While it can be a game-changer to be suddenly watched by the world, most small businesses don’t need this level of exposure to see results.
Eleven years ago today, April 15, 2005, I walked into United Broadcasting Sales Company where I had worked for 13 years and handed my manager my resignation. Despite setting individual company sales records and serving as the default unpaid coach of so many new hires and despite company profitability relatively new company owners instituted a new pay plan that slashed everyone’s pay. Mine would have been cut over 35%.
I had many promises from numerous co-workers to join me in starting a new company, but none followed through. So I was left to fend for myself. Total Broadcasting Service has been like another child to me and grown through tough times, including my divorce. It hasn’t been easy. And despite those tough times and never quite attaining the high income levels I had before I am so proud I walked with wobbly legs to my previous manager’s desk 11 years ago and said I won’t be mistreated and under appreciated by them anymore. The UBSC owners were pissed and threatened me with legal action to stop my entrepreneurial efforts. I believe those threats, in part, scared off my former co-workers.
I miss working with the many who became friends. After so many followed my lead and quit I went a while feeling somewhat responsible, since I had been the first. They eased my anxiety on the matter by seemingly improving their lives dramatically after leaving the plantation. I’m glad at least for Facebook to somewhat stay in touch with some of them. I’ve learned that if you don’t value your best people they will find someone else who does; a lesson that translates into personal relationships too, not just business.
In my on going efforts for fitness, health, and continued youth I woke this morning, dressed in my sweat suite, grabbed my cell phone and ear plug headphones and embarked on a morning run. After I was done I realized what an extraordinary start to my day I experienced.
It was a cold March morning with temperatures in the upper 30s. As I left my Renton home through my garage I zipped up my jacket all the way to my neck. I plugged my headphone buds into my ears, plugged the cord into my phone, and turned on the music. I like up-beat music as I run, and classic rock is my up-beat music of choice. Journey was the first band I enjoyed.
At 51 years of age with arthritis in my hips and a slightly torn right labrum loosening up for anything physical takes a little more time than it used to. The darkness of pre-6am enveloped me as I awkwardly began running out of my driveway. The first few hundred yards of my runs see me looking quite geeky as I shake off the cobwebs of a nights sleep and free-up my muscles and joints. I’m flapping around like a fish out of water, and my legs are rotating as a wheel with no lug nuts.
After the first song had played Led Zeppelin was in my ears and head. Good Times, Bad Times. I wasn’t feeling great. My hips were growling at me and the cold was nipping at my ungloved fingertips.
I then looked up from the sometimes dangerous cracked sidewalk and saw a beautiful full moon through the Douglas Firs setting in the west. It shown through the trees and was hallowed by a cloudy mist. It was my beacon lighting my dark path on my journey. It inspired me. Between looking down to watch for missteps on the uneven sidewalk I would look up at the glowing orb. Sometimes I had to search for it as it ducked behind a tree or apartment building. Cars whizzed by at 40 mph when I finally grunted my way to a main road with a smooth level sidewalk, the moon still glowing in the west, descending over the Olympic Mountains.
I run a route that’s about 3.5 miles. It takes me about 30-35 minutes. I’m not fast, just steady. As I rounded the Fairwood shopping center I began the journey home. That would take me east. No longer fighting to keep running or feeling stiff from old age and a thorough nights sleep I am quickening my pace. And a funny thing happened. Dawn had broken.
Rush, Seal, and Pink Floyd sang in my ears as the sidewalk became more easily visible in the growing light. As more hills, and the start of a side-ache begin to challenge me I begin reciting the Hail Mary, over, and over, and over again asking the Mother of Jesus to bless me in my efforts and carry me through.
The final 2-300 yards to my home is the steepest hill on my route and a real struggle as I’ve already run over 3-miles. But not this morning. My eastward trajectory and up hill slant had me peering into a glorious sunrise. Pink skies and some blue clouds inspired me to sprint. It was a beautiful morning.
Sunday, daylight savings time begins. So my next run will be in what is now the 5am hour. It’ll be dark, and I won’t see a darkness and a full moon followed by a beautiful sunrise in the east. I realized and asked myself how often, in the Pacific Northwest, will I run on a clear sky morning, with a full moon, and clear starlit skies followed by sunlit blue, and biting and exhilarating cold all during the same 30 minute run.
Is it pessimistic to say I may never experience this glorious combination again? There are only 12 full moons each year, the number of clear skies in Seattle are notably few, I only run 2-3 days per week and because of my age and my arthritis that amount is going to decrease as time moves on.
My morning run was extraordinary, special, inspiring, fun, and possibly one-of-a-kind.
It’s like I’ve been saying for years, video is mandatory for good SEO and subsequently good marketing. Read this article.
Ken Burns has done it again. The King of PBS documentary programing has produced another historic series worth anyone’s time who value’s United States history. The Roosevelts ranks with Burns other classic creations which include Baseball, Jazz, The National Parks, and others. I’ve enjoyed watching it this week and encourage those who have missed it to look for it on-demand or DVD in the future. It tells the biographical story of America’s 26th President Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and FDR’s wife and cousin Eleanor Roosevelt (who had the fortuitous opportunity to maintain her maiden name after marrying). I’ve read several biographies on Theodore Roosevelt and consider him a true American Hero.
A statement in the second episode of the program struck home and I felt was worth sharing for those like me, and like Teddy Roosevelt who have faced great disappointment or tragedy that led them to despair and depression. Unknowingly, in my own experience, I have done as TR did and am repeating the rewards. While my rewards are not on the scale of what he did I can’t help but believe in his and mine own and many others stories there are lessons to be learned.
On Valentine’s Day, February 14th (my birthday), in 1884 Roosevelt’s first wife and his mother died in the same house on the same day. Alice Lee died only two days after giving birth to Roosevelt’s oldest child, Alice. Alice Lee and Theodore had been married four years and a loving couple since their youth. Roosevelt, though only 26 years old, was already making a name for himself in the New York State legislature. His wife’s death devastated him. He wrote that “…the light has gone out of my life.” He was so incapable of dealing with the grief he ordered those around him to never speak Alice Lee’s name ever again. If he ever did himself, its unknown to historians.
Rather than wallow in despair and depression the energetic TR decided to dramatically change his life. He decided to get busy. Roosevelt left the legislature and left the East Coast. He took himself to the Badlands in Dakota Territory and set out to be a Cowboy, Sheriff, rancher, and big game hunter. He did all those things, and mastered them, having never even attempted being such an outdoorsman at any time prior to the death of Alice Lee. Roosevelt was a New Yorker and raised in privilege. and he had been a weak, sickly child. But his depression from losing the love of his life was so impactful that he escaped that life in favor of a hard life in one of the hardest environments in the country.
During the snowiest winter on record in 1886 nearly all of Roosevelt’s cattle herd perished. Shortly thereafter Roosevelt left the Dakota’s and returned to the East Coast politics and considerably more adventures. His frenetic manner continued until his death in January 1919. As was mentioned in the PBS program Roosevelt said “Action” is the road away from despair and depression. And he fearlessly pursued every challenge ever presented to him. He even sought out those challenges. “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”- TR
In all my life I’d never faced serious depression like I did nearly one year ago. I was devastated and found merely getting through each and every day very difficult. But I pushed through it. At the start of 2014 while at the height of my lethargy I made two statements that have carried me to a place I now know is the pinnacle of great things to come. I said my 9 year old company, Total Broadcasting Service, would have its best year ever and that by the end of the year I would be debt free.
For the first time I hired a business coach, knowing I needed the direction and guidance for my business while my personal life was in disarray. He helped steer me into the things I wanted to do. The coach also asked me every week to do something “courageous”. With each passing week I found my focus easier to come by and my ability to do the hard things, ask the tough questions, make sales appointments, close sales and even volunteer my time became easier and easier.
I also became a voracious reader of books, mostly self-help books. I’ve read more books in the first 9 months of 2014 than any year in my life. I always knew reading was important and beneficial, but I never MADE the time for it, outside of my daily viewing of the Sports page. Each day I fill my mind with good ideas and motivational thoughts from authors who are accomplished in one way or another, one field or another. And I’m a better man for it.
I find myself exhausted at the end of most days. But unlike the time of my worst depression my exhaustion is not caused by emotional energies being spent worrying about what has happened or what might happen. My exhaustion is a good exhaustion earned by “action” and exertion. I wake at 5:30am and seldom pull the plug on my day’s efforts before 8pm. And when I pull the plug…I’m done.
The good results of my relentless drive were immediate, but not dramatic. I could chart greater income for my company. And I could definitely know my hurt heart and emotional challenges were easing as I focused more and more on what needs to be done right now at this very moment.
The gradual improvement in all things in my life has recently turned into a tidal wave of good fortune. Not even through September Total Broadcasting Service is exploding past our previous revenue records. My home is neater and in good repair and could be argued in better shape and appearance than at any time in my 11 years of living here. I’ve given considerable volunteer time to a great organization called Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle and King County and even applied to be on the non-profit’s Board of Directors, something I expect to be officially named to in a matter of days. My family is happier and healthier because of my efforts. And I now look forward to a future that once scared me, but that I now know holds great promise and opportunity.
Challenges remain in front of me and my despair returns for short periods now and again, but through action, diligent, non-stop daily effort I have followed the example set by Theodore Roosevelt and made my life better. Time will tell if my achievements can be comparatively similar to the ball of energy that was TR. But I honestly expect great things, and that’s half the battle. I would counsel anyone in despair or depression to dive into your work if its work you love. I would advise them to focus on helping others. When you help others you forget about your own troubles and become a problem solver.
Lastly, I honestly belief God see’s our good work and rewards us. He may not reward us right away. But the rewards are coming. I promise.
What I was reminded of last night while attending Vision Quest, a speaking presentation by Ron Reynolds, at the Hilton Hotel in Bellevue, Washington is something I have heard many times and even practiced at brief periods of my life. Like others Reynolds explained the seemingly magical benefits of writing down goals.
as President of Jim Rohn Productions. On several occasions last night he quoted from one of my favorite authors, Richard Bach.
He quoted from Bach’s most famous book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. And he quoted from my favorite Bach book, Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. He said, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true”. I’ve written goals before, with success. Perhaps you have to. I’m saddened by my foolishness, procrastination, and inability to focus and do something I know from experience and from education works. Writing down goals, and doing it regularly is perhaps the single most important self-improvement tool anyone can do. Just ask yourself, who’s more likely to be a success or overcome obstacles…a person with a written list of passionate goals, or a person just getting through life day-to-day? Isn’t the answer obvious?
So, following Reynolds advice and countless others I’ve finally made my “Things I Want in Life” list. I thought it would be too personal to share here as I do so many of my other thoughts. But after writing it I don’t feel it’s anything to be ashamed of; and making it public may make me more accountable and make the list that much more powerful. Don’t you think?
Here it is:
1. A house on a lake or river where I can regularly go fishing.
This has been a dream of mine for years. Now it’s no longer a dream it’s a goal. Soon it will be a reality.
2. Freedom from debt.
Debt is suffocating. And it’s suffocating me and my family and my business too much right now.
3. Financial freedom.
This may seem to be simultaneous with #2; but it’s not. I’ve seldom had debt problems in my life. I’ve even less seldom had financial freedom. Though, it’s true, #2 will HELP achieve #3.
4. The respect of my children.
I hope I already have this. But at times I’m not sure. Two of my kids are adults. I want to be sure.
5. Respect of my wife.
6. To live until at least 80 years of age.
This may seem like a low target. But my family history suggests that it’s a rather lofty goal.
7. A home in a sunny place.
Goal #1 is most important. And if we can get it in a sunny place Goal #7 is fulfilled. But then again, I’d settle for two homes.
8. A self-sustaining company.
9. Clothes that fit.
I’ve lost 35 pounds with the great help of AdvoCare, but our debt problems make buying new clothes impossible right now. So this is actually a pretty important and immediate goal.
10. An inheritance for my kids.
My Dad left me and my brother nothing, because he had nothing. My Mom will do likewise. I won’t do this to my kids.
11. A red 1965ish Ford Mustang Convertible.
What good is it to have financial freedom, Goal #3, if I can’t enjoy it with the occasional toy.
12. Lots of friends.
I am grateful for all my friends. I want more.
13. Time, money and ability to vacation with friends all over the world.
I’ve never travelled much. I want to do so.
14. Seahawk, Mariner, and Sonics season tickets.
Currently we have Seahawk tickets.
15. A vacation home in Wenatchee.
I love Wenatchee. My wife…not so much. So a permanent home there seems unlikely. So I’ll settle for a vacation home there instead.
16. Ability, time and money to help family and friends any time any where. And their confidence that I will help them.
I feel that I am currently hamstrung in any efforts to benefit people I love. And that hurts.
17. A college education for all my kids, fully paid for by me.
I didn’t get this when I was young. Ever since I have wanted to provide it for my kids. We began to do so with my oldest. She then dropped out and that was that. We have one more left to go. Fortunately she repeatedly talks of going to college and I don’t want to let her down.
18. Be a leader.
Hopefully I am. But I can do better.
19. To write and publish a book that will be read by others for years.
As evidenced by this blog I enjoy writing. I hope I’m good. I hope I get better.
20. A fishing boat.
21. My wife’s happiness, always.
22. A complete genealogical account of my families history.
23. A historic memorabilia collection.
24. A safe, secure retirement.
25. A savings account.
26. Ability to always find positive words in any situation.
27. A new pool table and time and ability to use it, preferably with friends.
28. Laser eye surgery.
29. Shoulder surgery.
30. To establish a truly worthwhile charity to address literacy.
The list isn’t in any particular order of priority. I want it all, so there seems no need to have any order of priority. It is complete. I thought hard about adding to it. But, there is little else that comes to mind, or that I would write here.
Some of the list is superficial. Some of it is more “spiritual”, in a sense. But having finally written it down, I’m filled with confidence that everything on the list is bounding my direction at this very moment. So I’ll stop writing and get busy achieving.
Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.