“ People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. ”

- John Maxwell -
Kid Scream - Feature

The only thing you really control…

This morning, I had a really interesting experience that reminds me so much of myself sometimes.  My son, Michael is three years old.  Like any normal three year old, he had moments where he is irrational, fussy, or whinny.  We work on these things all the time, but parenting is hard and sometimes it is not as perfect as it looks on Instagram.

However, this morning Michael really wanted his mom to hold him.  He was crying and pouting because she could not hold him.  (In all fairness, my wife was in the shower and could not hold him.)  I tried to distract him; I offered him breakfast, to help me make coffee (which he likes to do), and to watch a show.  Nothing was working.

I then said, “Michael, you have 2 options.  You can choose to sit here crying and sad but mommy cannot hold you as she is in the shower.  Or you can choose to come with daddy to make breakfast and be happy.”

He then looked up at me with a sad face and said, “Stay here and be sad…”

To be honest, I was a bit frustrated at this point.  I was thinking, why would he want to sit here and be sad when there was a much more fun option for him – he would just need to decide to get up and move on to something more fun like making breakfast or watching a show on Disney Junior.   I left the room and he sat there for a while, choosing to be sad.

I began to think about all that I have been going through in transition of life.  I realized that I have days where I am making the choice to ‘stay here and be sad.’  Although my choice does not manifest itself by me sitting and crying like my three year, I do have days where I choose to look at the challenges of transition more than the joys of the opportunity.  Read More »

All in - Feature

Assume the best…

A few years ago, I was working on a project for the organization I worked for.  Annually, we created staff manuals for our team of about 500 people.  These manuals were hundreds of pages – all of which needed to be updated, edited, formatted, and printed.  It was not the most fun project that I got to work on, but it was something that had to be done.

I lead a team that worked hard on revamping the manual.  We worked with college students and the 3-inch binder we were giving them made them break out in hives and we lost their attention… well maybe it was not that bad, but pretty close.  We decided to change the way they were printed in hopes to get a product that was easier to use for our staff throughout the summer.

I reached out to a printing vendor that our organization used fairly often, hoping he could come through for me with a very quick turn around.  See, the process to get the information in the manual updated, edited, and formatted took way longer than expected so we were up against a quick deadline to get the manuals printed.

I spent many hours getting the data to the printer and I spent a lot of time communicating how quickly we needed the product.  Not only did we need it printed quickly, but we also needed it shipped overnight to Orlando, FL for an event we were hosting

I knew it was a recipe for disaster, and it was all on my shoulders

Read More »

70 Pounds Feature1 copy

How I lost nearly 70 Pounds…

Let me just be real, this post will not tell you how to lose weight.  This is not going to be a one-stop shop or a ten-step plan to get fit to get into your summer swimsuit.  What this will do is tell you some simple principles that I have used over the years to slowly transform my lifestyle.

As I wrote last year, I struggled with always being a little overweight.  Growing up, I wore “husky” jeans, I was always a few sizes bigger, and was very self-conscious of it all.  As time went on, I made several lifestyle choices that lead to a very unhealthy life, eventually leading me to weigh about 240 pounds.  I was unhealthy and unhappy about it. Read More »


“ A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. ”

- Lao Tzu -

5 things to do, when you don’t know what to do

As many of you know, Angela and I have been through a lot of change lately and we are currently living in a constant state of transition.

In December, I left my 10-year journey of serving with an incredible non-profit organization, the WinShape Foundation.  I loved the work I did through the foundation, but at the same time had another internal passion to serve in the business world by opening my own business.  So, I left WinShape to pursue my role owning and operating a Chick-fil-A restaurant.  I am on course to open a new Chick-fil-A in the Birmingham, Alabama area in January 2015.

This was not an easy decision for me.  In fact, I would argue that the decision to leave my work at the WinShape Foundation to pursue my new role as a Chick-fil-A Operator was possibly the hardest decision I have had to make in my lifetime.  There were days that I did not know what to do – I did not know what decision to make, who to talk to, what to pursue, and so on.  I went back and forth on the decision before making my decision late in the summer of 2013.

During this time, I kept going back to one comment that I have heard many times over the past few years:

When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.

Read More »


One Step at a Time

Not long after Angela and I were married, I signed up for a racing event with my new brother-in-law.  The event consisted of a team 3-mile canoe, followed by either both of us completing a run and mountain bike trail or we could choose to tag-team the last two events.  Our plan was to tag-team; Trent would compete in the mountain biking portion and I would compete in the trail running portion.

However, I thought it would be fun to do both.  So, one day after work, I decided I should go ride the mountain biking course to see how hard it would really be to pull them both off.  Angela and I left work early one day and we decided to drive to the park where the race would be and do a trial run.

We didn’t know the course – all I knew was that it eventually came back full circle.  We didn’t know anything about maintain biking – all we both knew was riding bikes on our streets growing up.  But we thought it couldn’t be that bad; I mean, you don’t ever forget how to ride a bike, right?

As we rode, the sun began to set for the evening.  As it got darker, we had to get off the bike and pull our bikes through the woods because it was too dark to see.  We walked for miles, lost in the woods in the middle of a small town in Tennessee; it was dark, we heard animals in the woods, and we had no clue where we were going.

All we had for light was my Motorola Razor flip-phone (which was very cool for the time).  We had to use the little light that we had to see our next steps.  We could not see far in front of us, but we could see the next steps (an particularly see if we were stepping on a snake).  We had to have full faith that the path did indeed go full-circle like the map showed and that we would eventually end up where we wanted to be.  Angela, who was walking behind me had to have full confidence that I would lead her to our destination.

It was not easy, in fact it was one of the hardest physical events Angela and I have done in marriage.  We were scrapped up because of briers, our muscles were sore, and our emotions were tired.  But in the end, we made it back to our car and that is the last time Angela and I have ever tried to go mountain biking.

I have thought about this story so much over the past five years.  How often is this our story as leaders?  How many times are we leading people down the path that we think is right, yet we can only see just a small step in front of us?  How often are we leading when all we can see is a few steps in front of us? Read More »

You can do better - 04.1

You Can Do Better…

In college I had one of the hardest accounting professors you could imagine.  He was a young guy, probably only a few years removed from the classroom.  He had great rapport with students, but his class was hard.

He was one of those professors that you sweated bullets going into his class if you were not fully prepared, because if you were not, he would find a way to point it out.  He was the only professor that I had who scheduled his exams for 7:00 at night, because the allotted class time was not enough to work through the problems.  And he was the professor that everyone loved, but everyone dreaded his class.

However, let me be clear; people dreaded his class because it was challenging; it was possibly the hardest class in the school.  Yet at the same time this professor was a great teacher and he genuinely cared about the students who walked through his door.

A few weeks into the new school year, I was in class and received my first graded exam back.  On it was a grade, and in red ink it stated “come see me in my office this week.”  I stared, a little paralyzed, and wondered what in the world he would say.  I had made a “C” on the exam, so I was thinking, “surely someone else has done worse than me…” Read More »

© Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved