May 19, 2010

Son's scream of death has scared me away from enjoying daily blessing


I've started a new blog called "A Crash Course in Daddyhood."

I use this as a outlet for all the fodder that my 3-month-old son provides – from blowouts in his diaper to the simple pleasures of being a dad.

I thought I would actually share a quick post about Baby Crash on this blog, though. (You know...do a little marketing for my other endeavor.)

This post is short and sweet – a lot like my son.

The idea came to me this morning as I was leaving the house for the day.

Normally, Crash is up and around – propped up in our bed next to his sleeping mommy – smiling and laughing – or he's eating breakfast from the boob (mommy sleeping in this instance, too).

When I leave the house to attack the day, those smiles and giggles light me up. (Can't wait until he can wave!) I know that he barely recognizes me from the dog, but I'll take "barely" and all the facial expressions that go along with it.

This morning was different, though.

I left the house earlier than normal for a men's fellowship at church.

Crash hadn't stirred yet, realizing he was about to drowned and/or starve to death. (He normally wakes up with shrieks of terror in his lungs..."my diaper is wet and I'm starting to digest my bile! HELP ME!")

As I went to kiss him goodbye, he was sleeping like an angel in his crib.

I stood over him and just watched him breathe.

I kissed his forehead.

I kissed his cheek.

I touched his little hand.

I gently pinched the fat rolls on his legs.

I said a small prayer, "Thank you, God, for this wonderfully great blessing."

I'm sure I was smiling like an idiot.

After a few seconds, I thought to myself: "Why don't I do this more often?"

I pondered for a second, and then I realized (cue another big smile – and a slight head nod)....

When he's sleeping, I'm usually tip-toeing out of the room as fast as possible, trying to avoid the squeaky floor boards and praying that Brother Gus doesn't gallup into the nursery or start barking at his shadow.

I need to stop worrying about holding my breath as I dash out the door.

I need to stop fearing his scream of death if I accidently make a sound.

I need to just stop – take a couple minutes every day and watch our little miracle dream about the angels.

April 20, 2010

Maximum Impact: Giving Back for 7 Days
to Recognize National Volunteer Week

Happy National Volunteer Week!

I hope this blog post finds you giving back in some wonderfully great way.

As my calendar started to take shape for this week, I decided to put on my philanthropic hat once a day – give back in some way for seven consecutive days.

Again, I'm not pounding on my chest and/or looking for praise – I simply want to share my passion for giving back with hopes that one person takes notice, gets motivated and says, "I want volunteer, too!"

It doesn't have to be an army of people – or even a large group – I just hope I can inspire one person to roll up their sleeves and start giving back.

Here is a snapshot of my week (I also provided some statistics about each organization, the event or volunteering in general):


SUNDAY
– Volunteered at Big Taste for Big Brothers Big Sisters

• This is a fantastic event held in downtown Fort Worth. I ate a lot of delicious food, had a couple glasses of wine, and helped with the clean up. Reminder: Giving back doesn't mean you have to bust concrete – it can be light and fun.

Stat: Big Taste raised approximately $135,000 to help mentor kids across North Texas.



MONDAY
– Attended Western Region Board Meeting for BBBS

• The Tarrant County Junior Board – which I'm heavily involved in – received an invitation to attend this meeting. It was a great chance to re-spark my passion for Big Brothers Big Sisters and share where we are going as a junior board.

Stat: Children with a mentor in their lives are 52 percent less likely to skip school. (source: BBBS)



TUESDAY
– Took my Little Brother (BBBS) with me to Presbyterian Night Shelter

• I love taking Anthony (right) to the shelter with me. He is so engaged with the clients and eager to lend a helping hand. It is great to combine two things I care about very deeply.

Stat: Volunteering heightens psychological, social and intellectual development and growth in adolescents. (source: Kids Care)



WEDNESDAY
– Completed my application – which included getting a TB test – to be a mentor within local jails.

• My M.O. for giving back has evolved since I started volunteering on a regular basis. I believe that everyone deserves a fighting chance to be successful. That's why I'm involved with BBBS and the shelter. I think adding prison mentoring to my volunteer activities is the next logical step.

Stat: According to government reports, 30 percent of released prisoners are rearrested within the first six months and 44 percent within the first year. (source: Change.org)



THURSDAY (Earth Day)
– Attending Volunteer Appreciation Party for Presbyterian Night Shelter

– Planting a tree

• I was recently named Volunteer of the Year at PNS, and I am being recognized at the volunteer appreciation party. (Blog post on why I volunteer at the shelter.)

• In conjunction with Earth Day, I am planting a tree in our front yard. I tried this once before but the tree died. FAIL! If I'm successful this time around, I will get to mark No. 65 off my list AGAIN. (Click here to see original blog post)

Stat: Only 26.8 percent of the population volunteered in 2009 – mostly white women between ages of 35 and 44 years old. (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)



FRIDAY
– Donating books and other items to Safe Haven, a shelter for abused women

– Running audio/visual equipment for men's fellowship at church

• Got the idea to donate books to victims of domestic violence from the wonderfully great book "How to be An Everyday Philanthropist." The author, Nicole Boles, points out: "Women who have no fixed address or who are on the run from violent partners don't have the luxury of taking their favorite books (or their children's) along with them."

Stat: Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. (source: American Bar Association)



SATURDAY
– Running audio/visual equipment for men's fellowship at church

– Playing frisbee golf with my Little Brother

• Great way to close out a busy week.

• I was already going to attend the two-day men's conference – "A Credible Man" – so I thought I would put my degree from Midwestern State to work.

• Since Anthony agreed to help out at the shelter on Tuesday night, I thought it was important that we did something fun. My wife made plans to go out of town with the baby, and she encouraged me to use that free time to hang out with Anthony.

Stat: There are 1,500 kids on the BBBS waiting list in North Texas. These are kids – just like Anthony – begging for a mentor.


REMINDER: This is NOT a typical week for me. Like I said before, I REALLY put an emphasis on giving back these seven days for #VOLWK. I'll take a much needed break next week.

If you are interested in giving back, here are few tips to get started:

• Don't shoot for the moon (e.g. seven consecutive days of volunteering)

• Keep it simple (Examples: Buy Girl Scout Cookies, donate toiletry items to a homeless shelter, recycle)

• Figure out what tugs at YOUR heart strings

• Be creative (e.g. Donating books to abused women's shelter)

• Make it part of something you're already doing (e.g. Growing a garden? Plant an extra row for a needy family.)

NEVER STOP GIVING BACK!

April 17, 2010

Taking Steps to Make Shadow Mission a Reality

I have used this blog to express my affinity for the non-profit Back on My Feet several times.

• I shared the first correspondence I had with BOMF founder, Anne Mahlum. (blog post)

• I Tweeted at every mile of the Cowtown Half Marathon to raise awareness about this great organization. (blog post)

• I have solicited donations to support their cause on several occasions. (blog post)

Needless to say, I have a soft and passionate place in my heart for this wonderfully great non-profit. It combines two things that I love: Running and giving the homeless a fighting chance to be successful.

Since that very first e-mail that I sent Anne Mahlum, I have not been shy about my shadow mission: Bringing a chapter of Back on My Feet to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Well...the opportunity has officially presented itself.

BOMF is starting the discussion of adding five new cities in 2011. They started in Philadelphia and have already expanded to Baltimore, Washington DC, Chicago and Boston.

Through an e-newsletter, the organization requested suggestions for possible expansion cities next year.

They wrote: "Be passionate and persuasive and tell us why we should expand to your city in 2011 here."

I think I will.

Here is what I submitted:

A little over a year ago, I planted the seed to bring a chapter of Back on My Feet to Dallas/Fort Worth.

I sent Anne an e-mail and copied anyone and everyone who would potentially play a part in making this dream a reality in DFW.

I got mayors in on the conversation, high-wealth donors, runners and running companies. I included volunteers and shelter administrators from across the Metroplex.

I copied potential coaches and city officials. I even asked several homeless clients, "What do you think about this?"

It was wonderfully great to receive everyone's pledge of support. I was blown away by their excitement.

My affinity for the homeless problem in our area had already been established, and they quickly recognized and supported my passion for bringing a chapter to our area.

If Back on My Feet expanded to Texas, I would want to be involved in EVERY capacity – from full-time employment to fund-raising, volunteer coordination, and financial support.

Based on my philanthropic involvement, I feel like I am positioned to do this. I believe I can be more than a supporter of BOMF. I could be a champion.

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for Presbyterian Night Shelter, the largest night shelter in Fort Worth. I also serve on an advisory committee for the Cowtown Marathon and have worked closely with the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition.

Through a lot of prayer and self-analysis, I have finally figured out why I give back to the causes that I do. Whether it's Big Brothers Big Sisters, prison mentoring, or going to the homeless shelter once a week – I firmly believe that EVERYONE deserves a fighting chance to be successful.

A very similar vision/mission of Back on My Feet.

If BOMF brought a chapter to DFW, I would raise awareness about the organization, the homeless problem in our region, and the power of running. I would do this through my experience in communications – specifically media exposure, social media and events.

Last summer I traveled to Philadelphia to learn as much as I could about BOMF. I also wanted to prove to Anne and the entire Back on My Feet family that I was dedicated to making my vision of a DFW chapter come alive.

I volunteered for 20in24 – stayed up all night at one of the check points. I met tons of fantastic people, but the best part of my trip was actually running with a team before flying back to Texas.

Before I did that run, BOMF had peaked my interest.

After that, this organization had a hold of my heart.

I don't know who will be reading this "persuasive" essay, but hopefully my name, my passion for BOMF, and my intense desire to bring a chapter to the Metroplex is already recognized.

Maybe...just maybe...these 450 words will push us over the top.

Other general information:
• Based on 2009 homeless count, there were approximately 7,500 homeless across Dallas/Fort Worth

• In 2008, Fort Worth put an emphasis on ending homelessness, adopting a 10-year strategic plan.

CALL TO ACTION:

If you would like to support our efforts in showing our Back on My Feet that we are serious – you can financially support BOMF's expansion campaign. DONATE HERE

April 10, 2010

I Volunteer Because...

I was recently named Volunteer of the Year at Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth.

I'm definitely not bragging – or fishing for an "attaboy" – I just feel like I should clarify a few things.

First of all...I was very humbled and honored by the nomination. Over the last couple years, the shelter has grabbed hold of my heart and gloriously ruined me. My wife and I have dedicated a lot of time and effort to PNS, and I felt like the nomination acknowledged that.

It made me feel appreciated.

It made me smile.

This might sound a little crazy – especially since I practically dared my friends and family to carry me across the finish – but winning the award was not that important to me.

Don't get me wrong....I'm glad I won – because I HATE losing.

But I feel like I snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a couple Facebook updates and several mass e-mails.

As I started writing this blog post, my wife said to me, "Don't feel guilty..."

I don't.

It's just VERY important to me that people know that it's not the awards or the recognition that motivates me to give back. (I put that in several of the e-mails that I sent out.)

I thought this would be appropriate time to explain why I volunteer at the night shelter (I should have done this a long time ago):

I volunteer at the shelter because I believe that everyone deserves a fighting chance to be successful.

I volunteer because of the one-on-one interaction with the clients.

I volunteer because I want to measure success in my life by the relationships I develop along the way.

I volunteer because I want to make giving back sexy and cool.

I volunteer because I've been extremely blessed in my life – I want to pay it forward.

I volunteer because when I'm having a bad day, the shelter provides perspective.

I volunteer because the smiles and hugs of the clients warm my heart.

I volunteer because I love it when random people reach out to me on Facebook and ask, "Can I go with you to the shelter?"

I volunteer because I want to inspire my family and friends to give back.

I volunteer at the shelter because I love hearing stories about clients moving into permanent housing or getting a job.

I volunteer because significance is one of my top life facets – right behind spiritual and family.

I volunteer because every few months, a client asks me my name or "When are you coming back?"

I volunteer because I've started to recognize the power of presence.

I volunteer because that's exactly where God wants me to be.

Thank you to all of the people who voted for me and encouraged me throughout the "competition."

I also want to give a special shout out to B.J. Lacasse – she is the real Volunteer of the Year. She single-handedly put a face on the homeless problem in our community through her wonderfully great images. (Click here to see a news story about her exhibit, "The Street.")

Never stop giving back!


March 27, 2010

My College Archive:
Fishing for the Definition of Individuality


NOTE: "I was blogging...when blogging wasn't cool. From my hat down to my boots..." (Re-read & imagine Barbara Mandrell singing it.)

I recently found some of the columns I wrote on a weekly basis for my college newspaper. It was the mid-90s and "blog" was something we did the morning after going to the bar. I thought it would be neat – at least for me – to share some of my favorite ones.

g g g

I think it’s neat that there are people who watch fishing on TV.

I would rather watch something more exciting, like Styrofoam decomposing, but I think it’s cool people sit around and watch this sort of meaningless programming.

The other day, I was at a friend’s house, flipping through the channels when I came across one of these fishing shows. I surf past these types of shows all the time, but for some reason, I stopped on this particular episode.

And it actually got me thinking.

I could care less about fishing and anything associated with fishing – fishing lures, fishing line, fishing poles and fishing boats – but as I watched this particular episode, I started realizing that there are people who do care.

It’s hard to believe, but a fishing show made me realize that every person is different and special in his or her own way.

I actually started thinking about this last semester, while I was sitting in my geology class – but the fishing show pushed me over the edge and forced me to sit down and write about it.

In geology, my professor would stand at the front of the class and just talk and talk about rocks.

I know that’s what you study in geology, but you don’t understand...this man was all about rocks and never ran out of things to say about them. It was amazing.

At the start of the semester, I would poke fun at him for knowing so much about rocks, because I put rocks right up there with fishing shows.

But halfway through the semester, I stopped making fun of him – because I realized that’s what he likes. I didn’t care, but this man obviously did.

I guess you could say my geology class – which I only went to a handful of times – planted the seed of individuality. The fishing show forced the concept to take root in my brain.

I like certain things that other people could honestly live without. That’s what makes me who I am (I think the word I'm looking for is unique).

Think about this scary scenario:

If everyone were like me, we’d have millions and millions of six-page newspapers, filled with millions and millions of columns about stupid things – like showering in the dark.

There would be no doctors, lawyers, or garbage men.

If everyone were like me, Aerosmith would be the only band on the radio – with an occasional tune from Van Halen – and “The Paper” would be the Sunday Night Movie every week. The Cowboys and Rangers would have no trouble selling out their games, because those would be the teams everyone rooted for, if everyone was just like me.

There would be a run on Coors Lite, cookies and cream ice cream, and the No. 2 at McDonalds.

Chicken fried rice would be the national meal, and the guy you invented Snickers would be even more wealthy than he already is.

If everyone were like me, Demi Moore and/or Teri Hatcher and/or Gwyneth Paltrow would be in every movie ever made. There would millions of Land Cruisers on the road. And if everyone were like me, we’d all be living in Seattle.

As much as I hate to admit it...if everyone were like me, this world would be extremely boring.

If everyone were like you, it would be boring, too.

I guess I’ve always known this, but rocks and fishing shows really made me realize it.

I think it’s awesome there are people in the world that get off on working on cars, doing scientific experiments, and selling everything from hot dogs to insurance.

I think it’s great there are some people who like Coolio and others who like Garth Brooks.

I like the fact there are people who prefer ballet over football games and comedies over dramas.

I couldn’t imagine if everyone liked soap operas and hated sitcoms.

I like the fact when you go into a restaurant, there isn’t just one thing on the menu.

I guess you could say the world is like those variety pack of cereal – The Wheaties, Cherrios and Lucky Charms are all different in their own special way, but together they are one.

I have a brand new respect for fishing shows....does anyone want to watch an episode?

Me neither.

March 16, 2010

CRASH INTO ME:
Being a Dad is the Coolest Thing Ever

There are some blog posts that simply write themselves – the content is so compelling and/or poignant and/or humorous that you simply let your fingers go crazy and hope your brain doesn’t screw anything up.

This should be one of those posts, because...

I’m proud to introduce my first-born son – Crash Myers – to “the world.”

(I’m putting an emphasis on “should write itself,” because my sleep-deprived brain is working at the same capacity as a bowl of instant oatmeal.)

Right now, Crash is celebrating his 1-month birthday comfortably pressed against his mom’s chest, sucking the varnish off his vanilla-flavored pacifier, and counting down the minutes until he gets to enjoy the steak and baked potato that TK ate for dinner.

It’s so cool – not just the sweet scene described above – but EVERYTHING.

Here is an e-mail that I sent to several family members and friends right after he was born:

I just wanted to share this picture with you. (It was taken by our neighbor, Arlene.)

Update: Crash is a STUD and LOVES his mommy. (I think it's the whole breast milk thing.)

You think you're ready for something like this, but as I was singing him to sleep after his morning feeding, I broke down a little (in a good way). I don't mean to be over-dramatic and sappy, but this is the coolest thing EVER! How can people look at a baby and not believe in God and/or love?

Thanks for all of your support through this amazing adventure.

Love,
Drew

That incredible feeling – that hit me like a wave on Feb. 16th at 10:39 a.m. – has only gotten stronger.

Actually, this blog post is kind of difficult to write – because there are so many wonderfully great things to share.

To make it easy on my numb brain – I thought a logical place to start would be the delivery room.

There were several things that really stood out to me:


• My wife was an all-star. I even asked her between pushes if she had done this before. They broke her water at 7:30 a.m. and Crash was stealing our hearts before 11 o’clock.

TK rocked the pregnancy, crushed the delivery, and she could have received an honorary degree in lactation consulting. (“Are you sure you haven't done this before?”)

While we’re on the subject of my wife: She is the toughest, strongest, most wonderful woman that I know. She has such a huge heart – more than enough to love all her boys. Crash is a very lucky little boy.

• I didn’t lose it, like I anticipated. I thought I was going to cry like...well....a baby. I didn’t. There were a few tears, but the confidence and clarity, that Crash instantly provided, dried me up.

• I’ve always been terrified to hold a baby under the age of 9 months old. Changing a diaper? Ha! Right! When Crash crashed into this world, I instantly became Super Dad. God flipped a switch in my brain, and I just started doing whatever was necessary to provide for my son. It goes back to clarity and confidence. It was awesome!

g g g

After Crash was born, he was catapulted into the middle of his first battle. His arch nemesis: Low blood sugar. This fight sent him to the NICU, but he came through like a warrior.

The experience really brought me and TK closer together, and I was so proud of my boy – but it was all the babies in the intensive care unit that stole my focus and attention.

My Facebook status after we were discharged: “WE'RE GOING HOME! Thank you for all of the prayers. I have one more request, though. Please pray for all the families who still have a baby in NICU – there are almost 40 at All Saints alone. I bet you even know someone living this horrible adventure right now.”

g g g

Since we pulled into the driveway as a family, it has been a “trying” and “educational” experience. Those both carry negative connotations, but it’s totally opposite. In a sick and twisted, former football coach kind of way – this is fun.

I love trying to figure it all out – what works best...can we tweak his schedule just little...what if we did this...how can we improve that.

What do we need to do in order to "win" today?

The funny thing is: Even if Crash screams his head off for a couple of hours and signs off with an up-the-back blowout...it’s still so wonderfully great.

WIN!

Even though he doesn’t know me from Gus (our dog), I still love coming home and holding his perfect little hand and kissing his soft little cheek.

VICTORY!

Even if I'm forced to function on less than 3 hours sleep, it all fades away when Crash falls asleep on my chest during my quite time the next day.

CHAMPIONSHIP!

You know what...several people have encouraged me to write a regular blog and/or a book about being a dad.

They may be on to something.

This was the easiest blog post I’ve ever written.

NOTE: This post is dedicated to all our wonderfully great family and friends who have provided love, prayers and support over the last month. It takes a village to raise a child, and our “village” is nothing short of incredible. Thank you!

UPDATE: Launched my new "Daddy Blog" on March 19th

January 21, 2010

'For an extra $1 you can get the jumbo'
Ummm...that won't be necessary

I can’t remember if I’ve ever referred to myself as a “popcorn head” on this blog before. If not....

Hi, my name is Drew and I’m a “popcorn head.”

This finger-licking description refers to someone who has one idea after another pop into their over-stimulated brain on a regular basis.

Business idea...POP!

Concept for a book...POP!

Another business idea...POP!

Invention...POP!

Idea for a movie...POP!

POP! POP! POP! POP!

I’m serious....I have AT LEAST one idea a day. Most are stupid and/or frivolous, but some are decent and have a little bit of sticking power.

There are times when it’s very exciting to be a “popcorn head,” but most of the time it’s just frustrating.

Here’s an example: Around 2001, I had a GREAT idea for a movie. The concept was simple: Guys go to wedding thye're not invited to so they can eat, drink, and pickup bride’s maids. (I don’t think I have to tell you how this particular “kernel” played out – Ummm....Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, rhymes with bedding dashers.)

Dang it!

Here’s another example: I was convinced the future of news/sports was on a more personalized level. I could pick exactly what information I wanted (Rangers, Cowboys & college football) and not be distracted by the nonsense (NHL and NASCAR). I could read only the information I craved or watch the highlights of my favorite teams. Well....I would like to introduce everyone to ESPN.com – and most recently ESPNDALLAS.com.

Bastards!

Actually, it’s OK....because there is only one person to blame in this wide world of popping – ME! (It's not like the suits from ESPN got me drunk and stole my idea.)

These ideas infiltrated my brain, and I didn’t do a damn thing about it.

Sure, I might have jotted down some notes – I’m actually partial to mind maps – but I didn’t sit down at a computer and write out a screenplay for “Wedding Crashers.” When I thought of “My News,” I didn’t write a business plan and put it into motion.

My most recent “kernel” was quasi-high jacked by MTV.

It’s called the “Buried Life.”

Here’s the concept (straight from the show's web site):
Relying on goodwill, guts and gumption Duncan, Ben, Dave and Jonnie travel the globe in a purple transit bus to complete a list of ‘100 things to do before you die’ and to help and encourage others to go after their own lists. For every item they complete on their list, they help a stranger achieve one of their dreams. Everywhere they go they ask the question: What do you want to do before you die?
WOW!

I know someone with a list like this...oh yeah...ME! (remember?)

Now....here’s the difference. I was actually going to write a book about this. (The TV show idea is brilliant, but I was leaning in a different direction with the exact same concept.)

I had actually starting writing it. Here’s an excerpt:
We talked about our Lists and what we could mark off next.We also talked about how we could help each other cross certain things off.
The wheels in my head were spinning on a much larger scale, though.
“A gigantic thank you note to God...”
“Truly living an adventurous and amazing life...”
“Other List Makers....”
“Their journeys...”
“Helping them.”
I was finally able to connect the dots that were dancing around in my brain. “What if I reached out to other people who had made a List,” I thought to myself. “I could help them with their tasks – they could possibly help me with some of mine – and I could write about these wonderfully great people and this incredible experience.”

CRAP!

I had a very profound epiphany as I watched the first episode of “The Buried Life” – I don’t want another “kernel” snatched out of my hands. If I have a good idea – I need to go for it.

I did it with e-Partners in Giving, but my popcorn bucket is full of other ideas.

When this wild and crazy life is over – I don’t want to say “what if.”

I think back to the Mark Twain quote my mom gave me when I graduated from college:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Let’s melt some butter and get it on!

January 12, 2010

Starbucks Gives Soul & Spirit Unexpected Jolt

Have you ever purchased something other than coffee from Starbucks? (And I'm not talking about a Cinnamon Dolce Latte or a Triple Venti Soy White Mocha.)

I'm talking about a travel mug, a French press, or a coffee grinder. Have you ever carried something like that up to the counter? Maybe?

What about a Starbucks CD? Probably not, but not out of the realm of possibility, huh?

What about a book? (Yes...I said book.) Nope?

Me neither.

I guess I've seen them there from time to time – stacked between the gift cards and the tip jar – but I paid as much attention to them as a "Bearista Bear." (Which DOES exist as well.)

When I was given a "Starbucks book" and encouraged to read it – I simply cringed. (It was like some poured the before-mentioned Cinnamon Dolce Latte on my crotch – extra hot, room for cream.)

When I had nothing better to do, I picked it up and started to thumb through it. For the first time, I actually read the title – "One: How Many People Does it Take to Make a Difference" – I was intrigued.

This little book is...

AWESOME!

It is a wonderfully great collection of quotes and stories that has a simple call to action: Change the World. I wanted to share one of the thoughts that really stood out in this inspiring publication "created exclusively for Starbucks Coffee Company."

There's a silent killer that stalks America. It's call "rustout" and it's far more deadly and scary than burnout. Sure, burnout can wear down your body, but rustout can wipe out your soul and your spirit.

"Rustout is the slow death that follows when we stop making the choices that keep life alive. It's the feeling of numbness that comes from always taking the safe way, never accepting new challenges, continually surrendering to the day-to-day routine. Rustout means we are no longer growing, but at best, are simply maintaining. It implies that we have traded the sensation of life for the security of a paycheck...Rustout is the opposite of burnout. Burnout is overdoing. Rustout is underbeing."

– Richard Leider & Steve Buchoz, The Rustout Syndrome

NOTE: After further research, this "Starbucks publication" was simply an excerpt from a broader book with the same name. It was written by Dan Zadra & Kobi Yamada. (Click here for more info)


January 7, 2010

A Victory of a Lifetime at the Fiesta Bowl

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

I love that statement...especially if you played well enough to crush your opponent and finish No. 1.

Confession: I love to win, I really hate losing,
and I think that quote is stupid.

To take it a step further...I’m baffled by people who don’t play to win.; I don’t understand why they don’t keep score in peewee sports anymore, and trophies for everyone?

COME ON!

I’m a staunch advocate of this philosophy:
Play to win or don’t play at all.

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

That’s more like it!

Now, I would like for you to imagine me – and all my competitive juices – sitting at the Fiesta Bowl...clock reads 00:00...and my beloved Horned Frogs on the short end of a 17-10 BCS debacle.

As the Boise State Broncos celebrated with their fans, I sat with my head in my hands....devastated. (I could only imagine what the TCU players and coaches were feeling.)

Well, that disappointment stayed with me all night; I had nightmares about the loss, and on the flight home, I played the entire game back in my head – TWICE!

Did I mention that I hate to lose?

When we finally made it back to Fort Worth....my mentality started to change, though.

I reminded myself how I was going to start measuring success – not by money, fame, or fancy stuff.

I’m definitely not going to measure success by number of touchdowns scored by my favorite college football team. (No offense, Coach P.)

I’m going to measure success by the relationships that form along the way.

In that case....the Fiesta Bowl was a HUGE win.

First place.

Gold medal.

CHAMPIONSHIP.

There were six of us in our travel party and it was such a wonderfully great trip.

Not everyone knew each other, but that quickly changed after spending 10 hours in the El Paso airport. (We flew standby to Phoenix.)

Each person brought something special to the table – whether that was a leadership role, a motherly role, or simply a voice of reason.

We laughed a lot and created great stories. For example:

• Having pizza delivered to the airport and getting it scanned at the security check point;

• Kelly making friends with the courtesy cart driver;

• Meeting other TCU fans on their way to cheer on the Frogs;

• Illegally squeezing six people into one hotel room (and all the smells that go along with that);

• Getting a special 3 a.m. visit from some of our friends who work at TCU;

• Going on two runs (me & Kelly) in some of the most beautiful January weather EVER;

• All going to a nice dinner the night before the game and eating Coldstone right after;

• Everyone receiving a nickname (Some examples: Beano, Mounds, and Klumlover);

• Taking most of our group shots ourselves with an elevated perch and the built-in timer – these all turned out great and was a lot of fun to do. (“Would you like me to take your photo?” “NO! Get out of the way...CHEESE!”);

• Tailgating before the game with hundreds of other Frogs,

• And being a part of TCU Football history.

Travel Team 42, Boise State 6
That's one TD for each of us & two field goals for our Boise State "friends" we tormented at the game.

The pictures do a great job capturing our victory:


Headed to the airport

Acting out...before heading to the airport

Delirious already? Just wait!

Sign speaks for itself

Takeoff! (find Baby Crash)

Ummmm.....

There's that delirium – 10 hrs at airport

Kelly's new friend...BEEP! BEEP!

Our first self portrait in PHX

At the hotel

Our prom shot

Lunch in Scottsdale (with our waitress)

Pre-game (self portrait)

Our Boise State "friends"

Game Time!

Go Frogs!

Nancy, Margo & Klumlove

THE WINNING TEAM! GO FROGS!

January 6, 2010

Do You 'Sleep in a Storm'?

I had a marathon trip back from Fiesta Bowl (whole other post about that coming soon), but six hours on an airplane gave me the opportunity to start AND finish a great little book by Mitch Albom, author of "Tuesdays with Morrie."

I wanted to share a quick story from this book, "Have a Little Faith."

This is an excerpt from a sermon given by his rabbi in 1975.  It really spoke to me:

"A man seeks employment on a farm. He hands his letter of recommendation to his new employer. It reads simply, 'He sleeps in a storm.'

"The owner is desperate for help, so he hires the man.

"Several weeks pass, and suddenly, in the middle of the night, a powerful storm rips through the valley.

"Awakened by the swirling rain and howling wind, the owner leaps out of bed. He calls for his new hired hand, but the man is sleeping soundly.

"So he dashes off to the barn. He sees, to his amazement, that the animals are secure with plenty of feed.

"He runs out to the field. He sees the bales of wheat have been bound and are wrapped in tarpaulins.

"He races to the silo. The doors are latched, and the grain is dry.

"And then he understands. 'He sleeps in a storm.'

"My friends, if we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business. Our words will always be sincere, our embraces tight. We will never wallow in the agony of 'I could have, I should have.' We can sleep in a storm.

"And when it's time, our good-byes will be complete."

I love this...

"We will never wallow in the agony 
of 'I could have, I should have.' "

January 2, 2010

2010 Goals: 'Pick up that Sword and Let's Fight'

When is the last time you had an epiphany – a thunderous punch of realization right to your gut?

Mine came a couple months ago, and it was more like a round-house kick to the face.

The sting of that epiphany has culminated into this blog post, which revolves around my short-term and long-term goals in every facet of my life.

First...how I got to this point: I don’t want to be over-dramatic and/or cliché, and say that I hit rock bottom – but I did hit something.

I was tired of pretending that I had all the answers.

I was tired of thinking that I had to be perfect.

I was tired of fearing failure.

My business was barely generating traction, I had no income coming in, and my first child was peeking at me through my wife’s belly button. 

“Here I come, daddy!”

I was confused, and my confidence was in the toilet.

Like most desperate men, I gave myself a pep talk in the bathroom mirror and told myself to “buck up.”

“Stop crying, little baby! Figure it out!”

After a couple of weeks, that egotistical experiment made things worse. I was paralyzed.

Then I heard a whisper – one that I’ve heard before – and I realized everything was going to be fine. I imagined God standing in front of me, wearing his tattered battle armor and waving his arm – as to say, “Let’s go. Follow me.”

His whisper: “Pick up the sword that I’ve laid at your feet and let’s fight – together.”

He began opening doors for me that I didn’t even know existed.

One of those doors was a business advisory group in Houston – a wonderful group of successful entrepreneurs who were getting together twice a month to discuss issues of running a business.

"Hey...that's me!"

 I inquired about joining the group, went through the interview process, and now show up in H Town every other Friday.

It has been a true blessing.

Since starting in October, the BAG sessions have provided clarity about who I am, where I am in my life, and where I want to go.

This clarity mostly revolves around goals – a strategic plan to live the life you dream of.

“What are some of your goals?” one of the members asked me during the interview process.

ME: “Goals? Well....I don’t know....I mean, I have....ummmm.....that would be a pretty good idea.”

Seeds of clarity and direction unintentionally planted.

For the last couple months, I have been working on my goals. I started out by taking a hard look at where I am and writing a “being statement” – my vision/dream of the person I want to be.

Then, I created a five-year plan and a list of goals for 2010 that fit into that plan. (I will do the same thing in 2011 and 2012.)

Most recently, I assigned Accountability Coaches to each of my life facets. (Click here to read more about that part of this exercise, including my list of hand-picked coaches.)

In this particular blog post, I wanted to share how I prioritized my life facets, explain where I am in my life, and include my “being statement.” I have provided links that breakdown the life facets, which includes the five-year plan and goals for 2010.

NOTE: These are NOT resolutions. The fact that I’m rolling them out on Jan. 2 is totally coincidental. These are my goals. My dreams. My vision of where I want to go.

Why I am sharing this with the world – or at least the 24 people who regularly read my blog?

It’s about putting leverage on myself. It’s about being transparent and not hiding behind the metaphorical mask.

It’s actually pretty invigorating.

I’m also a firm believer that if you write things down, you start training your subconscious mind to start making it a reality. (A blog is “writing it down” on steroids.)

Two things that I’ve learned in this process: 1) In five years, I’ll be 40 years old, and 2) The true measure of success should be the relationships that we develop along the way – not money, fame, or fancy “stuff.”

MY LIFE FACETS & GOALS

1. SPIRITUAL

Where Am I Right Now: Strong faith & relationship with Christ, but NOT attending church on regular basis

Being Statement: I will make God look good by the way I live my life, and use my faith as the foundation for the rest of my life facets

2. FAMILY

Where Am I Right Now: First child on the way – solid foundation of love & respect between me & my wife; Immediate family lives within hours drive – try to see them every couple of weeks

Being Statement: I will be the husband my wife deserves & the role model my children need


3. SIGNIFICANCE

Where Am I Right Now: Constantly put an emphasis on giving back & helping those less fortunate; My conviction statement: Everyone deserves a fighting chance to be successful

Being Statement: I will make giving back sexy and cool – be a motivation to others to give back



4. BUSINESS

Where Am I Right Now: I am president/CEO of start-up company, e-Partners in Giving...We have been operational for 13 months; Limited cash flow, morale low, and questioning business model; Forced to take "real job" – since company has not generated necessary traction/momentum

Being Statement: I will utilize my leadership abilities to develop a unique business model/assemble a like-minded team that inspires social entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur Incubator)– create, sell, repeat; Involved in the daily operations – not just financially invested – each project will fund the next


5. EDUCATION

Where Am I Right Now: Have Master's Degree in Ed. Administration; recently started Rapport Leadership Training; know how to say bathroom and beer in Spanish (bano & cerveza)

Being Statement: Advice from my grandfather: "Never stop learning." I will apply this advice to every aspect of my life


6. PHYSICAL (Health)

Where Am I Right Now: Recently had first physical as an adult – 'extremely healthy'; Have had some sleep issues in the past – nothing significant; Active w/ primary source of exercise coming from running; Social drinker – no smoking; Watch what I eat – limited fast food & no sodas.

Being Statement: I will maintain my current weight and level of fitness and inspire others around me to live an active, healthy lifestyle as well.



7. FINANCIAL

Where Am I Right Now: MESS! Extreme debt b/c of business (mostly credit cards); Limited Savings; No investments – except for wife's 401K

Being Statement: Money will never be an obstacle for my family



8. SOCIAL

Where Am I Right Now: Have a list of 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days (487 days left); Most social activities revolve around giving back; Limited funds have handcuffed us from going out a lot

Being Statement: I will not forget to have fun and maximize any situation that I'm placed in; I will focus on the success of the people that I love.

Five-year plan and goals

I NEED HELP!
My Accountability Coaches for 2010

Part of my realization over the last few months has included the fact that it’s OK to ask for help.

For most of my life, I’ve been pig-headed and stubborn about this simple practice.

“I can do it on my own!”

I’ve actually been a little arrogant about the situation, too.

“Not only can I do it on my own – I can do it better than anyone else.”

Ummm.....WRONG.

Realization: To be successful in life, I have to check my ego at the door and turn to more talented and capable people to help get me where I want to go.

That’s why I’ve assigned Accountability Coaches for 2010.

I went through my Rolodex (a.k.a my Friends List on Facebook) and hand-selected the individuals I want to help hold me accountable in 2010.

I did NOT ask these people to do this. I simply put the ball in their court, and I’m hoping that they step up to the plate to help.

These are people I respect and admire. They also inspire me in how they live their lives. (At least the part that I’m asking for help in.)

Example: One of my Accountability Coaches for “Family” is my brother, John. He is a loving husband and devoted son and brother. He knows the value of family and does not take it for granted. I’m convinced that John can help me keep family at the forefront of my priorities.

Reminder....I don’t want to seem like a good husband – I want to BE a good husband. I don’t want to seem like nurturing father – I want to BE a nurturing father.

I know John can help me in this area of my life, just like my friend Kelly can hold be accountable about giving back (significance) and my friend Will can make sure I’m having a little fun (social).


Some of my Coaches I talk to every day, while some I simply follow via social media. Some aren’t going to be shocked that they’re one of my Coaches, while others might say, “Drew who?”

I assigned two to three Coaches to each of my life facets (i.e. spiritual, business, physical, etc.) I chose more than one – just in case one of the other Coaches drops the ball. (I don’t want to fumble because someone else did.)

If your name is on the list and you aren’t interested in helping me – please let me know. (Definitely no hard feelings.)

NOTE: My wife is not one of my Accountability Coaches because she is too close to the situation. That held true for a lot of my other friends as well.

What does it mean to be an Accountability Coach?

Two requirements: 1) You simply have to ask me from time to time about my goals in that particular life facet (if you want to ride my ass...feel free, but you can just casually mention it from time to time), and 2) You HAVE to let me help you do something in 2010.

That’s it!

You don’t have to call me everyday.

You don’t have to fill out any paperwork and/or sign anything on Dec. 31, 2010.

Just call or e-mail and ask, “How’s it going?”

Here are my life facets and my Accountability Coaches for each one:

SPIRITUAL (goals here)

– Brian Hatton (college buddy)
– Matt Lewis (friend from TCU & church)
– Mark Wylie (friend from TCU & church)


– John Howard (my brother)
– Dave Quinn (friend from West Texas)


SIGNIFICANCE (goals here)

– Kelly Imig (friend who works for Big Brothers Big Sisters)
– Catherine Ruehle (friend with huge heart for giving back)
– Jenna Sauber (friend who is huge advocate for Nothing But Nets)


BUSINESS (goals here)

– Mark Rusell (friend, entrepreneur & funeral director in Baton Rouge)
– Luis Caballero (friend, entrepreneur & marketing guru)
– Amy Schroeder (friend, entrepreneur & business owner in Dallas)


EDUCATION (goals here)

– Kimbra Quinn (friend from West Texas)
– Mike Bloomberg (friend & entrepreneur)


PHYSICAL/HEALTH (goals here)

– Greg Jones (best friend who recently started running)
– Chelsey Hughes (friend, runner & triathlete)
– Julie Brauer (friend & runner)


FINANCIAL (goals here)

– Brad Amidei (college buddy)
– JR Holland (friend from Fort Worth)

– Will Berend (college buddy living in Minnesota)
– Katie Giangreco (friend from TCU)



To read my blog post about my 2010 goals (click here).


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