Hanging Up the Cleats

I sent a long text message explanation to my mom and pop
I got the same speech when I left 30 Rock
My mom like “Why you wanna leave a good job?”
My dad like “Do your thing, boy, don’t stop”

– Childish Gambino

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

For a little under three years I’ve had the privilege to work with some great colleagues, great clients and do some great work. I’ve worked late nights, early mornings, consumed lots of caffiene and constantly pushed myself to grow and learn how to be a better digital adman. I’ve done some awesome work with clients and helped organizations, individuals and businesses from a variety of industries achieve measurable & meaningful results.

But last week, I hung up the cleats.

I left a good salary, awesome perks, solid vacation, quality benefits and a handful of clients/colleagues I enjoyed working with. I chatted with a few friends about my decision over the weekend and while many were supportive, I was met with two conversations that made me think: Why leave & What’s next? 

The question around why is one that I’ve heard before. It’s one that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while and didn’t come to the decision until I had a long conversation with the man in the mirror. When I looked back at 2012 and thought about my own progress, I realized that I was becoming comfortable. Furthermore, I recognized the idea that we as humans are geared to try and decrease our levels of stress and discomfort as much as possible. We embrace stability, pensions, comfort and stay away from risk. Essentially, we’re hard wired to accept the way things are and accept status quo. Yet, in my experience, life gets more interesting the more uncomfortable things get.

Last year, I got comfortable. I knew exactly what my next steps would be in my career and I knew exactly how to get from point A to point B for clients. Unfortunately, comfort is not something I enjoy. When I get comfortable, I get anxious. I believe that when you do things that scare you, great outcomes will meet you on the other side.  While it’s a cliche, the idea that “with great risk comes great reward” is an idea that I try to constantly embrace (calculated risk of course).  I look at it like a video game, I need to constantly put myself into situations that will force me to level up.

Second, I’m a huge believer in personal evolution. I want to constantly be developing myself and learning new things. I want to be around people who force me to think differently, challenge my ideas and help me become better by simply being around them and learning from their expertise. I also want to have the time to build skills beyond what I’m already good at. As an entrepreneur, I’m forced to learn new things and because I’m not locked into a 9-5 for 5 days a week; I can allocate additional time to take opportunities that will help me develop new skills.

Finally, I realize that someday I’m going to be dead. Morbid? Yes. True? Yes. And I know this isn’t revolutionary thinking by any means. We all know this fact. The question we don’t ask ourselves enough is what do you want to do with your life. For me, I’ve always defined success as having being able to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night while doing whatever I want in between. I’m not going to allow myself to get caught up in societal expectations knowing that someday I’d be lying on my deathbed asking myself, “What if I tried?” At the end of the day, I’d rather have a life of ‘oh wells’ than ‘what ifs‘ and for that reason, I’m starting a new adventure.

So what will I be doing?

I’ll still be creating blog posts here that’s one thing you can count on. This blog will continue to be a place for my thoughts on marketing, business, social media, startups and of course a few life lessons. What else will I be doing? As it stands, my focus is going to be on these three things:

Consulting: I’m going to be working with a few clients on helping them achieve their business goals and objectives through digital marketing. I’ll be limiting myself to five or six clients and focus my time on working with those who are interested in achieving meaningful and measurable results.

Whether we’re talking about B2B or B2C, my focus is going to be on helping businesses & organizations use digital marketing to achieve real results. Whether it’s assistance with content marketing, social media strategy, digital marketing as a whole or assistance in integrating digital with your work; I’m here.

dreamr: While I’m a huge fan of late nights and lots of caffeine; working a full-time job and running your own business is ridiculously challenging. It becomes a constant struggle to put equal effort into both of them and see the results you wan’t to see. With my time now being managed by myself, I’ll have the ability to allocate and manage my time as I see fit.

This upcoming year is going to be filled with changes at dreamr and I’m more excited than ever to see what the future holds. We’re working on some exciting stuff as you read this post and I can’t wait to roll out the developments.

Speaking: I love speaking at events and helping groups of people grow professionally. I’ll continue to offer workshops for social media, branding, digital strategy and content marketing. I’ll also continue to deliver keynote presentations at special events, conferences and other opportunities to share stories about a range of different topics.

So there you have it.

That’s why I’m hanging up the 9-5 cleats and what I’m going to be working on over the next few months. While what I’m doing with my time might change; this is my current battle plan. It’s going to be an interesting adventure and only time will tell whether or not it was the right decision. For now, I’m pumped. And if I could summarize thinking for hanging up the cleats it would be this:

  • Comfort will force you to be dormant – Get uncomfortable.
  • Constantly strive to level up. Health. Mind. Career. Relationships.
  • Embrace “Why Not” to limit a future of “What If”
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