Fixing The Puzzle – How We Will Build Founders Live In The Era of Coronavirus

Above and beyond anything else at this moment I hope you are doing well and staying healthy and safe. My heart and spirit are with all of you and please never hesitate to message me if you need to talk or need a perspective on your business. I am here for you, seriously. 

It’s been a while since I gave a world tour or business update – mainly because I find it energetically time consuming to craft these updates in a way I feel complete – and then the world was pulled right out from under our feet so it’s taken some time to get my thoughts and words straight. Many have speculated and inquired about how I am handling the recent Coronavirus outbreak and how it will affect my travels, life and the future of Founders Live. So nevertheless, it feels like as good of a time as any to give an update and provide insight into some ways we’re moving ahead in this upside down world. Apologies for the extended version but it’s a good read as it includes major changes and important points of my reasoning.

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A look at our events currently due to Social Distancing (courtesy of Founders Live DC)

I will not mince words here so bear with me with my straightforwardness. You may have noticed I have been a bit quiet recently which is due to shock, observation, digestion and learning of what is happening, as well as in deep thought of how to move forward personally as well as to to change our global brand. Clearly what is transpiring is something no one on earth has ever experienced and probably like you, it’s taken me a bit of time to swallow the pill. If you are like me, you are feeling like we have seen this movie before… and it didn’t end well. It’s like if someone came over to your almost finished puzzle of life and just flipped the whole damn table over. Yes it is a frightening, scary, life threatening or worse. There are no words I can insert here which would do justice to what you may be feeling at this time, so I won’t. But as this virus spreads far and wide affecting many millions of people creating fatalities on a level we have not seen from a health epidemic in recent history, it will extend far longer than we initially thought to the point of permanently scarring our society. I am deeply concerned for human life and closely observing trends and reading qualified and reputable sources to stay educated on the latest information. And of course hoping for the best. 

But even though it feels like this pandemic is quickly escalating out of control, writhing in fear poses an even larger threat of throwing our world into an economic and health tailspin. So we must stand strong – we must resist the fear. In fact, we must move towards it and through it. I have made the decision to not add to the panic or fear mongering. Instead, as a leader I am listening, learning, adjusting my actions and attitudes, and pivoting where needed to bring solutions to the evolving problems our world is facing. Our goal remains at Founders Live to never stop inspiring, educating and entertaining entrepreneurs to do great things around the world, whether that be physically or virtually.

I also acknowledge my unique leadership position globally. As the Founder and CEO of Founders Live, what I do reverberates out to many people around the world. Many of these people (maybe you!) are founders and entrepreneurs in their own right and are economic generators in their cities and countries. They are also working hard to create value in the world and are looking for mentors, leaders and positive examples. What should they or you think if I stop, give into my fears, and isolate myself from the world?

So I am not stopping. In fact, I have more fuel in my tank than ever before. I am choosing to do this because it not only is the best option at hand (I mean, what else is there to do except keep paving a path and going around the brick wall if necessary?), but it is what the world needs at this time. Damnit, this world is absolutely aching for better examples of great leadership. And the world must continue moving forward, businesses need to continue to be launched and grown, economies need healing, and people need more things to be excited and optimistic about in their life. Founders Live will continue to be a source of joy, inspiration and opportunity to many people around the world. 

With that being said, as we continue to read, watch, talk and learn about the ongoing developments around the world one thing has become very apparent – a big change has already started and the world (our lives) will forever be different. How? What exactly? How long or to what extent? We don’t know these answers and quite frankly they aren’t important. The directional aspect of the universe is what I am keen on now and we must acknowledge things are different – the lasting effects of COVID-19 will result in irreversible changes to global society

Within these last few weeks I have resolved to the notion that we are no longer what Founders Live was before. We can’t go back to what was… no matter how hard we try or how much we want to. No more in-person events. For how long? Will we bring them back? We hope so but don’t know, and given what seems to be coming from the experts we’ll be dealing with the ramifications of the virus/infections/health crisis/quarantine/recession for years to come. It’s better to overshoot and just change now then be stuck in identity crisis purgatory as a business flounders. 

Today, we are embarking on the New Founders Live. Call it Founders Live 2.0 or whatever, but it is a new approach, mindset, execution and experience. For the foreseeable future we are now a 100% virtual company, community and event experience. We are now (re)creating, building and expanding with the NEW world in mind. The quicker we accept our new reality the better off we will be as people, business owners, leaders and founders. Some of this change is immediate (change to virtual experiences) and some of the change will unfold over the next 6-12 months but you should know this brand has already started the change, and will be stronger for it.

What is the new reality we must accept and move forward with in mind?

  • Social isolation, distancing and semi-quarantine into 2021 and beyond
  • Start, stop, hesitation, restarting, and stalling of the economy (US and Global)
  • Apprehension and anxiety to large social events and fear of being in tight quarters with lots of people breathing on each other
  • Awkwardly wearing face masks and looking at others who are/aren’t with unease
  • LOTS of health issues around us and possibly seeing more death than we have seen before
  • Social unrest and possible uprising, revolt depending on the nation or region
  • MASSIVE unemployment and long stagnation of the global economy, or at least tremendous whipsaw effects in the markets for years to come
  • A majority of society exhibiting residual negative psychological tremors and falling into depression from the entire crisis experience 
  • Coworking, events, social gatherings, sports, concerts, restaurants, bars, clubs? What happens to our shared physical spaces and places to gather? 
  • Physical in-person events, are they accepted and attended as much as before?
  • Investment capital – there will be a years long downturn and dry spell from traditional VC’s and early angels
  • Traditional business models will fade and new ones will emerge

But also:

  • Many people out of work or feeling lost – needing (desiring) direction and leadership
  • Many of those people who are out of work will be thinking they should start their own company or join a growing business
  • People who start their businesses will need direction, community, leadership, education, mentorship, resources and capital
  • People looking to be inspired and wanting to connect with others who are inspired
  • MANY many new problems are here now,  just waiting to be solved by resourceful teams and people
  • New and more efficient ways to fund and grow early stage startups
  • Many more upside advantages I won’t at this time… but they are out there

As you can see, the world needs Founders Live more than ever and we’ll be here to answer the call in whatever form necessary. The last few years were warm ups, our time is now.

Here’s what we are going to do:

We are (re)creating and rolling out new, awesome, fun, engaging, value-adding, addicting social entrepreneurial experiences online over the next few months. Some are already planned and please check them out when you see them promoted. We are going to do it so that it can reach all corners of the world and inspire millions of people who – at this very moment – are forever changed and wanting another chance in their life. This means our city specific events will be viewed and attended by people from different cities, states or countries, and that’s exactly what we want! We are going to do it swiftly and smoothly since we were already set up as a live and interactive experience, as well as having a presence in almost 30 countries already. We will create a slightly different model for the experience, and shift how we’ll expand to new cities but in the end this will still be the Founders Live brand, core values, and respectfully authentic experience.

Virtual events – already needing improvement

One thing I want to point out you probably have already seen is how (air-quotes) *fun and enjoyable* these virtual events can be. You’ve probably noticed they are all the same – little to no differentiation. “YES, another Zoom call” – no one ever said in 2020.  And how overloaded is your inbox already with invitations to virtual events? Does the world now need another “virtual happy hour” where we stare at 12 boxes with heads in them on the screen? I didn’t think so, especially since we have been staring at a screen most of the day doing our other work!

Just as we did with our in-person events, we are now thinking differently as we embark into the abyss with virtual remote experiences. What I learned as Founders Live initially launched and grew was the best thing to do was identifying the areas of differentiation we were going to attack and make them 10x better than the others out there. And we did it! And that’s why we reached 60+ markets internationally in less than 4 years (and with many more to come in the near future). We cannot just photocopy the traditional Founders Live pitch events into a digital event and call it good. So we are questioning everything and you will see some exciting experimentation and developments right up around the next corner.

Regarding my travels, after being on the road for 15 months straight and traversing more than 64,000 miles I am back up in Washington State close to home awaiting the first sign things start loosening up again in the US. The road still calls and I aim to get back as soon as I can – I want to see you all in person more than anything and hopefully that happens sooner than later. But you know what, I can still social distance in any Airbnb in the world too!

Along with my travels I understand I am at slightly more risk than if I had a house and sheltered in place for the rest of the year, as I also take my distancing to others into consideration. But much more is in my control than I realized – namely quality nutrition, lots of exercise, emotional and psychological health, managing social situations, washing my hands, trying not to touch things and my face, etc.. I also realize I could just as easily get hit as I am riding in a car, one of my flights could go down unexpectedly, I could experience a freak robbery or stabbing, or any other tragic situation. That’s life, and that’s the risk you take by being alive and living around other humans. I have always felt that way and this does not change for me with the recent events of the recent outbreak. 

I really hope we can get things under control in a timely fashion and minimize the damage, both humanly and economically around the world. One thing is for sure, we have already transitioned into a new and different world than most of us were accustomed to just last year. Founders Live just leapt into this new world. The question to you is will you step up and make the decisions in your own life (and if you lead a team, in your organization) to quickly adjust to the new reality? We do have a choice of how to respond to all of this change and your future is still 100% in your own hands.

Announcing Founders Live Insider – Premium Membership With Access To Perks and Experiences + Join Nick’s Insider Council

Today we are excited to announce the release of a few new exciting experiences within Founders Live.

Founders Live Insider and Nick’s Insider Council.

When we officially launched Founders Live in 2016 Nick made a commitment stating there will always be a free membership so anyone in the world feels included in connecting with other entrepreneurs and accessing the best information and inspiration the platform can offer.

In lieu of that mission, Founders Live has grown on a business model which encompasses local events, as well as city level partner sponsorships and our global partnerships you will find in the growing Founders Live Marketplace.

Those aren’t changing, but many of you have spoken out about wanting to add more value and support to this great global platform. Many of you desire a tighter group to share thoughts, and a direction to aim your great ideas and perspectives in hopes to ensure Founders Live grows and reaches its fullest potential. We decided it was high time to roll out an additional premium membership level to Founders Live, as well as open up even more ways to highlight the amazing startups we have around the world.

Today we’re announcing Founders Live Insider – a member supported experience where we bring you closer to the brand, and where your well intentioned dollars help to grow and magnify the Founders Live vision around the world. This is a CALL TO ARMS for Founders Live members who want to support our global entrepreneurial community, and  access to exclusive premium perks and experiences.

Founders Live Insider is where I will spend most of his time from now on. Come join me!

Founders Live Insider is just $12 per month, or $99 per year!

SIGN UP HERE!

Founders Live Insider benefits include:

  • Access to a tighter, more engaged group of global Founders on Founders Live

  • Listed in the newly launched Founders Live Startups Marketplace for all our our members to find your business!

  • Early notifications of Free Tickets (where applicable) and premier experiences at Founders Live city events worldwide

  • Opportunity to join Nick’s Insiders Council helping shape the future of Founders Live

  • Access to additional discounts and connections with our Global Partners

  • Participation in a monthly group strategy call with Nick

  • Exclusive video, audio and written content

    • Backstory coverage on various Founders Live entrepreneurs and winners

    • Exclusive content and behind the scenes of Nick’s travels

  • Eternal fame, glory and the joy of supporting vibrant communities of entrepreneurs worldwide!

Join Nick’s Insider Council

Introducing Nick’s Insider Council – Open to the First 100 Yearly $99 Paid Memberships. We anticipate these spots to be claimed by end of the week, so if you are going to join, better join now!

From Nick: Throughout my travels I’ve had the great opportunity to connect with so many people and have enjoyed hundreds of meaningful conversations on the open road. Many of these conversations result in “you know what you should do?” or “here’s a good idea for Founders Live!” types of thoughts. Well, today I am formulating an Insider Council to bring the top 100 people within Founders Live closer around me to help organize these thoughts of future developments. I might even be able to help these people too, so I’ll be opening my calendar with higher preference to anyone who joins this group.

*If you want to be part of the Council and be closer to Nick to help us grow all you need to do is choose the yearly option.

The first 100 people to join Nick’s Insider Council will:

  • Join a very special private group of insiders in our own separate space to chat, connect and share top secret future Founders Live ideas!

  • Help lead Nick and Founders Live in future brand developments with your thoughts and ideas. You will have first look and be a sounding board for future product ideas and experiences

  • Join occasional “future vision and ideation” group calls

  • This choice says you deeply care about the future of Founders Live

  • Receive a new weekly “Top 5 Things I’m Thinking About” each Friday from Nick

  • Access to book time on Nick’s calendar for personal advisory and mentoring calls (calendly)

SIGN UP FOR FOUNDERS LIVE INSIDER HERE!

World Tour 2019 Month NINE+TEN Overview – NYC, London and A Final Farewell To My Father

Late last year I announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post covers the last month and other lessons from my journey and what I have learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

There comes a time when you get the call you have been afraid to receive but knew it inevitably would come. Unfortunately I was on the opposite side of the world when it arrived. 

It’s been a little while since I last wrote a monthly update due to some unforeseen developments in my life. This update I will combine September and October, as I was in NYC and London, respectfully, and have now eclipsed 36,000+ miles this year. You can read about my August experiences here where I visited Washington DC and Seattle. This update will also veer a bit from my normal musings and pictures due to a more reflective current state of mind. Warning, the following is much more about life and death and less about business.

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I landed in London on October 2nd and started to settle into a new life, new surroundings, new accents, and new country. Staying in the Woolwich area (South East) has been an interesting experience and took a bit of getting used to as it’s outside the greater London city and takes 45-60 minutes to get into or out of the city. The Tube and public transportation are actually really easy and quick. Subways arrived every few mins so you aren’t stressing about missing one of them – unlike some of the other cities I have been in recently.

Fun fact – the time zone difference from the US is challenging to stay on top of current events + sports. One night early in the month I decided I was going to watch the Seahawks game on Thursday Night Football, which normally starts at 5:30pm Pacific time. But in London that is 1AM! So I stayed out late, went to a sports bar, hung with the locals and watched the game until about 4AM, where Hawks beat the LA Rams in a shootout. That was a long night and very early morning!

I started to get acclimated to the new timezone, new city and schedule, having a number of meetings throughout the city. I tend to book meetings in random new neighborhoods so it allows me to see the different areas of the city and have enjoyed meeting a number of different British entrepreneurs and adding in a few good happy hours. All of this was becoming fun until I got the call. 

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A recent favorite pic of me and Dad. I think in 2017…

Oct 10th, 2019 – There comes a time when you get the call you have been afraid to receive but knew it inevitably would come. Sitting in my London Airbnb after a nice discussion with one of our city leaders, I received a call from my sister who informed me my father was very ill and had gone into the hospital. He had been battling bladder and kidney cancer for about 3 years and up to that point stayed in fairly good health, but now he had congestive heart failure and Pneumonia and was struggling to breathe. She said, “Nick, it’s not good. And you told me to tell you when it’s time to get on a plane and fly back if you wanted to see him before he left us. Well, it’s that time.”

You can imagine what is going through my head – so many thoughts jumping back and forth. I was just getting settled into London becoming more comfortable with the city, transit, mobile tech, and my new temporary neighborhood. And I was on this really fun tour… Damn! Please, just hold on Dad! I immediately booked a flight back for the next morning, went to sleep, got up the next morning, packed up my stuff and headed straight to the airport. I flew 9 hours from London to Seattle and went directly to the hospital. 

Walking into his hospital room was very tough, he was quite frail and looked many years older than when I saw him just 2 months ago. (One interesting detail here is he had not shaved for like a month so and had a nice gray beard forming which I had NEVER seen on his face. I said “welcome to the club Dad!”)

Instantly, I knew this was serious and we didn’t have much time left. The pit in my stomach tightened and I sensed this was going to be a very tough road ahead. My sister and I were able to spend the next couple of days with him as he continued to fight for every breath, mostly on oxygen, losing most of his motor skills. It is heart wrenching watching your parent struggle with even basic human movements and speech. Aren’t they supposed to be superman?!

After a few days and much effort from the nursing staff the doctor came in and informed all of us there was nothing left to do, it was time to face the reality his body was dying and all they could do was make sure he wasn’t in pain through the process. To sit with your father as he is told he has less than 24 hours to live is a surreal moment. He had accepted it – told us many times he was ready to go – and was just thankful we were there at his bedside. Just like the movies, we had our final real conversation where he talked about how proud he was of both of us – my sister raising her great family and myself with the great impact we are having around the world. I could barely stay collected as he spoke. His parting words described a prideful feeling of having the opportunity to help raise two great people, and here they were to help him transition out of this life. He was there when we arrived and now here we were as he was leaving, quite a full circle. His message to us was full of encouragement and strength to go forward with all our might. To live with as much purpose and passion as you can muster because it will be over sooner than you think. 

My father passed away peacefully with his kids and best friend beside him mid-day on October 14th, at 71 years old. Watching my father transition to a new and different world is now the most powerful and impactful experience of my life. For quite a while he was clearly in between two states of consciousness and I am totally curious to know what his experience would have been like. I am very happy he is now in a better place and pain free, but knowing things are now forever altered in my life is a pill I must forcefully swallow.  

My father was a great man and taught me many things, some of which you can read in I’ll Miss You Dad. The 3 Entrepreneurial Lessons My Father Taught Me.

I am so very grateful for the outpouring of support and condolences from my family, friends and the greater Founders Live community. It truly means a lot and proves what we have built thus far is indeed very special and incredibly unique. Our Founders Live Seattle event was on October 24th and I had the chance to address the audience and pay tribute to my father, holding back tears as I shared his message with the Seattle community. It was a very special moment and I could feel Dad smiling right along with us. I just hope you all extend the same amazing support and encouragement to anyone else around us who experiences similar pain. I know I will.

Ya know – time is weird. On one hand we don’t have much time here on earth to positively impact people and make a dent in the world. Our time here on earth can and will be taken at any moment – we just don’t know when that moment will be. The treadmill seems to be speeding up each year and it creates an weirdly uncomfortable feeling of FOMO and anxiety of the unknown nature of it all. Live like it’s your last day, they say. On the other hand, some moments of our life can seem like forever and the pain and frustration seems like it will never end. Seconds last forever.  We wonder when we will overcome and get through these challenging times. I guess a full life oscillates between those two extremes.

I don’t have the answers here and won’t try to recreate overused clichés or anything like that but what I can say now is life has become much clearer to me in the last year, especially in the last few weeks. Life is not linear. It’s exponential. And it has compounding effects, similar to compound interest. The longer and more widely you work on something, the larger the impact and return it can have. Life is not about physical things and places. It’s about energy, creativity, spirituality, love and connectedness. Making impact (positive or negative – but we’re focusing on positive here) has a ripple effect through humanity and the world. A great life involves maximizing the creation and dissemination of positive ripples which can cross borders and touch almost every human on this planet. If you ever want to sum up Founders Live, those last two sentences would be a good place to start.

Observing someone passing away who deeply wished he could have created many more positive ripples during his lifetime (and have more time to do it) hits you at your core. You’ll sense within them resentment and disappointment for what wasn’t accomplished. Sitting on the other side of that fence with more opportunities – hopefully many more – in front of me it becomes much clearer what Founders Live can become and the number and magnitude of opportunities we have in front of us to accomplish the vision. That energy drives me now much more than before. I am not living everyday as if it’s my last. I am simply choosing to Live every day.

Now on a flight back to London to resume the tour, which is exactly what Dad wanted, I have the time to reflect and write this post. I’ll be in London until the 5th of November.  Then on to Harare, Zimbabwe for a few weeks and then Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria for the last few weeks of November. In December I go to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 3 weeks and then head home to Seattle area for the holidays.

At times I overcome with a bit of aimless wander as I set back out and re-align with my larger plan. I sometimes feels foggy and numb since my world was just rocked pretty hard. It’s like I just want to shake out the cobwebs and put in my contacts. But then I remember they are already in…

Embarking on a tour like this can be tremendously intimidating, venturing out into the abyss working with unknown timelines, withering budgets, and meeting new people who I must depend on for survival. But I will not be scared away. I remember telling Dad, “I will not allow fear hold me back from experiencing new places and meeting new people all over the world.” I know there’s always a way through. 

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I can honestly say I am in the first funk of this year-long tour. I’m not sure if it’s due to what I just experienced with my father’s passing or if it’s the fact that I have been on the road for 11 months straight traveling more than 36,000 miles. It’s probably a little of both! The first signs appeared at the end of August when I was leaving Seattle after a brief stop for my birthday and to see family and friends over Labor Day weekend. I had a great time being back but it was pretty short-lived and something felt off as I was leaving. I now realize it was a subtle feeling of being the last time I’d see and chat with Dad in his normal state. When I arrived in NYC it didn’t go away. Talking with my coaches during the month of September the words Fear, Scared, and Worry were surfacing. Those aren’t words I use very often and I now realize I unconsciously was aware of the situation with my Dad was already in motion. 

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The entire month of September was a bit of a slog, mostly due to NYC being a beast of a city and my original housing situation fell through at the last minute so I was left to book Airbnb’s on a weekly basis and turned out they were quite spread out around the region. I was bouncing from one side of New York to Jersey City and then back. A few customer partnership deals were put on hold or fell through and so our quarterly and Q1-Q2 outlook took a bit of a hit. All these affected my outlook and for the first time on the tour I was feeling a bit off and shaky. This is not complaining or woe-is-me. Trust me, I had a great time in September and October, and I am still on an epic tour of my life. But after having the “best month” after “best month” back to back for 5 or 6 straight months things have naturally course corrected. S’all good. But I mention all of this so you are aware of the challenges and things even I must overcome. This thing ain’t easy.

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I find myself more frequently describing my current state as Mile 22 in a marathon. I have not ran a marathon and I am not sure I ever will but I am aware of the feeling around Mile 20-22 where you pretty much hit a wall and really have to push hard to kick your adrenaline back in for the final few miles. That’s where I am now.

At this very moment I have no idea how the next parts of my international travels will come together. I don’t yet have in-line some of my places for housing later in the year. I still have flights to nail down. There are people who I don’t know in cities I can barely pronounce who will be offering their hospitality for me during my stay in their community. Can I trust people in foreign countries? (Yes.) But I keep repeating to myself “it will come together”, “I believe”, and “the universe is conspiring for our betterment.” There’s simply no other way to look at it. 

One of the last things I told my Dad as he was taking his last gasps of oxygen was “I learned something very important the last few months. It’s all a big game.” Pointing to my head, “it is all a big game right here, between myself and myself. I have the power to determine how I want to play and how I want to win. I have the ability to change the way I think and speak to myself, which then changes how I interpret and experience the world. Changing how I see and experience the world leads to insights and opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have seen.” I now believe success lies within the white spaces of our insights and opportunities.

This entire post is just part of the game I referred to in that discussion with my father. Nothing is set in stone. Each experience and outcome is a re-set of choices and opportunities, which is what I so much enjoy and respect about the Tour. Everyday is different and very random. The whole experience has taught me to keep a much more open mind, open and available to take a right vs a left, and (really work at) being lighter and friendlier to myself. It’s easy to come down on yourself if something doesn’t go exactly as planned. It’s tempting to shout obscenities when a potential deal falls through (without them hearing of course), but are these the correct actions? No, they’re not. Unknowingly, when one does this they reinforce negative energy and unproductive thought processes which create a circular influence inside their mind, repeating those exact outcomes. I am not perfect by any means, but I am working hard to remove these negative thoughts and actions from my daily habits.

I have a long ways to go! So many more miles to travel and people to see.

“Thank you Dad.”

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Below are some of the pictures I took over the last few months – mostly NYC.

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(PODCAST) – Special Episode of Catching Up With Conner and Nick – Life and Death

This is a special episode of Catching Up With Conner And Nick, the weekly podcast I do with Conner Cayson.

Conner and I created this show for moments like this. To document the unexpected journey of life from a personal and professional perspective. We mostly talk about entrepreneurship from a professional perspective, but after the passing of my father this past week, we do the show in honor of him. I reflect on the entire experience from learning about his complications in London, flying back, spending his last breaths with him in the hospital, to the lessons learned from my father and how that pushes me forward to live with purpose and pursue my goals. Listen below, this is for you Dad!

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I’ll Miss You Dad. The 3 Entrepreneurial Lessons My Father Taught Me

It’s been a tough few days.

As I write this my father is laying in the hospital taking the last breaths of his life. It’s too soon to even fully comprehend the experience of watching it unfold or to pull out my thoughts and feelings around losing a parent.

[UPDATE: Dad peacefully passed away Oct 14th, a few hours after I posted this.]

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Dad, This is how I remember you. I’ll miss you.

But today it only felt right to share previous thoughts I have written about my father and the lessons he has given me. The below post was written years ago on the day of his wedding and hope they give a bit of inspiration to you.

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The 3 Entrepreneurial Lessons My Father Has Taught Me

This is a special day in my life as my father is getting (re)married.  In fact I am extremely honored to stand by his side as his best man to celebrate and witness this great commitment.   Recently I have had the opportunity to think a little deeper about what my father, Jim Hughes, has taught me.  Many things graced my thoughts, but 3 things stick out and continue to be huge influences in my life each day.

If you are an entrepreneur maybe they will help you as well.

Devotion – Live What You Love

As long as I can remember my father has lived his passion and his work has been his life.  Amazingly, his faith is part of his work as well – he is the the Director of Stewardship & Development for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, ID.   He lives, breathes and speaks faith.  He does not try to convert one who may not be aligned with his way of seeing the world, but anyone who meets him can sense the calmness his faith brings to his life.  He is the most dedicated and devoted person I have ever met.  His faith is his life and his work is his faith.  You will not meet anyone doubting my father’s devotion and commitment to his cause.

Basically my father raises money to support the expansion of the Diocese just as a CEO would raise money to extend the life of his company.  Say what you want about religion, faith or “believers”, this post is not a sermon; it is a lesson on how to fully devote yourself to a cause or purpose.  If my father was not fully devoted, it would be unlikely people would feel empowered to give money towards an important cause.  When spotted, an entrepreneur needs to take note of someone who is fully devoted because they are rare in this world but the best of examples.  How are investors supposed to put their faith and money in you when you aren’t fully devoted you your cause?  Show me a devoted person and I will show you someone who is making things happen.  Life just does not work any other way.

Appreciation – Life is a Gift

If you have met my father you would know exactly what I am talking about here, his appreciation for life and people is like a potent fragrance that can fill an entire room.  You know it when you shake his hand and look him in the eyes.  It’s piercing.  You sense a respect that falls like a warm blanket on the connection between the two of you.  He appreciates you for just being… you.  When you talk with him he looks right at you, transfixed on experiencing all of you and the conversation at the moment.  It is this endearing respect for all people I intuitively picked up on as a young boy watching his father, and I cannot thank him enough for the unspoken lesson which has helped me navigate through life possibly lighter than others.

As an entrepreneur I think the principles of appreciation is often overlooked, which can be a big mistake.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own situation and look out for number 1 first and foremost.  But here a few thoughts to ponder:  When you meet people, what do you think you look like – from their point of view?  Do you look them straight in the eyes?  Do you give them all your attention?  Do you let them know – without saying anything – they are the most important person in the room at that given moment?  I guarantee you will attract better talent with this approach.  Even if you are talking to your newest hire or old janitor, not understanding this principle will be an Achilles heel in your life as people will come to learn deep down you might not think so highly of them.  Success can only be found in respect and appreciation for others.

Patience – Good Things Come in Time

After my parents were divorced my father remained single for roughly 25 years and we all were wondering if it would ever happen again!  He took his (sweet) time to find the woman he felt he could commit to for the rest of his life.  But I never doubted he would end up happily with another person.  As everyone started asking him what he was thinking, who would he end up with and when it would happen.. he quietly understood the principles of patience.  Patience (knowing the right thing will eventually present itself) is what brought him to today – the right time, the right person and the right perspective.

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[Note: This picture was taken at a Founders Live Seattle event a few years ago. Little did I know writing the original post for his wedding day – FOUR YEARS before the very first Founders Live event and 8 years before today – how the lesson of patience has allowed me to grow myself and Founders Live into a global phenomenon. Amazingly precedent. Again, thanks Dad.] 

All too often we rush into something too quickly, forcing our will onto the situation thinking that if we just force the square peg in the round hole, it will fit.  Ironically this is the exact trait for which makes for an entrepreneur – sheer will.  The will of an entrepreneur can at times be a positive force, working to help us overcome challenges and move forward.  Yet many times sheer will clashes horns with a silent, but stronger patience.  Sometimes it just isn’t the right time for your vision to come together and you must pull back a bit and take a different route.  Indeed this is tough.  But smart entrepreneurs understand heeding patience and know good things always come with time.

These principles my father taught me have been life changing, I hope they may have the same impact on you.

ANNOUNCEMENT – The Official Launch of The Founders Live Podcast. Listen To 001 – AK Ikwuakor of Elete Styles From Boston

ANNOUNCEMENT – We are excited to officially launch the Founders Live Podcast, where we cover unique and inspiring stories of entrepreneurship from around the world. Listen to 001 – AK Ikwuakor of Elete Styles: What’s The Connection Between Athletics and Entrepreneurship, where Nick Hughes talks with AK Ikwuakor of Elete Styles about startup life, his new company Elete Styles, transitioning from Athlete to Entrepreneur and under-represented founders.