Category Archives: parents

Frey Freyday -Control/Connection

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

Control – [kuh n-trohl] – to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate;

Connect – [kuhnekt] – to associate mentally or emotionally

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Maya Angelou

The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you. Tony Robbins

I’m very happy with my life. I am what I am. I don’t worry about anything that I can’t control. That’s a really good lesson in life. Tom Watson

The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence. Paul Auster

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. Paul J. Meyer

The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection. Robin S. Sharma

Live-tweeting your bikini wax is not vulnerability. Nor is posting a blow-by-blow of your divorce . That’s an attempt to hot-wire connection. But you can’t cheat real connection. It’s built up slowly. It’s about trust and time. Brene Brown

People are so fearful about opening themselves up. All you want to do is to be able to connect with other people. When you connect with other people, you connect with something in yourself. It makes you feel happy. And yet it’s so scary – it makes people feel vulnerable and unsafe. Toni Collette

I think any new technology that helps connect and create social cohesion is great. But at the end of the day, you and I are analog creatures. We have to take ‘oohs and aahs’ and convert them to 0s and 1s and then convert them back to ‘oohs and aahs.’ Narratives that work in social networks are the exchange of stories that are told well. Peter Guber

A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities and people that were somehow absent before the change. Earl Nightingale

I like to control everything, and you cannot control everything. You have to at some point say, ‘I let go and I’m going to let the cards fall where they fall… For a control freak, it’s hard. Naomi Campbell

WORDS TO LIVE BY:

CONTROL and CONNECT

We humans like to control things – our ego believes that we can and should control anything. When we are fearful or when we come from a place of scarcity, we like to control. Control gives us a false sense of security.

Connection is what humans are really about when we’re in our best state of mind. We connect to others, we connect to nature, we connect to our creative self. We can connect with work, happiness, grief, struggle, triumph and loss. For those that believe, we can be inspired and connected to God, the Universe or the Source. We connect better when we come from a place of certainty, calm, and abundance. (In this case abundance isn’t referring to monetary or materialistic abundance – here abundance means an abundance of love, creativity, family, friends, and the connection to all of these.)

Often parents take the role of controlling their children or their child’s life. At first, when they are you, this is often needed. But as they get older, all parties might do better if the parent tried to connect more with the child and control less. A worried parent will try to control their child or the situation, which can stifle the child, hamper the opportunity to grow, and even hinder the parent/child relationship. By taking time to connect with a child (at any age) instead of trying to control, more intimacy is built, more insight, trust, and understanding comes about.
Men and women both have male and female archetypes. For instance, when a father is nurturing to his child, he may be coming more from the female archetype, more from connection. When a mother tries to control the child or the child’s situation, she is coming more from the male archetype and less from connection.

Control in any relationship; parent/child, husband/wife, etc. typically leads to less intimacy and the relationship growth slows.One human shouldn’t and really can’t control another in a healthy relationship. There may be situations where a mother is being more controlling and she isn’t connecting enough. This is typically a male archetype which can also make her less attractive to the opposite sex. Her attempt to control can push others away. Likewise, a male without any control can have the same result. There has to be a balance of sorts for each sex, there has to be the appropriate amount of control and connection.
As I stated before, our egos give us a sense that we can control life. We rarely do. Planning certainly helps and planning can feed creativity and opportunity, but control cannot. Planning a life or a situation or planning together for a strong relationship is wise but ultimately after the planning is done, we must let go and have faith.

Similarly, planning and giving gentle guidance to a child is helpful and nurturing yet we also must trust in our child and trust in the world and we must let go. Knees will get skinned. Bones may even break. Hearts will break. Mistakes will happen. Yet our guidance along the way will kick in and the child will learn and succeed.

Similarly, in our own lives, we may skin our proverbial knees and make mistakes – and we should all realize by now that we really can’t control much. The ego is wrong. Judgement is wrong. Let’s let go of the fear and have faith. Let’s connect with our world, our loved ones and ourselves and let good things come our way.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

How to Create More Mind-Blowing Moments and Memories

A great article…..

How to Create More Mind-Blowing Moments and Memories

Ask your parents or older loved ones questions……now!

I lost my parents both in 2009.

I wish I had asked them so many things before they died. Simple things like what they were doing when JFK was shot. What they thought about the Civil Rights Movement. What was their first Pirate game like? Steeler game?

Also deeper questions like; advice for facing challenges in life, in business, in relationships. How did they keep going when finances were hard? Did they have a mentor? What did the mentor do or say that helped? Helpful books they read?

Certainly I wanted to hear more about their childhood, life, and family. They told me many stories but I didn’t always listen like I should have…..I would ask them more about my grandparents and relatives…..

I suggest that YOU take time, in the next 30 days, and ask your parents, grandparents, or older loved ones in your life – ask them about life! Do it now!

I didn’t know my parents would die that soon, certainly not within 5 weeks of one another. I also know of other families that ‘lose’ loved ones to Alzheimer’s and other mental challenges where the body is here but the memories are gone.

I hope your loved ones live long and healthy lives.

But I Challenge you to ask them some questions now.

—-

Credit: Brendon Burchard created his own list and that list inspired this list. This list below was created by Mark Evans. Want to give credit to Brendan for the inspiration.

TIP: I recommend that you hire a professional videographer to help you create a high-quality video that will be cherished and watched over and over. If too expensive, maybe get a friend that won’t be as emotional.

You can record this in any of the following ways:

  • Be there in person (I would love to do this but I’d start crying on the first questions. Truthfully not everyone is like this of course.)
  • If you’re far away from this person, call in on a speaker phone and ask the questions while they are being interviewed.
  • Or, have the videographer ask the questions and when they finish recording the answers, they can edit you asking the questions. (This is what I did)

Also, you should always have the person you’re interviewing re ask the question. Example:

YOU: “Where were you born and where did you grow up?”
THEM: “Where was I born and where did I grow up? [and then the answer]

Questions
1. State your name.
2. Tell me the date and year you were born.
3. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
4. Describe what your life was like growing up.
5. Tell me about your parents.
6.What do you remember most about your mother?
7. What do you remember most about your father?
8. How did your parents meet?
9. If they had a message to share with their grandchildren, what would it be?
10. What are your fondest memories of your childhood?
11. What are your fondest memories of your teenage years?
12. Tell me about how you met your spouse. (Where did you meet? How did you meet? How did you know they were the one you wanted to marry?)
13. How would you describe your spouse?
14. Tell me about your career. (How did you choose that career? What made you successful at it?)
15. Tell me about some of the best times in your life.
16. Tell me about some of the most difficult times in your life.
17. What helped you get through the difficult times?
18. What events in your life do you think most shaped your life?
19. How did having children change your life?
20. Tell me about what life was like when you had each child. (Repeat this question for every child the person had.)
21. How would you describe the life you lived?
22. What do you want to be remembered for?
23. What are your fondest memories in life, overall?
24. What are you most proud of in life?
25. If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you do differently?
26. If you could make any change to the world, what would it be?
27. What message would you like to share with your family?
28. What things do you want me to pursue in the future on your behalf to keep your legacy living?

Frey Freyday (Re-tooled): Parents

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)

UPDATE: I took time over the holidays to reflect and retool. Hopefully Freydays were missed and hopefully you now welcome the return:

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

I dedicate this first Frey Freyday/Word To Live By to my parents, Jim and Joan………..

par·ent (pâr′ənt, păr′-) -Parents can be any couple (or individual) that gives birth, adopts, acts as a guardian or otherwise raises a child. It takes almost no effort or care to be a father or mother. It takes lots of love, care, and attention to be a Mom or Dad. A parent provides unconditional love, guidance, listening, nurturing, protection, education, support, morals, values, resilience, commitment, leadership, humor, and ideas. Just like the child, the parent learns along the way too, they do their best. One of the hardest things for a parent to do is also the best thing a parent can do (eventually) and that’s give a child the gift of independence and eventually ‘let go’ and have faith in their child.

[Note: children will never really know what the love for a child is like until they are a parent]

——

One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad. -Jim DeMint

At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents. -Jane D. Hull


Respect your parents. What they tell you is true. Hard work, dedication and faith will get you anything. Imagination will drive itself. You can get anything you want, but you have to have faith behind all your ideas. Stick to your goals and have an undying faith. -Russell Simmons


How true Daddy’s words were when he said: all children must look after their own upbringing. Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. -Anne Frank


Children learn to smile from their parents.-Shinichi Suzuki

The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.-Benjamin Spock


We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.-Henry Ward Beecher


If at first you don’t succeed, blame your parents.-Marcelene Cox

When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.- Rodney Dangerfield

Interview Those You Love (Before They’re Gone)

Several years ago I lost both parents within 5 weeks of each other.

Among other things, I had a bunch of things I always wanted to ask them Things like, where were they when the landed on the moon? When Kennedy was shot? How did you overcome your business challenges? What did you fear most as a parent? How did you overcome your heartattack and get back into the workforce? What would you do differently as a parent?

….and many many more things. I wanted to ask them about their school experience more, other relatives, family details, etc.

Then recently I came upon this, and I wanted to share, I think it is something we never thinks about but we should.….

http://brendonburchard.tumblr.com/post/98560312858/interview-your-loved-ones-before-theyre-gone

From Brendon Burchard….

Full Transcript:

How do you honor people?

If you have loved ones who you’ve lost or you have people in your life right now who you just admire greatly, who are helping you out, who are influencing you in positive ways, how do you honor people?

In our society, especially in the Western culture it’s so much about giving them gifts, pay increases or sending them stuff.

But I actually want to talk about a different way that you can honor people that a lot of people from our audience who know this story always find meaningful. I think it would be so phenomenal an experience for your family members and for you in the future.

Maybe you know the story and maybe you don’t, but in 2009 on Mother’s Day, my dad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He’d been a pretty healthy guy, played racquetball and went bowling all the time, played golf and he was happy and healthy. But he woke up on Mother’s Day and he was walking down the hall of the house and my mom saw him drifting a little bit and said, ”What’s wrong with you?” He said, “I’m out of balance and it hurts here on my side.”

They went to the doctor and the doctor said that’s weird your spleen seems to be enlarged and they did a bunch of tests and found out he had acute myeloid leukemia.

It’s the kind of leukemia you definitely don’t want. You don’t want either, but that one is the one that tends to take people’s lives quickly. Dad went through a couple rounds of chemo and unfortunately they weren’t helping. They wanted to put him on a course of the third treatment but it was clear it wasn’t going to work, that would decimate his body, and he made the choice to go home and be at our house with Hospice care until the disease took him.

So, from diagnosis to death we had 59 days with dad and that was it.

I feel very lucky for those times. I had an amazing relationship with my dad as did my family. I love him so much and it was something that’s taken this many years to shoot a video about, because I used to not be able to control any of my emotions and I didn’t speak about it that much on stages for a long time, because it was such a huge emotional toll.

One thing I was happy about that I was able to do during that time is when we knew it was bad and that we might lose him, I happened to be away traveling… I was teaching a seminar to a few hundred people and he called to let me know the second course of chemo hadn’t worked and they didn’t know how long he would have. They were constantly saying, “You have a week left, a week, ten days, three days.” It just took his body so fast because what happens is the stem cells aren’t creating the white cells correctly and the white cells start hampering the body’s ability to function. They’re mutated with leukemia and it takes over your entire body just that fast.

I didn’t know if I would get to see him again or if I could get out there fast enough, so I asked him, “Dad, can I call you and interview you? I want to ask you some questions and record it.” He was in the hospital and just recovering having gone through the chemo and he said sure. I just didn’t know if I would get there fast enough. I called him back and used a free conference calling line, which you can Google and find that allows you to record. I called him and recorded it.

I asked him 30 questions or so about life and I’ve posted the link to those questions [click here to get the interview guide] and I’ve formatted it in a way where you could ask anyone in your life these questions. It’s just about getting to hear them talk about what’s important in their life.

  • What did they learn when they were young in adolescence?
  • How did their mother or father influence them?
  • What did they learn from their parents?
  • What did their grandparents want them to carry on?
  • What do they want you to know after they’re gone?
  • What do they want your brothers or sisters to know after they’re gone?
  • What values do they want to teach?
  • What do they want you to remember when the times are dark?

Just advice from this person that you love.

It was my dad, and he gave unbelievable advice. I would say from everything I own in my life now, this is the most treasured thing I have is this recording of Dad, just him talking about life.

It took me a long time to be able to listen to. If I listen to it, I completely get emotional about it, but at the same time I find it empowering and inspiring and it connects me back to him. It’s meaningful to me, too, because while you’re watching me on video now or listening to me in whatever format, in growing up, my dad, his generation just didn’t have any video. I don’t have that much existing video of my father at all outside a wedding, so this is one of the few remaining recordings I have of him.

It was a two-three hour conversation that really inspired me. One of the things he said in there is the reason I’m shooting this video. I asked him what he wanted his kids to always remember and we were talking a lot about it and he just said a few things, these seven things he was always telling us in some way or another throughout our lives and he was demonstrating. He’d say them, but he kind of strung them together in this thought and I keep returning to it over and over again. His seven legacy statements for us were:

  • Be yourself
  • Be honest
  • Do your best
  • Take care of your family
  • Treat people with respect
  • Be a good citizen
  • Follow your dreams

Those seven things, which were really his values and who he was in so many ways, and he said a lot of amazing things during the interview, but those things I carry with me and I’ve perpetuated over and over. I’d tell his message to all of my audiences. I’ve shared that on a quote card on my Facebook pagebefore and it literally got 40k likes in a week. I don’t know how many times it’s been shared now, but literally hundreds of thousands of times been seen by millions of people and it stunned me.

It reminded me that one of the best ways that we can honor somebody is to carry forth their values but not just to communicate them, not to just live them or have them, but to share with other people.

Maybe you had a grandparent who inspired you and you should tell people about that grandparent and what they told you about life and how to live a good life.

I think there isn’t a lot of conversation, amazingly, in our culture broadly and at an individual level about what it takes to live a good life.

People don’t talk about that as much anymore. Personal growth in terms of an industry seems to be declining, because now people can just get something for any time and everything is so immediate, less people reading books and that genre, less people engaging it seems like.

I’m blessed to have so much of a wave in this area of personal development with this YouTube show being so successful and my Facebook thing taking off and email list exploding over the past couple years. I can share with you that what makes those things meaningful is trying to share meaningful advice with people, meaningful insights and I think you can do that.

I think there have been people who have inspired you and the more you tell their story and tell people explicitly and directly, this is what they taught me the more we carry forth the legacy of those before us for future generations, the more we become standard bearers of what a good life is because if no one’s talking about it and if no one is communicating values as much anymore, we start to lose that.

And I think what’s happened is generation after generation has failed to hold the line of high standards in humanity.

We’re getting more and more lackadaisical with “anything is okay” and celebrating idiots on television, angry people or the smart bitter comment that jabs at somebody versus talking about what it takes to be a good person.

What does it take to live the ideal life? Obviously I’ve dedicated my life to that. This whole thing is about living your charged life. What would that feel like?One of the things to live a fully charged life is to honor the people in your life. I encourage you to interview them and completely steal my interview form and call someone you love and interview them. I think you’ll be surprised at some of the things you’ll learn and some of the tidbits they’ll give you, you can remind yourself. I carry them around in my wallet. I think about these things because they give a guidepost of behavior everyday to live up to, to live into your highest self; to live into those ideals and values.

There are lots of ways to honor someone. If they’re still with you, sometimes it can be as simple as calling them, taking them out to lunch, sitting them down, looking them directly in the eye and saying,

“I just wanted to spend a few minutes with you sharing how you’ve impacted my life. I just want to spend a few minutes with you telling you why you made such a difference for me. I want to share with you the values and maybe you never told me but I just see them in you, there’s something… Your strength and positivity or, your hope or your belief in me. You might not know it but it carried me through days that I didn’t think I could make it through. What you have told me I’m going to carry forth. What you help me do I’m going to help more people do.”

It’s in that perpetuation of goodness that we hold the line of the best that is in humanity, and I encourage you to do that.

It can be as simple as writing a letter to someone and professing to them, this is why I love you, care for you and admire you.

It can be as simple as shooting a video and sending it to them saying, “Hey, I just wanted you to know the impact that you’re making and I’m going to carry it forward.”

The number one way to honor someone is to carry their voice and values forward everyday through your behavior and explicitly through stories and advice and guidance of other people.

I think that’s the ultimate way to honor people, more than the fanfare of a fancy gift or if you have a great employee and giving them a raise, but to really celebrate somebody’s words and their noble character and what they have to share with other people, that is a magical way to make a difference, to perpetuate the goodness in humanity and to celebrate and honor someone who’s made a difference in your life.

————

Like this episode? Please share it with others. Let’s inspire others to live a fully charged life. The interview guide referenced in this video can be downloaded free here.

————

Feel free to share:

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

First, Happy Father’s Day!

I lost my dad in 2009. He was a great dad.

Growing up, many of my friends liked him because he joked around, remembered their names, and was friendly. I was sometimes embarrassed by my dad then and thought he talked too much. Now that I’m a father, I strive to be like him. I am sometimes a bit silly with my daughters’ friends and I like to play jokes on them. I try to smile a lot like my father did. I’m sure my daughters get embarrassed by me now and then, but that’s OK.

I had the opportunity to work with my dad in a family business. We also traveled together on business trips. Looking back, I really feel fortunate for having done this with him. I gained so much. Years later having worked in many other business environments with many other managers, I know that my dad was giving, gracious, helpful and good boss. In life and in business, my dad gave me some guidance but also gave independence so that I would learn on my own, even if it meant having failures or mistakes come my way. He made his own mistakes and took risk, and he shared many of those lessons with me.

I look back and shake my head at those times I was embarrassed by him, times that I was impatient or angry at him. I used to feel sorry for myself because everyone always asked about my dad and not about me. My ego got in the way. I often felt that his ‘shoes were hard to fill’ and I felt inadequate in his shadow.

Today I just miss having him around.

The other day I saw someone cutting down a tree with a chainsaw. The saw dust, sound and smell triggered a moment when my father and I were cutting down a tree one hot summer day, years ago. The saw dust was sticking to our sweaty arms and we were moving the logs and branches around. I think we polished the evening off with a cold, refreshing iced tea and a nice walk with our dog Greta down the road we lived on, which was lined by large Scotch Pine trees. There was a gentle whisper as the warm summer breeze blew through the pine branches.  I was glad that I was in the moment then. I try to be in the moment now with my own daughters; you never know what or which memory will stick with you.

If your dad is still around, tell him how you really feel and share a good memory with him, then go create a new one with him.

If your dad is gone, give thanks and share a good memory with someone else, and then go create a new one with someone you care about.

Best regards,

Jim

Dad taught me everything I know. Unfortunately, he didn’t teach me everything he knows.
Al Unser

To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.
Euripides

It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
Anne Sexton

My Story, Chapter 5

Continued….

…Fast forward a few years…..After our firm lost 90% of our income from the one factory going direct nationwide, I struggled a few years finding what the next step was and despite the fact that I was working full time I didn’t take any salary the first year after we lost the big chunk of income. I was working and acting on faith. I had saved and invested for the past few years and I’m glad that I did because I was able to live off that while I rebuilt the business. My father had retired and I was running the business full time.

I had to search and find companies and products that I could represent and sell that would start to replace that income. It was a scary and exciting time. It was easier perhaps, because I had few responsibilities. There were some ups and downs in the business and in the economy but life was good for a single guy.

I had a great group of friends from college with which I still hung out. We called ourselves the Dudes. Now, after college, life and work sometimes got in the way. However, we still found time for roadtrips, parties, and other fun things. I have lots of good memories of laughs, practical jokes, talking, hanging out, traveling.

So one summer, our next fun thing was the Jimmy Buffett concert. I didn’t even like Jimmy Buffett but it was a chance to hang out with my friends and to have some fun in the sun……in a parking lot somewhere outside of Pittsburgh. So we packed into my white mini-van and drove. We sat in the parking lot and tail-gated. Frankly I don’t think that I even went in to watch the concert……

So we were partying, having fun…. Just as you do when you tailgate, we were walking around, mingling, and others were coming around to our spot. There I saw Jill again. (Jill was a friend from college who was always nice to talk with … I knew some of the people she dated and she knew some of the people I dated during college)..For the past 2 years, Jill was away at graduate school in North Carolina. Now back in town, she was with her sisters at the concert.

The concert came and went. A few weeks later my buddy from Maryland asked the Dudes to a hotel in Pennsylvania while they were in town for a wedding. For whatever reason, I faxed Jill to let her know we were going there and she was welcome to meet us. (before texting and email, faxing was an easy way to communicate-AOL was still in the early stages) At that point I still thought of Jill as a friend and I wanted to include her with my other close friends.

Jill came and we all had a good time. The next day everyone went their separate ways. Jill and I decided to go have lunch at Wendy’s. I don’t know what was in the Frosty that day but we laughed and had a good time. I made dumb jokes and she laughed. Something had clicked from the evening before. Somewhere in there we decided that we were fond of each and we began to date.

It was a different feeling, it was an attraction, sure, but it was also a head and heart sort of thing. I recall saying to myself, “She’s pretty, smart, funny. We’re good friends, I respect her, I have a great time with her, we can talk about things, we have great families.” I hadn’t seen it before that moment but we were a great fit. We liked spending time with each other and trusted one another. We could talk about anything. There were feelings there. From what started as an immature relationship as friends in college grew to that of young adults taking on life together.

I never looked back after that point. In my younger years I had been fickle and immature with some relationships. But when I thought about dating Jill, I thought, “Yes, this works, this makes sense, this feels right.” The relationship hit all cylinders; my mind, heart and body. I no longer considered dating others and no longer became distracted.

I continued to work in the business and tried to find the right fit for a company to represent. I found another company with a great product but it turned out the owner was taking all the profits and buying boats, etc. and didn’t bother to pay the bills. It’s tough for a manufacturing company to run when you don’t pay for the machinery. That company closed and I again had to start over. I found another company with really good people but their product line was limited and they started having quality issues. Soon because of customer feedback and quality issues, I split with them. It all started to work away at my credibility, since I was switching product lines.

I learned a lot about people, perserverance and life during that time. Many people stuck with me because of my dad, some because of me, some because of the product and / or service. Others took off in a heartbeat after years of working together and after giving them lots of free consulting and help.

I confess that I took some of these things personally, and my ego was bigger then, so it was tough. Plus I suddenly was earning much less despite working long hours, traveling many miles, and driving a white minivan. (A mini-van wasn’t great for a single guy in his mid-twenties!)

Cool, neat, little things happened to us when we were together….for instance one time we got bumped from a flight while we were flying to Florida. We got free first class tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. So we picked the farthest point that sounded great – San Diego. We traveled to San Diego and experienced lots of great things – with trips to L.A. and Mexico. We again had cool experiences together there. San Diego grew on us.

Jill and I dated for a while but we didn’t want to wait too long to be married. We also didn’t really want all the big ‘fuss’ for our wedding. You see, the year we decided to get married, there were 15 other weddings…..we were invited to all 15. Jill and I were in about 7 of them, including her two sisters. It was crazy! Just think, we spent at least $50 (usually more) for a wedding, plus hotel and travel. That was an expensive year! Most of those weddings were crammed into September-December.

At first we were going to elope to the Outer Banks and come home married. But we decided not to do so, our families might have had hurt feelings, etc. So we decided to have a much smaller and elegant wedding. We wanted to pay for it all ourselves. I got a second job selling alarm systems. One large project paid for some of the reception, another paid for most of the honeymoon. Jill worked a second job and saved money for the wedding and other things. Our parents still wanted to help, so my parents helped by adding and upgrading the food. Jill’s parents helped with the wedding dress and photography.

Still, it felt good to pay for most of it ourselves. I was self-employed and I had decided to start attending the evening MBA program at Pitt. I enjoyed it but the classes after work were a bit tough, as were the payments. I did take out a loan for some of it and I tried to pay for some as I went.

After about a year, my new wife and I saved some money, used a small gift from my parents, and built a small Cape Cod. It was nice and simple. The upstairs and basement were left unfinished to save on dough. We were happy.

The thing about all of it was this- we were tight financially for some time. I actually had to ‘lean’ on my wife for 1-2 years as I rebuild the business, she often made more during the volatile time for me. Then I kept growing it.. She believed in me and I in her. Jill and her sisters were running a large child care center that eventually would have 80+kids.

(At this point I began to think about something that I’d see observe and feel for the rest of my life – it seemed that I was reaching out for a job, an opportunity, something that I was definitely capable of doing well – but I was pushed back. I think in some way I was being pushed or pulled back to where I was supposed to go. Maybe something inside of me or part of me was guiding me. Maybe it was God or something else. But so many times we all experience it – ‘that job would be great and I can do it ‘ then you apply and get smacked back royally. Maybe there’s a reason….almost like we’re being guided back onto the right path….)

I found some stability with my own business and really started to enjoy the MBA program. Many cool things were happening in our lives. Small things like the fact we got upgraded to a Penthouse suite with 3 bathrooms, a dining room with 10 chairs, full kitchen, den, living room, and skyline veranda in Toronto…..Big things like getting pregnant – we were expecting our first child!

Then I had a chance to move onto a totally different career. I got a job as an intelligence analyst. I felt like Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s series. I started working for the U.S. Department of Justice and I liked it for a while.

Leaving a cushy job – a good idea or bad idea?……..

%d bloggers like this: