Ambition

The Reality of Being An Original

Everyone wants to be a pioneer. No one wants the scars that come with going first.

Wedding floral design photo by    Cameron Clark

Wedding floral design photo by Cameron Clark

When up-and-comers decide to do things differently than how the industry has always done them they get labeled as arrogant and naive. Then, when their methods work, they get labeled as lucky.

When people with established businesses decide to change course and try a different tack, they get labeled as desperate.

Everyone wants to be known as an original, as the idea guy, as the first mover, as a pioneer. No one wants to talk about the fact that pioneers have scars.

Scars from mistakes made and errors in judgment.

Scars from overwhelm and letting things fall through the cracks.

Scars from partnerships gone bad, relationships soured, and trust broken.

Scars from losing a lawsuit over your intellectual property and seeing your labor of love awarded to someone else.

Scars from an unexpected, prolonged slow season that resulted in laying off talented people.

Scars from the gossip of competitors who refused to discipline themselves to do the work that results in positive change.

Scars are a reminder that not everything in business is instaperfect or #bosslifegoals, but the most important thing to remember about scars is that they are only created by wounds that are allowed to heal.

Do what you need to to stop the bleeding, stitch yourself up, and keep moving forward. Don’t expect people to fight fair. More importantly, don’t allow that to make you cynical.


Originally published December 2014

Why New Year's Resolutions Are Worth Setting


I love it when a year changes over to the next. I especially love New Year's Eve and New Year's Day because people all over the world embrace the concept of a clean slate and a fresh start. They are international days of optimism and the energy is contagious.

New year's resolutions get a bad rap. Some people claim that they never keep them so they just give up on setting them. Other people claim that resolutions are an example of not being content with who we are or failing to embrace our flaws. I find, though, that wanting to change and be better stems not from a lack of self-esteem, but rather a desire to use some of the untapped potential that we know exists in us.

This is healthy. If I am the same exact person I was a year ago it means that I've gone twelve months without learning anything:

  • Nothing from books.

  • Nothing from conversations with friends and colleagues.

  • Nothing from a thoughtfully made TV program or movie.

  • Nothing from a joyful (or difficult) experience.

This results in a boring life. Our one over-arching resolution should always be to be a better person by this time next year.

You can't outsource potential and the thing about your potential is that you're the only one who can reach it. Success changes the dynamics of relationships more often than failure does and I'm convinced that we usually self-sabotage out of a fear of success rather than a fear of failure.

As the old saying goes, "People stay in hell because the street signs are familiar." Don't waste your potential just because the people around you may be wasting theirs. Change and growth are hard work, but worth it.


Originally published January 2012

Why 'Stay In Your Lane' Is Terrible Advice

99% of the time someone tells you to "stay in your lane" you can rightfully interpret it as, "Your talent and/or success threatens me and I'm afraid I'm becoming irrelevant because of it." 

Should you try to be all things to all people or a "Jack of all trades"? No, and that's not what this is about.

If your skillset allows you to pursue new opportunities that make sense for your brand, your family, and your goals, go after them. You don't need permission from those who would rather see you fail or, worse, coast along in joyless mediocrity.

Your goals belong to you and ambition is not a dirty word. You don't need your competitors to sign off on your business plan. 


Originally published April 2014