Power of Pattern Interrupt


Every day, you get up at 6am.

Every day, you show up at  to the office at 7:59am, and leave at 4:59pm (yup, one minute early!) STICK IT TO THE MAN!

Every day, you eat the same thing for lunch.

Every meeting…is in the same office.

Every day, you drive the same exact way to work, and the same exact way home.

Every night at precisely 6:30pm, you sink deeper into the couch…zoning out.

Deep in Pattern.


Keep in mind. None of what I’m outlining above constitutes laziness. It may, but it very well may not. There are many motivated people doing the same thing every day… but in pursuit, not experiencing major changes in results.

It’s time to pattern interrupt.

I have this wonderful obligation, partly, this is my job. Travel, is one pattern interrupt. I Live in Iowa, but travel to: NYC, travel to San Diego, off to Dallas, then Florida. Now Las Vegas and then San Francisco. Doesn’t really matter where. As Jimmy Buffett says, “Changes in latitude, changes in attitude.”

Each is a new opportunity, and not necessarily a business opportunity (although that usually exists on the surface). It’s an opportunity for pattern interrupt. New scenery. New faces to meet. New points of view to engage and debate.

Put quite simply, a new (or newer) look at the world around us. Or at least a new way to see it. If you’ve ever flown, think about the freedom you feel looking out seat 14A. Peering down 10,000 feet as the plane roars toward the clouds. The people become specks. Cars become micro machines. Buildings are well thought out LEGO configurations. Suddenly you can see EVERYTHING. The prism of God’s creation right in front of you.

NEWSFLASH, you don’t need to spend $1,000 on a plane ticket to Europe to pattern interrupt.

  • You can go for a long walk, when you pattern is to sit down after breakfast or dinner.
  • Ask your boss if you can work “remotely” for the afternoon. Same work, fresh location. Fresh perspective.
  • Instead of eating lunch alone like most days, engage a long-time friend for some thoughtful discussion.
  • Chose writing in a journal for 20 minutes for a break between binge watching episodes of Ozark
  • You can venture to a Starbucks, or a Panera to people watch, and literally THINK.
  • If you live in Dallas, hit up Austin for the weekend. Talk to a stranger

I literally started writing this from a Panera, because I needed some new scenery to explore this thought. Nothing major, but yet, still different from the island in my kitchen (where much of the magic happens ;-).

How can you think about pattern interrupt today?

The holidays provide a built-in [pattern interrupt] scenario. Many of us will have a day, or days, and maybe even a couple of weeks off.

Yes, please take your foot off the gas…but not too far, lest losing all the stream and momentum built up over 2017. See where you fall into pattern ruts, and where you can build in “interruptions” to your 2018.

Merry Christmas!


Pay Attention to your Intentional Day

Be intentional with your time. Be very intentional with your energy.

In doing so, happiness and fulfillment are sure to follow.

What is an intentional day? It’s the name I gave to a day complete with all the things that make me better. Scripted from morning to evening. Encompassing all aspects: from diet, to where I spend my time, who I spend it with, to what I consume.

Thriving. Intentional Days —> Lead to Thriving

It is the one word I’d choose to describe how I feel when I’m being 100% intentional. 

Here’s a peek into my intentional day. I’d invite you to craft your own.

When I’m feeling really great and I’m at my peak performance, I do the following:

  1. Rise Early. 6am preferably..sometimes earlier. Awake fully rested. Like a toddler ready to tackle his presents on Christmas day. More on how I get here at the end of my intentional day, because one fuels the next.
  2. Time to think/strategize my day. If I don’t get control of my day early, someone else is guaranteed to take it back by 7:30 or 8am.
  3. Exercise. Usually for me in the morning this is a combination of push ups, pull ups, some abs and air squats at home. If in the evening, I’m running or shooting hoops to get the heart moving. Growing up the basketball gym was my sanctuary. It still is when I need time to think.
  4. Food = Fuel. I like to start my day with a smoothie. Ingredients: frozen strawberries and blueberries, a splash of milk, organic honey greek yogurt (probiotic), a scoop of peanut butter, about 20g of protein powder, and a pile of spinach. Good for my gut. Good for me. Great source of energy. I’d also add here I drink 8 glasses of water. It’s amazing how much better the body (and brain) operates when hydrated.
  5. Inspiration – Every morning I try to consume at least 15-20 minutes of content before heading out the door. YouTube is my go-to. Simple, free, and thousands of options. Inspiration is like bathing. It needs to be done frequently to be effective. Every day. Monday – Friday to get my mind in the right place and in a position of gratitude.
  6. Notecard of Targets –  To-do lists steaming 20+ items lack focus and instead pile on the trivial. I try to never leave the house without 3-5 MUST MOVE items on my list. So that if I did nothing else for the day…I’d accomplished something that was vital. Key here is separating the trivial from the vital.
  7. Lunch = Salad. When I’m eating well, I’m making a salad. Greens, some protein, sprouts, peppers, etc. Not to bore you. Why salad? I know it is fuel and it’s great for me. All the energy I need to get through the afternoon and most importantly no crash.
  8. Day at Work – I can simply sum this up as collaboration. I thrive being with people. Vetting new ideas, tackling challenges, presenting solutions. Too much solitude and I get a little gray and maybe a tab grumpy. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in getting alone to think…just not for hours on end.
  9. Pick up my son from daycare. Always a terrific bookend to my day. Good days are made that much better.  Bad days, I get a dose of what’s really important. The 3-year old in my backseat doesn’t care about the unruly client or lost pitch.
  10. Evening Reading – Daily goal is to knock out 20-30 pages. Done every day, week, month…I can consume 20+ books a year.  I’ll admit this ebbs and flows greatly with travel time and other needs, but this is all about “Intention” and using daily [slight edge principles] to tackle bigger objectives. Small efforts, magnified with consistency over time —> yield big results.
  11. Evening Meditation – It may be an understatement that I have a very active mind. My hamster wheel spins even at the thought of an idea. I must eliminate the noise.  My most intentional days end with 30+ minutes of silence and stretching. Clearing my mind of any fears, stresses, anxieties, thoughts and ending with gratitude.  When done sequentially, I sleep better (deep sleep), I’m sharper, wittier, funnier (my own opinion), and my memory feels much deeper. If you’re looking for more detail on the HOW, here is a post I wrote a while back.  20 Minutes of Silence.

That’s it. 11 items.

When done with intention and executed with frequency, I am no doubt my Best Self.

I would even bet my better half could tell you when I’m on point…and when I’m failing to execute my intentions.

ACTION ITEM: You’ve got to know (and write down) what really makes you operate at peak levels. Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually. There is a pattern. Use mine as a starting point or guide, but know every one reading this has their own operating system. Find what works. <— Do that!


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.


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!

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.


Inevitability of Success


It isn’t a could be.

It can’t be a maybe.

It must be, inevitable.

Watching a YouTube video on Shark Tanker, Chris Sacca (Forbes Profile), he mentions one of the most important elements he sees when investing in companies is, the founder (which shouldn’t shock anyone). He’s betting on the jockey as much as he is the horse or even the race altogether.

So what makes one jockey stand out from another?

The inevitability of success.

The most profound topic of the interview is inevitability. When a founder or partner talks about the future in terms of when, not if, you can feel it. It’s going to happen, and its not like the “it’s gonna happen” for the Cubs the last 108 years. Inevitable in the very near future.

The most interesting part to me was when he was talking about the “pitch” or the salesmanship of the founder.  It was smooth because the belief runs deep. He’s not hopelessly pitching with passion to make a quick buck and device a customer.

This is it. Take it or leave it. I believe the comment from Chris’ interview is, “its going to be more expensive down the road…should you choose to wait!”


When I was 22 I set some goals for myself entering my first real gig. I thought they were big goals, but, I KNEW I was going to hit them…and I did.

A couple years back I made a career change that I HAD TO make in order to reach a few of my big dreams. It wasn’t a matter of “if” it was the right decision, it had to be. The bet was on myself. If you can’t bet on yourself, who will you choose to wager on?

I can write today confidently stating, mission accomplished.

Not conceit. Not cocky (although I can get here from time to time).


ACTION ITEM: Winning frequently takes confidence and certainty. You have to see your future and destination as inevitable. From there, deconstruct backwards what it will take to get you there.  As Tony Dungy says, “No excuses, no explanations!”

What You Can Learn Talking To Yourself (Out Loud)


Internal Dialogue.

When’s the last time you had a really great conversation, with yourself?

Every one of us has one going 24/7.

  • Today is going to be a great day.  Good breakfast and I’m pumped up to do big things.
  • I think I did really great in that presentation and I love our solution. I feel great about the rest of the day.
  • Dressed for success and a good hair day…BIG things happening.
  • Why was that guy such a d*ck on the phone? Opportunity DEAD.
  • Should I buy that stock today, or wait? Probably wait…remember the last time you waited. Dummy!
  • Why isn’t this deal going the way I want. I deserve more. Do I though? Nothings really changed. Maybe I’m the reason…
  • I haven’t heard from Joe. I wonder if he’s happy? You know what, he’s probably looking for another job. I don’t want him to leave (FYI – Joe is fictional in this scenario if you’re all wondering)
  • I wonder if I’m being aggressive enough in pursuit of my dreams. But I don’t want to be greedy. But, action always beats inaction.
  • Eewwwww…feel that? Is that indigestion or something else. Oh, its probably bad. Damnit, I don’t want to be sick and have my stomach bother me NOW. What if something bad happens to me?
  • I need to be in better shape like right now (200 pushups and 500 sit ups ensue)
  • Who can I help today? Somebody has to need something out there.
  • Should I go to the World Series?
  • I need to get this post up on my blog about self talk


The more I consume via books, podcasts, and videos, the more I’m completely vested in the idea our thoughts control our outcomes. But you must be saying, how do I learn to control my thoughts?

Sometimes all it takes is saying something out loud to see it more clearly.  Good or bad. Clarity is needed.

Our thoughts do a very funny thing the moment they meet oxygen. The second self talk comes through your brain, travels out your mouth and mixes with oxygen, it turns from something extremely complex, to a simplified thought. It also becomes real. Your thought strides confidently  without the cloak of hundreds of feelings and “what-if” scenarios attached.

I’ve literally struggled with a problem for what seemed like weeks, but when I decided to talk to myself the solution became evident and laughable.

Obvious would be a good way to put it.

There it is. The thought. Naked and out in the open as the day we were all born. See your thought for exactly what it is, but don’t see it for more, or ever worse than it is.  Now make a decision about how to handle it.

Internal dialogue that stays internal will run the gamut of your brain’s capabilities. That same brain and human body are designed to find problems. It’s 2,000+ years of hard wiring unwilling to change.  So why fight it?

Talk to yourself out loud.

If you think you’ll look weird, you will if you’re doing it in the middle of the mall, rocking on a bench with your hands over your face.

Don’t do that.

Instead do it in your car. Do it while you’re on a run, or mowing the lawn. Find somewhere private or some alone time to talk to yourself. You’ll feel better and the future will be more clear.

ACTION ITEM: Talk about your fears, your anxieties, your goals and your dreams. Let the air hit them and hear your thoughts out loud. Make it a habit to talk to yourself more often!

Bonus – After I finished this post, I was doing some image searching and stumbled across a few reads I thought you might find interesting related to this topic.

  1. http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/9-surprising-benefits-talking-yourself
  2. http://www.today.com/health/talk-yourself-out-loud-here-s-why-experts-say-s-t76531
  3. http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/people-talk-to-themselves/1105688/


The Most Under Asked Question in a Data Driven Society


How do you Feel?

Take a step back from reading this for just a moment and reflect back on your day.

How many decisions do you think you made?

Fifty?  More like 100+?

When it came down to making those decisions, did you have ALL the data, or is there a chance you made the decision based on feelings?

Don’t EVER forget about feelings and the power they have in our outcomes.

Mind you, I’m not advocating data not be used.  By all means, it should be used 100% of the time where it is available. Surround yourself with people who can paint the most accurate picture of what the data says. But when you have nothing left to support your decision making, NEVER forget about feelings.

Data supports. Feelings enforce and most importantly provide CONTEXT.

Most of us work with human beings every day.  We talk, we listen (hopefully), we educate, we sell to human beings.  Incase you haven’t engaged with a human being lately…we’re really complex creatures.

Complex = Lots & LOTS of feelings.  

Finding out how a person feels about something is vitally important in understanding who they are and what they’re looking for.  This can’t and won’t ever be solved via data.

I’m making the argument for more qualitative engagement and not solely relying on quantitative.

At our core, human beings search for connection, and that connection includes the sharing of feelings.  Not only the data set of being 25-34, with a son, a wife, business, and a mortgage.  Data.

Let me tell you how I feel to get the real story between the lines of data.

ACTION ITEM: I think this is the most under utilized question in business.

How do you feel?