A Little Background on Myself and the Project
If you’re like most, you probably have a few questions about who the crazy guy is behind this crazy project.
You’re in luck.
Below I share a little bit about what lead me here and why I chose to do this project by answering a few frequently asked questions.
If, for some reason, I don’t answer your question here or you just want to chat feel free to scroll all the way down and send me a message. I would love to connect!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why give away all your possessions and launch this journey from scratch?
For me the answer is simple: To know, deep down, what I’m capable of and to (hopefully) be a source of inspiration and example of possibility for others who in one way or another are experiencing a significant life transition and have to start from scratch themselves.
In some sense I’ve done this once before, but not because I wanted to. In my early 20s I was living what most would consider the American Dream. Through hard work, dedication, and applied knowledge, I was successful in business, had lots of money, a huge circle of friends, and even 6-pack abs. I drove a Mercedes and my house was filled with all the latest toys and gadgets. Focused as much on fitness as I was on business, I kept myself on a very strict workout and diet regime and actively competed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, kick-boxing, and mixed martial arts. No one I knew was more disciplined, organized, or ambitious. I was on top of the world, and planned to stay there for the rest of my life.
That all changed when at age 25 I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that nearly claimed my life. Where my days had been filled with working, workouts and parties, I now spent my time at hospitals and dialysis clinics. I moved back home with my parents so my mother could help take care of me. There were days when I didn’t move from bed, sometimes for physical reasons and other times from being so overwhelmed mentally and emotionally from my situation. How could this happen to me?
That’s when I first learned that while there are many aspects of my life that I could control, I couldn’t predict with any certainty what new, life-altering circumstances would come my way and it’s not so much controlling the challenges of my life that matter, it’s how well I navigate those challenges.
Fortunately, after spending months of my life on treatments, I received a kidney transplant from my mother. But, as soon as I began to feel better physically, all the medical bills began to pour in. The cost to keep me alive was astronomical, and no insurance company wanted to even speak to me. Meanwhile my business life had completely collapsed and within a year after the transplant, I had not only drained my entire life savings, but I had also racked up a huge amount of debt.
I spent the next few years trying to put my life back together and get back to where I was pre-kidney disease. I had some successes and many failures. Somehow, the life I had before always seemed just out of reach, like I couldn’t quite get there. This was perhaps the most frustrating part of my life, knowing I had more knowledge, experience and skills than before, yet somehow I couldn’t attain my goals.
But then it occurred to me – I’m NOT going to achieve that life ever again, because I’m not the same person and the world was no longer the same place. Going through that experience taught me that while change is situational and always occurring around us, a transition, on the other hand, is psychological. That it’s not the events, but rather one’s inner reorientation and self re-imagination that one must go through in order to adapt to change effectively.
Once I finally understood this at my core and developed the skills and strategies for navigating this significant life transition life got a lot easier. Things seemed to fall into place for me like never before. I was meeting the right people and finding the right opportunities with little to no effort. And before I knew it, I had completely reconstructed a life for myself that was even better and more fulfilling than the American Dream I had been living before my health issues.
But this time was different. This time it was about people, relationships, securing meaningful work and building a meaningful life.
Since I know a little something about adapting, evolving, and creating a new life from scratch, I decided I would do it again, but this time it would be for the purpose of helping others instead of just helping myself. I know, more than most, that we are all on borrowed time, so I plan to use what time I have left to serve, share, guide and inspire those who want to build the life of their dreams and I hope this experiment will help.
Why did you decide to do this project now?
After the financial collapse of 2008, many people around me were going through their own significant life transition and many were coming to me for advice having known I went through my own transition only a few years earlier.
At first I wasn’t sure exactly how to help. Intrigued with how I may be able to help I started down a path to explore two things:
1) The science and research behind how individuals go through a significant life transition on an emotional, mental, and psychological level.
2) The practical strategies, methods, and tactics that help one navigate this type of transition in the new economy.
The journey to explore both of these things took me down an interesting path that eventually lead to the birth of this unconventional project.
Why travel through all 50 states while trying to rebuild your life at the same time?
I wanted a deeper understanding (not from the media) of how we’re doing as a country. Are these times bad or just different? Was it the same for every American everywhere or were there pockets of the country who adapted to the changes well? If so, what are they doing that others aren’t? And, most importantly, how could I make a contribution in person all over the country?
Why work with 500 people one-on-one?
The number 500 has no particular significance. It just seemed like a stretch goal, but also realistic. And 500 seemed like a large enough number to build a ripple effect where others could and would be positively affected also.
Why give 100 presentations?
If I’m going to be on-the-ground in different cities all across the country it makes sense to do my best to share what I’m learning with as many groups as possible.
Why start a business in an industry you’ve never previously been involved in?
Many of the people I’ve met or who have come to me for guidance have had to make significant changes in their career path in recent years. I wanted to know what that experience was like personally and I also wanted to prove (or disprove) the strategies, methods, and tactics are in fact working in today’s America.
Why specifically a $10 bill and a laptop?
Well, it kind of started as a dare by my best friend. Then, the more I thought about it the more I felt like it would be a significant enough challenge to overcome.
If I’d like to work with you one-on-one where can I get more information?
There are typically three areas I focus on: 1) strategies for successfully navigating a significant life transition; 2) how to create or secure meaningful work in the new economy; and 3) launching a new business venture. If you’re currently navigating one or more of these three scenarios, I’d love to connect with you in person and work together. In case that’s not possible I also often work with people over the phone or via Skype.
You can learn more about how we can work together HERE.
If I’d like you to speak to my group, organization, or business where can I get more information?
As I travel around the country I’ve been asked to share my story and lessons learned with start-up entrepreneurs, small business owners, college students, and many non-profit organizations.
You can learn more about my topics and how to hire me to speak HERE.
Ultimately, I see this experiment as a way of being an example of possibility. We’ve all been rattled by the current economic conditions and the re-imagination of nearly everything around us (including how we communicate, how we consume, what we value, how we share, what the workplace looks like, and how work is defined) but that doesn’t mean we can’t still create a better, more meaningful life and do meaningful work. I intend to and I hope you do to.