Living in a Time of Intense Speed

Speed Racer

You can almost feel life getting faster can’t you? It’s ok. People also said this in: 2005, 1995, 1975, 1955, and so on.  But now, it feels as though the speed is multiplied and magnified every day in business and specifically our careers.  How can you embrace this speed and not get swallowed up in the blitzkrieg attack of daily life?

I grew up in the 80’s. Times were simpler then. Imagine the things we did.

  • We played outside. A lot. In the summer we hit dingers at the local ball field.  In the winter we got buckets in the gym.  Maybe we found a little time for Nintendo.
  • We learned how to use and read a map.  We also got lost because sometimes we didn’t understand the latter.
  • We learned useless information out of a book to place it in our “memory” because we couldn’t “Google it”
  • Email? What the hell is email?
  • The Internet. Al Gore knew about it…apparently.
  • Big businesses succeeded. As an employee, you went to college, got an entry level job and hoped to “work your way to the top” to retire in your 60’s after years of dedication to your company with a soft pension to land on and social security to take care of you.
  • Patience. I’ve been told people had more of this “back then”, but I don’t remember.
  • Millionaires. The 80’s had Millionaires.

Sounds nice doesn’t it? The simple life.

Let me tell you how this is different today and cite reasons we all need to prepare to adapt and embrace the speed of change (Cue The Scorpions, “Winds of Change”).

  1. 24/7 Lifestyle. If you have a career that demands anything of you, you’re likely working when you get up (or shortly thereafter) and at some point when you’re at home or on the weekend. Just 25 years ago this was oh so different. For the positive, it’s also opened up many remote working agreements, and flexibility outside of the handcuffed 9 to 5. We now have the ability to make it happen from wherever you choose.
  2. Billionaires. The 80’s had Millionaires, today we have Billionaires. Do you know the difference between one million seconds and one billion seconds? One million seconds is roughly 12 days. One billion seconds is 32 years. Let that sink in. There is NO shortage of money out there.
  3. Patience. Why? I can get what I want, when I want it, from whomever will help me this instant. Have a customer service compliant?  Tweet it. If you don’t get an answer in two minutes tell me how this makes you feel? I get frustrated. I know there is someone on the other end receiving a notification. If you don’t know what Twitter is, EVERYONE under the age of 20 does, and they’ll be looking for your job in 2-3 years.
  4. Coaching Carousel.  Sports often provides excellent insight to life.  This is no different.  Tell me how many coaches were fired during or after the 2014 NFL season? I believe I count eight new coaches in 2015.  Six in 2014.  That’s nearly half of the league with a new coach in the last two years alone.  Some didn’t even make it out of the season.  Roughly 14 grown men are worth so much to their previous organizations, that they’re being paid MILLIONS to go elsewhere. Win. And WIN right now.
  5. Volatility.  Markets and businesses are moving faster than ever and this is causing more volatility. Would you like some examples?  Do you think Blockbuster saw Netflix coming? They’re gone. Do you think Yellow Cab would ever have to worry about a faceless mobile competitor Uber? How about AirBnB proving to be a big pain for competing hotels. Book retailers large and small are closing at a rate faster than cheap TVs disappear after a Black Friday sale. Every business is being disrupted in this massive time of innovation (the internet).
  6. Television. I think this is super-interesting. Think about your consumption habits just five years ago. Now look at where we are.  DVR. Netflix. TV via the Web. YouTube. Mobile/Tablet consumption (anywhere/anytime). I’m really excited to see where this will be just a few years from now. Think of paying for this utility like you do water or gas.  You only pay for what you use.  Not the super-mega-special 500+ channels. Change is coming…for the better.
  7. Education. I could rant on this one for a while and will likely do so in another post, but really think about this. What can you learn today on your own time? I don’t care if it is via YouTube, podcasts, online courses, or an ebook.  Education is all around us.  Not in a building and not for $100,000 of debt that could (and I say could strongly) ruin the next 20 years of your life and earning potential to boot. This model is changing.

I believe with all of my heart this is, and will continue to be, a terrific time for personal reinvention. In years past you may not have had the time, angle, or countless opportunities to change the trajectory of your lifestyle or career. No longer!

New tools, business reinvention and explosive company growth continue to prove this point. I firmly believe a person must adapt an intense appetite for learning as we grow quickly into the 21st century. Never let this appetite become full and opportunities will continue to present themselves.  Embrace the change. Embrace a new way of doing things. Embrace the challenge of continued growth and learning.

The world will not slow down and wait for you.

Lastly, understand this fact. No one else knows what the will happen or what plan is prefect for the future.  Don’t be afraid to take a shot. Learn, reinvent, and resurface a more dangerous individual. I remind myself of this all the time.

Remember this thought from Lou Holtz

In this world, you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow

ACTION ITEM: Change often isn’t easy, but it is constant. Work at the ability to adapt and embrace change like a muscle, it will get stronger with use. If you fear change, the fear will grow with every doubt.

Leadership Lessons From Kirk Ferentz

It was the cold, blustery winter of 2014.

We just got handled by Tennessee in our bowl game and the University of Iowa football season came skidding to a disappointing 7-6 finish. It felt like every big game we needed to win, we didn’t. The future was bleak. Our mindset as a Hawkeye community was poor (my version of speaking for every Hawkeye fan).

Words I’d use to label our 2014 play were: boring, slow, close to the vest, predictable, tight and unimaginative. Not fun words when describing your football team (or anything in life for that matter).

Coming into this year, I looked at our schedule and said, we’re maybe…8-4. Even the national pundits would tell you this isn’t a GREAT year for Iowa football looking at our schedule (no matter how you want to argue it now).

I thought this was it for Captain Kirk. Goodbye Kirk Ferentz…we’ve had fun.

I loved this guy, but we’d gotten stale. My support was wearing thin. This past August, in my mind, it was likely time for a last straw…or resort to a change in leadership. Little did I know, it wouldn’t be a new face in Iowa City. Instead, it would be a rebirth of a terrific career.

Some will argue the change came from desperation. Others will say it is the result of wise leadership. I could argue both, but does it really matter? Action happened. That’s the key. It is ALWAYS the key. Take action. History is marked and defined with leadership and victory being molded in times of desperation.

Below is a list of life lessons I’ve learned from Kirk’s experience and the 2015 season that I’ll never forget.

  1. Ruthless Self Audit: After the underwhelming 2014 season, the Captain sat down with his staff in January 2015 and got brutally honest.  They spent time specifically outlining what they were, what they were not, and where they needed to go. All facets of their team (insert business for correlation) were evaluated for any angle for improvements. Looking in the mirror isn’t easy. No one says it will be. However, looking in the mirror and being honest is 100% necessary.
  2. See What’s in Front of You: In January, the staff named C.J. Beathard the starting QB for the upcoming 2015 season. Bouncing the two-year starter Jake Rudock. One of the first words you could use to describe coach Ferentz is “loyal”, but this move had to be made and he knew it. The offense is more explosive. C.J. can drive the ball down the field and the team needed a jolt of energy. He got it.
  3. Never Forget What Got You There: I’ve had friends argue nothing changed. To an extent they’re right. We still run the ball first. We play sound defense. We’re a team first, not “me” first unit. It’s who we’ve always been including trips to two Orange Bowls, wins against: LSU, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, and Georgia Tech. But I think this is really key. We didn’t change everything. We made minor adjustments and tweaks to “better” the process.
  4. Don’t be Afraid to Dream Big: Coming off a 7-6 season the thought wasn’t simply to “get better”, although that is a common theme of the program and my blog. They wanted more. They were wiling to earn more as a unit and did so by thinking big. (Side note – I would’ve never guessed they would be sitting at 10-0, but who the hell did?)
  5. Common Thread: The entire team read and took ownership of the principles in the book, The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness I encourage you to read it. Two things stand out to me between this year and last. Mind you, I’m not an analyst, but play along. Number one: explosive plays. Last year, we were last or near the bottom of the B1G Conference. This year, we’re at the top. Number two: turnovers. Always turnovers. This year, we’re taking the ball away. While last year, we were giving it away like candy on Halloween.
  6. Listen to the Troops: The kids (I call 20-year-old, 250 lb. ripped athletes) wanted to try an alternative uniform. Something sexy.  Something bold. Two things you wouldn’t find in the list of “top 20 words to describe Kirk Ferentz”. But the staff spoke up. They asked the coach to get out of his comfort zone. Last weekend, we experienced the new “Blackout” uniforms. P.S. – I thought they were average at best, and if I would’ve been invited to the design meeting we would’ve really crushed it with the good folks at Nike. Maybe next time. No charge!

If these things don’t speak to change, I don’t know what does.

I once read a story about one of the best facial plastic surgeons in the world.

What do you think of when you think of facial plastics? Peeling someone’s face off? Me too! Yikes. However, this doctor would do no more than 6-8 “minor” adjustments and would only move facial tissue mere millimeters to “unlock the beauty” the patient was seeking. The result from all of his patients post-surgery is a resounding “turn back the clock” feeling of 10+ years. How is this possible? Shouldn’t my face be frozen?

The key to this surgeon’s success isn’t radical reconstruction. He won’t do that and has never believed in it. The key is making minor tweaks, but making them flawlessly.

I’m sorry for thinking it was the end coach, or for feeling like you were on your way out. Thank you for being willing to accept and implement change (even if it’s been minor). I know I won’t want to change when I’m a 60-year-old man. It will serve as a lesson to me, and I hope to all reading this. I’m also aware we won’t win forever.  But right now we’re 10-0.

Even in the toughest of times, when victory seems unattainable, positive changes can be made.


Pick-up this shirt at RAYGUN shirts.



Is Colin Cowherd Right Hawkeye Fans?

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If you haven’t heard or seen it, here is a rant by the “somewhat” popular Colin Cowherd regarding the Iowa Hawkeyes and their 9-0 schedule.

You mad bro?

You think I’m mad? I’m a huge Hawkeye fan. I bleed black and gold and will support my Hawks through and through. I must be ready to shout through the roof at this idiot at his under-appreciation for Iowa football.

But I’m not.

Here’s the thing. In the first component of his argument…he’s right. Where are the “great” non-conference games? Historically they’re hard to find. So what. This is a problem I see with our society and it goes all the way to how we vote and who will be in the white house in 2016.

The fact is, I really like Colin Cowherd.

I like his often contrarian viewpoints and his ability to get under the skin of an issue without fear of who he may offend. Has this earned him many friends? I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m sure he has lots of friends. I’d share a beer or glass of wine with him because at least he’s interesting.

The point is, people, society, call it what you want, have to be able to hear an argument, reason with it, and at minimum understand it. Truly digest the point he’s making and not simply react like he’s bashing every Iowan in the face with an ugly stick (this is any stick with an Iowa State logo by the way). See what I did there. Jab jab.

Ferentz is a good guy. He’s a good coach. He also has a 9-0 football team who sits at #5 in the college football playoff rankings ready to pounce. A 9-0 football team with a schedule stronger than many others (to this point) in the season. This season. This year. We’re 9-0. Hopefully it continues.

Enjoy it! This doesn’t happen all the time in Iowa and we better damn embrace it.

Colin’s argument is history. He’s right. So what. Shrug it off.

Our argument is the here and now. Live it, and by all means Iowa football, win out so we can WEAR IT OUT as Hawk fans.

Then we’ll see that happens and what we’re really made of.

Point made Colin. We’ll take it from here.

One Person. One BIG Result.

The other night, my wife and I were hanging out, doing what a married couple does in 2015…checking Instagram and Facebook before grabbing some sleep. She says to me, “Can you imagine having 95,000 followers on Instagram?” I can’t remember what she was looking at, but it didn’t seem valuable enough to me for 95,000 people to “double tap-it,” but whatever.  I’m not a woman.

As per usual, “Hell no,” was my response to her question. “What would that even look like? 95,000…really?” I think I said something like, “How does your phone look with that many notifications?”

~Mind Blown

The thing is, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is, one of those followers being the right person to see value in the message. That’s how 95,000 followers or 9 million followers happens. Do you think Oprah started on national television with her own time slot, making all the rules? NO.

Why am I telling you this?

Two days ago, I spoke at a conference in Des Moines called Market 515.


How did this happen? One person cared enough in what I’ve said previously via this platform to ask me if I’d be interested. Side note (at least that’s the story I’m telling myself). My sincere hope is I wrote something this person took to heart and positively impacted their life. So…am I interested?

Interested? Interested?!?!

Interested is a bit of an understatement. I was pumped beyond belief. I was actually worried about being too excited.

The reason I’m writing this is, I had to get this out before the conference because I have one very simple, refined goal for this event and audience. But I didn’t get it out. There was a glitch in the delivery of the post, and now I’m writing post-conference. I thought…why not? Plus, it may be cooler to share what I was thinking before the conference and consequently, what happened after.


Impact and encourage them to take big gulps of the recipe I’ll be sharing. Just one person. What happens from there will happen.

~It only takes one match to start a fire.

ACTION ITEM: I’ll bring the matches, you bring the gas.

P.S. – Since this speech is already over, I thought I’d share this with you all as I received it this morning. BOOM!


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