Last Friday, my wife Ashley and I flew from Houston to Salt Lake City. A day or two earlier, we had for the first time heard that a hurricane was expected to hit near Corpus Christi, my hometown. While our trip was planned, we decided not to take any chances, and brought our two youngest children with us, August and Aras. What unfolded over the next several days was unimaginable, and many are still reeling from Hurricane Harvey’s wreckage. Although grateful our babies were with us, and older kids safe, I have been quite torn with emotion, mainly guilt for not being in Houston to assist in relief efforts personally, particularly while many of our friends, and employees have experienced significant damage to their homes.
We came to Utah to celebrate my fortieth birthday. The plan was for just Ashley and I to spend some time together, but clearly, God had other plans. I wanted to spend time in the mountains writing, hiking, and reflecting, which has been quite difficult with two small children, and the anxiety that comes from not knowing what’s going on back home. Nevertheless, we’ve managed, and therein lies the silver lining.
Years ago, after selling DOYLES, I wrote a short blog entry, Significance vs. Success. All of my life, I’ve wanted to make a difference in the world; my life to mean something, and today, at forty, I can say with humility that it has, and I am grateful. I have four healthy children, a lovely and beautiful wife, and a following of friends and fans that appreciate my genuinity, transparency, and heart. I’m making a dent, but I’m not done. Not even close. What’s been most encouraging is that the dent I make, won’t be mine alone. It will be a legacy of truth and transparency, of doing the right thing, and of giving back; and will be carried by friends, family, our employees, communities, and children, and our children’s children.
Over the past few days, I’ve observed our team demonstrate the values that we as an organization embrace, and without influence from me. This has been most encouraging, because quite often, it’s difficult to measure whether or not culture, and values are alive in your organization; our dent in the making. It doesn’t show up on a balance sheet or income statement, and let’s face it, the day to day of running a business can be taxing and stressful, monotonous, and unrewarding at times. We are but humans after all; imperfect, emotional at times, and what we do to put food on the table is much less important that those we enjoy the meal with, our family.
My mother told anyone who would listen I was going to be a preacher. Well, she was partly right. I became an evangelist of truth, love, and acceptance. For those that don’t know me well, they are quite surprised to hear that I am quite introverted. I’m also not a natural leader. For the past twenty years, I’ve learned to lead, to be a businessman, a husband, a father, the latter being among the hardest. Like my mother, the one thing that came natural, is being a giver. The pain I’ve experienced over my life has come primarily as a result of others taking advantage of my giving heart; I give on.
Today, I turn forty. An age that twenty years ago, sounded an eternity away, but also an age I remember very specifically being the time I would hope to retire, which I equated to being financially independent. Well, today is the day, and guess what, I’m going to retire, but only from the things that I choose, which in short are anything standing in my way from dying broke. I’ve been practicing for a while, but the math is quite simple. You spend some, save some, and give the rest away, and it’s true of the only two forms of currency that matter; time and money.
So, here’s to significance over success, making a dent over a dollar, and building a legacy over a life of luxury.
I’m going Forty to Nothing!