Me giving some students some inspirational words (at least I hope).

Me giving some students inspirational words (at least I hope).

On Thursday, I visited my old university, The University of Central Florida in Orlando, to talk at the j-school (The Nicholson School of Communication) to some students at the invite of one of my favorite instructors of all time, Rick Brunson.

It was a mobile journalism class, so after I told my little story of getting from UCF to NPR and all the adventures in between, I talked about what some folks at NPR are doing to file and report from mobile locations as well as some of the things NPR is doing to put our work in front of more eyes and on more devices.

But the part I enjoyed the most was the third act; the big hoorah. The theme of my little presentation (which I’d whipped up in a frenzy the night before when I found out I was to fill the entire 1 hour and 15 minutes of class time) was “Make It Count.” That’s not an original name of course, it’s actually a Nike campaign, but the inspirational sentiment was the same.

In light of recent negative advice to young journalists, and then some positive, I figured I’d try and give the fresh young minds some hope in these mixed messages. Using a bit of genius from the late David Carr and channeling my inner Gary Vaynerchuk, I basically communicated that there is no formula for success in journalism (or in life in general). The only person that has that complicated recipe is you; you get to decide what success means to you and set your own goalposts.

The other part of that message was that to get ahead in journalism (or again, in life really), you need to be bold, take risks and be willing to fail. Granted, I can’t speak with the utmost authority, but by my definition I feel I’ve been pretty successful and these are things and ideas that have worked for me. But even as I was speaking, I realized I need to heed my own advice and “make it count” a bit more every day.

I ended it with the video where I cribbed that idea from, filmmaker Casey Neistat’s Nike video of the same name (one of my favorite of his):

I really enjoy doing these little talks. A few weeks ago I Skyped another class to talk about the role of curiosity in journalism and why it is important. For me, these types of talks with students are actually as inspirational for me personally as I hope it is for them. Saying what I feel in my heart and bones about journalism, writing, creating and telling stories reminds me why I enjoy doing what I’m doing and working for the company that I work for. It helps slough off the complacency and makes me return to work with renewed vigor and a fire in my belly ready to do new things.

I hope it lasts.

Make it count.

If you hadn’t heard by now, Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. I have a lot of feelings about this, Stewart and his show have played a large part in my life and helped me shape my outlook on the world we cover in journalism. There’s too much to say, but I include the clip above as a testament to who Jon Stewart is and why he had such impact. I wish you well sir, thanks for making us laugh at ourselves.

Upcycling, Underground: Huge Bike Park Opens In Former Limestone Mine : The Two-Way : NPR.

Just testing this “Press This” bookmarklet, though this is a really cool story. Go read.

At the starting line of GORUCK Nasty 001.

At the starting line of GORUCK Nasty 001.

So I completed GORUCK Nasty 001 on Saturday, my first obstacle race and the first event of its kind from GORUCK. It was a great time even though there were some logistical problems and the weather wasn’t ideal. That said, I once again learned what I am capable of both physically and mentally. It was a good day, and I’ll try my hardest to be at 002.

Good livin’.

Photos from our recent trip to Turkey for a friend’s wedding and them some vacation. It was a gorgeous place, and the Turkish people are so amazingly warm and friendly. I can really understand why people have romanticized the country so much and is such a destination for expatriates. Would gladly go back.

So on Saturday I did another GORUCK event. This was a Light (class 077), which meant a bit more fun and some singing thrown in as part of GORUCK founds and CEO Jason McCarthy’s Peace and Love Committee. Sure, we had our log carry, our inchworm pushups and our buddy carries, but the highlight of this event was our song we had to sing to the various lunchers and brunchers of Washington, D.C. (and to VP Biden).

Below is a small taste of what class 077 brought to the table. Thanks again team for an awesome day of good livin’.

Light = Fun // GORUCK Light from GORUCK on Vimeo.

GORUCK Light 077 – Washington, DC

I shadowed my first GORUCK event in order to take photos. This was an epic GORUCK Light with a ton of alums, cadre, singing and a lot of fun people. I’ll be doing one or two these this summer and hopefully another full challenge soon.

Really excited for these upcoming events:

Carrying our IED

Carrying our IED

I forgot to write something post-Goruck Challenge after I completed it in early March. It was, in short, a great experience. It was cold, difficult, dirty and a very long day. But it was awesome to push myself and get pushed (in a positive way) by others, embrace the suck and just keep moving forward.

We probably covered about 15 miles or so in D.C., over a period just over 12 hours. I was never a big team sports guy, but the camaraderie and team spirit exhibited by everyone in the same situation, putting themselves through the same paces, was very uplifting and fun.

I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to challenge themselves and challenge what their perceived limits are. I will definitely do it again, and have my eye on a Goruck Heavy — a 24-hour challenge — in the future, as well as the yet-to-be-fully revealed Goruck Nasty.

We moved to our new HQ at NPR and I finally got my fancy stand-up workstation. Complete with electronic height controls and a tall chair for those times when I need to get off my feet for a few. It’s pretty boss (I’m trying to bring that word back).