Buckle up for this one.
I’ve been writing, journaling and talking a lot about success.
After several weeks of reflection, I’m getting to the bottom of it.
As I write this, I’m in Cleveland, Ohio.
I’m here for a marketing seminar but I think I came here for a different reason.
You see, I came a day early.
I had plans to spend the day working and not leaving the hotel room.
On the way here I started to think about the city of Cleveland…and my new definition of success.
Part of my new definition of success is to create memorable experiences.
I’ve never been there before, and it’s likely I may not be back.
So, instead of working all day Monday…I spent the entire day exploring the city of Cleveland.
I woke up, meditated, grabbed a coffee, walked backwards (as I do everyday), and finished with a workout in some random parking lot (I always drive around with a 62 and an 88 pound KB in my truck).
When I got downtown, I rented one of those motorized scooters. These things are amazing for touring around a city.
I started at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was incredible, especially the 2000-page Bruce Springsteen Book that was in the gift shop.
Then I grabbed some lunch.
Then I went to the Great Lakes Science Center, and learned about astronauts.
I talk a lot about being able to step into uncertainty.
I’m working on it hard myself.
But can you imagine how much uncertainty one has to bear to be able to go to space…
…especially the first people which was in the 50’s…and was a Russian astronaut not someone from the US BTW.
I also bought a bunch of stuff for my kids in the gift shop…more on that later and why that matters.
Then I rode around the Cleveland Browns Stadium, I tried to get onto the field, but that was an epic fail.
I rode down to some massive ship.
Then I rode down a road that I should NOT of been going down, I quickly turned around.
I then came across a cool looking Brewery called Noble Beast Brewery. They were outside loading beer and I asked if I could come in and have a beer.
They told me they were closed on Monday, so I just continued on my scooter.
I got about 100 yards away and turned around.
I really wanted a beer in that cool looking brewery.
So, I asked the guy again.
I told him I was a writer exploring the city of Cleveland for the day, which is all true BTW…and I was doing a story about Cleveland businesses, also kind of true.
He said come on in man, I’ll give you a beer.
He was the owner with his wife, and we talked about navigating the pandemic, living in Philadelphia (which we both did), and what his plan was for the future.
I asked him about a growth plan and his response was…
Don’t have one. I’m happy with what I’m doing, and opening more breweries would take all the fun away.
He gave me a beer for the road, and an ice cold War Canary that has just been canned that day…I’m drinking that as I write this.
I also sent him a quick email thanking him for his hospitality, conversation, and for the free beer.
Part of my definition of success is me showing gratitude and appreciation for others.
I rode around more on my scooter just enjoying the scenery.
I felt free, happy, and successful.
For a very long time, I judged my success as to how my business performed.
If we did well, I was happy for that period.
If we did not, I would feel unfulfilled.
My view of success was focused on ONE aspect of my life, my business.
Normally on a day like today, success would have been how much work I got done.
Today, I did NO work, except for writing this email…and I imagine this email will resonate with one or two of you, and that will pull you toward doing business with me.
Either way, I’ll chalk today up as a success.
Because today I feel happy and more successful than ever.
My story today is a story about my growth as a person.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
In my examination of myself I knew there was more to life than business.
I also realized I didn’t have to wait till I felt ready to relax and live life.
I could do that now…it’s def still a work in progress.
I was out with a few friends the other night and they seemed confused about how I could leave the gym for 3 days.
They asked who watched the gym while I’m away.
I don’t even think about the gym when I’m away, I know my team has that on lockdown.
That is success…To me.
On my journey I purchased stuff from the gift shop for my kids and Vanessa.
I normally thought that stuff was a waste of money.
But now I think differently.
That “stuff” is memories.
That stuff is proof of life experience.
I also bought each of them small toy spaceships.
Not because they need another toy…
But because the toy represents stepping into uncertainty, courage and doing work that matters.
That toy is a memory tool for my kids for that lesson…
…and it’s also a demonstration of me being a living example of going out and seeing the world.
Hopefully this modeling transfers to them.
But to be honest…
I’ve traveled to lots of cool places, and never thought this way.
I would just go, do my work, and come back.
Success is life experiences…To me.
Success (to me) is also having businesses that gives me the time and financial freedom to have a day like today.
I could go on forever here but the big takeaway is…
We only get one crack at this life.
And if you never define what success is to you…
…well…that’s a dangerous road…possibly filled with regret and guilt.
This is the road I was on, and defining success has changed the game for me.
TBH…I was waiting to achieve a business “success” that probably was invisible away.
The new road is filled with motorized scooters, day drinking, gifts from the gift shop, appreciating NASA, conversations with other business owners, enjoying the process of writing this long email and appreciating the freedom my business has given me.
P.S. My side hustle is helping gym owners build a business that gives them complete control over their time, so they can live the life they want.
You can chat with me about that HERE.