Elizabeth, 4-H, and TEDx.

I knew I would want to blog about this absolutely immediately. I just knew it.


It’s a Thursday night, and I’m enjoying a livestream of TEDxVirginiaTech with a mug of hot chocolate. (I almost never blog about things immediately – I let my ideas marinate. Not this time. That’s how serious this is). If you’re not familiar with TED or the TEDx brand – you definitely aren’t a regular reader of HESONWHEELS. But here’s some information on that so you know why Elizabeth was on this stage, sharing this great ideas with an audience that I had planned to be a part of.

Tonight was TEDxVirginiaTech’s fourth year. To learn more about this year’s speakers, click here.

If you don’t want to read this whole post (and you very well should), I’ll tell you that it’s led by this idea that she shared during her talk. I completely, whole-heartedly agree with Elizabeth when she said: consider how you can make service your own in your life and your everyday decisions.

Read more after the jump …

Veteran’s Day.

I wanted to take a moment to write about the fact that today is Veteran’s Day here in the states.

Veteran’s Day is always observed on November 11th – one of few U.S. holidays to be observed on such a particular date as opposed to the “the third Thursday” or the “second Tuesday” of a month. The reason for this is because fighting from the first World War is known to have ceased on November 11th – at the eleventh hour – of 1918. I’m not trying to take us back to history class here, but here is a fantastic link that features a lot of history about the day from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Modern day, the day has definitely continued to be a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love for our great country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. I know and love many veterans of our great United States military, and wanted to use this as an opportunity to stop and realize Veteran’s Day more than a day that I don’t have to go to work because it’s a federal holiday, but more as an opportunity to educate others on the meaning behind it and why we observe it.

Thank you to all veteran’s for your service – for so directly putting your life on the line so that I can continue to live the safe, prosperous life I live here on our American soil. :) 

Thank you.

Future Quest 2015

Hi, friends! I’m writing about a special opportunity that I’ll have in just a few weeks and I am getting PUMPED! Especially after meeting some folks today, I really wanted to share it with you.

In 2 weeks, Future Quest 2015 is happening. It’s a FREE program for high school students to help them transition into life after high school. It is put on through a partnership between George Mason University, the Northern Virginia Transition Coalition, the T-TAC group at GMU, and the Virginia Department of Education. Such a great roster of partners to provide such a needed resource to Virginia high school students!

I was lucky enough to be asked to be the keynote speaker for the event, and that made me excited enough. BUT, earlier today I met with the staff for the program and got even more excited. You could just tell that these were people who are dedicated, intentional, and driven to provide not only great resources, but information and advice on the transition for these students with disabilities.

Meeting with some of the NVTC team to prepare for the event on Saturday, 11/14!
Meeting with some of the NVTC team to prepare for the event on Saturday, 11/14!

Unfortunately registration is full, but I still invite you to check out their website and learn more about the program, the various offices, and the resources they can provide – especially if you are a student with a disability or a parent of a student with a disability, or maybe you just want to check it out to become more familiar with the options yourself!

Although I haven’t completed my talk deck for the event on 11/14, as a motivational speaker it is always my goal to leave the audience – in this case, students, their parents, and professionals – differently because I spoke. I hope that this time will be no different.

Here’s to a successful Future Quest 2015!


The Sports Equinox.

Anyone that knows me well knows that I’m a big sports fan. Anyone that knows me very well knows that the season of fall is basically my favorite, and for that very reason. Two of my favorite sports are football and basketball – and they are at full speed come September!

I have spent and will spend many , many days and weekends consumed with college football, NFL football, and the beginning of the NBA season. I’m a casual baseball fan, so if the World Series happens to overlap, too, then that’s an added bonus! Sorry hockey fans – never could really get into televised hockey (but going in person is some of the most fun I’ve had at a sporting event!).

So, when I was clicking around the internet today, given my love for the season, I was intrigued when I found this article. It’s about how tonight is the first time that the four major sports leagues will have an event on the same night. They don’t count college, but that’s fair – they aren’t “major.” Check out the entire listing in the article, it’s pretty cool!



You know, I’m actually a little bit of a Halloween scrooge, unfortunately. At least when it comes to dressing up – I’ve never really gotten into all that.

BUT! There is a movie that I’d like to recommend if you have some free time this Halloween. It’s dark, a little creepy, and just a bit off…just the theme for October 31st right? Best of all…it’s on Netflix. :)

I admit, I'm a big fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, and you should be, too.
I admit, I’m a big fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, and you should be, too.

Professions with the most…psychopaths?

I just discussed this article with my boss, randomly, at work today. My day-profession is number number 10 on the top 10. The fact that it’s even in the top 10 is a little disturbing!

The true definition of a psychopath has always intrigued me. It’s probably the reason why I really enjoy Information Discovery and Forensic Files and other crime shows like that in my spare time! That very definition goes a little something like this, according to my MacBook’s dictionary:

Psychopathy…is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior. It may also be defined as a continuous aspect of personality, representing scores on different personality dimensions found throughout the population in varying combinations.

The article itself goes on to try and describe why these professions may be chock-full of people who exhibit “bold behavior.” For example many of the jobs that employ a high number of psychopaths, “offer power and many require an ability to make objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings.” Yeah. That ain’t me.

Just something I found interesting – this could explain why I’m sometimes perplexed at my day job when it comes to the decisions I see made. But being a teacher – number 7 on the opposite list – is how I see myself as a motivational speaker and social justice educator. So I’ll lean toward that for now.


A reputation.

Question time. How important is your reputation to you, on a scale of 1 to 10? 

Think about the answer – and, obviously, keep it to yourself for now. Consider that as you read these thoughts on a reputation.

You only get 1 opportunity to make a first impression. And your first impression can become pretty closely tied to your reputation to a particular person. For instance, if your first interaction with someone is negative and you’re screaming and yelling profanities in a family-friendly environment, it’s unlikely that they would be open to a positive second interaction with you. Right? That’s just logical.

So, when I think of reputations, I think of consistency. Consistency is one of the most important qualities to me in a good person – whether that person is a friend, significant other, family member, it doesn’t matter. If one is not consistent, I find it hard to become close to them. It leads to fears of being letting down or them not being accountable to their actions. (Accountability is another important quality.)

So when I think about the kind of reputation that I want to have, and I think of being consistent, and how important those two concepts are to me, I began to ask myself – Do I model that myself? 

Read more after the jump …

Some intro tips on “networking.”

I found this article from the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. While it’s definitely more dedicated to business/sales types (and not the engaged, others-centered types that I prefer to engage with). Just a quick post, but wanted to share the food for thought!

My favorite content in this article can definitely be found under the “do” sidebar, about half way down the page. It highlights DO’s and DONT’s in these types of situations.

First, it mentions to come prepared with topics to talk about. This is absolutely, positively so true! Especially in a situation where there will be people that you know, people that you don’t, and people that you know ABOUT, it’s important to do your research. Knowing a little bit of background on the other person before you actually meet them can make them feel like a million bucks – and it’s very likely that they will remember you, too!

The third “DO” says “look for opportunities to help others with information or introductions.” One of my many goals when it comes to situations where I don’t know others and others don’t know others is to connect them, too. Quite frankly, if I was super-human I’d love to meaningfully connect with every single person in the room. Unfortunately that’s not possible.

However, over the years I’ve realized that I could also spread the wealth. So if there’s a project on one side of the room that’s booming and an interest on the other side of the room that aligns – I will do everything I can to connect those two people. I love seeing those relationships and opportunities build.

And finally, from a cleanliness/overall “maximizing opportunity for conversation and introduction perspective,” the fourth point mentions that you should “keep at least one hand free of snacks and drinks so you can shake hands.” ESPECIALLY if there are hors d’oeuvres that may make your hands a bit messy. A similar bit for times when you’re sitting down and potentially networking? 2 things actually. 1. Don’t order something edible with you hands – do something like a salad, not to look pretty, but to keep your hands and face much more clean than a burger or a rack of ribs might. And, 2., Don’t take a bite of food into your mouth larger than you won’t be able to finish in just a few seconds. You may eat more “rapidly” but you’ll always be available to answer a question or chime in a funny joke.

To be honest, I’m bad at that one. Especially if the food is great. I’m just chewing and intently nodding some of the time! :)

Anyways, those are my $0.40. Check out the article and if you like it, let me know which pieces stand out to you, too! Thanks for reading!