How To Avoid Being Robbed Of Lifes Joys, One Struggle At a Time

davecscott_fargo_blogger_BNG

Life has never been easy for me.

There’s never been an ‘simple-street’ that I got to live on.

My journey on this earth has been one challenge after another, and it often times seems like one monumental conflict.

Can you relate?

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.

Tourette Syndrome

When I was seven years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS).

Tourette’s is a neurological disorder that involves uncontrollable repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, called tics.

Some tics that are common to those with Tourette’s are repeatedly blinking the eyes, shrugging shoulders, or blurting out offensive words.

Ever see the Rob Schneider movie, Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo? There’s a scene where he goes on a date with a lady that’s afflicted with TS. It’s actually a hilarious scene, but definitely not for little eyes, if you know what I mean. This scene will give you an idea of what TS is..albeit a bit skewed.

TS isn’t catchy, or dangerous. I got because someone in my family has it. It’s a genetic disorder. And it sucks.

Because I was diagnosed with TS back in the 80’s, there was very little knowledge about the disorder. Many of those in my life were incredibly ignorant about what I was going through. (my family excluded; they were amazing)

I was labeled a “trouble-maker” and “weird” by school counselors, and mercilessly picked on from the age of seven through middle school. (the harassment died down the bigger and older I got)

TS is a part of me. I embrace it. I don’t run from it. I also don’t have any super-crazy symptoms that you would notice, today.

But if you ever notice me doing a weird motion with my face, I promise I’m not chewing on lemons.

Chunk

If you’ve ever watched the movie The Goonies, you’d undoubtedly remember Chunk. He was the main character’s best buddy, and he was also the resident chubby kid.

I resembled Chunk’s body-type from about eight years old until I turned twelve. At twelve, my body leaned up and I’ve been the same, semi-fit shape ever since.

As you know, kids can be cruel. Not only was having Tourette’s tough, but I was overweight as well. It’s like having two strikes against me for the kids who enjoyed making fun of others.

I got into fights (just a few), struggled with depression, felt lonely and sad. I was suicidal and a very angry young man.

Being overweight was nothing short of terrible, coupled with having Tourette’s.

A brush with death

To add to the messiness of life, I then almost died in horrendous skiing accident in December of 1994. I was skiing over Christmas break with my brothers and was attempting to keep up with them.

Trying to keep up with my brothers was my first mistake, as they’re both much better athletes than I am.

In my feeble attempt to chase them, I decided to hug inanimate object, while traveling at a high speed.

I was rushed to a regional hospital where I was immediately thrown into surgery.

While on the operating table, my blood pressure dropped and my heart stopped.

Twice.

I had lost so much blood because of internal bleeding that my heart was fighting to keep beating. I didn’t know any of this, of course, as I was sedated during surgery, but found out afterwards.

Post surgery, I’ll never forget the conversation with the doctors. I remember the doctors giving me their grim prognosis. They told me that I may not walk again, and probably wouldn’t run again due to the injuries. (I fractured my hip, shattered my pelvis, and broke my tailbone)

Life was not awesome in my teens.

I’m also not sure which was worse: being diagnosed with a weird, neurological disorder, the consequences of being overweight, or being paralyzed for a period of time.

The encouragement of your experience

During all this, I heard something incredibly profound.

I heard a pastor say “your experience is your testimony.

This is one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard. The meaning of this nugget of wisdom is simple: your journey in life, however tumultuous, is a period of time that when shared, can encourage others.

My life-experiences have shaped who I am, today. I’m proud of them. I’m grateful for them, despite the pain.

But my story, and yours, shouldn’t be be kept a secret. The intent is to share them, with the appropriate persons and under the right situation.

The trick is to use your experience as a tool to encourage others to rise above their current pain and become better.

Not finding joy

It’s hard to find joy when you’re in a heartbreaking season. There was a time that I was miserable, going through what I did.

You might have a lot of unhappiness in your life. The idea of joy in your everyday routine may seem like a distant memory.

You might have a physical ailment that’s limiting you. You may be suffering from some rare physical condition that’s not ideal. Or you might have a terrible addiction, or be in a marriage that’s completely dead.

Perhaps you’re living through a time of financial or professional stress. Maybe you’re about to become an empty-nester as your child goes off to college only to be faced with the reality of having to get reacquainted with your spouse after years and years of putting the needs of your kids first, and your marriage second.

Whatever you’re going through, there are definitely plenty of reasons that can keep us from finding joy.

You have 2 choices

As humans we were created with a thing called freewill.

Whatever your circumstance, you have the power of freewill, which is the ability to make choices that affect your overall mindset.

When faced with these times, we have 2 options:

  1. Let your circumstance consume you with fear, anger, and self-doubt.
  2. Choose to use your current condition to as a stepping stone to something bigger.

When the doctors gave me my grave outlook, I was angry. I was so angry. But within a year, I was running, jogging and playing soccer. The joy I found took years to find. I had freewill and made the decision to change my mindset, and as a result, the joy came over time.

With my Tourette’s, instead of avoiding people in public for the fear of ridicule, I chose to walk with my head high and chest out, with a sense of God-given confidence that no one could shatter.

I was determined not to let what I was going through define me or keep me down.

What’s your mindset?

Or are you depressed and playing the victim? Or are you willing to approach life differently by choosing joy, instead of being defeated?

Is your choice to simply say ‘I can’t‘, thus self-defeating yourself before you get started, or is your decision one that finds joy in a mindset that lives in confidence that you can accomplish anything through the power of your Creator.

It’s okay to be emotional

Let me add a disclaimer here, so you don’t think that what I’m saying is some kind of always-be-positive-mantra from a Joel Osteen book, or a Deepak Chopra meme.

It is more than okay to be emotional, when facing a difficult period in your life.

In the book, The Emotionally Church by Peter Scazzero, he’s very clear about grieving. Grieving is a natural part of our DNA as humans. It’s how we were created.

Grieving, and more importantly grieving your limitations, is normal and should be celebrated.

It is okay to allow grief and sadness to be a part of your emotional journey, in order to get through hard times. You need to allow this to be a part of your emotional process.

But you can’t live here forever.

Bitterness, anger, and generally treating people around you like a jerk, is not part of the healing process when experiencing hardships.

And perhaps that’s you. If you’ve spent a period of time in your life, whatever the length, being mean, letting bitterness, anger and frustration rule your emotions then you have some apologizing and reconciling to do. I’d encourage you to do some introspection and then create a list of people that you need to reconcile with, because chances are you’ve allowed your feelings to hurt those around you.

Again, it’s okay to be emotional and extend yourself grace. We are often our worst enemies when it comes to self-criticism. So go easy on yourself, and instead have a plan to grieve, and then eventually you’ll heal and be able to successfully move forward.

Don’t rob yourself

In life you’ll encounter trials. You’ll have moments where you simply want to give up, because you’re facing insurmountable odds. Times where the joy may seem like complete darkness.

But it’s not. Joy is present. It always is.

What are you facing today that is requiring a mindset change, and a good dose of joy?

What joy can you find in your life?

The Dangerous Nature of Not Being Fit in Fargo [part #2]

davecscott fargo blogger

In part one of my blog series, I shared how I got fit after a great business trip gone bad (not because of the trip itself, rather due to the terrible food I ate) that gained me weight, while losing me years on my life.

In that piece I talked about things like:

  • How I stuffed my face with greasy food from food trucks.
  • The misery of eating larger portions of home-made-waffle-meals, custom chicken sandwiches, and toasted panini.
  • The misery that ultimately set in after eating unhealthy, large amounts of food.
  • How my CEO and his wife convinced me to “shock” my body through a 4-day cleanse. (I am incredibly grateful for them and their convincing!)

This piece is a follow up to that, complete with step-by-step instructions of how I trimmed down and ultimately put myself in a position to feel better on a daily basis.

Starts with this 

I’m not gonna lie; when my friend and CEO told me about the cleanse, my first thought was “yuck.” 

Why would anyone want to do it? Why would anyone want to drink some nasty drink for 4 days, while starving their bodies?

And what’s this drink? 1 cup of maple syrup, 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus one-part water? That’s just nuts. 

But…I’d never tried it before, I had not experienced a liquid cleanse, nor had I tasted this concoction that my friend was convincing me that would make me feel better. 

My attitude stunk, as did my overall mindset.

If you’re going to get physically healthy, it first starts in your mind. If your attitude sucks, so will the result of any lifestyle change you want to make. 

Get your overall attitude right, and the rest is much easier to fall into place. 

The process

 After I made the decision to get it done, here’s how it works and here’s what you need. 

(note: men and women are different, and the recipe amounts are a bit different as well) 

Essentially, you’ll need organic maple syrup, hand-squeezed lemon juice and water. (a lot of water. I’m talking about fire-hose quantities of water)

Why organic maple syrup?

The maple syrup ingredient part of the cleanse keeps you from passing out. The organic maple syrup gives your body empty calories, to make sure you don’t lose too much energy, and pass out.

Why organic maple syrup?

For starters, the stuff you buy at Cub Foods or your local grocery store contains lot of sugar, and is mostly garbage to begin with. Organic stuff has less preservatives, less nasty chemicals, etc.

Second, the purpose of the organic maple syrup as a part of the cleanse is to rid your body of toxins.

Following logic here, it makes sense to use pure, organic ingredients during your fast, while avoiding foods with sugars, pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals that may contain residues of toxins. Many of the toxins found in the body come from foods after you consume them. Needless to say, these chemicals have harmful effects.

Then what

Next, you need lemons and water. A lot of fresh lemons. When I say alot, I’m talking about a large bag full that you can purchase in bulk at Costco, Sam’s Club or someplace similar.

For a nice video to watch, that walks you through the actual lemon squeezing, while showing you how to create the overall liquid-recipe, take a look here. (warning: the video is educational in nature, not the best quality)

Watch here. 

Drink water like Niagara Falls

Once you’ve created the master cleanse formula, you’ll need to drink once ounce of water per half pound of body weight. 

Example: I weighed 180 lbs when I began the master cleanse, which means I needed to drink 90 ounces of water every day, for four days. 

Sounds like a lot, and it was. I’ve never consumed as much water in my entire life. But it was important to cleanse my body, and drinking gallons of water helped my body accomplish this. 

Lastly, remember this: you ultimately shrink your stomach through this entire process.

You see, many Americans are overweight because we overeat. Our food portions are out of control and because we eat way too much food at each meal, we stretch our stomachs. By stretching our stomachs, we artificially allow more food into our bodies than what’s healthy. 

So, not only will you shock and cleanse your body through this process, you’ll be helping your body return to it’s original means of modus-operandi. 

Set some goals and get to work

Now that you’ve got a better idea of how to help yourself get fit in Fargo, as I did, be sure and set some goals. Hold yourself accountable and even consider a workout partner that can help you be accountable as well. 

3 Tried-and-True Methods Sure to Help College Students Get a Job In Marketing Before Graduation [part #2]

fargo inbound blogger davecscott

In part 2 of this blog series about how college students can get a job before graduation, I’ll share a few more tidbits.

I’ll also share some wisdom that doesn’t necessarily apply to the tactical pieces of marketing, but nuggets that are just as important for you, a college student, when looking for your first job, post-graduation ceremony.

Let’s get started.

Quick review

In email #1 of how NDSU or MSUM students can get a job before graduation, we touched on 3 points for college student to be aware of. 

  1. Know who you serve. Whether you’re blogging, creating email campaigns, or writing website copy, the end goal should always be to serve the consumer. They demand value, so give it to them with byte-sized chunks of educational, yet compelling content. 
  2. Blog. Employer’s and bosses want to see initiative. Any company looking to hire a college student that’s soon to graduate should be looking to see how creative and motivated they are. If you’re skill-set is the same as all your peers, life’s going to be hard for you. If you’re able to differentiate yourself through some sort of unique project, like blogging, then this is good because you’re able to show initiative which will help you ultimately land a gig. 
  3. Avoid the career-killing attitude of entitlement. Entitlement is when someone thinks they should “get” something when they haven’t worked for it. Entitlement is when you think that because you have a degree, you deserve something. Just because you have a 4 year degree, doesn’t mean a potential employer will give you the keys to the castle. You need to earn it. You have a tremendous amount to learn post-graduation and in your 20’s. The next few years of your post-graduation-life should be spent learning, listening and being patient. You won’t be a manager right away, and you won’t make $50k, $60k, or $100k right away. It’s also easy to be a martyr when this happens. Don’t fall into this trap. This is rooted in entitlement and this attitude will kill your newly budding job-adventure. See what Jon Acuff and Michael Hyatt have to say about entitlement here. 

Enough reviewing, here are 6 tidbits of wisdom that will help you land a job before you graduate from North Dakota State University or any college in America, for that matter.  

Tried-and-True Method #1: Learn about technology

Unless you move from Fargo to the Twin Cities and land a gig at Best Buy, Cargill, 3M, or Medtronic, you’ll undoubtedly be working for a small-to-medium-sized business (SMB).

What does this mean? It means that most SMB’s use website platforms, like WordPress, to run and launch their websites.

Learn about platforms like WordPress before you graduate. This will not only help you get a job as you’ll have some experience, but learning this skill-set will carry into other jobs you may have later. 

What sort of aspects of WordPress should you learn about?

  1. Learn how to build effective landing pages.
  2. Learn how to effectively use SEO plug-ins, like SEO Yoast, in order to get the best search value from your site. 
  3. Understand how to find and use WordPress themes that will get you the best user-experience possible. 
  4. Figure out how to impact the little things when building or updating a WordPress site like page titles, alt tags for images, tagging video’s that are linked to your site, and how to use forms applications, like Gravity forms.

(if you don’t know what the above mentioned terms mean, that’s okay. but you need to start researching them if you don’t. Use Google and the web to learn about them)

Other technology to learn would range from social media automation tools to SEO tools.

Get to know social media software like Sprout Social and HootSuite Pro. You’ll also want to understand more robust marketing automation software like Infusionsoft, Hubspot, and Act-On

What does marketing automation software do and why is it important?

When you cut your lawn, you can use scissors or a lawn-mower. Both will get the job done, but only one saves you time and makes the job more efficient. 

Marketing automation software is the lawn-mower of digital marketing activities, and learning about these technologies will make you a smarter marketer. 

Tried-and-True Method #2: Everything begins with copy

Copy, as in copywriting, should be a heavily stressed part of every marketing degree.

And I’m not talking about journalism, as in writing large, cumbersome paragraphs as seen in the Sunday newspaper.

I’m talking about web copy. Web copy is defined as copy that’s published on webpages, blogs, e-books, landing pages, social media accounts, etc. 

Everything starts with copy. 

Let’s take blogging as an example. There’s a science and an art in setting up the layout of an impressive company blog.

You need to consider how to write effective headlines, create calls-to-action that drive prospect and customer engagement, and how to develop blog topics that answer questions for prospects. 

That all starts with copy. Copy is anything in the form of written word that ultimately gets in front of your customers or prospective clients. 

Learn how to write and write well. Check out some resources here that will help you write amazing copy.

Tried-and-True Method #3: Play nice in the sandbox

When finally getting your first job out of college, whether the career field is marketing or not, you need to learn how to work with others. 

This may sound easy, but it’s not. It is very complicated. 

In working in a small business environment in Fargo, or working for a billion dollar company in Minneapolis, working with others can be challenging. You need to learn how to productively express yourself when frustrated, you need to know how to constructively work through conflict, and most importantly you need to learn to listen when working with others. 

Listening, truly listening, means not interrupting others and hearing what someone else is saying. This is a tremendously tough skill to learn, but learning it in your 20’s will save you all kinds of crazy-headaches when arriving in your 30’s and 40’s. 

Learn these 3 things when working with a team of people, and you’ll instantly catapult your career to new heights.  

Tried-and-True Method #4: Don’t gossip

I once worked in an environment where almost everyone gossiped. There was constant backstabbing, plenty of tittle-tattle, and more scandalmongers than a Hollywood tabloid. 

Few trusted each other, everyone was hypersensitive, and most were afraid of making mistakes. It was awful. 

There’s nothing worse than office gossip, and there’s nothing more hurtful than when you find out a co-worker, who’s trust you thought you’d gained, sacrifices your professional friendship for selfish reasons.

If you choose to be a “busybody”, do so at your own peril. Because once you break that bond of trust, it’s very hard to ever get it back. And when you have a professional reputation of distrust, it will follow you, and no one likes a gossip or a busybody. 

Rise above negativity, don’t talk about others behind their backs, and tackle issues that you have with others directly, by talking things out. You’ll be better off in the end, and certainly won’t burn any bridges either. 

Tried-and-True Method #5: Don’t quit

Many marketing professionals I know job hop. I’ve been guilty of this in the past, as have many others. When I see marketers that job hop, one thing comes to mind: Quitter.

Quitting doesn’t just apply to those in the marketing field, either.  It applies to everyone. 

Too many people in our modern-day-society choose to quit. They quit on life, they quit on their marriages, they quit on each other. It’s easy to quit…and it’s extremely lazy. 

When hard times come, in your new career journey, don’t quit. Keeping hustling, keep grinding, and do not give up.

Life in the working world will be very hard at times. You’ll encounter bosses who never compliment you, executives who micro-manage you, and work with customers who generally make life unbearable. 

But don’t give up. Don’t quit. Stick it out. As Jon Acuff says, Show up helpful. Show up grateful. Show up humble.”

Tried-and-True Method #6: Learn to sell

Whether you work for a non-profit, or a for profit company, you’re always selling.

You’re selling a product/service to your prospects, you’re potentially selling an idea to investors, you’re pitching a concept or a budget to your bosses, and you’re selling suggestions to your fellow peers.

Before you start selling, however, you need to have empathy. Empathy is when you put yourself in the shoes of the person to whom you’re selling. 

For example, if you’re selling to a prospect, imagine yourself in their situation. Maybe they’re hesitant to buy because they’ve been burned before and don’t want to commit.

Or maybe your boss can’t support your idea because he doesn’t have the budget to support it.

Or perhaps your co-worker can’t quite grasp your recommendation because they’re strapped for time, and their schedule is completely full.

Either way, have empathy. Your audience deserves to have you walk a mile in their shoes. That’s what makes someone great at sales. 

And always remember: don’t sell your product, rather solve peoples problems.

Punch fear in the face

Take each day one day at a time, and enjoy this season in your life, post-graduation.

And if you would, leave a comment below and share if you can relate to anything you just read.

3 Tried-and-True Methods Sure to Help College Students Get a Job In Marketing Before Graduation [part #1]

davecscott-fargo-blogging-marketing-ndsu

(credit: shutterstock)

I see a growing trend in college grads, specifically those who are pursuing a degree in marketing, PR, or communications.

That trend is this: most college graduates do not possess the applicable digital marketing skill-sets that allow them to positively impact potential businesses that wish to hire them.

And that’s certainly not the fault of college students.

After all, most North Dakota State University (NDSU) or Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) students enter their college years expecting to get an education that allows them to find success and happiness, along with a few Bison games in between. 

More importantly, as a graduate or soon-to-be grad, you would hope that your Alma mater has prepared you for the coming work-world, so that you can tackle earth-shattering marketing campaigns, graphic design and PR strategies. 

But the learning curve is steep, and students simply are not being trained in many of the strategic and tactical aspects of digital marketing.

Some of the most basic core competencies are being missed.

An aptitude for things like web-copywriting ability, (not to be confused with journalism) email marketing expertise, basic knowledge of blogging, and how to create measurable marketing strategies are being buried under a mound of expensive books and old-school teachings that aren’t relevant.

Enough is enough

I’m passionate about helping college students.

And it’s time that those in the professional working world step up to help the future generations of marketers tell better stories, that ultimately help businesses grow. 

In light of this revelation, (not a recent revelation by any means) I’ve decided to help any college student that wants to get a job after college.

If you’re a marketing major, communications major or journalism major at North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, or Concordia College, then this blog piece is for you and I’d like to offer a lifeline. 

If you’re REALLY serious about getting a job after college, I’m even willing to help.

Email me (dave.s@bngteam.com) and I’ll email you all kinds of great resources, knowledge and wisdom in the marketing industry, that can help you get a job faster and make you a better marketer and writer.

Onto the three ways you, as a college student, can land your first gig out of college…

Tried-and-True Method #1: Prospects and customers, not you, demand value

The first step in getting a job in marketing before your graduate is to understand who you serve.

You need to know why businesses and organizations function and how marketing is a part of this equation.

Organizations, whether it be for-profit businesses or non-profits, function because they have clients and customers that demand something. 

It doesn’t matter if the business is B2B, B2C, or non-profit, they all exist to serve a customer. 

Customers and clients of your future employer(s) are demanding you to educate them, and inform them. Customers and consumers of your future employer ultimately find value from whatever it is you happen to be schlepping.

The product or service that you’re offering must give prospective customers/clients some sort of return on investment (ROI), which is the definition of value.

As a writer, marketer, content creator, your job is not to create awesome social media campaigns or storyboard the next viral YouTube video.

Your job is to create web-based content that creates value for customers and prospective clients, thus creating revenue and sales opportunities for the company.

The marketing campaigns you develop are simply a tactic to accomplish this, and embracing this mindset of serving the customer first is paramount in your career path. Own it.

Tried-and-True Method #2: Take initiative

How does a college grad create value for my future employer?

By showing initiative, that’s how. One awesome way to show that you’re taking initiative is by by creating online content that customers and prospects will love.

One excellent tactic that helps businesses engage customers is with a blog.

I would encourage every single college student to unabashedly dive into blogging. 

Blogging, when done right, can educate buyers, build trust, and drive traffic to a businesses website. Blogging is not expensive, rather simple to learn, and a great way to engage prospects and potential buyers. 

Here are some amazing stats about blogging from, Lee Odden, author of Optimize and CEO of Minneapolis-based marketing agency TopRank Marketing.

  • 76% of B2B marketing leaders use blogging as a marketing tactic.
  • 62% of B2B marketers rate blogs as effective.
  • B2B marketers that blog receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
  • Blogs have been rated as the 4th most trusted source for accurate online information.
  • The only thing blogging costs you: your time.

As a college student, blogging, and showing that you blog consistently, shows employer’s that you’re passionate about your craft, and that you are purposeful with the knowledge that you’ve learned.

It will immediately differentiate you as a job candidate.

Tried-and-True Method #3: Check your attitude

One of the worse elements of a bad attitude is entitlement. The character flaw will kill your career, fast. 

This one thing won’t necessarily help you land your first gig, but will derail it.

Keep this in mind: most professionals don’t really find a career rhythm until their 30’s, most of your wealth will come in your 40’s, and you’ll spend the first 5 years or so working on tasks that aren’t awe-inspiring, but very necessary.

And you’re also not entitled to anything, nor do you deserve anything. You are not going to make $50k a year, right away, nor will you have job security or awesome benefits provided to you.

Early on in your marketing career you’ll be challenged with what will seem like crappy, menial tasks. Projects like organizing tradeshows, writing printed collateral for crusty sales-guys, and dealing with a myriad of tasks that seem silly at the time.

But these tasks are not silly, rather a very normal part of your development process.

Even though entitlement doesn’t have much to do with skill-set, it is super important as its part of your overall mindset.

Mindset is much more important than skill-set, and way more critical to your career path, so be sure to constantly check your attitude and mindset to make sure entitlement doesn’t take root.

Punch fear in the face

In anticipation of your famed graduation day, you’ll undoubtedly be hit with a tidal wave of fear and emotions…especially if you don’t have a job lined up.

This is normal. It’s happened to all of us before. So remember to breath. You will survive and you will eventually get a job.

Take each day one day at a time, and enjoy this season in your young life…and remember to get busy blogging.

How To Kill Boredom In Fargo Once And For All

fargo-blogger-dairy-queen-moorhead-fargo-davecscott

Boredom and bored. These words make me shutter.

These words make me tremble like the evil hyena’s, Ed and Shenzi, from the movie The Lion King, when they playfully tease one another by saying the name of Mufasa, the great Lion King.

As a young lad growing up, I learned that the “b” word was a swear word. And rightfully so.

I always felt that being bored is nothing more than a bad attitude or a mindset, which can easily be overcome. Overcome by activities like reading, going outdoors, and eating ice cream.

I’m grateful that my dad, grandparents, and especially my aunt, taught me the value of how to avoid this mindset.

Kicking the stupefied state of mind

When we made the decision to take the steps necessary to move from the Twin Cities to Fargo, we knew there would be cool things to enjoy, once we actually got to Fargo.

Cool stuff to do, like attending ballgames, blogging, enjoying miles of walking/biking trails, and loving good food.

And then there’s the pleasure of being able to savor ice cream at one of the most iconic ice cream shops in the entire country.

An ice cream shop that gets annual press from newspapers from around the country, for it’s menu items that are basically deemed criminal by the heads of it’s corporate franchise.

And this splendid place is right across the river from Fargo, in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Of all the awesome things we’ve experienced in the Fargo-area this summer, the old-fashioned Dairy Queen in Moorhead is the one place that’s helped keep our summer interesting for me and my family.

The excitement and mystique of being naughty

Ah, glorious Dairy Queen. I heart Dairy Queen.

This one place has brought me incredible joy while in Fargo this summer, ultimately helping me and my family avoid the blues that can come from the dog days of summer.

But eating frozen treats, at this historical Fargo-Moorhead eatery, is considered naughty in some circles.

This historic DQ, that’s been operating since 1949, (that’s 66 years) has been called rogue, been shunned, and has even been labeled as “criminal” by it’s own corporate mother-ship.

Eating ice cream, and other rare menu items that you cannot find at a typical Dairy Queen, almost makes you feel like you’re breaking the law, or committing an act of ‘naughtiness.’

And yet, there’s an excitement in doing something that’s right by supporting something that breaks the status quo. Like a protest against the “man” or by celebrating a cause that’s been long forgotten. There’s a thrilling sense of mystique that comes from dining at this DQ.

And to those of you who say I have an addiction to the infamous treats of this famous Minnesota franchise…well…you’re right. I do.

And if that makes me naughty, then I will proudly wear that badge.

How to avoid boredom once and for all

Earl Nightingale famously said “you’ll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea.”

(you’re welcome for the free wisdom)

When you’re bored, you need to simply put on your thinking cap, write down some places to go, or consider the process of elimination in order to figure out something fun to do.

And when all else fails, there’s always Google, Tripadvisor, and Yelp to help you overcome daily apathy.

When you and your family are bored, how do you overcome this?

What are some great places in the Fargo-Moorhead area that can help keep the brain and body active?

The Dangerous Nature of Not Being Fit in Fargo

fargo-moorhead-davecscott-blog(image credit: Google images)

A few weeks ago, our CEO and I traveled to the Big Apple, where my palate fell in love, but my hips didn’t lie afterwards.

I thought I would hate traveling to New York City, and was hesitant to even go, but I’m grateful I did. (I‘ve purposely avoided the Big Apple because I had no desire to be in the presence of 8 million people)

The trip overall was a business success, but an epic-fail because of the sheer amount of garbage I ate.

The culinary mea culpe

We stayed in Hoboken, at the W Hotel. The W was amazing, but the most amazing part was Pier 13 which is across the street from the W Hotel.

Pier 13 is a large, long pier that extends over the Hudson River. The Hudson river separates New Jersey and New York, in case your geography is as bad as mine.

The coolest part of the Pier is that it’s lined with food trucks. Food trucks are basically trucks that resemble Fed-Ex delivery vehicles which create culinary masterpieces, like home-made-waffle-meals, custom chicken sandwiches, and toasted panini, among others.

Pier 13 in Hoboken is a must-visit when in New York/New Jersey.

Misery sets in

When I returned from my foodie-foray in New York, I was miserable. I was the heaviest I’ve weighed in 37 years and physically felt awful.

Being I traveled to New York with my friend, we shared our miseries with one another, and after getting home, chose to come up with a plan to shed our unfit nature.

We decided to do a 4-day cleanse. The cleanse consisted of one part water, one part pure maple syrup, and one part squeezed lemon juice, all for four days. There was to be no food, just the delicious drink and half an ounce of water per body weight each day.

The cleansing-concoction sounds nasty, and it was anything but. It tasted amazing, and this coupled with the water I drank every day, for four days, allowed me to accomplish a few feats.

  1. First, the cleanse allowed me to lose a few pounds of excess water weight, while “cleaning” my pipes. No need to explain in detail…
  2. Second, the lack of food during my cleanse forced my stomach size to go back to a smaller size.
  3. Third, the drink I consumed for four days was an appetite suppressant that helped kill my addiction to coffee, sugar and Dairy Queen blizzards. (yes it’s possible to be addicted to DQ)

After the misery of eating like a fool in New York, the result of the cleanse was just what the doctor ordered.

Then what

Now that I successfully completed my cleanse, I wanted be active outside, taking advantage of the great outdoors, and summer evenings in Fargo.

There’s really nothing better than a summer evening in Fargo-Moorhead, or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter. (Twin Cities and Minnesota included)

So, I bought a great new pair of Mizuno running shoes and began running on the hundreds of miles of trails that surround West-Fargo.

Click here for the best places to bike, jog, or walk in Fargo.

I also highly recommend Mizuno’s Wave Riders. I’ve been running in them for over five years and love them. I bought mine here. 

Beyond that, our CEO and I have been holding each other accountable by working out every morning at 6am. (6:15am to be precise)

I feel the accountability, and camaraderie, is key to sticking to a workout routine. You have to share your life-goals with others in order to make them a reality, and by working out with Brady, I accomplish this each day, as does he.

Write it down

And let’s not forget setting goals.

I know, I know…goal setting and establishing commitments is boring. Such a buzz-kill, right?

But it’s not.

Goal setting is one of the most powerful exercises a person can do to find success.

Besides, if you’re going to go through all the trouble I did in a four-day cleanse, buy new jogging shoes, as well as invest your time, you’d better not quit. One of the best ways to not quit is by writing down your goals.

Often times, people quit really good endeavors because they had no defined purpose or goal. – Dave Scott

By writing down your goals you’ll subconsciously be on your way to being fit in Fargo…or wherever you live.

Watch this video to see how I create goals, using the S.M.A.R.T methodology.

And by writing your fitness goals down, your subconscious mind is triggered and becomes a powerful ally in your fight of fat.

Take action

If you’re unhealthy, or want to make a change, it starts with taking action. Don’t dwell on your troubles, rather take action. Start somewhere, and get active.

Then establish good eating habits. You ARE what you eat. If you eat lots of sugars, breads, and the like, you’ll gain weight and be unhealthy.

From here, break the status quo by creating goals. Most people who are unhappy, won’t make or keep goals. Change status quo and be different. By not taking action, and thus being different, you’ll never become healthy.

The results

In the last month I’ve lost 10 lbs, leaned up a bit, and overall feel mentally and physically great. If you take the above approach, you will become fit in Fargo, too.

Are you unhealthy? If so, what action do you need to take in order to improve your lifestyle? What are you willing to do in order to find physiological success?

How Moving to Fargo Wasn’t Actually the Hardest Part of Moving to Fargo

Downtown Fargo December 19, 2010. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

Downtown Fargo December 19, 2010. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

(image credit: The Forum; Area Voices)

Giving up something you love is always hard.

Whether it’s something tangible such as a car, or a home, or something intangible like a relationship, or a career you love; sacrifice is always difficult.

So when my wife and I first started talking about moving from the suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul to Fargo, we prepared ourselves for an emotional engagement, as this would be hard.

We experienced a perpetual wave of sadness as we moved, but the decision to pursue a change, the packing, and moving itself wasn’t the toughest part.

The struggle is simple to fix.

Two things that can erode any relationship are unmet expectations and poor communication.

So when my family and I began exploring our monumental move to Fargo, we started the process by reaching out to and communicating with all the companies that we’d need to engage as a part of our transition.

We started with the logical approach.

We began by communicating with a local bank in Fargo to get a mortgage lined-up, then a real estate office in Lakeville, in order to list and sell our home.

We then spent time talking with a home builder in the Fargo-Moorhead area and alerted all the service-based businesses that charged us monthly fees for services rendered like our mail carrier, the garbage collector, and the broadband provider.

Of all the businesses we had to interface with, the most important one was the most frustrating.

Our greatest source of stress was dealing with the title and closing company.

(I’m not going to name the title and closing company in a public blog because it’s super inappropriate. It doesn’t matter who the company was, rather how it was resolved)

From a missed deadlines, incorrect instruction, to a lack of clear direction, it was all a bit disappointing.  Despite the stress, we persevered, and ultimately it all worked out.

As you can see in our moving escapades to Fargo, taping boxes and lifting totes was the simplest part. It was communication with other companies that ultimately gave me gray hairs.

Inspired by our trials, I’ve created a list of three ‘must-haves’ as a part of effective communication that anyone can use in order to avoid typical moving blunders.

Effective communication must be H.O.T.

In order to create a positive communication climate in your personal and professional life, communication must be H.O.T.

H.O.T. stands for Honest, Open and Two-Way.

And in order to avoid verbal-judo from friends, family members, and business professionals, everyone should consider this methodology.

  1. You must be honest. (but be kind)

When communicating effectively there isn’t a perfect method to do it right, but you need to at least be willing to put your heart on the table, be transparent, and get naked.

Get naked? Yes, naked.

In his book Getting Naked, author Patrick Lencioni talks about being completely open and honest, despite your fears.

The three fears that keep people from being vulnerable are the fear of losing a relationship, the fear of being embarrassed, and the fear of feeling inferior.

For our mortgage title and closing company, I feel they were rushed and weren’t willing to be honest by over-communicating with me and my wife because they feared looking incompetent by over-communicating.

And it was this missed expectation that caused the relationship to erode.

Let me also say that you need to be kind when communicating. For example, if your co-worker is a rude jerk, don’t call them a rude jerk, even though it may be true. Pull them aside, have a private talk and let them know that when they act a certain way, it makes you (and others) feel hurt and unappreciated.

Be kind in how you talk with and communicate into other people’s lives.

  1. You must be open.

I feel this is the hardest part of the HOT methodology and it’s the toughest for me personally.

Being open means you need to be vulnerable. It means you must emotionally let another person in, while letting everything out. Being open means you need to not stuff your thoughts and feelings inside.

You need to open up and get everything out in your dialogue. The freedom you will experience by truly being naked as Lencioni coins it, will give you a remarkable emotional high.

Plus you’re learning through doing. This is called practice. You don’t learn new things or develop unless you actually take action through ‘doing.’

Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots in his NBA career, lost over 300 games, and was trusted to win the game by taking the last minute shot 26 times, while ultimately losing the game by missing those same 26 shots.

But Jordan practiced by taking shots, and missing them. Just like this metaphor, you need to practice being open and vulnerable, which takes courage to overcome the fear associated with the risk.

Be open, and keep aspiring to be open time after time so you become a better communicator.

  1. You must have two-way dialogue.

This is easier for me, but can be harder for others. Hard because having a two-way dialogue means you need to listen.

Having two-way dialogue means listening, while not interrupting others when they are being open and honest with you. If you want to see people shut down and disengage, then don’t allow them to have a two-way dialogue with you by interjecting every time you have a thought.

Interrupting others is not a skill or a character trait to be proud of. Interrupting others is a bad and hurtful habit.

Listening, however, is an art.

It takes patience, hard work and diligence. The best listeners are often times the best communicators.

In two-way dialogue you need to be heard, and be open as well as honest, but most importantly need to listen.

The rest of the story

The title and mortgage company could have done well to follow the HOT methodology.

That being said, none of us are perfect. Often times I’m the worst of offenders when it comes to communicating inadequately. But that shouldn’t excuse bad communication.

Communicating is often the toughest part of any relationship or circumstance, so why not become a communication-ninja, and do it well?

What do you need to do in order to improve your communication? Much like my weakness, when it comes to being open and not stuffing my emotions, what are your failings and how can you improve your communication craft?