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On This Day

Reflecting on 29

As I approach the final hour of the second decade of my life, I wanted to reflect on my life at age 29.  In the past few years, I was been so busy living life that I forgot to enjoy living, so this year I placed a strong emphasis on enjoying the process as well as the outcome of my work.  Now that the age of 29 is coming to a close for me, I can look back and applaud the moments that made this year a memorable year.  These moments include:

Outside of those moments are numerous important things that can’t easily be quantified, such as:

  • The many friendships that I built and strengthened
  • The many business relationships that I established and grew
  • Fun moments that I spent with the teens that I teach, including the moments freestyle rapping in the car while driving them home
  • My growth in mindset and many lessons learned through the challenging times

On my first day of turning 29, my friend told me, “Let this be the [age] that marks the beginning of great opportunities and opened doors. There are only greater things ahead. You haven’t even scraped the tip of the iceberg…” Now, I’m glad to say (and proud to see) that he was right.

As I enter into the age of 30, I can’t wait to see what additional things are in store! Hopefully I finally get that real-life, alive zebra that I’ve wanted since the age of 12! Fingers crossed!

My Social Highlight Reel

I use social networks in a way that is atypical of many others in my generation. My Instagram is for posting memorable moments that I’d like to remember and share with friends forever. My Twitter is for capturing and sharing succinct fleeting thoughts that would otherwise fade away forever. My Facebook is an aggregator of all of my public data sources so that people who care can find everything in one place.

Although I am very appreciative of those who feel inclined to do so, I don’t pay too much attention to likes, retweets, favorites, or any other statistic that shows the social acceptance of my content. To me, whether something gets 3 likes or 97 likes, it doesn’t change the significance of the moment for me. Often times, the most important thoughts, ideas and moments aren’t generally accepted…at least initially.

My postings are, by a great measure, a distillation of the happiest and most memorable moments of my life that I’d like to remember forever. Behind every photo of a triumphant moment includes lots of opposition, hard work, and sacrifices, but rather than glorify the challenge, I prefer to highlight the outcome. I’m probably the # 1 visitor to my Instagram– not because I’m a narcissist, but because when I am faced with discouragement, my past victories are a great motivator. By no means should anyone assume that photos of me in a private jet, purchasing a rare pair of sneakers or driving a decent car tell the entire story. Behind each blessing are many days (and sometimes months or years) of challenges.

So, as a reminder to anyone reading my site, visiting my Instagram, browsing my Facebook, scrolling through my Flickr, watching my Vimeo or reading my Twitter, you’re only getting a modicum (haha– funny word, modicum) of the entire picture. What you see is my highlight reel of moments that I choose to make public.

Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.

Beware the Bear

Cabin in the Middle of Nowhere

I love my home, but I was so nervous that bears would infest my yard that I couldn’t enjoy it during the first two weeks of living there. If you’re unfamiliar with bears, allow me to explain—bears are ferociously wild animals whose diets primarily consist of human flesh…specifically the flesh of 25-30 year old human males of Trinidadian descent…or at least that’s people told me.

My place is a modern log cabin situated in the middle of a large wooded lot in a somewhat rural town that no one has ever heard of. In fact, you can probably type my address into Google Maps and it’ll respond with, “Is that even a thing?? Speak English!” To most people, Rural town + log cabin + lots of land = a scene from a scary movie where the black guy is eaten by a bear within the first 15 minutes. As a result, people with generally pure intentions immediately began to caution me of the supposed dangers of being chewed up by local bears who enjoy the sweet and slightly tangy taste of a Geremy.

At first I was able to dismiss all of the negative thoughts relatively easily. I told myself that the likelihood of bears on the property is relatively low, and even if there were any bears, I could outmaneuver them and thanks to my many [fictitious] years of ninja training. But one day I was curious and Googled something along the lines of “what to do when approached by a bear.” Big mistake!! Through a series of interesting internet searches, I found myself reading many stories of bear encounters and none of them ended with the human and bear declaring their everlasting friendship and undying love for each other.

I remember when I invited my mom over to show her my new digs, it was night time and we were carrying a few things inside. Then I heard a noise in the distance that sounded like “whooooaaaaaaaa-wakka-wakka-wakka-whooshh!” I immediately wondered if this was the noise of the bear that everyone was mentioning. Then I heard it again…”whooooaaaaaaaa-wakka-wakka!” She asked, “what’s that noise?” I said “               .” Yeah, I said nothing because I was too busy race walking to the car as quickly as possible. Later in the week I found out that this wakka-wakka ferocious “bear” sound was just the sound of my neighbor’s old air conditioner.

I mistook an air conditioner for a bear!!

After two weeks of minimizing my outdoor time to avoid imaginary bears, enough was enough and I decided not to allow fear to ruin things for me. I’ve seen many instances where people projected their fears and concerns onto others as a way of protecting those who they care about. In some cases, its good to learn from others experiences so that you don’t make the same mistakes, but in most cases I’ve learned that it’s important to discard unfounded fears and not allow them to paralyze you into inaction.

After over half a year in my place, I haven’t seen any signs of wild, rabid animals (besides the occasional overzealous mosquito trying to attack me). Also, I did some solid, non-fear based research to ensure my safety and it turns out that bears don’t like my home as much as I do, so there’s nothing to worry about. I’m happy that I was able to get rid of this bear fear quickly so I could get back to enjoying life in my bear-free home! Now, if I can only figure out how to get these deer to stop walking around my neighborhood like they own the place, that would be splendid!

But then I resigned…

The last 9 years of my career has been a fun time filled with rainbows and daisies.  I managed an Executive Coaching practice within a company that had some of the smartest, funnest people that I’ve ever met.  I’ve had the pleasure of leading significant projects for top universities and Fortune 100 companies, and I did it with some of the best team members that I could ever ask for.  In fact, the other day I received an email from one of my favorite direct reports that said, “…all my future ‘bosses’ have big shoes to fill because you were the greatest!”  That message made a single tear slowly fall from my left eye, just like in the movies.

But then I resigned…

Elon Musk is famous for saying, “being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”  With such a morbid image of the future, why would anyone in their right mind want to pursue this life?!

Well, my momma always told me that I’m a little peculiar!

I’ve got mega-ambitious goals for the future and I am “crazy” enough to know that with dedication, passion, and an insane work ethic, they’re going to be successful. One of my companies, Peculiar Enterprises, has the mission of positively changing the world through peculiar people, and this goal requires a more significant time commitment than the daily 12am to 2am schedule that I’ve had over the past few years.  Basically, I believe that If something is important enough to you, then you’ve a responsibility to do it even if the risk of failure is high!

So even as today is my last day as a full-time employee in a comfortable position at a cool company, I am looking forward to chewing glass and staring into the abyss of death.  Regardless of how much the glass hurts and how the abyss looks, I know that the other end is going to be an even bigger land filled with brighter rainbows and bigger daisies.

Best of all, this journey will be captured in realtime on!

Hey Driver….Take me to my Castle!

Tesla has a fun (and potentially scary) feature in their cars that allows them to remotely monitor the car’s major systems at all times. At first I thought that they would use this data to analyze my life, so I’d email every week to explain any anomalies in my travels. “Dear Tesla, you might have noticed that I drove down my driveway several times with the trunk open yesterday. I did it because my driveway is too long and I got lazy when taking the trash to the curb. Don’t judge me.” This week was the first time that they used the monitoring system to inform me of something that they noticed with my car (and it wasn’t about my trash transportation habits).

It all started with this note:

As part of providing peace of mind and a great ownership experience, Tesla vehicles are equipped with telematics systems to provide remote diagnostics support. We have been notified this vehicle has been remotely diagnosed that the Power Switch and Power Supply would benefit from the latest generation components.

Moments later, they sent a tow truck to pick up my car, along with Enterprise to give me a rental car while my car is serviced. Somehow, I’d misplaced my license and when it was time for me to complete my rental car paperwork they couldn’t give me a car. I asked “even though I can’t prove that I have a license, can’t you just take my word for it?” Apparently I didn’t look trustworthy enough for them to trust me, so I was left without a car.

I called Tesla and said, “we’ve got a problem. I can’t find my license, so I can’t pick up the rental.” The wonderful service advisor paused for a few seconds (probably cursing me out in her head) and then said “okay, give me a few minutes…I’ll figure something out.”

I thought of the possible options that she might suggest:
– Walking
– Riding a bicycle
– Using a rickshaw, but I’d have to provide my own human
– Riding a unicycle
– Scooting on a razor scooter
– Riding a Horse (with a Tesla logo on the side)

Of all of these options, the one that she suggested was so far out of my mind that I didn’t that it was plausible. She said, “ok, we’re going to send you a towncar and a driver will drive you to wherever you need to go.” I said “what about tomorrow?” She said “If you don’t find your license tomorrow, then he’ll drive you tomorrow as well.” What a wonderful punishment for misplacing my license!

For the next 24 hours, I felt like a king. I laid in the backseat and I relaxed while my chariot took me from destination to destination. When I asked him to make a detour and go some somewhere else on my way home, he did it. When I was ready to leave the car, he opened the door for me. When I asked him to drive faster to see if he’d do it, he did it. When I tried to tip him, he said “no– I can’t take your money!” Then I felt guilty. No one man should have all that power!

The next day I got my car back and it drove better, quieter and smoother than ever before. So I planned to email Tesla: “Dear Tesla, Thanks for proactively fixing the issues in my car before they became issues. However, can I ask you a favor? Can I pretend to lose my license so I can keep the limo and driver permanently? I want to feel like royalty forever!”

Fingers crossed that they say yes.