I’m sitting on a couch in a big empty mansion.  This place is insane.  It’s in the middle of nowhere in a very small town called Myrtle, Mississippi.  I’m here with the Barbell Shrugged team for a team retreat.  We periodically get together for a couple of days, hang out and talk about personal and company goals.  Since the team is spread out all across the Country, it’s nice to get everyone together every once in a while to catch up and just hang out. I have no idea why this enormous house was built here, and everyone on the team has been speculating about how it came to be built on this 800 acre plot of land.  I’ve never stayed in a house like this before, so it’s really a pretty awesome experience.  Here’s a picture of the Library. Yes, Library.  It even has one of those ladders on a track that you can move around the room to get books off of the top shelf.  There is also a Study directly across the hallway from the Library.  When we first got here, I wondered if we were going to be playing a real life game of Clue. It’s the first week of January, so a lot of people are reflecting on 2016, and thinking about what needs to be done in 2017.  It’s been a crazy year, and a lot of people are excited to be saying farewell to 2016.  There were indeed a lot of sad things happening in 2016, but I’m choosing to stay focused on all of the awesome things that happened over the... read more

If You Want Something Put It Out There

One big and important thing I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that if you want something to happen then you have to put it out there.  You have to tell people what you want to happen.  If you don’t, nobody will ever know and nothing will ever happen.  Sure there might be a rare occasion where someone notices you need something and offers it to you, but most of the time if nobody knows what you want to do they aren’t going to ask you to do that thing or give you that thing that you want.  You’re just gonna be sitting around and waiting for it….and that’s not cool. Being an INFP, I tend to just sit back and do my own thing and if someone needs me for something I’m just going to wait for them to include me.  Everyone knows everything about me and what I’m capable of already, right?  Why should I worry about telling them I can do something?  If they wanted me to help them with something, they’d ask me, right?  NO!  You MUST tell them! Insert random Dexter reference here, if you want something, take it: This can be REALLY hard sometimes for someone that isn’t very confident or just has a hard time realizing that they really do have something to offer to whatever their current situation may be or whatever project they are working on. At Barbell Shrugged, we’ve just launched the Shrugged Strength Challenge.  This was by far the most awesome website and project I’ve ever worked on.  Mostly because I LOVE working with my fellow... read more

Skateboarding and Life

When I was a kid and through my teenage years and early 20’s I loved skateboarding (still do).  I use to say that it was a way of life.  A way of life that was mine.  I once got paid $500.00 by my grandmother to spend some time with my great grandmother while my grandmother went out of town.  I think I was 16 at the time.  I spent every last penny at Cheapskates, the local skate shop in Memphis.  I bought clothes, shoes, decks, wheels, stickers, sex wax, all kinds of stuff.  It’s a memory that I’ll carry with me forever.  I was happy and I didn’t care what anyone else thought.  Every once in awhile I will come across a senior picture I took in high school. and I’m wearing a shirt that I bought that day with my $500.00.  I immediately think back to that day that I’ll never forget and smile.  Those were fun days.  We did whatever we wanted.  We had a car, skateboards, and a very small amount of cash.  Who could stop us?  As long as we (sort of) told our parents where we were, we were good. There were 3 of us, me, Phillip and Todd.  Sometimes my friend Matt’s little brother Sam would tag along with us.  We liked to call him “little guy” because he was younger.  These were some of the coolest guys.  Some of the best friends I have ever had in my life.  We went to a Southern Baptist High School, and since we liked long hair, skateboards and rock music just about everyone thought we... read more

JLA: Rock of Ages

I just finished the (Justice League) JLA:  Rock of Ages by DC Comics on the suggestion of a good friend of mine after watching Batman v. Superman.  There was a lot of it that I just did not understand, but overall it was absolutely amazing.  I am going to have to go back and reread it to try to get more understanding of what was going on.  The timeline was a little hard for me to follow since this was my first real comic book reading and I do not really have any knowledge of the character history and such outside of movies and/or TV shows.   There were a lot of things that peaked my interest as I read this book. The biggest thing was probably the writing of Grant Morrison.  I’m guessing that is the reason the book was a little hard for me to keep up with.  I think Morrison is famous for his “nonlinear narratives” (according to wikipedia anyway).  I wasn’t ready for the “out of the box” ideas that are inside this book, and it kind of took me by surprise.  This is nothing like a superhero movie you would go watch at the theater.  It’s pretty heavy.  You are forced to think about other dimensions, time travel, other universes, worlds, and much much more. Things that we don’t normally think about on a regular basis.  Even if it’s just imagination it’s REALLY fun to think about and read about.  So much so that some pages take 2 or 3 times to read over before you really get what is going on and will... read more

Falling Down and Getting Up

I walked out into my garage last night and tripped over something.  I fell hard on the concrete and it hurt.  In that moment it occurred to me that if you want to be successful you have to be able to take big risks.  You can’t be afraid of falling.  You are going to fall hard and you are going to fall often.  In the past my fear of falling has put limits on what I want to do.  What do we learn from skateboarding?  Fall hard, fall hard, fall hard, fall hard, fall hard….get back up and try again.  You might eventually make the trick you are after.  You might not.  You’ll learn something from it though.  So…go full speed and give it everything you’ve got.  Don’t be afraid of falling.  I think this lesson is going to be good for me not just with skateboarding but everywhere else in my... read more

Be a Hero

My friend and Barbell Shrugged teammate Chris Norman aka “CTP” has had this slogan for a while, “Reign Supreme.”  I have always thought that was super cool. It seems like something one could use as a measuring stick or filter for everything that they do.  If at any moment you wonder if you should be doing what you are doing you could simply ask yourself if this thing is in alignment with your motto.  For example, “Does this seem like I’m Reigning Supreme?”   Anyway, ever since I first saw the “Reign Supreme” slogan appear on merchandise or graphics on the website I knew I wanted something like that of my own that I could use to keep my own behavior and decisions in check. Whenever I have downtime I like listening to podcasts.  I was encouraged by my friend AJ Roberts to listen to a couple of episodes of a podcast called 10x Talk.  A couple of weeks ago I was out mowing my lawn and decided to listen to this one episode of 10x Talk called “The 3 Pillars of Confidence.”  Around 38:30 in that podcast is where I really started to pay attention and I got really excited.  Dan Sullivan starts talking about this concept of picking “who you want to be a hero to.”  You really need to listen to this podcast but here are a couple of quotes that really got me thinking: Align your great activities with a type of individual that you truly and always want to be a hero to. My only commitments in life are to people that I actually want... read more

The Gap

Do you sometimes find yourself worrying or stressing out over where you want to be and where you are right now?  I know I do.  If you’re like me,  you can sometimes feel like where you want to be is so far away from where you are now that you will never be able to get there. Maybe you want to open a business or maybe you want to make a certain amount of money. Maybe right now your goals seem so far out of reach that you won’t ever be able to achieve them.  Your goals will always shift and they will always be out there in the future.  They may sometimes or always seem unreachable.  I learned an awesome exercise from my friend AJ Roberts that can really help you change your mindset and will help you learn how to really get your head in the right place so that you aren’t focusing on all of the things you haven’t achieved yet. Enter “The Gap” The gap is that space between where you are right now and where you want to be.  If we focus on that gap it can be bad for us.  We need to think more about what we have accomplished.  What are our “wins?”  Just how far have we come?  This exercise will help you think more positively about yourself and your goals. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have right now, this exercise helps you see all of the great things you have done to get you where you are right now. This in turn will help you think positively about the future and instead... read more

The Ocean…

“You don’t have to stray The oceans away Waves roll in my thoughts Hold tight the ring… The sea will rise… Please stand by the shore…” What is it about the ocean?  The last few months, for me, have been absolutely insane.  Life changing.  I’ve been stressed.  I’ve been worried.  I’m not going to lie, the last few months have been tough!  My awesome Wife has been talking about a trip to the beach for a while now.  Honestly, I never thought I’d go. I thought maybe I’d just let the family go and stay home and work.  I gotta tell you, that would have been a bad decision. We got to the condo, and my son wanted to go right to the beach.  I went with him.  I sat down and watched him swim in the ocean.  An immediate calm came over me.  I realized that I needed to be on this trip.  I needed to hear the waves crashing on the beach. Sitting there watching my Son play in the ocean, I couldn’t have a negative thought.  There could be no negative thoughts.  None of the things that bother me or that I worry about every day mattered.  Nothing mattered except us, here, playing in the ocean and having a great time.  I’m so glad I’m here. I’m not sure what the lesson is here other than make sure you take time for yourself and your family and enjoy nature.  I’ve gotten a ton of work done since we’ve been here too.  I’m totally inspired by the ocean.  I’ve decided I need to make a trip to... read more

How To Use Email To Be More Productive

A couple of months ago a friend of mine told me about a way he manages his inbox that he called “Inbox Zero.”  This really grabbed my attention because my email inbox was full with thousands and thousands of emails.  Some read, some not read, and lots of junk.  When I visualized a completely empty inbox it was a little like daydreaming about winning the lottery.  Something that would be really nice, but it was just never going to happen.  However, here I sit writing this article and I’ve had an empty inbox for over a month now.  I check email only two times per day and end every day with an empty inbox.  I am going to show you exactly how I do it and how I made this happen. Let me start by telling you about my old way of “doing email.”  First, I never deleted anything out of my inbox and I constantly checked my email.  If something came into my inbox and someone was requesting something from me I would immediately respond or start working on what they wanted me to do (<—psst that’s a key point).  For years I took pride in the fact that I was “always available” and would answer emails so quickly.  I let my inbox drive my day and decide what I was going to work on.  I basically let everyone else decide what I was going to work on and how I was going to spend my time.  Over the years, this method led to what I have come to call the “Shotgun Method” of working.  That is, multi-tasking on overdrive,... read more

Happy New Year!

2015 is here.  This has been and will most likely always be one of the most important years of my life.  I have had so many great learning experiences and learned so much about myself in the last year.  I have tried to start new businesses, seen success in some things and lots of failures in other things.  I have experienced frustration, anxiety, excitement, happiness and a whole host of other emotions.  So many people have helped me and made me smile.  Some have really frustrated me.  I have listened to audiobooks, sought advice from mentors, listened to that advice, taken online courses, and absorbed all kinds of other knowledge bombs.  I have watched my kids grow.  My son learned how to tie his shoes.  My youngest daughter is learning how to put words together, and my oldest daughter has been killing it in the gym.  Most of all, my awesome wife has supported me in all of these experiences.  I am an extremely lucky individual. I am imagining myself reading this post about a year and a half ago.  Sitting in my leather chair at my 9-5/corporate job, poking around on reddit, monitoring servers, and waiting for 4pm to roll around so I could go home.  Waiting for the next payday so I could get that big paycheck.  Big paychecks are cool.  Security.  I wish that somehow I could go have a meeting with that guy sitting in that chair.  Go back in time.  Give him advice, and tell him what to do.  Tell him to get off his ass and go do what he loves to do, or rather, figure... read more