2020 Highlights

2020 was characterized by many as a terrible year. For some, it legitimately was, but I think for the great majority, they just jumped on the band wagon of complaining about 2020 when in reality it was a good year with some challenges along the year.

From my perspective, 2020 was possibly my favorite year since 2010. It was full of adventure and personal growth. Here are my highlights.

  • Started January 1st with Nicolas less than 1 month old getting RSV, being taken by ambulance, and hospitalized for 5 days.
  • Had a military contract that took me to South Korea, and I got to spend a few extra days site seeing.
  • The business was one of the first to receive accreditation as an AHA BLS Training Centers in over a decade.
  • Deployed to San Diego for COVID for two weeks.
  • Deployed to NYC for COVID for 4 weeks. I went as an entry level worker, and rose to a leadership position over 6,000 people.
  • My wife built a fence which extended our backyard and we turned it into a kid’s playland. Our kids now spend a considerable amount of more time outside.
  • The time away on deployment fundamentally changed my view of our marriage, and my relationship with Lynne went to a new level.
  • We shut down our Atlanta office in May which took a huge burden off our business.
  • We bought our 3rd house across the street from us, did a minor remodel and rented it out within a month.
  • Aletheia burned the top of her thigh causing third degree burns resulting in a trip to the ER and the burn center in Nashville.
  • We went on our annual Mexico trip. Only this time we upgraded to a condo room, and we got very special treatment because there were hardly any other guests and maybe 2-3 other groups with children.
  • I hired a full-time admin for the business which changed my role in the company, and I only wear 1 hat now instead of 5.
  • I acquired another CPR business in Memphis that expanded our footprint and doubled our revenue.
  • We received our accreditation to be an AHA ACLS/PALS Training Center in October. Something even more rare than getting our BLS Training Center status.
  • Went to Chicago for a family reunion. Our kids first time in a big city.
  • I read a book called Profit First which revolutionized our finances. I haven’t read a book more profound since 2013.
  • Made Knoxville’s 40 Under 40 list.
  • Nicolas started walking in November and sleeping through the night which is giving Lynne and I a huge sense of more freedom and flexibility.

Bring on 2021!!!

Semi Manifesto

This is a collection of thoughts and quotes that summed up my outlook and philosophy on life in the early 2010s. A lot has changed, but I find that these still remain as a core tenant.

Summary of my life.

  • Love waking up and going to work.
  • Relationships are top priority
  • Genuineness and kindness are my goal
  • Love for the remote and unreached areas of the world
  • Visionary, optimist, and go-getter
  • Infected with the travel bug
  • Jack of all trades, master of a few
  • Triathlete, wakeboarder, rock climber, backpacker
  • Always listening to music
  • Live with little to no inhibitions
  • Live like I’m going to die

Quotes that shaped my philosophy.

“Life is all what you make it to be, and I choose to live extraordinarily.” – Andrew Randazzo

“I play the game, for the game’s own sake.”

“Spontaneity is one of the greatest gifts of life” – Jim Hovorka (my grandpa)

“Dear God, I confess I am not what I should be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I will be, but by Your grace I am what I am. I am not what I once was.” – Jonathan Edwards

“When you settle, you die.” – Perry Noble

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Phil. 1:21

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” – Oscar Wilde

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” –Seth Godin

“Managers teach rules. Leaders teach principles.” – Kent Shaffer

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

“Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear, but we just went for it.” – 180º South

“Life’s expectations and enjoyment shouldn’t be focused on the goals you set out to accomplish, but the journey that you take to get there.”

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” – Chief Tecumseh

“I wish someone would’ve told me then, that someday these would be the good old days…..You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” – Ke$ha

Update on Seizing Nostalgia

Coincidentally, I was at the Farragut Chamber of Commerce Christmas Party. It was coincidental because I ran into an acquaintance who spoke some truth and light into my previous post about the Good Old Days. For the record, his name is John Haney.

John was talking about his daughters. He told me that one day I would be just like him talking to someone younger than me with a kid and telling them how fast they grow up. He said that before you know it, you start sounding like that “old guy”.

What was so profound was when he said that “That’s why people love Christmas so much.” John said that it reminds people of their past. As I thought about that, the truth sank deeper and deeper. Christmas (and other holidays/traditions) hold so many memories and layers.

You remember Christmas as a kid with your family. Then you become a single adult and the holiday takes a different form. Then you get married, have a kid(s), family grows, etc. It constantly evolves. And each year you reflect on your past and traditions. Christmas holds a special place in your heart.

It’s one of the few times during our lives when we get to experience the “golden days” as opposed to reflecting back on the “golden days”. This sparked a thought that I wanted to capitalize on. Traditions help us value “golden days” while still in the present.

However, if they are held too frequently such as Sunday dinners, they will be taken for granted. If they are too infrequent such as an annual holiday, they will not be valued respectively.

So what is the magic number of days to hold these traditions? I don’t know.

What should these traditions look like and how can we draw out the nostalgia? I don’t know.

But what I do know is that we are getting closer, and closer to the answer. Life doesn’t have to be a sad reflection. It can/should be filled with adventures and a present mind that appreciates what is happening without having to look back in appreciation.


you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s over.

I heard it said once that you should attend at least one funeral and one wedding each year to keep life in perspective. I’ve had more than my fair share of weddings since then but it wasn’t until this evening that I went to a funeral for the first time in over a decade.

There was connection with someone special from my childhood that drew me to a seat in the pew. With tears welling in my eyes, I was thrust back into memories that most days are so far away that they seem as only a dream.

Today is a sad day. I’m reminded of the brevity of life and good old days that you can’t get back or recreate. I reflect on two things. One is a sobering quote from the TV show, The Office. It was said,

I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you left them……Someone should write a song about that.

Well they did and here it is. “Good Old Days” by Macklemore (ft. Kesha)

Today is a day to reflect and be reminded. Tomorrow I will take these thoughts and commit once more to a life with no reserves, no retreats, and no regrets. I’ve loved my life and lived it well, but the older I get, the more ‘good old days’ I have behind me.

I think being content in the moment is one level, but harnessing the nostalgia while it is still the present is the next level. I think we’ve all found ourselves in those out-of-body experiences at some point in life. I want more of them.

Life is what you make it to be, and I choose to live extraordinarily. YOLO

The Brevity of Life

Life is short. Life ends fast.

Slow down to smell the roses, and other times run full throt­tle. Balance.

We don’t stop play­ing because we get old. We get old because we stop play­ing. Live young, stay young.

What doesn’t kill you makes for a great story.

Work hard, play harder. Embrace the crazy in all of us and set it loose.

Have fun with life. Don’t take it too seriously.

The frailty, the brevity, of life. This is the under­es­ti­mated reality.

Don’t waste your life.

19 Ways Rich People Think Differently

How do you mea­sure up? Num­ber 3 is tough for a lot of people.

1. Rich peo­ple always keep their goals in sight.
“I focus on my goals every day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 62%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 6%

2. And they know what needs to be done today.
“I main­tain a daily to-​​do list.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 81%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 19%

3. They don’t watch TV.
“I watch TV one hour or less per day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 67%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 23%

4. They read … but not for fun.
“I love read­ing.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 86%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 26%

5. Plus, they’re big into audio books.
“I lis­ten to audio books dur­ing the com­mute to work.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 63%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 5%

6. They make a point of going above and beyond at the office.
“I do more than my job requires.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 81%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 17%

7. They aren’t hop­ing to win the jack­pot.
“I play the lot­tery reg­u­larly.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 6%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 77%

8. They watch their waist­line.
“I count calo­ries every day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 57%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 5%

9. And they take care of their smiles.
“I floss every day.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 62%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 16%

10. Rich peo­ple believe their habits have a major impact on their lives.
“Daily habits are crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess in life.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 52%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 3%

11. Rich peo­ple believe in the Amer­i­can dream.
“The Amer­i­can dream is no longer pos­si­ble.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 2%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 87%

12. Rich peo­ple value rela­tion­ships for pro­fes­sional and per­sonal growth.
“Rela­tion­ships are crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 88%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 17%

13. Rich peo­ple love meet­ing new peo­ple.
“I love meet­ing new peo­ple.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 68%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 11%

14. Rich peo­ple think that sav­ing is hugely impor­tant.
“Sav­ing money is crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 88%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 52%

15. Rich peo­ple feel that they deter­mine their path in life.
“I believe in fate.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 10%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 90%

16. Rich peo­ple value cre­ativ­ity over intel­li­gence.
“Cre­ativ­ity is crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 75%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 11%

17. Rich peo­ple enjoy their jobs.
“I like (or liked) what I do for a liv­ing.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 85%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 2%

18. Rich peo­ple believe that their health influ­ences their suc­cess.
“Good health is crit­i­cal to finan­cial suc­cess.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 85%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 13%

19. Rich peo­ple are will­ing to take risks.
“I’ve taken a risk in search of wealth.“
Rich peo­ple who agree: 63%
Poor peo­ple who agree: 6%


HT: http://​www​.entre​pre​neur​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​2​3​5​228
HT: http://www.businessinsider.com/ways-rich-people-think-differently-2014–5

Graduating Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

This after­noon, my girl­friend and I fin­ished our last class with Dave Ram­sey. Like many oth­ers, he’s become a house­hold name to us. “Dave says this…” or “Dave said that…”. For those that aren’t aware, Dave Ram­sey is the nation’s most pop­u­lar finan­cial guru. He lists 7 baby steps as follows:

  1. Build a $1000 emer­gency fund
  2. Get out of debt as quickly as pos­si­ble, pay­ing extra on your small­est debt and work­ing up from there.
  3. Build a fully funded emer­gency fund of 3–6 months expenses.
  4. Start invest­ing 15% of your income in an IRA with high yield­ing mutual funds.
  5. Start a col­lege fund for the kids.
  6. Pay off the home early.
  7. Build wealth and give.

Cur­rently, I’m on step 3 for less than two more months. Then, I start step 4, jump over step 5 (since I don’t have kids), and start sav­ing for a down pay­ment on a house since I cur­rently rent. It’s excit­ing times and feels so lib­er­at­ing to not have the finan­cial bur­dens that so many oth­ers carry.

Dave’s phi­los­o­phy fits so well with Live Sim­ply Free because he harps on liv­ing within your means–living sim­ply. His mantra is, “Live like no one else, so one day you can live like no one else.” Fantastic!

We must resist the lies of our soci­ety to buy things to be happy and that it’s ok to have debt. Sim­plic­ity brings true joy and free­dom. Maybe you’re already bogged way down in finan­cial woes. It’s ok, there’s always hope and it’s never too late to start mak­ing changes. All it takes is deter­mi­na­tion and discipline.

You might look weird just sit­ting with friends at the restau­rant but not order­ing any­thing. Your fam­ily might think you’re crazy for sell­ing every­thing and liv­ing so mea­gerly but that’s ok. After all, isn’t it the crazy peo­ple in this world that always end up doing great things?

It’s been said that when you see the major­ity head­ing in one direc­tion, it’s best to go the oppo­site way. I’m com­mit­ted to that par­tic­u­larly in my finances and I hope you will be too.

bachelors traversing the status quo

What first comes to mind when you think of a bach­e­lor pad? Per­haps some­thing along the lines of the pic­ture below?

messy bachelor pad






How­ever, if you stop by my apart­ment (which is shared with a room­mate), you’re sure to find a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence. With touches from wall art, to orga­ni­za­tion sys­tems, to an always clean kitchen and fridge, our bach­e­lor pad doesn’t fit the sta­tus quo. In fact, more than likely if you come around the din­ner hour you’ll find one of us cook­ing a meal. When I say meal, I don’t mean ramen. We don’t even have a microwave.

We’re two totally dif­fer­ent guys with extremely oppo­site per­son­al­i­ties, careers, and hob­bies. I’m in the med­ical field and my room­mate is in the film indus­try. About the only sim­i­lar­ity is that we’re both Chris­tians and we both run small busi­ness out of our apartment.

So what’s the secret to keep a clean house? It’s an incen­tive pro­gram. It basi­cally works like this. We have iden­ti­fied 4 areas in the apart­ment that we have to keep clean. If my room­mate makes a mess and leaves the apart­ment or leaves it overnight, and I clean it up for him, then I place a hash mark on our white­board. For every hash mark, I get to take $5 off my half of the rent, and vice versa for my room­mate. It’s a pretty good incen­tive that is keep­ing our place spot­less and ready for guests at any­time. So, if you’ve got a room­mate, it’s worth giv­ing it a try. You may end up sav­ing some money this month.

Since we’re talk­ing about room­mates and apart­ments, here’s a project that my room­mate and I are going to start work­ing on this week to give us a lit­tle more space and orga­ni­za­tion. See pic­ture below.

fridge pantry

making the most of rest

It’s been a blur of a year. I started out teach­ing classes dur­ing the Spring semes­ter almost every­day. I also met my dream girl the begin­ning of the year. As the semes­ter ended, the triathlon sea­son started and I was aver­ag­ing 2 races a month. Throw in some wed­dings and a cou­ple other road trips, and it was a very time con­sum­ing sum­mer. Oh, I for­got to men­tion I also started my own teach­ing company.…AHH!!!

I just fin­ished my last race which hap­pened to be the Nation­als 2 weeks ago, and the dust has finally set­tled. I was just star­ing at my cal­en­dar and it is com­pletely empty. After 8 months of busi­ness, I hon­estly feel uncom­fort­able with all this free time. I don’t want to fill it with another reg­i­ment of projects. So, the ques­tion is raised, how do I make the most of this sea­son of rest?

Well, busy lives equate to dis­trac­tion. Dis­trac­tion from God, other rela­tion­ships, good habits, etc. A focus on spir­i­tual things should always be the fore­most thing. Dig­ging in a lit­tle deeper with the church, amp­ing up daily devo­tional time, and seek­ing dis­ci­ple­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties. Sec­ond is strength­en­ing rela­tion­ships with a core group of friends (includ­ing your sig­nif­i­cant other if applic­a­ble) which sta­tis­tics say we can’t main­tain more than 6 close friend­ships. Third would be tak­ing up some gen­eral good habits like read­ing, writ­ing, inten­tional solitude/​mediation, and so forth.

So, if you find your­self in one of these rare sea­sons as well. Resist the urge to fill the void. Embrace the empti­ness, attempt to pro­long it as long as pos­si­ble, and use the time to focus on the fun­da­men­tals of your life.

exposing the lie of careers

Amer­ica is the land of oppor­tu­nity. If you work hard enough, you can be any­thing you want to be. There’s a lot of truth to that. When we boil it down, our soci­ety has 3 gen­eral cat­e­gories of suc­cess­ful careers. You have lawyers, doc­tors, and busi­ness exec­u­tives. I hap­pen to per­son­ally know one such person…it’s my dad.

Ya, he worked his way all the way up from low­est man on the totem pole, to a suit-​​wearing exec­u­tive who was president/​VP of mul­ti­ple com­pa­nies, trav­elled the world, went to fancy par­ties in tuxe­dos, and made six fig­ures. He had it made. He had arrived to a spot only most dream about. Well, he doesn’t do that any­more. Now he owns his own win­dow clean­ing com­pany and offers his ser­vices as a quad-​​lingual interpreter.

I was on the path to busi­ness exec­u­tive. I’m very early in the jour­ney but it was clear to many that I’d attain it. It didn’t take me long to real­ize that with advance­ment came a lot of respon­si­bil­ity and worst of all, STRESS! I work for the best and biggest com­pany in my field, and even then there’s a lot of flaws. I began ask­ing around to see what oth­ers thought who were climb­ing the lad­der and all at dif­fer­ent lev­els. The answers were all pretty much the same. “Yes, it’s a lot respon­si­bil­ity.“
“Yes, there’s more stress.” “If I can only reach a cer­tain rung, then it’ll be smooth sail­ing.” “It’s just busy for this sea­son, things will slow down in such and such time.”

Those answers might be ok if these peo­ple were just get­ting started with their careers, but the real­ity is they’ve been at it for 10, 15, 20yr and they’re all at dif­fer­ent rungs and all say­ing the same thing. So what am I to think? That my cir­cum­stance is going to turn out dif­fer­ently? That every­one with­out excep­tion is say­ing the same thing, but I’m going to be the excep­tion!? I’m not naïve, my fate will be no different.

So, back to my dad. We talked about how careers are over­rated and my idea of start­ing my own com­pany. Here’s what my dad had to say. “You’re right.” Being a busi­ness exec­u­tive, my dad had lots of busi­ness exec­u­tive friends. He told me that most of them finally fig­ured out the same thing I had, and now they all run their own busi­nesses. Do they all have the same lux­u­ries they use to? Not all of them, but they’re all a lot happier.

Careers give us a false sense of secu­rity. It’s no more secure than run­ning your own busi­ness. If any­thing, you have more con­trol over your secu­rity when you run the show. Life is a lot sim­pler. Careers are over­rated. If you know some­one that can prove me oth­er­wise, let me know.