2014: Cheerful. Maximize. Presence.

remarkableThis is the third year (2012, 2013) I’m using the concept of “Three Words.” It’s a very cerebral exercise and something I take seriously. In lieu of creating New Year’s Resolutions, which ultimately are broken and disappoint, “Three Words” creates beacons to guide you for the year. I’d like to personally thank Chris Brogan – a man I’ve never met, but has inspired me as a kind human being and a great business mind – for introducing me to this concept.

2013 was a fabulously successful business year. As a company, North Florida Field Services was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the Fastest 500 Privately growing companies (#238 overall, #8 Construction, #15 overall Florida), the Jacksonville Business Journal’s Fast 50 (#18) and I personally was recognized as an Ultimate CEO. This award was particularly humbling and an incredible opportunity to share our philosophy at NFFS and our growth.

Over the course of fostering the company’s growth from $13MM to another year of 100%+ growth in 2013, we also executed a Letter of Intent to sell the company in June. For the second half of the year, I led a dual business life of running a fast-growing company while attending a barrage of meetings, conference calls and answering to due diligence and potential Buyer’s questions. Against my personal business philosophy, I had my door closed far too often this year. It was mentally and personally trying. Ultimately, we turned down the offer instead opting to continue to grow the company – and retain our equity – on our own.

While my business year was a resounding success, I can’t count my personal life on the same level. With the immediate demands of running a high-growth company, the attention to my personal life – namely, my personal availability to my family and friends – was not where I aspire. When you layer on top Rachel’s rigorous travel schedule, there were times when I felt trapped like a mouse on a wheel. While I am thankful for the experience of exploring a sale of the company, I look forward to regaining my Cheerful Soul and operating the company efficiently – while also attending to my family and friends in more meaningful ways. As I recently shared with Rachel, “I feel like I went emotionally bankrupt while sprinting after financial riches.”

As a result of my experience in 2013, I’ve tried to carefully select three words that balance personal and professional pursuits. After all, as my wife has so acutely reminded me: no matter the passion, no matter the enthusiasm, no matter the time you spend, my business can never love me back the same way as my family and friends. She’s 100% right.

My three words for 2014: Cheerful. Maximize. Presence.


I have a term that I use a lot: Cheerful Soul. To me, you make yourself about as happy as you decide to be, but Cheerful Soul is slightly different. It is the natural disposition of a person and how they view the world. Some might call it an optimist or a pessimist. In 2013, I misplaced my Cheerful Soul. With the pace of my day, my most important responsibilities at home and the challenges that bounce the protons and neutrons around my brain and keep me up when I should be sleeping, I need to be sure my approach is a Cheerful one. I know that Cheerful people change the world with their contagious enthusiasm. Cheerful people smile more, see problems as opportunities in work clothes and know that nothing remarkable was ever achieved by rational people. Cheerful people are a joy to be around. Cheerful people bring out the best in others and become magnetic in their friendships.

I know that I am most happy when my approach is Cheerful. It leads my mind to open and accept new ideas, softens my heart to love hugely and unconditionally and I ensures I will be engaged with the people who are most important to me.


Our Lowe’s Rep, Ken Todd, placed this one in my head when we were speaking at the end of the year: maximize. It’s really the point of life – to maximize all facets of your life and the opportunities. The key is to know your values and to maximize in accordance with those values. I’ve always held the belief, “I have only one life, so I want to best my best at everything I choose to do.” I want to maximize my family relationships, my friendships, my health, my business and the challenges that make me feel alive.

It’s a bold challenge to try and maximize every important aspect of my life, but I know I’m just here once. As I encourage our people, “Dare to be Remarkable.”


While being a Cheerful Soul to maximize my life, it is only possible through presence. True presence. I’m not talking about showing up; I’m talking about being in the moment. I was really disappointed with my efforts of “Celebrate” in 2013. I allowed my bandwidth to be eaten by other endeavors. I allowed business growth and responsibilities to upstage my personal ability to enjoy. I may have been in the room, but I wasn’t present. I was listening, but I wasn’t hearing. I was there, but I wasn’t engaged.

As my friend Dave McGonigle shared, “Enjoy your child at exactly the moment and stage that they’re at in that minute. Don’t wish for the next stage because it all happens so fast.” Agreed, Dave. Life is the same exact way. It’s blowing by me.  And, to enjoy life’s moments in earnest, I have to be sure that I’m present and accounted for in each and every interaction.

An area that I’m going to control is my use of social media, which I’ve come to rely on to fill space. I’m consuming instead of creating. The reality of it is that I’m very willing to trade the strength of presence for the convenience of “connectedness.” I’m sure it is going to help me to be more present for my family, my friends and my business. Instead of idly browsing, I’ll be engaging.

So, there you have it, 2014: Cheerful. Maximize. Presence. I’m coming for you and I hope you’re ready for me to give it hell again…with a smile on my face for sure.

Random Quote

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

— Goethe

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