I had the fancy cars. I had the big houses. I had gone to exotic global destinations. I had all the toys I could possibly want.
This was the entrepreneurial dream I had been conditioned to believe. I had succeeded. From anyone’s outside perspective, it was a Cinderella story. Starting out as a child raised by a single mother on food stamps to a business success.
Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something missing. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I felt it deep in my soul and the feeling refused to leave me alone.
Party Like It’s 1999
In December 1999, I was in Las Vegas for the ball drop on New Years Eve. Everyone was worried about the power grid and computer dates resetting and global chaos ensuing. But it was just another New Year’s celebration and 2000 was just another year for the most part.
My business partner and I were bootstrapping our fledgling idea of our company. We were 30 years old with just enough know-how and plenty of enthusiasm to drive our dream. The standard recipe for startups was our life.
For the next 10 years I threw myself into everything I could think of that would help me be the best entrepreneur and make the most money.
I studied the Harvard Business Review.
I analyzed business giants like Jack Welch.
I followed Silicon Valley startups.
I learned the principles of success.
I became a student of Tony Robbins and successful leaders of all kinds.
I inhaled knowledge about business and moving groups of people down a goal oriented path of a corporate environment.
The research and work paid off as our once fledgling company landed huge accounts. In my mind success meant that my longtime dream of the cars, the houses and the fancy vacations became reality.
I spent and lost millions of dollars. (Eventually I’ll share more about those stories.) I bought other companies. I bought a nightclub. I made a Hollywood movie. I imported products and brokered international deals.
Sounds like the perfect life, right? With that kind of resume under my belt, I thought I would be satisfied.
Complacency. Ego. Materialism. Lack of Gratitude. Self Centeredness. Greed. Arrogance. These things were in full force in my life. I was not thinking about much else aside from myself and what I wanted.
I was lost.
The Road to Clarity
No matter how many biographies, memoirs, or books on advice we read, life lessons often have to be learned first-hand. I hope that my story can spare you some of the frustration and misdirection I found myself lost in, but I know you will also walk your own unique path and learn in a different way than I did.
Call it pandemic related or perhaps a mid-life crisis, but in 2020 I realized I had lost my drive. My passion. I had no long game. I was deeply unhappy and knew I had to make changes. I had to COME UP FOR AIR. I couldn’t breathe and some days that felt more realistic than metaphorical.
I looked back on my life and found that every second of the days in my life had been leading me to this moment. Another day moving in the trajectory of the last season of my life was no longer an option. The decision to make a very major course adjustment was the only way forward.
Just like that it hit me.
I decided that I needed to re-format my own hard-drive. I needed to reset my course. So I sold my company. I sold my home. I released a tough relationship. I went on a walkabout, a rite of passage as the Australian Aboriginals use the word.
I took an inventory of my life as I drove through the U.S., from town to town, state to state. I looked at the skills and knowledge that I had acquired in my life and put them into a mental basket. Then I determined that I was going to use those skills and help others in this world as best I can by giving back what I had.
Becoming a Rugged Human
Rugged Human came into focus and immediately I knew this was my path. I had to give back what I had received in the form of knowledge and shared community.
Do I have all the answers? Hell, no. What I do know with unwavering certainty is that LIFE consists of so much more than expensive cars, vacations, houses, and whatever other external tokens you currently think will make you happy.
Money can buy you things, which will bring fleeting happiness, but true contentment comes from within. Rugged Human is a community, a framework, a guide to help you connect with your soul, with the deepest parts of you to help you understand what is within you, who you really are, then equip you to live in a fulfilling way.
Stick around and journey with me and other Rugged Humans as we redefine our successful lives.