Journal

Why My Wife and I Chose To Start A New Business Together

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“Work can convince you that you are working hard for your family, while you are being seduced through ambition to neglect them. Don’t let it happen. Don’t sacrifice the most important thing in your life for your dreams.”

– Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor

I’ll never forget the cloudy January day, when I finished Every Good Endeavor, a manuscript blessed with the wisdom of New York City Pastor Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian).

This book pushed me to realize that my work is temporary, but my life is eternal. I walked away from it with a challenge to myself, to not let the “law of diminishing intent” win, as it does with most continuing education or personal development attempts. You know, when you read or hear something and get excited, only to do nothing with it in your own life.

I chose to push myself a bit, by thinking about ways I can further leverage my gifts from God, to be a blessing beyond any monetary score or career accomplishment that the world would hold high. Instead, using those relationships to share my personal story of faith with others, giving them a chance to hear about the greatest hope we have – Jesus.

“How can I dream without making my dream bigger than the relationships God has blessed me with?”

– My Internal Question after reading Every Good Endeavor

For those who know me well – let’s face it; I am a passionate dreamer who likes to architect an idea into a plan that I am willing to carry out as the mason [if possible].

This is something the world celebrates. This is something I embrace. But is there a point where this is an idol and not only a distraction from my relationships with those I love, but also a distraction from my faith?

My answer was and is an astounding “Yes”.

So my conviction when I read this back in January 2013, was that I must use my work to attempt to further impact everyone I lead or come in to contact with; this includes customers, team members, friends, family, and especially my wife and children.

Let’s read it again;

“Work can convince you that you are working hard for your family while you are being seduced through ambition to neglect them. Don’t let it happen. Don’t sacrifice the most important thing in your life for your dreams.”

Seduced? Am I actually seduced? Am I neglecting my loved ones but blind to it, because of my addiction to the ambition and intense passion for which I dream?

Tough questions to ask yourself. Tough questions I asked myself.

I began to set better parameters in my life, while still passionately dreaming, but for a greater purpose.

I am still setting these parameters every day and getting feedback on where I fall short. Feedback from my business partner, Forrest. Feedback from my Leadership Team. Feedback from my wife. Feedback from friends. Feedback from my kids.

It’s not always easy to hear, but it always gets through my head in a way that makes me better.

It will be an everlasting challenge for a guy like me to disconnect from my dreams and enjoy the present moment with those relationships God has blessed me with.

To “be where my feet are,” as Dr. Kevin Elko so simply puts it.

During these past few years of praying, reading, writing and digesting these questions, my wife Yazmin has been building a side business in our garage. Women from throughout our Ross Bridge neighborhood here in metro Birmingham, let alone from neighborhoods all over the city, have been coming to our home to get their hair, makeup or spray tan on a regular basis.

You see, my wife has dreams too. And as much as she respects my dreams; they aren’t her’s.

She has been building this beauty business in our garage, while giving birth to and raising our three children, Savanah, Sofia and James IV.

Pretty incredible!

Yazmin and I share in the passionate dreaming we do for our marriage, as we have dreams for our lives together. We also share in the passionate dreaming we do for our kids, and the things we hope they get to experience in their own lives.

But, as I saw her building her new business, I thought about what it could look like for us to share in a business dream together. Because I love everything about being an entrepreneur and she loves everything about what she gets to do for her female clients with the beauty services she so wonderfully provides.

I also thought about what it could look like for our children to see us starting and growing a business together, and how they could contribute, learn, and the natural ways our relationships with them could grow through this experience.

After lots of prayer, ideating and journaling; GLOW was born.

Yazmin originally fought for a brick and mortar salon concept, offering these hair, makeup and spray tan services, amongst others. Although I thoroughly enjoy the brick and mortar route we’ve taken with Iron Tribe, I felt like the opportunity for GLOW was more in line with the recent growth of the tech industry’s “on demand economy”.

Together, Yazmin and I designed a plan to pair two key groups through a mobile app we would call GLOW; the existing network of trained professionals who want to deliver these hair, makeup and spray tanning services when their schedule allows, and the other group is the marketplace of women who need to access these professionals in an on demand format that makes it easy to research and schedule an appointment to come to their home, place of work, hotel, or even for the customer to visit the professional’s place of work.

The past eight months have been intense, with lots of work amongst our existing roles as parents and my existing role as President of Iron Tribe. We’ve had to fund the business, which has meant sacrifices in other areas of our lives.

And the blessing of Matt Landers, CEO of Platypi, along with his wonderful team of co-founders and staff, has been the key to getting GLOW branded and designing our GLOW marketing plan together to the point where we’ve SOLD OUT our brand launch party.

In addition to the branding and digital marketing, Platypi is building the GLOW app, which launches on the Apple iTunes and Google Play app stores later this summer.

Ultimately, Yazmin and I are dreaming together, as a family.

It’s a blessing that God has given me, to be able to do something like this. And, one of many things my leadership position at Iron Tribe continues to teach me, I can use this blessing to bless others.

GLOW will follow in our Iron Tribe footsteps to “Connect God’s Blessings With His Purpose”, as we will bless others with our hopeful growth as a brand here in Birmingham and beyond.

I’m so excited to be able to embark on this journey with my wife.

 

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Business, Journal, Mentors, Press

My EntreLeadership Podcast Experience

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I’ve been listening to the EntreLeadership podcast for more than a year now, and I’m not alone. Business, political and church leadership around the country is the makeup of the more than 500,000 weekly listeners who subscribe to this ever-growing show. It is aired under the Dave Ramsey umbrella that is becoming a mainstream staple in modern American Journalism.  Being on this episode was so much fun that I thought I’d share my experience.  You can listen to the episode in the player below (or click to here subscribe to the EntreLeadership podcast).

Earlier this summer, I headed up to Nashville to visit some of the Iron Tribe gyms in the metro area of the Music City, only to get an invite from a contact at Dave Ramsey Solutions, to “stop by and be a guest on EntreLeadership.”

“What!?!”, I thought. “That would be an incredible opportunity for the Iron Tribe brand!'”

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.52.30 AMAs I walked into Financial Peace Plaza (the name for Ramsey Solutions’ incredible campus where 500+ employees are diligently serving their customers), I met Dave Ramsey himself, along with several of the key team members that lead each of the causes for this transformational brand. Their brand, of course, is getting people fit financially, while our Iron Tribe brand is getting people fit physically.

However, ultimately, these are two of the seven or so “spokes in our wheels” (financial, physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.) that we have to have optimally running for us to truly be well-rounded individuals. So there is lots of synergy.

Getting to meet the host Ken Coleman, was a huge honor for me, after listening to him interview the likes of Mark Cuban, Mike Rowe, John Maxwell, Gary Vaynerchuck, and so many more. Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.53.13 AM

As we geared up to go on the air for 15 minutes or so, I was so pumped to be able to showcase my passion and the Iron Tribe story. When you listen to the interview, I hope you’ll feel what I’m talking about.

Enjoy!

Click here to listen now!

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Film, Hustle, Journal

I Thought I Had Lost My Identity

The Montevallo March To GloryIn 2003, Bob Riesener, the winningest college baseball coach in the state of Alabama, retired after 1,000+ wins and 30+ years as a head coach at the collegiate level. Just a couple years earlier, Coach Riesener recruited me from Syracuse, NY, to attend the University of Montevallo (UM) with an athletic scholarship offer and a chance to live out my dream to play college ball in the south.

I worked my butt off in the summer of 2003, both at home in Syracuse, NY and taking summer classes at UM, not knowing who my new coach was nor how he would come in and lead us versus what we were used to.

Then, I got the news that our new coach would be Greg Goff, the pitching coach from the University of Kentucky and he was bringing an assistant with him from NC State in Jeremy Browning.

These guys came in an put us to work in a way I will never forget, running us hard in the August heat, working us out in the gym to limits I didn’t know I could reach, and teaching us skills on the field that made us into a decent team that would set the stage to help the program reach the NCAA Division II World Series just a few years later under Goff and Browning’s watch.

Many guys didn’t make it through that fall, but I did. And I was better for it. They taught me a whole new level of excellence, work ethic, and overall leadership, that is engrained in me as a man and will be forever.

Unfortunately, for me, I didn’t get to play more than a season for Coach Goff, as I experienced a second labrum tear in my right shoulder and was left with a decision to finish out my final year at UM in an unfamiliar place, as a student-only instead of a student-athlete, for the first time in my entire 21-year-old life.

I was depressed, asking myself what exactly to do with my time and my life, now that I was not playing the game of baseball that led me to trek 1,000+ miles away to Alabama from New York, in the first place.

Now, this truly is where I began a journey that showed my only true identity being in Jesus Christ, but that’s not the point of this post, even though I could tie every post back to that Gospel truth.

Instead, this post is about the journey that I went on in my final year as a Broadcast Journalism student at UM, to co-found a TV/Radio network (The Falcon Network), which still exists at UM for students to run and broadcast live streamed events; something that was new and cutting edge back in 2004.

The Falcon Network is where I would broadcast 100+ live sports events and produce 30+ televised sports shows. I had to raise money, sell sponsors, hire student-workers, buy equipment, learn the engineering side of editing audio/video, lead my team and of course, be the face and talent of it all.

I was the guy on press row, broadcasting the games live while holding a miniDV camera (Gen Z doesn’t even know what that is) to film it for my post-game highlight show. It was humbling but also quite exciting, because I didn’t know where it would lead me.

Many of my teammates and friends were wondering what the heck I was now doing with my life and why I was so passionate about going back to my dorm room or the Mass Communications editing suites to work on my “projects” all the time.
I had caught a “bug” for the creativity of it, and I was addicted to it.

I thought it was leading me to ESPN or something like that, which it actually did for several years to provide credibility to my first entrepreneurial venture.

But ultimately, it led me to entrepreneurship and a desire for autonomous creativity and leadership of a team for a purpose, which is something I continue to get to do for a living just 10 years later.

So in the summer of 2004, after our UM Men’s Basketball team, under the watch of Danny Young, turned the program around from four wins total, to win their first ever conference title and a berth into their first-ever NCAA Division II Tourney, I had no choice to go back to the footage and map out a documentary of this story.

I took the summer to travel around and interview the players, press and even stay in NY’s Brooklyn projects in the housing for a week, where the team’s point guard lives.

The film was packaged up as The Montevallo March To Glory and I was even able to attend the Ivy League Film Fest at Brown University, where I was honored in the Documentary Film Category.

I’m not going to go deep into the story because you have the film to watch for yourself, but the film’s storyline (second chance guys coming together to change the face of the UM Athletic Program while transforming their own lives forever) and the creation process that went into making the film, had changed my life forever.

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Hustle, Journal

Four Months Into 2015 – We Gotta Keep Up That Mo!

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short stint here on this amazing planet, it’s the fact that the default state of my human psyche is doubt, fear of failure and avoidance of regret. We regret our mistakes twice as much as we relish successes.

This message is a chance to speak out to anyone else who wants to battle that default state with some serious determination to succeed!

I’ve also learned that, to achieve goals, set productive habits and ultimately to reach the dreams we’ve set out to conquer, there must be a building of momentum or “MO” as we called in the dugout whenever we wanted to get a rally going to comeback and beat our opponent. MO can be the catalyst to your success, but it could also work against you, as a deterrent that overwhelms you to the point where you decide not to take action.

This message is prepared to provide a plan to get you out of your seat, to take massive action in combating any negative MO, to redirect it into a positive flow that will get you climbing the mountain to reach the summit of dreams you may have not even defined as of yet!

Earlier this week, I was walking into my office to crush another awesome day of creating fitness communities that change lives and I looked down at my iPhone (I tend to do that a lot :)). I was SHOCKED! It wasn’t the time that surprised me, but the date – we are already four months into another calendar year! That’s one sixth of the year; GONE.

But is it really “GONE”? Or have you and I invested these first two months of days into actions that will produce fruit in our personal lives, professional careers and spiritual echos into eternity??? Surely we both have individually done this with the first two months of 2015!

When I realized the fact that one sixth of 2015 is gone,  it reminded me to do a monthly I exercise that I have found essential for me to celebrate wins and learn from my mistakes. I want you to try it to!

Simply spend 30 minutes writing in your journal, on a piece of paper or, if you’re like me, in your Evernote app on your iPhone.

FIRST, list out your Accomplishments from the past month. THEN, list the lessons you have learned over the past month.

Finish the exercise by answering this question; In what ways are you progressing toward your priorities for 2015 and which goals have you already achieved thus far?

For those of you that have set goals for this year, I highly recommend that you take the 30 minutes it will take to reflect this way monthly – it will only remind you of what you have already accomplished or still need to, while also reinforcing some of the things you’ve learned in your experiences this year.

However, if you have not set goals, there are no worries… My goal setting workshop that I hosted earlier this year for a group of Iron Tribe athletes at our Downtown Birmingham gym, will take you through the process of setting Annual Priorities, Quarterly Tops and Monthly Goals.

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Journal, Perpsective, The Gospel

Be Careful What You Ask For!

Monday, January 12, 2015

6:50am

I wrapped up my quiet time with a short, half page journal entry. I usually finish the entire page, but I was in a rush to get in my car and head to the office for our Monday Morning Meeting that I lead each week with our corporate team.

“What if my life was a continuous risk-taking plunge, that forced me to live a life dependent on God? How different would I live compared to how I live now?

That’s it! I am going to take one risk this year for the sake of The Gospel, that is dependent on Him with no guarantee he will deliver the result I’m hopeful for as I take this risk.

I often look at so many of the unfortunate situations in the lives around me, wondering ‘Why not me?’ People I know have died much too early from cancer and other, more abrupt causes… Yet, I am still here?

For what? Why? How can I leverage whatever time I have left to make the most of it for those that I am able to touch?

This unknown time that I have remaining on this earth, must be my bankroll for this risk I am going to take for Him, without knowing how He might return my investment.”

7:15am

I began my daily 20 minute drive into Birmingham, to our Iron Tribe HQ near Southside’s Pepper Place. As I drove in, I continued a tradition I began a couple months ago, listening to Kevin Elko’s Monday Morning Cup of Inspiration.

Kevin has helped countless college and professional sports brands, from their coaches to their athletes, focus on keeping their ‘eye on the prize’ with his motivational sports psych expertise. He’s worked with ‘Bama Football, The Yankees, The Steelers, The U (Miami) Football and so many other groups of coaches and athletes.

He also was the keynote speaker at our recent TribeCon14 annual franchise conference event that we hosted here at The Westin Birmingham for our Iron Tribe franchise partners, and he pushed us all quite directly to ‘stop wishing to receive the blessing and instead, go out and BE THE BLESSING.’

His Monday Morning Cup on January 12th left me with two takeaways. First, ‘be comfortable being uncomfortable.’ Second and more importantly, ‘stop wishing life was easier; just GET TOUGHER.”

[Click on either of the two Monday Morning Cup links above to listen to this one – it’s worth it]

8:25am

A few us meet each week to discuss a book we’re reading (What’s Best Next? by Matt Perman) and before we began our Monday Morning Meeting with our entire team, I played them Kevin Elko’s Monday Morning Cup and then we prayed for God to help us focus on being desperate for Him and inviting Him to make things tougher, so we will only rely on Him more to be able to GET TOUGHER.

9:02am

Because we introduced a new format for our Monday Morning Meeting, it ended in 32 minutes, instead of lasting for its usual 60 minutes.

The team walked out of the conference room on the 3rd Avenue/27th Street South corner of our building, and I walked into Forrest’s office to put a game plan together for an important project we would be working on side-by-side all week.

9:07am

An extremely loud, thunderous sound occurs, which is not unusual because accidents happen weekly on the 3rd Avenue/27th Street corner of our building.

Then the thunderous sound (with slight millisecond moments in between it as you heard it) became louder and louder, with Kelli (who works at the front desk which has all windows facing the 3rd Avenue/27th Street South corner) screaming “Oh my God… Oh No!” louder and louder intermittently.

Then… IMPACT into our building… Power goes out… Lights off… Vibration felt… Forrest and I rush out of his office to see a truck stuck inside of our building.

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Before I keep going, let’s list off the realities of physics here;

  1. The gym side of our building had no classes going on, so the only people in that side of the building were in their offices (our manager, Josh Taylor, and coaches Mike Collins and Alex Brigham).
  2. The gym side of our building is a low-bearing, concrete wall, that directly supports the roof of our building.
  3. The corporate office side of our building is nothing but glass and sheet rock.
  4. There were ten of us in offices on this corporate office side of the building.
  5. Our TribeMobile Tahoe truck that Tra Griffin (VP of Birmingham Gym Operations) drive, was parked in a spot that was directly in line with the corporate office side of the building, which caused the truck to veer toward the gym side.
  6. The semi-truck did not have a load. An empty load would have been 5-10 more tons of weight behind the truck, while a full load would have been twice as many tons of weight behind the truck.
  7. The semi-truck hit the power line directly and missed the gas line by mere inches.

Thus, the potential results;

  1. The truck goes deeper into the building because it is carrying at least an empty load or at most a full load, and the ceiling collapses on everyone in the building, because the low-bearing support wall is totally destroyed by the increased impact.
  2. Tra doesn’t park his TribeMobile Tahoe in that spot and the truck goes into the corporate office, destroying the mere glass and sheet rock that primarily make up this side of the building, running us all over.
  3. The truck hits the gas line and an explosion occurs.
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Here is a diagram of the turn that the truck driver tried to make, and why the accident happened.

I’m not going to go one step further and talk about what the news stories could have been, which you could have read last week versus this personal blog article of mine.

But I can tell you this, they would have been life altering for a lot of different groups of people.

10:43pm

I finished that page in my journal. It’ll be a page of two different, but united tales, that I will hopefully re-read for how many years I am left on this earth. It’s context. It’s perspective.

“Why does God give us challenges? Why is life so hard? How can we believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign God, as our Creator and Eternal Lord, when things like this don’t always have this blessed ending? With the horrors of man that are continuously prevalent in this world?

Well, all that God has created is good. Through our sin, we each continuously take great creations from Him and disfigure it in ways that mutate these things He has blessed us with. Look no further than ways we have abused sex, alcohol, or even the environment, etc.. We think we know what to do with those creations, to the point that we abuse them in ways where they have power over us.

Life is supposed to be hard! Challenges are supposed to come our way! If you think it’s easy, it’s probably because you aren’t trying hard enough!

We ARE NOT called to face every challenge on our own. We ARE called to “Get Tougher”, not merely by OUR own strength, but the strength that comes from our relationship in HIM.

And when a situation like this Monday morning happens, you take the extension on life that you’ve been blessed with, and you use it to invest into the opportunities around you.

Jim! Wake up! What are you going to do with this extra time? You can’t complain! You can’t grumble! Be thankful your heart is beating and beg God for strength to stop wishing things were easier, but GET TOUGHER.”

 

 

 

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Journal, Perpsective, Seven Takeaways

Failing To Succeed

In my Goal Setting Workshop that I hosted for 60 Iron Tribe athletes from our five local Birmingham gyms, I taught a formula to review the previous year to help set a plan for the best year ahead that you can envision.

Reviewing the previous year is where you have to begin, though. List at least five or more Accomplishments from the previous year and then list five or more Lessons Learned from the previous year.

The key is to ALWAYS start with Accomplishments and really take the time to name at least five – you’ll be amazed at what you’ve forgot you’ve done. From there, you’ve surely learned things in the previous year, that will only make you wiser for the year ahead.

So what are YOUR Accomplishments and Lessons Learned from 2014?

OK. I’ll start… Here are 7 of my Accomplishments and 7 of my Lessons Learned;

Accomplishments
  1. Completed 100 Day Strength Program
  2. Joined Aspire Movement Board / Began Mentoring Sixth Grade Boy
  3. 30+ Date Nights w. my wife Yazmin / 3 Concert Trips w. Yazmin (ALONE 🙂 )
  4. My 12 year old, Savanah, averaged 4 A’s & 1 B+ in fifth grade and continues this in sixth grade.
  5. Iron Tribe was Inc. 5000 #602
  6. Three Family Vacations (NY/Adirondacks + Charleston/Beach)
  7. Published my first book (No B.S. Brand Building) with Entrepreneur Press

*Reached 11 goals from 2014 (out of 31 = 35%)

Lessons Learned
  1. Being the leader (husband/father) of a wife with three kids is very hard – I am not above this.
  2. My time with my Iron Tribe brand, is most valuable if I lead then do, NOT do first.
  3. If I am poor steward of my gifts and/or money, I can undermine any of my successes.
  4. You cannot plan everything, nor can you equate all success on planned items – sometimes you have to let go.
  5. My faith is my only hope – when left alone and not pursuing Him daily, I am hopeless.
  6. Even when I think I am being a good leader of my house, I might not be doing so in the eyes of my wife and kids.
  7. I cannot afford to put myself in tempting environments where I am simply relying on my own self-control.

In this Goal Setting Workshop video, I share my entire Goal Setting Formula and The Fuel source for which you can stick with it.

This is the Goal Setting Exercise that goes along with the video, should you want to completely review 2014 and set your 2015 Annual Plan per the formula I taught – Click Here to Download – It contains a special bonus piece on The Fuel behind your Formula, which will help you stick with your plan for 2015!

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What kind of legacy will you leave behind? In this personal and motivating talk, Jim Cavale modifies a tried and true formula for intensity to build the case for living a life of intent, so that we can all leave behind a lasting legacy.

A technologist and entrepreneur of many passions, Jim is the COO at IronTribe Fitness, devoted to scaling the client experience during their rapid franchise growth. http://irontribefitness.com

TEDxBirmingham 2014 – “Rediscover the Magic” – was held on March 1, 2014 at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham, Alabama. 15 speakers plus several artistic performers spread their ideas with cross-disciplinary mix of attendees from the Magic City, ranging from civic and business leaders to professionals, educators, technologists, and artists. TEDxBirmingham — like all TEDx events — is an independent, volunteer effort. It is not organized for political reasons, monetary reward, or personal gain. Everyone associated with TEDxBirmingham does so because they believe in the power of ideas to change the world. http://www.tedxbirmingham.org

This TEDxBirmingham talk is shared with you by Baker Donelson. http://www.bakerdonelson.com

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)