Risky Business

For nearly half of a week, I woke up and puked. I’ll be honest, most of the time, there wasn’t anything to throw up… My stomach was empty, because I’ve lost my appetite.

My jaw hurts from clenching.

My shoulders and back are in knots.

My sleep patterns are all out of whack.

I’ve never felt so alive.

Maybe it takes losing everything to realize what life is really all about.

This weekend, I said my last goodbye to one of my dearest Utah friends. This left me feeling totally and completely alone… thousands of miles away from the people, things, places, and memories that I cherish the most.

The mental and emotional breakdown that ensued was not pretty.

After 3 days of anxiety, fear, loneliness, hopelessness, sorrow, regret, and pure, unadulterated heartache, I think I’m finally getting my bearings.

The desire to turn around and run back is subsiding.

The vision of the challenge I have before me is looking more and more exciting.

The people I’m meeting are inspiring.

This move away from home has been one of the most unbearable things I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’m literally banking on everything I hold dear that it will pay off.

Boy do I hope it will pay off.

I’ll do everything I can to make sure this  pays off.

I mean, life is too short not to take risks…

Time to do the work.


Go, go, go!

Leave it all on the floor.

No regrets.

As Lance Armstrong said, “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”


Closing the Door

I didn’t think today would be as hard as it has been. It was my last day at work before I make the move to Orlando, which means I was forced to say goodbye to the 50+ people I’ve spent nearly every day with for nearly a year and a half.

These people have become some of my closest friends. Some of them I’ve worked with before, others have been roommates and friends from high school or college. These are the people I want to be at my wedding one day, or people I’d want to vacation with…

Saying goodbye to these friends has helped me realize what I love most about work… and also what I’m best at.

One of the coworkers I’m not incredibly close to dropped by my office today to say goodbye. “Nate,” he said, “You are going to be missed around here. You really are the lifeblood of this company. You make everyone want to be better. I’ve never seen you have a bad day. You just bring so much positive energy to work. Your presence will be missed.”

I was floored. And then I realized that this is my passion. This is my life calling. I love inspiring others. I love motivating them to tackle new challenges. I love helping them find purpose. I love being involved in everyone’s projects in an effort to make them better. I love being the cheerleader.

Yes, my work is important too… but it’s the relationships I’ve built that are the real payoff for me.

My CEO has stopped by my desk at least half-a-dozen times this week to make sure that I know that I have an open invitation to come back at any time.

Having started here as a part-time employee during college to a full-time person who has had a significant impact on the culture and direction of a business has been eye-opening. More so now that I’m closing this chapter on my life and can reflect and see the impact and growth I’ve attained. (Hindsight is 20/20, right?)

I’m going to miss Mindshare. And it makes it even harder to go knowing they’re going to miss me too.

Now it’s on to a new adventure! (But first, another “Goodbye Party” where I say farewell to more people I love.)

Wish me luck.


You’re A Failure

Last week, one of the executives I work with called me a failure.

He said it in a joking manner, and on the surface I laughed it off. Deep inside however, it nagged at me, and the fire of indignation was kindled.

I fumed over his comment for days, and tried to justify to myself that I was not, in fact, a failure.

I’ve always been very conscious of what people think of me. My perception of my standing with others has often influenced me to make decisions that would keep my reputation untainted, or satisfy those people closest to me. As a result, I’ve rarely been seen as a “failure.”

Having recently read Seth Godin’s Poke the Box (which focuses a lot on why failing is vitally important to be a success), I realized that the way I make decisions; or rather the WHY I make decisions is, and often has been wrong.

To put it simply, for 27 years I’ve been a failure at failing. And let’s be honest, when taken in context, it’s kind of sad.

Fortunately, this realization came to mind during a very important decision-making time in my life.

This week I decided to leave my stable job, my life-long friends, my family, and everything I’ve become familiar with over the past 20-something years and move to Florida… a strange and unfamiliar place where I have no network, no friends, and no family.

I’m making this decision in spite of the fact that I know friends and family would prefer I not go. I’m making this decision regardless of the fact that my current job is the best job I’ve ever had. My coworkers are like family to me. Many will be as sad to see me go as I will be to leave.

I’m making this decision because, quite simply, I want it.

I’m done being scared of failing.

I don’t know what’s going to happen on the East Coast. I don’t know who my friends will be. I don’t know if I’ll regret moving. I have no clue what major events I’ll miss at “home” while I’m away.

What I do know is that I’m good at what I do, I can make a difference, and that I will be a success no matter where I end up, even if it means failing a few times along the way.

I’m not scared of failing anymore. Because, now I know failing does not make you a failure.


Change Is In The Air

I just wrote a super satisfying post that I can’t publish until next week. What I can say, however is this:

  1. Big decisions are rarely easy, but they have a big payoff by they teaching one a lot about oneself.
  2. Writing is good for the soul… especially when accompanied by good blues music (which, incidentally, is also good for the soul).
  3. I’m learning to be less afraid of failing.

Hate is easy; love takes courage.

Reblogged from i can read

The cinematography, the music, and especially the ideas shared within this short documentary make me want to be better. Every day.



This is an idea I can get behind. These guys can manufacture prosthetic legs out of PVC pipe for $25.

Watch this video. It’s astonishing! This guy goes from being a social outcast, unable to walk, to a regular guy who can walk, dance, and even play soccer.

Absolutely mind-blowing. Well done gentlemen. Well done indeed.

2ft Prosthetics - El Salvador July 2010 (via 2ftProsthetics)


The Curse of Comfortable

Like most of you, I spent nearly 20 years of my life trapped in one classroom or another. Ironically, every year the first day of school was filled with anxious anticipation for the unexpected.  It should have been obvious after 1st or 2nd grade that a pattern was developing, and I’d be spending the rest of my youthful days stuck behind a desk, taking orders, regurgitating back “correct” answers to a teacher, and - above everything else - trying not to stand out.

My problem was that I never really fit in. Ever.

I think it’s ingrained in my DNA to shake things up. Think outside the box.  Create humor or conflict where others felt it should/could not exist.

In elementary school, I was suspended for a day when I discovered on a field trip that I could flatten a soda can by stomping on it, then use it as a frisbee. While other kids played with dandelions and peeled the crusts off their Wonder Bread sandwiches, I launched my flattened can into the air, watching it soar and spiral (and “allegedly” hit a classmate’s unsuspecting mother in the head).

Sometimes creativity has consequences.

As a Sophomore in high school, I was kicked out of my English class for debating with my teacher about the moral implications of telling the absolute truth.  I argue that sometimes lying is just the right thing to do. (See: Does this dress make my butt look fat?)

The next year I got punched in the face for the first (and only) time in my career as a student… and it was by the principal. No joke… you can’t make this stuff up.

For over 20 years, I put up with the man. I let professors tell me how to think. I let church leaders tell me how to behave.  I let my parents tell me what should be important in my life.  I let my friends influence my hobbies, my profession, and my interests.

Then, everything changed.

On one blustery day in April of 2010, I graduated from college (vowing never to return to the confined walls of formalized education). Suddenly there wasn’t anybody telling me what to do.

I could go anywhere. I could do anything. I could be anyone.

As the saying goes, there was “No more homework, no more looks. No more teachers’ dirty looks!”

I admit, it threw me for a loop. As I attempted to ground myself, I looked to those closest to me for advice. Nearly one year later, only one thing has stuck with me.

As I walked through the metal detector, and through the courtroom-laden halls of the Utah State Courthouse, I realized that the fates of tens of thousands of individuals had been decided within those walls throughout the years.

I made my way to an elevator and went to the top floor. Near the back of the building, I found my uncle’s office. He had recently obtained the job as a Trial Court Executive for the 3rd District Court after a long and complicated job hunt.

There are very few people I respect more in this world than my uncle. He is ambitious, hard-working, and has genuine integrity.  He spoke to me about his career, about his goals, his family, and about the important phase I was entering in my life.  Then came the advice I’ll never forget.

"When you get comfortable in life, it’s time to change."

My uncle and I are similar in that we are both idealists. When we believe in something, we dedicate ourselves to it. 

There is a time, however, when that passion for idealism begins to fade.  The system, the bureaucracy, the monotony and habit of an 8-5 job, or “The Man” take their toll. Then, one day you wake up, your desire to achieve the ideal is gone, and we suddenly you are no longer an idealist. You are a realist. A complacent human being who has settled on the fact that dreams are just that. Dreams.

At that moment, if/when being an idealist becomes “unrealistic,” and we become complacent to just run out the clock every day, change is absolutely necessary.

Being comfortable is the enemy. You can’t grow when you’re comfortable. No great accomplishment was ever achieved through complacency.  Nearly one year later, I’m doing everything I know how to avoid boxing myself into the house the realists built. I’m filming a documentary. I’m writing a book. I’m working on The Domino Project, reinventing the publishing industry.

I am forever an idealist. “Comfortable” is my enemy.


Stop living your life according to the way others expect you to live it.

This Ted Talk has many layers of meaning. On the surface, it’s about preventing waste.  Take it deeper, and it’s all about changing your perception of yourself, and learning to be who you are regardless of the fact that you don’t fit in the way everyone else does.


Creativity Explained

We need to be fostering creativity at every stage in our lives, especially in schools. How can we change or improve the system using creative ideas? The Bucket Brigade wants your help… (watch the presentation, it’s worth it.)

How Do You Design For Creativity? View more presentations from Bud Caddell.