I was recently leaving a luncheon in Des Moines, when an individual approached me and started talking about business.
After only 2 minutes of conversing, and with multiple interruptions to my answering his questions, he declared, “What qualifies you to run a company?”
An emotional response to his aggressive questions would have warranted a defensive maneuver.
But, this was a moment for stoicism.
“I’m probably not qualified. But who really is at this stage?”
This was not the answer he wanted.
He immediately jumped into asking about my academic background, mentioning his PhD work before awaiting my response.
“English degree. 2-time college dropout. Poker player. I get beat up throughout each week, physically and mentally, inside and outside of a boxing ring.”
Again, not the answer he wanted.
He quickly jumped into giving me advice on how we need engineers who live and breathe the technologies. We need specialists to run the company.
“Everyone can write,” he stated.
At that moment, I decided he had taken enough of our time. I ended the conversation (even though he followed and tried to continue his questioning) with a simple belief.
“I’d rather be able to communicate on a broad list of topics, than to provide an expert opinion on a narrow list of topics.”
I’m fine being the dumbest person on any team. I’ll always be striving to learn more, do more, and be more.
A jack of all trades, master of none.
I was naive; didn’t even understand where shortstop was. But I walked onto the field. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand the basics to improv. But I improvised. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand brush techniques. But I painted. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand how to hold the drumsticks. But I drummed. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand the card types. But I entered FNM. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand NLHE. But I paid. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand how to write with structure. But I wrote. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand how depression and anxiety could cloud every judgment. But I held onto will. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand how the world could hold so many views. But I traveled. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand how to throw a proper punch. But I stepped into the ring. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand how Iowa had so much beauty. But I returned. And I learned.
I was naive; didn’t even understand the effort it took to launch a company. But I did. And I learned.
I’m naive; don’t even understand how to climb. But I’ll ascend. And I’ll learn.
I’m naive; don’t even understand where life is taking me. But I’m moving forward. And I’ll learn.
My life revolves around timed and untimely chaos. Some days, I ask myself what the hell I'm doing. But no matter how chaotic the days become, I know I must move forward. And upward.
In summer 2012, I had just moved to Denver and knew I wanted to get up a mountain. With the help of a team of 3 friends (Eddie, Michael, and Connor), we made the full trek up Mount Evans (14,265).
Again in 2015, and with my favorite adventurer, Mikayla, we hiked up and around Lake Lugano, Switzerland, I came to realize the views are worth the trek.
In my selfish pursuit to (temporarily, possibly) leave Earth at some point in my life, I first feel I must take in a few more of the magnificent views from up top, here within this small planet.
Now, just days before my 30th birthday, I sit here and prepare for my biggest personal, non-venture-related challenge yet. So, here it is.
4 Years. 4 Mountains.
Official Hashtag is #4yrs4mts
In 2018, and with the commitment from my favorite adventurer, Mikayla, we will trek up a Colorado 14er to kick off this challenge on home soil.
In 2019, and also with the commitment from Mikayla, we will together climb Mt Kilimanjaro (19,341).
In 2020, and with a team, the tentative target is Denali (Mt McKinley), the highest mountain peak in North America (20,310).
In 2021, and with a full team, it's Everest (29,029). I need that view from my own eyes. Once accomplished, having been at that point, closest to outer space with my own 2 feet on the ground, I'll be ready when the time comes, to get out of our gravity.
Preparation. Goodbye, Alcohol and Sugar.
"Fitness is the first step to greatness," states Justin Kan, Founder of Twitch.
In the day-to-day, helping run multiple ventures, every moment can seem demanding. That's because it is. I've stated before, boxing helps keep my mind and body (in that order) in check. To really ramp up my fitness and preparation for all ventures to become more demanding, and the mountains kicking my ass, I'm committing to the following fitness and dieting, beginning July 20:
I'm in good shape as I hit 30, and I'm thankful for a body able to take punches, stress, pressure, cuts, scrapes, bruises, stitches, and still without major broken bones. I'm thankful for a mind able to understand and deal with depression and anxiety, and the understanding that most of the best results in life come from the toughest decisions.
If you believe the view is worth the climb, don't quit.