Find Your Confidence Triggers


If you’ve ever done any reading on the topic of triggers or behavior, you’ll note that most often times the word “trigger” is linked directly to negative thoughts or actions.  Negative triggers may cause a person to:

  • Light up a cigarette
  • Grab an alcoholic drink
  • Cause panic or fear
  • Lose our temper
  • Devour an entire tub of ice cream

Whether you know it or won’t admit it, we all have negative triggers in our lives and we live them out daily.  I had many triggers (built up over time) that caused my brain to want chewing tobacco. I’m not proud of it, but I broke them down and got rid of them.

But what about the other side of the trigger?

The positivity triggers that put you at your highest level of confidence? Tony Robbins calls this level of confidence being in a “peak state”. Your peak state is the place where all is right, you’re in a flow, confidence is high, and you’re in full-on CRUSH MODE.

Why do you want to get here?

The answer should be obvious.  It’s where you are at your best.  You’re the most intelligent, the funniest, the most witty, the sharpest, the most confident, and the best version of you is on FULL display.  Arthur Ashe described it best and most simply.

Loose body, tight mind

Can you be in a peak state all of the time? No. You  simply can’t. Tight body, tight mind is much more prevalent today. This state is labeled: ANXIETY. This is what we want to avoid. That’s exactly why you need to identify the positivity triggers to bring you back when you’re struggling or when you’re anxious.

Think of a great scorer in basketball.

The game started and they missed their first 3-4 shots.  What is the single most important thing they can do in game to adjust?

Get to the free throw line immediately. Why? Many reasons really.

  1. Its an unobstructed view of the basket.  No defense = easier chance of conversion.
  2. All great scorers and free throw shooters have a rhythm or cadence at the line to prepare for the foul shots.  This cadence allows them to get back into flow immediately.
  3. Most important. Great shooters need to see the ball go in. They need the confidence boost. It only takes one bucket to drop as a shooter to know the rest of them are ALL going in.

I’m a much better basketball player (or at least I was) than I am a golfer.  But they’re not that much different.  What does a struggling golfer attempt to find first when they’re lost with their swing? Tempo. They’re not trying to hit a 230 yd three iron with a 5 yd draw.  They have a wedge in hand and they’re exclusively focused on a couple mechanics and tempo, tempo, tempo. Finding confidence in the swing.

So how can this look in our daily lives?

I can only speak for me and give you insight into a few of my positivity triggers.  Side note – a couple of them may sound a bit weird (I don’t care).  Find something that works…for YOU!

  1. Clothing – There is a shirt maker in Richmond, VA I love called Ledbury (  They make limited run dress shirts and their slim fit sizing fits me nearly perfectly (15.5″ neck of course if you’re thinking of gifting me one).  One may argue they’re a touch expensive, but expense is rather relative when I think of all the money I’ve made wearing these shirts.  Why do I love them?  Because they make me look good (sorry, I’m a vain person) and feel good. My confidence levels flow at a high level because I’m not worried or focused on what I’m wearing.  Big meeting, speaking engagement, pitch, guess what I’m wearing?  Ledbury.
  2. Soap – Call me crazy, but hear me out first.  Have you ever stayed in a really nice hotel and used a great (and likely scented) soap?  If yes, how did you feel coming out of that shower?  AWESOME.  Guess what I’ve done? I buy more of it and keep it handy for a BIG day or special occasions.  Once again.  How do you think I feel?  Awesome.  This isn’t a smell thing, its a state thing.  A personal favorite I picked up from W Hotels is Bliss Lemon and Sage 
  3. Morning Videos – Almost every day of the working week (Monday through Friday) I start my day at home with a locked in mindset on success. Where do I go? Youtube.  I make it a point every morning to reset my mind on my goals and a successful mindset.  If you want the specifics, I’ll watch videos from: Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs, Eric Thomas, Brendon Burchard, Robert Kiyosoki, stoic philosophy and the list goes on.  Motivation is fleeting and I believe the mind needs to be fed just as the body needs nutrition.  News flash folks, the morning news isn’t nutritious brain food.
  4. Personal Audio/Video – I keep a few files saved when I need a reminder just how abundant my life is with my wife and son. There are 3-4 very personal videos and audio files I have saved on my phone that I listen to when I’m faced with a tough scenario, business decision, or life throws me a curve ball.  A coupe of them bring tears to my eyes almost immediately and I find that’s about all a grown man needs to get back to center.  No problem to big. No scenario too daunting. I have all that I need.
  5. 10 Minute Meditation – If you’ve followed the blog you know my growing embrace for the Eastern practice of meditation. Ten minutes of alone time and some practiced breathing can reset my mind, body, nervous system and overall well being.

I truly hope these ideas help you. I hope you become aware of what makes you the happiest and most confident version of yourself. Pay attention to what may work for others, but know you are unique.

It has to work for YOU.  That’s all that matters.

ACTION ITEM: Spend the next few days surrounding yourself with a list of positive triggers. I know you’ll be much closer to achieving what’s in front of you when you consistently operate at the highest level.


Hell Yes vs NO

I feel like this post is the most important post I’ve written this year!

Every day, we’re bombarded to make decisions on varying levels of commitment.  Every day, we purchase goods and services. What I learned is every day we waste tremendous amounts of energy and money on the trivial many vs selecting the vital few.

I’m going to paint the concept of HELL YES vs. NO to you in a few different ways.

  1. Time Commitments
  2. Consumption Habits
  3. Talent Investment

Let us start with a simple introduction on what I’m getting at before we jump into the aforementioned scenarios.  The choice of HELL YES vs. NO should feel exactly how it reads.  Say, “HELL YES” out loud.  Do it.  Right now. As if you were excited about something so much you jumped off the couch. Feels good doesn’t it?!?

Alternatively, say the word “NO” with a strong conviction.  Like asking me if I like the Iowa State Cyclones.  No! Not now, not ever.

Here’s the rub. Until a couple years ago, i.e. before I read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, very few of my answers or decisions lived in either of these two polar opposite responses.  I was wasting away in the middle. Over committed with mediocre energy on too many things.

If the feeling of saying YES, isn’t 95% or higher. It’s a NO.

If you really want to put to use the ideas I share on this blog, you’re going to have to get very comfortable saying no. No, no, no.  It’s time to get unreasonable with your time and your commitments.  Unreasonable? Why? The reason why is an answer you already know.

If you only have 100% to give, would you rather give it to 3-4 things, or spread it out over 10?  Why then, do so many commit to doing 10 things (extremely mediocre mind you) when they should be saying NO.  In today’s society, if we’re not “busy” we must be lazy.  Wrong answer. It’s window dressing for a false sense of over-involvement equalling progress.  Unfocused action only leads to one thing FAST.  Burnout.

Busy = I lack the ability to prioritize and select the vital few…so I do it all.

Conversely, feel the alternative.  Say, “HELL YES” again out loud. Think about how much more you’ll deliver in a scenario with this amount of passion, focus and creativity. You’ll absolutely crush it, and I’m willing to bet you’ll be happier as a result. Happy because you’re 100% invested.  Happy because you’re not overwhelmed worrying about 10 other things.  Happy because you’ll make huge progress because you have nothing else in your peripheral begging for your focus.

Secondly, let us explore the world of “HELL YES vs. NO” in our consumption habits.  This one is really interesting to me.  A couple years ago i started following Ramit Sethi after reading his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich over a couple flights.  I then started following his blog: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.  He wrote something that really caught my attention about spending.

He makes the wonderful argument about spending lavishly on a vital few things we really want and bring us tremendous joy.

It could be an expensive pair of jeans, or premium shoes for someone.  For another person, it is great meals at posh restaurants because that brings them the most joy. For another, it was all about great travel experiences.  Point is, in each scenario, dialing back on many mediocre purchases, lead to tremendous happiness when big purchases were HELL YES purchases.

My HELL YES, looks very different than yours.  That’s ok!  That’s the point.  Find out what is most important to you and spend there.  But, don’t forget to dial back on all the other pieces that don’t bring you joy.  Save on the trivial, to splurge on the tremendous.

Lastly, let us take a look at talent investment in terms of skill set and time investment. I’ve written about this before and I want to reinforce it with the context provided in this post.

Find the two or three WORLD CLASS talents you have, and go all-in (HELL YES) on them.

Everything else must take a back seat. Remember, 95% commitment or more is a HELL YES.  Everything else is a NO.  When you get to a point where you’re spending most of your day on world class talents, you win.  You’re happy  You’re 10x more likely to gain new opportunities, establish great relationships, and I promise you…you’ll feel better.  You will smile bigger and hug longer.

ACTION ITEM: When met with an opportunity for a decision. Make sure you’re answer passes the HELL YES vs. NO test. No hurt feelings, just a cold hard reality check and understand the consequences if you don’t.  Your success and happiness awaits!!!

Go Get It!

Exposure, Jiu-Jitsu, and Growth

Jiu Jitsu Exposure Growth

Think about the last time you were exposed.

I’m not referring to the last time you were caught slipping out the back door in your undies only to drop a little rubbish in the garbage container in the alley…only to find out the door behind you locked.  Exposed.

Tell you what, think on it, and we’ll come back to this after I give you a little context.

As you know, if you read my blog I’m an avid listener to the Tim Ferriss Show podcast.  Twice in his 100+ episodes of deconstructing world class performance, he’s interviewed Josh Waitzkin (Link to podcast here). Without providing a complete wikipedia reference to Josh in this post, I’ll simply say this and you can click on his name.  Josh is a childhood chess prodigy (the subject of the book Searching for Bobby Fischer: The Father of a Prodigy Observes the World of Chess) a world class martial artist, and all-around brilliant guy (shocker).

In their most recent podcast session, Josh shed light on how he sees exposure leading to world-class performers and inevitable success. He discussed with great detail, how after four tireless rounds of Jiu Jitsu practice, the best, the most focused and driven will look for one more challenge. The toughest guy in the room. Those wanting to be world class, search for the most exhausting matchup even when their tank is empty.

This exposure, Josh says, is where excellence and success live.

The sparing partner looking for a “rest”or an easy matchup as they enter their fifth and final matchup of the day may very well be good. But, they’ll likely never be great, because they aren’t exposed to their true potential when it is needed most.

Think about this through another lens.  How does a muscle grow? I’m not a body builder, but I know it takes one key word. Resistance.

The toughest steel is forged in the hottest fire

Care for another example? There is a wonderful book I read a little over a year ago by Carol Dweck: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. I highly encourage this reading to anyone who asks me for a recent book recommendation.

To oversimplify Carol’s theory (which is slightly unfair) for the purpose of this conversation on exposure, think about this. Growth focused vs. static mindsets

Are you smart?

We’d all love to answer yes. But Carol would argue the mindset of being “smart” will limit our future success. It is static. So I should be dumb, you’re probably asking? Obviously not. But your mindset should be more focused on growth than static mindsets (static = I’m smart).

Carol expands with research linking kids who were told they were “smart” seemingly struggling when met with a real challenge in the future.  Since the answer isn’t found with relative immediacy, the smart kids tend to give up and feel worse about themselves in the process. Since they can’t figure it out and they’ve always been labeled as “smart”, the antithesis is I’m dumb. Confidence is shattered.

Conversely, the children with a “growth” focused mindset, those with an appetite to learn for the process of learning, were excited & excelled when presented with a really difficult challenge. They didn’t need to be smart to find the answer, but they wouldn’t give up when pursuing multiple solutions when an answer wasn’t immediately available.

The reason the growth focused mindset leads to more successful futures is directly linked to exposure.

Back to the beginning. I read and write frequently about the nature and origins of success. I love the topic and the learnings that come with it. One constant of success across all walks of life is exposure.  Exposure is the oxygen needed to fuel the fire. The people consistently seeking exposure to new challenges, new beliefs, new literature and new data are more often than not winners because they’re not afraid to take the next step in the stairway to success.

ACTION ITEM:  There are few things I love more than winning and a winning mindset.

Get exposed!

Is More School Worth The Price?

Is More School WorLook at where we stand today with our higher “Priced” education system. It’s not good for a multitude of reasons. Lets look at the opportunity cost. I’ll argue, more school is’t the solution.

The solution is more education. There is a massive difference.

Imagine being 18(again). You want to go to college? Perfect! Get your degree, rack up $20,000+ of student loans, and then what? The Wall Street Journal tells us last year’s graduating class will leave with a little more than $35,000 of debt. What’s next? Hopefully the student will enter the workforce with their college education and some vigor to learn and achieve great things. What if they don’t?

What if they don’t jump into the work force? I believe too many people are choosing the easy and dangerous path of more school in the form of graduate school(for the sake of more school) and more debt without a payoff, without properly weighing the alternative.  Hard work and education.

What happened to going out, finding a job (any decent job) and getting your ass to work? Ohhhh, I get it, it ins’t sexy to post on your Instagram profile? Get real people! I can make a very good argument for not getting more “higher education” and instead getting a real-world eduction. I’ve seen it done and lived it.

Soap box rant: I started in college as an UNPAID intern. Unpaid for about 7 months (that means $0 kids). In April of my senior year I took an entry-level job with a marginal salary because I knew there was opportunity to grow.  I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity and look back upon it fondly every time I think about where I started. Fast forward 10 years later, I’m helping to run and grow businesses because I’ve been learning about them for 10+ years. Learning AND working. It can happen simultaneously. Shocking I know.

You’ve all seen the graph of Charlie and Allen as they save for retirement. Charlie starts early and saves a little at a time, but he saves often.  Allen starts late and attempts to save big chunks to make up the lost time. What happens? Time wins. Compound interest wins. Charlie wins. Charlie retires and Allen continues to work.

Conversely consider this.  Charlie goes to college.  Gets a degree and gets to work.  He has a good work ethic, an open mind, and is willing to learn on the job to grow his career.  Five years later he’s earned a couple promotions, knocked out his student loan payments, and is on the fast-track to hitting his career goals. Charlie has tremendous flexibility and a proven track record to follow his passions.

Allen graduated under grad with Charlie, but couldn’t find that “perfect” employer who wanted to pay him $60,000 out of college to run business he knows nothing about.  Awww shucks.  Guess he better go get an MBA.  Allen goes to school to get his MBA.  In the process, he racks up an additional $50,000 in debt (on top of his $35,000) that he already can’t pay because he doesn’t have a job or income.

Allen, looking for work after his illustrious MBA program is completed reaches out and GOES TO WORK FOR Charlie.  Another shocker. I’ve seen it. I lived it.  Allen is $85,000 behind Charlie and has zero real-world experience.  He’s never had to fire anyone or have a difficult (but adult) conversation with a boss or owner.

Understand this. MORE THAN EVER, you don’t need an MBA to be successful in today’s economy.

What is needed is an appetite to continue your education, some common sense, a work ethic, and some “old fashioned” backbone.  The economy is moving faster than ever, and I’d argue is more entrepreneurial than ever.  Speed to adapt is the new currency.  Can you learn at a fast rate? Can you as a person continue to learn and evolve with the changing times.

A person must also consider the resources at their fingertips to continue your education(on your own time).  I think sometimes the structure of school only helps the student know where to look or how to start the next level of learning. It’s a map or a compass for the lost young adult.

The internet has and will continue to wildly disrupt the education system.  I think this is fantastic because of all I’ve learned online in the last few years.  Where exactly?  Let me list a few resources I use.

  • YouTube – The #1 place on the internet to learn almost anything in the world.  On your own time.  For FREE!
  • Podcasts – This medium erupted over the last 5 years.  Insights, interviews, and some of the best minds out there are podcasting daily or weekly for FREE
  • Online courses – There is a tremendous market to expand knowledge and education via people who’ve already achieved what you’re looking to learn.  Find them.  Follow them. Study them. Be wise in evaluation, but don’t be afraid to invest a couple hundred dollars to advance your knowledge.
  • TED Talks – I’m not goofy enough to compare a Ted Talk to an MBA, but isn’t it exactly the style of critical thinking you’re paying for? FREE
  • Blog Posts – There are some really wonderful blog posts out there for everything under the sun. I have a few favorites I’ve been following  for YEARS and also for FREE to continue to feed my beastly appetite for knowledge.

If you’d like to argue about your Harvard MBA, I can understand that viewpoint. I can understand where you are in your career and how your MBA got you there. What I can’t ignore however, is the number of entrepreneurs and business owners I’ve met (who are tremendously successful) who don’t have post secondary education.

I believe tremendously in the value of an education.  However, I’m deeply concerned with the price of school and what this price is doing to our future.

The Two Best Shark Tank Questions


If you love the show Shark Tank, you know there are some great personalities and entrepreneurs who headline the show.  Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Damond John, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran.  Each world-class entrepreneur has a unique story of what got them on the stress-enduced ABC stage. They also have a simple and fundamental understanding of what works and likely what doesn’t when they evaluate prospective deals.

Watch every episode and you’ll come away with two questions:

  1. What are your sales?
  2. What does it cost you to make/distribute/service your product (i.e. profit)

No sales. No deal.

The more my career evolves, the more I understand there is no value, zero, without a sale created.  Ironically from a “sales guy’s” perspective I didn’t understand this right away in my early 20’s.  I loved marketing, the style, the brand identity, value and overall quality design big projects yielded. That said, sales make the world go round and everyone (EVERYONE) has something they’re selling.

The sharks know, if you don’t have sales, they don’t have an offer.  Goodbye!

If you’re not selling, you’re sold to the fact you’re stuck.

Step back and think of everyone selling something today…not who you think:

  • Presidents of colleges are selling their institutions of higher learning for grant money and talented professors
  • Parents sell their children nightly on the value of homework and good decision making
  • Nonprofits sell their ideology to prospective donors
  • A mid-level marketing manager is selling a new idea to his boss to drive more market share.  His commissions: $0
  • College coaches out on the recruiting trail are selling their school, their knowledge, and their vision for the future
  • A new pilates instructor is selling prospective students to fill up her “pilates for moms” 6-week evening class
  • I’m selling my blog and my ideas.  The ideas that will make you a healthier, wealthier, and more fulfilled life.

If for some reason you don’t like the word selling, immediately start getting comfortable with the word: influence.

Your ability to influence, directly impacts your ability to achieve, advance, or crush your goals.

ACTION ITEM: If you find yourself in a position of not getting what you want, or what you think you deserve, find your way back into your passion and selling/influencing an idea. Creating opportunities for your team, company, or even yourself will get you what you’re looking for!

Live Your Eulogy



This is an interesting topic and somewhat morbid to be totally candid.  But I couldn’t get it out of my head this last week given a couple books I read.

How Will I Be Remembered?

For some reason, I spent a great deal of time thinking about what this all looks like 60+ years from now?  Can I make it to 93? I’m not sure, maybe another topic for another time.

I don’t mean for any of this post to relate to my life’s achievements or accomplishments.  Although I don’t think that is a terribly bad thing, I was thinking specifically about legacy. It’s one of the only true things you can leave behind (and not be taxed).

There is something really simple and beautiful about this thought process to me. Once you wrestle with the idea for a little bit you come to a striking conclusion. It is the ONLY acceptable answer to the equation called LIFE. The dirt will hit each of us in the face. Some will meet it with grace and some will meet it suddenly and unexpectedly. Either way…life expires.

The fear isn’t the part that draws my attention.

My attention was and is focused this last couple weeks on legacy. The cool thing is when the thoughts start, everything else becomes entirely trivial with our day to day lives. Think about it. What did I do today that really mattered?  If not selfishly for me, for someone else. Now ask yourself again, what is really important and does it directly relate to what you accomplished today?

What replaced the trivial thoughts (today’s insecurities) were some great questions.

  • What would the people close to me say about how I lived?
  • Is there a chance I was able to help this person, push them, or make them better?  If so, how?
  • Would a stranger I just met have good words or a positive story to share with my son as an example of how I lived?
  • Did I leave the family in a better place?
  • What can I change TODAY…right now if I didn’t like the story?

Once again, I really don’t know why this came about, but I’m happy it did.  I think the thoughts are healthy and allow a person like myself who doesn’t take much time to slow down to almost stop and consider how they’d like to be remembered.

The way a person is remembered is directly attributed to the day to day.  Small efforts, magnified over time.

In a weird way its a goal I’m in pursuit of.  Trouble for all of us is, we don’t know when it will be.  Or maybe that’s exactly where the beauty lives. So until then, I’ll just have to put the work in every day and the legacy will take care of itself.

ACTION ITEM: Look at a story of a life well lived.  I don’t care if the person lived to be 25 or 105.  If you can define the life well lived, you have a legacy to pursue.


Discipline of Incremental Growth

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Do you know how many people really “get rich quick?”

A few lucky people every year win the lottery. One slip of paper with the perfect selection of numbers led to a financial windfall and life-chaning funds that could last generations…could.

Sadly, almost 70% of people who come into a lump sum of money (including lottery winners) ended up broke in seven years according to Yahoo Finance.

Seven years!!!  How can that be?

Lets look at a different angle. How about the person so determined to lose a ton of weight that they starve themselves and crash down 40-50 lbs in a very short amount of time. Inevitably what happens next? The weight comes back, sometimes in greater force. The person is left defeated in their failed attempt.


It happens because there is zero behavior inline to manage the immediate abundance in the lottery example. Zero behavior in place to continue on a healthy path to keep the weight off. None of this means I don’t want you to be rich or lose a substantial amount of weight.  It means there is a piece we’re lacking in this: free one day shipping, :60 second meal, six-minute abs, speed dating world.


I recently read and shared a terrific book called, “The Slight Edge” and shared it on my Keen Mind Facebook Page. You can download your copy of the book here. I highly encourage you to read it.

Without giving it all away, “The Slight Edge” focuses on, you guessed it, discipline and consistent (albeit small at times) improvement. I believe the author states best, “easy to do, easy not to do” daily activities magnified over time for large gains.

The challenge with this is most of us have zero patience for “small” or “consistent” improvement. We want to get it ALL and we want it NOW. But once again, this rarely EVER happens. Ever! We all want 0—>100 real quick!

How could this impact your retirement?

Ask a wise financial advisor, “What is the #1 reason most people never reach their retirement goal?” Answer: They started too late. It’s not that they didn’t make enough money, which you would think would be a prime factor. It is, but after a short while the dollars invested can’t replace time.

Why is this important? Because the slow and incremental growth of the stock market has proven to yield large returns but only after the first 15-20+ years of investment. Take away the first 20 years of saving discipline and what do you have? A job in your seventies to pay the bills, that’s what. Happy retirement 😉

I’m fighting this now personally with fitness. I’m working to get back into what I consider really good shape. I used to be able to dunk a basketball, run miles, or do endless pushups and pull-ups. Sadly, I lost the discipline and focus on the incremental the last couple years. Now I’m getting back on the horse to achieve these goals again, but its going to take patience, discipline, focused and continued energy, and incremental growth. And pain, so far, pain.

Think about this…In either case, my discipline won.

My discipline won. Really think about it. You’re either disciplined to achieve a goal, or disciplined to NOT achieve it with inactivity.  Feels kind of different when put this way doesn’t it? When I think about being disciplined with inactivity toward a target I get pretty fired up to get moving immediately.

Many small actions, compounded over time, yielding tremendous results.

ACTION ITEM: Focus on the long game. The benefit in adopting the behavior and creating the habit will yield the truly lasting benefits of not only the desired outcome, but the MASSIVE incremental benefits of the work being done over time in pursuit of your achievement.

Every SEAL started with just one push-up

Mark Devine: SEAL FIT



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.

What I meant to say is….My Life is AWESOME

How often do you feel this is what a person is really wanting to say with a post on social media?  I mean really wanting to say deep down in their gut (where true intent lives)…just as they’re posting 20+ pictures of a sexy SoCal getaway in the hills of Laguna.

My. Life. is. Awesome.

This concept had been brewing in me for a while, and now I’m ready to let it out.

Full Disclosure: My wife and I went to Colorado last week for a little getaway.  Just her and I and no little man.  We went to Boulder, explored the mountains, ate great food, sipped craft beers at local breweries, ate more great food, and really just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.  It was a terrific little four day adventure in place we both wanted to explore.

Colorado (13,000 Ft) 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado (13,000 Ft) ~2015

What’s my main point in all of this?

It was the right thing for us!

Do me a favor and go to your Facebook page or Instagram account right now!   Tell me what you see.  I bet I can guess.

  • Friends having the time of their life at a big dinner party
  • Tropical getaways
  • Soon to be ski trips
  • Golf trips
  • Unreal sporting events (Cubs Playoffs – I was there too!)
  • Big city living
  • Cabin life
  • Milestone moments
  • Soon to be crazy Halloween parties
  • Friends-giving celebrations
  • and the list goes on.

If you want to spend (waste) at least 30 minutes a day wallowing in your “lack of lifestyle” please go ahead.  Or, you could just as easily decide exactly what it is you want to do and be grateful in that pursuit.  But please, make a decision.  Too many people are unhappy with social induced jealously and choose nothing but more sad scrolling.

Of course, there is this one last entirely crazy option.  You could actually be happy for the people pursuing their lives and dreams.  I mean genuinely, HAPPY!  Give it a try and see how good it feels to be happy for someone else.

To wrap up this rant and to be totally candid, our life is super awesome…to us.  The trips we take are on our list of adventures we want to pursue.  They don’t have to be yours.  What’s that…you want to go camping…in a tent…without a shower?  No thank you, but I hope you have a blast doing it! (and please watch out for the mosquitos and snakes)  Eeeeekkkk!

Does this mean you shouldn’t share pics of your travels?  After all, it’s all about sharing these days right?

Share, share, share away.  If someone else is unhappy for you, it is likely they are unfulfilled in their own pursuits.  I really hope the tone of this message isn’t presumptuous.  My intent is to be real and attack the issue I see all too frequently.

Have we achieved everything we’ve set out to achieve?  Hell no.  Actually far from it.  But that doesn’t mean we’re not attacking our dreams with a plan and expressing gratitude along the way.

What I meant to say with this post is….My Life is AWESOME.  I’m thankful for the crazy wonderful relationships we have and those who we get to share our adventures with.  Be thankful.  It can be gone in an instant.

ACTION ITEM: There is tremendous comfort and confidence gained in pursuit of your lifestyle.  Please make sure you’re not hopelessly following someone else’s destination.

Get To vs. Have To

Last week’s adventure proved a very telling story when forming perspective.  I invite you to join along.

Get To vs. Have To

I Get to….


I Have to….

I headed to New York City last week on business.  A trip I’ve made many, many times.  I left Wednesday morning and as customary for any time I leave, there is a slight feeling of loneliness and abandonment (from my wife).  I hate it.  Every time.  I’m sure she wouldn’t believe me telling you this, but sometimes I selfishly feel like it’s harder on me.  At least she gets to be there with our son Landon.  Sorry honey.

I’m wishing I was there.  I’m missing putting my son to bed.  I’m remorseful of her doing all the work on her own.  None of this is easy, and deserves a hero’s thank you to my wife or any wife who has a similar challenge.

This is where I personally have to make a choice.  Put yourself in my shoes and tell me how this feels.  Same exact scenario: entirely different mindset.


I HAVE TO go to New York.  I HAVE TO go there, to meet some people to hopefully advance our team’s opportunities and all along, I’m away from my family (which I love).  I HAVE TO deal with a day of travel there and a day of travel back.  The traffic is horrendous and it takes forever to get anywhere on time.  The people are usually less than pleasant.  I HAVE TO stay in a hotel where I know no one and try to find my way around this mega city.  I HAVE TO make these few days go fast. Who wants to deal with this?

Lets take a look at the other perspective.


I GET TO got to New York City.  I GET TO go there to: meet terrific new people, work with Fortune 100 brands, try new and fabulous food, experience a vibrant city culture (albeit for a few days) and have a blast doing it.  I GET TO be at an exclusive Samsung event where I will be one of only a few hundred people to see their newest devices before they hit stores.  I GET TO be in New York City, the center of the media universe.  I GET TO scope out all the cool places I can take my wife this fall when we make the trip together.  Thanks to technology, I GET TO FaceTime my wife and son every night and at least for a few moments pretend I’m in the same room they are.  I GET TO make the most of this opportunity, because when I do, I know it will pay off.  Who wouldn’t want this?

You may be wondering, where did this come from?  The answer: Thomas Edison.

I heard this story a couple weeks ago while listening to a podcast.  One night while retiring home to his family the brilliant inventor was interrupted by an urgent guest banging at his door.  His factory and research lab was ablaze and couldn’t be stopped by fire departments in the surrounding 8 communities.  His inventions destroyed.  His life’s work in the factory would vanish in the form of smoke and ash.  What did Thomas do?  Would he panic?  Would he burst into tears because his life’s work was certainly destroyed?

He said the following,

Come along quickly kids.  You won’t ever see a fire like this again in your life!

The facts of the matter were as follows according to Mr. Edison.  The factory needed cleaning anyway.  There were numerous piles of scrap and debris that would no longer be a nuisance.  Furthermore, the fire was like no other fire ever witnessed.  The unique blend of chemicals and scientific compounds made for a six story inferno with some of the most lively colors a fire could ever produce.  He wasn’t going to stop the fire, why not make the most of it while it burned.


Working on your perspective and mindset is like bathing.  You don’t have to do it every day, but those around you sure appreciate it when you do.

ACTION ITEM: Next time you’re on the “Woe is me” train, consider your Get to vs. Have to mindset.  If you’re still stuck, imagine someone else who would desperately love to have the same opportunity.



Blog bonus: here are a few shots I took from the Samsung Unpacked Event in NYC


JK Shin. President & CEO of Samsung












Samsung unveils Galaxy S6 Edge+ & Note5


Hands on device display











Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay


Samsung Note5 Up Close