Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 27, 2008 - Secret to happiness = L.I.V.E.

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. Wow, it has been a long time since my fingers have tickled the ol' keyboard. I hope everyone has been wonderful and happy that last week and a half and my heart goes out to all those affected by the terrible storms that took over Iowa this past weekend. It really does put life into a bit of perspective!
What a wonderful week at Aflac as it flew by yet again! This leadership gig is a pretty sweet deal thus far, the guys on the team are getting at it and everyone has been quite supportive. Now we have to get crackin' on some things as we'll have a couple more folks joining in the next few weeks, should be exciting. I had a great opportunity to listen to our Chief Administration Officer Teresa White on Monday as she addressed a small crowd of folks about "Conducting Feedback & Mentoring Sessions." It is very timely as our team starts our goal building sessions tomorrow, so hopefully I can use some of her expertise in this situation. We finished up our 2009 project profiles as well and continued on '08 initiatives. I also had to give up one of my projects I've been working on since I arrived at Aflac which was pretty difficult, but I'm trying to learn how to prioritize activities and this was the first step. The best part of the week at work though was most definitely the Sales Support & Administration (SS&A) 500: Race for the Leadership Cup. It was SS&A's first leadership conference that I helped to plan up at Callaway Gardens. It was a great overnight event with all of the leadership in the department. All of the teams built PVC pipe cars and had to race them down a track ... or carry them as some teams did! That night before bed they each received a real Aflac project and had to work through the night to come up with creative solutions. I was in charge of all the technical/video/editing portion of the event and of course everyone wanted to shoot a commercial with new hard/software which kept me up through the night. Boy was it worth it, the presentations were amazing and the conference was a huge success. The exec team has even suggested some of their ideas that they shared be presented at a company-wide meeting. It was a great learning experience and a wonderful opportunity to work with some great leaders at Aflac.
I think I finally finished the Miss Georgia Pageant program for the event in June ... wow, what a relief! Although some of these ladies are quite "talented" (wink ... get it:) it was quite a bear to get everything I needed and I don't think I'll be doing this project again anytime soon! Our SIFErs in Action group finally made our way over to Easter Seals and let me tell you, it was an absolutely fabulous experience. To be able to interact with those students and adults was very uplifting and I believe it helped put life into a bit of perspective for folks that have never seen how happy and care-free those labeled with disabilities are; I think they're the ones that have it all together!
Best part of the week I believe was heading back home for a surprise visit to Shueyville and beyond. I went back for the Prairie commencement speech, but it worked out well that I was able to see so many of the great people. Saturday I was able to go up to see Grandma Naber to give her a big hug, it was so good to her smile again ... made me feel wonderful, thanks Grandma! Mr. Model Chad came over to say hello in the Shueyvilletown which was a nice surprise that was enhanced when Jenna and Gump came over with their pup Alfie and we wrestled. I can't wait to get a dog I can wrestle with, it'll be amazing. Headed over to Byron and Mar Joan's for a nice celebration and saw a bunch of good ol' folks. Saturday night I met up with the new Gump family, Horman, Jessie, Funkmaster, Jenny and a sleuth of other random folks down at Chappy's Drydock ... wonderful times were had, especially by the toothless karaoke star dancing by herself (there's one in every bar;). Sunday was my first test with Jenny as I headed over to her work in Marengo to meet her compadres and yes, I was bear-hugged by Kim. She works with some great people and I can understand why she can have so much fun working 13 hours in one ... plus she's kind of a crazy dork and I can tell how she fits in;) Also had the chance to meet her good pals at Olive Garden for some scrumtrulescent pizza - mmmm. Sunday night was of course Stefan's 23rd birthday, which is great because now he only has two more years until he gets a reduction in his car insurance. All the good people were out that night too as the storms bombarded Iowa, quite scary. I ended the trip whooping up on Funke in some ping pong action, he couldn't handle the truth and I almost put Jenny in the Kleiner ReKleiner, she's pretty feisty though. Whew ... what a great Memorial Day weekend, thanks friends and fam.
O, I almost forgot the reason I went back ... it was simply to L.I.V.E. I was honored to be named the Prairie High School class of 2008 commencement speaker a couple of weeks ago and there was no way I was going to turn down that opportunity. I was able to reminisce with my great mentor/friend Mr. Westphalen and chat with some of my most favoritesst teachers of all time ... obviously the English teacher did not make the cut! Since I don't remember a single thing from either high school/college commencement speeches, I decided on Friday to change my whole approach and at least make it funny if not memorable. I laced the 15 minutes with stories of airballs, missed field goals, running with the bulls and hurricane relief trips intertwined into a single message: the reason we were put on this earth and the secret to a happy life is simple, it is to L.I.V.E. I gave the students an acronym on how I tried to go through life and it went something like this: L = Learn every day, I = Impossible is nothing, V = Volunteer your time and E = Enjoy what you do. I think the students, faculty, staff and guests in the crowd were quite receptive and I knew it was at least funny when I caught my old football coach laughing. All in all, speaking in from of a few thousand people was a very uplifting experience and I appreciate it a great deal.
Well I should probably hit the hay, but I wish you all the best during this Memorial Day week. Never forget the ones we've lost, but continue to cherish the ones we still have including all of my family and friends! I think if you take the commencement morsel, to L.I.V.E., and try it out for a bit I'm pretty positive you will never regret the life you have chose to live.
Alwayz, Nate

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