A Christmas That Changed My Life
I remember it like it was yesterday—two years ago to this date on Christmas Morning 2017. Emily and I had just gotten back from Christmas at my parents, and we were opening our stockings (and giving stockings to our cats Lucy and Flora, of course).
She had been acting weird all morning and even left early to go to Walgreens for a “last-minute stocking stuffer.”
After we finished exchanging our stockings, she awkwardly said, “We need to talk.”
That’s never been a good conversation starter, so I had a million negative scenarios running through my head.
That’s when she told me, “I’m pregnant, hope you’re not mad…”
I was stunned, shocked, and awed. Of course, I wasn’t mad, I was thrilled!
We both started crying. Little did the cats know that they weren’t going to be the only babies in the house anymore.
Then it happened…
After the shock wore off, I was immediately flooded with fear.
- How will I provide for this human, as we barely make enough to get by?
- I’m so immature…how will I be able to keep this baby alive?!
- Will I even be a good dad?
The other thought that crept into my mind: “Will I have to give up my side hustle of Perspective-Collective? Is my dream over now?”
Fast forward two years and here we are with this Little Pizza Roll being promoted to Big Brother in May 2020. Clearly, the dream is still well alive and thriving more than ever, more on that in the big announcement portion at the end.
Yes, having a kid has radically changed my life and my priorities. Every decision I make now affects a tiny human, so I had to become a better decision-maker.
The birth of Little Scotty is not only the best thing that’s ever happened in my life, but it’s also the best thing that’s happened for my side hustle business.
I’ve had this idea for a while now and sat down with Emily around Thanksgiving to have her weigh in her opinion.
Together, we compiled 4 Significant Lessons our Little Scotty has taught us over the past two years.
Yes, this is what he has taught us, but I believe the lessons here will dramatically impact and inspire a change to how you show up for yourself and others through your side hustle.
1. Be Relentlessly Fearless
My son is barely scared of anything, not even the dark. If there’s something he wants to do, like being a Dare-Devil and standing up on the narrow seat of his Paw Patrol Fire Truck, then he’s going to do it (you should note that I place pillows and blankets all around him as a safety net mind you).
He fails and falls countless times in his ventures to conquer something. He cries, lets us kiss it boo-boos and I give him the whole “Figure it out, you got this!” pep talk and smack him on his cute little bottom and send him off. Then he’s right back at it recalculating his approach until he locks it down.
It’s so incredible to see that big shit grin he has on his face as to say “Look at me ma-ma and da-da. I did it!”
Seeing him master a mini-mountain makes me think about you and me and our creative pursuits.
We let negative emotions of fear, doubt, and comparison hold us back from conquering something that truly excites us like: sharing our work, making a YouTube Channel, starting a podcast, etc.
Instead, imagine if we channeled our inner toddler who isn’t affected by these restraining feelings and relentlessly chased the things we wanted?
What kind of breakthroughs could you see yourself having?
Little Scotty has reaffirmed an important lesson that failure is a key ingredient for triumph.
2. Enjoy the Little Things + Celebrate Smalls Wins
Straight up, we’re spoiled and take things for granted ALL THE TIME (this includes me).
We expect convenience and things to go our way.
We lose sight of how blessed we are and neglect the smallest amount of good fortune that crosses our path.
My son doesn’t operate this way, and I hope this perspective he’s given me is something I can instill back into him as he gets older.
The smallest things in life, like giving him the choice between two flavors of puffs (Blueberry or Strawberry), makes him light up with an enthusiastic chuckle and clap of his hands.
He also shows me how much joy can be sparked from the smallest wins (like tossing consecutive wooden blocks into a container at the end of the night while I scream, “Kobe!”) to the biggest wins (like learning to crawl DOWN steps because crawling up steps was too easy).
He challenges me to notice and appreciate every little bit of good that flows through my day because I’m so fortunate to live the life I’m living and do the work that I love doing.
There’s magic in the little moments and the small wins of your side hustle pursuits. These need to be acknowledged because progress is progress.
3. Stay Curious & Stay Learning
While he loves the toys we get him, our Stinky Boy is more captivated by how ordinary items around our house function.
This kid will spend hours closing cupboard doors (ones we specifically don’t lock), taking lids on and off mason jars, trying to flush the toilet, and poking my belly button to see what it does.
He’s so freaking curious and is obsessed with learning.
I love watching his tongue hang out as I envision the little gears turning in his mind as he attempts to figure out the world each day.
Now, think about how crucial education—or the lack of—has been to get you to where you are today.
Over the past 5.5 years of building Perspective-Collective, I can proudly say that I’ve been self-taught in everything I took initiative to learn: social media, hand-lettering fundamentals, email marketing, copywriting, audio/podcasting, etc.
I didn’t have to learn these things: I chose to learn them as I saw the growth and opportunities they yielded.
Knowledge is power, and the more we strive to learn, the more value we can create for people. This better puts us in a position to thrive in what we do.
If something piques your curiosity, invest in yourself by taking the time to learn it and see where it leads you.
4. Play Hard
“This is the real secret of life—to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
– Alan Watts.
When this Little Ham Sammich plays, he plays hard. Nothing around him exists, as he’s lost down the rabbit hole of his imagination (unless he’s wrestling his da-da, of course).
This dude gets so lost in his play that he gets a wee bit frustrated when you snap him out of it to change him, make him dinner, or give him a bath—rightfully so!
How often do you get lost in play—or is the work you force yourself to do even play at all?
Watching my son has opened my eyes to new viewpoints. As I take the next steps in my business in 2020, anything that doesn’t fit into the play category is something I should eliminate or delegate if I have the means.
I’m so grateful to have tapped into sources of play: creating, podcasting, and coaching. I play hard and get lost in the sauce for hours, and the best thing about it all is the relationships I get to build when I leverage these skills I’ve learned.
If there’s something you want to pursue but don’t know where to start, find things that interest you.
I think I’m finally starting to see what Alan Watts is referring to in his quote, because when I play hard in my business, it never feels like I’m working at all.
Honorable Mention: Farts are Funny / Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Here’s a quick one Emily and I both agreed on that may be the most important lesson yet.
Little Dougie Fresh AKA Trey Money affirmed our beliefs that farts are funny because, man, does he sure does laugh and look our way when he breaks a little toot.
At the end of the day, my wife and I are still little kids at heart and will forever laugh at a fart.
His precious reactions to his little gusts of wind remind me to not take shit so seriously all the time—literally and figuratively—and you shouldn’t either!
The Biggest Blessing in Disguise
Remember when I said the announcement of Little Scotty’s birth instilled fear in me that my days of hustling on the side were over?
Boy, was I wrong.
Instead, it set me on a laser-focused trajectory of turning a potentially devastating crisis into a life-changing opportunity.
This is the first time I’m able to publicly talk about this, and it builds off of episode 149 that I recorded November 1st about Winning the War Inside Your Head.
In this episode, I talked about how crazy life has been between finding out we were expecting late September, to launching the Coaching Program and doing my first Live Podcast in the same week, to then scrambling to find a new home to expand into before the holidays.
It was a challenging but exciting season we were entering into, and while chaotic, things were moving oddly smooth for how fast things progressed…or so we thought.
A few days later, on November 4th (which is a week after we closed on our new home that doubled our mortgage), I was sitting in my day job cubicle when HR came to my desk and asked to speak to me.
They strolled me down the hallway and sat me down with the President of our business. They informed me that Corporate was doing widespread budget cuts due to sales being down and wanted to get ahead of the 2020 forecast which wasn’t promising.
With that being said, they proceeded to eliminate our entire marketing department out of nowhere. No sign, no warning at all.
It was a complete shock to myself, and even more so to my pregnant wife.
So much for a safe job, right?
I spent the first two hours in panic mode because I was terrified I was about to lose the house we just closed on, hence why I couldn’t talk about it until after we moved in on December 13th.
Despite being overwhelmed with negative emotions and thoughts, after those first two hours of panic, I went to work.
Massive Action + Fear & Scarcity Mindset
The more time I spent worrying and playing the victim, the quicker the window of opportunity would close.
I needed to take massive action, so I immediately started making calls to all my friends in the creative industry THAT I BUILT RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE PAST 5.5 YEARS (relationships are everything).
In my mind, I felt step 1 was to redo my resume and create a web UI/UX- based portfolio to land a good-paying “safe” job to get us a steady income to get by for at least a year or two to pay off our debt goals. After that, I’d ideally be able to take the risk and make the leap to full-time.
My first call after being laid off was with Peter Deltondo of Unfold, the wizard behind Creative South’s web user experience.
This dude didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear… and it was a huge perspective shift.
He made me realize how much my current decisions on how to move forward were based on fear and scarcity. My heart and gut weren’t into web design and writing a resume for it sucked the joy from me.
He made me realize what I was truly passionate about (and good at) was lettering, illustration, and branding—you know, THE WORK I’VE BEEN SHOWING OVER THE YEARS, not the UI/UX related shit I did at the day job!
He was the first to tell me, “Maybe this is the sign you need to do your thing full-time. You haven’t been building this for over five years for nothing!”
Meh…scarcity mindset and the fear of failure were still top-of-mind, so I immediately dismissed it. I thought to myself, “This would be awesome, but you don’t understand the position I’m in and the risk that puts on my family?!”
However, my convo with Peter helped me know the type of work I wanted to show in my new portfolio I was building from scratch. I also knew that my targets were set on applying at some type of agency for remote work that could help me brush shoulders with big names to boost my portfolio.
So there I was, call after call with friends on getting advice/guidance/direction, and it kept circling back to the eerily repetitive answer of, “This is a sign, do your thing full-time.”
It wasn’t until I spent countless sleepless nights and multiple panic attacks that I brought this internal turmoil to my wife.
I explain that logic is telling me I need to apply for some type of agency job to get us a steady paycheck so we can cover our family expenses, maternity leave, and still hit our debt pay-off goal.
However, my gut and heart just weren’t in it when I attempted to write my resume. It just felt “off,” and it was stressing me out. Going full-time was what I always wanted, but the main thing holding me back the fear of not only failing myself but failing her and our kiddos.
Surprisingly, she legit recited the same unprompted answer as everyone else I had a call with, which totally caught me off-guard.
She agreed with them and instilled the confidence and affirmation I needed that my being laid off was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
She said, “If it doesn’t work out, the worst thing that’ll happen is that you have to get another job.”
Boom. Sold. Let’s Go.
A Sign & Shove From the Universe
Me getting laid off out of nowhere was the universe shoving me into action before I felt I was ready (opposed to my original plan of leaping on my own terms a year or two later).
While it’s terrifying to say, on January 10th, 2020 (AKA when my severance package runs out), I’ll officially be making the leap to full-time coaching and freelance.
It’s an emotional trip for me to see all these years of treating my side hustle like it was a full-time business finally come to fruition.
I always said if I had an extra 40 hours back in my life, I’d be able to do so many more things and make an even bigger impact. It’s funny because the Universe was listening, and it always gives me the gift I need but often disguises behind the mask of adversity.
The best thing about this that makes me so fucking proud? I’ve blazed my own path and did things my way.
All these lessons my son taught me the past two years have played such a significant role in leading me to this opportunity. My hope is that these four little lessons of be relentlessly fearless, enjoy the little things, stay curious and stay learning, and play hard can play a significant role in helping you take the next step in your creative grind in 2020.
Let’s climb some new mountains together and celebrate the little milestone along the way. Eventually, we’ll get to appreciate the view at the top and start the process all over again.
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