Leap of Faith

Today I decided that I’m leaving Michigan State University for the first time in 16 years. I’ve spent the past 16 years walking around this campus in some capacity and today the decision was made that it was time for me to try something else. I’ve accepted the Associate Director position at Skypoint Ventures.

I’m excited and terrified all rolled into one.

Michigan State University has played an integral role in my development personally and professionally. I’ve often told people that all great opportunities that I’ve had in my life have come from a Spartan in some form or another. But I’ve decided to leave that comfortable feeling of East Lansing and pursue an unknown path.

Let me be clear in saying that this decision was not made based on something MSU didn’t do. This decision came about from all the things that MSU DID do for.

Never have I been around an environment that has challenged me to innovate and grow. Encouraged me to ask questions and look for a better way or taken me out of my comfortable zone by pushing my toes to the edge.

I’m grateful for the people I’ve worked with at MSU; they’ve all taught me so much along the way. This is an exciting time for me and my family and a great start to a new chapter of life

An Inch or a Yard – Doesn’t Matter Just Move the Ball Forward

That’s it; I’ve reached the finish line.

Today marks day and post number 30 for my 30 blog post in 30 days challenge I levied against myself last month and the process taught me so much but if I had to choose the most important thing I learned over the last month, it was an increase of self-awareness.

I began to dig deeper into conversation or things I’ve read and reflect on how certain topics have been a part of my life. I started to see that there are learning experiences baked into our everyday lives and it’s our job to look for and apply them to our day to day existence.

Writing everyday also helped me refocus my discipline; I knew I had to write something every day for myself. That discipline created a freedom for me for how I’m using my time and allowed me to trim away nonessential behavior more easily.

Overall, it’s been awesome and I suggest that everyone try something like this. Try to challenge yourself to do something every day for a month. Do it for yourself and no one else. Find the motivation within and stop relying on external factors to be your driving force. At the end of the day you’re in charge of moving yourself forward. It doesn’t matter if you move the ball forward an inch or a yard, it only matters that it’s moving forward.

“Some quit due to slow progress. Never grasping that slow progress ……is progress.”

Options and Opportunties

Options and opportunities

Two of my favorite words.

I love the process of looking and creating more options and opportunities for myself and for other people. The part that trips most people up is that once you do uncover options and opportunities they come with a lot of work and sacrifice. Nothing great is going to come easy or without having to make extremely tough decisions.

Biz Stone, co-founder of twitter says you have to architect the circumstances for opportunities and that requires your ability to take risk, audit your circle of influence, constantly evolve your ideas and communicate more than you think.

“Some people think of opportunity the way it’s defined in the dictionary—as a set of circumstances that make something possible—and they talk about it as if it just arrives organically. You ‘spot opportunity’ or wait around for ‘opportunity to knock.’ I look at it differently. I believe that you have to be the architect of the circumstances—that opportunity is something you manufacture, not something you wait for.”

The creation of opportunities comes from you putting yourself in the right situations with the right people. I like to refer to something I call the dumbest guy in the room concept. If you’re consistently in rooms with people smarter than you then you’re going to always be learning and having conversations that can make you better and open doors.

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities” – Bruce Lee


source -http://99u.com/workbook/42481/the-best-opportunities-are-the-ones-you-create-for-yourself




You’ve Got to Pay the Price by Vince Lombardi

This post was originally written by Vince Lombardi in the late 1960’s as a part of a program for national rental car on what it takes to be No.1.  It hung on the wall of my dad’s wall while he was in high school and he recently gave it to me.

Winning isn’t a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Wining is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game and that is first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do and to win and to win and to win.

Every time a football player goes out to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up –from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s OK. You’ve got to be smart to by No 1 in any business. But more important, you’ve got to play with your heart – with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.

Running a football team is no different from running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party, a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel, I don’t think it is.

It’s a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they’re there – to compete. They know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The objective is to win- fairly, squarely, decently, by the rule – but to win.

And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the disciple. There is something in good men that really yearns for, needs, discipline and the harsh reality of head-to-head combat.

I don’t say these things because I believe in the ‘brute’ nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap

If you’ve watched some of the NCAA tournament you get understanding that sometimes you are going to lose even when you’ve done everything exactly how you game planned for it. You’ll be a situation where (to use basketball terms) good offense beats good defense.

The Wisconsin vs Xavier game was a perfect example of it. The kid from Wisconsin hits a fall away three pointer at the buzzer for the win. It’s a ridiculously hard shot to make when you’re alone practice, let alone doing when you have a defender in your face, 20,000 people watching and the fate of your season riding on it.

But it happens and all you can do is tip your cap.

Tipping your cap doesn’t that you’re not pissed off or hurt by the loss, it’s not a way of downplaying the emotions that come along with being on the short end of the stick. Tipping your cap isn’t a concession, it’s the most respectful way to say you got me today but I’ll be back.

Your cynical response….sucks

“Just living the dream” or “Just another day in paradise”

These are starting to become standard answers when you ask people how they are doing around the work place.   There seems to be an overall unhappiness about what a day of work looks like and I’m not sure if it’s centered around the actually work that has to be done, the other people you deal with or general unhappiness.

The thing that strikes me the most is that people seem generally resigned to being in a situation where they are unhappy when the opportunities for finding something you enjoy are out there. I get it that change is a scary thing but so is living an unhappy life that you dread.

The projection of cynicism is an epidemic. It acts as a snowball of negativity and soon than later it’s gathered momentum and becomes impossible to stop.

I’ve never seen an expiration date on change.

You always have the option of finding something that you’re truly excited about it.

The Important Thing is to Not Stop Questioning

When did you stop asking questions?

I’m not sure how many of you have a small child at home, but I do and I can attest to the fact that he asks no less than 100 questions per day, every day.  While it can be a tad irritating when you start going down the rabbit hole of him saying “why” to everything I say, I’ve come to the realization that it’s my duty to foster that curiosity.

I’ve become fascinated by the notion that at some point we all had that curious nature that made us ask questions and dive deeper into learning.  But there had to be a tipping point where we started to just blindly accept that the things being told to us or the things we read were fact and shouldn’t be questioned.

If you want to easily unlock opportunities to make change, than you all you need to do is ask “Why?”

This one question forces an immediate reflection into what you’re doing and if the purpose is beneficial.

The inability or lack of desire to ask questions ensures that things remain status quo and puts an immediate road block in front of development.  You owe it to yourself to revert back to the four year old child inside you and start asking “why?”. 

If not, you commit to forming assumptions based on what other people are telling you. One of my favorite quotes from Gary Vaynerchuk is “If you want to be an anomaly, you have to act like one.”

Ask your question and you might feel like a fool in the short term, or don’t ask your question and you may remain ignorant forever.


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