Gratitude

gratitude - Gratitude

This has been on my mind for quite some time. Each day over the next 32 days I am going to share about ONE person for whom I am grateful.

DAY ONE: As long as this list of wonderful people is, it simply cannot start with anyone but my mother. I recall being in tears one day when Skyler was about 3. It was overwhelming raising a little boy by myself. I called my mother and she, of course, helped me through it. Here I am, 17 years later, reflecting on that moment. It puts everything into perspective. She raised SIX kids by herself. I genuinely can’t imagine anyone who’s more giving, more forgiving, or more supportive of their children. I will forever be grateful to my amazing mother for a BILLION different reasons. Love you, Momma! 🙂

The number of times I have visited my dad about SOMETHING related to whatever business I am working on – customers, employees, clients, his thoughts on a piece of content or sales-related matter, a new opportunity, celebrating a big sale or milestone – would number in the thousands. In fact, he has a mini case study right now I need to go pick up 🙂 He is ALWAYS supportive, positive, encouraging and proud of me. I remember years ago, back in my FIRST business and having my first employee, I called him one night. I was STRUGGLING, like “I can’t do this anymore” struggling. I remember he reassured me and told me, “Its always darkest right before the dawn”. He was right. I got through it and was stronger for it. Then, again, I was having a really hard time transitioning between Big Sky and completely STARTING OVER in digital marketing and I expressed my frustration. Like I might actually need a J.O.B. He told me “This is what you DO”. He was right. I was strong enough and it IS what I do, but I needed that reminder. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks, Dad. I love you.

GRATITUDE EXPERIMENT:

This has been an interesting experiment, and it’s only been a couple of days. When I set out to pick 30 people, I didn’t realize just HOW impossible it would be. I have deep gratitude for HUNDREDS of people, but my challenge was to pick 30 and that got pushed to 32, so I guess I will start there and see where it takes me :).

It’s mind-blowing that some people don’t believe in God. Well, not mind-blowing, just sad. I know they exist, and you know what, I’m not knocking you. To me, I don’t see how anyone could be a parent and FEEL that kind of love and not believe in something greater. The precision of our planet’s rotation, the placement of the sun and the distance from it, the right amount of pressure in the atmosphere, the right balance of heavy elements, water, and organic molecules – for LIFE. It all works together so perfectly. To imagine that this just ‘happened’ by chance is much harder to believe (to me) than the existence of God. As for me, I do believe that His son died for our sins and, for that, I live in immense gratitude.

Anyone who has known me for more than an hour knows that my boys (and all my extended kids) are my heart and soul. They are truly the light and music of my life. I once read a quote I really like: “Parenting without a sense of humor is like being an accountant who sucks at math.” It was 17 years ago that Norma Fry, Skyler’s grandma, said, “He worries over that boy more than any mother I know.” That might have been the best compliment I’ve ever received. Granted, in my mind, ‘worry’ meant paying attention to, being attentive, and wanting the best for him. Another compliment came from Kim, Nick’s mom. At my grandma’s funeral, out of the blue, she said, “It takes a real man to accept other people’s kids like you and David have. Take them in and love them like your own. I really admire that about you both.” My response, “It’s not the kids’ fault their parents are stupid.” She laughed. That is a memory I will treasure the rest of my life.

I could go on and on about how much I appreciate Barbara & Steve. As I said earlier, anyone who knows me at all knows that my boys are my heart and soul. I can say with certainty that I wouldn’t be half the parent I am today without the time, the example, and the influence they have had on my life. As Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

GRATITUDE PROJECT:

So I had to intentionally ‘mix up’ my list :). When I thought of what I was grateful for, naturally, I started with the big ones: parents, kids, God, friends, but after I went deeper down my list I realized it was focusing on who I was grateful for the most and why, and that wasn’t the POINT. So, I went back and sorted my list alphabetically by the first word.

About two years ago I found myself sharing an office with Matt Lillie, the Opti-Life team and Barbara Rice. I wish I could just say Barbara Rice has been wise, kind and helpful, but she’s so much more than that! She has the unique ability to help you see where YOU need to change, what YOUR part was, and what’s inside YOU that’s causing you to feel the way you do. She helps in such a kind, gentle way that you DON’T EVEN SEE IT COMING!

This is how it usually goes: I walk into her office fired up about some ‘injustice’ I have suffered at the hands of SOMEBODY ELSE. Then about 2 minutes later I am sitting quietly and say, “I don’t even know why I came in here.” I get up to leave and she’d laugh (and coincidently whatever ‘injustice’ I was suffering is now MY shit in MY head).

Barbara, I love you and can’t thank you enough for all your (frustrating) insight :). My life wouldn’t be the same without you in it!

Elizabeth and Shanel. I came home from an event in Chicago a couple months ago and told Shanel how grateful I was for her sacrifice, how truly sorry I was for treating her badly and being unkind, and that despite our differences, she is a terrific mother and I am honored for what she has done. I meant every word I said to her, and if I received nothing more from that event, my awakening was worth the trip. Elizabeth, I haven’t expressed these words to you (yet) but I feel the same way. Divorce is an awful thing, and I was certainly no peach to live with, but regardless of who did what to whom, I will be FOREVER thankful to both of you for your sacrifice and the love you gave to make such amazing boys!

I recently attended my first live Tony Robbins event and it was spectacular. It went so much beyond simply learning a few things. An immersive experience such as this is hard to describe unless you have done it yourself. I explained it to Skyler like this: You can read about soccer, watch it on TV, practice it with your friends, maybe even play on a team, but if you could travel to a distant city and live, breathe, eat, sweat and WORK with 1,000 Olympic-level soccer players and play soccer for 16-hours-a-day, every day – you just can’t appreciate the experience. Soccer would be in your BLOOD after something like that. As great as the experience was, it was the PEOPLE I met who made it worthwhile!

I was standing in line at my first Tony Robbins event in Chicago. While I was waiting, Catherine Ford walked by and I could tell what she was thinking. I said, “You look like I feel.” I truly believe God put us in each other’s path. There is NO WAY I would have put as much effort and heart into the event as I did if we hadn’t met. I am grateful we met and I am also grateful that, thanks to your comment, we were the only ones out of 10k people who walked on red hot coals TWICE!! 🙂

Bruce Harris is a true warrior entrepreneur, the real deal. Years ago, he and I were having lunch together and I wanted his advice on a party rental company I wanted to buy out. Bruce, always the one to give tough advice when I needed to hear it, said that I didn’t need to be talking to him, but instead to a good business banker. We went back to his office and he made a call. He said that he was sending Rupp and that I was good people. I visited that banker (who just so happened to also be a Wichita Wagonmaster even though I didn’t know him). I showed him the paperwork, but having Bruce – as well as Tim Pett and Devin – vouch for me was enough for the banker to say, “I don’t see a problem getting this done.” Two days later we closed for $125,000 and THEN we started due diligence. Bruce and his wonderful wife, Macela, also hosted Sharee and my wedding reception at their gorgeous home. That’s just the start of how much he’s helped me. I could go on and on. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Bruce’s impact and influence, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Bruce, you have a friend for life and if I can ever be there for you in some way, please don’t hesitate to call.

Devin Hansen, or as I like to call him, “The Godfather of the Wichita Wagonmasters.”

Devin isn’t boastful. He works unbelievably hard on Riverfest every year (and numerous other causes).
He has brought on, I think, more Wagonmasters than anyone. He is easily the most influential person I know.
He serves and volunteers and gives back (ALL the time).
He knows EVERYBODY.
He knows how to make shit HAPPEN.
He loves and enjoys life.
He is not only a successful entrepreneur but also a genuinely GREAT guy.
I don’t know of anyone who DOESN’T like Devin.

Of all the people I know, I admire Devin the most.

We met about 12 years ago while we were both volunteering for the Boy Scouts, and he told me about Wagonmasters. He said that I was “made” for that group. I didn’t know it then, but that was a DAMN fine compliment. I love you, man!

My brothers in Wichita Wagonmasters: I have been a part of a lot of organizations over the years (a lot) and if you took the BEST guy from each of those groups, just the greatest qualities of the greatest guy in that whole group and multiplied that by 5 and then imagine having 100 of those guys in one building that would be the Wichita Wagonmasters. I feel so much pride at having been a Wichita Wagonmaster the last 11-12 years and will without a doubt be a member for the rest of my life. It’s mind-blowing to have so many guys like that in one place. Steve Dillard, in my opinion, is the true definition of a statesman and his subtle but powerful influence is a thing to watch. If you don’t watch carefully you can miss it but its been there a LOT of times when it was needed. Brad Fitts and David Lawrence are guys I would lay down in traffic for. I love those guys and will forever regret not being as active as I would have liked during their reign. Guys like Ken Atnip, Jerry Coleman, Jeff Dewey, Chris Highfill, Larry Breitenstein, Steve Moore, Frank Griffith, Larry Harmon, Shaun Isham, Ron Mcewen, Brad Remmich, Reynaldo Silva, David Traster, you just don’t find quality people like that in one place. I am proud to call them my friends and brothers.

GRATITUDE PROJECT:

So far my list has focused on specific individuals, but I wanted to take a detour.

This isn’t something I’m grateful for, it’s something I wish for.

I wish more people who are feeling alone and are going through something hard, painful, or difficult would reach out to SOMEBODY.

Sharee and I went through an incredibly difficult time a few years ago, and I remember feeling like I “had nobody to talk to,” or “nobody would care or understand.” In hindsight, I realize how foolish I was being, but when you are IN THE SHIT it’s hard to see that. I felt alone and that nobody would care or understand.

Thankfully, we made it through that dark time and are doing a BAZILLION times better now and for that, I’m forever grateful.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine who shared with me that he’s been going through a similar, incredibly challenging time in his marriage (VERY painful stuff). I was able to relate to a lot of what he is going through by sharing the challenges I had back then, and he asked, “Why didn’t you CALL me?!” I responded back with “Why haven’t you called ME?!”

Chalk it up to guys being guys, EGO, pride, or being in your head and not your heart, my point is that there ARE people who care about you, who will listen, help you, support you and have your back.

If you ARE hurting and feeling alone, pick up the phone and call someone you would drop everything for if they were going through something similar. If you don’t want to call them, you can call me. My mobile is 316-312-8181.

Back in ’99, when Skyler Rupp was about 2 or 3, I got into the vending business.

I remember joining Yahoo chat rooms looking for groups related to “vending” or “bulk vending.” Fortunately, like many, many other vendors, I met my friend Glenn. At the time – and for YEARS – I had no idea just how crazy smart Glenn was. After almost 20 years IN the vending business I still don’t have 10% of his knowledge about the business and industry!

I had no idea that he’d helped HUNDREDS of newbies like myself.

Glenn is only one of a handful of special people who have had a TREMENDOUS impact on my life.

Over the years we’ve attended many conferences, from Vegas to Florida and I’ve learned so much from him.

My favorite memory was when I corrected the hostess at a hotel restaurant that no, in fact, Glenn and I were next to be seated. Fred Simon (who was an operator with locations ALL over the country) and his entourage could wait. I said it politely, and they were gracious, but Glenn was certainly not pleased with me. 🙂

Glenn is incredibly knowledgeable, unbelievably generous with that knowledge, honest, creative, has integrity like few others and ridiculously SMART about being efficient and working smart (not hard). I am a student of this and I have never met anybody better at it.

I could carry on and on about how much he gives back, helping the homeless and less fortunate but he wouldn’t like that so I won’t elaborate.

Few things in the world make me happier than knowing Skyler Rupp (who owns the vending business now) has people like Glenn to learn from.

Glenn, if there is anything I can ever do to be of service and help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to call. I will be there the same day. Love ya man!

It’s been about 3 years since we moved from College Hill to our house “in the country” (that’s what it feels like, anyway). Originally, there was going to be a gap of two days between when we left the old house and moved into the new one.

As these things sometimes go, those two days turned into just over a MONTH.

That is a LONG time to be living out of duffle bags, with everything you own parked in a moving truck in the church parking lot. 🙂

During that time, we stayed with Barbara and Steve. It turned out to be a fantastic experience, but what made it all worth the hassle was getting the chance to really get to know and connect with my precious little nieces.

In just the last few years, I have created memories with them that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

From ARGUING with Caylee that I AM an adult and no, she doesn’t need to check with anybody else to go down by the water with Will and me. It was a truly priceless look on her face when I told her, “It’s OK, I’m a grown up. We don’t need to check with anybody else.” She CLEARLY did not believe that (she still doesn’t). From the way her whole face lit up when we put away all the puzzles, and then I flipped them all over and the pieces went everywhere to using BandAids to fix owies that were actually a tiny mole or freckle. I could go on and on. They are such a joy to watch them play, learn and grow.

I have always been thankful that I DIDN’T have girls because of the drama, hormones, and them becoming TEENAGE girls, but I think the real reason is that I don’t know if I could take the pain of them GROWING UP. It’s hard enough with BOYS! 🙂

Wow. Not even halfway done yet. Feels like this has gone on for a LONG time! I skipped yesterday so I am going to cheat and post tomorrows post today just because I hate rules!

Today goes to my friends (and doctors now) Miah and Robbie.

What seems like 100 years ago, Matt Everheart started a CrossFit gym in the old Wichita Mall on East Harry. (who remembers that place?) 🙂

Shortly after, Miah began teaching a MCAP (Modern Army Combatives Program) that I attended (largely Jujitsu).

That led to a PILE of great memories I will treasure forever.

I learned SO MUCH in those 8-9 months.

Few items off the top of my head:

  1. When you first start rolling you bruise EVERYWHERE but after a week or two your body adapts and you STOP bruising.
  2. When you practice Jujitsu you sit, get up and move in the weirdest damn ways (in regular life). Imagine being able to use your legs like arms and you get an idea.
  3. It requires a VERY small amount of pressure, applied correctly, to put somebody to sleep. Yes, I experienced this at the hands of my son, Skyler. Not something he will EVER let me forget. And the LAST time I START with anybody already having a rear naked choke already sunk in. Not smart 🙂
  4. When you learn the proper techniques ‘fighting’ has an entirely different meaning. It’s the difference between Tic Tac Toe and Chess.
  5. Want to win a fight? Stay calm, close the distance (all of it) as fast as possible, BREATHE and you are 90% there. Robbie Ray taught me this.
  6. When you really know HOW to fight there is NO reason, desire or need to.
  7. When you on the ground with somebody who you shouldn’t be, you realize it in about .8 SECONDS.

I could go on and on.

I couldn’t have had better teachers. They were patient, full of knowledge, kind, helpful and superb teachers. My life and the lives of my boys will be richer for having met both of you guys.

I love you and can’t thank you enough for all you taught me.

I could carry on about my brother David Rupp for days.

David is, without a doubt, the most talented person I have ever known. He can figure out, fix and build ANYTHING. I have seen him do things I’m not sure I could do as well if I devoted my life to the task.

Growing up, David and I went through some pretty awful times. Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, depending on how you look at it, we took that pain and hurt out on each other.

I can’t begin to measure the gratitude I have for my brother. Without him, I truly don’t know who I would be. I certainly wouldn’t be better off – I know that.

We’ve had our ups and down, and though we’re in a valley right now, that’s OK; it’s just a part of life.

David, I love you and will always be there if you need me (just like I know you would be there for me).

My friend LeRoy Kreutzer Jr..

I tell my boys all the time about the importance of being a good friend. I tell them that if you go through life and have just a FEW genuinely GOOD friends, then you are most of the way to having lived a successful life.

I am honored to consider Leroy that kind of friend.

When we’re together we spend most of the time laughing, like that time he helped Sean and I run a wildly unsuccessful, unprofitable fireworks stand together. The cash register cost about $49 and came from Sam’s. I read the directions for about two minutes and then told Sean and Leroy, “Alright, come over here, you @#%$. I’m only going to explain this once.” Sean and I left Leroy with the register. He was the ONLY one of us who had never actually ran one before. Sitting on the cooler full of cold beer made the experience much more tolerable. I never had so much fun losing money in my life!

Then there was the time I told him to use the restroom in the bank, “It’s OK – I am here 5 times a week bringing in bags of quarters.” The moment Leroy went through the door, I had the manager tell him to please NOT go back there again. He was horribly embarrassed, and I almost peed my pants laughing.

There was also that time he distracted me and made me look like an IDIOT at a Wagonmaster meeting. I could go on and on.

I love you, brother, and wish you nothing but the best in life. If you don’t GET the best in life, I will be there to say, “Well, guess you should have tried harder.” 🙂

Today goes out to my siblings. Danielle, Jonathan, Melissa, Maggie, and Nick. I love each of you with my whole heart and my only wish was life had played out a little differently and I had been able to be more of a big brother to each of you.

I have to make a little segue here. This is HARD – much harder than I’d expected. I’m leaving out a lot of people. What about this person? Or that one? Of course, there are hundreds who have played an important role in my life, and I wish I could list them all, from my grandma (dad’s mom), Cheryl, extended family, so many others. Instead of worrying about who I’m leaving out, I will stay positive. Who knows, maybe when this round is complete, I will do another. 🙂

I remember months ago having a conversation with Tien. It went something like this.

“Can we talk about you being my coach?”

“I don’t know anything about being a coach”

“I understand that but when it comes to business, entrepreneurship, faith, family, money – all the areas that matter most to me – you have more things going RIGHT than anybody I know and I want to learn from that. We can figure out the rest”

So we did.

Tien,

Your wisdom, experience and advice have had a tremendous impact on my life for which I will always be grateful!

I don’t just LOVE what I do for a living today, I feel like ALL my business experience, entrepreneurship, struggles, real-life employee and customer challenges, making payroll and paying taxes (when I don’t have the money), building, and constantly learning prepared me to do what I do today. I ‘get’ my clients. I know where they are coming from. I speak the same language. I KNOW the pressures they are dealing with and I know how to bring a LOT of value and (I think) walk that line pretty well between pushing them when they need it and knowing when to leave them the hell alone and figure out how to move the needle without bothering them 🙂 I get to do my FAVORITE part of what I used to do. Dig deep, come up with fresh ideas, and constantly push for more and better results – not just for my business, but for ALL my client’s companies. It was Matt Lillie who helped me realize how powerful it was to STOP working for clients who weren’t a good fit, focus on ones who ARE and really dig deep for them. This has changed my entire life. Today I genuinely LOVE all my clients. Today goes out to all my amazing clients!!

This list wouldn’t be complete without my step-mother, Kimberly (Nick’s mom).

For YEARS, Kim and I did not get along (to put it nicely). We had our ups and downs, as one might expect when you mix cocaine, step-parenting, and a sarcastic, disrespectful teenager. I never expected that when I went through a divorce (just as she and my dad did) that Kim would become one of my very best friends.

Even when I was young I could always talk to her about things I would have been horrified to talk to my parents about.

We had our valleys, but when the shit hit the fan, I always knew I could talk to her and get an earful, and maybe some cussing out for not talking to her sooner. I might not have always liked what she had to say, but she didn’t care. She spoke from the heart whether you liked it or not.

We lost Kim a couple years ago, and I was fortunate enough to give her a hug and spend some time with her before she passed.

We went through a LOT together, and my life wouldn’t be what it is today without her influence, time and sacrifice.

When I think back to when Sharee and I were having a hard time I know she would have told me “What the hell is wrong with you!? That’s a great woman who loves you and your boys and you are being a damn idiot”. 🙂

Kim, you were sometimes a tough one to love, but you were you – love it, leave it or piss off.

You were the real deal and you don’t find those very often.

I went to Chicago a couple months ago, and more than anything I wish I could have called my friend Mike Macomber to tell him about it.

He passed away about a year ago. Chicago was his home at one time, and he would have loved recommending places to check out.

Hardly a month goes by without something happening with a prospect, lead or potential client that is so out of the ordinary that I would have called Mike to tell him about it. We always loved to swap stories.

We had been through so many similar experiences that I thought it was just me he loved talking to. He did, I’m sure, but it wasn’t until we went out to dinner (The Magic Wok) with his wife, Julie, their office manager, and a guy friend of hers that I saw that Mike was like this with everyone. It was fantastic watching Mike talk to this guy. I had never seen anyone pay attention like that. He was focused, asked questions, showed such genuine interest, and kept eye contact.

That is a gift few people have: to REALLY listen, connect and make people FEEL heard.

I met Mike years ago when I was a baby in the SEO world. We were introduced by a Wagonmaster (shocker) and went to lunch. Mike was looking for an “online marketing guy” for his clients. He listened to me talk for maybe 4 minutes and said, “That’s good. You don’t have to tell me any more. I trust you.” He is the reason I was able to transition from the party rental business to what I do now.

I love what I do and will forever be grateful to Mike for that trust.

You are very missed, my friend.

GRATITUDE PROJECT:

I guess I should devote a whole day to Matt Lillie …. I will try and make it brief….. uuummm,

I’m thinking.

Oh hell, I’ll think of some stuff and come back to him later.

In 2010, while I was running Big Sky Party Rentals, I hired a couple (local) companies to help me rank higher on the first page of Google. Little did I know that this was basically like throwing money out of the window on the highway, or that my experience with them would lead me to having my own digital marketing agency. It’s the most rewarding and satisfying “job” of my life. Today goes out to my team, with all my heart. I’m honored to work with every one of them, from my developer, who’s been with me since the beginning – almost 7 years – to more recently, Courtney Ast. Courtney is amazing and the piece I have been missing the last 4-5 years. There’s also Josh, Anne, Jenny, and Joel. I have an amazing, rich, full, blessed life, and I wouldn’t have any of it without the amazing people I work with. I can’t thank you all enough or the amazing work you do.

Matt Lillie gave me some advice at lunch one day about two years ago that fundamentally changed my business (and my life).

He was kind enough to invite me to office right in the same space with him and Barbara and the amazing Opti-Life team before they all moved into out east!

Matt Lillie is an exceptional human being. Brilliant when it comes to business. Able to read people and see solutions where many can’t. Always pushing to improve. Very accomplished.

He truly ENJOYS life which is so cool to see and be a part of on a regular basis.

Fortunately, he doesn’t suffer from being the slightest bit humble.

He has an AMAZING ability to make it look like he is ‘working’ much harder than he actually is.

I am pretty sure he laughs more than anybody I know which says a lot!

I will be kind and skip the abuse and embarrassment I have suffered by being his friend.

I love you, man, and can’t thank you enough for all you have done for me and the example you provide for the people around you.

Goes to our wonderful neighbors. I lived in College Hill for most of my adult life, but on Dec 2014, when we moved to where we are today, I found something to grateful for that I didn’t even know existed! WONDERFUL NEIGHBORS :). Steve and Kris are the kind of neighbors you wish your children and best friends can one day experience. They’re so kind, generous, giving, and do all they can to exemplify what “good neighbors” mean.

Goes to my Cub Scout peeps. Like I could make a list like this and NOT include Sharla!

My time volunteering with the Cub Scouts, being a Cubmaster, and working at the district and council level is one of my most impactful and rewarding experiences of my life.

It was so inspiring and humbling to meet and work with people like Melissa, Sharla, Wayne, James, Robert – people who GIVE so deeply and generously to not only their kids but to other people’s kids without a second thought.

Getting involved at the Pack level led me to meeting and working with my dear friend, Leroy Kreutzer. It also led me to meeting Devin Hansen, who got me in Wagonmasters.

I learned about committees and why they really are where good ideas go to die! 🙂

I will forever be proud of being the Encampment Chair (5,000 scouts camping at the fairgrounds), and the trip to Mexico Devin gave me because he couldn’t attend :).

Plus, I was able to work with truly exceptional people who give SO MUCH of their time and energy for Scouting. The Sessions, the Blankenships and so many others.

I remember how much of a daddy’s boy Skyler was when we first started, but it wasn’t three campouts in before he was running and playing and discovering and having so much fun. You wouldn’t have been able to tell which kid mine was.

The memories I have with Skyler in Scouts are some of the best ones of my life.

The boys and I just started back in Scouting just last week and super excited to get them plugged back in.

(I have fallen off the bus with being consistent with posting these and catching up a bit) 🙂

Roughly 23-24 years ago, when I was about 22, I was living in an apartment on East Harry and working out east at MCI.

Someone gave me a box set of Tony Robbins on cassette tapes.

That’s funny – my kids wouldn’t even know what those are.

Anyway, I remember listening to part of a tape, stopping and making notes, and then listening to some more. I did this for all the tapes. I STILL have that notebook after all these years. The one thing I remember taking away from those tapes was the power of a really strong WHY? (not HOW, that’s where most people start and nothing great ever came from that) Start with a REALLY strong why and you can do anything. My WHY back then before I even had kids, even thinking about being married was my boys wouldn’t know any of the instability (insanity), struggling that I grew up with. That’s what made it almost easy to start my first business with NO money, experience or connections. My WHY was a lot bigger than “I don’t have any experience”, “I don’t know anything about running a business”, “I don’t have any money / credit”.

I had the opportunity to attend one of his live events in Chicago a couple months ago, Business Mastery in Vegas last month and signed up to CREW at an event in NY in a few weeks and super excited. The experience and knowledge I have learned has been great but the PEOPLE I have connected with are truly priceless.

Goes to the lousy business owners, some of which I helped put out of business.

One of the most seminal moments of my life was figuring out the “power of your WHY” from those Tony Robbins cassettes 25 years ago. That is what drove me to becoming an entrepreneur and starting 4 companies from scratch over the last 23 years.

So, I’m not only grateful for those tapes, but also the business owners who were doing a LOUSY job, whether it was home security, vending, party rental or digital marketing.

The businesses I have started all came from me having a terrible experience with somebody who had didn’t care, didn’t value their customers. In each instance, that represented a clear opportunity.

If they were treating their customers THIS badly and were still in business, then CLEARLY there was room for me to do what they were doing – but MUCH better.

And that is how I ended up in such different industries.

Goes to our dear friends Tim & Kathy Pett.

I remember, not long after I joined the Wichita Wagonmasters, when some lady called me and said that Dr. Pett wanted me to attend some class. I figured she was selling something because I sure didn’t know any Dr. Pett. We went around and around. She wanted me to go, and I was determined not to. Finally, she said TIM Pett. That completely changed my attitude :). TIM? (Who I had met at the Wagonmasters recently.) “Yes, I will be there.”

From that one class, I ended up taking EVERY class. I met some amazing people and began a 10-year, ongoing relationship with the Center for Entrepreneurship, which led to plenty of speaking engagements (I just did one last week).

Years later, at a Wagonmasters meeting, I told Tim I was getting divorced and without missing a beat he said, “You are coming to stay at the house. With the boys.” His instant generosity and kindness made him a friend for life.

Then I find out his wife (how he landed her I will never know) is basically the sweetest person on Earth!

Since the boys were little, we spent almost every 4th of July with them until they moved to Florida.

We miss Tim, Kathy and their beautiful girls and can’t wait to see you again!

We love you all!!! 🙂

(Only two days left) It’s fitting, in a way, for my 30-day challenge to end on such a strong note.

Day 30 goes out to my friend Will White.

I have never known anybody in my life with more integrity, loyalty or better character.

His ability to connect with people on a “real” level, be authentic and make people laugh is a real gift.

We met at a car lot my dad was the manager of about 24 years ago and we drove everybody that worked there so damn crazy they put WIll on the early shift and me on late and vice versa. Being on commission you can technically work all you want so we just started riding to work together and both of us working early AND late!!

I have a PILE of great stories but the ones that involve WIll are absolutely the most insane, hysterical, and largely unbelievable.

My boys BEG me to tell them stories about Will and I together. Unfortunately, I have told them the ones I think are safe to share, the rest will have to wait until they are much older and probably have kids of their own!

My indomitable grandmother. She was such an amazing soul. Growing up I used to tell her, “I’m going to be rich somebody, Grandma.” She would always say, “I know you will be.” She never once had an unkind word to say about anyone. She gave and gave and gave to everyone around her. I remember road trips to see her mom (Grandma Perrin) in Woodward, OK. I would’ve given anything to have been able to preserve that house and everything in it. On Saturdays, I would go to work with her at her insurance office. We’d stop by McDonalds on the way. Time with my grandma are some of the best memories I have growing up. As she got older I remember making fun of somebody for something. She would PRETEND she couldn’t hear me, but every now and then she would smile, proving otherwise. I remember the day I stopped by her house on my way to my first day at the Crown Uptown (I had a black tie around my neck that my boss at the time helped me tie it. I knew I needed to wear a tie, but it didn’t occur to me that I didn’t know how to TIE a tie). She told me her mom had passed away and how sad it was. I can’t think of anything that would make my life richer than to still have her with us. She would have liked Sharee VERY much (regardless of how terrible and mean I would try to convince her Sharee is to me). I remember saying, when my grandma passed away, “If she isn’t in Heaven, there isn’t such a place.” 🙂

I made sure to tackle mom, God, dad and most of the “biggies” first on my list.

When compiling WHO I am grateful for, I decided what better way to close out this project than to finish with my Sharee, my wonderful wife. (I saved her and my grandma so she would be in great company)

I absolutely LOVE to tease my wife.

The pure nonsense she puts up with, especially first thing in the morning, is legendary and probably qualifies her for sainthood. I tell her all the time if she would just record some of the shit I say and played it for her mom, or mine, they would probably have me locked up. One morning she said, “I love you.” I sighed and replied, “We’re doing that again today?”. One time when she was sick, we were at Walmart getting some Powerade which was on the top shelf. She saw it up there and looked at me with puppy dog eyes while I was already getting out my phone to take pictures. I REALLY did make her climb up to the shelf for that Powerade.

Her being from Oklahoma and SHORT has brought me endless joy.

This morning she woke me up and her first words were, “Let’s hear it.”

It’s been almost 9 years and there is no way I can explain how much I love, respect, appreciate and admire you. You have grown in so many ways, changed ME in so many ways and had an immeasurable impact on OUR boys’ lives.

I am a little too lenient about never met a rule I didn’t want to break. You LOVE structure and rules and between the two of us, we make an amazing team!

I am super excited about however many years I have left with you before I am senile enough for you to drop me off at a mall somewhere and I’m not able to find my way back home.

Matthew means “Gift of God,” but truly if anybody was a Gift from God, it was you.

I love you, sweetheart.

Fortunately, I do my best to balance the grief with spoiling her every chance I get! 🙂

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