Keep Inspiring Dreams

People always ask me, “What does ‘KiD’ mean?” – I could go on and on about all of the different meanings, but for now, it just means, “Keep Inspiring Dreams”. This phrase is hidden behind the pseudonym, “KiD”, a way of reminding myself of all my childhood dreams, and to keep my youthfulness.

When we are young, we dream big. Nothing is impossible, and everything is within arms reach. We aspire to be presidents, astronauts, doctors, and professional athletes. But the older we get, the more we’re told about how unrealistic our dreams are. That we should settle for something more realistic, and choose the safe route.

But before I go on, let’s break down what a dream actually is. Chapter 12 of one of my favorite books, Leading With Confidence, talks about dreaming. It explains to us that your dream or vision is simply your view of what life would be like if certain needs were met. You are a visionary if you can see that difference.

When we look at a dream from this point of view, there’s no reason that it should be unrealistic. If your needs were met, the life that you would live is considered a dream. In America, if you have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, you’re living the “American Dream”. Whatever your dreams may be, here are some questions to ask yourself to help determine what your dream may be.

What goal or cause or dream do you believe in deeply enough to die for?

What single need do you care most about today?

What are you uniquely equipped and positioned to accomplish?

I’m going to answer these questions as it relates to what I’m doing now in life. A year ago I gave my life to a dream that wasn’t mine. Sometimes in life, you have to join something bigger than you. For me, that was Mesh++.

Bringing internet to emerging markets would be a dream come true. There’s no achievement gap, but an access gap. If underrepresented groups had access to information, it would increase the educational, and socio-economic status of these groups.

Knowledge is power. The information that we consume on a daily base, form our thoughts, opinions, and worldly outlook. Educational and economic empowerment, in this day and age, happens through Internet-enabled devices. Getting this information out is up to those in the unique position to do so.

At Mesh++, I have a unique opportunity to educate others about this problem, as well as partner with those who want to be a part of the solution. Even domestically, there are still areas that have not been penetrated with the internet. Technology has drastically changed my life. It is a powerful tool, a tool that I hope to help place in the hands of people who need it most.

We will be driving from Chicago, Illinois to San Francisco, California this week to keep chasing this dream. We have been securing partners, advisors, and investors that believe in our vision. A vision of providing the access to information for the thousands of people who are without.

What is your dream or vision for a better world? Comment below and feel free to contact me to see how I can help!

Building a Personal Advisory Board

My New Year resolution is to take time every Sunday evening for a year straight and write my thoughts down. I got this idea from Brad Keywell, Founder, and CEO at Uptake. Uptake hails as the fastest (American) company to reach a $2 billion valuation. I had the pleasure of meeting with Brad late last year, and our conversation was filled with sparks. One takeaway was he wrote an email to his staff every Sunday for two years straight. One day I’ll detail how that interaction came about and went, but for now, I’ll keep it shallow. Mainly because I want his permission before disclosing some things, but also because I’m sure this will build some suspense and force you to keep reading my boring posts.

Anyways, what I want to talk about is building a board of advisors, for yourself. At Mesh++, we are currently in the process of developing our organizational structure. This involves adding people to our board of directors, our team, as well as advisory board members. But before I even gotten to the point of doing this for the company, I had to do this for myself. Building a company is hard, but so is life. If you can bring people on board to make the process easier, do so immediately. Never be above asking for help, and definitely never be above receiving it.

But how do you even go about recruiting advisors? Simple, ask for help. I am a firm believer that people genuinely want to help. If you’re ambitious, focused, and hard-working, people will want to help you. The hard part is understanding where you need help. Sometimes we need advisors for our financial life, other times we need them for our spiritual life. This can even be the same person, but it begins with knowing what you need, and what they can offer.

It took me a long time and many mistakes to find a mentor. I didn’t have one until 2015/16. It’s not because there was a world shortage of mentors in the world, but because I was so sure that I had everything under control. I didn’t need any help at all. Looking back, I’d probably be in a much better place if I had a mentor before. There are so many obstacles ahead of us that we are blind to, that mentors can expose to us. My mentor always tells me that he isn’t here to tell me what to do or not to do but to share his experiences so that I can make my own informed and educated decisions. That’s power.

I now have a pretty solid team of mentors that I feel are as invested in my future as I am. Well, not as much as I am, but that gives you a glimpse of how much they care. They’re very active in my life and stand by me through the highs and lows. A good mentor/advisor doesn’t do it for anything in return, but you must show appreciation to these people. Actively seek them out on your career path, but especially as you navigate your way through life. Even if you don’t think someone is the right person to be a mentor, you never know who they can recommend or refer to you. This is why you should begin by simply asking for help. Closed mouths don’t get fed.

Make 2018 the year you actively seek the people who will embark on this journey with you. Whether that’s getting a degree, building a billion-dollar company, or starting a family. It helps tremendously to consult those that have done it before.

Well, the Saints are playing the Panthers right now so I’m going back to enjoying my football Sunday. A month from now and football will be over, but I have a special surprise for you guys! My goal is to do this for 51 more weeks, that’s my promise.

As always:

Keep Inspiring Dreams,

Thank you.

Light: Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

~Marianne Williamson

I’ll be the first to admit that I used to be afraid of showcasing my gifts. The easiest thing to do would be to call it humility. The honest thing to do would be to call it fear. See for me, being humble wasn’t difficult. Especially being surrounded by so many talented people, humilty is like second nature. What is not second nature, is “…shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” That’s just being afraid you just might be as good as you think you are.

It’s a weird thing to consider. Making yourself small, so others can feel big. Being afraid of actually being talented. It seems like an insignificant thing to do. The danger that lies in this, is other people will begin to do your job for you. They’ll start putting you down, to lift themselves up. They’ll begin to ask, “who do you think you are?” They’ll begin to feel threatened by your light. Because they never thought that you’d surpass them, the moment you begin to climb up, they begin to tear you down.

I don’t think anyone wakes up saying, “I’m going to make myself small today”. Or even wanting to put others down. I think school plays a huge role in this. School creates the first social classes we experience as young people. You have your “AP/Honors/Gifted” elites. Your “Average Student” middle class. And unfortunately, the “Special Needs” or “Learning Disabled” doesn’t escape this class-ism either.

The one thing that leveled the playing field for me, was sports. This was the only time I got to be around other students. This gave me a unique perspective on how praise works. We genuinely give praise to others for being good at what we are not. Example: my athletic friends gave me props for getting it done in the classroom, and my academic friends gave me praise for making plays on Friday nights.

Neither would really ever praise me in the proper domain though. My academic friends would be highly competitive about tests, grades and etc. My athletic friends would tell me there’s no way I’d become a D1 athlete. Everywhere I went, the skills that were highlighted the most were the ones that didn’t directly compete with the skills of those around me.

This wasn’t by design though, this was how the educational system raised me. I had to give others a chance to raise their hand. I might of been the best reader, but we had to give others a chance to contribute as well. They called it, “participation points. Well, “participation points” lead to participation trophies, and I’m not a big fan of either.

It gave me this false impression that I had to be good at everything. What’s ironic is that after being exposed to so many different things, you’re then told you have to pick one. One topic, one career path, and one job to do for the rest of your life. After receiving such a general and broad education, now all of a sudden you need to specialize.

This is why the poem above means so much to me. The entire time of this process, I wish I would’ve just focused on my gifts, and let my light shine as bright as possible. Instead of playing down for others to shine, I would’ve played up to give others the confidence to shine. It might make others insecure, but that’s not something you can work on for them. The rest will feel empowered by it. I started letting my light shine a couple of years ago, and it’s taken me very far.

I sat down with a buddy of mine about a week before I went to China, and he couldn’t believe how real self-doubt was for me. Regardless of my accomplishments, there was always this feeling of being incomplete, inadequate if you would. But I could tell by that conversation alone, it was liberating for him. To know that he’s not alone. That his deepest fear, was also mine. That the “impostor syndrome”, runs rampant in all of us.

On this Christmas, the greatest gift you can give to others, is the light you have within. Whatever it is, wherever it points, follow it. It doesn’t matter if it makes people uncomfortable. It’ll actually act as a repellent for those who hate, and an attraction for those who love. The truth is, there is enough darkness in the world for all of our lights to shine. It can’t just be one of us, but all of us.

If you struggle with letting your light shine, just remember:

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭KJV‬‬