For the last 20-plus years, I’ve helped build brands. I’ve helped build events. And, I’ve helped build “buzz.” I’ve been fortunate to have experiences that will create lasting, life long memories. In the last several years, however, it has become clear to me that brands, events and buzz aren’t the only thing I can help to build. I want to take all I’ve learned and also help build people.
I’ve become just as interested in someone’s passions than a bottom line. My brain lights up talking about personal vision just as quickly as when I’m posed with questions about ROI. Speaking in front of a class of college students to talk about how to achieve their personal goals is as undeniably rewarding as talking to a prospective client about its corporate goals.
I’ve been lucky to have an amazing career. Working with athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, Gabby Reece, Mike Schmidt and Pete Sampras, events like the World Cup (Soccer), Super Bowl, Rose Bowl and the Ironman Triathlon and brands like TiVo, Pepsi and Mutual of Omaha has provided me with the opportunity to travel and have the kinds of experiences of which dreams are made. What I’ve never been able to escape, however, while talking with highly successful people was the same question over and over: What makes these people tick? What is it about these athletes, musicians and business people that allows them to follow their passions while, according to some estimates, some 80% of people are miserable? If following one’s passions is, in fact, the key to success, why are so few people able to do it?
Armed with these questions, I’ve continued to grow my career as the founder, president and creative director of a small Sausalito-based creative studio, Skadaddle Media. In founding Skadaddle, we set out to develop marketing campaigns that focused on authenticity and humanity. The first campaign we created was Mutual of Omaha’s “Aha Moment” initiative. Nowhere does this effort ask the viewers to buy insurance. Instead, we challenge people to search themselves for their possibilities by showcasing the amazing stories of their peers from around the United States. As we have just finished the third year of the campaign, we’ve recorded more than 3,000 inspiring tales of passion (www.ahamoment.com).
And armed with these questions, I’ve developed my personal equation for paving the life you’ve imagined. My PAVEMEANT philosophy is a talk that I have crafted over the years and give to organizations around the country.
Finally, my most important role is that of dad. I constantly think about the lessons I want to teach my son. I think the most important lesson I can teach him is to give himself permission. Permission to dream. Permission to try. Permission to fail. We live in a society filled with so much judgment that keeps people from achieving more. From trying more. I want to teach him about passion and vision. I want to teach him about being authentic to who he his. And, frankly, there’s no better way to show him that than to live it.