Personal Value & Personality Flaws

I have a personality flaw.

Ok, let me be honest with the church here…I have many. That said, one I’m noticing more and more is the connection of my business and personal life, based on RESULTS. Join me, if you will, on this flow of consciousness

If the business is good and successful, life is good. Life is great! But this can also lead to an over-inflated sense of SELF. Not the direction I’m looking for.

If the business isn’t going the way I want it to (how could such a thing happen?!?!?), I reflect it personally. Beating myself up over every detail. As you can probably understand, this event, or ebb and flow, happens many times over the days, weeks, and years. I’m only starting to rationalize with it more now after reflecting back.

I figured I write so often about personal improvement, mindset, and strategies to be more successful, I didn’t want the audience thinking I’m without fault or flaw. It’s probably just the opposite.

But the internet isn’t a place for that really is it?

The social sharing world of today is “filtered” – literally. I’m great. We’re great. Look at where we are!! We see only the 5% of what people want us to see.

Well, here’s where I am, and it comes from a position of vulnerability.

There is so much happening to the world largely out of my control. I need to get better at not letting it impact my day-to-day, and week-to-week attitude. Good or bad. Control what can be controlled.  The rest…just happens.

Our society is in a speed it up, speed it up race. Same goes for results. Get in, or get out…and even when you’re in, it is only “what have you done for me lately,” get in. Then you’re —–> OUT.

<Insert Suggestions from the audience>  How does one get better at this?

Here’s what I can say. I’m getting more in tune with loving THE PROCESS. Nick Saban preaches it daily with his Alabama football program. Here is a terrific excerpt from a Business Insider article,

 “The players would concentrate only on winning those seconds, take a rest between plays, then do it all over again. There would be no focus at all on the scoreboard or on the end results.”

This Business Insider video on the Samurai Process is a wonderful follow up to Saban’s focus on the process.

It’s working every rep, every drill, finishing every practice in athletics. It’s about the every day efforts leading up to the collective wins in mass. Doing the work with championship consistency and letting the results speak for themselves.

My thought on this is simple. If all I (or anyone) ever focused on is the final result, the end feeling will be extremely empty. Even if the wins largely outweigh the losses. I liken it to having an endless appetite and no meal will fill the emptiness that exists. Just keep eating.

No matter what, when you’re wired like I am, no amount of winning will never be enough, and losses all suck. Really really suck. There is a massive lack of appreciation there.

This is not where happiness and thriving live.

The greats. The pros. The all-timers. All were in love with the process. It’s the only thing keeping them from quitting, when the results inevitably don’t go their way, or the flip side…when they’ve been to the mountain top, and still search for more.

ACTION ITEM: This one’s on me. I’m working on my mindset. I’m working on loosening the connection. Work in progress.

Thanks for listening.

Saving Money Vs. Buying Time

Last week I was listening to Ryan Daniel Moran’s Freedom Fast Lane podcast while working out. I’m a newer listener, but was drawn in by the guest, the Shark, Robert Herjavec. Link to episode here. The episode is ALL about growth in business!

It was a terrific show, and as with most things, there was one key takeaway that truly STUCK OUT. Mine was the following quote from Robert…maybe 2/3 of the way through the show.

“Poor people, try to save money…Rich People, try to BUY TIME”

I’d like you to read this a time or twelve. I’m not kidding. Think about it. I think I rewound the episode 4x, just to brand these words into my brain.

Look past the obvious. Of course, Robert isn’t saying you should never save. Everything I’ve ever read from multiple financial experts says you should have 3-6 months of living expenses saved for “just-in-case” scenarios. Maybe 12 if you’re extremely conservative.

Focus on the second part. Rich people, try to BUY TIME.

How do they do that? What else does time imply, and how do you BUY IT?

Time = Freedom

How does one “purchase” freedom? Here is a short list.

If you’ve really got the bug, I’d also dive head first into The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich Tim Ferriss explains “Buying Time” in his book as T.M.I – Target Monthly Income.  What cashflow is needed to “free” yourself from the day-to-day through management of a business. To me, this is the essence of “Buying Time.”

This may not be for everyone, and that is 100% O.K. If it is for you, and you’re really serious about this mission…

Get used to doing what I’m doing, and ask yourself this question.

Are you trying to SAVE MONEY, or are you trying to BUY TIME?

Happy Holidays!

Quest for Pragmatism

What are you searching for?

Are you looking for an answer?

I believe everyone is looking for something! Human existence revolves around finding progress somewhere in our life. The human mind doesn’t allow anyone to remain stagnant, or satisfied…for that matter. Our 2,000+ year old brain is always searching. We used to search for food, now we search to solve problems.

You may be searching for: better physical shape, searching to quit a habit, a bigger income, a MUCH bigger income, more freedom at the office, a better relationship, another job entirely, a better business, and the list goes on forever.

Here’s the thing…I’m looking too. Every day!

Insert pragmatism. The answer to what we’re all looking for is simple. It ALWAYS is. The reason it’s simple, there is nearly a 100% chance, what you’re looking to do or solve for, someone else has already done it.

That said, the effort may not be EASY, but that doesn’t change the answer does it?

Answers are simple. Action tends to be the hard part.

Here is a rundown, a short list, of what millions are looking for at this very moment…and pragmatic answers to each challenge.

  1. Lose Weight – stop eating shit and get to a gym 4-5x a week. Simple
  2. Quit Smoking – Commit to NOT lighting the next cigarette. Simple. Yet millions have proven…not easy.
  3. A New Job – Get serious about letting people know your value and get committed on finding something new, or somewhere new. AKA – commit and try. Simple.
  4. More Money – Get a second Job. Whoa… you mean more work?  Answer is simple isn’t it?
  5. More Money at my “current” job – tell your boss. What do you want, and how do you intend to deliver the value to cash the check back to your employer?  I’d also associate a timeline. Raises NEVER come at the expense of the employer. Not an employer planning to stay in business.

Just because you don’t like the answer, or it isn’t comfortable, doesn’t mean the answer gets to change. Feelings take a back seat to a truly pragmatic view. It’s commitment and RESULTS we’re after.

Less think. More do.

I learned this practice a great deal from previous owners I worked for (thank you if you’re reading this) and most recently from my partners.

If you’re not getting what you want, in anything, you MUST change it…or suffer the consequences. The consequences will likely hurt much more in the long run if you delay.

Lastly, the pragmatic and the popular don’t often coincide. I feel as though they’re almost opposite sides of a magnet pushing against one another resisting connection.

As I continue to read, listen to, and digest the best and brightest leaders, entrepreneurs and thinkers of yesterday and today, most, if not ALL are ruthlessly pragmatic.

Read: The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Reflective. Simple. Authentic. Action-oriented.

ACTION ITEM: A shift toward the pragmatic. Simple answers…not easily achieved. In the end, it is up to you. It always has been. Maybe you just needed to cut through the bullshit.

 

I’m Baaaaaack

For those of you asking…where did you go?

Here I am. Back on the blog.

I took a few months off to evaluate the direction of a few things in my life and this blog was one of them. To be completely candid with any of you readers, I wanted to know if it would be missed. Spending 50+ hours a week running a national media agency, trying to be a good dad & husband, time with friends, etc. All hours need to be evaluated.

Again, would the blog be missed?

If it wasn’t, or no one brought it up in 90 days, I knew a couple things. One of them was I wasn’t really impacting the lives of my tribe. In all reality, there wasn’t really a tribe if there was no appetite for consuming the content. Removing emotion from these findings was going to be key.  My Ego wanted the work to continue, but we all know Ego can be quite the adversary.

Secondly, I needed to recommit. Commit to continued ideation and thought sharing. Commit to pushing myself into new thoughts/ideas/strategies. Commit to sharing the ideas and impacting lives of my readers. In the end, that’s what it is about. Impact. Even if it is just one person.

I have this fear deeply ingrained in our office culture. We are a tight knit group, and If we part ways with a team member, or visa versa, my biggest fear is the following day…everyone moves on. They’re not missed. You need a team, a culture, a product that if removed…there is a void.  Otherwise, you didn’t have anything to begin with and the end is near.

On another related topic, I had a friend tell me I should start A Keen Mind podcast. Can you imagine listening to episodes of my boyish voice?!? Still evaluating that idea. To be totally honest…I’m really in love with it, because i think my talents are better suited for audio and storytelling than writing. That, and one of my favorite “jobs” would be sports talk radio host. Why not do it on my won, with the format I choose?

I actually considered turning the primary driver of the blog into podcast form. However, as I’ve said before in learnings from Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby), if it isn’t a “HELL YES”, then the answer is “No.” I’m still evaluating.

PS – If any of you have strong feelings on this topic, please share honestly with me. Good or bad.

In the downtime I also took the time to consume some new content. A couple pieces specifically impacting my current mindset are:

  • As a Man Thinketh (audiobook) – 55 minutes of simple, yet, deep thinking
  • The Joe Rogan Experience – This guy’s commitment to his show, his craft, and the litany of guests/topics is energizing. I’m listening every morning to 5-10 minutes. Here is a link to some of his simple genius
  • All things Chris Sacca. If you don’t know who he is, get introduced on this Tim Ferriss Show episode.

Trusted old partners I continue to consume on a daily basis are still in play. Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferris, we haven’t met yet (YET!), but you continue to mentor and mold my day-to-day thoughts and actions. I also continue to listen to Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph about 1-2x per week as well.

A phrase you’ll hear me use around the office frequently with our team is “PLAY OFFENSE” – take the fight to the enemy. That’s what I’m here to do with A Keen Mind.

Play offense.

~Zac

 

Living Life’s Contradictions

I believe, life is meant to be lived on both sides of the coin, not the extremely narrow margin on the rim…never tipping one way, or the other.

For goodness sakes…please try BOTH. Now!

How could one day, I act one way, and then, a short time later, be on the entire other side of the spectrum? Because I believe life is about managing both sides of a situation, learning from it, growing as a person, and living as a contradiction the entire time.

My life is one big contradiction.

Some people have a BIG problem with this. Like it was once written: a person can only stand for one thing, or act only one way for their entire life. I know what that sounds like…BORING.

Curious as to what I’m thinking about?  Here are the contradictions I’m living at this very moment.

  1. Money – I’m traditionally a very frugal person. I’m an investor, a saver, playing the long game. However, how do you know how many turns on this earth you get? None of us know. That being said, every so often I’ll spend money like a teenager with my first paycheck in hand. New Jeans – Yup.  New Sneakers – yup. New Johnston and Murphy – why not.  Anything else I can find in that 24 hr period. Contradiction. Yin and Yang. Stretch and reflex. Contradiction.
  2. Work-Life Balance – I’m not about finding 50/50 balance in the often talked about, seldom lived, zen world of “work-life balance”. I think “balance” is whatever makes a person happy. For me, that’s a few weeks in a row of being really into work. I mean INTO it, thinking about it in the morning, on the weekends, at night, etc. Studying it. Burying myself in the business and thinking about it. I love it. Conversely, a couple times a year I love just unplugging for a few days to clear the body and brain. No connection. No pitches or P&Ls. Stretch and Reflex. Contradiction. Balance so it seems, for me.
  3. Management – I’ve always believed a leader must lead from the front, and yet, can’t ever be afraid to jump in and “push the broom” so the saying goes. Alternatively, spend too much time in the details or “pushing the broom” and others can’t grow. Challenges in delegating show themselves like a bad skin rash. Contradiction…do both!  When and where it makes sense. Many aren’t comfortable with this grey advice.  I’m sorry. It’s reality. If there was a leadership equations for the 100’s of personalities out there, we’d of figured it out by now.
  4. Tortoise and Hare – There are places in my life I can think very long term and exercise tremendous patience. There are MANY others where I’m consistently impatient (ask my better half)…like REALLY impatient. Focusing every day on what can be moved, improved or accomplished now. Many small wins, compounded over time (Slight Edge Principles) is how the game is won. Consistently balancing the tight-wire of when to push, and when to pause and let be. Contradiction.  Be patient but also be ready to SPEED UP!!! FASTER FASTER.
  5. Time – I believe in investing in others. Investing in their hopes, dreams, causes, and helping think through troubles. Knowing that somewhere in the world, the good deed will come back my way and bear fruit because I’ve sure needed the help! Somehow. Someway.  Alternatively, and admittedly so (The Right Selfish), I can get very selfish with my time. Focusing much of my energy internally to audit my thoughts, feelings, and current path in life. It is a “Give and Keep” tug of war. Contradiction.

I believe humans need and thrive in some element of change and/or newness. Stay status quo and insurmountable boredom takes over. Ask any client who has fired an agency because, “they’re happy, but wanted to see something new” – that’s called losing!

Structure is good, but boredom is without a doubt the enemy of Thriving. Thriving is the key to happiness. This is why I live the contradiction. Balancing what works or normal on one hand, while not being afraid to cut ties and try something entirely opposite on the other. Why not?

That is balance for me.

It might not work for you or anyone else for that matter.  But that’s the point.

Find your balance.

ACTION ITEM: Find and embrace your contradictions. Balance ensues and you’ll grow in the process.

What Story Are You Committed To?

What story are you committed to telling yourself?

You know, the one about why you are exactly where you are today.  Maybe a better ask is understanding the question,”How did I end up here?”

  • Whose fault is that?
  • Who do you have to thank?
  • What stands, or stood in your way?

I’d like to tell you a story about a guy I know

He grew up in a pretty small town, fewer than 5,000 people. A place many would consider the “middle of no where.” As if that wasn’t enough, he grew up across the street from a prison with 1,500+ criminal offenders. Not exactly the place you think about for the “perfect childhood”or the playground across the street.

His parents worked very hard. His Mom commuted about 40 minutes each way to work for the government. Its a job she started early in her 20’s and one she would retire doing 35+ years later. Imagine 30+ years of that commute. Every day. No easy outs.

His Dad was a school teacher. Not exactly raking in the Benjamins and splashing 100’s on the table during vacations. That said, for the first 10-12 years of this child’s life his dad worked 5-6 days a week to supplement his family’s income in addition to his career as a teacher.  Doing the math, his Dad worked 70 hours a week or more.

As he grew up he was a good student, but never a genius. Maybe a bit of a daydreamer, and more than anything he loved doodling during class.

He went off to college and eventually into the real world of working, but not before interning for nine months. Nine months of working (for free) and didn’t earn one penny of income while in school. What a bad break to not make a single dollar.

He started working the day after college graduation making $24,000/yr. Doesn’t sound like much…

I wonder what ever happened to him…with a story like this?

Maybe you’d like another version?

I grew up in small town (Anamosa, IA) in the middle of no where, across the street from a prison (Anamosa State Penitentiary). It’s a really beautiful structure if you ever get the chance to see it. It resembles a castle, or you could swear it was used as the backdrop in Shawshank Redemption. My parents live there to this day and we have 24/7 surveillance and security. Even a couple snipers. Pretty tough to beat, unless you’re the president.

My parents worked so hard to give my sister and I the childhood we had. We were so rich with opportunity. Anything we wanted to try, they made available as a result of their hard work and dedication. I’m sure we heard no from time to time, but I don’t remember it.

My Dad worked those two jobs for all those years because he was unreasonable in the pursuit of giving my Mom, my sister and I a life we could make the most of. He sold the drywall business when we got to be a little older and when he hit 55, he retired as well. What a dream come true!

My Mom worked for 35+ years and is also retired. She earned every bit of it. If she wasn’t working, she was shuffling one of us two kids around somewhere, and I can’t ever remember her complaining about it for a second. Even when we were brats (maybe too often).

I was never the smartest guy in school, and I’m still not, but I continue to learn. Most importantly I’m learning to ask better questions. I also continue to sketch and doodle because that’s partially what I do for a career. I think it’s safe to say that part will never leave me.

I’m extremely thankful for my internship experience having worked those nine months for free because that experience got me my first real job and that first adult paycheck. That’s when things got real and I really started learning what business and selling was really about. Looking back, I made every penny back, and then some.

Long story long. My story isn’t worthy of a 10 minute local news piece, but that’s not the point. The point is all about mindset. I will always be a guy from a small town, and I’m also not afraid to walk the streets of Manhattan to compete for opportunity.

Are you without?  Is life happening to you?

Or, are you Grateful?

ACTION ITEM: Everyone is living out the story they’re committed to this very moment. Your story —->Your Life

What’s happening in your life today, is a direct result of mindset, and the story you’re committed to.

Change your story, change the outcomes!

Happy. Relatively Speaking

Are you happy?

Am I happy? I’m not sure, to be completely honest.

Maybe it’s too hard to define. What is “happy” anyway?
Can you show me your number on a happiness meter?

I’m learning happy is a really “easy to use” description for what we think want to feel. Maybe it’s what we think we NEED to feel.  It’s also entirely ambiguous.

What is happy?  To me it’s as simple as a smile.

Webster tells us it is feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. Pleasure sounds good. I like pleasure. More pleasure please (and thank you)!

Contentment…sounds like, just “happy” enough.  One could also call this boredom.

Boredom is a DANGEROUS word. Happy may be as well.

You’re probably asking, “Well, if I’m not happy, what am I Zac?”  The answer is simple. You’re UN-happy.

All jokes aside, I think people are looking for or using the wrong definition in search of their emotions.

The goal for saying you’re happy is what?  To shun the world from what’s really going on in your head?  Maybe.

Maybe you just want to be happy…but being happy means what? Instead what if you looked at the HOW that drew your emotions to be felt at this higher level of being and feeling?
I think people (myself included) need to be in search of FLOURISHING instead of happiness.

What is the main difference of Happy vs. Flourishing?

Contentment (Happy) vs. Developing & Thriving (Flourishing)

Human beings need challenge. We need that “spark” to set our bellies on fire with determination and vigor. Life is so much easier enjoyed when it’s lived in a flourishing state.
Show me someone who is trying to be “Happy” and I may find someone who is just bored enough. Think of all the people we’ve seen with seemingly everything they’d ever need at their fingertips. They should be “Happy”, but they’re not. Why? Because they have NO CHALLENGES to conquer.

Contrast this to someone you know who is “Flourishing” in their life.  What do they look like?

  • Energized
  • Deeply Engaged
  • Challenged
  • Tenacious
  • Passionate
  • Focused
  • Driven
  • Succeeding
  • Growing

Growing through the engagement of learning or taking on adversity. Growing and making progress. Thriving!

ACTION ITEM: Stop looking for happiness. It’s vague.

Start flourishing!

The “Right” Selfish

I have many personality flaws. One is I can be selfish from time to time.

WIIFM – What’s in it for me?

It’s one flaw I’m working on…embracing. This may sound odd on the surface, but stay with me.

Most addicts learn the Serenity Prayer. Oddly enough, I think it has tremendous relevance here.

Many have heard part one:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference

Most have not heard/read the second half:

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen

What does this have to do with me being selfish?

It has everything to do with it. It means embracing my flaws, and instead of beating myself up for it and trying to find a person I’m not, or perfection, finding ways to better channel this behavior to benefit others.

Here are some real-world examples where this feeling and post came to life.

CHURCH: The #1 reason I like going to church is, it makes ME feel better. It makes ME a better person. It is one hour of alone time for ME and my wife. It causes ME to slow down and reflect. Some people may have a big problem with this. I get it. However, I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear. This is how I feel.

Secondarily, I get more involved with others I don’t usually see when I’m there. I get to give back and get involved outside of my day-to-day life.  Selfishly, I need to get there more often.

GIFT GIVING: There are few things that make ME happier than giving someone else a gift. It makes ME feel good, making them feel good. I’m okay with giving more gifts. I’m helping two instead of just one.  Once again, you don’t have to like this…but it sure feels right to me.  Selfishly, I need to give more.

DONATING TIME/RESOURCES: I love talking shop, business ideas, business strategy or just ways to help others make money or better their lives. It gets my brain working without the constraints of “what should I charge?” for this time and ignites my passions. I really love it.  It’s the #1 reason for this blog. Helping others without expecting anything in return. But that’s a lie. I do expect something. Feedback.

The feeling I get when someone tells me something they read on this blog is impacting their life, or resulted in a BIG WIN…remarkable.

Remarkable

Selfishly, I need to reach out to others more.

This is an odd post for (once again) me. It’s not something I can even remotely think impacts your thoughts or your life as a reader, and that’s ok. Maybe this will stick. We all have our flaws. Instead of turning it into a fault forever, find a way to flourish in it’s existence.

Selfish yes. But, the RIGHT SELFISH. At least in my eyes.

ACTION ITEM: “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” ― Augusten BurroughsMagical Thinking

 

Why Do I Tear Up on Flights?

Why Do I Tear Up on Flights

The captain comes on the overhead,

<in a smooth coffee-soaked voice> “This is your Captain speaking. We will be cruising at an altitude of 30,000 feet in route to [destination]. We found some smooth air, so we’re going to turn OFF the fasten seatbelt sign. Please feel free to move about the cabin and, thank you for flying Delta”

Choice sets in…

Most planes now are equipped with wi-fi and if a traveler chooses, they can stay connected to the world and the web anywhere above 10,000 feet, no matter how long the journey. Or, you can choose to take a moment for yourself.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say, I probably fly more than 98% of the adult population (I was going to say 99%, but that seems like a LOT). It can be hard. Odd hours and time away from the family are part of it. However, every challenge has a silver-lining.

Flying gives me the unique opportunity to unplug and reflect.

Something magical happens when the jet engines on a plane growl and the jet climbs through the clouds revealing a beautiful landscape scaling as far as the eye can see. Sometimes it is a sunrise, sometimes it is a sunset.  Other times its clouds and the heavens for eternity.

Funny thought…it never storms above the clouds.

Peaceful. Peaceful mind.

Most of my travel is done by myself, or should I say, no one I really know, is sitting right next to me.

For the most part there is no one to bother me. Airplane mode!

No one to interrupt my thoughts. Honestly, think about the limited amount of time you had with uninterrupted thought today?

**notification, post, like, retweet, snap, snap, snap, retweet, instagram like. Text, Text, email…God forbid (A PHONE CALL!!!)**

For most, the answer is slim to none.

It’s become a conditioned response with my travel schedule.

We climb above the clouds,

I open the window (cuz I’m a “window seat” guy).

I peer out into God’s beautiful creation.

Above the clouds, everything is simple. Maybe more importantly, I can’t go anywhere.  I’m on a plane and I’m assigned to only one seat. Instead of complaining about it… enjoy it.

Gratitude sinks in.

I take time to reflect on where I am, where I’m going, and look back at where I’ve been.

Inevitably I literally tear up.

I’m not full blown crying, but I’m full of positive emotion and gratitude. I end my emotional cycle with a flood of fulfillment and excited energy. Usually travel involves something exciting to be conquered on the other end.  What better way to start the journey?

I always preach taking time to think.

Flying gives me built in ability to do just that.

Most importantly, the pause for the quiet gives me time to reflect.  That’s the real lesson.

ACTION ITEM: Try, hard as it may be, to find some quiet alone time. Maybe even book a flight?

Stop. Think. Be grateful.

 

Riding Emotions and Two Years of Reflection

image1-8

It is the perfect time of year to pause, look back, and be thankful.

[To my son, may this give you some guidance 20+ years from now]

The last two years is a very significant timeframe for me and my family.

Just over two years ago (Dec. 16, 2014) I left my job. It was a really good job, with great pay, and I had terrific team members. But, it was a job, and I wanted more. I needed more.

Here is the Ledbury shirt I wore the day I resigned. You see, I remember crazy things like that. This shirt will make an appearance again later (cliff hanger). img_2909

Pause.

I took three weeks and five days off.

At this moment in time, no one (NO ONE) knows what the future will hold. I know I didn’t.

The only guarantees you have are your talents, and the story you’re telling yourself about what you believe. Consequently, these are also the only two things that matter in any venture.

Your Talents + Your Story

Looking back two years later here’s what happened (Reader’s Digest Version).

To start, I was scared. Was I making the right decision? I learned its ok to be scared. It means you have something to not only to lose, but to gain. Sometimes what people are most afraid of, is understanding how good something different truly can be. Understand the downside, and decide, but move —-> forward.

I was excited. If you know me well, I can get excited easily. Excitement and anxiety are nearly the same feelings, but the latter wears the cloak of fear. Both look toward the future and the future = uncertainty. How good could this really be? What I learned was, it was (and always is)…up to me. Make it great for you, and those around you!

The key to any journey is STARTING. Take the first step. As Steve Jobs says in his Stanford commencement address, “the dots will connect later.” You can’t possibly know how, but know life has a way of connecting down the road and awarding the daring.

Back to the story.

Our business grew. We grew as a direct result of many team members committed to answering the question, “How do we get better” every single day. No days off in this pursuit.

How do we get better, today?

We grew as a team and we had individual team members making massive strides in their personal growth. This is probably the most rewarding part of looking back over the last two years. Not numbers, or financials, but real changes in behavior. Numbers come and go. We’ve all seen it.  Behavior is power and can be counted on.

As we continued to grow, we took on new challenges. Most importantly, what does the future hold for our blossoming team?

In rolls 2016.

I had the unique opportunity to become a minority partner in the business as we jumped head first into 2016. An opportunity I’m thankful I had the audacity to ask for, and more thankful to my partners for their openness to engage one another.

Remember son, nothing is given. It must be earned.

This last year (2016) was followed up by even more tremendous growth by our team and individuals. If any of you are reading this, know that I am so very proud of you all. I know I’ve probably said it from time to time, but sometimes it’s more rewarding to read it. Job well done! But don’t stop now. Your sails are up, capture the tailwinds.

We reached an inflection point in our business.

Decision time.

Just recently, our business was acquired and we will be joining a new team in 2017. A future I’m tremendously excited for and an acquisition we’re proud of.

Looking back at the growth of the business in the last 12 years, I’m so very happy for my partners and their families. They started it. I simply tried to add fuel to the fire the last two years.

You see, its fun to look at now, but no one wants to think about or experience the pain, anxiety, travel, loss, and hardship in those early years. Those guys lived it and we’re all better off for it. Thank you!

Cheers gents! I hope it never gets old celebrating what you built.

Back to the shirt as I alluded to earlier in the post.

The day we signed off on all the paperwork, guess what I wore?  If you’re wondering…who thinks about what to wear for something like this? I do damnit!
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You guessed it. The Ledbury shirt I wore almost exactly two years prior when I resigned. It carried tremendous significance.

I promise you, no one knew but me, but boy did I ever know where that shirt had been two years ago. Two powerful (life changing) decisions were made wearing that shirt. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it…No matter what!

After all that. You’d think I’d be over the moon excited. Right!?!

But here’s the funny thing.

Immediately I was sad.

That night we went out and had a few beers, shared stories, laughs, and even a few tears.

That night when I got home, I couldn’t sleep.

With my wife and son fast asleep, I went down to the basement and was sad like a person is the day of graduation. So much time, energy, and short history wrapped up…just like that. You don’t cry at graduation because you’re afraid of going to college or fear of going out on your own. You do so to be thankful.

I barely slept that night. What can I tell you?  I’m human with ALL the human emotions.

It took me a couple days to let everything sink in.

It took me a couple days to think about my wife and family that supported the decision the day it was made over two years ago. She knew it was going to work far before I EVER DID!

It took me a couple days to think about all the support I’ve received to make such a big dream happen (to all my close friends who believed in me).

This isn’t a post telling you to quit your job today. Use your head and do some thinking first. It’s also not about taking all the chances, but at some point you MUST TAKE A CHANCE. Why not?

More than anything this is a dump of thankfulness from my heart, and a nudge in the direction of listening to your gut.

Lastly, its a big thank you to anyone who’s ever read (you right now), liked, or shared a post. I started this journey a couple yeas ago with the idea that maybe (just maybe) I had a few unique ideas to share and that the most important thing I could ever achieve would be to help someone else achieve their goals, their mission, their dreams.

I don’t know if I’m helping to change the world, but I’ve helped a few people think a little differently.

I’ve helped a few people start meditating and they’re telling me it is bettering their life.

I’ve helped a few people get a raise or a new job.

I’ve been able to help friends as they take on new and bigger opportunities. If nothing else, I just listen.

I’ve helped nudge a few more to follow their dreams.

Thank you all for taking time to personally tell me I had anything to do with any of it. You did it yourself. Maybe you just didn’t see it right away.

From the bottom of my heart.

Merry Christmas,

Happy New Years and cheers to what the future has in store!