Right now I have a lot of time on my hands. I’ve been back from my excursion to Canada for a little over a month and being that I had planned on being gone for 6 months, other than some basic chores and errands, I don’t have anything I HAVE to be doing. Be jealous. Muahahahaahaha.

So, in my downtime, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and thinking about the next chapter in my life. Now, you’d think since I was focusing on the future, my thoughts would revolve around new topics and interest, but for some reason, I seem to think more about the past.

What I’ve done and what I’ve learned from each experience. The direction I’ve been going and how I can use that momentum to carry over into my next venture. But mostly, I’ve been thinking about the things I need to work on in my own life. Each day I sit down and write these posts in an effort to share the insights I’ve learned from others and my own personal experiences. So in a way, each day I’m helping myself by trying to help others.

Today’s lesson comes from a dear friend from college, Hilton Richardson. I met Hilton in 2011, during fall camp of my upcoming senior season at Boise State. Hilton was a new walk on WR, but he had a different story than most freshman. Hilton, a Bellevue, WA product, had just finished playing professional baseball for the Atlanta Braves minor league teams. After an injury got him released, Hilton thought it was time for a new challenge, college.

To make a long story short, one of Hilton’s previous coaches had some ties to Boise State and landed him a tryout in front of the coaches. Hilton didn’t disappoint. Big, fast, strong, athletic; he had all the tools to play football. The catch, Hilton had never played a down in his life and here he was trying to walk on to a Top 10 program in the country. Obviously, he didn’t lack confidence.

I was immediately drawn to Hilton after hearing his story. Super impressed with his past career and seeing gobs of potential, I decided Hilton would be my protege. We spent everyday that fall camp together. Doing extra drills, working on routes, catching extra passes, together we embodied the Grind that is fall camp at Boise State.

I only got to spend one season with Hilton, but it was one I will never forget. He taught me baseball handshakes and I taught him touchdown dances. And throughout that year, I gained a friend for life.

Since our time at Boise State, both Hilton and I have had many endeavors and changes in our lives’ paths. Hilton ended up getting back into baseball for another run at the big leagues and is currently a pro scout for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was in town over the weekend scouting a few players and we were able to catch up and grab lunch

After the normal catching up stories and chit chat, I asked him how he was liking life on the road. Little did I know exactly how much road was in his life. He pulled out his phone and opened his calendar.

Over the next 3 weeks, he had 7 different states he was supposed to visit. All while driving. I don’t know about you, but that’s too much life on the road for me. We got to talking about what keeps him going, how he makes it through those long drives and what his plan is for the next chapter.

Like me, Hilton admitted he’s struggled with that thought. At times, it’s easy to let such a big thought and life decision take up all of your thoughts and you can lose sight of what’s going on right now. That’s when he said it.

“3 things. When I’m driving for hours and I start feeling my mind slip into that overwhelming state, I stop and find 3 things around me to focus on. Sign, seatbelt, Boise. Or salt shaker, napkin, Tyler.”

As he was saying this I pulled out my phone and immediately starting taking some notes. After we finished lunch and catching up, Hilton hit the road again and I was left thinking about our conversation (remember, because I have a lot of time on my hands).

I love Hilton’s advice. And it’s something that I need to work on in my own life. I catch myself in situations with friends or family and my mind is elsewhere, lost in thought. Worrying about things, planning my future or more often, my dinner, many times it’s anywhere but where I’m currently sitting.

So this week, I challenge myself and you to live in the present. Using Hilton’s advice, when you’re getting bogged down or your mind is drifting, find 3 things around you right then and focus on them. Bring yourself back to the present and live in the moment. You never know what you might find sitting right in front of you.


Grind On!