The Million Dollar Hiding Place

I have heard many times from many people much smarter than me that “you are who you will become”.  That didn’t make much sense to me…until very recently.

That sentence resonated in the back of my mind, but I didn’t allow it to process enough to insert it into my life. Why? Because I enjoy the life I live… The partying, the people, the negative influences were all things that were fun and I had a great time, but I allowed them to become who I am.  Making this realization is a tough pill to swallow, knowing that the person I wanted to be is much different.

That phrase up top: “You are who you will become”… It’s the truth.  If you, at this moment, are having fun where you are, why will you change it to become the person you “want” to be? If you’re not striving for more at this moment, how do you think that will change tomorrow or next month or next year or when you’re ‘older’?  Even in my journey to lose weight, I’ve told myself tomorrow is FOR SURE the day that I kick back in gear about a hundred and fifty times. But I’m having fun where I am, changing my habits are close to impossible.

It’s an obvious thing that my plan is to be a motivational speaker.  And if you know me, you know I want to go big and make each presentation one that will live within each person’s mind forever.  What this means is that it’s expensive, and by expensive I mean I have set the needed funds to $1,000,000 for the start-up costs and first month of shows.  As ridiculous as that sounds, I think that will make for an incredible impact on the experience and life of each student.  But I have also told myself that until I was in the spotlight doing that scale of shows, I didn’t really need to live the motivational life.

The truth is I’ve been hiding.  Hiding from reality and from chasing the one thing that I have said was my biggest dream.  I’ve been living a life that was ‘fun’ rather than productive.  Yes, I would love to be able to put on The Parker Experience, in its entirety, with the lights, sound, video and bands! But that is unrealistic for me, at this moment… So it’s time to move forward, live the life of a motivator and become the person I dream about.  It’s time to stop hiding behind these high expectations and allow myself to realize that the one thing I want to do is motivate.  It’s time to live that life. It’s time to be who I envision myself becoming.

Are you struggling with who you are now compared to who you want to become?  Are you looking for that bridge between where you are at and where you want to go?  How are you dealing with the bridge?




Sleep, Strokess and Dead Folks: Probably not what you’re expecting.

Last night I had a dream that my grandma was alive and at her house.  If you don’t know, I was raised primarily by my grandma and she is a big reason that I am where I am today.  Last January she had heart surgery, followed by a stroke while in the hospital, in which I was by her side…scared out of my mind! She passed away a couple of months later.  In my dream she began to stand up and started having a stroke, again while I was by her side.  To prevent her from falling, I grabbed her and held her until it passed, frantically trying to get someone to get some sort of medication to stop it… Within minutes the stroke passed and what she said, with complete calmness, was “These things are going to happen. It’s ok. “

It is funny how something like that can put you in complete ease with everything that is testing your ability to believe.  Over all the crap that life brings, it’s about being there for those closest to you in their brightest moments as well as the darkest times.  It’s about letting life happen, trusting God, and being happy with those things that you do have.  As Carrie Underwood put it, this is our temporary home.  Don’t let the ‘stokes’ or things that are ‘going to happen’ make you too scared to live your life.  Don’t let the things that are ‘going to happen’ freak you out enough to allow yourself to lose touch with what’s important.

Your life is important. Your legacy is important.  Your dreams are important. You are important.

Know that everything is going to be alright.  Everything will work itself out, but you need to allow it to do so.  Everything happens for a reason, know that.  Don’t let ‘everything’ stop you from the life you’re supposed to live, the strength you’re supposed to gain, and the people you’re supposed to be surrounded by.

That is all.

Be Passionate. Keep Dreaming. Enjoy it.

I received an email from a great mentor of mine, Mama Sue, the other day that encouraged me to re-think life in general.  In the email she mentions a conversation she had with the recently late George “Goober” Lindsay, where he told her that one of his regrets in life was not enjoying his youth, which he spent launching his acting career.  Being 83 when he passed, I can only imagine the stories and wisdom he must have, but this little snidbit I got threw me for a loop and forced me to look into my life.

For years I have been chomping at the bit, ready to go. I’ve been ready to be a famous motivational speaker, be rich, change the world, and then begin living a great life. Nothing will change in that I want nothing more than to make a huge impact on the world and encourage others to follow their passions and dreams. But what about right now? What about the incredible life I’m living right now, while not being a famous motivational speaker?  The truth is that even having the thought that I wouldn’t be able to fully begin living a great life until I’m “famous, rich and changing the world” is enough for me to make a change.  For me, it’s time to slow down and make sure I’m not missing something in the fun times that are my youth.  The last thing I want is to “grow up” and realize that I missed out on anything.  Maybe it was a job, maybe it was a word of encouragement that could change a life, maybe it was a pair of ears that needed to be lent, and maybe I’m over exaggerating.  Either way, I don’t want to allow myself the chance to miss any opportunity.

Starting now, I challenge you to join me in this adventure.  It seems to be a simple change, but a necessity that will hopefully help us live our lives knowing we enjoyed every step of the way. From this moment forward make extra effort to slow down and enjoy every moment.  The good, the bad, the ugly. Enjoy every bit of life.  I know it’s dumb even saying we should enjoy the bad, but with that statement, I more so mean to understand that bad things happen and we should not allow those to hold us back, and also to realize that bad things can happen for good reason, don’t let yourself pass up any opportunity.  Speaking of being held back from enjoying life, this is also a great time to evaluate ourselves and eliminate the ways we are sabotaging our own happiness.  Personal ego. Unhealthy career drive. Unhealthy relationship quest.  Whatever your case may be, don’t let those things keep you from enjoying life.  Small changes to these can make great change in your overall happiness.

You may not think so, but we are all together in this journey of life.  We are all taking a shot at becoming somebody, but what good is it to be somebody, if somebody isn’t happy.  We aren’t wired to be able to just do our job, deal with our family, simply continue on with the day and be happy.  We are wired to be passionate about what we’re passionate about, to dream about whatever it is that we dream about doing, and to live a life that we love living and enjoying every moment of it.

That’s what I challenge you to do.

Be passionate.

Keep Dreaming.

Enjoy it.

The Month of March…

The month of March means a lot to me. First, it was the month I was born. This month in 1987 I was brought into this world with no ability to turn back. To be totally honest, it’s also one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. Same for you too. We are all born once, and after that it’s a choice how we live our lives, but that moment just happens. You don’t choose to be born.

Second, this month marks the one year mark for the loss of my grandmother. For those that don’t know, she was the woman that raised me much of my life and helped get me where I am today. Beyond that even, with her, I lost the last of my parents. Both my mom and dad passed away in the past few years as well.

With this anniversary I began, once again, looking back at the last year and everything awesome that has happened. To summarize, I have done some pretty awesome things and met a bunch of really awesome people. I’m constantly reminding myself how blessed I am to be surrounded by some of the coolest people ever, and that’s one thing I hope to never stop remind myself.

I also have tried to make sure I told people how much they mean to me. Life is really fragile, and over the past ten years I’ve had it rubbed in my face over and over. Ever since losing my dad, without telling him that I loved him or how thankful I was for everything he did for me, I have realized that I don’t ever want to have that feeling again.

The truth is there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for each and every person in my life. Yes, it’s kind of weird, but it is the truth. I wouldn’t be able to move forward in life without those people and their support. Thank you all! I wish I could express the appreciation.

To keep it somewhat short, I felt the urge to challenge you all to do the same. Tell people what they mean to you. Tell them why they’re an important part of your life. Always strive to be a benefit in their life. Understand your mistakes, apologize when needed and forgive without hesitation. You don’t ever want to have that moment wondering if they knew that you cared. You don’t ever want to have that moment wondering if them knowing would make a difference.

Kicking the Bummed out Funk…

The past few weeks have been pretty emotionally challenging for me. No one reason, but I have had some pretty awesome times, I have had a blast and hung out with some pretty cool people and I continue to live a life I could only have dreamed of when I took the risk of coming to Nashville almost seven years ago. But with those times, I have also had some pretty shitty moments. One of the biggest is the inability to share all the exciting times with my grandmother or my parents. I have also made mistakes, been a jerk and simply done some stupid things. Those didn’t help with the emotional roller coaster.

I think everything got to me because over the past few days I have been really bummed out. When I went to bed last night I had every intention of staying there all day today, and furthermore most of the week. I didn’t have the desire to do anything but lie around and feel sorry for myself. Being someone who has a life-long goal of being a motivator, this is not cool. Although I fail over and over, I strive to lead by example with a positive attitude and desire to constantly inspire great things to happen. This was one of those times of total failure… Once again, this didn’t help my bummed out attitude.

The realization came this morning of what I was doing, not only to myself, but to those around me. Waking up, realizing the sun was bright and shining and I was missing on a possible opportunity to make something great happen. I needed a huge attitude check. I’m surrounded by nothing but great. Great friends. Great co-workers. Great job. Great roof over my head. There is no reason for me to be lying in bed, feeling sorry for myself.

If you’re still reading this and not really pissed because it has seemed like a pity party, thanks. I’m not looking for re-assurance. I’m not looking for anyone to tell me I’m over-reacting so I would ‘feel better’ about myself. But rather I’m explaining all of this because when I made the decision that I wanted to be a motivational speaker, I also made the decision to share my struggles, my mistakes and my problems with the hope of helping someone else.

Remember that we are all human. We are going to have good moments, and we are going to have really crappy ones. We are going to do great things, and we are going to make stupid mistakes. We are going to have a killer day, but then allow one stupid thing get us down at the end. It seems like a never-ending cycle.

If this sounds like you at all, I challenge you to give yourself an attitude check. Sulk for a little while, own up to your mistakes, but when you wake up tomorrow realize it’s a brand new day. Know that you are on this earth for a reason and it’s your job to figure out what that reason is. It’s your job to take your talents and make great things happen. It’s your job to be great. Don’t allow the shitty times to detour you from your job, or from your life.

If you think this is impossible, I understand! I’ve been there too. But give this one week and see the change within you. For every negative thought, force yourself to have 2 positive ones. For every ‘bummed out’ moment, go have some fun. You may have to fake it at first, but soon enough it will be who you are. Find an outlet for your emotions, whether friends, family, pet, or tree. Yell, scream, cuss all you want, but remember, tomorrow is a band new day.

It’s your brand new day to kick the funk.

It’s your brand new day to be yourself.

It’s your brand new day to make something great happen.

It’s your brand new day to begin leaving your legacy.

It’s your brand new day to enjoy the ride.

You kick ass! Don’t let some rough patches stop you from realizing this.

2011 — A Roller Coaster Year

There’s always that uphill beginning that’s never the fun part.  My uphill: My grandmother’s heart surgery followed by a stroke followed by her passing.  Although it was one of the most difficult times of my life, if it had to happen, timing couldn’t have been better. I was able to spend a month in California to help take care of her during my break from work.  I was able to fly back and be by her side during her last breaths.  I was able to be there for her during, what I would imagine, were some of the scariest and loneliest moments of her life.  She has been there for me during every good and bad moment of my life, and I’m blessed to have been able to do the same for her during that time. God blessed me with that. God also blessed me with each and every person in my life.  The support I got from everyone I’ve met along the way was unimaginable.  My grandmother meant the world to me, and was nothing less than totally supportive when others weren’t as much.  The outburst of calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages, everything reminded me that even though she is not here, I’m still supported and loved beyond anything I deserve. #Blessed became my theme of 2011, and this is a major reason why.

Then the rollercoaster started in with the downhill/twisting/turning/”screaming at the top of your lungs” ride.  Once again, I was able to tour with the same artist for the second year in a row.  When I moved to Nashville over six years ago, my only dream was to work in the country music industry.  That dream was morphed a little and I get to live it out every day.  Not only was I able to tour with that country act, but we were the opening act for an artist that I would have never thought I’d be able to make it to a show, much less tour with.  We travelled the country and played for crowds of a few thousand to fifty-thousand.  Seriously awesome! If that wasn’t enough, I got to travel with some of the coolest people to work with.  Once again, God has surrounded me with some freaking awesome folks!

Although I haven’t been able to get myself skinny yet and although I’m not rich with money yet and although I haven’t taken The Parker Experience out on the road yet and although I haven’t started a family yet… I can go on forever with things that I haven’t done, but I can say that 2011 has been nothing short of kick-ass! I may not be the best person in the world, but I like to believe that I’m beginning to leave a positive legacy, even if it is for only a few people.

When looking back at your year: reflect on the uphill beginning of the rollercoaster, but really emphasize the ride and the other people sharing it with you. Life is not always easy. It won’t be. It can’t be.  It will challenge you to the edge, which you will be a better person if you overcome it.  It will force you to make some really tough decisions, which is where you need to make the right ones.  It will try to make you be someone you’re not, which is where you need to just be yourself.  Life is what you make of it.

In 2012 just be yourself.

The Power of Positive

I was reminded a few weeks ago about something that changed my life:  The power of positive thinking. This can also be stated as the Power of Living a Positive Lifestyle or simply, the Power of Positive.  As simple as it sounds, this is extremely difficult in the negative, quick-paced world we live in; but when put into action within our hearts, it can benefit each person exponentially.

A couple years ago I was a wreck.  There’s a book to be written about everything that I was trying to deal with, everything that I was going through and everything that I wished would just go away! After several years of struggling, one day I woke up and simply decided that I was done living that life.  I was done hurting so much. I was done being the negative guy constantly that would push people away. I was done fighting the life that I had to live. I was ready for a change and it was either going to take a huge turn for the worst, or to force myself to have a positive attitude and begin taking life in stride.  That’s where I started.

Since that moment, where I decided to make a huge mental change, I have worked extremely hard to keep positive thoughts flowing through my mind, and to see everything as an opportunity to excel.  I have also noticed that since making these changes mentally, my heart has bought into this idea and taken over the negativity.  Through this process I have also become surrounded by people of the same nature.  Whether great friends, coworkers on the road, coworkers in Nashville or a random stranger, I seem to find the people with a great, positive outlook on life.

As someone that has lived in both sides of the spectrum through so much in my life, I can truly say that my joy in life doesn’t come from money, trips or anything superficial.  My biggest joys in life are those that come from the power of positive.  These joys are laughter with great friends, being reminded why you love your job even on the bad days, making an impact on someone else’s life because of your desire to just help others, then realizing the positive impact that same person made on you.  Every day I am reminded why it is that I do what I do, without a true reason to look back.

I’m not going to tell you that if you think positive thoughts you’ll become a millionaire. I’m not going to say that you’ll get that promotion next week, or that your thoughts will cure the cancer in your parent.  I also know that we all have those days where being positive and excited seems impossible, but what I will promise is that if you truly strive to keep a positive attitude through the thick and thin of life, you will be a much happier person overall.  If you show the world this attitude, you will impact other people to be positive and your legacy will grow.  If you believe in yourself enough to stay excited, you will be happy and unstoppable!

Over the course of the next few weeks, I challenge you to be as positive as you can possibly be!  At first it may be weird and seem forced, but find those things in life you love and remind yourself of them.  Remind yourself of everything you love about your ‘not so dream’ job.  Give yourself reasons to love you and everything you do.

Then, at the end of the few weeks, I challenge you to look back and see the change that occurred.  See how much easier it is to find the positive things, and look back about those others that you made a positive impact on.  Show yourself how much easier life has become with the positive lifestyle!

Everyone has struggles and everyone has crappy moments.  How you react to those moments will depict how smooth and fast the recovery will be.  React with the Power of Positive in your heart and the rest will work itself out!