I'm a blessed man. I grew up in a loving, Christian home. I was taught to work hard, have a positive attitude and to always give my best. After graduating from Liberty University, I married my high school sweetheart and was excited to dive headlong into my career where I felt like "life really began". I had a passion for business and a heart for ministry. At the age of 23 I had an open-door opportunity that I could never have dreamed of to move to Atlanta to work with INJOY and John Maxwell. I put my head down and went to work, hard! The organization was blessed with much growth, and I was given more and more opportunities to lead. In 2001 I listened to an audio lesson by Todd Duncan called "An Annual Review with You". Between Christmas & New Years of that year, I took a full 8 hour day to review my past year and plan for the year ahead. As I used "An Annual Review with You" as a guide tool, I realized that it was predicated on having a life plan. I didn't have one at the time, and so I used part of that day to create my first version of my life plan. The aha for me that day was that I previously had goals in only 2 areas of my life: career & financial. After going through a life plan exercise, I realized there were actually 10 areas in my life that were of vital importance to me that I wanted to be intentional in. This exercise helped me move from being goal oriented to being growth oriented. My life plan has guided me toward living a life of intentionality for the past 16 years.
In 2004, John Maxwell invited me from being an employee in his organization into his inner circle of key leaders. He also began to mentor me in life and leadership. As part of John's inner circle, I was exposed to other leaders, experiences and John's one-on-one mentoring. The growth I experienced was off the charts. I was given innumerable opportunities to lead including running the marketing, sales, programming and client experience of all of the live events, launching and running the international business and then the corporate business (Maximum Impact), to rebranding and running Leadercast and most recently leading The John Maxwell Company. I will forever be grateful for the growth and opportunities I've experienced from being able to ride shotgun with John Maxwell for nearly 2 decades.
As I wrapped up 2015 and entered into 2016, personally and professionally I was riding a wave of momentum. However, deep in my spirit I lacked peace. On the first Sunday of 2016 I had a "God moment" where I sensed God speak to me and share with me that He wanted to give me a greater sense of His peace. That became my theme for 2016. If you had described "my life at 40" to me in my early 20's, I would have told you that I had arrived. I had made it. I was living the dream. However, in the midst of the external blessings, I knew that something deep in my soul was not quite right. 2016 was a wild ride. To quote Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". My soul lacked peace, and that led me to resign as President of The John Maxwell Company in the summer of 2016 and take a 6 month "semi-sabbatical". During the sabbatical I began to listen to my soul for the first time. I realized that I had gotten so consumed as being a "producer" that I didn't know what it looked like to just "be". My identity had gotten wrapped up in what I was doing and who I was doing it with that I had lost my way. I had pain & grief to face from past rejection, feelings of inadequacy and loss of identity. The back half of 2016 was filled with time alone with God in the mountains, inner reflection, tears and listening to my soul all the while having a quiet whisper of "redeemed pain is your platform to influence". As my wife Lori says, "I was becoming a better version of myself." I realized that I was at "halftime," and I began to ask God to reveal the purpose and calling that He has for my second half. There were some long distance mentors and books that were invaluable to me on my journey: John Ortberg's Soul Keeping and All the Places to Go, Donald Miller's Scary Close, Mark Batterson's In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Jeff Manion's The Land Between and Andy Stanley's Visioneering. The truth from these books have shaped my thinking going forward.
As I was gearing up for my second half, I decided in the fall of 2016 that I wanted a guide to lead me in the LifePlan process. Having a life plan had been invaluable to me for the past 15 years, but I wanted to take a fresh look at my life, purpose and calling and knew that I needed an external guide to help me. I contacted the Paterson Center and went through the LifePlan process with a facilitator. The process was phenomenal. It provided me perspective on my journey as well as clarified and gave language to the stirrings in my heart regarding my purpose and calling. So in 2017 I am fully stepping into my purpose and calling for my second half.