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Luke Colin Alex Frankie by Dave LaRue

I have spent the hours and days of my life striving to be better than I was the day before. I have some insight into where this inner desire comes from, but it's still somehow mysterious and wonderful why it's natural for me, but I feel so appreciative with joy because it is.

Spending my time this way is a core belief of mine, and it continues to be more significant to me each and every day!

The title of this article is the names of my four grandchildren. For those of you who know me well, yes! There's one more, little Frankie. When I look at her I am overwhelmed with emotion. Let me explain.

Those of you who have followed my writings will have an advantage because you know a lot about me. But for the rest of you, I would encourage you to go to our Comma Club website and invest some time reading some of them. To let newcomers know, one of my guiding intentions for sharing my stories is to inspire you to think about your own stories. Not only your past stories, either. I want you to think, fantasize, and dream about your future stories. Like Peter Drucker said; “the best way to predict your future is to create it.”

My mother and father divorced when I was 13. I only saw my dad 2 times in over 40 years. He was not a nice person. One of his favorite lines was, “ I’m mean when I’m drinking and I’m drinking a little bit all the time.” Just from this fact it probably makes sense to you that the most valuable lessons—the only lessons—I learned from him were lessons on how not to act. Those lessons served me well, and the many guardian angels in my life provided countless lessons on how to act and how to be. I've written about some of them: Lucy and Jim, Kelly, my Grandma, my Mom, Coach Butner, Joe, and my kids' grandpa, Bob Nyrop, to mention just a few. So now, when I see any one of my 4 grandkids, I find myself reflecting on my life and where I began. I have to tell you, I can’t help but smile every time.

I just finished completing “What’s My Story,” my plan for the next quarter. It's my 30th year of undertaking a quarterly plan. It takes me a full day to finish it. If you do the math, 4 x 30 = 120 times I’ve done this planning. Whenever I hear the word "luck," I always say “I’ve never met a lazy lucky person.” This planning is part of the invisible work that contributes to the results that others often understand only as luck.

The planner includes planning for categories like:

lifetime purpose

  • spiritual
  • relationships
  • vocation
  • financial
  • social impact
  • lifetime lessons
  • opportunities and strategies
  • key relationships
  • highest values
  • lifetime success
  • habits

...and on and on. Coupling this quarterly planning with reflection on my natural desire to get better and better each day is a magical formula for my life’s journey. It helps me take inventory of all the amazing joys I have, especially the relationships I have with so many great people.

One of the sections of the planner is "Life-defining moments or lessons." There is room for four of them. Both Jen and Michelle have experienced near-death moments. So their experiences—and my experience being their father as they went through their journeys— provide lots of stories to reflect on, think about, and write about, so they often make my list. My four are:

  • Owning and leading Baldwin for over 30 years of profitability, now working with Rob as he leads it
  • Putting my sneakers on and running from the "happy talkers" I meet
  • My daughter Jennifer's journey back to health from her brain aneurysm
  • Lessons my daughter Michelle’s story has helped me learn, like sharing the truth of what's really going on, her 13 years of sobriety, and now, her 1st year of motherhood.

When I take inventory of my life and my journey now, I see these four beautiful grandchildren and I just want to shout from the rooftops, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" for the courage to go through my fears, overcome all my challenges, do it right (most of the time), and have faith and compassion, and for the desire to get better each and every day. I wanted to share my joy of being a grandpa with you and some of the history of how I got here. All of us have our stories and the power to "will what we want to be." This is true. But it's only true if we take charge, desire growth, tell the truth, seek to make a difference in the lives we touch, and only if we’re inspired and consistently act to take charge of our journey.

I encourage you to work on yourself. I encourage you to build habits to do it. It's worked for me, it's worked for Comma Clubbers, and it will work for you in direct proportion to the presence and effort you put into the work.

It's one of the secrets to a life that sustains you, rather than a list of meaningless obligations unrelated to your purpose and the difference between following short-term desires that only lead to more desires and fulfilling the deeper impulses guiding you to create the life you want to live.




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