It's Only My Opinion

Things I want to tell my kids that won't fit on Twitter

Archive for the category “Love”

8 Keys to Getting it Right: Everything Matters

Welcome to the 6th in my series of blog posts on “8 Keys to Getting it Right.”   ‘Everything Matters’ says just that, that ‘Everything Matters’. I try to instill this philosophy in my kids especially during times when they can’t see that what they do, the way they do it, the attitude that they do it with and the impending result may matter a great deal- they just never know when.

Everything Matters...I think that if you are going to do anything, you need to do it with everything that you have. You have to do your best, no matter what the instance or the task at hand. Whether it is making a bed, cleaning your car, taking a class, making a meal, running onto a court, setting a table, raising a child, or doing a task for a job, you give it your best because everything you do and the way you do it-  matters. And guess what? People notice. They notice the attitude and the outcome. They notice the commitment and the enthusiasm. Don’t like what you are doing? So what- do it better than anyone else. Take pride in the fact that it will have your name, your signature on it, no matter how banal it is to you, it may not be banal to someone else. In my opinion, if you want to be considered for leadership, a promotion, be captain of the team or simply keep your job- make every single thing you do matter;  have it make a difference. Have it make a statement and you will make a name and a life for yourself.

Maybe my kids/your kids don’t care. There is a possibility that ‘Everything Matters’ won’t matter to them. In my opinion, my job is to make them care. To open their eyes and help them see. Some kids are naturally responsive when it comes to knowing that ‘Everything Matters’, others are not. As a parent, it is part of my DNA to make it part of their DNA. I am not supposed to be their friend, I am supposed to help them make better choices and then to let them go when the time comes. I just looked up the word Parent in the dictionary.  (I was hoping it was a little sexier but it wasn’t.)   The definition of the word parent means: a person who brings up and cares for another. My husband and I are definitely in the process of bringing up our three kids  and of course, we care for them. For me, if I do care for them then I will always try and do what is best for them as long as I am in the position to do so. I will not hold or bite my tongue. I will take every opportunity I can to teach and train and share the insights and opinions that I have with my kids till they move out on their own. (ignoring the rolling of their pretty blue eyes if I have to.)

Is this an easy job? Nope. I want my kids to know that everything they do and everything they say is a reflection on them and their ability to do more and handle more or be offered more from those around them. Until they are in a position to write their own ticket, I have to help them see the path they are on and where it may be leading them. Will I always be right? Absolutely not. But I have more experience and I’ve either made those mistakes or watched other people make them to know that I have a better shot at guiding my kids then they do on their own.

If you don’t think “Everything Matters,” then look around you. Look at the news of late. Look at our leaders and our teachers, the athletes, the politicians and anyone who has any influence or our attention for a while in the world and tell me I am wrong when I say that “Everything Matters.”

8 Keys to Getting it Right:

  1. Attitude is everything
  2. Do the right thing
  3. Do more than you are asked
  4. Expectation = Disappointment
  5. Don’t make excuses
  6. Everything matters
  7. The 3 R’s: respect, responsibility, reputation
  8. Have a Spiritual Practice

Catherine Kolkoski

Givers Gain is their happily ever after…

I belong to a Business Network International group in my area (BNI). It is a wonderful organization whose purpose is to help one another build our businesses by giving the people in our chapter and other local chapters,  qualified, warm referrals. We have a really amazing group. It is because of the culture that exists and the people that are there every week. I respect everyone in our chapter and find my Tuesdays happily  filled with BNI activities.

Our VP, Greer Canady, was asked by Ivan  Misner, who started BNI, to write her story about her involvement in BNI and how she met her husband through the network.  Greer doesn’t fancy herself a writer. I kinda do so I volunteered to interview her and write her story for her. I am like JR Moeringer was to Andre Agassi in the book Open (JR wrote the book ‘Open’ for Andre but didn’t really publicize it because as he said, it was Andre’s story not his. I went to high school with JR so I have been following his career and think his books are very good- pick up the The Tender Bar and tell me I am wrong. His new book Sutton is just out and he is on a book tour.)

So this is Greer’s story…. and I get to write it and share it here… in my blog….

Greer Cannady not only makes a good living with the many referrals she is passed at BNI, she has made a life from it, as well. Five years ago, Greer went to her first BNI meeting by way of the gentle prodding of her father, Chuck, who is also a BNI member and who was President of The Independence Chapter at the time. She loved what she saw and she joined that BNI Chapter the next week. Not long after joining, Greer stepped up as Secretary/ Treasurer of the Chapter. It was during her first month in this role that she went to that fateful Regional Leadership Meeting where she met Michael Cannady. As an officer, she was required to go to Leadership. She would later find out that Mike was the President of his Chapter and was there for the same reason.

Greer went into the meeting and started chatting with people from her Chapter, as most people do, and then sat down with them. After being comfortably situated, Steve Wiegert, the Executive Director, asked everyone to stand and choose another seat next to someone they did not know. This is where the facts are in dispute. Greer says, “Mike sat next to me and Mike says I sat next to him.” Whoever sat next to whomever beside the point… she immediately took notice of him. She was happy that she was sitting next to him. Sparks flew immediately. However, being a strong, old fashioned woman, she would have never called a man or been the one to ask a man out, so she is almost certain that he sat next to her. It did not escape her attention that he was not wearing the all-important ring on the all-important finger.

Mike and Greer Canady on their wedding day When the meeting at Paradise Park was over, he playfully asked her to join him in the foam pit for a foam ball shoot-out. She kicked off her heels and although in a dress, went in to do battle. After 20 minutes, they said their good-byes and went their separate ways. She didn’t see him again until the next monthly Leadership Meeting where he asked her to go out for lunch after the meeting, explaining he had some time to kill. She later found out that he had stretched the truth, as he had to excuse himself to cancel an appointment he had booked following the meeting.

Greer and Mike have been together ever since. Looking back, she is sure the foam ball pit was a test. He wanted to know if this attractive, positive, strong women he sat next to “by chance” at a BNI Leadership Meeting could go with the flow, have spur of the moment fun … and she passed with flying colors. She kicked off her heels and then fell head over heels in love.

She married Mike, nicknamed “BNI Boy” by Greer’s family, in June of 2011 on the side of a mountain in Summit County, Colorado.  Greer’s five years with BNI have been more than she ever dreamed of. She joined the Leadership Team of her Chapter almost immediately after joining BNI and she never looked back. She has served as President two times, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Chapter Coach. Most recently, in May of this year, she was selected to attend Director training in St. Louis and had the wonderful opportunity to meet, talk with, and be trained by Ivan Misner. “It was the best week of my professional career,” she says.

The organization and all of the people in it, have impacted her life in so many ways, all of them positive. It has made her a better employee, a better leader, a better speaker and she met her husband. She has grown financially, personally, and professionally as a direct result of BNI and the Giver’s Gain philosophy. Greer is forever grateful to the organization for the countless ways it changes lives. She has seen it with other people in BNI as well. “My favorite BNI moments are the ones when a fellow BNI member’s life is changed by a referral. I have seen it time and time again and it’s awesome every time. In BNI, the opportunities really are endless,” she says. The Givers Gain philosophy has always been a part of her life. She says she was raised that way. If a BNI member mentions they aren’t getting enough, she always challenges them to take a look at what they are giving. “The question shouldn’t be why aren’t you getting enough, the question should be how much are you giving and how could you give more?”

Was it coincidence that she found herself at a Leadership Meeting where she met a man she ended up marrying? Maybe. She likes to think it was because she was living the BNI philosophy, she gave of herself and look at all she’s gotten.

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

8 Keys to Getting it Right- Do More Than You’re Asked

I am now 3 posts into my series on the 8 Keys to Getting it Right. If you are so inclined I invite you to go back to the first and second blog to read them. These keys are the values that my husband and I are purposefully trying to instill in our three wonderful children (Happy Birthday Brielle on Monday!) As anyone with kids can attest, all you can do is try. In my opinion, my failure as a parent comes when I don’t try, when I don’t communicate and I don’t take the lead as a parent. Hey, I know it’s not easy. I know that there are days when they don’t listen to my husband and me. But that does not stop me from being the parent. I am still the parent right? I mean, if you live in the house that we pay the mortgage on, drive a car that we make payments on, and eat in our kitchen- then check- I am still the parent and as long as you are my child then I will do my best to make sure you know what is important to me.

Do more than you're asked Sliding by. Doing the bare minimum. Are these the actions or values of any successful person you know? Is this the goal when your coach or your teacher or your boss asks you to complete a task? If so, then a life of being ordinary and average may well be your destiny. When our kids leave the house to go to their jobs (one works for FedEx and one for Cold Stone Ice Cream) the last thing my husband says is, “do more than you’re asked.” He is telling them to do more than people expect. Surprise everyone around you. Give it your all and leave nothing on the table. Amaze them and let them know that you are someone that needs to be kept around. When you do more than you’re asked you become more valuable than the next person. The people in charge will look to you as a valuable member of the organization or team or class. It goes to your attitude. It goes to your ability to achieve success, whatever success may mean to you. See, I am an options girl. I like to have lots of choices. I like to ensure that more often than not there is a range of possibilities. When you do more than you are asked, you open yourself up for more opportunities, more choices, and the possibility that you will get what you want in your life.

I think anyone can do what is asked. But the extra-ordinary do more. They take the initiative to make more out of any situation and thus become more valuable, less replaceable in their spaces in life. Will their teachers and bosses and coaches always notice? No. What matters just as much is what you do even when you don’t get the recognition and the pats on the back. Doing more than you’re asked is about personal ethics and making purposeful decisions to be that better player, that better student or better employee. No matter who notices or applauds.

In my opinion, doing more than you’re asked may get you more than you can possibly imagine.

8 Keys to Getting it Right:

  1. Attitude is everything
  2. Do the right thing
  3. Do more than you are asked
  4. Expectations = disappointment
  5. Don’t make excuses
  6. Everything matters
  7. The 3 R’s: respect, responsibility, reputation
  8. Have a Spiritual Practice

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

8 Keys to Getting it Right – Do the Right Thing

A few weeks ago I started a blog series on The 7 Keys to Getting it Right. If you want to read  the preface of the story I invite you to go back to the first blog in the series called: Attitude is Everything. There you will also find the list of the 7.  Since the first post, I have decided to add another key. The 8th key, which is ‘Have a Spiritual Practice’.

Do the right thing The second Key, ‘Do the Right Thing’ used to be called, ‘Make Good Choices’. It dawned on us a little too late when the kids were in their later teens, that this was not specific enough. We heard an inspirational presentation by a former marine who was also an Eagle Scout talk about ‘Doing the Right Thing’. It dawned on me during the course of his speech that our definition of “Make Good Choices” and our children’s definition of “Make Good Choices” could be rather opposite from one another. You see, what they thought was a ‘good decision’ was, in our opinion, not a good decision at all. ‘Good’ seemed to be subjective. In fact, we were thinking, “Are you freaking kidding me? You think that was a good decision?” What the former Marine brought to light was the idea of right versus good. There is not a ton of ambiguity around what the’ right thing to do is’ versus what the wrong thing to do is.

We spend an awful lot of time telling our kids what we think is important and then following that up with our actions. Our kids have  called us, “old fashioned” and we have been chided  on numerous occasions,  “no one else does that or thinks that or believes that”.  My answer is always the same, “I could give a rats bottom as they are entitled to their own opinion.” When push comes to shove they will know, without any doubt, what we think is right and wrong. They will know what we believe. Doing the right thing is not always about doing the easy thing. Some days it is doing something or not doing something even though everyone else may be going in the exact opposite direction because it is the right thing to do. Many times the right thing is not the most popular. How much courage and individuality do you have to have to do what is right even in the face of pressure to do the wrong thing or to look the other way altogether? It takes more guts than most people, especially teenagers, have.

In my opinion,’ doing the right thing’ is not about making your life hard but surrounding yourself with people who won’t make it harder for you: your friends, people you work with, people you play with, people you pray with. Some people are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  As our kids grow into adults, as they discover who they are and what they stand for, I hope that they find themselves surrounded by people who will support their choices. Hopefully they will make some choices because of the values and morals that were instilled in them by us. Will they always choose the path that we would have them choose? Absolutely not. But I can guarantee you that their choices and definition of “right” will have a better chance of reflecting ours because of our willingness and commitment to make sure they knew what we thought the right thing was. Either way, I know we will love and support them because, Family is Everything.

1. Attitude is everything
2. Do the right thing
3. Do more than you are asked
4. Expectations = disappointment
5. Don’t make excuses
6. Everything matters
7. The 3 R’s: respect, responsibility, reputation
8. Have a Spiritual Practice

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

I had S’More

Summer is almost over. Well, I always think summer is over the day school starts. Summer is almost over (for me) and I had one goal: to spend the night camping in the tent with my little one. Most summers I would have spent a few nights in the tent. This summer was a little different. For one, I was working. This is the first summer I have ever worked. Spending the night in a tent on Sunday- Thursday wasn’t an option so my available nights in the backyard were a little more limited. And it’s been hot, even at night. A tent in the heat is not much fun. I woke up this morning and it was 56 degrees. Bingo. Tonight would be the night I would accomplish my goal.

How many people know that it is was National S’More Day on August 10? (Girl Scouts first documented the S’More recipe in 1927 in the Girl Scout Handbook). My oldest, who is 16, now, was in Girl Socuts growing up. She had an outstanding leader who stayed with the girls through their Silver Award (You are wonderful Paula Birchmier), our experience with Girl Scouting was awesome. She and I had many camp outs together at a few different Girl Scout properties. My favorite meal was the one she made for me: a campfire pizza. It was my favorite because it was the first time the moms at the camp out didn’t have to do a thing. The girls cooked and cleaned up. It was outstanding. If you ever camped with little ones, you get it.

When my younger daughter started girl scouts, I volunteered to go through the certification for Camp Mom. I took 40 seven year old girls and their moms on a couple of overnight campouts. That was so special for me: making sure that little ones first experience camping would be so good that they’d fall in love with it like I have.


This summer, I wanted to do one thing. I wanted to spend the night in my backyard  in a tent with my little one, my 9 year old. Tonight, we built a fire together in the back yard. As girl scouts, we practiced camp fire safety rules: wear tennis shoes, pull your hair back in a ponytail, have a bucket of water by the fire just in case and never leave the fire unattended.  Brielle and I roasted hotdogs for dinner and then, in celebration of The National S’Mores Day we made S’mores. Yum. In my opinion, there is something so special about camping out in the backyard with my daughter.

The Blessing of my Mother

I have scheduled this blog to post at the exact time we are sitting down for dinner. It is a very special occasion. We are celebrating my mother’s 70th birthday. She doesn’t look 70 and I say that honestly. She is surrounded by her daughters, her sons-in-law, her 8 grandchildren and her husband. This is my gift to you…

Happy Birthday Mom

I have the blessing of my mother.      I have the world.

Happy Birthday, Mom. You are a blessing to me. You are my guide, my role model and my friend. If I am half of the mother to my children that you have been to me, than I am serving my children well. Growing up and still today, I  am braced by your grace, inspired by your wisdom and fortified by your unconditional love. Your ability to listen and share unbiased advice has been a compass to me.

You have been at my side for every important milestone in my life. And I mean every milestone. Piano recitals, high school volleyball games, professional presentations, getting married, having our children, their first birthdays, graduations and everything in between. I feel your presence in my life every single day. You provided the values (as old fashioned as my kids think they are) that guide my life and that I try, with all my might, to pass down to our kids. You gave me a love for running and exercising. You gave me creativity, freedom and confidence. You gave me kindness when I made mistakes and your dedicated ear when I needed advise. You gave me security when I needed to feel safe and supportive words when I needed comfort.

My husband loves you. All of your “sons” feel the same way that he does. You are a joy to be around. You are generous. You are intelligent (graduated sum cum laude the same time I graduated). You are strong. The worthy qualities I have as a person, and as a women, were established and then nourished by you.

You are a blessing to me. Although it is your birthday, you have always been a gift. The gift of life- the gift of spirit- the gift of acceptance and love. As your daughter, you gave me those gifts, those assurances, and because you did, it allowed me to go out into the world and accomplish what I set my mind and heart to do.

In my opinion, you gave me my world.

Happy birthday, mom. I love you and am so proud be your oldest daughter.

For Jo Capps on her 70th Birthday 7.7.12

Family is everything

I am spending the week in Iowa. I grew up here. My mom was the oldest of 5 girls and they all lived in the same city for a very long time. Her parents, my father’s parents and his sister did as well. I grew up celebrating holidays surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. Santa always came at about 5:00 on Christmas Eve because we had so many places to go on Christmas day. It was awesome. I miss those times being around my family. There  many times I wish my children could be best friends with their cousins the way I was.

70 years of marriage…

My grandparents are 90 now. They have been married 71 years. Now that is an accomplishment. They are an example of how to live a great life. Their 5 daughters love being around them. Their grandchildren love spending time with them (I am one of them) and they have 24 great grandchildren (my kids are 3 of those). They still play bridge with friends (someone always beings desert after lunch so they have something to slam their stomachs shut), played golf until recently (got harder to find a foursome at their age) and danced every Saturday night at the supper club for years. I think they are still with us because they love and they are loved by their family. In my opinion, when you love like they do and you have the respect and admiration of your family, you have a reason to live. I am looking at the both of them right this second. They are watching Golf on TV.

I tell people I come to Iowa so my kids can go to Sports Camp here. I really come to Iowa to be with family, to be with my grandparents. I will not ever say that I regretted not spending time with them. My grandmother just told her husband of 71 years that she loved him. She asked him if he had a good Father’s Day and then she sees he has on bright green socks. He said he bought them at Kmart last week. He obviously bought them without her. She’s laughing at the socks he picked out. They don’t do much without each other so his buying bright green socks without her is a big deal.
We should all be so lucky:  to love and to be loved- surrounded by family. In my opinion, family is everything.

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

Happy Anniversary baby- Got you on my mind…

In the About page of this blog, I mentioned that I have been married 20+ years. This month is our 21st Anniversary. The fact that we’ve been married this long, is not luck. It’s not an accident. It is a choice. I choose to do the things that it takes to have a successful marriage. What those ‘things’ are, from my observations of other people, are different for every couple.

My husband and I dated for 6 years before we got married. I knew that this was the man for me the first time I danced with him when I thought he was going to kiss me (I swear my bottom lip was shaking). It took him another 5 years , 11 months and 3 weeks to know this. The ‘things’ that make or will make your relationship successful will be different from the ‘thing’ that makes our relationship successful. We have discovered, as we taught marriage preparation to engaged couples for 8 years, all couples have different ‘things’ that are deal makers for them. In my opinion, one of the keys to a long-term, successful union is discovering what that ‘thing’ is for you and your mate as soon as possible. For you it may be date night, or listening to one another or laughing a lot together or cooking together or praying together. For us, our ‘thing’ we discovered early was- unconditional support. We support one another’s aspirations, dreams and interests. That means that even if I don’t agree with something or can’t see the point of it, and it is  important to my husband, I support it. No matter what. Tattoos are not his favorite and yet, I have 3 of them. He actually paid for the most recent tattoo (yes, there will be another one someday). He has supported my desire to get my personal trainer certification and my professional choice and dedication of late. I supported his ‘boy trip’ to Chile over New Years and his desire to start and have his own business . There have been many other supported choices over the years for the both of us.

That is the ‘thing’ that works for us. In my opinion, finding that “thing” for you as a couple, as soon as you can and then hanging on to it with everything you have, could make the difference between celebrating 20 years or or more (hopefully) of marriage or…not.

So happy anniversary baby, got you on my mind…. and in my heart and soul. You complete me. (What can I say?  He likes the Jerry McGuire movie.)

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