“Everyone fails at who they are supposed to be.”

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my story. Over 3 years to be exact. This may not be an account of history but more so the joys and struggles of owning a business and being a father and husband and trying to stay happy and motivated.

I started this journey not knowing where it would take me. Hoping that one day I would be able to support myself and my future family. Hoping for an easy life of happiness and carefree living.

After 14 years I have those things. I’ve had more success and more failure as a small business owner than I have in all of my life. I’ve never worked longer harder hours in my life. But it’s all worth it.

Are there things I would change if I could go back? Absolutely. But that’s part of the journey. Had the highs and lows not come my way I wouldn’t be sitting in this ergonomical chair in my awesome office writing this update of my career.

Now with two kids and working from home and managing time and space with them is tough. I’ve had to make a lot of changes to my personal life as well as my business life. Coming to the realization that the climb to the top is not a real thing. That’s some thing that exists in your personal mind. Success is what you make it. It’s defined differently by many people.

For me it’s being able to raise my children and watch them grow. Not many parents have the chance to be home with their children every day. That’s REALLY cool. On some days it doesn’t seem like such a great thing but overall I know I have an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get.

As I sit here writing this I have a huge list of things to do. I have sessions every night this week and weddings almost every weekend and commercial shoots happening all over the place. It’s awesome!

So if everything is great then there shouldn’t be any issues right?

Realizing I hit goals that I thought I wouldn’t reach until I was further a long in life raised the question of “What now?” I have the woman of my dreams, the home of my dreams, the dream job and gorgeous tiny babies and HEALTH.

This day and age is tough for a small business owner. Watching so many people who I love and admire as entrepreneurs closing their businesses (for whatever reasons). It makes you think “when will that be me?” or “am I not good enough?” or “why do I deserve this?”

Those questions and more can weigh heavy after a while and it really made me rethink what I was doing with my life. Climbing the ladder to the “top”. Reaching for a success that I had already achieved. Running faster to try to surpass others. And to what end? For what? To laugh at those who said I couldn’t do it? To spite my competitors who try to steal my work and put me down? It’s not worth the stress.

Rather than reaching for insane goals and looking at what everyone else is doing or racing toward, I decided to start looking inward. I’ve made a choice to not follow the negativity. I’ve always chosen to clear my own path. Sometimes it’s harder to hack your way through the thick brush rather than walking the nicely worn path made by others. But this is the path I’ve always taken.

Over the years I’ve seen things I can’t unsee and have heard things I can’t un-hear. I hate that some times people can be so ugly to each other. Ignorance can truly be bliss sometimes. But at the same exact time I’m also glad that I’ve had the opportunity to see people for who they truly are. I’ve always enjoyed the realness in people. Those are the people to hold close.

“Everyone Fails at who they are supposed to be. The measure of a hero is how they succeed at who they are.” -Frigga

Over the past couple years I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. And in this transition I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve let those frustrating moments get the better of me. I’ve let people who mean nothing to me bring out the worst in me.

But I think that acknowledging the fact that I’m not perfect was the first step; along with coming to the realization that maybe some legends are nothing more than folklore. I’m now choosing to not care about titles or accolades as much. I’m choosing to keep my head down and my mouth shut and putting all of my energy into my friends and family and myself…

Myself… without that I have nothing. Without a clear head the inner dialogue can get loud. Who doesn’t have crippling anxiety or depression these days? Luckily I’ve never felt those things until later in life. But allowing the negativity will allow these negative mental disorders to fester. Doctors will throw meds at you. Self help books are blah. So what now? It’s simple, yet SO hard. But what it boils down to is being selfish. Taking time for yourself to do the things you LOVE. For me it’s been getting outside. Hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, backpacking. These things have become my Zoloft. Since meds made me feel like a crazy person. (I’m not ashamed to talk about these things- it helps to bring it to light.)

2019 may have been one of my best/ worst years for self reflection. I’ve never experienced my anxiety and depression more deeply. I was losing sleep and unhappy and basically a mess internally, but I didn’t give up on the things I was doing. I kept taking time off. In fact, I upped my dose of self help and took more time off. I put myself in a “cave” and shut the door. I didn’t want to go to networking functions. I didn’t want to go mix and mingle. All I wanted to do was the things that made me happy. And to be completely honest. I feel SO much better after pushing those things aside.

Over the years we’ve lost so many amazing people. One in particular was Steve Jobs. When he died he reflected on his life. It was a life to be admired. He had so much success and so much wealth and so many fans but in the end he regretted not spending more time with his kids. Like so many others who have passed. I look at those statements and think to myself “Self, if these insanely successful people die and realize that all the money was for nothing THEN WHY ARE YOU WORKING SO HARD?” One thing my wife Loren always says is “No one died thinking, I should have done more dishes or I wish I had done more laundry.” So who cares if the house is a mess- go out and do what makes you happy!

Let me step down for one quick second and make the point that I’m not quitting my job or putting my life over my work or my work over my life. Rather instead I’m giving each their own individual space. I used to think that I needed to work MORE. Now I find the constant battle between my work life and my fun life is what makes it all work. When I’m working I’m thinking about the next adventure and when I’m adventuring I’m not thinking about anything. So when it comes time to get back to work there’s SO much more motivation.

So, where does this extremely long winded story go? I have no freaking clue. I just hope that maybe one person who reads this at 2am while they are working their fingers to the bone will put their laptop down and go to bed and snuggle their kids or their wife or dog or whatever. And the person sitting at a table full of friends will put their phone down and join the conversation. And the person laying under a pile of blankets sobbing uncontrollably bc they are feeling feelings SO deep that’s their only choice will know that it CAN be better.

The thing to remember is that this is not for your family. This is not for your children. This is for you. Be selfish. Do what makes you happy. No matter how small of an act. You have to have a “put your mask on first” mentality. Bc when your plane is crashing you’ll be no good to anyone if you’re unconscious.

Be nice. Be kind. Don’t be an asshole. Lift people up rather than put them down. Life is a crazy journey and we are all living it. So there’s no need to be such a downer. Next time someone does you wrong. Instead of firing back maybe ask them “Why?” Maybe they didn’t realize what they were doing. Or maybe they did and it was a mistake made of desperation bc something deeper is going on in their life. Or maybe they just suck as a person. Either way being human is more important than being a hero.

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