Last Friday, my wife Ashley and I flew from Houston to Salt Lake City. A day or two earlier, we had for the first time heard that a hurricane was expected to hit near Corpus Christi, my hometown. While our trip was planned, we decided not to take any chances, and brought our two youngest children with us, August and Aras. What unfolded over the next several days was unimaginable, and many are still reeling from Hurricane Harvey’s wreckage. Although grateful our babies were with us, and older kids safe, I have been quite torn with emotion, mainly guilt for not being in Houston to assist in relief efforts personally, particularly while many of our friends, and employees have experienced significant damage to their homes.
We came to Utah to celebrate my fortieth birthday. The plan was for just Ashley and I to spend some time together, but clearly, God had other plans. I wanted to spend time in the mountains writing, hiking, and reflecting, which has been quite difficult with two small children, and the anxiety that comes from not knowing what’s going on back home. Nevertheless, we’ve managed, and therein lies the silver lining.
Years ago, after selling DOYLES, I wrote a short blog entry, Significance vs. Success. All of my life, I’ve wanted to make a difference in the world; my life to mean something, and today, at forty, I can say with humility that it has, and I am grateful. I have four healthy children, a lovely and beautiful wife, and a following of friends and fans that appreciate my genuinity, transparency, and heart. I’m making a dent, but I’m not done. Not even close. What’s been most encouraging is that the dent I make, won’t be mine alone. It will be a legacy of truth and transparency, of doing the right thing, and of giving back; and will be carried by friends, family, our employees, communities, and children, and our children’s children.
Over the past few days, I’ve observed our team demonstrate the values that we as an organization embrace, and without influence from me. This has been most encouraging, because quite often, it’s difficult to measure whether or not culture, and values are alive in your organization; our dent in the making. It doesn’t show up on a balance sheet or income statement, and let’s face it, the day to day of running a business can be taxing and stressful, monotonous, and unrewarding at times. We are but humans after all; imperfect, emotional at times, and what we do to put food on the table is much less important that those we enjoy the meal with, our family.
My mother told anyone who would listen I was going to be a preacher. Well, she was partly right. I became an evangelist of truth, love, and acceptance. For those that don’t know me well, they are quite surprised to hear that I am quite introverted. I’m also not a natural leader. For the past twenty years, I’ve learned to lead, to be a businessman, a husband, a father, the latter being among the hardest. Like my mother, the one thing that came natural, is being a giver. The pain I’ve experienced over my life has come primarily as a result of others taking advantage of my giving heart; I give on.
Today, I turn forty. An age that twenty years ago, sounded an eternity away, but also an age I remember very specifically being the time I would hope to retire, which I equated to being financially independent. Well, today is the day, and guess what, I’m going to retire, but only from the things that I choose, which in short are anything standing in my way from dying broke. I’ve been practicing for a while, but the math is quite simple. You spend some, save some, and give the rest away, and it’s true of the only two forms of currency that matter; time and money.
So, here’s to significance over success, making a dent over a dollar, and building a legacy over a life of luxury.
I’m going Forty to Nothing!
It’s been more than a month since my last post, and it certainly hasn’t been because I haven’t had anything to say. I settled a lawsuit with my previous employer, am back in court with my ex over money and custody issues (why wouldn’t I be,) and got into a bad business deal with my brother, which has caused further strain on our already fragile relationship. However, in spite of what certainly could be considered a bad set of circumstances, I have been able to stay excited about some of the things I’ve been working on, particularly with acceptance, and my new found love for connecting people and accelerating businesses. I’m having fun, and that’s ok with me.
However, what I am most excited about is the evolution that is taking place in my heart and mind around significance versus success. For most of my life, I have pursued success as my ultimate goal, however, I’ve realized that significance is a far more rewarding prize. There have been many successful men and women that have lived and died, most, you’ve never heard of, however, those that were most significant, who changed the world in some way, were mostly common people with extraordinary dreams and ideas. I want to be one of those people. I want to change the world.
When tomorrow never comes, my hope is that I gave more than I took, and led a life of significance in my home, community, and ultimately the world. I don’t think this is an unachievable feat, as it has been done many times before. It takes awareness, passion, and action. Steve Jobs said, “Those that are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do.” He was right.
I’m on to something, and the journey is just beginning. Keep Calm & Carry On!
Many times over my entreprenuial career I’ve been asked what the secret to success is, and most often my response would be…”you need to work hard, work smart, leverage your time…” or some other lame arse answer. Although all of that may have something to do with it, for me, I think what has allowed me to be successful is a combination of the following, among other things.
Risk Perception – No one in my family had ever graduated from High School, much less college. It wasn’t something anyone talked about. Frankly, had I not played baseball at an above average level, I would have most likely never went to college. I sold candy out of a backpack in Junior High, cut lawns in High School, and started my first business when I was a sophmore in College. I never thought that any of this was abnormal. It wasn’t until several years later as I started to become more worldly did I discover that my course was a bit different than most. However, it would also be fair to say that my risk perception was primarily due to ignorance rather than fearlessness; at least earlier in my career. The point is that I never perceived any risk to any of my initial endevours; I didn’t know any better or any different. Thank God!
Failure – Fear of failure is what prevents most people from taking action. For me, experiencing failure is what has allowed me to survive and thrive. Failure is part of learning. No one has ever been great at anything the first time they’ve tried. Failing in business can certainly carry a heavy stigma, especially if bankruptcy is involved, however, life goes on. I don’t like to fail, but having experienced it many times, makes it a bit easier to accept, learn from it, and move on. I’m grateful for my failed experiences.
Narcissism – Earlier this year I was ordered to be evaluated by a pshycologist. The results indicated that I am slightly narcissistic. For someone who has spent a considerable amount of time aspiring to be a servant leader, and who values humility above all other human qualities, this was a bit difficult to learn. I plan to dive down into this more in another blog, or possibly in the book, but for now let’s just say that I am coming to terms with the fact that there may be some truth to the doctor’s opinion. I am not admitting nor denying, just keeping an open mind. There’s no doubt I have always had a lot of confidence, which should never be confused with self worth. I have an average IQ (115,) but although never tested, I would say that I have an above average EQ and SQ. Put all this together, and you may have a narcissit, or just a healthy balance of confidence and intellegence. I’m hoping for the latter.
Timing – I responded to a late night infomercial to become an independent Internet consultant when I was 19 years old. I managed to spread the $3k sign up fee over 3 credit cards and 90 days later the company was bankrupt. I had sold only one web site, which the company I was selling for was going to build. Considering the fact that they were now out of busienss, I had to make other arrangements. I taught myself HTML and managed to put together a website for my customer on my own. Three years later, I had 100 employees, and was the president of a company I helped take public and had built thousands of websites. Timing is everything.
Action – I have an attitude of action and a high sense of urgency. Paralysis of analysis can be fatal. The guy that cuts my hair is a brilliant entrepreneur that has never owned a business. I encourage him all the time to stop talking about it, and do something. Taking action can be difficult, but you can’t steal second with your foot on first. Do something.
Long before I knew the value of people, system and processes, sustainable financial models, culture, brand building, etc., I could only do one thing, and that was to take action. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, or want to be a world champion bobsledder, you must take action. No one is going to do it for you, and unfortunately, there is NO SECRET SAUCE.