Make The Call: Grow your community and knowledge by genuinely caring about others.

Life is infinitely better together and I think that is something we can all agree on. As true as that is, it still seems that people are living their lives more and more in isolation and behind screens.  Let me encourage you to do something a little cray cray… pick up the phone and make a call.  I honestly don’t care to whom, just make the call.

Good, now that we have started to loosen up, I want you to do something really crazy.  What I need you to do is think about the people you interact with on social media or those you work with, but have only talked with through email.  Narrow it down to one person, and give them a call.  Don’t have their number? Doesn’t matter.  Reach out and ask for it.  Don’t make this some weird awkward hopeful date thing.  This is a you genuinely caring about another human being that you have done life with kind of a thing.

I have been able to do this a handful of times over the past couple of months and it has been such a great learning opportunity.  Here are just a handful of things I have learned:

  1. Know your personal brand. This gives clarity for the big and small decisions we’ll make.
  2. Patience, mixed with realistic expectations, is what will help you as you navigate business and the need to not only provide for your family, but also close deals and provide for your customers.
  3. Vague beginnings lead to chaotic endings.
  4. Culture is everything.  Make sure it is their from the beginning of your business and not something you halfheartedly add at the end.

These four brilliant nuggets of gold are what I have learned from others.  Please, do us all a favor and grow your network and community by authentically caring about others and getting to know them.  One last word of caution.  Don’t go into these conversations trying to dig out some brilliant life lesson.  Go into the conversation with some general questions and direction, but let it go where it goes.

Who do you need to call? What did you learn?

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.

Dad Life: Husband

What I Learned From Watching The Bachelor

The words you are about to read are not my own because I would never be caught dead watching The Bachelor.  I hired out a ghost writer who goes by the name Luap. So without further ado… here is what I, I mean here is what HE learned from watching The Bachelor.
When watching The Bachelor, you get to see so many things. All the way from city drama, to men crying in every episode and everything in between.  Surprisingly enough, there were some actual things I learned and took away from watching it.
First things first, mind your own dang business.  It is amazing to see how these girls are trying to manipulate the situation and talk about what someone else did instead of worrying about themselves and their personal relationship with the bachelor. When you are focusing on everything else around you except what you are doing, that is a prime recipe for disaster and for you to end up without a rose.
As a man, it’s ok to cry, even on national T.V.
Don’t get swept up in the moment and just stay there. Life may be made up by moments, and we need to fully experience them when they are happening, but they will come to an end.  Heck… even Bachelor in Paradise comes to an end eventually.  Make sure you are fully present where you are so you can fully experience the moment, but remember that it will come to an end. So take away what you can, but remember that it is just another step in this journey we call life.
Life isn’t a fairytale. It is hard work.  Once the cameras, free trips, and free alcohol are gone, you are going to go back to reality and live with the choices that you have made.  Remember, life is not just one long moment, so make smart choices that will help be a building block for a better tomorrow whether you end up with a rose or not.
Lastly,  ladies love roses. When ladies don’t get a rose, they start boohooing and walk away.  When they get that beautiful flower, they are all smiles and give you smooch. Tears or kisses, not a hard choice.
#ProTip Get your lady a rose.

Dad Life: Kids

The Next Master Chef Jr.

Our little man just loves to help his mommy and daddy with whatever we are doing.  Everything from cleaning and fixing up the house, to cooking meals and baking treats.   In fact, he loves helping in the kitchen so much that Santa even brought our little man a play kitchen for Christmas. By the way, his play kitchen is nicer than our actual kitchen and has a subway tile backsplash and faux granite counter tops. Lindsay and I be straight jelly, which means jealous for you folks that may not be as hip to the jive that kids are using these days.
Every chance our little man gets to help Lindsay or myself in the kitchen, he is all about it.  He loves to pour ingredients and whip them all together.  It is one of the cutest things to watch him grab on of the kitchen chairs and push it over to the counter, climb on up, and be so thrilled to help.  I seriously hope that in the next year or two he is just as passionate about cooking and baking, because Lindsay and I will be leaving all of the cooking up to him.

Future Mrs. Stippich… #yourwelcome.

Dad Life: Work

Not More, But Better

I am not sure about you, but I love my morning commute to work.  The steady pace through traffic before the sun can even be seen on the horizon.  Now its not the crazy drivers or early morning construction that I love, but the fact that I can just chill on my way to work, listening to podcasts and processing the information I am hearing.
There is one podcast that I listen to by Dale Partridge called “Startup Camp.”  His podcast is about helping entrepreneurs, which I am not…yet, with growing their business and having a life, not just a job.  At the end of every podcast he asks his guest what one of their favorite quotes are.  One week his guest was Jeff Goins, who is a champion writer, and he shared one from his friend Sean D’Souza.  The quote was, “Not more, but better.”
The context of this quote  came from when Jeff and Sean were having dinner and Jeff asking why Sean would only accept so much business a year and why wouldn’t he want to grow and do more.
In hearing this quote, it was a great gut check because I found myself, as I am sure a lot of you do, thinking that the only way to grow was to do more.  I thought that by adding more to my plate and sacrificing some of the things I love I would grow, but as Sean said, its not about doing more, it is about refining yourself and what you do so that you are doing it to the absolute best of your ability.
I don’t need to constantly be adding things to my life.  In fact, I should be actively looking about taking more and more things off of my plate so that I can focus on what really matters and gives me life.  By saying no and taking away things that just don’t matter, it gives me time to do what I enjoy doing and to be in the moment with those I love.  Now I know this is a lot harder to do then it sounds, but this giant elephant of a task can be done one bite at a time.