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Let Fear Guide You

You disagree with the title of this post. I don’t blame you, we live and work in a culture that believes confidence and strategic-emotionless decision making are the keys to success. Don’t count on a gut reaction, write out a life plan and then proceed.

Nine out of ten times you would be right ,or, rather we would be right because I would be with you nodding in the affirming direction. But a string of experiences has led me to believe that fear - wrenching, sweat inducing, needle-under-fingernail fear - when applied at exactly the right moment can shock us into uncharacteristic bravery.

Three years ago I had a list of opportunities that would fill up a poker chip. My ‘prospects’ (as they’re known in Major Markets and the ranch communities of Colorado) were lacking to say the least. I was entering my second tour of duty at P.F. Changs, living with my parents, and unsure of how to proceed with my newly graduated girlfriend of six years, Lindsey. 

*While it doesn’t fit well with my current flow and mood I have to point out the sexual frustration that comes in to play within a six year christian relationship. Most twenty-three year old men are unclear. Twenty-three year old virgin men make Seattle look like blue skies and sunshine.

What made matters worse was that only a few weeks before I had held an internship with Catalyst, a well-respected organization aimed at developing next generation leaders (yes, I see the irony). Because of this opportunity those around me were expecting “big things” when I was done, gobbling up the next opportunity and taking steps to become a ‘generational leader’. 

It’s hard to explain, humorously or seriously, what my head and heart were doing at that moment. Chances are I don’t have to because you’ve been there, where expectations meets immaturity meets lack of opportunity or credibility. We all react differently but my answer was to ‘turtle up’; I pulled my head in my shell and told everybody else to screw off.   

And then Lindsey got offered a job in Colorado. When the love of your life and best friend has an opportunity to move across the country and on with her life it forces you to pay attention. That doesn’t mean that I became clear or mature or perfectly aligned with straight lined vision. I got scared. And then I took the fear and drove down it into my core and spewed out bravery I had no idea was there.

Lindsey and I got engaged, wed, and moved 2,000 miles in just a tic under four weeks. I had never driven anything longer than a suburban and all of a sudden I was going solo in a twenty-four foot Penske truck hauling a Honda Civic. We rented an apartment, she started her new job, and I got a job (wait for it) waiting tables at Chilis (the only bummer in this story but you do what you got to do). 

Fear shocked me back into the story of my life.

Not quite three years later and Lindsey is going strong at Washington Elementary, serving on a number of boards, while running her own voice studio during the summer. I’m the wordsmith and social media strategist at Stickman Simple Marketing and the curator of Threethoughtson.com enjoying a level of opportunity and networking I’ve never experienced. We fly-fish, we hike with our dog Cam, and record TV shows. 

Fear is rarely a good thing - but - at just the right moment it’s the greatest thing in the world.

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threethoughtson:

n moments of community crisis there are countless opportunities for extraordinary response. Opportunities, which at their core, are made up of immeasurable human instinct, courage and action void of hesitation.

Opportunity – seize it.

One single tweet brought a crushing blow to my heart with the news of “8 dead community members” on the morning after a night’s tornadic fury. Never could I have foreseen how this would present an opportunity so armed with people ready to conquer the world (ok, our community). It even proved to possess more momentum than the “most organized” local organizations. The opportunity was simply a response of action in the midst community crisis – a powerful and organic response. It was not a thought-out response from board rooms, coffee shops, and in no way was it grounded in research. “Retreat!” was not an option that morning after instinct and courage took control of a few of us. These two elements made it possible to seize the opportunity. When there is opportunity to be seized, do it then! Remember, in most situations, crisis response didn’t fail because someone acted too early. It usually fails because someone acted too late.

Read More.

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This is a great short film by Nirvan Mullick about a 9 year old boy who builds a cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto part store.

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When dreams are deadly.

I dreamed as a kid. Still do. Dream about money, adventure, travel, professional advances, detailed fantasies in a second dimension. What would it be like to do this or that? Be this person? Do that for a living? Drive that kind of car? Wreck that kind of car? What if this person gave me a shot?

Especially on long drives, I dream a bit more than usual. Yesterday was a four hour round trip to Denver that had me questioning every what if and looking under every rock of every thought. I generally wouldn’t catalog this as good or bad but the difficulty was/is that Lindsey and I were/are currently wading through a bathhouse of next decision-questions.

Paired with the lack of mental stability caused by decision induced stress, the questioning/thinking/dreaming became a dangerous animal prowling around inside my head.

And if I wasn’t careful I was going to smash into a forest full or trees while staring at the clouds. (Actually it was a Subaru Forrester and the driver was quite pissed, he threw one bird, fell behind and sped up to throw another. Got to love persistence.)

You have to give yourself a short leash to dream when life is a bit tough or unsure. This advice came to me toward the end of the drive. I had created a small hell to live in within the two doors of my car for three hours. Gotten carried away with dreaming and reality had become a salty taste at the back of my mouth. Began to hate, unceremoniously, where I was and what I had done to put myself in a position not living my current dream. (Even typing it looks stupid.) I became dead to the fact that I’m married to a beautiful, fiery woman, we have all we need, I have a solid job with individuals I enjoy seeing everyday, I live within five minutes of epic whitewater, mountains, and deep canyons, and I have a wide and diverse catalog of personalities who love me and Lindsey with intense loyalty.

Be careful with those dreams. They can wreck a beautiful reality.

In four hours I became certain of a handful of handy-dandies: I love to dream and I dream BIG, when uncensored those dreams are horrifically dangerous, my reality was/is beautiful, it took me a matter of moments to tear that reality to pieces, and long drives are better served with a passenger.  

Be thankful. Never forget how to dream but control your dreams - don’t let them control your reality. There will always be another dream but hours come and go quick as a blink. Take care to protect them.

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On… ThreeThoughtsOn.com

*This is a Thought I wrote for Threethoughtson.com. It’s an introduction to 3TO and what we hope to accomplish. Enjoy and please check out the site.

have had the pleasure of creating 3Thoughtson.com with the help of an amazing group of guys. Anyone that has moved from idea to market with a wonderful team understands the bond that forms. I will always have much love for EB, Taylor, Nick, Adam, and Kyle. They poured their considerable talents into the realization of this site.

Please jump around and comment on the amazing Thoughts in this first issue. Thanks for checking us out. Here are Three Thoughts On… 3THOUGHTSON.COM

Spotlight the Good

Three Thoughts On was created to act as a spotlight for leaders bringing value, joy, and solution based thinking into their circles of influence. Whether through innovation, adventure, entertainment, or altruism we provide an outlet to individuals striving to make the most of the world around them.

What Are Thoughts Without Action?

The Thought leaders you meet while reading 3TO are more than idea generators and idealistic dreamers. They follow their Thoughts, allowing themselves to give action where others simply talk or type. Every contributor has pored blood and sweat into their Thoughts, they’ve created life out of “maybes” and “how abouts”. They are Doers first, Thinkers second.

Be Inspired

We believe within each of our guest thinkers lies a bundle of thoughts, ideas, and dreams that, when formed into typed words, will bring inspiration and life to the 3TO audience. We want to be a Momentum Destroyer, to stop you in your tracks and grab onto the words of others and find the drive to go after  lingering Thoughts in the back of your mind. We want the man or woman who engages with our site to not only be entertained, but find meaning and strength in the Thoughts and Ideas of others.

Cheers to your adventures and success.

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Quote ‘Em

Quotes have become the savior of un- inspired, inspiration lacking online social posts. Can’t figure out what to say but it’s 3 in the afternoon and your Facebook persona needs it’s daily intake of reaffirming ‘Likes’, Quote ‘em. (Google most quoted people on Facebook, ten bucks says it’s the only list you’ll ever see that includes Mark Twain, Danny McBride, and Mike Tyson.)

Quote ‘em is the easiest path to intellectual validation on Facebook and Twitter. All I’ve done today is play NCAA Football 2012 and eat Bagel Bites - “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boom, greasy hands just nailed 9 ‘Likes” and 4 comments. By halftime you’ll be Facebook intellectual leader for the day.

The downfall of Quote ‘em is that so few people have mastered the Quote ‘em Strategy Guide (almost ready for press) or have taken the time to gather historical data on who they’re quoting. In an effort to stop “Vacuos Posting” I have included a few tips on Quote ‘em:

 - Go Old. When trying to appear introspective and/or ‘autumn day thoughtful’ Go Old. Look for journalists and/or correspondants who’ve seen too much of the world, drink scotch, and have taken a black and white with a political figure of note. 

- Stay Current. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Napoleon are classics. And dead. *Rule of thumb: If they didn’t see a computer in their lifetime, leave ‘em off of it.

- No Starbucks. The marketing minds of Starbucks have made the most of Quote ‘em. But once Starbucks has brought a quote to light, leave it alone. A Starbucks copy just looks lazy and half-assed. 

- Actors/Actresses. One of the trickiest quotes is that of an Actor and/or Actress. What’s good on film doesn’t always translate into Facebook art. *In light of the growing length of this post here’s a solid Rule of thumb: If they’ve appeared in a romantic comedy, attempted a music career, or won a Teen’s Choice Award they’re out. Sorry Steve Carrell. 

- 20 min. Conversation. If you post a quote surrounding a subject you don’t understand well enough to carry on a 20 minute conversation it’s a Nay.

- No Copy and Paste. Everyone can recognize a great quote. Share and Retweet, give credit where credit is due. To those of you quote mongers who copy and paste - Shame, Ultimate Shame.

That’s just a few short tips from yours truly. Be on the look out for Quote ‘Em Strategy Guide: Looking Cool Socially Manifesto coming soon.

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Good Monday

This post is dedicated to the re-claiming of Monday. The dreaded start of the five day work week. It’s time to take back a day of innovation and excitement. Mondays should be filled with possibilities. What am I going to accomplish this week? What steps am I going to take to become emperor of my domain - the mail room? How am I going to make a difference? 

Great leaders and innovators of our time don’t fear Mondays. They grasp at them as days to launch, become better, and create mind blowing products and services.

While my prose may sound idealistic that doesn’t mean it can’t become a reality. It’s all about changing the way you experience Monday. What do I mean? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Dress up. Everybody has a “go to” outfit. You know you look good in it. You act different when wearing it. In elementary school you dominated dodge ball while wearing it. In middle school you passed daring notes while wearing it. In high school you went to parties while wearing it. In college you talked to members of the opposite sex while wearing it. It is your catalyst of cool. Rock it on Mondays.
  • Epic playlist. Bring the Friday music to Monday morning. If it gets you grooving - blast it. Throw on the beats earphones and Do Work.
  • Eat something healthy. If you’re starting off your Monday with an Egg-McMuffin - it’ll feel good at nine, hell at eleven. Granola, egg whites, honey, banana. You don’t have to hold your nose to get it down and you’ll still feel good at Two.
  • Get your area prepared for Innovation. Our resident designer and developer, Justin comes in every Monday and cleans and arranges his area. This is his way of getting in the groove. He understands he does his best work when his area is on the same page. Control your environment.

These are just a couple of tips. Whatever works for you, get it done. Because Monday shouldn’t be a day of blah and dread. It should be the start to the Next Level.