For those who have followed me for a few minutes, you’ve likely heard about my Dad; Doyle was the name others called him. Today, he would have been 82. He … Continue reading Sixteen Candles
My mother use to say often “patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, but it’s found seldom in a woman, and never in a man.” Whether that’s true for all men or not, I don’t know, but personally, I consider myself one of the most impatient people I know. In fact, if you find that hard to believe, just ask my bride. As of late, I feel as if God has designs on putting on a clinic in how to remain patient.
As of the end of August, I’ve assumed the position as president in our group of companies, which has me working much closer with many of our team members. Admittedly, my highest and best strength isn’t managing people, nor the day-to-day of a business, however, as a 20-year entrepreneur, it comes with the territory. As we’ve continued to make adjustments, many of our team members have inherited additional responsibilities, that are laborious, taxing, and in many ways exposing to our vulnerabilities as an organization.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve made it a point to get in front of our entire team, to communicate how the company is maneuvering through the market challenges, but primarily in an attempt to get back to the basics of business, and our core values. “Simple” things like what it means to work as a team, how to effectively communicate, what accountability looks like, and why transparency is so important. I’m doing everything I can to quickly eliminate any secrecy, and silos that exist in the organization, all while simultaneously attempting to open the books, in a healthy and structured way, so that everyone in the organization can begin to understand what makes for a healthy business. I know right.
For the most part, I believe I’m being well received, or at least I’m being told as much. However, the biggest challenge of all; bringing people together. We have a ton of talent, but let’s face it; people don’t like change in general, and especially when it calls into question our quality of work, contributions, etc. No one likes their cheese moved, especially when it’s covering a hole in the floor.
Last night, I received an email, and not the kind anyone likes to get, but particularly right before you go to bed. I wrote two responses last night, and then another this morning, and sent none of them. In fact, deleted all three. Then I spent a few minutes looking up a number of articles about email etiquette, but then decided that instead, I’d respond in a different way; by providing my own list of email do’s and don’ts, so in the spirit of us all growing together, here we go.
Dan’s 3-Point Guide to Email Etiquette
- Use email to exchange information only – it’s not a medium for communication
- Don’t email anyone when you’re angry or frustrated – see point #1
- Words have meaning, people have feelings – see point #1 and #2
Just because letters arranged in a particular order make up words, it doesn’t mean that the arrangement of those words make up the intended meaning. Being that I’m now so close to my tribe, I feel incredibly challenged, and also very humbled. Reminded that no matter how talented a person, skilled or experienced, what’s most important is how we treat others. For the most part, that is measured by how we speak to or about others. Hard to do, but even harder to do consistently.
Passion can be disguised as arrogance. Arrogance can be disguised as courage. Courage can be disguised as insecurity. However, Kindness needs no disguise, as it has no enemies. – dlh
#humble #kind #hungry
He arrived late last night, all eight pounds, eleven ounces. From my wife’s phone, I created a new text message with my favorite pic of our newborn son, and typed in my mother’s name. I wanted her to be the first to know. The text didn’t go out of course.
Our most joyful moments in life are those we want most to share with the ones we love, even when they are no longer here. However, there’s rarely a day I don’t think of my mom, and miss her. I’m not sad, but rather grateful to celebrate another beautiful and healthy baby boy, and know that my mother raised a man, who is raising four more.
We all wear many hats, and fill many roles, but those that I feel make up most of my identity is being a husband and father. More than anything, I want to honor and cherish my bride, be respected by her, while she feels loved by me. For my princess, and four princes; to be the one they forever look up to for guidance, unconditional love, and grace. I will fail, but only for a mile. Over the marathon of life, I will be the man I was destined to be. I have no choice.
I am incredibly blessed in welcoming Oliver Hart to our family. – dlh
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!
Business is personal to me. For the last twenty years, I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve, treated others the way I want to be treated, and have done my … Continue reading Life, Love, Legacy
Over the past couple of years, our industry has experienced some of the worst wreckage in the past thirty years. Hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs, hundreds, if not thousands of companies have filed for bankruptcy, and/or closed their doors for good. It’s been hard on a lot of people and their families, many of which are my friends and acquaintances. Being thankful is likely difficult, if not impossible for many this year.
However, as the year comes to an end, I remain humbled and grateful. Some say timing is everything. While it may be less than everything, it’s certainly played an important role in the roller coaster I’ve been on in the past half dozen years. I’m still standing, albeit with a few more scars.
In mid-2008, the company I owned, closed on a $16M acquisition, had six plants, hundreds of employees, and a tiger by the tail. Six months later, we had a $5M hole in our balance sheet, a crumbling economy, and no credit line. I was corporately and personally insolvent; in other words, bankrupt. Meanwhile, my wife at the time had left with our son on her hip, and our daughter in her belly. Life was shit. Dog shit.
Over the next four years, I got up and fought the fight, often times with whiskey on my breath. It sucked at times, worse at others. However, over that same period, I met my wife, Ashley; Cris, who is now my closest friend, and many others who helped me to navigate through some of the most difficult times I’ve experienced both professionally and personally. I sold the company my Father started out of necessity; to save it. It ranks high among the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. Although the sale was anti-climatic, what followed was not. I experienced grief, and as a result, resigned, was sued, and later settled, which forced me to sit out for 10 months. It was a much-needed time of reflection.
November 13, 2013, free of my non-compete, I had a choice. Exit an industry that had fed my family for decades, or pivot at 36 and do something different, which would not have been the first time. I chose the former, and doubled down. But, I had no money, no staff, no product, no customers, and was quite discouraged. However, with a few fans in my corner, namely my wife, my CFO, and mentor, I pulled up my boots and went back to work.
Today, I’m incredibly honored to have a team of highly skilled, talented individuals who are passionate about what they do; and a growing list of raving fans that appreciate our approach to serving them. For the first time in my career, I’m beginning to experience the dividends for doing the right thing in business for many years. A good reputation that precedes you is worth far more than any first impression, or PowerPoint presentation. Turns out, honesty is the best policy. It’s universal.
So, I leave you with this. Know that we all have a choice. To dwell on our past or current circumstances, or press onward and upward, visualizing what we want, who we want to be, and how we want to be remembered. The rest is action and grit. Our industry has been turned on it’s head, and as a result, is full of opportunity. Be thankful, be encouraged, and get ready for a ride, because I can feel it coming in the air tonight.
I’m thankful for the experience of grief. Without it, we would never know joy.
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