Climbing the Mountain

Climbing the mountain ain’t easy. There are peaks and valleys, ditches and holes, loose gravel and falling rocks, uncertainty at almost every move. To conquer requires immense focus, brute strength, and the will to succeed. To fail requires only the slightest lapse in attention and concentration. Concession equals doom.

The same can be said about life. In order to achieve success we are constantly on the climb. We takes steps each and every day; some steps forward and quite often many back. We try our hardest to avoid the pitfalls (i.e. ditches and falling rocks) in life :: getting stuck in a rut; getting out-hustled by a competitor; getting denied by someone we’ve pursued. In order to win, we must always stay focused, hungry and in passionate pursuit of our dreams and convictions. “Only the strong survive” is a motto that resonates because it’s true. Those who have the will and drive to climb will do so. Those who concede will not.

I hope everyone reading this continues to pursue their dreams each and every day. Don’t let the naysayers’ loose gravel cause you to slip. And if it does, pick yourself back up and march on forward. Go for it. Or else you will find yourself back at the bottom. And while the top of the mountain may never truly be a place any of us reach – as we can always do better and always improve – I’d rather be looking down at the beautiful landscape below than looking up at the overwhelming terrain above.

Ep. 11 Recap – Kelli Carson

Beautiful, smart, compassionate, insightful :: just a few of many adjectives that can be used to describe Kelli Carson.  A woman who always knew creating a career for herself would be important, Kelli was able to marry that entrepreneurial drive with her immense passion for helping people.  And these are not just any people.  These are people struck by severe diseases/disabilities such as autism.  People who are “non-verbal” and do not have the ability to care for themselves.

As All Hearts Home Health Care approaches its 13th anniversary, I was honored to have Kelli on the show to discuss her professional path.  It is extremely impressive to see her now employing approximately 100 people who care for anywhere between 50-60 clients throughout various counties in Northern Ohio.  As her reach continues to spread and her company continues to grow, we will undoubtedly see Kelli having an even greater impact throughout our community.  Her pending children’s facility – due to open May of this year – is just one example of likely many more to come.

What I really love about sitting down with my guests is the ability to pick their brains and find out what makes them tick.  Each person has a unique perspective of the world and they all bring their own flare to the game.  While Kelli’s passion remains in health care, she is always on the look out for new business ventures outside of the medical industry.  It is that type of entrepreneurial spirit that keeps the wheels of our economy in motion.  And while the future is unquestionably bright for Kelli, the future for her clients and patients remains even brighter so long as she and her company(ies) are involved.

Ep. 10 Recap – Greg McNeil

Greg McNeil has lived through one of the most horrific events any of us could ever imagine :: the loss of a son/daughter.  Greg’s son, Sam, became addicted to opioids back in 2008 after suffering severe facial injuries in a fight.  When the pain pills were no longer available to him, he turned to the streets and found a less expensive option – heroin.  It was not until 2010 – some two years after his heroin use began – that his parents discovered he had been using.  It was at this very moment that the McNeil’s world would change forever.

The family began the recovery process and did all they could for Sam, sending him to treatment facilities in Akron, Ohio and then years later in Boca Raton, Florida.  While the process is riddled with ups-and-downs – and the likely potential for relapses throughout – the family stayed strong and offered as much support to Sam as they possibly could.  By early 2015, things were slowly looking up as Sam continued to create a life for himself in Florida.  He was working in aerospace sales and had met the love of his life, a woman with whom he’d move in with in the coming months.

Fast forward to October of that same year when life, for the McNeil’s, would take an abrupt turn for the ultimate worst.  It was early October when Sam had found out his girlfriend was pregnant.  He could not have been more ecstatic, calling his parents with the good news.  While the McNeil’s were a little apprehensive at first, they shared in Sam’s joy knowing how happy he was.  Unfortunately, that joy would be short-lived.

On Friday, October 23, 2015, Sam’s battle with heroin – and his life – would come to an end.  It was believed that Sam hooked up with an old friend who provided him the heroin that day.  Sadly enough, the heroin was laced with fentanyl, leaving Sam no hope of surviving.  He was 28 years old.

The McNeil’s story is regrettably not uncommon :: a New York Times study found that approximately 60,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2016.  And evidence seems to suggest that number will come back even larger for 2017 once the final results are in.  To hopefully mitigate that number in future years, Greg McNeil has launched the non-profit organization, Cover2 Resources, in honor of his son.  Cover2 seeks to offer preventative solutions to help reduce the risk of opioid addiction.

I want to extend a warm ‘thank you’ once more to Greg for coming on the podcast and sharing his painful and emotional story with all of us.  We can only hope that Greg’s mission continues to expand so that other families achieve a different outcome than the one faced by the McNeil’s.

Lessons Learned from Jacob Copeland’s National Signing Day Moment

Note to parents :: Build your kids up.  Don’t break them down.  Stand by their side, support their decisions.  If their decisions are not causing harm to anyone else or to themselves, then embrace them.  Sure, you may not agree with everything, but in pivotal moments such as the one shown in the video below, it is your dutyand not your option – to show solidarity and support.  Your kids need you.  They need to feel like you’ve got their back.  Don’t dim their light, especially when that light is supposed to be shining bright as it should have for Jacob Copeland this past week.

Ep. 9 Recap – Casey Wandell

I was completely blown away by my intimate and emotional conversation with Casey Wandell.  This is a man who, just ten years ago, was on the verge of self-destruction as he tried to take his own life.  His demise centered around a broken marriage in which his wife was in a full-blown, emotional affair with another man.  A downward spiral chain of events lead Casey to the dirty carpeting of a Motel 6 room floor in which he awoke to find himself still living after a night of pills, whiskey and beer.  It was at this lowest moment of his life that he waved the white flag; calling his mom and pleading for help.

It would still take several more years until Casey’s true awakening would begin, having finally found the light he needed in Title Boxing Club — a place that would save his life and alter his course forever.  After being kicked out of his sister’s apartment after a year of heavy booze and more bad decisions, Casey found a place in the Columbus, Ohio area.  The apartment happened to be situated next to a fitness center called Title Boxing Club… and the rest is history.  Fast forward eight years and countless days/nights of therapy, self-reflection and healing :: and now Casey is one of the top franchisees in the entire country, owning and operating six locations from Cleveland to Columbus!

Casey’s comeback toward rebuilding himself emotionally, mentally and physically is a powerful reminder that, no matter how dark life gets at times, there is always a path for hope, happiness and inner peace.

The stormy clouds do not last forever so long as you make the effort to change; so long as you do not let the circumstances of your situation define your life’s path for eternity.

We can either allow other people and events outside of our control to dictate our life, or we can take control so that our own actions dictate our life instead.  I, like Casey, choose the latter.

Ep. 8 Recap – Bobby Rutter

Bobby Rutter is one of the few people responsible for bringing back some amazing day and nightlife entertainment options to Northeast Ohio.  A full-time insurance attorney by day, he has been able to leverage his success in the legal world and translate that into chasing his ultimate dreams of becoming a nightlife/nightclub owner and entrepreneur.

I was fascinated by our hour-long conversation, one that provided many lessons on business and on life.  One of the greatest takeaways was that true entrepreneurs can foresee the future and have that gut instinct on when something feels right.  Bobby and his partners knew :: FWD Day + Nightclub not only could be, but would be, a success in Cleveland.  While the majority of people told Bobby he was crazy to think a full outdoor club would be sustainable in Cleveland – a city that gets about three to four months of “pool weather” per year – he and his partners/advisors knew otherwise.  Their thoughts were that Cleveland people would come out strong during the summer months since we crave the outdoors and crave the type of scene that is so often left for only the big cities.  And boy were they right!  FWD is killing the Cleveland game and is perfectly complemented by its sister club, Magnolia Cleveland, some 100 yards down the street.  While FWD is the wild, high energy, large outdoor electronic dance music mecca (think Las Vegas), Magnolia is the small, quaint, artsy underground vibe (think New York City).  While both offer completely different social experiences, they both offer the opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s best music, vibes and scenes.

I look forward to seeing what Bobby and Co. do next.  It sounds like this just may be the beginning of their climb in the entertainment and nightlife industry.  Stay tuned.