Jumping Off Cliffs
Jumping off cliffs can be an exhilarating experience for some, while for others it’s terrifying just making the journey to the edge to look down at what lies below. I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of jumping off cliffs to level up my life, which I talked about in my recent podcast appearance on the Ready Yet Podcast with Erin Marcus.
We talked about the wild journey that I have been on since jumping off a cliff (the first of many) after leaving my corporate career nearly 4 years ago. This was a giant leap of faith as I was leaving behind a full pension, benefits, sick time, and 6 weeks of vacation. Already in our late thirties, we took our 2 kids (5 & 8) backpacking across Europe for three months, something most people do in their early twenties (minus the kids). Upon arriving back in Canada, new and exciting career doors opened and I was able to work with mentors and friends, when the unexpected happened suddenly…
A close mentor and friend had passed away as I was making a career move (another difficult cliff to jump off!) that turned out to be a bad call on my part. I questioned my gut, my intentions and my worth for a long time as I battled internally to put the pieces back together and try to get back on the right track of a life I wanted to be living and enjoying. Not all cliffs are created equal – sometimes you take the leap and the fall is fast and brutal. It had gotten so bad that I had to take cold showers in the morning just so I could feel alive. I could hear my Dad’s voice in my ear saying, “I just don’t want you to wake up every morning and dread going to work like I did”.
The beauty of jumping off a cliff and surviving to tell the tale when it comes to business, is it gets easier to survive the fall, pick yourself up and do it again! There are always lessons to be learned from any kind of a fall. Of course this is easy for me to say now, but when I was waist deep in shit and sinking quickly I often imagined my horrible cubicle where I got paid really well to waste 40 hours a week just to cruise in the comfort of autopilot.
Life is all about learning, working hard, plateauing & recalibrating. I remember when I was in high school I couldn’t wait to be done learning so I could just coast through life. I find it embarrassing that I ever thought that way, but I did. What I learned afterwards was that when I wasn’t learning something new, I was extremely bored. Sometimes I would complain about the complexity of the things that I was learning, but unbeknownst to me, it was making me the person I needed to be to get me where I’m at right now. When I left my corporate job, I had taken almost every single internal training program as well as 2 University Certificates. My career had plateaued, but I was a learning machine that stopped just shy of an MBA.
Recalibrating means tweaking your life after a cliff jump to bring you back not only to the level you were before the jump, but much higher! When the time came to become a member of the KP Design team, I had a long list of tools and resources at my disposal and an incredibly supportive wife. I began to research the job I needed to create, and then began learning every single thing I could to become the best at that position. From there the snowball grew as I kept adding pieces to increase my value in the company.
As I write this now, I am in the process of finding someone to hand my job off to so that I can work on being the business owner! How amazing is that?! In less than 2 years we’ve gained enough traction for me to make growing the business my full time job.
I can see why people become serial entrepreneurs now. It took a lot of recalibrating to rewire my brain as I had an employee mindset mentality right from kindergarten.
Go to school, get a job, get married, work, kids, retire, grandkids, die. This was my original road map for a successful life, just like so many of us. My road map has a lot more twists and turns in it now!
The idea that I get to mentor someone and pay them so they can take care of their family is such a thrill! I’ve always gotten way more out of giving, but this is ridiculous how happy this makes me! It’s like Scrooge at the end of the movie (spoiler alert)!
The biggest surprise
For me the biggest surprise (and kinda not so surprised) was how easy it was for us to work together. I’m sure there are a lot of couples out there who can’t imagine spending day and night together, not just running a household but also a business. I would say that timing and wisdom are everything when it comes to working together! Kati and I have had the benefit of going through the meat grinder of life together (from puberty, to flat broke newlyweds trying to finish University, from moving to the godforsaken Manitoba north, to selling our house & possessions to backpack Europe with our small children, to starting fresh in a new Province & growing a business together).
There is one piece of advice that I would love to share with you if you’re thinking of working with your spouse. MASTER THE ART OF CONFLICT!!! There are always sparks and friction when throwing around ideas or trying to figure out solutions to problems. Kati and I have mastered the art of conflict. There’s Destructive Conflict, and then there’s Constructive Conflict. We make sure to always keep our conflicts constructive whether it’s work or personal. The secret to our success is really quite simple…. We walk together! Walk together every single day! We have a dog so he makes us walk multiple times a day. Sometimes we don’t say a word and we are just in our own heads but our energy is together. Sometimes we hash out all of our ideas or issues in a really fast paced heated walk, and sometimes it might take a couple walks to get through the problem, but we always come back to each other with respect.
The biggest challenge
The biggest challenge that I’ve had to deal with over the past couple of years has been the voice inside my head, those moments of self doubt when I was really needing something to go my way and it fell off the rails, and then I’d question everything. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past 42 years, it’s that I will succeed at what I really want to achieve deep down. For all the amazing things that have gone my way, it always seems to be that one thing that bothers me, or takes me to a place I don’t want to be in.
A happy surprise that has come out of changing the narrative in my head and embracing my inner entrepreneur, is that I don’t have to wear pants to work! I really hated wearing pants in my cubicle and I remember constantly complaining that pants shouldn’t be mandatory if you don’t leave your desk. However, after the novelty of being pantless wore off, I learned that I actually love getting dressed nicely for the day even when there are no meetings. I really like looking and feeling my best, it sounds so simple and yet in my past life I was 20lbs overweight and not nearly in the condition I am now after years of working out and getting into amazing shape thanks to Orange Theory Fitness!
Another BIG surprise was realizing how much and how important the work I do everyday impacts our company. In my former corporate life, I answered a couple of emails, chatted on the phone and barely finished any tasks, and after a while it felt awful. I remember suggesting working from home a couple of days a week so that I could be more efficient and actually accomplish more tasks, but was told that there was no way they could let me do that. When you’re an entrepreneur every minute of every hour counts and your time is way more valuable than an hourly wage. This was one of the biggest things I had to reprogram in my mind.
When You’re Ready, the Teacher Will Emerge
One of my recent goals was to find a coach who would be able to take our business to the next level. It did not take long after setting that intention that we crossed paths with someone who really resonated with us. I’m really grateful Erin has come into our lives. We needed that bump, and boy did we get it! I’m still putting the processes I need in place and getting the right people in place, and by the Fall of 2021 we will be ready for the next big bump. Buckle up, because the sky’s the limit and we’re ready!
Did I mention I manifested Tom Brady to the Buccaneers?! The Super Bowl Trophy was a bonus! I was just happy my favorite player and my favorite team combined after 20 years. So yeah, that was me. I also manifested a 7 month salary buyout package which helped fund my mini retirement in Europe with my family. It’s wild how you can manifest your wildest dreams when you get clear about what it is that you really want! One of my favorite sayings is “If someone offers to pay you to leave, you gladly take the money and leave”.
The best thing that I’ve managed to manifest is working with my best friend and life partner. That was a dream we both shared for as long as I can remember, and look at us now…living the dream!
Click the link below to watch the “Ready Yet” Podcast with Erin Marcus. Please like, subscribe and share with your network if you like this content so we can keep creating more.