Thursday, October 21, 2010

Over the past eight years I’ve launched a few dozen internet businesses, opened 3 retail stores, wrote four books, and spent way too much time online. Am I burnt out? I don’t know if I can accurately answer that question, sometimes the hardest place to see a game unfold is when you’re a player on the field it’s being played on. I know it’s been a fun, hard-nosed eight years, where I’ve worked more than I’ve done anything else.

The one common thing people ask when they visit my house, to fix something broken, deliver a package, or just say hi, is, in one form or another, a question as to if I just moved in. There are boxes everywhere, nothing is really unpacked, and while I live in my house, it’s far from a home. My answer to them is always the same, I’m so busy with work…

I used to wear such things as fourteen-hour workdays, and unpacked living as a badge of honor; I was totally immersed in work. Then June happened.

For whatever reason, like Forest Gump stopping his marathon run in the middle of a desert road, I no longer was interested in the 24/7 grind I had created for myself. Maybe the successes were becoming less frequent, and the failures more, and all of it was just too much to handle.

After spending the next four months trying to “figure things out” I eventually realized the only cure for my disease was to try something different. A new routine, a new lifestyle. With that notion firmly embedded in my heart, I took to getting going on this new journey. I’ve closed down many of our internet assets, and all but one retail operation. I’ve canceled any commitments I had lined up for the rest of the year, and am committing myself to finding love in my work again, and making my house a home.

What’s next? I’m not sure. I know for work it will be something less tethered to the online existence I’ve had the past eight years. I’ve got a few ideas, anyone that knows me well, knows I’ve always got a few ideas ready to be tested. For my home I’m going to put the level of effort I have into my retail projects into making my house a home.

I hope my story inspires you, to not only do what you want to do for a living, but know that changing course is alright too, and often it’s fighting those big undercurrents of stability that undermine our efforts to change status quo the most. Yet we always hear that reinvention is what makes life so fruitful for those that choose the road less traveled of being their own boss. Maybe my story will get you thinking about changes you want to make, and give you the feeling that you are not alone in changing for the better. If you are going through something similar, feel free to reach out, I could use the company on this new journey.


So far my best kept tools for transitioning to a new lifestyle have been prayer, humility, studying up on quotes dealing with courage, long jogs down empty roads, music made with passion, and of course, being around wise fun-loving people.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Waving Goodbye to Fear

Fear can be paralyzing if you let it. Fear binds you to a set of rules that are not your own, fear makes its presence felt, and converts you into something less than you are meant to be. Fear numbs ambition.

Some people call fear the devil, others refer to it as life itself, however, fear is nothing more than a fleeting emotion. Fear is no greater than any other emotion that you might feel on a given day.

Pushing past your fears is no easy task, but with identification, and deliberate action one can, and will, surpass their fears. Unlike so many situations in life, I believe that those that push past their fears the furthest are directly rewarded for their courage. In other words, while most instances in life are not directly correlated as an equal proportion give and take relationship, the surpassing of fear is. The more you let go of your fears, and move forward in spite of them, the greater your life will be.

Fear manifests into many forms each day including, but surely not limited to, self-pity, circumstantial disasters, physical illness, pessimism, doctrines, societal norms, peer influence, and familial pressures to name a few. Fear preys on the insecure, and confident alike, hanging on with a firm grip to those things that, for whatever reason, create anxious feelings of unease within us. I’ve seen fear destroy a life, and put people I’ve cared dearly for in precarious situations that they simply cannot seem to come out of. If only they could identify that fear is perception, and not reality.

By default fear wins, and only by deliberate, well thought out action does fear fail to impend us from moving forward in life. May we all proceed through the emotional obstacles that fear dispenses within us with vigor and passion, knowing that on the other side of this dark blockade of inner turmoil is a truly amazing place of confidence and success.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Catching The Ball

With a thundering applause I knew my eyes were not deceiving me, Alshon Jeffery really did just make that one handed grab in a critical juncture of what might have been the most important football game I’ve ever attended in my life. The University of South Carolina standout wide receiver had just helped propel his team to a monumental upset. The crowd went wild.

Flashback five days prior when a baby faced Jeffery boldly predicted a victory against the number 1 team in the nation to an ESPN reporter, before smiling ear to ear with an optimism reserved for only our bravest youth. As the video clearly shows, Mr. Jeffery did in fact do his part to beat the top ranked Alabama team.

The ball was thrown to this budding receiver because, no matter the blanket-like coverage by the man defending him, his quarterback knew he was prepared to catch the ball. In business, often we are faced with great obstacles that are directly in the way of catching that shimmering sphere of success that so few businesses ever obtain, and if we aren’t fully prepared, fully capable, and in a place where we can excel, no matter how hard we try, we won’t be able to succeed in building a business to a successful state.

Jeffery had spent countless hours preparing himself mentally, physically, and emotionally for that moment. No doubt, his natural gifts are far superior to most in that realm, but no matter, he prepared like he was trying to catch a ball with no hands. In business, we must prepare that way. Shortcuts don’t work, outsourcing everything doesn’t work, making excuses, blaming technology, or undermining business partners surely won’t help. We must, at the end of the day, keep our goals crystal clear, and work wholeheartedly at achieving them.

Twelve years ago, as a high school senior, I was excited for a game against our at-the-time archrival, Vallaha. I remember vividly coming out of the end zone for player introductions at the start of the game screaming with excitement as I nearly sprinted to the rest of my teammates standing on the 20-yard line. As fast as I could run out of that end zone, my coach was there to greet me with some loud and clear advice, calm down. At the time I didn’t know why, I was ready to go, isn’t that how we’re supposed to come out to play the game? Years later I realized, no, we aren’t to waste our energy on worthless introductions, but rather keep ourselves quietly primed, to, when the call is made, late in the game no doubt, catch the ball no matter what’s in our way.

Here is video courtesy of of Jeffery’s blog-post-inspiring catch.