Business

Be Mindful Of Your Expectations

I recently went to my first Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals event.  It turned out to be a much better networking event then I had expected, which was pleasantly surprising, and I was able to meet a handful of pretty awesome folks.  There was a handful of great things about the event and I may post about those things another time, but for today… I wanted to talk about my expectations going in.
Let me ask a question before I go further.  Have you ever been to a movie and had extremely high expectations going in, only to in the end leave the theater disappointed?  Yet, when you talked to your friends about the movie the next day they were blown away.  One of the main reasons for this is because of expectations.  I have gone into movies with low expectations and been pleasantly surprised and I have gone in with high expectations and been sorely disappointed.  Last night was more of the disappointed for me, but that is on me.
I was connected to this group by a friend and I went in with the purpose to talk to a few key people about an idea that I had to add value to the group. I know… stupid.  That thought process is against all that I always talk about, but sometimes impatience and our past lives can get the better of us.  The one saving grace though is that I was texting a friend before the event and as I was doing this I caught myself about to make a big mistake… going in looking for the sale.  Since I caught myself having too high of expectations I was able to temper them a little, but not fully, and that is why I walked away a little disappointed in the whole thing.
No matter the event you are going to, even if you are the keynote speaker, make sure you temper your expectations.  A guardrail that I am going to have in place is to go in wanting to share in at least one persons story. That doesn’t mean that I will do business with them eventually, it just means that I will pay attention to them and actually let them be heard.  If I can offer advice, fantastic.  If it leads to us connecting later on, great. If I can offer a smile, awesome.  The outcome doesn’t really matter.  I just know that from now on I am going to go in expecting to share in at least one persons story and let the rest fall where it may.
I am glad that I had that conversation with my friend beforehand because if I would have went in hot with barrels blazing, I would have missed the opportunity to connect with two pretty awesome guys that work five minutes from where I do.
Remember to check your expectations at the door because you don’t want to ruin a perfectly good experience.
Business

A Dream That Took 2 Years To Accomplish

A couple of weeks ago on June 6th, 2019 a dream was accomplished.  Even though to the handful of folks who heard about the event or attended may have thought it appeared in happen within the matter of a month, it took over two years to come about.  During this two year period I failed multiple times, frustrated a few people, made a handful of amazing relationships, and learned a ton along the way.  Part of me hates that it took over two years to have this event come to fruition, and the other part of me wouldn’t have it any other way.
The real question is WHY on God’s green earth should you or anyone else stick with something for two years or more? I believe that can be best explained from what I learned over this time period.
The first thing I learned is that to accomplish anything of impact you have to surround yourself with an amazing community.  This event all started with someone who has become one of my best friends.  This man is a champion and crazily enough has been supportive of all my harebrained ideas.  Bo Cordell is a huge reason why this event even happened.  It was because of our monthly coffees that we started having over 3 years ago that an idea, to help the logistics and supply chain community, turned into this event .  A little over a year and a half ago we tried to start this community, but our relationships, time and capacity we had to offer were not enough.  Even though we had a little success in the beginning, the momentum, support and knowledge wasn’t there to keep it going full steam.
The second thing I learned is that you have to be mindful that you are not sprinting past your family and friends.  There were a handful of times when I could have pulled this off earlier, but I would have had no one around me to celebrate with.  I remember countless conversations and nights having tough and frustrating conversations with my wife.  I was leaving hear and my kids in the wake of my dreams and ambitions and that only would have ended in frustration and pain.  I am so thankful that  if I listened to hear and took a moment of rest.
The third thing I learned was that to accomplish anything of impact or importance it is all about taking small steps.  From the very beginning I wanted to be surrounded by a huge community that made the other good ol’ boy clubs look outdated and weak, make an impact in legislation around logistics and supply chain, and have a large and well attended event.  All of these things are great, but to do them all at once and right away is ridiculous.  The bigness of the idea was too much for us to handle, and over time it was whittled down to the carrier community event that happened on the 6th.  It’s this last idea of small steps that actually saved this ambition from falling away for another two years.
Why stick with something for two years… because you have no idea of the amazing places it will take you, the lessons you will learn, and the adventures you will have along the way.  Without this experience I wouldn’t have realized those three lessons:
  1. To accomplish anything of impact it takes surrounding yourself with community.
  2. Don’t sprint past your family and friends towards your goal. You don’t want to accomplish anything and realize you are at the end all alone.
  3. Don’t go for broke. Instead, start walking and figure out the next small step that will be a great foundation for the next step and the one after that.

Helpful Hints

Tips From A Newbie Conference Goer: How To Make The Most Of The Conference Overview

You know what problem I have realized? A lot of us suck at making the most of the conferences and events that we attend.  I recently went to my first conference this March and I realized after the event that the little prep-work I did wasn’t enough.  I had done some research and listened to a great podcast from Jayson Gaignard called “Community Made.” Episode 3 of Season 2: An Event Networking Guide had great content and info but I didn’t do a good enough of a job applying it.

Since I didn’t make the most of the conference, and I am sure many of us have found ourselves wondering if the money and time we spent going was worth it, I figured I would help us all.  Over the next few posts, I will put down some of the ideas and concepts that I have learned and experienced firsthand.  In the meantime, here is a general overview of what will be coming down the pipeline, and here is a video that lays it all out.

Prep-Work:

  • Find an attendees list, or hashtag to research, and pick 5-10 people you would like to meet.
    • Do research on the attendees and narrow the list to 3-5
    • Reach out to these individuals pre-conference and introduce yourself and create a no pressure invite to connect.
  • Plan out the morning of your conference
  • Do a mini work out
  • Leave with plenty of time to get there

Event:

  • Don’t follow your game plan so rigidly you walk around the conference looking like an idiot
  • Be prepared with questions to ask your list of folks or any of the other attendees.
  • Remember, everyone is a little nervous and no one is used to mingling in crowds this size
  • Be ready and willing to break the ice with folks
  • Have a handful of conversation enders in your back pocket.

Post Event:

  • Send brief email to everyone you grabbed a card from
  • Follow up on what you said you would follow up on
  • Follow up with those you ended up not meeting at the conference

Above all, this is about planting seeds of relationships.  This is not necessarily the time to ask for the sale or even go deep.  Plant the seed, water it, and see how it grows.

 

Dad Life: Family

Life As A Stay At Home Dad

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I have found out something incredibly important… my calling in life is not, I repeat, is NOT to be a stay at home dad.  I mean Oh… My… Goodness.  This past Saturday Lindsay was out of commission over some stomach bug thing and by 11:30 my resolve was already wearing thin.  No truer words are about to be written: All you stay at home and single parents, I have no clue how you do it.  You deserve much more credit, praise, and help than you are getting.
My Saturday morning is usually a quite and relaxing morning for me, but when you are sent a barrage of texts from your wife about some “issues” she is dealing with, it makes for a unique start to the day and cues me up to know that I will be pulling a little more of the weight that day.  I think it should also be said from the beginning that I may not be the most nurturing person in the world, but we’ll get back to that later.
For the most part, Saturday started off without a hitch.  Lindsay wasn’t in dire straits and I was still able to take Sam to a Touch-A-Truck event in downtown Kennesaw.  I was super impressed with him because it only took about twenty minutes for him to warm up and touch all sorts of trucks and police cars.  He also got ton’s of free swag, including two balloons, because  in the midst of him reaching for a bike to play on, he released the first balloon to float magically away.


After getting all the stickers his shirt could hold, and stuffing his face with popcorn and his pockets with toys, we headed home.  As soon as I got home it was as if the wheels started to fall off.  I had to feed Emma her lunch, Sam became super talkative, I wonder where he got that from, Sam wanted a million and one things for lunch, Lindsay needed me to bring her something because she was feeling queasy, my stomach was growling, Emma was probably getting fussy, and as I looked around the house just seemed to be getting messier by the second.  Did I mention that it wasn’t even noon yet.
After lunch, I had to figure out something to do with both kids until I put them down for “naps.”  From after lunch, until I drove to Chick-fil-A to get Lindsay her chicken noodle soup for dinner, I have no idea what happened.  I mean I quite literally think the trauma of it all has blocked it from my memory. All I can seem to put together is that I Sam and I made something resembling meatloaf for dinner.

As the meatloaf was cooking in the oven, I took the kids to Chick-fil-A to get Lindsay her dinner and when I got back my world immediately got crazy once again.  The meatloaf was done 15 minutes early and I’m truly glad it didn’t burn. Since meatloaf must sound disgusting to kids I convinced Sam that it was really meatballs that we had made and he gobbled it all up.  During all of that is when I was trying to make dinner for myself and Emma and try to put the place back together.  As all of this is going down I hear Lindsay come down stairs, grab the T.V. tray grab her soup… oh yah, the soup I forgot to bring upstairs, and march slightly angrily back upstairs because I had completely forgotten to bring her her dinner.
The only thing that covered up that sin of forgetting Lindsay’s dinner is the fact that she got to watch me struggle more than usual as Emma was doing gymnastics as I tried to get her ready for her bath.
Now I know to some of you reading this little blog of mine that this is all old hat and you deal with it every day.  I realize some of you are laughing and saying “Finally, he knows that the #StruggleIsReal.”  I personally have no idea how my wife, and many others, deal with this every day.  I am so thankful for Lindsay and the fact that I get to go deal with adults everyday.
Lord, bless all these amazing stay at home and single parents because you know they need  it.