#SparkChallenge

A lot has happened in the past 35 days, culminating with a recent picture of the President & CEO of the largest company in the world “Sparking” in his office… But what is it? Where did it come from? And who is Surge!?

Early last month (June 8th) fifteen Walmart stores, under the direction of the newly hired Marketing Director of Store Experience, Zach Lones embarked on a 60-day test.  Our mission, reach 6,000 combined followers by August 7th (Currently 5,300+ just over half way through the time) natural/organic growth… No “boosts!” Obviously there are many more goals and objectives but for the purpose of this post, the followers will do.

Many stores saw immediate success hitting the ground running with posts and connecting with their very own associates and customer. But it was just a few days in (June 11th) when Surge and two friends (Taylor & Chris) sat down and began dreaming of ways to make an impact. Nearly one hundred ideas came from that meeting and continue to evolve and be added to… Some we have already seen and many still yet to come! One of the most interesting that night came when discussing past viral trends such as “Floor is Lava” (where one individual yells ‘floor is lava’ and the other participant must jump up and off of the ground as quickly as possible) and “Planking” (laying stiff as a ‘plank’ over or off of objects). Trying to figure out how to make Walmart’s own trend that would not cause problems in our store the idea came out… #Sparking! Immediately the three went to the closest Walmart store and took a very awkward picture with one individual standing with their arms spread wide while another stood behind doing the same but in the opposite direction, creating the Walmart Spark (the company logo and icon).

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Many other variations were tried but only one remained (for now).

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Over the next few weeks Surge began to encourage local associates to partner up and “do Sparking” for pictures and even in the background.

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It was out of desperation, however, that Sparking began to evolve into a single associate jumping in the air with their arms and legs spread making the Spark on their own.

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This of course gave way for the infamous walking up on associates and asking them to “Spark” or “Spark-It!”

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And it was shortly there after when the first official “SparkChallenge” was thrown down from one individual to another.

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As more and more associates began to show their Spark the movement grew until the day a surprise visit from the President of Walmart US Greg Foran and CFO Brett Briggs showed up at Academy Store 4637 where an associate asked for the two to pose “Sparking.”

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These pictures spread like wildfire… It was here Surge asked the question to followers on the store’s instagram page: “Who would you like to see Spark next?” The response was overwhelming and unanimous… Doug McMillon the companies President & CEO. #CanDougSpark was born!

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After only 3 days, Surge received an email: “Can Doug Spark? Yes I Can!” And with that, Monday, July 16th was put on the calendar. Surge arrived to Walmart Home Office at 7am to go live on the air with Walmart Radio DJs Bo & Antonio to spread the news.

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And then at 10am the first official picture went live!

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Many more followed (as Doug was a great sport)…

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With hundreds of views and shares and multiple social networking platforms in only a few hours, the movement has no end in sight.  In fact, NEW #Sparks continue to form

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And associates from all over continue to show their SPARK each and every day!

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Now go find a store near you and get to Sparking… We can’t wait to see it!!

Follow us at instagram.com/Walmart4637

 

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Do you React or Respond…

I originally wrote this post over 5 years ago (2013) about parenting but there’s a lot of good stuff here for managers in any work environment.  Enjoy!

My wife is not only an accomplished volleyball player but she played and coached fieldgoalDivision 1 (Go Golden Hurricane) for many years.  Knowing this about my wife is one thing, but finding out in-person is another.  One day several years ago I made the mistake to go “play” some volleyball with her and a group of old players.  I was not too concerned upon arrival knowing I myself was a college athlete and had picked up a few things from watching friends compete in volleyball at school.  Don’t get too ahead of me here!!!  It only took two solid “blocks” with my face before I really wanted to know the difference in what my wife was shouting: “You have to respond Jeff… You keep reacting!”

To me, the average guy, I saw the hitter go up and I embraced for impact… At best I kept my eyes open and once the ball was hit tried to move my arms high enough to return the hit.  This however, is Not responding but only reacting.  What Courtney was trying to tell me was you have to read what they are wanting to do and adjust accordingly.  From years of preparation and practice she was able to determine not just who was going to hit the ball but where it would be hit once it came off the hitters hand!  She took into consideration: who was on the court, how many blockers were at the net, which way her hips were facing, what she had done several plays earlier, etc.  And so in responding she was able to “dig” or return virtually every hit by our opponents… As long as I got my face out of the way!!

In parenting I see a perfect parallel for us think on…

Let me paint a quick picture for you:  It’s 12:27am and you’ve called and texted a half a dozen times but have heard nothing.  You have your spouse call your phone to make sure it is working properly.  You check the news to see if there was any big accidents and are just getting ready to text their best friend when… “I’m so sorry!!  I didn’t see that you called until just now when I was walking in!!  Can I just have a second, okay third, chance”

How many times have you had this conversation?  Are you being that strict!?  All you are asking for is a simple phone call or even text if you’re going to be running late, is that too much to ask!?  What if…

Do you React or Respond?

Are you prepared to respond?  I bet when you think about it you can see some common behaviors that have surfaced.  I bet you can probably guess that at some point the boundaries will be tested (and probably already have).  I bet you can even predict that some choices change depending on who they are with and what they went out to do.

“Reacting is based on emotion, which we all know is rampant when dealing with a teenager.  

We Respond to the situation when we step back from the emotion and take a moment to think through what is really going on.  It’s not easy!  Parents, the secret is out. The map to your “buttons” has been published, and your teen will push them…Repeatedly!!  But we do our own share of pushing, don’t we?  You know what makes your teenager crazy and sometimes, just sometimes, it feels really good to give them a good share of their own medicine.  At least for a moment, until we realize we have done exactly what we are trying to teach them NOT to do!” (by ParentMinistry.net)

Three quick things to consider when rewiring ourselves to Respond:

  • Discipline is about Training not about Punishment… It’s not just to remember the ouch but the why.  Know why you said no. If it doesn’t make sense, have the courage to retract it.  Second chances are always necessary when it comes to our teens.  Grace always gives a redo. Give yourself grace too.
  • Breathing… it gives you a moment to lower your blood pressure.  The part of our teen’s brain that controls reasoning is still underdeveloped at this point.  They use a different part of the brain geared towards instinctual decisions or risk taking.  Peer pressure is a large influence in our teen’s decisions.  At this point of our teen’s development, they are trying to become independent of us.
  • Develop Contracts for the major occasions (Cell Phone, Driving, etc.)  Clearly communicate the expectations and consequences, as well as, the desires of both the parent and the teenager.  Make a plan for when trust is broken, so that it can be restored allowing the relationship between parent and teenager to grow.  Agree together ahead of time how to handle the unexpected events. 

08-parenting.jpg.pagespeed.ce.9aVnbZn-At“Your teen’s personality can play a large part of how they respond to certain situations. Some are sensitive and appear not to react outwardly.  But that doesn’t mean a thing. Inwardly they could be screaming at you.  Some teens are passionately vocal.  They are very certain you know exactly how they feel.  They all deserve our respect and guidance.  Reacting is easy, responding isn’t.  Responding shows your teen that you love them enough to stop for a moment and make sure what you are saying or doing is based on truth and not emotion.  Reacting can be a really selfish act.  We want to get our point across at all costs.  Sometimes the cost is just a little too high.  It can cost the trust our teens have in us.  Can your teen trust that you will respond and not react to any given situation.  Have the courage to ask your teen if you respond or react and then give them permission to tell you how they wish you would handle these situations.  It takes a brave and humble parent to realize that before we can teach our teens this concept maybe we should learn it for ourselves!” (by ParentMinistry.net)

For some of us resolving conflict in a healthy way is difficult because of our own baggage growing up.  Perhaps you were raised in a home that had a “take no prisoners” mentality when it came to conflict.  Win at all costs was the name of the game.  You learned early on that your job was to watch your own back, defend yourself, and never back down… But if you are willing to develop new habits and value loving more than being declared right, then your whole family wins!!

**If you are interested in my personal four-hour training of the ‘10 Things YOU Should Know About Teens & Tweens‘ please e-mail me for a FREE copy of the manuel and video link!!

**Follow Jeff, also known as “surgeberg” on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Really… a light switch!

Today I had some work to finish up so I brought my food into my classroom so I could work and eat over my lunch. A few minutes into my break the lights when out. No, no one came in and shut them off, they are on a motion/timer. Thus if there’s no movement for about 60 seconds they shut off. Of course, I waved my arms and got them to switch back on and then as soon as I got refocused they shut off again.

Some of the time I tried to tough it out and let my eyes adjust and work in the dark but then someone came by and said, “what are you doing in the dark!”

The craziest thing was that after 30+ minutes of this, I found myself holding a big piece of paper in my opposite hand and occasionally waving it as I tried to work with my free hand so as not to be in the dark yet again. I even spent some of my time trying to think through how I could hang something in front of the sensor to simulate movement.

It wasn’t until after lunch and my class returning that it hit me… why!? Why did I waste an entire hour trying to make it work. In fact, every time the light would go out I would cuss under my breath and yet I stayed. I stayed in a situation that I KNEW would set me off. I wasted time trying to “fix” a problem that is actually NOT a problem but yet working exactly how it’s supposed to… just not for what I WANTED. I even found little ways to make it miserably through it… pridefully! Honestly, waving the paper still didn’t solve the issue, it simply added more to my plate and caused more distraction from my actual project.

  • How many hours have I wasted trying to make tools/skills work that were never meant to be used in that way in the first place!?
  • How many relationships have I fought for, grieved for, allowed to take countless time “making it work” because I believed we’re all supposed to get along!?
  • How many situations do I sit in KNOWING they will only cause more work, stress and anger but I try to muscle through because of pride or because I don’t want to do the work to move on!?
  • How many habits do I keep that only add more work and not helping me live out my passions, focus, PURPOSE!?

Still learning and growing…

– Surge

#KeepMovingForward

The DDW List…

1000 hours of Community Service
Adopt
Attend a Dallas FB Game 
Attend a Murder Mystery Dinner
Backpack Scotland
Backpack the Grand Canyon
Barefoot ski
Be on a TV show (Reality)
Be on the Tonight Show
Be on TV
Become a Certified Teacher/Professor 
Become a Police Officer 
Become an expert marksman
Become an honorary Spartan 
Blow Glass
Build a Fort/Treehouse
Build a log cabin
Build an Igloo
Carve a canoe out of a tree/log
Catch a snowflake on your tongue
Chase a tornado
Climb a major mountain
Come up in the St Louis Arch
Compete in a prof. sport
Compete in the Scottish Games
Complete a triathlon 
Cowboy a cattle drive
Create a Website
Develop a community garden 
Disciple 12 people
Do a barrel roll in a Kayak
Do a pushup on the Four Corners Monument
Do a stunt for a scene in a movie
Do the Color Run
Dog sledding in Alaska (Iditarod) 
Donate Blood
Drink a Beer at Oktoberfest
Drive a Lamborghini 
Drive in a demolition derby 
Drive over a 100 mph  
Drive Route 66 (Chicago to LA)
Drive swamp craft (hover craft)
Drive-In Movie
Earn a Blackbelt in a Martial Art
Earn multiple Graduate Degrees
Eat at a 5-Star Restaurant
Eat Black Broth/Soup
Eat Chinese leftovers for breakfast
Eat Haggis
Experience no gravity
Fast for 40 days 
Fight a pro fighter/MMA
Fill up a Passport
Find a German Castle with BERG on it
Finish a Marathon (Spartan Beast)
Fire walk
Float in the Dead Sea
Fly a plane
Fly far way to just eat 
Fly First Class
Forge a blade
Get into the Guinness book of WR
Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Get out of a ticket
Give to a Charity… Anonymously
Go Cliff Diving
Go Geocaching (Find over 100 places/things)
Go off roading
Go on a 1,000 mile bicycle ride
Go on a Cruise 
Go on a Police Patrol 
Go on a Road Trip flipping a coin
Go Sailing
Go Sky Diving
Go Spelunking 
Go to a Drive-In Movie
Go to a Movie Premier Dressed-Up
Go to random house & eat with them
Grow a Garden
Happily Married (Be a Great Dad)
Have a recognized cattle brand
Hike the Appalachian Trail
Hike to the top of the Wallace Monument 
Hot Air Balloon ride
Ice skate on a pond
Invent and patent something
Learn 3 instruments
Learn 3 languages
Learn Archery
Learn Car Maintenance (Change Oil, Brakes, etc.)
Learn to Juggle
Learn to Play Chess
Learn Yoga
Light a match with a .22 shot
Make a delivery in a semi truck
Make an Arrest 
Make My Kids Smile!
Meet a president
Meet Royalty
Mine a diamond or gold 
Own a bald eagle
Own a Hoplon
Own a Kilt
Own a yellow Jeep Wrangler 
Participate in some LARPing
Perform a Wedding
Plant a Tree
Play College Football
Play in prof. poker tournament
Play organized rugby
Presidential Medal of Freedom 
Publish something
Put “$100 on black”
Read Bible cover to cover 
Research my Family Tree
Ride a Bull
Ride a Camel in the Desert
Ride a fire truck to a fire
Ride a horse bareback
Ride a Mechanical Bull
Ride a Seqway
Ride in a helicopter
Ride in a Limo
Ride the top 10 Roller coasters
Run a half-marathon 
Run for mayor/political office
Run the “Rocky steps”
Run the field at Dallas stadium (Stand on the star)
Run with the Bulls (Spain)
Save a life
Scuba Diving in Hawaii
See a Aztec or Mayan Temple
See a Lunar Eclipse
See an active Volcano
See Big Ben
See London Bridge
See Mount Everest
See Mount Rushmore 
See Niagara Falls 
See the Changing of the Guard
See the Empire State Building
See the Golden Gate Bridge
See the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
See the Northern Lights
See the Parthenon
See the Sistine Chapel
See the Statue of Liberty (Ellis Island)
See the Taj Mahal
See U2 Live (front row)
Sell a House for a Profit
Serve on a jury
Shake Chuck Norris’ Hand
Shoot a quarter from 100 yards
Shower in a Waterfall
Sing for a famous person 
Sing in a Cathedral
Sing Karaoke
Skinny Dipping in the ocean
Skip School
Sleep in a Castle
Smoke a Cuban Cigar
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Solve a Rubik’s Cube
Spend 30 days off the grid 
Spend the night in Beverly Hills
Squat 600/Bench 400/Run under 5
Stand on the Equator
Start a Company
Stay in Walmart for 3-Days
Stay overnight in a haunted house
Swing on a vine in an African jungle
Take a stranger to dinner
Travel to the coast on $20
Tropical Snorkeling
Visit a military facility 
Visit all 50 states (Alaska) w/ the Kids
Visit all 7 continents (Set foot on Antarctica)
Visit an Orphanage
Visit Battle of Thermopylae monument 
Visit Disney Land
Visit Disney World
Visit Israel – Jerusalem (Walk the Via Dolorosa)
Visit New Zealand 
Visit Stonehenge
Visit the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
Visit Times Square at Night
Visit Washington DC (important monuments)
Visit Yellowstone National Park
Walk in the Colosseum
Walk on the Hoover Dam
Walk on top a moving train 
Walk the Great Wall of China
Wash Dishes to cover your bill
Watch all 100 AFI Films
Watch all best picture winners
Watch SNL live
Wear a Dallas Cowboy Super Bowl Ring
White water raft
Write a Book

Ten Lessons from Swimming at 5am

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So over the past several weeks I have been trying a new routine, complete with getting it all kicked off with a wake-up alarm of 5AM.  This is quite a new thing for me!  I’m guessing that if you do in fact know me, and have seen my early morning posts lately, you just assumed I was still awake from the previous evening.  Nope friends, I have been getting up and heading to the gym for a workout.  Given the fact that I am extremely not used to getting up that early I have found it best to do laps in the pool.  I have found it far more difficult to go back to sleep under the water!  Though this, in and of itself, is a mighty great lesson it is merely just the beginning.

Here are my ‘Ten Lessons I’ve Learned from Swimming at Five AM’:

10) All pools are not created equal… At the gym I workout at, there are multiple pools.  Some are inside, others are outside but though they all have water they are not the same.  The outside is often far colder than the others, even more interesting is that it is longer as well.  I didn’t really realize this until I thought I was shattering my time from the day before (times compared to the longer pool).  Though I love thinking I’m a super swimmer in the smaller pool, I find true peace and solace from taking the plunge and enjoying the deafening quiet of the outside large pool.

9) Most businesses are not open yet so plan ahead for breakfast… We all know that businesses have hours and that we should always plan for the day BUT how many of us actually do?  My morning swim has caused growth far beyond simply going to the gym.  Instead, it has forced an entire lifestyle change to take place.  Each night before bed I lay out my clothes, pack my workout bag, pre-prep an easy breakfast meal and even place my toothbrush and toothpaste by the kitchen sink.  The goal is to not only get out of the door but to do it without waking everyone else up.  What’s crazier still… Is the amount of time I have “found” from executing a very planned out day (More on this in the future)!

8) No matter how much you plan sometimes things just won’t go your way… One morning after finishing my laps in a very cold pool I decided I needed to take a few minutes and get some hot tub time.  Unfortunately the hot tub was closed, saddened but not defeated I went to the showers only to find the soap dispenser was completely empty and don’t get me started about the used bandaid on the floor.  Oh yeah!  I was frustrated but still had the entire day ahead of me.  I once heard a speaker say: “Have you really had a bad day or did you just have a bad couple minutes that you’ve milked the entire day?”

7) You have to stay in your lane… Apparently, like many situations in life: standing on the left side of a walk way at the airport, leaving at least one empty urinal in between you and the other guest or that the toilet paper goes over the top not under… these and “stay in your own lane” are apparently very serious rules we must live by to keep all of us civilized!  In related new: You are not being clever if you try and pass everyone waiting in a line for the stoplight by using the shoulder only to cut in with your fast beating blinker at the last second.

6) Don’t be intimidated by others… Fact, there will always be someone better than you at something.  This is double true when you are taking on a new hobby, you just don’t have the experience (or cool gear) yet!  Though I do not require the swimming cap, mirrored goggles or super towel that could, if necessary, absorb all the water in the pool… I am however on the look out for a swimsuit that will tie just a little tighter while moving.  Though those folks look like experts, don’t get caught up in it and just get in and get started!

5) Learning the right ‘How’ can make it a whole lot easier… What I love about this lesson is the fact that if you apply the previous lesson (don’t be intimidated by others) you will have earn some respect, or pity, from others and they will jump at the chance to help.  Though I had only swam a couple lengths, apparently others noticed when I was hyperventilating at the edge of the pool.  Out of shape…Yes but that wasn’t the whole story as they pointed out.  I was simply wasting some of the motion of my arms and not being steady and true with my legs.  Sure enough, just a few lengths later and I had found my glide.

4) Find your sweet spot… Too far to the right and your arms scrape the sides, too far to the left and you get tangled up in the ropes.  However, if you can focus on the painted line below the water, keep an even glide, you will begin to really not only make the distance but do it with far more speed and comfort.

3) Remembering the ‘Why’ is the only thing that will keep you going… As I recall, it was only days two, three, five, six, nine, ten, etc. that I had problems wanting to get up and get started.  This is a lesson I know I do not have to sell to you yet probably one of the most important.  If you don’t continue to remind yourself of the why, you will never find the reasons to keep going and make a difference.  Whether its working out, eating right or even making your marriage work, you must find ways to help yourself remember why you started!

2) Sometimes you just have to jump in… Some mornings just don’t go as planned: you’ll hit the snooze one too many times, you’ll have forgot your goggles, there are too many people in the pool, the water is just too cold, etc.  That’s resistance and rest assured if it has found you, you’re doing the right thing… Jump in, try and stay positive and just KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!

1) You will never know until you try it… I do not recommend this in all walks of life: singing through all of the verses in “this is the song that never ends”, painting your body gold, smoking crack or googling “Find Chuck Norris” (okay, maybe you should do that last one).  I do, however, think all of us should have a list of things we want to do before we die.  I call mine the DDW list (Don’t Die Wonderin’).  No, swimming at five was not and is not on the list… being in the best shape of my life (before my fortieth birthday), being present as a great father and being a better husband than the man my wife married is.  I didn’t know swimming at five in the morning would bring other goals to fruition but here we are… killing it!

There are many more lessons I’ve learned from swimming at five but they are things only you can understand if you choose to experience them for yourself.  Is this your moment?  Have you been making excuses?  Bottom line, some times it’s as simple as getting up, getting dressed and jumping in!  Try something new this week and let’s change our lives and this world together.  Looking forward to seeing  you out there, just make sure you stay in your own lane!