white and black quote board on green plants

Little by little


One of the things I’ve learned is most difficult in life is having to sit with yourself, by yourself. It’s hard, because when you’re alone to yourself and your thoughts, you’re left with the burden of being critically honest with yourself about your current state, and those reflections don’t always come easily.

I recently had a conversation with a young entrepreneur and his business partner. Both in college, they are on the path to starting a new business and scheduled a conference call with me where they showed me one of the most common things I see in a business; revenue projections.

If we get X customers, we make Y money.

The spreadsheet was beautiful, and they seemed to put a lot of time and detail into the columns and rows. Yet, they forgot one critical thing; time.

“I see that you make X if you get 100 customers, and on column 23 you’re really starting to scale.” I told them. “But, how much time goes into servicing each customer and how many employees will you need to hire per X new customers?”

Instantly, the excitement on their faces was replaced with a momentary shock with the revelation their business model was missing some mission critical pieces of information in order to make the business work.

“This is what I call the ‘oh f*ck’ moment in business” I told them, while reassuring them that these sorts of moments are opportunities to transition from the excitement of starting a business and into the real meat and potatoes of how a successful business is built.

“It’s easy to create the projections that show your first million, but a lot more difficult to factor in the hours, time and labor required to build it. That’s where business stops being a fantasy and when it becomes a reality.”

It would have been really easy for these two budding entrepreneurs to shrug off the advice, but they took it all on the chin and told me they’d revisit after they had an opportunity to rework the spreadsheets.

My advice to them has largely been a reflection of my own learnings in both business as well as my personal life, both of which are closely intwined as I’ve worked from a home office for most of my career. I’ve spent a lot of my early years thinking that things would magically happen for me and someday I’d wake up to a dream life. Not only was I wrong, but it was one of the costliest mistakes I made with my 20’s back when I had rampant energy to tirelessly work.

Fatherhood has made me realize a lot of things about my life, business, health and choices that no other life circumstance ever could have done so well. It forced a measure of responsibility and accountability for things that I’ve hit snooze on for years, and it’s been the best gift that life ever gave me.

I lost my Dad, and it was 100% because of the choices that he made. I say this plainly and without resentment, though it’s taken me over a decade to reach the point in my life where I’ve made peace with his passing. This isn’t to say that I am happy with his loss, or that I wish things were different, as much as it is in finding the vantage point where I can see his choices and both acknowledge their impact on my life – and my own responsibility to do things differently in my own.

I think there were a lot of things my Dad did that were similar to these students I spoke with, in the sense that he simply thought X would happen without ever really factoring in Y and the resources, time and effort it would take to ensure Y happened. In my Dad’s case, he rarely ate greens and as a result, died early from colon cancer.

During the last few months, I had to confront somebody that was really hard to face; myself. I spiraled into a downward tailspin after a series of injuries made it difficult to get out of bed, walk down the stairs and play with Atlas the way I usually do. The injuries seemed to compound on each other, and I found it difficult to get out of bed both physically and emotionally. I’ve had several dark chapters in my life, but this one was undoubtedly the worst I’ve experienced.

One morning, I woke up and when I finally made it out of my bed, I headed down my stairs to get my first cup of coffee. There, a thought hit me that changed a lot of things in my brain/psyche:

“This won’t get better in 5 minutes.”

I knew that things wouldn’t get better in five minutes, even if I did every possible thing in that moment to correct and heal my body. Five weeks sounded a lot more likely, and I imagined that in five months I’d be living my best life and feeling like a champ. But, it wouldn’t come without making the appropriate changes in order to correct.

I bought a Vitamix, and started a habit (which I’ve kept) of packing as many vegetables, fruits, superfood powders (Probiotics, turmeric, antioxidants, chia, nootropics) as I could fit each morning. Maybe I’ll get cancer like my Dad. Maybe I won’t. However, I know that the 10-15lb of fruits/vegetables I eat on a weekly basis now will certainly do their part in helping me live a longer, healthier life.

I learned a few things about myself during that difficult chapter, and the biggest takeaway is that things don’t happen on their own, instantly or without paying a price, having accountability and taking bite-sized pieces to chip away at my goals – or a big gulp of a smoothie.

No Comments

Leave A Comment