August 17, 2022

Back to the Future

 “The only reason a person should exist is to be the best he can be.” Lou Holtz

Years ago, a friend mentioned that he got up early every morning to read for 30 minutes something educational or professional. I did the math; if he did no other reading, he would read 182.5 hours a year.  Ten hours a book equals 18 books a year.

Starting a day in this healthy way could have positive potential benefits.  Shortly afterwards, I began the practice of getting up early for reading (or listening to) something educational every morning for at least half an hour.  (Sport Illustrated, Time and most novels do not count).  In a few months, I had created a habit.  For 20 years or so the routine continued; then it just faded.  While I was enriched   by this ritual, things changed and the pattern was gradually gone.

As 2010 ended, I considered what to resolve for 2011. One official goal stood out: start my day with 30-minutes of reading or listening to something that will enrich my mind and add to my life.   

In recalling how this good habit stopped, I understood my plan needed to include:  

  • ·       Decide each evening what to read the next morning.
  • ·       Be mindful of bedtime.
  • ·       Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual.
  • ·       Don’t check Sports Center scores.
  • ·       Take coffee to my reading chair where my material is laid out.
  • ·       Go public with this goal, which I started December 28, 2010.

John Norcross, co-author of Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward,” notes that successful change takes planning. It is much more than simply specifying a goal —though writing it out purposely is a great first step. Without proper thought and planning a resolution is quickly history.

I’m confident that, by reinitiating this practice, I will enhance the quality of my life and perhaps the lives of those I touch.

 “Pray not for a lighter load but for stronger shoulders.”
 St Augustine.



You Say You Want a Resolution?

“You cannot correct your course by standing still.” Maxwell Maltz

January 1, 2011 can be a time to consider what you would like to accomplish in your next year.  While we can “correct course” any time of year, the New Year is traditionally a time to reconsider goals.

Step One: Stop and think within categories of health, wealth, social life, and interests for the last year. Take time to fully consider these — to stop and think is new for many. Write out both questions and answers.  Be thoughtful, there is no hurry. Some questions to reflect on:

  • What did you do well?
  • What were your shortcomings?
  • What did you learn?
  • What more do you now want?

Step Two:   Consider your future. Again, write what you think important; be as specific as possible. After using the same categories, review; then highlight any goal(s) you are most interested in accomplishing. Some potential questions for thought:

  • What more do you want?
  • What skill do you want to learn/accomplish in 2011?
  • How can your health be better?
  • What improvement do you consider financially?
  • Are there goals you might consider doing with friends?
  • Is spiritual growth in this picture?
  • Or maybe you want greater involvement in your community?

Step Three:  Write down thoughtful resolutions. Be specific. Prioritize!

  • Answer when and how will you know the resolution is achieved?
  • Be realistic.
  • Don’t make too many resolutions.
  • You must be serious about the ones you pick.
  • Make a plan. Include a specific first step.
  • Go Public. Tell your friends!
  • Identify small steps.
  • Keep track of progress.
  • Celebrate success!

Know the value of living with constant improvement as you live your life to its fullest. Tony Robbins, Author and Authority on Leadership Psychology, calls it “CANI, Constant and Never ending Improvement.”


“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become in achieving your goals. “ Zig Ziglar.

Use the turning of the year as a key time to take stock and make new commitments for yourself. Happy 2011!


Perfect — As You See It

“This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” The Buddha

 Last Sunday at church, a solo of Deck the Halls on Sax was a prelude to the youth choir performance. The solo was perfect, played by Hunter, a youngster keen to share his growing ability with us. I was moved. The combination of his youth, ability and willingness just seemed right for both the celebration on that day in the church and of the season. The youth choir, of varying ages, also performed with perfect voices.

One of the life coaching schools, Coachville, presents the tenant that things are perfect…even as they are improvable. This notion seems a healthy way to construct our lives. Sometimes I see and realize the perfection of life as it is. Sunday was one of those times.

Thank you, Hunter.

To all of you, may Christmas be your perfect! 


Go the Distance — Field of Dreams

“Go the distance” Voice from the field.

After the Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, we checked football scores and then channel surfed. There it was, my favorite irresistible movie, Field of Dreams. Though I own it, somehow when it’s on TV, I’m drawn to watching again, all the way to the cars winding down the road to the Field. I hear something new every time, yet get choked up in the same places. I think of myself like Moonlight Graham, the rookie turned doctor who said: “… if I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes . . . now that would have been a tragedy.”

Do you believe that what you do has importance for you and those around you? When I hear that quote, I hope the world is better off with my efforts as a Social Worker, than as the baseball player that, as I child, I dreamed of becoming.

We watched and remembered our trip to the movie site in the middle of an Iowa cornfield in Dyersville. It started by driving to North Central Iowa for a family reunion, promising to swing by the Field on the way home.  

Reunion came to a close. Practicality reigned and with adult “wisdom” we decided to go home; “there will be another time,” we said. Our Iowa family concurred wondering why anyone would visit a baseball field in the middle of Iowa anyway. But our 8 year old had a different view. He reminded us of our promise.

So with varying levels of interest off we went to Dyersville. It was a long drive; there was no interstate. Still, anticipation for all four of us increased.

On that bright, sunny, late Sunday afternoon, we arrived in Dyersville and got directions to the Field. We drove into the countryside, going down the same road as the cars in the movie.

Simultaneously, each of us had goose bumps as we experienced feelings of appreciation and awe, as we approached the Field. The feelings were unexpected, powerful and, even now, not fully understood.

Then we saw the corn, the farm house, of course, the Field. Even at  age 8, Ben knew his line…”Dad, you want to have a catch”… and we did. In fact, we all had a catch with each other and with people from Japan and from California. We batted and pitched and ran the bases. Oh yes, we walked in and out of the corn hoping to disappear like Shoeless Joe. It was a great day.

The trip had lessons. If we had gone home, as practicality suggested, the experience would have been missed. It seems a recurring theme — to learn: go, do and try. Sometimes the experience is a special gift.

Of course, we never understand the missed experience. Practical adults just move on. Remember to listen to the child, grandchild or child within who may know better.  I am grateful we sometimes listen.

As the Dr. Graham pointed out: “You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that was the only day.”

Enjoy fully this day.


The Field of Dreams remains available (in season) for visits.

Showing Up

Running with Rob and Steve.

On Fridays I run with former work buddies Steve and Rob. I was looking forward to the run last Friday and thought “perfect day – perhaps a 10.” As I unlocked the car door I realized my gym bag was at home without enough time to get it. I could call and tell them I goofed; instead I decide to just go and at least touch base before they run.

They don’t seem to understand that I can’t run without my gear. They simply set about finding a way. Rob offers an extra pair of (really big) running shoes, Steve has a Reds tee shirt and my old work locker contains a towel and clean baggy socks. What about shorts? Steve goes to his truck and we scrounge the other lockers. No luck. Rob remembers a pair of shorts in the other locker room – way too big but with a draw string. I make the run and, even with shoes too big, baggy socks and baggy pants, do not hurt myself. It was a memorable run, a “happily ever after” lunch hour.

Steve and I have now run together most Mondays and Fridays since 1991, the year we moved to the same building at Comprehensive Mental Health Services (now Meridian). Rob joined us in 2004. I’ve run over 4200 miles with Steve; we have spent over 1600 hours of getting ready to run, running and getting clean to go back to work.

At some point in the process, we became friends . . . very good friends. I learned with Steve how to make friends. In part, it is a process of showing up. Did we become friends at mile one, 10, 100 or 1000?

I don’t know; it just happens when you learn to trust that someone will be there and eventually, you talk and share. Showing up in a reliable way is under rated. It’s a job skill, a responsibility skill and yes, a friend skill.

People often tell me they want close relationships and it seems they are in a hurry. They want them now. I suppose it can sometimes work that way, but suspect more often the process is, in part, showing up and getting to know and trust in a gradual way.

I now think of this time on Monday and Friday time to be with my buddies. It just happens that the way we do it is running.

Find people you like showing up with and do with them activities that are legal, moral and ethical and that you enjoy. Be patient and something good is likely to happen. You may even have “happily ever after” moments.


Who Are Your Friends?

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

This quote has long been one of my favorites. In June I attended my 40th college reunion at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Amidst the nostalgic beauty of the old campus, was the renewal of contact with Bill and Bob. For the 5th time in the last 20 years we climbed on the Boulder and had our picture taken together. While the boulder has somehow grown taller the relationships remain rock solid. This reunion reminded me, with a feeling of gratitude, how friendships have helped pull me forward.

In that significant undergraduate time of my life, my friendship with Bill and Bob and a few others helped me advance my life, at times in spite of myself. If you hang with people that are legal, moral, ethical and pursue worthy goals, it is likely you will be doing similar activities.

The opposite is also true. We intuitively understand this point with people that over use substances. Most frequently they hang out with people that do similar destructive behavior. Then there is an ongoing pull to act in similar negative ways. This becomes, in some cases, a “fatal attraction”.

The college relationships remain important. While Bill and Bob are currently more present in my spirit, than day to day, their influence remains profound.

But the principle remains today as I engage with colleagues and community. Who do I spend time with and communicate with? They are good folks- legal, moral and ethical and pursuing worthy goals; they pull me forward, sometimes in spite of myself. I am interested in people that add value to church, community, their family or their own self growth. These topics then become part of the conversation and influence me to ask myself how I can do similarly. I thus grow similar interests. At one level, because of who I spend time with, I have little choice but to take this direction.

Consider who you have been spending time with in the last few weeks. If these people are not pulling you forward, consider adjusting your relationships and activities

You are in other people’s lives too. Understand that you influence others too. When you strive to be a good influence…that further helps you! This modeling seems particularly important for parents as you are likely to be one of the five in your children’s lives.

Choose your friends wisely and make their choice of you similarly worthwhile.

For me, I am grateful for those friends and role models, (the number is well over 5) that have pulled me forward.

Thank you.


Psychotherapy and Happily Ever After

“I just want to live happily ever after every now and then.” Jimmy Buffett

I think Buffett shows great wisdom in this quote. At one level we would like to live happily ever after but our experience is reality intervenes. So Buffet makes it doable with the “every now and then” addition to the fairytale ending. I try to notice when this happens in my life. Recently, as Katie and I sat at Bub’s, an outdoor café next to the Monon bike trail in Carmel, I noticed. We had ridden a few miles and the bikes sat against the rail while a mother chased her 18 month old daughter between the chairs. We munched on our sandwiches and were drinking lemonade; I asked “are we having one of those ‘happily ever after times now’?” I like noticing…though sometimes it is later, and I can look back and see it from the present but often have been so involved as to miss it as it happened.

Do we get moments of this every day or every week and not notice? I often ask clients “how are you doing now?” My intent is to bring them into the present which is often much better than all those past and future places our mind perpetually tries to take us. Usually as a client sits with me, in the now, it is at least “ok”.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced cheeks sent me high!), author of the best seller “Flow” speaks of the concept of flow. It is in this state of flow that we function in the moment; perhaps, if we asked ourselves then are we “happily ever after” the answer would be “yes”. In the state of flow we are not going over and over either what has happened historically or “what ifs” of the future. In flow we are just occupied in what we are doing…now. While flow can be related to pleasure it is more likely to be connected to being productive and being involved. Often flow will happen as we do work that we are good at and that we feel good about. Time just passes and we are present in the now.

I like it when I notice”Happily Ever after” in the moment or later. It happens for me with family, exercising, or during a therapy session that is connected. By the way, Katie agreed that time was one of those for her too, and apparently noticing did not stop the episode!

Make effort to appreciate those “happily ever after every now and then” times. They may happen more often than you would guess. Maybe you had one today? Maybe now?

When, typically, does “happily ever after” happen for you?


Do you have favorite Rock and Roll quotes that you believe are with wisdom? If so please share them with me.

Interviewing Red

I recently observed a grandson (30ish) “interviewing” his grandfather (mid 80s). It was most tender. The grandson would, with great interest and gentleness, ask grandpa about the distant past. He focused on the first, and then the second (and so on) car grandpa drove. While grandpa was initially reluctant, he warmed to the task. Eventually gramps would, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, remember color and make of each car, size of the engine, how fast it went. Gas he said was only pennies a gallon. He noted the reputation he had as “Red”. Grandpa relished, it seemed, being a bit of a “bad boy” in these memories. Their relationship became closer as the old man could remember his youth with dignity and was energized with being a little out of his more recent “grandpa” and “great grandpa” character.

It occurred to me that often, when the old ask the young these same questions, it is seen as prying or criticizing. This interview had quite the different perspective. Part of the difference was the grandson asking honest questions. The grandson was genuinely interested. He wanted to hear of his grandfather; criticism was not part of his agenda.

Often when the older ask the younger the same questions, it is dishonest with the real meaning being “you were driving too fast” or you are being reckless. If too many dishonest questions are asked, then even when honest interest is intended, the questions become heard by the young as ongoing statements of criticism or prying. Communication shuts down.

What a nice conversation for this young man to have with an elder.
Real interest that nourished both. The foundation of honest questions and genuine interest was involved. These are great tools of communication.

Creating Positive Ritual

In 1971 the first annual “Invitational Golf tournament” was started by local young man who, with support from his spouse, devised a way for guys to have an excuse to play golf, poker, euchre, and drink a few beers. It was disproportionate work for the girls, lots of fun for the boys. A few Elkhart buddies and three main families made up the group. It was so much fun that, in fact, it became an annual event. Some of us would come one year, but not the next; but the three main families came every year, eventually from across the country. By 1991, the second generation also played golf, cards and skied and the friend’s kids called each other cousin and the named the mainstays “aunt” and “uncle”. They agreed that the annual event had become an important part of their lives.

In 2010 the grandkids were there and the women also play golf (and still do disproportionate work). I am told the event has become, without a thought, something that all attend. This year there were three total family pictures on the pier and also a picture of all three families…with the later being the picture that some feel is more accurate. Oh yes, some of the great grandparents came too. And the “boys and girls” from 1971 are now the “adults” or at least so named by the 30 year olds.

They still present that the event it is about the golf. I think not. Instead it is about this ritual of laughter, appreciation and love that takes form of golf, picnic and playing on the beach and pontoon rides. They let me play too and I am grateful.

Honor the positive rituals in your life and build them for yourself your friends and your family.

New Mental Health Practice Opens in Muncie, Indiana

After 34 years of clinical therapy practice in a community mental health setting, Bill Frederick opened his psychotherapy private practice. Frederick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in counseling for individuals, couples and families.

His work emphasizes creating effective healthy relationships, managing stress management, marriage therapy, overcoming depression, anxiety, anger management, effective parenting, and chronic pain management. His work highlights the mind body importance and aligns with research that indicates improved mental health contributes to improved physical well-being. Hypnotherapy is a tool he uses. Frederick also provides life coaching, supervision for Social Workers and public speaking.

His practice characterizes the Solution Focused Therapy approach supporting client strengths and abilities to meet the client goals. He attends to and teaches quality of care, using state of the art therapeutic tools. During the last five years, Frederick is a “go to” leader in Indiana for teaching, training and using Solution Focused Therapy. He annually presents this reliable outcomes model at the Indiana State National Association of Social Work Conference and other statewide events. Other workshops include Great Parenting, Use of Stories in Therapy, and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.

Frederick received a Master of Science in Clinical Social Work at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at DePauw University. He completed post-graduate training in Individual, Family, and Marital Therapy. He serves as adjunct faculty at Ball State University, is a member of National Association of Social Workers (NASW), International Center for Clinical Excellence (ICCE), and Heart and Soul of Change Project, and is certified in the use of Client Directed Outcomes Informed Tools.

Bill Frederick, LCSW, is located at 1945 West Royale Drive, Muncie. Call 765.288.7939 to schedule appointments or request workshop presentations. For more information, visit Solution Therapy Center.