Relationships matter to me. Business is relationships. Better is good!. Life is good!
I started my first business in 3rd grade. I mowed lawns with a push mower for three dollars a lawn! I promoted myself in 5th grade to selling candles door to door. My black velvet sales board with small candle samples glued to it, backed up by my cute, unassuming smile, reaped great bottom line results. I was the top sales person! Focusing on people (the heart of every organization) since those early years – – supporting their personal and professional growth – – has energized all of my days – or at least 97.54% of them! In the mid-2000’s, I led an executive team of three egotistical, insecure men through a challenge course learning experience. Developing a program for this small, highly dysfunctional team activated my creative/ideation skills. I experienced deep satisfaction helping these men work through their distrust, dysfunction and leadership barriers. After a day and a half, they headed back to their company with increased respect, trust and understanding. People are awesome. People are complex. Life is good. Life is messy. I get out of bed each day to support and coach, simply complex, awesome people. I love my job!
Fun and random facts about Jeff! I really…
- Sunk a ski boat during my college days.
- Snow skied over 50mph at age 47 (stupid fun that I don’t recommend).
- Can swallow my tongue to the point that I can only breathe thru my nose.
- Got my first driver’s license at age 14 in Boise, Idaho.
- Broke my first bone at age 50. My second at age 55. The 50’s have been great – and expensive!. (See picture to the right for the beginning of the story. The rest of the story is below. Read on.)
- Have participated in over 500 interviews.
- Summited various mountains over 10,000 feet at least 10.6 times.
- More to come as I live a curious, messy and wonderful life…
It is a great day when I…
- Help bring simplicity to complex problems/opportunities.
- Support someone in a meaningful way.
- Am fully present and engaged in “now”.
- Help bring joy to someone’s life.
- Walk humbly, love mercy and do justly.
- Live with curiosity.
- Stay curious longer.
- Set clear goals.
- Make progress toward goal achievement.
- Learn and teach experientially.
- Check my ego at the door.
- Learn something new and fail.
- Build relationships of trust with my wife and children.
- Choose LOVE… always choose love.
My first very experiential leadership learning opportunity came when I was 7 years old. My dad was an outdoorsman and liked to backpack and climb mountains.For some reason, my dad decided it was a great idea for me to climb Mt. Hood (11,250 feet) with him and a small group of friends. (I highly discourage such an activity at 7 years old.) There is a spot on the mountain called the Hogs Back – what a name – at 10,400 elevation. It was there that I sat down, crying and letting my dad know that I was done. That they needed to leave me there, finish their climb, and pick me up on their way down. This was all due to my feet and hands being so cold I thought they were going to crack like an icicle falling from a gutter to its death on the sidewalk. He took off my socks and boots, unbuttoned his shirt and nuzzled my freezing feet into his armpits. One of the warmest spots on our bodies.
This was a true act of humble, servant leadership that I will never forget!
Fast forward quite a bit to 1990-98 where I served in various capacities in Student Development at a private liberal arts University. Working with college students, the teachable and the stubborn, taught me much about servant leadership, introspection and perseverance. I worked with every kind of student; suicidal students, students being sent to prison, students in the courtroom…I had the opportunity to meet the whole police department in our small little town. I also worked with students hungry to learn, grow, be stretched and live into their interests and passions. It was a deeply rewarding time.
Later in my career, I served as a Program Director for a Challenge Ropes Course. This experiential classroom is still one of my favorites to this day. Working with functional and dysfunctional business teams, sports teams, C-Suite teams and so forth. This brought so much joy to teaching and life to learning experiences! What a fantastic way to continue to build my facilitation, team leadership, listening and question asking skills.
Fast forward 13 years – I obliterated my left shoulder in an electric longboard accident, bumping into my son’s girlfriend while going 20 mph. I stepped on her board and it propelled me like superman, flying for a moment (so cool) and then the big crash. While recovering from a shoulder replacement surgery I learned a lot about myself. I learned how hard it is to ask for help and then graciously receive the help. Everything from tying my shoes, to putting my clothes on, to asking for car rides for 2.5 months. These experiences helped me learn from my impatience, stubbornness, and being an extroverted introvert and have been part of my leadership development growth process.
Being married for 34 years (as of 2021) and enjoying 3 children (30,27,21 years old) has also shaped me into the leader and man I am today. In so many good, hard and sometimes difficult ways. Life is messy. Life is beautiful.
Relationship and experiential learning are woven throughout my story – with a lot of curiosity and random experiences to support the living, learning and loving adventure. So Good. So Good.