maximum potential

these are the thought starters, insights, and inspiration to get you, and the brands you manage, to reach your maximum potential

What I’ve Learned In My 1st 6 Months Of Marriage

What I’ve Learned In My 1st 6 Months Of Marriage
What I’ve Learned In My 1st 6 Months Of Marriage


During pre-marital counseling, my pastor gave my beautiful wife and I the secret to making marriage last.  The story he told us on the journey to revealing the secret, is the one where King Solomon is asked to determine, between two quarreling women, the real mother of a newborn baby.  Because King Solomon can not get either woman to admit that she is not the mother of the baby, Solomon renders a fierce verdict: cut the baby in half and hand each mother a portion.  Realizing that it is better to keep her baby alive than to be “right” and end up with half of a baby, the real mother commits the ultimate sacrifice & request that the King give the other woman the baby so that her child can live.  Recognizing that only the real mother would make this type of sacrifice, King Solomon gives the child back to his rightful mother.  The moral of the story: if you are ever at a point in your marriage where things have gone incredibly bad and you have to make a choice between personal sacrifice (being right) and splitting the marriage (re: baby) in two, always be willing to make the personal sacrifice in order to see the marriage live.

When I heard the story, I stored it away for a rainy day, believing that, perhaps, one to three times in my lifetime I may have to make this incredible sacrifice.  I was armed with wisdom and would be ready if, and when, the time ever came.  However, recently I’ve come to a stunning realization.  This idea is not to be stored away for a rainy day; it is to be used every single day of my marriage.  Every day, e to be willing to make personal sacrifices (even when we are right) in order to see our marriages succeed.  That means going to the store for our spouse even when we don’t feel like it.  It means planning units of quality time with each other every week, even when we want nothing more but to be at home and be lazy.  It means meeting our spouse’s intimate needs, even when we just want to roll over and go to sleep.

I have come to realize that, the war for a successful marriage is one of daily battles; it is not about being prepared for the once-in-a-lifetime epic battle.  The truth is, if you are not sacrificing every day to ensure the marriage (baby) lives, than by the time you get to the once-in-a-lifetime situation where you really have to choose the baby or yourself, it just might be too late.

[ Taken from on 10-29-2011]


most of the time, when you hear people talk about marriage they talk about how selfless one has to be in order to make one’s marriage work.  these people talk about all one has to give up in order to make the other person happy and how one has to consistently forfeit their personal needs in exchange for meeting the needs of the other person.  but these people are wrong.  marriage is not about ignoring one’s personal needs; it is, in fact, quite the opposite.  marriage is all about understanding your needs and making sure those needs are met by any means necessary. marriage is an incredibly selfish act. understanding this idea, calls for redefining “your needs” based on what happens when one gets married.

in it’s most basic form, marriage is the act of two people becoming one.  the bible has countless scriptures that speak to this truth, such as:

    • …therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (genesis 2:24).
    • …husbands should love their wives as their own bodies (ephesians 5:22)

consequently, when it comes to husbands and wives, there is no separation.  s/he is you and you are s/he.  when s/he is not happy, you (the unit) are not happy.  when s/he doesn’t feel loved and respected, you (the unit) do not feel love and respected.  when s/he is not satisfied with his or her career, you (the unit) are not satisfied with your career.  recognizing this truth, that in marriage there is no separation, helps us understand that when you respond to the needs and desires of your spouse, you are really responding to your own needs and desires because the two of you are one and the same;thus making everything you do for your partner and/or the unit, senbsp; and those who will have the most successful marriages are those who will adopt the most selfish behaviors, passionately devoting themselves to caring for their partners needs (and thus the needs of the unit) regardless of what’s going on around them.

so the next time your girls ask you why you are staying home to please your husband, tell them you are being selfish.  or when your boys ask you why you can’t go out with them tonight, tell them your wife needs attention, so it’s time for you to be selfish.  don’t get caught up thinking about what you’re giving up, every thing you do, you are doing selfishly for the team.


note: although i use christian scriptures as the basis for two becoming one, if you accept the idea that in marriage two people unite as a unit, regardless of whether you are christian or not, the idea of marriage being a selfish act still stands.

[ Taken from on 10-29-2011]


somebody lied to us.  somewhere along the line, somebody told us relationships are supposed to be equal–that each person would give to the relationship just as much as they would take out of it.  and now we suffer.  we suffer from failing relationships by accepting this falsehood as relationship gospel.

the truth is, relationships ain’t never 50/50. they are 60/40, 70/30, 80/20 and, at times, even 99/1 (especially if you are raising kids).  the scales will always be tipped in one person’s favor versus the other. why?  because the combination of our situation (what’s going on in our life) + our method for handling that situation (our personality/ philosophy/ training) + the other person’s situation + their method for handling their situation will always lead to a disproportionate pull on the relationship by one party.  when she is fighting for her health, she may pull more.  while he is on his entrepreneurial grind, he may need more help.  when you are first joining that new company or starting that new position, you will take more value from the company than you give.

but, while the scales will be always tipped, relationships can flourish when two things happen.  one: we must seek to have the scale rest as close to equal as possible in the long run.  that means accepting a disproportionate pull by one party in the short-term (day-to-day, month-to-month, or even year-to-year), but allowing the scale to continually shift from one party’s advantage to the other’s as seasons change and/or we develop new methods for handling life.  two: the party who is “getting more” at the time must create enough meaningful moments that refill the other party’s energy so that their partner can continue giving until it is time for the tide to s giving the “right things” enough times so that your partner is not operating on an empty tank.

although relationships are never 50/50, it does not mean they have to fail.  relationships can be successful simply by adjusting our expectations to be “more real” and adopting strategies that facilitate the right amount of give/take in the short and long run.

[ Taken from on 10-29-2011]


have you ever known love that didn’t give? the kind that, after taking and taking, seemed to have nothing to give back? the kind that seemed hesitant togive it’s energy and time, much less it’s life, to see you succeed. have you ever known a love that wouldn’t sacrifice? the kind that couldn’t swallow it’s pride and walk away but instead had to have the final word without care or consideration of the repercussions?  have you ever known a love that didn’tprotect? the kind that allowed you to walk in to a den wolves by yourself or left you in the cold when you need them most?

if you have, i would suggest that you knew something, but it wasn’t love, beloved. real love, true love, regardless of type (romantic, professional, familial, etc) gives, sacrifices and protects. as you travel through life, judge the love you experience against these three things and do not allow yourself to be fooled by impostors.

note: i write this post on a day that celebrates the most incredible lovers on the planet…mothers. mothers are givers of life, sacrificers of all things (including their bodies), and ultimate protectors of their seeds from incubation through full blossom. to all of the mothers out there, happy mother’s day! this post is also written on the eve of a new life for me. as i am just a few short days from walking down the aisle with the woman i love, i prepare myself to love in the truest sense of the word-not just with my emotions, but with my actions and behaviors, all of which will be rooted in a place of giving, sacrifice and protection. keep me in your thoughts and prayers, that i may be the man my wife to needs me to be

[ Taken from on 10-29-2011]

( You can view “What I’ve Learned In My 1st 6 Months Of Marriage ” collection on Searcheeze by clicking this link. )

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we have officially moved to

as of today, we have officially moved to is currently forwarding there so as long as you don’t come to you should be okay.

Filed under: 2387

that’s great, but are you moving forward

today we will do a million things.  we will talk to a million people, sit in a million meetings, and move a million things through some ‘system.’  we will present one million ideas to clients, bosses, and employees.  we will send out a million resumes or use a million words to convince an employer of how great we are and why we are the right person for the job.

but what are you doing to move your brand forward?  is what you’re doing taking your brand to the next level?  a brilliant new campaign is not brilliant if it doesn’t progress the brand forward.  a brilliant interview response is not brilliant if it does not move the perception of who you are forward.  it doesn’t matter how smart you sound or how great your thoughts are, if they are not moving your brand to a better place they are worthless.  all action is not good action.  next time you do something, make sure your moving forward.

Filed under: lifemark, , , , ,

don’t forget the coach

as i watch my agency continue to hire some of the best talent in the advertising game i am reminded of, and am witnessing the, importance of surrounding yourself with excellence.  having the best people on your team can definitely take you to the next level and make your life just a little bit easier.  but i am also reminded today that it is not just making sure you have the right team (colleagues, partners, spouses, etc), you have to have the right coaches (re: mentors).

a good coach comes in handy on many levels.  based on their experience and knowledge of the game they can help you avoid pitfalls and identify the best opportunities.  coaches  can get you into places you never imagined and in front of people you didn’t know existed.  a good coach can craft the right strategy for the game, play for the situation, or just help you strengthen your shot in practice.  a good coach…scratch that…an excellent coach is a necessity.

based on where i am in my life right now, recognize that i need to make sure that i am reaching back and coaching others, but i am also on the lookout for a excellent coach.  in order to do the latter i’ll have to reach back into my network.  simultaneously, i’m going to try to this new social networking site,, that i learned about last week.  they are  “the ultimate career mentoring platform for students and professionals” and have all the credibility you want in a site like this (harvard and stanford mbas, experience building similar businesses in the offline realm, and a track record of landing jobs for people at some of the best companies).  if you are in the job market, or are just looking for a mentor, i would love for you to try them out as well and let me know if it was valuable for you.  i’m signing up today and will keep you all posted.

Filed under: personal branding, , , , , ,

sometimes it’s just the little things

today i checked into the holiday inn express in millington, tn (i know, get excited).  given that we now have the navy contract i decided that i should make sure that i was a part of whatever loyalty program the hotel had in place.  after some quick searching, we discovered that i was fortunate enough to already be a member of their ‘priority club.’

 all of a sudden, the universe shifted and the  incredibly nice check-in lady reached down beneath her and pulled out a brown paper sack (reminiscent of the the one that replaced your g.i. joe lunch box ).  in the matter of seconds, i went from a random guest (who was given wonderful customer service) to a ‘priority club’ member with a brown paper bag.  inside of the bag was the following contents: a bottle of water, several tootsie roll candies, and a cookie.  

although the bag did not cost hundreds, or even tens, of dollars, i sincerely impressed. i’m not sure if it was that i liked the idea that they found a way to treat different customers differently.  or the fact that  while other companies are charging $6 for a bottle of water the holiday inn express in tennessee (who only has 13 guests tonight) was giving it away for free to valued customers.  or perhaps it was because i really like chocolate chip cookies.  at the end of the day, it probably has something to do with all of the above but it all comes down to one thing, i just appreciated the effort they made to let me know that my relationship with them mattered.  

the reality of it is, sometimes it’s just the little things that let a customer know that you think they are special, or that you value the hardwork and effort of your employee, or that you are proud of your baby girl pushing her limits and trying new things, or that you sincerely appreciate the love and support your partner has managed to show you daily despite your mess.  although often overlooked, sometimes, it’s just the little things that are able to move the needle.  

from here on out, with i come to tennessee, you can assume i’ll be staying at the holiday inn express.

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , , ,

stop ignoring your mistakes

you made a mistake.  you dropped the ball.  things did not go as planned.  but do you know why you made the mistake?  do you know how the ball got dropped?  other people were involved.  you weren’t the only one to touch it.   perhaps you can blame someone else, a business partner or a subordinate, maybe.  even better, when your boss questions you about the issue you can just tell him you already have it solved and pretend like it never happened.  but what will you learn?  

admiting and understanding your mistakes will make sure that you never repeat them again.  in fact, according to jonah lehrer, neuroscientist and author of how we decide, we train our emotional brain (or what i interpret as intuition) by analyzing our mistakes.  although it may seem counterintuitive,  it’s the errors, not the successes, that better prepare you to perform in the future.  so while you’re ignoring your mistakes or hiding them neatly under the covers so that no one will see them, you are really missing an opportunity to get better.  stop ignoring your mistakes, trust me, you’ll appreciate it later.

Filed under: personal branding, , ,

what’s stopping you?

by now you have certain instinctual reactions to things in life based on nature and the experiences of your past.  some of these reactions are based on positive emotions while others are rooted in the more negative ones.  and it is usually the negative ones that prevent us from doing certain things in life.  after all, many of our negative emotions are there to protect us.  for example, without fright you might try to pet the wild tiger instead of run from it.   but those emotions can sometimes deceive us.  

those negative emotions are sometimes doing their job when it isn’t necessary.  they sometimes try to protect you when you don’t need to be protected.  sometimes those feelings are unjustified.  and it is those times, when you respond to unsubstantiated emotions, that you will fail to make “it” happen, and therefore miss out, because you didn’t follow through on…  starting that business…sending the email…allowing yourself to love and be loved…going on that interview…making that career change…or taking that leap.  

next time your instincts try to protect you from doing something “risky” (besides standing in front of a loaded a gun) think about it.  is it as risky as it seems?  is your fear justified?  do the costs really outweigh the benefits?  if not, turn upside down, take your hands off the wheel, and let loose.  seriously, what’s stopping you?  

my upside down zip line ride in costa rica

my upside down zip line ride in costa rica

Filed under: inspiration, personal branding, , , ,

did you move the needle?

you worked 12 hours.  attended meetings all day long.    replied to 100 emails.  spent six hours looking for a job.  reformatted your spreadsheet.  you did it all but…did you do anything?  did you move the needle?  what did you impact?  what did you accomplish?

it’s so easy to get caught up in the minutia of every project you are working on but that’s not what moves the needle.   don’t’ mistake action with value or progress.  whatever it is that you do, determined in yourself that today you will identify the actions you can take that will truly move the needle.  deprioritize everything else.

Filed under: personal branding

surround yourself with excellence

are you surrounded by excellent people?  if not, something may be wrong because great brands need great people to succeed.  and no matter how brilliant you might be, you are not immune to this truth.  

excellent people help propel excellent brands towards their maximum potential.  here are a few quick reasons why:

  • excellent people tend to feel uncomfortable performing sub par compared to others.  consequently, the higher the standard of excellence around them the more excellent they will tend to be.  yes, even excellence is relative
  • excellent teams are always better than an excellent individual.  two excellent people will always be better than one.  five will always be better than two, etc, etc.  (you get the point)
  • being surrounded by excellent people allows one to focus on the task at hand and focus is key to success.  too often when people are  not surrounded by excellent people they spend too much time distracted because they are worried about or busy making up for other peoples’ deficiencies.  

so hire excellent talent, work for an excellent boss, build a circle of excellent friends, find an excellent spouse, and get coached by excellent mentors.  their job title is irrelevant; the truth is, excellent people propel brands towards their destiny.

Filed under: business branding, personal branding, , , ,

we made the “100 best blogs for mba students” list!

in case you missed the tweet, i thought i should at least blog about it.  today i noticed a new “referrer” when i was checking out my blog stats. as usual, i clicked through to see how my blog was listed and, to my surprise, i discovered that it was deemed #48 on the “100 best blogs for mba students.”  not bad since we launched just a few months ago, huh?  it also includes my stanford gsb roomate’s blog as well, check him out at #43 (don’t ask me how he beat me…ha).  

needless to say,  i couldn’t do it without you.  thank you for your commitment to my blog, words of affirmation that keep me writing, and endless conversation (although most of you respond via facebook…ha).  

to my new readers: welcome, i look forward to our future conversations.  

not quite the best in the world yet, but we’re working on it.  until our next honorable mention…

Filed under: best in the world, branding me, ,



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