You might be asking yourself, “Well, who is this guy anyway?” I will first share with you a little of my story and what qualifies me to guide business owners on their productivity. Below that I share some of my interests so you can see what we might have in common.
How I got into business
My first experience in business was in my father’s store. He owned a western wear store in Pasadena, Texas called Big Tex. The store took up a whole city block (this is a Texas-sized story after all!) He sold all different kinds of jeans from baby sizes to sizes big enough to fit me, my brother and my sister all at the same time. The store’s other claim to fame was that it was a couple miles away from Gilley’s, the bar in the movie, Urban Cowboy, which starred John Travolta, Debra Winger, and don’t forget the bull.
In high school I would help out on the weekends and during college vacations selling and re-stocking. I learned about pricing and merchandising and employee relations. For awhile I was even his bookkeeper which of course helped me learn about the books and finances behind a business. At the time it wasn’t my big dream to be a business owner, but I realize now I bring a lot from that experience to my present business.
We now fast forward many years later after I got a Master’s in Social Work and worked as the children’s department director at the Jewish Community Center in St Paul, MN. When it was time to move on from there, I found a job at a new computer store that was opening in Uptown Minneapolis. This was a corporate store of Computer Renaissance which buys and sells used computers. Working in a new store offered me many opportunities. I was first hired as a salesman. I found out later the manager just decided to give me a chance since the job was full commission and he wouldn’t have lost anything if I wasn’t successful. I actually did pretty well because I knew how to speak techy stuff in layman’s terms. After 6 months, the manager was promoted into corporate and I became the Assistant Manager. Just another 6 months after that, the Manager left and I replaced him. As the store manager I learned the bigger picture of running a store. Budgeting and inventory and the not so fun side like bounced checks and shoplifting. I learned about these things from both a local store perspective as well as the corporate environment.
I had higher goals though. I was making a lot of money for that corporate store and I wanted a larger portion for myself. I ended up telling some key people that I was open to being a store owner, and lo and behold a store became available in Omaha. I bought that store and learned about having all the responsibility to myself. It was here that I learned:
When things aren’t going well, you’ve gotta hustle to create more business. And when things are going well, you’ve also gotta hustle to deal with all the extra business coming your way. So no matter what, in good times or bad, business owners have to hustle.
Omaha wasn’t such a bad place, though it’s not the greatest place to be single. Lots of great restaurants, the people are nice and it has a great zoo. Did you know that when there is a football game at the University of Nebraska, the stadium is the third most populace area in the state (behind Omaha and Lincoln)?
Owning the store was fun for awhile, but the price of computers started to fall so the prices of used computers came down even more. The concept of buying and selling computers was no longer viable. I ended up closing the store which I can without a doubt say was the lowest point of my entire life. It was here that I learned about failure and how to bounce back from it.
How I got into coaching
I left Omaha and returned to Minneapolis with my tail between my legs. I helped out part-time at a school, tutored kids and found other odd jobs.
One weekend afternoon I went to see my favorite musician, Michael Monroe, who does some amazing things with a midi guitar looping the recording of the music and singing with himself. Over the years of being a fan and going to his gigs, I have become friends with him and his partner/manager, Deborah. They are amazing people who have created the life of their dreams living in a log cabin in Northern Minnesota and traveling as a wandering minstrel. After one of Michael’s gigs, I was talking to Deborah about my next step in life. The pesky mosquitoes (Minnesota’s state bird!?!) were starting to come out so we started briskly walking circles in the small parking lot. She told me about Life Coaching and the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).
I’ve always enjoyed helping and supporting others whether it was teaching Sunday school, bartending (a job I had in Houston for a very short while because I kept mixing the drinks too strong) or helping the customers at my computer store. Even though I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s of Social Work, being a therapist didn’t really work for me. I just couldn’t see people as broken or below baseline.
What Deborah was telling me about coaching really resonated with me and I started training through CTI. I enjoy seeing my client as naturally creative, resourceful and whole. It also forced me to come out of my shell more as I became aware of my values and learned to live them out in the world. After going through CTI’s certification program, I am now a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). I also completed CTI’s Leadership program which supported me to share even more of myself with the world. It’s not like I changed that much. It’s just that I’ve become more of me. Hopefully, that makes sense to you.
That’s some of how I got to where I am now.
Here are some general tidbits so you can get to know me a little better.
Whenever I have a big decision to make, I look at whether saying yes (or no) will move me toward or away from living my top 3 values. My desire is to have every part of my business reflect these values.
- Freedom– I’ve heard it said that “When you own your own business, you only have to work half a day. The other 12 hours you can do whatever you want.”You’d think from reading this humorous, yet serious statement that you can’t be a business owner and ”have a life” at the same time. However, I believe that having both balance and freedom is not only possible; it’s a state of mind at which you can excel. When I experience freedom, it supports me to slow down and meet my value of connecting with others…
- Connection – I believe that it is so much more difficult (if not impossible) to play my “bigger game” when I am playing alone. And in any event, why would I want to!?! The door to success is so much easier to find and open with the help of others. Besides, it would get very lonely after awhile being cooped up all by my lonesome. Connecting with others then opens up the opportunity to meet my value for contributing…
- Contribution– I have gifts that make a difference in the world. And some of you are willing to exchange those gifts for hard-earned money, which in turn brings me more freedom…
And the cycle of my top 3 values begins again from the top.
Other values I stand for in my business are:
- Frisky Rascal – I have fun being myself. Frisky Rascal is the name given to the part of me that my coaching classmates wanted to see more of out in the world. It’s the part of me that’s playful, mischievous, and a bit of a tease. He’s fun to be with, but not at the expense of others.
- Brilliant Compassion – I connect deeply with others.
When I was a kid, I was teased. I never knew how to stand up for myself, and other kids took advantage of me. They called me names. It hurt, but I didn’t know that at the time. I stuffed my feelings. As a result as I grew older, I spent much of my life being what others wanted me to be. On the river of life, I wasn’t using my paddles.In the last decade or so I have found myself. Partly because I was teased and partly because my parents modeled being part of a community, I seem to be sensitive to what is going in the people around me. I like to support others to be all they can be and to use their paddles on the river of life.
- Adventure – I love getting out there and experiencing new things. This is somewhat of a surprise to me, but is apparent nonetheless. Even though I feel anxious at those times, I do crave new experiences.
- Personal Commitment – I am tenacious.
- Deep Authenticity– It is important to be honest with myself and others.For one, a reputation is hard to establish and easy to destroy. Two, authenticity is not all that common these days. It helps me to stand out. Three, I want other people to be honest with me so I model the behavior I want from others.
- Collaborative community/support – I am part of a community of independent business professionals (including you) who support each other to grow our businesses.
- Acceptance – I do my best to be OK with things no matter how they turn out.Believe it or not things don’t always go my way. I do my best to accept whatever happens. I can’t do much about it once its done. One question I sometimes ask myself: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
Over the years, I have been a member of:
- Boy Scouts
- The University of Texas at Austin alumni association
- Minnesota Coaches Association
- Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
- International Coaches Federation
- Good Sam Club (for RVers)
- Costco (that’s supposed to be a joke; you should be laughing right now)
- Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. (Go Longhorns!)
- Masters of Social Work from the University of Houston. (Go Cougars!)
- certified through the Coaches Training Institute as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (that’s what the CPCC stands for beside my name).
- CTI’s Leadership program in 2005-6. (For other Leadership grads: Eagles, eccentric)
- Hiking – I like to hike in national parks. I have hiked into and camped in Havasupai 7 times. This is an Indian reservation next to the Grand Canyon with blue-green water falls over travertine rock. There are no roads into the campground. The only way to get there is on foot, horse, or helicopter. As a matter of fact, it is the only place in the US where the mail gets delivered by mules (a postal worker is involved as well).
- Photography – I also enjoy photography. I was discovered by our friend, Meg, when we visited her in Albany, NY. The next thing you know I am selling my photography at art fairs across the country as we travel, though lately with the economy being in the condition it is, it hasn’t been worth it.
- Biking – I have participated in the Minnesota MS 150 bike ride 4 times. This is a 150 mile bike ride over 2 days from Duluth to the Twin Cities. I collected over $1,000 in donations each of the last 3 times which gave me some special status where I could use the the special port-a-potties reserved for us and didn’t have to wait in the long lines. I can’t express to you how proud I was.
- Non-Violent Communication– I have a friend named Wes that I met on the street in Minneapolis. My wife at the time decided that I needed more men in my life so she suggested that I take the dog (a really cute Bassett-Lab mix named Kasi) out for a walk at the same time that he took his dog out in order to meet him. We became good friends and he introduced me to Non-Violent Communication.Nonviolent Communication is a way of relating to ourselves and others, moment to moment. By identifying needs and expressing them fully, we stay connected to what is alive in us and others. What I love about Wes is that he is a master of Non-Violent Communication and yet he still struggles with it, making it a priority in his life which means he works at it day in and day out. That is inspiring to me.
- I have been to Israel 4 times and lived there for a year in ’85-’86.
- One time when I was between jobs, I went to California, Israel, and Switzerland all in one month.
- I lived full-time in an RV for 6 years starting in June of 2004 and visited 35 US states and 2 Canadian provinces. The RV was 34′ 2002 Four Winds Infinity.
My choosing to live in an RV inspired others to make a leap in their own lives. I know of others who after finding out about my lifestyle, were inspired to quit their job, move to a new city, and leave an unhealthy relationship.
I now live at an RV resort in Tucson in a park model (which is a mobile home that fits on an RV site). Some summers I go up to Minnesota for the month of August so I can spend my birthday there and go to the Minnesota State Fair. I’m not sure what I’m doing this year. A lot is up in the air so stay tuned for more adventures.
What I’ve Learned
All of these experiences you have read about have come together to give me an interesting outlook on life, along with wisdom that I get to share with you. Until recently, I never thought of myself as a wise or successful man, or even that I have something that others might find valuable. Yet, here I am.
Over the years I have collected lots of tips and strategies to help me get through life with ease in both the high times and the low times. I’d like to share them with you.
Now that you know about me, I have a question for you: What’s the leap that you’re looking to make in your business? Go to the Programs page to learn about your options for getting support to make that leap.