Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Old Photos of My Family

Family.  What does that word mean to you? 

I had the privilege of attending my Grandpa’s celebration of life this past weekend in Detroit.  Before attending, I would have defined family in terms of people.   For example, I would have defined it as Grandpa, Grandma, Mom, Dad, Aunts and Uncles, kids, Grandkids, etc.  However, after this past weekend, I now define family with only one word:  Love.

My Grandpa’s famous saying to his friends and family was “I love you more.”  Needless to say, LOVE was the theme of his celebration of life.   My Grandpa lived his entire 87 years within the suburbs of Detroit, so it was no wonder that hundreds of people were in attendance last Friday. 
There were literally thousands of photos streaming about the room on various projectors, and I would be willing to bet just about every single person that attended his celebration of life was in at least one of those photos.   

What surprised me the most was how many photos there were of me.  I lived in the Detroit area until I was about 7 years of age.  I know that the first several years of a person’s life are the most formative, and yet I somehow blocked many of those memories in Michigan out of my mind.
I came across a slew of photos of me at the wheel of my Grandpa’s sailboat, and then my Dad shared the story of those photos.  Apparently, I was not a good sailboat captain, but the love of sailing hit me at a very cellular level.  In fact, one of my first jobs was teaching kids how to sail at the local Yacht Club.  I always attributed my love towards sailing and bodies of water to the fact that I lived in Florida for most of my life, but now I believe it has to do with that time spent with my Grandpa on his sailboat.  

What I took away from my trip to Detroit was to pay attention to what makes my heart sing because that’s a good indication that love is present.  Over the last several weeks, I have been so hard on myself and even doubting myself about whether or not I am going to be successful in this new business of mine.  However, I realized I am successful already.  I am successful because for the first time in my life I can say without a doubt I love my job. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

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As I mentioned before, I am in the midst of a rather large transition in my life.  I am going from 'employee' to 'self-employed.'  At first blush, it may not seem like that big of a change, but believe me it is.  The simplest thing such as finding a regular routine is a slippery slope.  Just when I think I have found my groove, life throws me another detour to consider. 

The first detour which was actually a good one was that I had the opportunity to attend The Moth's Miami Story Slam (  I have been following The Moth since 2008, and attending one of their story slams was on my bucket list.  So, I received an email about the Miami event, and the next day I was on the road to listen to some interesting stories.  The scariest part was that I went alone.  The last time I did anything like that was over a decade ago, so that detour was an excellent  exercise in independence. 

The second detour occurred the same night as The Moth's Miami Story Slam.  I received a call from my Dad right after the event notifying me that my Grandpa passed away.  My Grandpa had cancer, and my family made the decision to not treat him with chemo or radiation.  With that being said, the doctors' could not tell my family how long he would live.  Everyday was a blessing.

I have not seen my Grandpa in many years because he lives quite a distance from me.  I never thought I had the time or money to make the trip.  However, he held a special place in my heart.  I have his eyes, and I have fond memories of him as a kid going sailing and eating sweet onions sprinkled with salt.  When I was in college, I dragged all of my friends down to Daytona during Spring Break so that we could hang out with my Grandpa and his friends at Bike Week.  My Grandpa meant so much to me that I named my son after him.  So, when I heard my Dad say "Grandpa just passed away,"  I sat there stunned. 

The next day, I drove back home, and it took me days to digest the news and finally cry.  All last week, I was in a funk.  I didn't make much progress with my business, and yet I heard the clock ticking ever more loudly and my bank account dwindle just a little more.  Nevertheless, I kept putting one step in front of the other regardless of how small the progress I was making. 

Over the last month since leaving my corporate job, I have asked myself a million times...'did I do the right thing by leaving the security of my job?"  "Can I really survive as self-employed?"  "Will I really be able to pull off this crazy idea I have and make a business out of it?"  The doubt and fear has been so loud and clear particularly this past week when I felt as though I was losing traction.  

Then today, my Grandpa's obituary was posted.  I read it and read it again.  I was reminded that he also left his Corporate job and started his own business, and all of my fear and doubt somehow disappeared. 

My courage grew, and I decided to post here again.  As I was looking for a picture to add, I stumbled upon the Mary Oliver quote above.  By leaving my Corporate job, I am ever so slowly finding the answer to that question.

What about you?