That’s What Friends Are For…

My mother had this saying when I was growing up: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” At the time I was quite unaware of the amount of wisdom that saying possessed, and of course being young and a know-it-all, I laughed and shrugged it off (although not to her face because she would have smacked the hell out of me).

Now all these years later it turns out my old lady was actually right, as mothers usually are. Not until recently have I made it a point to employ that same pearl of wisdom as a compass of sorts when navigating through this thing called friendship.

Friend

frend/

noun
  1. a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
    Synonyms – confidante, soul mate and companion.

I have found the word “friend” to be a term so many of us have used incredibly loosely throughout our lives. We don’t really understand the true essence of the word nor do we comprehend the weight we place on someone when we hand over the title to them. Most people gladly accept it without fully comprehending the role they are about to play in our lives.

For some people, the word friend seemingly rolls off the tongue without much effort. People tend to use it casually and throw the word it at anyone they have a good laugh and a couple drinks with. When in truth, some of us will never know what it’s like to have an actual true friend. They will never come to know the true value of the word. I know! Sad right?!

I’d be a liar if I wasn’t forthright about the fact that I too am guilty of using that term casually at various points throughout my life. It took me a very long time to realize that I was foolishly and prematurely handing out the title of friend. I would hand it over before a person had actually earned the right to wear the friendship badge. It’s one of those life lessons that, if you’re lucky enough to learn early, will save you from an enormous amount of pain, suffering and feelings of disappointment and betrayal. Being betrayed by someone you consider a friend can be one of the hardest heartbreaks to get over.  It can take years to to heal from the devastating blow of betrayal and learning to trust people again is no easy feat.

I have been lucky enough to have a select few people that I can call actual true friends.They embody the word in every capacity. They personify it and they make it look easy. I know that if I needed either of them they would be there for me no matter the circumstance.

They can expect the same in return from me.

One such person that I am lucky to call friend, it just so happens, celebrated her birthday a few days ago. I am forever grateful to have survived the past twenty years with her by my side and our friendship intact. When you find someone who proves their loyalty, love and friendship, you keep them for life!

February 3rd is the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Simone and I go all they way back to middle school. We were together in the same 7th grade classes at James Madison Middle School to be exact. I remember passing notes to her in Ms. Tillman’s Social Studies class to make the time go by faster because we were bored out of our minds. I have never been into formal schooling and Ms. Tillman didn’t help!

I laugh thinking back at Simone shaking her head and laughing whenever I was kicked out of class for my behavior, which happened quite frequently let’s be honest. I still recall sneaking into prom and her having to hide me when the school administrators came around to the area we were congregating in with our other friends. No, I was not allowed to attend my prom because of my behavior in school (long story we won’t get into today) but true to form, my ride-or-die chick had my back.

Somehow we have developed the skill to talk one another off the ledge whenever all hell is on the verge of breaking loose, which used to happen often. Not many people possess the ability to reel me in when I’m about to unleash, but she remains one of the few chosen ones to this day.

One of the things I love and appreciate most about our friendship, however, is that in the last twenty years we have perfected the art of saving each other.  We went from late night rides to burst out car windows with crowbars (allegedly) to becoming intelligent and mature adults (somewhat).

It still makes me laugh recalling her look of complete and utter horror at my shitty-of-a-first apartment in East Hollywood when I first moved to LA. That was nearly a decade ago. The memory of coming home from work to her scrubbing the walls of that god forsaken place, which had to be about 100 degrees in there, still warms my heart to this day and I still appreciate it and I smile. That’s a memory that’s engraved in my mind and I will never forget it.

That’s a friend!

So as she celebrates another year of life, I celebrate with her. Not even the distance of 2,600 miles between us matter because at this moment, in my heart, we are standing in my mother’s driveway, leaning on her neon yellow Mustang and singing “Aint No Mountain High Enough” and laughing.

Happy Birthday Simone!

I love you

-AndrewPhillipK

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Simone and I

 

Fitness Forensics w/ Coach G

I have always struggled with diet and fitness. I’ve never been one to live in the gym and athleticism has never been my forte. Not even after living in LA, the land of the pretty people, for almost a decade now has caused me to fall into the whole gym rat lifestyle. Never one to fall into peer pressure, the pretty people don’t phase me. My sometime struggle with self-image is completely self imposed and something that I am diligently working on.

When it comes to diet, the closest I come to being vegan is the occasional ordering of my favorite Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’   sandwich from The Veggie Grill. They aren’t paying me to write that yet, that sandwich is actually amazing!  I digress! Back to my point – it’s almost as if the mere thought of food results in my waist expanding. It’s not something I chose, it’s hereditary.

Diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart problems have all staked their claim on my family and so it’s been quite the arduous task keeping those death dealers at bay. As 2016 began to come to a close, I realized that I needed a secret weapon in this battle I have been fighting. I needed someone with the skill, the attitude and the fire to whip me into shape.

Enter Coach G!

I ushered in 2017 with the mindset of getting my fitness in order at all cost. There was no other choice! My first order of business was finding the right fitness coach that would create a routine that worked best for me. After interviewing several personal trainers, I decided to begin working with Coach G for a number of reasons. Not only does he completely KICK MY ASS (see below pic of me sweating it out on the Rowing Machine) in the gym, but he also works closely with me on my nutrition. He holds me accountable if I even think of consuming something he wouldn’t approve of. I actually had about fifty extra air-squats given to me as punishment for eating a bag of Doritos and drinking a Pepsi. I won’t make that mistake again!

See it works! Yay Fitness!

It is my intention to document my health and fitness journey here and to provide some sort of inspiration to those of you who face the same challenges I face.

At the time of this writing, my IT Band is sore AF and I’m sweating at the mere thought of what impending torture (not really) Coach G will impose on me at my next session. BUT there is no complaining (that’s definitely a BIG NO)! This pain is the good pain. This is the pain that is making me better! This is the pain that will turn out to be worth it. At just halfway through the first five weeks of the new year, I’m determined to make 2017 an amazing year in the health and fitness department and I’m proud that I’m off to a great start.

Doesn’t the saying go something like “summer bodies are made in the winter”? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Here’s to everyone that needs a little kick in the ass to get that ass back in shape! I salute you!

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Hard at work! Late night session with Coach G!

*If you want to keep up with my journey feel free to subscribe via email. Click on the menu link above. Don’t worry we won’t spam you!*

5 Rules To Be A Good Boss

We’ve all heard those horror stories at one time or another about how some people hate their boss right? How their boss insanely micromanages everyone and everything they come in contact with and how they get to work at 9am only to count down the actual minutes until the end of the day.

Maybe it’s your spouse that routinely comes home in a foul mood and rambles on and on over dinner about how nothing is ever good enough for his or her boss. Maybe a close friend or even a co-worker has confided in you about how they are at their wits end and is in the process of searching for a new gig.  Maybe it’s actually you! You are the one that doesn’t have to think too hard to remember that one boss you had that drove you and all your colleagues absolutely insane. Maybe it’s your current boss that rubs you the wrong way and makes your eight hours on the clock a living nightmare.

No matter how hard you try nothing is ever good enough. All your attempts at doing a good job in their eyes prove futile. You don’t feel appreciated, your hard work and long hours seemingly go unnoticed. There’s just no pleasing him or her! You dread checking your email inbox because you’re sure there will be something waiting for you with a tone that makes you come close to losing your religion. You walk into the office on Monday morning with a coffee in hand and a knot in your stomach unsure as to what new battle you are walking into.  What pile of shit is “Hell Boss” waiting to dump on your lap today? Maybe you’ve even gone so far as to add up your bills and divide them by how many Uber or Lyft rides you’d have to drive in order to make ends meet. At this point anything will do until you can find a new job and some peace of mind.

Sound familiar? Of course it does and let me tell you: You are not alone! Most of us have been there and trust me when I tell you, it is no way to live!

Luckily, I can honestly say I’ve had some really great bosses that I still love till this day but I have also run across an asshole or two since entering the workforce.

Admittedly, I myself have not been someone’s “boss” for all that long. Although it seems like it’s been an entire lifetime, in truth, I sort of fell into management about five years ago. I was asked by “the powers that be” to apply for a position that, unbeknownst to me, had become available at our sister property across town. Yes it was a promotion and of course it was more money, so I didn’t think twice. It was a no-brainer. 

I must admit I was scared shitless when I was offered the position a day or two after my interview and I remember vividly asking myself how exactly I would manage a team of almost twenty four people. How would I be their boss? I had never been someone’s boss before! How would I be the head of a department and have twenty-four unique personalities that I would be responsible for? How would I not let any of them down?  I was walking into an already established team that would rely on me to be their leader and their boss. 

Five years later I think I’ve found my niche! I am realizing that I’m actually good at this managing people thing! It is that innate quality that has made me successful when it comes to leading a team and being their boss.

By no means am I the perfect boss or manager of my department, but here’s what I know for sure: if you apply at least two of the following rules you will see a difference in your team’s attitude and their willingness to go above and beyond to get the job done.

Here are my top 5 rules I live by when managing my team:

Rule #1: RESPECT! – First and foremost I respect my staff. Simple as that. I am not the kind of boss to belittle anyone on my team and I do my best to never make them feel like they are beneath me. I value their opinion on our departmental procedures and I make it a point to include the team in the conversation when it comes to making any changes. I listen to their feedback with an open mind and encourage them to give ideas on how we can make any improvements. I believe it is my job to always make sure that they know they are being heard and that their voices matter and that their opinions are valued.

Rule #2: No Man Is An Island! – That was a saying my mother taught me as far back as I can remember. If the perception of me, being the boss, is that I think I can do the job myself and that I don’t need anyone, what then would motivate my team to want to do their best? What are they there for? If I am always criticizing their work and putting them down, does that encourage my staff?  Will that encourage them to pick up any extra slack when needed? Always remember, “No man is an island” and if you feel you can do everything yourself, there is no need for you to have a staff. Go do everything your damn self! 

Rule #3:  Make it light! – I don’t know about anyone else but I hate working in an office where the atmosphere is tense. I hate when it’s awkwardly quiet! I love to laugh and I enjoy laughing with my team. When we have a good time at work it makes the day go fast. It’s also one of the reasons that it doesn’t actually feel like work. When you enjoy your co-worker(s) you look forward to coming to work every day. You want to pull your weight and not let them down.  I make sure we have a good time and we enjoy ourselves for as long as we are on shift. But let me be clear, when the hard times come, we buckle down and get our shit done. Work hard play hard! And don’t forget to laugh!

Rule #4: – Own It! –  Let me reiterate that by no means am I perfect! My title may place more responsibilities on my shoulders, however, that does not mean that I think I am perfect nor does it mean that I am too good to admit my mistakes. It is when you look a member of your team in the eye and admit you fucked up that you earn their respect and you make yourself more human. They relate to you more and when the time comes for them to own up to their screwup, nine times out of ten, they will do so with no problem because they know they can be honest with you because you are honest with them. It’s a two way street! Simple as that! My team adores me and will go to bat for me because they know I have their backs. They also know that I will protect them and if/when I should fall short on anything, which I will, I own it!

Rule #5: – Appreciate! –  Does it really cost you to take two minutes to thank your staff when they are leaving at the end of their day? Would it kill you? It’s not that difficult a task to say thank you to someone for doing a good job. Most people want to please their boss and ensure their happiness and satisfaction with their performance, so trust me when I tell you, a little goes a long way when you show appreciation. You never know when you’ll need that same member of your team to change their schedule, put in overtime, or work that shift that everyone hates. When you show your appreciation to your staff they repay it back tenfold.

Now that I’ve given you some insight into what it takes to be a good and likeable boss,  begin this brand new week with the perfect opportunity to put one of these rules to use. You will notice a shift in dynamic with your team and in your office.

Happy Monday! Teamwork makes the dream work! 

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– AndrewPhillipK