The little things.

Today isn’t even over yet and I already can realize that it has been a practice in “the little things.”

We all know them – the little things. The things that can make your day absolutely awesome and fantastic, but aren’t magnificent, huge, or world-shifting. 2 of them happened to me today.

First.

First was on the elevator in the office this morning. You know the moment. You step into that case of an elevator and before you know it you’re ascending or descending, crushed next to a bunch of likely strangers.

This morning, the strangers on the elevator knew each other, each presenting as males on a work team headed to a meeting. They ask each other where their meeting is actually inside of the building, and neither new. One pulls out his cell phone – whups, it’s the wrong one. And then he finds the other.

When he finally locates the calendar appointment on his work cell phone, they identify the meeting room and announce it aloud. I work on floor 4. Their meeting is on floor 3.

I don’t the third floor quite as well, but I do know that the numbering convention around the building is identical between all 7 floors. And that numbering conversation, while consistent, is CONFUSING. I took a moment to speak up, knowing the building well, and offer them some advice.

“When you stop off of the elevator, turn left. All of the 600 rooms are on that wall of the building.”

One of the two men replies, “Finally! Someone who is willing to help!”

From their badges, I could tell that they didn’t work in our building daily, but had maybe frequented int he past for meetings. And I was right. And I hope that little piece of advice made their day. They sure did seem thankful for it!

We exchanged greetings, they headed on to their meeting, and I headed on to my office. It was great.

SECOND.

I was walking past my neighborhood grocery story, a must-do for me on the way home from the train station. Really, it’s almost impossible to get home without walking in front of or behind the grocery store that is planted between my home and the station.

As I walked by the station, I hear my someone shout out my first name. “Hey, Justin!”

I keep rolling for just a moment but when I realize that this voice is likely shouting at me, I turn around. It’s an old neighbor of mine!

And mind you, in the super-densely populated never-ending suburb of Washington, D.C. that is Northern Virginia this is a rarity, to even see a neighbor that you know much less an OLD neighbor that you know.

The thing is, I can’t even recall this man’s exact name, but I know that we used to live in the same building. I met him and his wife and their two kids numerous times. I learned today that he has since moved to a new home in Tyson’s, to more land and more space – a common move for people who start out owning property in my condo building.

It’s something small – running into a neighbor – but it just doesn’t happen the way it does in a small or more rural town (which I love). It was amazing to have that happen today – and to reconnect with this man who I have such fond memories of but had not seen for 8 – 10 months.

It was awesome.

Both little things were awesome.

Today…was awesome.

I hope your day was, too.

For other little things, check out one of my favorite blogs that can easily and quickly remind you of the little things in life – Just Little Things.

Thanks for reading.

Virginia Tech NCR Commencement.

This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to address our newest graduates of Virginia Tech – now alumni – at their commenecement ceremony. This was, in particular, for those graduating from our programs that are here in the “National Capital Region,” as we call it – which is pretty much Washington D.C. and the never-ending suburbs around it.

We have more than 50,000 living alumni in the Washington D.C./Northern Virginia region – and I do not think we are being boastful when we say we have one of the best alumni chapters, the D.C. Hokies!

If you have any interest in checking out the thoughts that I shared with our Class of 2017, check it out below! Incase the link doesn’t auto-correct, my remarks begin at 1:40:52 and end at 1:54:15. The rest of the graduation is pretty sweet, too. :)

I’m predicting the beginning.

Prime Day. I’m here to tell you…

It’s. a. trap. 

They know what they’re doing. And, yes, they got me.

Amazon Prime is a savior in this first-world of mine. I always say “Own your privilege,” and “Privilege itself isn’t bad, it’s what you do with it.” Well, when it comes to the beauty that is 2-hour delivery, same day delivery if ordered by noon, dozens of audiobooks, Alexa, and the list goes on … and otherwise 2-day delivery on 99% of their massive world-wide inventory … I own my privilege.

This is not an ad for Amazon, but for the “un-indoctrinated”, Amazon Prime is a special membership to the popular consumption website (LOL), Amazon, where you gain access to dozens of special features and items as perks of your annual membership. It costs $99/year. Luckily, I got in back in November 2014 when life was simpler and things were cheaper. Anywhoodledoodle…

On to the real story here.

A pivotal part of my life is my morning routine. I shower almost exclusively in the morning, and waking up, getting the music or the NPR going, and other duties all take place in the bathroom. Showering, wound care, getting dressed, etc.

For years, since college, I’ve used a speaker in my bathroom. I always forget to plug in my cell phone at night so when I wake up I tend to plug it in, launch some acoustics, and then when I go into the bathroom I turn on my bluetooth water-proof shower speaker, and viola – they connect and the day begins.

So. Genius!

But when the Prime Day sales came around earlier this week I couldn’t help but think…

Man, wouldn’t it be nice to have Alexa in my bathroom?

The weather. Music. NPR. NPR ONE! Flash briefings. Uber hailing. My calendar. Grocery lists. Jeopardy and other trivia games. Hokie Helper. News Headlines. The next D.C. Metro train arrival. A bluetooth speaker to play anything I want, from my iPhone, otherwise. Never to be charged, always to be plugged in, always listening for and to be controlled by my voice. Always listening.

We all know about my accepted relationship with big brother – and that was the only con for me.

So, lo and behold:

I bought an Echo Dot for my bathroom. And only my bathroom.
And I predict that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

And it turns out I’m not the only one with this bright idea! I learned recently that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has Alexa in his bathroom, too! So, sure, maybe we are crazy together but hey – great minds think alike?

The Prison of Your Mind by Sean Stephenson.

I write this blog post from the comfort of my bed at 7:30 a.m. on a “#TeleFriday” as I like to call it – the second day of the week that I’m super grateful to be able to work my day job from home. I often spend days like these cleaning, surfing the internet, and plotting the next moves of my life. Whether that move is for the weekend, the next trip, the next week, or the next speaking engagement; having the condo to myself and my dog for the day while my roommate is at work is always really nice.

This morning, I opened my Facebook messages while I was still laying down this morning and found a few notes from some friends from the past few days. I’m usually pretty miserable at checking these notifications but for some reason when I woke up ahead of schedule this morning, I decided that I wanted to clear them out. I had a link from my boss, that was a very, VERY inspirational TED talk. You all know my love for TED talks, so I wanted to share this one with you here.

There are so many things I want to talk about from this TEDx talk. Here’s “The prison of your mind” from a few years back by Sean Stephenson at TEDxIronwoodStatePrison. The theme of this particular event was “Infinite Possibilities.” Enjoy, and check out my thoughts after the jump!

Read more after the jump …

It feels good.

“Add. New. Post.” 

Those are 3 words that I haven’t read together in a very, very long time.

“Categories.”

That’s a part of this website that I haven’t looked in a very, very long time.

If you’re a frequent reader and follower of HESONWHEELS, you know that lately I have broken the number one cardinal rule of being a good blogger – I STOPPED BLOGGING!

I have to admit something, though. It was partially intentional.

It’s been a wild year, and things have moved very, very fast. I know we all always look up and wonder where the year went. But I am truly, looking up – right now – and wondering where the heck the year went! Literally,

where has the time gone?

As I pen this blog for you on July 1st, I actually have a couple of big goals over the next couple of weeks. I have about 25 blog posts that are currently half written, that were all started in 2017. I want to complete these blog posts, and public accountability is a great form of motivation in my book. So, in the very near future, you will start to see some new posts pop up. Or maybe you won’t.

The only reason you won’t, though, is because I’ll start to back-date them. I want them to be posted in the, uh, ‘original habitat.’ The reason for that goes back to the very original intent of this blog – was for it to be a sort of journal or a diary of memories for me. Even though I lost my way a little bit, I don’t want to lose that in the future. So I spent much of June, while I was on the road, working on that.

I’m going to provide content updates first. After we knock that out of the park, it is likely we will move into some visual updates yet. The latter part is still just a dream though. :)

Enjoy. And thanks for the warm welcome back. I appreciate it.

Here we go – a renewed journey on HESONWHEELS.

Real talk. It feels great.

This whole motivational speaking thing was never truly planned, you know.

When I was in middle school, and I was just chatting it up with classmates, my teachers would always tell me to quiet down. That was when I learned the term “Justin, your voice carries!” Oh wow, did I really NOT like that.

When I did public speaking in high school, I had a teacher – Ms. Bridges – who would also tell me that I should look into public speaking as a profession. I liked that a lot better. I was all about the positive spin. But at the end of the day, public speaking isn’t going to pay the bills when you’re in the real world. Right?

And then there was a particular mentor when I had in college – Linda H. – who was the most supportive. Ever.

She was my advisor when I was giving campus tours of Virginia Tech and this was, easily, the favorite job that I’ve ever had. I spent a lot of time in our tour guide office and Linda and I developed a great friendship over those years. We gained a lot of trust in each other and it’s one of the relationships I’m most proud of that is both personal and professional.

And, also, over those years she would tell me that I should take my motivational speaking on the road. Even while still in school, I heeded her advice. It started with various organizations on campus, and then it grew to conferences, and now it has grown to so many other things form high school graduations to other events with thousands and thousands of people. It’s amazing.

Most recently, I even had a client sign off on a contract before they even truly knew what the content of my speech was going to be. Like, what? That’s … unbelievable. For some reason it makes me feel very proud. To have that trust from a new client based on past work …

It is so, so affirming.

So, this is a thank you to those folks. Especially Linda, but also every person who told me I was too loud, that my “accent” was “too white for a black guy,” or that I was too friendly or relatable. Because, you know what?

I think it is each of those qualities, wrapped into this special package, that help me do what I do through HESONWHEELS. And I am so, so grateful for that.

Lyft your way to the polls today.

For folks like me who don’t own a personal vehicle, Lyft is a fantastic way to get to the polls today. They e-mailed me this code for 45% off of a ride today in the D.C. area (regardless of its actually to a polling destination or not)! Wanted to pass it on to you. Simply click the Lyft logo below and it’ll give you a link that will have the promo code sent directly to your phone/Lyft account!

Enjoy, safe travels, and happy voting!