2) Take a moment to write down what it takes to be a success in what you do as a profession (in case they choose your profession).
3) Put a copy in your desk and give a copy to your spouse. The copy in your desk will be given to the child when "they are ready".

I really see this blog as this letter. I know you will read all of it (I would read everything my dad wrote). As this grows, I hope it becomes a place for you to go - when you are down, when you are lonely, when you are excited, when you are celebrating, when we are apart - whenever you want. Just know that I love you and think about you all the time. You're the best. You're the greatest. You're Max.


Max's Dad (Michael)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I. Miss. You...

Hi Max!

I've been on the road a lot lately. I just wanted to let you know I love you and I'm really missing you right now. I miss "We made it" and "bubble guppies" and "Daddy, will you get me?" and "Played with Brenna at school" and "Cars and trucks and trucks and cars"... really miss you. And I have to wait 5 more days to see you! Crushing...

Love you.


Max's Dad (Michael)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Father Forgets... by W. Livingston Larned

Hi Max!

Had to share this story with you. It is written by W. Livingston Larned and is re-told in How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (one of the top business books of all time - you should read it later - when you can read. :)

"Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie aslepp, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp firehead. I have stoen into your room alone. Just a few minues ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scoleded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I tool you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were hles in your stockings. I humiliiated you beffore your friends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive - and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hestiated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding - this was my reward to you for being a boy? It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I whill chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy - a little boy!"

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumped and weary in your cot, I see that you are atill a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much."

Had to share that with you. There are times when I get caught up in my drive to help millions when I need to stop, take a second, and help my #1 client, my #1 person, YOU! You mean the world to me and I'm hoping you never listen to "Cats in the Cradle" and think of me negatively :). I'll always be there for you - even when I am out of town.

Trust me. Love you.



Monday, July 11, 2011

Like a Max to Water...

Hi Max!

Your first day of Swimming Lessons tonight - and... YOU. WERE. INCREDIBLE! You took to the water like a fish. You were jumping, floating, and splashing like a pro. The teacher couldn't quit remarking about how well you were doing. At the end she said, "Well, we just covered all five of the sessions in tonight's session, so we are going to have go to Plan B for the rest of the week." How cool is that?! I'll get pictures tomorrow, but had to comment on your "above-average" love for water - you were literally dog paddling at one point - YOU ARE 2.5 years old! That's impressive. Another day, another big smile on my face caused by you. :) So proud. :)


Max's Dad (Michael)

P.s. We need to take a Styrofoam pad so you can swim - you are SO advanced it is amazing. Awesome. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This week in pics...

Hi Max! Here are a few of the pictures from this week - we're building a Clubhouse and you are starting to fit into a shirt that once was WAY too big. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How a Walk to School Can Change Everything...

Hi Max!

I am a ritualized, structured, and systematized person and I have my Sunday Night, Nightly, Pre-Leave, and Morning Rituals Click here for video of The Four Enriching Rituals. As part of the Morning Ritual, I've made a change that has many benefits.

Some questions I get about time blocking, time management, and balance evolve around doing this versus that. Family vs. Work, Family vs. Working out, TV vs. working out, social media time vs. television, etc. One of the ways to work towards a more balanced and harmonious lifestyle is to combine some of the spokes of your life wheel (instead of looking at them as mutually exclusive). The biggest one I hear is physical activity or working out. There are many ways to combine working out with other activities: while watching your favorite show, use the elliptical or a treadmill - and you can get those cheap; while working and doing phone calls, walk on a treadmill - we are seeing more of this, for family time, work out with the family. The last one is what I've started doing.

Each morning instead of dropping you off at school (by car), we are walking to school together. It's 2 miles round-trip and is a great way to start the day for me. We chat and talk about the day. It's very focused (no computer or phone) family time but also incorporates a brisk walk/physical activity. I'm glad I've been doing this. The results are already coming in...

I'm more alert during the day. I am not worried about spending time with my family. It's happened. Walking before eating burns more calories and walking in the morning burns calories throughout the day. It's an easy lifestyle change that could be done every day without adding time to my day. Walking 2 miles every morning 5 days per week is a great activity in itself. Add pushing a stroller and hearing your priceless words like, "Here comes a Mustang" like you said this morning and you have a welcome addition to the Morning Ritual.

I get to be there for the "Quantum Leap" moments. Like this morning, you said the ABC's all the way through, named every car color perfectly, and the "Here Comes a Mustang" comment was truly special. You saw the cars coming from all the way at the entrance of our community and before I even saw it you said out of the blue, "Here comes a Mustang." Sure enough, here comes a maroon Mustang down the road. Made me laugh out loud.

You are SuperSmart! :)

Love you!


Max's Dad (Michael)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy 4th Message to my Friends...

Hi Max!

A message I wrote to my Friends on Facebook today and I want you to hear it. Here's to you always be changing, improving, and freeing yourself from the current normal!

"NOW is the time to declare YOUR independence from the bad habits & thoughts that prison you. NOW, you declare YOUR independence from distractions, inactivity, toxic people, & unstructured time. Quit taxing your soul by doing these things you hate or these things that make you play small! Rise Up! Sign YOUR Declaration of Independence! FREE yourself from the chains of self-limiting beliefs and behaviors! Be FREE! +m2"


Max's Dad (Michael)

Note I Wrote... Happy 4th and It's Half-time...

Hi Max!

As you know, I love my Fanpage at It's not that I love my Fanpage as such, but love the people I get to "hang out" with there. The conversations inspire me daily. So when I wrote this note for the 4th of July weekend, I got a great response. Better than anticipated. It was off-the-cuff, from-the-heart, and unedited. But passion and conviction will always overcome editing and grammatically-correct sentences. Thought I'd share what you're old dad wrote. :)

Here it is:


Just wanted to wish you and your family a wonderful Holiday weekend! Hope the 4th of July Weekend is filled with festivites, fun, and family for you. Safe travels as well.



P.S. This time of year reminds me of my coaching days. "What is the least important score in sports?" I would say in the locker room. "Half-time," my team would respond. So true, nobody checks the half-time score in the paper the next morning. No, they look at the final score. They look to see who won or lost. They don't give awards, recognition, or trophies for half-time scores. There's never been a champion crowned at half-time.

We've been down 21-13 and we've been up 37-7 at half-time and my first words are the same. I've seen big leads lost and setbacks become comebacks. No matter how the first half of your year has gone - good, average, or bad... it is half-time. Now is the time to FINISH STRONG! Which is fine and well... finish strong is a great campaign slogan, rallying cry, and short movie at Simple Truths (, but what does it mean to "finish strong?" The way to finish strong is execution.

Do you know why sports teams have plays and a playbook? Someone somewhere along the way figured out that with plays and a playbook a less-talented team could beat a more-talented team. That if you had a game plan and executed it well, you could beat those who didn't. Same is true in business as you know. You know what to do. Say it to yourself, "I know what to do." Because you do. You know what you need to do on a daily business to be healthier, to be more productive, and to earn more income. You do. The only difference between sitting in the seat you are now and sitting in the seat you want is one word - EXECUTION.

Execute the game plan. Instead of knowing you need to pick up the phone, pick up the phone. Instead of knowing you need to meet with people, go out and do it. Face-to-face, belly-to-belly, and in-person is how business gets done. Perhaps electronic communication has taken you off course the first half. That's okay. It happens. Now, get back on course, do what you know you know to do.

Execute to Finish Strong. It's Half-time and you've got a second half to win.

Lou Holtz said, "How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game... whether you are a winner or loser."

Here's to wishing you the best second half of the year you've ever had. +m2"

Max, hope you enjoyed that. Don't know if I'll ever coach you - hope I get to one day - but this is a look back to those days. :)


Max's Dad (Michael)

P.S. While I was writing this, you came downstairs and gave me a hug. Awesome. Love you. :)