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. I am revamping my board of advisors that includes successful individuals from various industries and all walks of life to exchange ideas, critique my strategies, and help me learn the necessary skills to accomplish both my personal and professional aspirations. I have a deep respect for your success and would like to draw upon your experience and wisdom as I take on the project of continuous improvement of myself and the world around me. Your participation would require that you meet with me individually once a year for lunch or dinner (unless I’ve already arranged more frequent meetings with you in particular). At this meeting, I will do my best to pry more on the topic of you rather than the contrary. Given enough time we will discuss my vision and introduce my strategies for the coming year. In addition, I will share with you the problems that I am facing and would like for you to help me find ways around these problems to allow me to continue to grow. In exchange, you get a free meal and my undivided attention as to how in the world I could help you and your organization move forward as well. Most of the following will be discussed in the first meeting, however writing it down sure helps me stay on track. If I Had $200,000,000… At the age of 19 years old I picked up a book called Tested in the Trenches. TNT was written by Ron Carson, one of the top 100 financial advisors in the world, just so happened to have his office a few streets away from the bank I was working at the time so I was curious. Rather than getting lessons on investing and time management, the book hit more on the subject of life priorities. A question was posed in the book that has forever changed my life. If you had $200,000,000 (Two Hundred Million) and 5 years to live, what would you do? And a further catch is that your to-do list can only be 5 items long. Choose Wisely… A self-imposed bucket list of sorts designed to guide your life in a more meaningful way. As instructed, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down my list, made a bunch of revisions, and eventually came to: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Make Sure all the People in My Life I Care About Most Know What they Mean to Me Quit my Job Buy a House Buy a Corvette See the World
After I finished my list I got to it right away (I only had 5 years and the clock was ticking!!!) I began typing an email to the girl of my dreams who had recently broke up with me. That email turned into my first published book that gave credit to my family, my siblings, and my closest friends for being the wonderful people they are. The book also achieved its underlying purpose, which was to force myself to be in a position where personal shame and hesitation to chase after what I wanted became a thing of the past. That one house I bought after I quit my job working at the bank has turned into my first baby business that is now all grown up and taking care of itself. It afforded me the opportunity to buy a shiny yellow corvette that I have put 50,000 miles on in less than a year and a half seeing as much of the world as possible. I made the promise to see all fifty states before I used my passport, so I intentionally handicapped my geographic reach. Although we have some unfinished business with the last item, I am blessed to have had the opportunities and am proud I took
advantage when action was needed, and in turn I have been able to cross off every item of this list. I have zero, zilch, none, not even a sliver of regrets of the things I have done with my life ever since I put together that list. Mistakes were inevitable and I may have set a record for how many mistakes can be made in such a short time span. But they were important to be made and I am glad to have made them early. Besides making a dumb promise to wait to use my passport, I feel I made two tragic mistakes with my original list. First, the goals weren’t big enough. I bargained with life for a penny, and that is all it was willing to bear. Second, the to-do list items all had an end game, a finish line, a stopping point (although one house has turned into a handful, and lord only knows what my corvette collection will turn into) at any rate I need a new to do list that will keep me out of trouble for the rest of my life, one that may never be fulfilled. Part of my quest to cross off #5 led me to spend much of my time living in Tampa, FL. There I bumped into an angel of a human being in meeting Carissa Caricato. Little did she know about my own list, we had dinner one night and she shared with me a philosophy called the Big Five. The phrase Big Five game was coined by big game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. Subsequently the term was adopted by Safari tour operators for marketing purposes. The term is still used in most tourist and wildlife guides that discuss African wildlife safaris. The idea is that no one flies halfway around the world to eat a Big Mac and to get a sun tan. More important things are to be had, like seeing the Big Five! This is a philosophy that should be applied to everyone’s lives, not just to our African itineraries. The collection consists of the African elephant, black rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, lion, and the leopard. The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size. Much like a safari, our lives may be better served focusing on chasing down our own Big Five, and the higher the difficulty, the higher the fulfillment once caught! Shortly after I had begun to see my old list completed, I started to get bored, depressed, bitter, and a bunch of other unpleasant things. After taking some time to step away from the hustle and bustle of my life, I have determined it was time to throw out my old list and create something new. Without further ado, I give you…
MY NEW BIG 5!!!
#1 - See the World! No better way to start off the next list with what you feel didn’t get fully completed off of the last list (one way management consultants and efficiency coaches have taught me to make my daily to do lists). Although I have traveled nearly every interstate our great nation has to offer, will have stepped foot in all 50 states by the end of this summer, and seen things I never thought I could imagine without ever leaving the borders of the United States of America, the time has come. I must use my passport. Bring on the new languages, new currencies, and possibly new diseases my body can in no way prepare for on its own. I could not be more excited at this point in my life to do anything else. Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Australia round out my top ten list. I can’t wait! #2 - Invest Quality Time with Those That Are Moving Boldly Forward in Life Besides traveling, nothing brings me more happiness than being around other people that make me feel like I am moving too slow or being too cautious. Nothing brings me more frustration or pain than being around those who live their lives in fear and caution and try to impose that fear and caution onto others, regardless of how educated or caring their opinion is. Although the pedal can’t be placed to the medal at all times, it is obvious which individuals live their lives in a fulfilled, outwardly way rather than in a way that makes them and everyone around them shrink. If nothing else happens the rest of my life other than meeting more wonderful people that are boldly moving forward, I believe the rest of my life will be assuredly exciting, fulfilling, memorable, and meaningful. #3 - Find “Her” and Catch “Her” Over the years I’ve been kicked in the teeth and all for the better when it comes to women. I have learned finding the one isn’t all that difficult, it’s the sticking together and having them love you back the same way is the tricky part I have yet to master. Three times I have had found the one and was prepared to spend the rest of my life with them. They had other plans, and I congratulate them for moving on at the time and doing what their heart told them was right, even though it busted mine into two. As business proceeded and my personal development matured, I have become somewhat picky, but extremely sure of what I am looking for in a better half. Previously, I was after someone who had the qualities of confidence, tact, and humor. Pick two out of the three and you have a wonderful girl, but two and only two leaves problems… being passive or weak without confidence, being cocky and rude without tact, and being no fun without a little bit of humor! I see so many of my peers settle down with significant others that didn’t seem to have everything they were after, and I hear them find ways to justify how they didn’t have forever to pick a the perfect one or had to settle for this reason or that or justify ways of how she is perfect for him, the clock was ticking and they had to choose or lose… I don’t subscribe to that nonsense. Find exactly what you want or don’t settle with anything at all! (But do die trying). Add to that list of characteristics my biggest pet peeve in life where people know what they want, have it right in front of them, but don’t take action to get it…. Well, when you apply action:
Confidence Becomes A Strong Leader Tact Creates Someone with A Big Heart Humor Blossoms into A Free Spirit
These are the three biggest things I try to facilitate not only in my life, but also in the lives of others, and I believe they are the things I would value above everything else when it comes to a relationship. My aim is to find a woman that naturally embodies these three values and recognizes and appreciates them in me just as I do in her.
#4 - Create an Institution That Leaves a Legacy Gentleman not too distant from me have created some amazing things in one lifetime… from scratch! Things like Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett), the Nebraska Football Team (Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne), BoysTown (Father Flanagan), the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (Gerry Hills), all amazing organizations that continue to positively change the course of peoples’ lives and will continue to do so long after the gentlemen behind the founding efforts are long gone from this world. I keep coming back to one idea: How are any of these gentlemen any different than me? They had 10 fingers and toes just as I do, and more importantly they were visionaries who fought to find and facilitate the good in others (a strong suit of mine I believe), never settled for the status quo, and weren’t afraid to sacrifice everything they had for the betterment of the organization, something I’ve proven to do time and time again without hesitating. The things getting in my way however, may be lack of focus, too much generosity at times, lack of life balance, and short term obsessive thinking paired with a shiny object syndrome rather than alignment with one end goal. Communicating the vision, executing the plan, and sticking to the core values are what I mostly need help with. It is inherently what I am most interested in learning more about you. What is your vision for the future? How might I help you execute a plan of your own? What are your core values? This kind of stuff really excites me! #5 - Continue to Learn Whenever I get too far away from accelerated learning, my life becomes much less fulfilling. I may never become a professor, but if it weren’t for business that would be my dream profession. The classroom is a place that has a soft spot in my heart, as it has failed to stop opening my mind as well as opening doors of opportunity. Recently, however, I have become a bit lost as the typical classroom, even at the MBA level (both at UNO and the University of Tampa) things are no longer opening my mind the way the classroom has in the past. I have climbed the learning curve of a beginning entrepreneur and run of the mill business books that teach important skills are no longer interesting to me (as well as professors that do not have an amazing story to tell…) After looking around at all my different options for a master’s level education (MIT, Harvard, UC-Berkeley, UNO, University of Tampa, etc) I’ve actually come to realize I am selling myself short much in the same fashion I pigeon holed myself by traveling the 50 states first. I’ve discovered some interesting abnormalities in the difference between price and value between the educational options America has to offer vs. Europe, especially if you compare the ETH of America (MIT) to the cost of attending the real ETH in Zurich, which is also home to some of the most powerful banks in the world. Other than some of the best banking institutions, Switzerland has some of the greatest minds when it comes to philosophy and engineering, I think I will be a fish in water there. I hope the next five years leaves me feeling just as alive as the last five years have when it comes to the classroom. Conclusion Hopefully, this letter shows you the direction that I intend to steer my life. I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to have an important impact on the world. Thanks to kind individuals such as yourself you have helped me reach my dreams at a very young age, and I strive to put just as much back into the system as I take out. It’s my pleasure to grow closer to you and spend more time with you to take advantage of that opportunity. I will not be offended in any way shape or form if your life obligations and goals or your mindset does not align with mine. Please do not be offended if I learn through our meetings that mine may not be aligned with yours.
Top Advisor Recruits
Returning Faces Name (Profession or Characteristic I’d Like to Glean From) – Purpose of Our Meetings / Skill Desired Ted Vasko (Banking and Commercial Real Estate) – Putting Family First While Building a Successful Business Dana Webb (Financial Advising) – Personal Financial Strategy and Capital (Cash flow) Management Van Deeb (Sales and Motivation) – Ethical Guardrails, Believing in and Developing Others Brian Petranick (Franchisor) – Scalability of Business, Systems and Processes Frank DeMonbrun (Corporate Strategy) – Discipline in All Things Business / From Launch to Scale Jerry Reimer (Real Estate Developer) – Project Management and “Creating the Conditions” New Blood Bert Murray (Contracting) – Being Fair, Firm, Friendly, and True to Your Faith All at the Same Time Carissa Caricato (Non Profit Leadership) – Enlightened Leadership and Spiritual Development Fritz Disque (Tech Startups and Financial Literacy) – Hedging the Systems, World Travel Rob Nicholson (Vertical Integration in the Public Sector) – Mentoring and Developing Young Managers/Champions Duane Spires (Marketing) – Bold, yet Common Sensical Marketing Strategies Ron Osborne (Technology Development) – “Enduring” Towards a Vision, Applied Technology Rodger King (Nuclear Engineering) – Applying an Education from Harvard into the World of Business and Finance Daniel Gomez (Green Energy and Social Networking) – Life Balance Ray Land (Travel and Tourism and iOS App Dev) – How to Enjoy Every Day to the Fullest Syl Orsi (Lawyer/Securities Law and Real Estate Development) – Legal Matters and Giving Back to the Community Keith Hemmer/Regan Else/David Drobnik (CPA’s) – Tax Matters and Managerial Accounting My Favorite Italian Gal, Nancy Calinger (Art of Dealing with People) – How to Win Friends and Influence People / Italian Language and Culture Immersion My Favorite German Gal, Gerda (Old Fashioned Work Ethic) – German Language and Culture Immersion
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