Monday, April 19, 2010

The Quote Fish

4 years ago I had a surfboard made by Manuel Caro under his Mandala label. I never have a "normal" custom board made but instead opt for very crazy artwork or designs and such. It suits my personality as the last thing I really want is a plain white board that looks like 95% of the boards you see in the water; that's not Bryan Mills. Hell, the only white colored board I have has bright red glass-on fins on it, so take that conformity!

This board I called the "Quote Fish" as it was adorned on the bottom with excepts of some very inspirational and meaningful quotes in my life.

I rode this board yesterday and had one of the best sessions I've had in a year. The conditions @ Middles (Trestles) and eventually Church's due to the drift were outstanding with little to no wind and perfectly peeling shoulder high+ waves on offer. I went with a good friend Shane and we were both stoked we got out of the house and gave it a shot as we were overly surprised with how good it was and how much fun we had. It was probably the best I'd surfed in a year and was a fitting end to a very exciting and rewarding week.

As I rode the board yesterday I was reminded of why I chose those quotes. There was just something special about the session and the waves and the way I was surfing; I was in a "zone" and I remembered that these inspirational quotes were under my feet the entire time for the first time in a long time.

It was more than just a surf session, it was a wake up call; a reminder that these quotes actually mean something to me. They are inspirational, yes, but more accurately they are a description of my life and a certain "fire" inside that I'd all but lost over the last couple years...but recently re-discovered. I am regaining the spirit and confidence I once had that that propelled me into these new experiences and challenges in life head on and when the dust settled, there I was: better in every way imaginable.

That one surf session with this board yesterday has really re-ignited the flame inside of me that was the inspiration for this quote on the board: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

That's me...I'm back. That's exactly where I am right now and I am STOKED...

Here are the quotes that are under my feet when I'm surfing this board and a description of my life, always...

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

-- Henry David Thoreau

"Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought"

-- Henry David Thoreau

"To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."

-- T. E. Lawrence

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What a Rolex means to me

I used to be gainfully employed in the mortgage industry, running my own shop. Now, not so much. I ran the company with a partner who moved up to Seattle a year after we started it so for all intents and purposes I ran the company all by myself for 8 years. When I started that company late in 2001 I had nothing. Furthermore, I abandoned everything I had to start it as I was in Kansas City and my partner was in Los Angeles. I thought nothing of it at the time because I had nothing to tie me down other than a lot of friends and love for Kansas and KC, both of which I miss(ed) dearly.

Flash forward to 2003. The mortgage company had been moderately successful, which is to say it was successful enough that it let me live the modest life I enjoyed though I was by no means "flourishing" and making a wild excess of money; far from it. That winter the business had dried up and I had gone months without a paycheck, which was nothing new as I was used to the feast/famine aspect of the mortgage indsutry. The difference was, this time the famine had lasted longer than I had expected and the prospects were few and far between. I was literally down to my last dime and had enough money in my account to pay off another month of expenses then I was looking to work at Best Buy to hopefully keep a roof over my head as the creditors one by one started asking for their money back and presumably I'd fail miserably at the money game.

I then started processing a loan that I picked up out of nowhere and closed it and got enough money to pay my expenses for like 2 more months. Then 3 loans came through over the course of 3 months, a couple more here and there and before I knew it I had the most successful year that I would ever have in the 9 years that I've done loans. I wrote the largest check I have ever written (still is the largest) to pay off almost all of the debt that I had racked up in just keeping myself afloat and felt this burden lifted from my shoulders as I was turning a new leaf. I went on a cruise with my family over Thanksgiving in 2004. While in St Thomas I abandoned logic/reason and bought myself a Rolex Submariner watch. It was a reward for such a great year, but more importantly it was a reminder of the effort and struggle that I went through to be in a position to buy it. I still look at that watch and think of what it means to me and what it symbolizes: hard work, success, failure, persistence.

Flash forward to today. I find myself in a very similar place as I was in 2003, struggling to get this trading endeavor off the ground and gain the confidence and experience to trade successfully and be consistently profitable after my mortgage business went tits up. The differences is, this time I love what I do and I want to be doing it not just for the monetary gains but for all the other things it gives me that cannot be measured with dollars and cents. This is a scary business. If you perform poorly at your job you might get yelled at, miss a sale or maybe not even have any consequences. Me, if I perform badly at my job I lose my money. There's no salary, no 401(k), no benefits plan, nothing to lean on. I wouldn't want it any other way but to everyone on the outside they see what I do as complete and utter lunacy, and I can't blame them.

I've always been a risk taker and my ability to just go out and "do it" has been severely tested while trading and I need to be reminded of that cavalier attitude that I've had my entire adult life. I left Redmond in 1995 and started a new life @ KU. I left Kansas in 2001 to start a new company and new life in LA. I abandoned mortgages to start trading my own account a year ago. I have a history of being able to take those chances and those leaps and I just have to keep reminding myself that although what I'm doing is extremely difficult and very unrewarding from a monetary standpoint in the beginning, in the end it all works out so long as I keep doing what I do best: persist. I don't know many people that could do what I've done and taken the chances that I have over the last 15 years or so and that's a very sobering but exhilarating feeling for me and the spark that I need to keep that flame lit deep inside, especially when you operate in a business that I do where regular failure is necessary for ultimate success.

My days of searching and discovery of who I am and what I want to do are over. This is the person I want to be and the professional life I want to live and I don't want to keep re-inventing myself and rising like a phoenix from the ashes, I just want to keep pushing myself to be the best, doing what I love. So after a good pep talk with a dear friend today, I'll be keeping that watch on the desk in front of me at all times as a reminder that I've not only been here before but by working hard, experiencing successes and failures--and most of all persisting--I have no fear and no doubt that I will succeed at what I do...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Last Train to Awesometown

My obsession with Parry Gripp continues, as should your obsession with Parry's quirky and incredibly catchy tunes.

Today, I give you a song that should be a part of your morning routine to get you amped for the day. Whether you're tackling traffic and hatin' co-workers or getting ready for the big game you'll surely be inspired by 5 different kinds of nachos..whaaa????

Just watch...