Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Dad On A Roadtrip To Mount Rushmore

It is Thursday, and you know what that means!!! It is Throwback Thursday time again. TBT is the one day a week I relive some of my greatest moments in life…the times when I checked something off of my Bucket List.  Last time you learned about #2 – Ride in a Hot Air Balloon, and this week we talk about a road trip with the ol’ Big Dad.

59. See Mt. Rushmore – X (August 4, 2012, Keystone, SD)

Ryan Eller

The St. Louis Arch. The Statue of Liberty. The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. There are only a handful of American monuments that define who we are as a people. Monuments so bold that they literally change the landscape of American culture…sites so grand they must be seen in person to be understood. Mount Rushmore is on the “Mount Rushmore” of monuments. It is bold and daring, it was controversial during construction, and it defines the spirit of this young country.

Mount Rushmore is so monumental that we have “Mount Rushmore Lists.” The top four items in any category qualify for Mount Rushmore status…my trip to Mount Rushmore is on my Mount Rushmore of bucket list items for one very important reason: I went with my dad.

Simply put, my dad is my hero. We talk almost every single day about pretty much any topic. I inherited many of my favorite qualities from my father, and I hope to inherit some more of his traits as I get older. I hadn’t spent enough time with my father as I became a dad, moved to Tulsa, and he started a new career. I had promised him a road trip when he graduated from college, and since he had graduated with his master’s, I decided we needed to go on that long overdue trip.

There were some leadership traits my dad has always portrayed that were easily evident on this special road trip:

1. Be patient: My dad has always handled my immaturity, anger, and shortcomings with a thick layer of patience. Just like he was patient on me to arrange this trip, he has been patient with me to grow into the man I am toady.

2. Listen: I come from a family of huge talkers. When people marry into the family they all marvel about how we are just waiting to throw our two cents into any conversation. My dad loves to talk, but he consciously listens. He listened to me dream about my future on this trip, and it meant so much to me.

3. Be fair: We had some serious talks about our past and our future as a family in the car. My dad was fair in handling criticism, dishing out responsibilities, and encouraging us to move forward.

4. Be interested in what others are interested in: My dad has always become interested in the things his children are interested in. He became a runner because I liked to run. He read my sister’s dissertation because he knew it was important to her. If I start to eat healthy, my dad wants to support me. He traveled with me because he knows I enjoy travel.

5. Be kind: My dad is kind to me. He is kind to strangers. He is kind to workers. He is kind to everyone. I got to see it in action on this road trip. He greets the people who serve him, he strikes up conversations with those in line. I would watch people leave with a huge smile on their face after talking just a few minutes with my dad.

There are so many lessons I have learned from my dad over the years. The most important lesson I have learned is that my dad is a man of integrity and character. He lives his life the same at home and at work. The same around strangers as family. He is considerate, thoughtful, generous, positive, encouraging, and loving.

You’re my hero dad! I hope to be just like you when I grow up.


Guest Post Friday – An Autumn Bucket List

It is guest post Friday! Each Friday we encourage you to submit a post for the ryaneller.com blog. This week’s post comes from my good friend Stephanie Bolen. She is an awesome bucket lister who is striving to live a life of intention. You can follow her blog here and on Twitter @stephB_4themoon. If you would like to submit a guest post, click here

I hope those of you with summer bucket lists got to complete them before vacation time ended and the new school year began. However, a new season is now starting! The season of Autumn (or Fall). A time of scarves, piles of leaves, and pumpkin flavored everything. A time for Halloween, fall breaks, and Thanksgiving. A time for a whole new bucket list!

fall bucket list

Picture via mahlifebelikeoohahh on tumblr.com

Have you created your autumn bucket list yet? Well, I’ve decided to help you get started. 🙂 I’ve been searching and gathering all the autumn bucket list items on the internet. Here are a few that I’ve gathered:

  1. Fall photo shoot
  2. Pick apples at an orchard
  3. Go on a hayride
  4. Bonfire and s’mores
  5. Make a homemade apple pie
  6. Go to a pumpkin patch
  7. Carve a pumpkin
  8. Go to an actual haunted house (spend the night if you’re up for it)
  9. Go to a fun haunted house
  10. Throw a Halloween party
  11. Scary movie marathon
  12. Make/eat caramel apples
  13. Go to a football game
  14. Drink apple cider/fancy coffee drink (probably pumpkin flavored)
  15. Jump in a leaf pile
  16. Collect as many different types leaves as you can find
  17. Tail gate before a football game
  18. Bob for apples
  19. Make a Halloween costume
  20. Find your way through a corn maze
  21. Camp in the backyard
  22. Go trick or treating
  23. Learn to knit and knit a scarf
  24. Tell scary stories around a campfire
  25. Donate food to a food bank

After making this bucket list, I realized that the most important food or drink for the fall season is anything involving pumpkins or apples. lol

I hope this helps you create your own autumn bucket list. Make sure you don’t just create one though; you also need to live it. Live it and enjoy this wonderful season!

What items will you add to your autumn bucket list? Are there more fall bucket list items you can think of? What are they?


My Twitter Bucket List

I have found the place where I get brilliant ideas…while driving in my car. Brilliant ideas flow through my mind while driving 75 down the interstate. I assume Da Vinci felt the same way while driving through the streets of Rome. However, most of these great ideas come when I can’t write them down.

On a road trip between West Virginia and Baltimore I had a great idea:

I should totally create a Twitter Bucket List!

I thought of hundreds of items I could have on my list while driving through Maryland, and of course, I forgot every single one of them. Then I wondered if Da Vinci had this problem as well. Either way, I have spent some time brainstorming and came up with 20 items that I would add to my Twitter Bucket List.


These are items completely related to Twitter and I have highlighted the ones I have completed.

  1. Have a famous person retweet one of my tweets.
  2. Get thrown in Twitter Jail.
  3. Get verified (a blue check mark).
  4. Have someone who has a blue check mark follow me.
  5. Get Nick Collison (or any other celebrity who is not as awesome) to follow me on Twitter.
  6. Reach 100,000 Tweets.
  7. Have a Twitter direct message conversation with someone I admire.
  8. Have 100 times more followers than I am following.
  9. Get a topic trending nationwide.
  10. Have a tweet that is retweeted 100 times.
  11. Have one of my tweets be used as a source on a news show.
  12. Meet a stranger on Twitter and become their friend.
  13. Get a client to book me because of Twitter.
  14. Sell something using only Twitter.
  15. Get one of my tweets read on radio or TV.
  16. Start a Twitter revolution.
  17. Be featured on Ellen’s Weekly Tweetly.
  18. Create Twitter lingo that becomes commonplace (e.g. tweeps, MT, FF, or OOMF)
  19. Start a Twitter hoax.
  20. Live Tweet a historical event.

I hope this got you started on your Twitter Bucket List. Like all BLs, the items are subjective to your personality. If you want Justin Beiber to tweet you, well by all means keep tweeting him and asking.

Do you have a Twitter Bucket List? If so, please share with me the link to where I can find it! What items would you add to this list?



3 Leadership Lessons I Learned At Yoga Class

I am a self-proclaimed bucket lister. I check buckets left and right. Like a regular ‘ole bucket inspector at a bucket factory.  One bucket I checked that I thoroughly enjoyed was:

70. Take a yoga class – X (June 28th, 2011, Tulsa)


(This is not a picture of me in yoga class)

My sweet mother gave me a month’s worth of classes at a yoga studio in Tulsa for my birthday. She genuinely wanted to see me check a bucket off my list! She also wanted to see me be able to touch my toes, something I have never been able to do…not even at birth. At least that is how I remember it.

So, I showed up for yoga class in my spandex tights and no t-shirt (surprisingly, that is not what they wear there) ready to stretch my abilities. I learned a few things during that month attending yoga, and I want to share them with you. That is what a blog is all about, right?

Top 3 Leadership Lessons I Learned at Yoga Class

1. Yoga is Really, Really Hard – I came in to yoga thinking I would be able to stretch a little and make some kumbaya sounds and then move on. I could not be more wrong. It takes complete bodily control and focus to be able to accomplish the positions. The yoga masters make yoga look easy because they have spent years upon years perfecting their art.

Leaders can’t assume that something that looks easy actually is easy. The best leaders make difficult tasks look easy through years of hard work and dedication.

2. Becoming Flexible Hurts – I didn’t think stretching and holding poses would make me sore the following day. I found this out as I slowly walked up stairs like an 80-year-old man. To become flexible I had to endure some pain.

Leaders strive for flexibility, but rarely put in the effort to achieve the freedom. Leaders must learn to fight through the pain and grow from it for the future.

3. I’m Not Good at Yoga – Like I stated earlier, I am not flexible. I am in good shape, fairly athletic and strong, but not flexible. My wife has also never been to yoga, and she excelled. It was very natural to her. I kept looking over at her a glaring because she was making me look so bad. I once even tried to scissor kick her during a yoga move. 

Leaders can’t compare themselves to everyone else, especially when trying something new. Someday could I become as good as Kristin at yoga? Sure. But not on my first visit. It was not my strong suit, but I was trying anyways.

Those are my three lessons learned! Have you ever been to yoga? What did you learn through the process? Have you ever tried to scissor-kick your wife during a yoga move?

281 More Awesome Bucket List Items You Should Add To Your List

Bucket Lists. There isn’t a greater list you can put together…and I am a man who loves lists. I like lists so much that I named this website Live Your List. I recently blogged about 281 awesome bucket list items you should add to your list, and now I am going to give you 281 more buckets you can put on your list. So, copy these, share these, and add them to your list.


  1. Be Able To Do The Splits
  2. Land a Backflip
  3. Enter an Amateur Bodybuilding Competition
  4. Benchpress My Own Weight
  5. Bike Across the Country
  6. Climb a Rock Wall
  7. Run a 10k
  8. Fly Off of a Building and Land A Base Jump
  9. Complete a Juice Fast
  10. Finish a Half-Ironman Competition
  11. Bowl a Perfect Game
  12. Attend a Poetry Reading
  13. Be a Volunteer in an Association
  14. Be Part of a Disaster Relief Team
  15. Join in a Peaceful Protest
  16. Donate Blood
  17. Ring the Salvation Army Bell
  18. Donate My Hair to Locks of Love
  19. Volunteer on an International Mission Trip
  20. Add a Lock to Lovers Bridge in France
  21. Cross the Panama Canal
  22. Ride a Train Coast to Coast
  23. Cross the Equator
  24. Cruise to Alaska
  25. Drive Along Route 66
  26. Tour Chernobyl
  27. Get a Lei in Hawaii
  28. Go to a Dude Ranch
  29. Attend a Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan
  30. Dance at Burning Man
  31. Ride a Roller Coaster at Disneyland Paris
  32. Become a Dual Citizen
  33. Ride an Air Boat Across an Alligator Infested Swamp
  34. Arrive by Seaplane
  35. Camp and Sleep on Top of a Mountain
  36. Camp in a Yurt
  37. Spend the Night in the Grand Canyon
  38. Walk on the Glass Walkway at the Grand Canyon
  39. Canoe Down a River
  40. Climb a Glacier
  41. Cross Over a Swinging Suspension Bridge
  42. Hike and Survive the Australian Outback
  43. Cross the Bridge of Immortals in China
  44. Descend the Banaue Rice Terraces
  45. Dive Near the Mariana’s Trench
  46. Dive the Famous Blue Hole of Belize
  47. Hike Part of the Pacific Coast Trail
  48. Eat a Gyro in Greece
  49. Taste a Hot Dog in New York City and Chicago
  50. Try a Lobster in Maine
  51. Sing on a Live Music Stage
  52. Eat KFC in Kentucky
  53. Own Property Abroad
  54. Pay Off Student Loans
  55. Win The Lottery
  56. Add Something Useful to Wikipedia
  57. Attend a Presidential Inauguration
  58. Listen to the Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House
  59. Speak at a TED Talk
  60. Be Creative at a Writing Class
  61. Go to Law School
  62. Host a Foreign Exchange Student
  63. Solve a Rubik’s Cube
  64. Complete a Crossword Puzzle
  65. Become CPR Certified
  66. Join a Book Club
  67. Play Chess in the Park
  68. Be Able to Recite the Alphabet Backwards
  69. Look at the Stars Through a Telescope
  70. Be Part of a Flash Mob
  71. Perform a Magic Trick
  72. Learn to Play the Ukulele
  73. Attend a Bar Mitzvah
  74. Be a Part of a Parade
  75. Taste Wine at a Wine Tasting Event
  76. Be a Godparent
  77. Befriend a Stranger
  78. Carve my Name into a Tree
  79. Cut My Child’s Umbilical Cord
  80. Gaze at the Stars With Someone You Love
  81. Try to Jump While Ice Skating
  82. Have a Picnic in Central Park
  83. Answer a Question on Jeopardy
  84. Dance at a Ball
  85. Host a Bonfire Party
  86. Box in a Boxing Ring
  87. Sing on a Broadway Show
  88. Donate at a Charity Ball
  89. Watch the Fireworks at a Chinese New Year
  90. Ride an Elephant
  91. Dress Up and Attend a Classical Concert
  92. Dress Up for a Costume Party
  93. Host a Dinner Murder Mystery
  94. Win a Fantasy Football League
  95. Be a Volunteer at a Harlem Globetrotter’s Game
  96. Have Tea at a Japanese Tea Ceremony
  97. Dance at a Rave
  98. Cheer on the Racers at the Monaco Grand Prix
  99. Be Front Row at a Rock Concert
  100. Relax in a Jacuzzi in the Snow
  101. Blow a Smoke Ring
  102. Build a Snowman Taller Than Me
  103. Catch a Guitar Pick at a Concert
  104. Celebrate Bastille Day in France
  105. Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
  106. Wear Red, White, and Blue on the Fourth of July in Washington, DC
  107. Dine in the Dark
  108. Dance with an African Tribe
  109. Dance Salsa in Rio De Janeiro
  110. Drive a Ferrari
  111. Race in a Formula 1 Car
  112. Cruise on a Harley
  113. Own a Luxury Car
  114. Open Presents on a White Christmas
  115. Spend Christmas Day on a Destination Trip
  116. Sing Karaoke in Front of Strangers
  117. Drive a Car with a Manual Transmission
  118. Appear in a Music Video
  119. Build a Blanket Fort
  120. Be a Guest on a Radio Show
  121. Build a Classic Car
  122. Develop Film in a Darkroom
  123. Play Frisbee Golf
  124. Build a Doll House for my Daughter
  125. Mold a Giant Sand Castle
  126. Fund a Well in a Developing Nation
  127. Compose a Song and Write the Lyrics
  128. Ride a Double Decker Bus
  129. Develop a Board Game
  130. Shoot a Bow and Arrow
  131. Write a Children’s Book
  132. Write a Documentary
  133. Create a Scrapbook
  134. Base Jump with a Wing Suit
  135. Stand on the Top of the Tallest Building in the World
  136. Stand Face to Face with a Tiger
  137. Capture a Fugitive
  138. Chase a Tornado
  139. Circumnavigate the Globe by Sail
  140. Cliff Dive into Water
  141. Climb an Iceberg
  142. Cross a Country by Foot
  143. Deliver a Baby
  144. Dive in a Cage with Great Whites
  145. Dive in a Submarine
  146. Explore a Shipwreck
  147. Swim Under the Ice
  148. Eat Calf Fries
  149. Paraglide
  150. Survive an Earthquake
  151. Hunt for Alligators
  152. Try My Hand at Bobsledding
  153. Go Indoor Skydiving
  154. Zip on a Zipline Tour
  155. Rappel down a Mountain
  156. Try Wind Surfing
  157. Hang Glide
  158. Have a NASCAR Experience
  159. Hold a Dangerous Snake Around My Neck
  160. Let a Tarantula Walk All Over Me
  161. Swim in a Fountain
  162. Arrive at an Airport and Take a Random Flight
  163. Attend a Beach Bonfire
  164. Compete in a Beard and Mustache Competition
  165. Be a Part of a Hypnotist Show
  166. Watch Tennis at Wimbledon
  167. Be a Cartoon Voice
  168. Dance in a Flash Mob
  169. Be a Street Performer for a Day
  170. Get Arrested
  171. Be on the Cover of a Magazine
  172. Photobomb a Stranger
  173. Become Ambidextrous
  174. Belong to a Secret Society
  175. Box a Kangaroo
  176. Buy a Stranger’s Groceries
  177. Camel Race in the Desert
  178. Celebrate my Birthday in a Foreign Country
  179. Climb a Lighthouse
  180. Collect 50 Shotglasses
  181. Get an Autograph from a Celebrity
  182. Cross Abbey Road Crosswalk in London
  183. Discover the Lost City in Atlantis
  184. Tour the Set of LOST in Hawaii
  185. Tie a Bowtie
  186. Create a Tie Die Shirt
  187. Swim Across the English Channel
  188. Attend a Karate Class
  189. Take Singing Lessons
  190. Go to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
  191. Listen to Jazz in New Orleans’ French Quarter
  192. Learn to Tango
  193. Dive in an Aquarium
  194. Go on a Helicopter Ride
  195. Ride a Mechanical Bull
  196. Become a Vegetarian
  197. Adopt a Pet from an Animal Shelter
  198. Swim with Manatees
  199. Pray in St. Peter’s Basilica
  200. Go Island Hopping in the Caribbean
  201. Go Couch Surfing
  202. Tour Universal Studios in Hollywood
  203. Try a Coney on the Coney Island Boardwalk
  204. Ride a Steamboat Down the Mississippi River
  205. Eat Chocolate at the Hershey Factory
  206. Climb the Space Needle
  207. Visit Hearst Castle
  208. Catch a Fish at the Pike Place Market in Seattle
  209. Drink a Beer at Oktoberfest
  210. Attend La Tomatina
  211. Jump on a Pogo Stick
  212. Play Poker in Vegas
  213. Fly a Kite in the Park
  214. Grow a Bonsai Tree
  215. Sell Your Homemade Crafts
  216. Read the Complete Works of Shakespeare
  217. Create a Trust Fund
  218. Charter a Yacht
  219. Ride in a Private Jet
  220. Go to an Auction at Christie’s or Sotheby’s
  221. Be a Foster Parent
  222. Pass on a Family Heirloom to Your Child
  223. Pray with the Pope
  224. Spend time in a Seat Lodge
  225. Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter
  226. Plant a Community Garden
  227. Start a Charity
  228. Write a Textbook
  229. Draw a Comic Book
  230. Wear a Fancy Hat at the Kentucky Derby
  231. Cheer on the Golfers at the Masters
  232. Drink From the Stanley Cup
  233. Throw Out the First Pitch at a Baseball Game
  234. Sing the 7th Inning Stretch at Wrigley
  235. Watch a Fight in Vegas
  236. Go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  237. Ice Skate at Rockefeller Center During Christmas Time
  238. Attend the Tournament of Roses Parade
  239. Have Your Palms Read by a Psychic
  240. Look for UFOs in Roswell, NM
  241. Hand Out $100 Bills to Total Strangers
  242. Jump Into a Pool Fully Clothed
  243. Attend a Masquerade Ball
  244. Go Grape Stomping
  245. Visit Argentina’s Iguazu Falls
  246. Cover Someone’s Car in Post-it Notes
  247. Hold a Baby White Tiger
  248. Stand in Four Corners
  249. Ride an Ostrich
  250. Volunteer at a Hospice
  251. Go Sandboarding in Chile
  252. Create a Mancave
  253. Visit Mount Yoshino, Japan
  254. Eat a Live Octopus
  255. Go Zorbing
  256. Throw a Dart on a Map and Go Wherever it Lands
  257. See Pompeii
  258. Shoot a Paintball Gun
  259. Sleep in a Tree House
  260. Ride a Jetlev
  261. Go Back Stage at a Rock Concert
  262. Stand on a Floating Iceberg in the Middle of the Ocean
  263. Kiss Under a Mistletoe
  264. Rope Swing into Water
  265. Travel to a Third-World Country
  266. Bike 50 Miles in One Day
  267. Kite Surfing in Hawaii
  268. Spa in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  269. Buy a Map of the World and Pin All of the Places I’ve Been
  270. Zip Line in Costa Rica
  271. Be on an Expedition with National Geographic
  272. Explore Ancient Greece
  273. Plant a Geocache
  274. Visit an Uninhabited Island
  275. Eat Pasta in Italy
  276. Get Lost in a Foreign Country
  277. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
  278. Hitchhike
  279. Safely Visit North Korea
  280. Touch a Manta Ray
  281. Ride a Dune Buggy in the Desert

Have you completed any of the items on the list? Which of these do you want to add to your list?