Hope

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8 years ago I found myself homeless living in a Nissan Pathfinder with my wife and 3 week old daughter. The following year my wife was diagnosed with cancer. After 4 years of battling it she died at 36 years old and I was widowed with a 4 year old daughter and $150,000 worth of debt. Today, along with being able to run an amazing company with some of the best people in the world, I get to speak about overcoming adversity to groups of entrepreneurs. I believe the one thing that you cannot go void of during rough times is hope. As long as someone continues to have hope then they'll never stop fighting for the brighter days to come. 

No Excuses

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I landed my first deal in the hospital two minutes after I finished the hospice paperwork for my wife. She died the next day. I was sitting at the head of the hospital bed looking at her as she laid unconscious after I made the gut-wrenching decision to let her die. Then my phone rings and my client wants to start my consultants the next week. At that point there was so much going on I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have my corporate insurance, general liability, workers’ compensation, corporate payroll, background checks or anything I needed to deliver the consultants. But I did it anyway. I was in the hospital room of my dying wife making job offers, negotiating salaries, finalizing client contracts and coordinating start times. As well as calling family and friends to say goodbye, starting funeral arrangements and coordinating care and schooling for our daughter. Again, two minutes after I decided to let my wife die. 3 years later my company @identified_talentwas one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. In this picture I’m conducting business nationally with only an iPad and an internet connection. I think about my story when I listen to people give me excuses why they can’t accomplish their goals. I hear everything from lack of resources to not having enough time because of family obligations. Honestly, bullshit to all of it. In no way am I better or brighter than anyone else. The only difference is I’m not lazy and I believe my life is worth it. Quit making excuses. 

“I appreciate you”

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This picture is of my late wife, Desiree after she was admitted into the hospital for excruciating pain from battling cancer. She was talking to our daughter Chloe because she was scared when the ambulance took her mommy away.

There was a time when I was building my business Desiree told me she felt like she’s just a mom battling cancer and taking care of a young child while I’m a businessman negotiating deals at fancy restaurants with leaders of companies. She felt small and felt she didn’t amount to much. She felt that she’d never make an impact to anyone’s life because she was just a mom.

What Desiree didn’t realize was her strength, grace and positivity during her 4.5 year battle with cancer moved thousands of hearts. There were over 1000 people that attend her funeral and organizations built in her honor. She changed my heart forever and created my purpose to make sure everyone that will listen to me lives their life to the fullest. My promised to Desiree was her daughter might not really know who she was but I’ll ensure she’ll always see the legacy she left behind.

My point is Desiree wasn’t just a mom. She was a hero and a beacon of hope to those that witnessed her strength and humility. To the many moms out there that might feel the same way, I want you to know that you’re more than enough. That your work is special and your impact is deep. And to the dads, please don’t ever leave these incredible moms of ours void of the simple words of, “I appreciate you”.

Taking Control of My Life

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When we were pregnant with Chloe we both lost our jobs during the “Great Recession”. We were forced to go on government insurance. While at the Medi-Cal office @desireedavid started to sob uncontrollably muttering, “I don’t want to be here. Our baby deserves better.” During the majority of the pregnancy we had no work. For money, I drove all over Southern California buying and selling bike parts and accessories on Craig’s List. Desiree finally got a job as a new nurse when she was 6 months pregnant. She worked graveyard in the ghetto at a skilled nursing facility. She didn’t get insurance at that job so she worked part time as a teller at a bank for medical insurance. She would work 11pm-7am as a nurse then 8am-1pm at the bank all the way up to the day she gave birth. When Chloe was born Desiree took a week off then had to go back to immediately to continue our insurance. I finally found temp work but it wasn’t enough to pay all our bills. 3 weeks after Chloe was born our house was foreclosed on and we were homeless. This all took place a year before Desiree was diagnosed with cancer the first time.
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This morning I was thinking about this and the moment I made the decision to take control of my life. I know life isn’t fair but that doesn’t justify us to go victim to it. I don’t blame myself for the adversities in my life but I do blame myself for not being prepared. Everyday I speak with someone that if one unforeseen event happens to them their lives would be completely upside down. Yet they still do nothing about it in favor of being comfortable or having some perceived notion of stability. Let’s get this straight, there is nothing in the world that’s stable. Everything is either growing or decaying and there’s no growing in comfort and stability. No one can completely control life but we can control our readiness to adversity and the outcome after it. I’ve been through hell and it sucks. I don’t know if this world will make me do it again but this time it’s going to have a fight on it hands. Take control and make your life worth it. You deserve it.

Office Wall Art

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I wasn’t the smartest kid growing up. In fact I got picked on a lot because I was slow to read and write. I came from a different country not speaking English. I remember when I was in 3rd grade my reading skills were so poor they sat me with the 1st grade students during reading lessons. I was also the chubby kid in class that had to wear the “husky” pants. The other kids thought it was fun to call me fat and stupid. It caused me to be really self conscious and shy throughout my schooling. The other day I hung this award on our office wall for being one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. I guess stupid fat kids can grow up to do cool things.

Chloe's Adoption

This is a very special day for our family. My wife, Kathie officially adopts my daughter, Chloe. The video summarizes the special day. 8/11/2017 

Paul David's Story - BFB 7% Campaign

Paul David’s wife, Desiree David was diagnosed with breast cancer at 30 years old in 2010. Desiree represents the 7% of women who are too often overlooked by our healthcare system. Paul represents a co-survivor, husband, that is impacted by breast cancer. This moving story opens up a new perspective on what it’s like to be a loved one affected by this disease.

 

Why the Average Income of an Ironman Triathlon Participant is a Quarter of Million a Year

I recently read an article in the New York Times, When Amateur Ironmen Pay for the Elite Treatment. In the article it stated that average income for all amateur triathletes is $126,000/yr according to USA Triathlon, the largest multisport organization in the world. But not all triathlons are the same. There's only one that when you finish participants permanently tattoo themselves with the logo of the event, the M-Dot. This triathlon is the Ironman. It's 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running that will punish every fiber of your body. It's the king of the triathlons and those that successfully cross the finish line are crowned the name, "Ironman". World Triathlon Group, the organizers of the Ironman races, conducted a survey in 2015 on this subset of triathletes and found that their average income is double the average of the general triathlon participants at $247,000/yr. 

The distance of the Ironman is what sets it apart from the rest. It's composed of a 2.4 mile swim then a 112 mile bike finished off by a 26.2 mile run, which is a full marathon. All of this needs to be completed within 17 hours. I live in Southern California so I'll give you the following example. Start in San Diego by swimming around in the ocean for 2.4 miles. Get out, jump on bike and then ride it to Long Beach. Then drop your bike off and run to Hollywood. That's the Ironman. 

This shear craziness isn't cheap either. Just the entrance fee for the race is over $800. Then you need all the gear which can cost as much as a Honda Civic. However, where you will spend the most is your time. I've done two full Ironmans. One in Tempe, Arizona and the other in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. My weekly training, including planning and preparation, was anywhere from 12-24 hours a week. That revolved around a full-time job, a toddler and a wife battling terminal cancer. The motto of Ironman is, "Anything is Possible", and when you become a member of this club it becomes hard to look at yourself again and say, I can't. 

Each achievement is spectacular by themselves but how can one individual achieve such high levels of success in different areas of their lives? The biggest standout reason is these individual's mindset. They think in ways that sets them apart. I believe that you can have all the tools and technics to achieve success but unless you have the mindset to execute them they're worthless. There are five ways Ironman triathletes think that make them stand out.

1) Improvement - Ironman triathletes are obsessed with improvement. From workout to workout they're always looking for incremental improvement. Faster times, improved heart rate performance, better power output, etc. They educate themselves and research ways to get better. They hire coaches and join teams to establish accountability, mentorship and synergy. Their goal isn't anything else but to be the best possible version of themselves.

2) Efficiency - Some people call this time management. I don't like that phrase because no one can manage time. We all have 24 hours in a day. We can only manage the use of our time. Ironman triathletes are ultra efficient. They all have various obligations that need to be fulfilled before their Ironman hobby. So, every minute of their time is maximized.

3) Fortitude - Fortitude is strength of mind that enables a person to overcome challenge, pain or adversity with courage. When you hear the phrase, "mind over matter" it's fortitude that they are speaking of. The Ironman or any challenging situation or endeavor requires us to endure through challenges. It's our mental strength that helps us push through.  

4) Analytical - Cadence, power, wattage, heart rate, and Vo2 are just some of the vernacular of an Ironman. It's the data they use to understand how their body is performing. When a triathlete signs up for a particular Ironman course they incorporate their training specifically for that course. They account for the temperatures during the swim, bike and run. The climate of the region and the elevation changes of the course. Very little is not scrutinized and prepared for. With any endeavor or goal there's risk involved. Through their analysis and preparation they can mitigate potential risks to maximize success. 

5) Discipline - Any success in life that didn't involve discipline is called luck. Getting up before the majority of the human population to punish yourself with 2-3 hour workouts is never fun. 99.9% of the time you're questioning why the hell are you doing it. The answer is the achievement of the goal. However, they know the real value isn't in the achievement of the goal, but the person they need to become to achieve it.

The same mindset that these individuals use to be successful in their profession and in the sport of triathlon is completely interchangeable to any goals we have. Success will always live in the mind first and it's our ability to use this mindset as the fuel to create massive action towards your goals.    

You May Never Look at Facebook Memories the Same Again

Go to  #snapchat  and follow this dude. He's funny as hell and you'll get some valuable career and recruiting advice too! snapchat: paulmd26

Go to #snapchat and follow this dude. He's funny as hell and you'll get some valuable career and recruiting advice too! snapchat: paulmd26

A few days ago this popped up on my Facebook Memories. Ever since this function appeared on Facebook I liked using it to gauge my progression. My wife, Kathie, posted this a year ago because I wanted to start using social media to give career tips. I spent most of my focus running my staffing company, Identified Talent Solutions, and I wanted to give career tips as a hobby. I was very proud of my company. I started it during the hardest time of my life - the death of my wife, Desiree. I was in corporate recruiting for over a decade but I've never done agency staffing. I found out quickly that, with the exception of the actual recruiting function, the two are nothing alike. So not only did I have to learn to run a business, I had to learn a new industry.

Identified has grown 1100% in three years making it a contender for an award as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. We'll find out mid-July so cross your fingers for us. Since the recent success of the company people have been asking me what makes us different and helps us stand out in a highly competitive industry. I didn't know much about the industry so I didn't know how competitive it was. Being ignorant of that was probably a good thing because I might have been swayed in another direction. When I started Identified I tried everything and used every solution that popped in my head. I talked to everyone I could provide a service to and I sought advice from as many people who were willing to give it to me. I never once focused on how competitive the industry was, rather, I focused on how I could be of better service to these people's lives. After some time, I found making an impact on others became so much more rewarding than just closing a deal. The beauty of progression is it challenges you and sets you up for failures and mistakes. The reward is that you grow and you discover this awesome version of yourself that you never knew existed.  

"A goal is just a dream without action"

Goals are one thing, progression is another. You can't aimlessly float with the current and expect to get to your destination. If you do, expect yourself to land where ever it takes you. You need to constantly monitor your progress to see if you're improving and how far you've come.

Here's the 5 things that help me keep progressing:

1)     Having a solution oriented mindset - You will always have problems or challenges but there's always solutions for them. 

2)    The ability to influence - You will need others and there's no greater way to make friends and build influence than to start off by caring for the person. As the saying goes, "People don't care how much you know, unless they know how much you care." 

3)    Learning comes mostly from mistakes and not success - As adults we've learned we get in trouble from making mistakes. We need to retrain our mind to embrace them because no success will come without mistakes. If babies were scared to make mistakes then we'd all be crawling instead of walking.    

4)    Stay ignorant to what's not possible - I look at it this way, if you're going to criticize me, put me down or tell me it's not possible, then I'll prove it and you can read about it in the news. By the way, have you read the Inc. Magazine article about me? (Mic drop... Single finger peace sign, haters) People don't believe things are possible until they're possible. So, just go make possible happen.   

5)    Avoid negativity at all cost - Let's face it, no one wants to be stuck next to the party pooper. It's like having a leech suck on your soul. Imagine going to a night club and everyone is pissed off and complaining. Guess how much fun you're going to have there. Negativity is the killer of EVERYTHING.


Facebook Memories help me reflect on the past but it also helps me look towards the future. Ten years ago my life was drastically different. I've always had a problem with follow through and commitment. Since then, I've progressed to where my follow through and commitment have become some of my strongest traits. Until a few years ago I didn't realize I also had a problem with patience. My late wife, Desiree, would spend the majority of time with our daughter, Chloe, while I was working. I was more of a playmate to her than anything else. It wasn't until Desiree died and I became a single dad that I knew there was a problem. Chloe was 4 years old and I treated her like an adult. I would become incredibly impatient and frustrated with her to the point she started to become closed off and introverted. It wasn't until my now wife, Kathie, confronted me and said, she's just a little girl and you can't treat her that way. I had to change drastically and find a way to improve my patience. I found what helped was writing my thoughts down and reflecting on them instead of immediately reacting. I became more and more patient as I continued to write because I had to fully conceptualize my thoughts. I needed to concentrate and settle my mind to remain focused. It was such a painful process of discipline but it became incredibly rewarding as I continued to progress.  

During this year long process of giving career tips through social media, my Instagram account has grown to almost 9000 followers. I originally started with Snapchat but I found Instagram to be more my medium. And what began as career tips has evolved to life quotes. Now I'm starting to blog and make my writings public. I was interviewed recently and asked what truly makes me excited and happy. The only response that I can give with utmost conviction was, I really enjoy seeing people succeed. Then she said, no one can be that unconditional so what really makes you excited and happy? I said, I'm not being unconditional. In fact, I'm being incredibly selfish. I like seeing people succeed because those are the people I want around me. It's what raises the vibration of my external environment. I don't want people around me that are constantly negative and complaining. Those kind of people don't help anything but themselves.  

So here I am a year later in a full blown process of reinvention. Through progression I've uncovered this love for writing and seeing others succeed. Do I know how to exactly combine those two? No, but I didn't know how to start a staffing company either and look where that's at. 

Keep moving you guys! Progress is the mother of greatness.


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How This Entrepreneur Turned a Passion Into a $2 Million Business After the Death of His Wife

Originally published in Inc. Magazine: How This Entrepreneur Turned a Passion Into a $2 Million Business After the Death of His Wife 
By Daniella Whyte

Starting a business is challenging and risky at the same time but launching it while your spouse is dying is even worse.

Paul David spent over a decade working for a company that recruited top talent for businesses. He had first-hand knowledge on ways to recruit for the corporate world and always wanted to start such a business.

It wasn't until his wife was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer that he actually decided to enter the startup world.

David needed a business that gave him the liberty to be with his family and build more close relationships with people. In 2013, he launched Identified Talent Solutions in Irvine, California, which was aimed at connecting top talent with companies and vice versa. The move allowed him to travel less and take care of his wife.

After four months, his business was able to help him pay his wife's medical bills that were starting to pile up. Within three years, his business was thriving: At the end of 2016 and with only four employees, the business closed with $2.1 million.

His business grew and expanded, but his wife succumbed to the cancer. Her death triggered a new passion in him for helping people reach their full potential in life, he says.

David's approach to business was very different from what he had seen. He focused on the people rather than the product or service. He puts it this way: "We forget sometimes that it's not the product or service that makes a company successful; it's the people."

For entrepreneurs and small business owners like him, he advises five ways to help employees reach their full potential:

1. Stay humble

No matter how successful you become stay humble. Don't let success get into your head.
Success and failure are not permanent. "It's always a continuous work in progress," David says.
People play a very big role in your company even more than the products and services. Aim for their satisfaction no matter how successful the company turns out to be.

2. Keep learning

Becoming a better business owner requires continuously gaining knowledge. "There's never enough learning that one can do," David says. Keep reading books, listen to podcasts, and connect with other entrepreneurs. Knowledge acted upon can change your business in a major way.

3. Make people first

Businesses are built by people and for people. "The greatest companies in the world didn't get there just by products or services," David reminds us. "People were involved and because of that, you have to do your best to take care of them." Whether you are dealing with customers or clients, it is important to respect them and treat them well.

4. Embrace failure

Failure often comes alongside success. "Look at failure as an opportunity to understand what didn't work and to improve," David adds. Failure should be an opportunity for you to learn and understand more. In fact, failure helps you identify areas you need to improve on.

5. Have fun

Success isn't just money. David reminds us that although work can be hard, "if you're having fun, then that builds excitement, energy, optimism, and creativity." Choosing a business that you enjoy is something you should consider. Employees tend to be more productive when they have fun at work. The bottom line is, always make your business stand out from others. Provide value to the people you serve. Believe in yourself and don't be afraid of failure.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com. PUBLISHED ON: MAR 22, 2017

Characteristics of 5 Mothers That Will Help You Live a Successful and Fulfilled Life

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When I think of success I don't purely think about monetary success. I believe the definition of success is subjective. I also believe success is more attributed to achievement. The achievement of raising loving children, building a sustaining business or a fitness goal. But success doesn't always equate to fulfillment. For example, I built a very prosperous business and while I believe it was very rewarding something left me unfulfilled. But why? Why does it seem like fulfillment is dependent on success but success is independent of fulfillment?

I carried my dilemma into this past Mother's Day and I was thinking why do mothers seem so fulfilled when they feel successful as mothers? Why are they beaming with pride when they see the success of their children? First thing that came to mind was the love and sacrifice they give to their children. But how does this love and sacrifice translate into clear characteristics that would make them successful and at the same time fulfilled? If I can determine those characteristics I could easily transfer them to other aspects of my life.

Being a recruiter for over a decade I'm always looking for potential employees that are not only qualified through experience, but also qualified through their characteristics. I always found it amazing how much mothers gave of themselves in such a selfless way. They ask nothing in return but the wellbeing and happiness of their children. I have seen hundreds of resumes from mothers that left their careers to raise their children. Many of these mothers were highly educated and experienced prior to leaving the workforce. They were extremely qualified based on their professional and educational experience but because the experience wasn't current they were usually passed over for opportunities. In recruiting, we always talk about the intangible characteristics of potential employees being as, or even more so, important as their hard skills. When we describe highly successful people we don't say that they are masters at pivot tables or prodigies at having ten years of relevant experience with high growth international companies. Instead, we describe their characteristics like patience, commitment, faith, purpose and courage. But aren't mothers the best examples of those characteristics?

After all this was circulating in my head I started my investigation. I chose five mothers that I know extremely well. Each mother had a unique situation that made them different from each other but they were all successful and fulfilled in their roles as mothers. Here are their situations; one had a child that died, one adopted a child, one watched her child struggle with the pain of losing their spouse, one fled from her country during war with her husband and children and one was dying. I know these mothers well because one birth me, two I married, and two I became their son.

Patience - My Mother, Maria: With everything in life seeming like it can be obtained from an app on a phone, it gets hard to be patient. We're in an instant gratification and on-demand culture. However, there are still things in life that can't be achieved at a push of a button and success is one of them. I am what my mother affectionately calls, her greatest lesson of patience. She told my first and second wife that once you take him there's no returns or exchanges. I am fiercely opinionated and incredibly stubborn. It's hard to teach me anything unless I figure it out on my own. Having a son like me required tremendous patience because I'm the one that always got in trouble. You tell me not to touch the pot of boiling hot water, I'm probably going to touch it to see why not. I'm thankful that after all these years I never put my mother in the mad house. My first wife, Desiree, spent almost five years battling cancer until she finally succumb to it. I knew my mother's heart wept for me because she couldn't do anything to take away the pain. She couldn't stop the growth of my bitterness or prevent me from becoming self-destructive. She knew it would be useless to try to fix things for me because I needed to go through the process of learning it myself. However, she did know that the same bullheadedness that would often get me in trouble would bring me back. She knew that I would be stronger and ready to fight to put my course back in the right direction. Like all mothers their children's pain becomes their own and for mine she had to endure the pain with patience. To become successful, it's more than just hard work, it's also patience. Patience to let all that hard work grow and blossom without being discouraged and patience to work through the failures and disappointments while keeping the same vigor to succeed.

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Commitment - My Second Wife's Mother, Mary: Commitment is such a loosely thrown around word in this day. It seems like commitment means more like a vow with an escape clause that can be executed when things become too inconvenient. In any endeavor, there can't be continued success without commitment. I said "continued" because we all can get lucky sometimes. Mary, along with her husband and 4 children settled in the United States after escaping the Vietnam War. Prior to the war they resided in the rural mountains of Laos as a farming community known as the Hmong people. When the war broke out they provided aid and assistance to the US Military. When Laos was invaded by Vietnamese forces their community was certain to be executed for aiding the US. They were evacuated by the US government under heavy conflict. Many perished and those that escaped found themselves ripped from everything they have ever known. The Hmong were a farming and bartering community and the US was modern and industrialized. Mary, her husband and four children, one born just days before the evacuation, found themselves in world that was nothing like their home. 40 years later they had made an incredible life for themselves. They went on and had two more children. My second wife, Kathie, being their sixth. How, under these circumstances, can one achieve this? It's the commitment to press on under any circumstances. It's understanding that a commitment isn't something that can be broken. It's not just words or ink on a document that can be dissolved. Commitment is the absolute bond with yourself to make your choice work out not matter what. It's the same with any endeavor to achieve true success.

Faith - My First Wife's Mother, Andrea: The definition of faith is the firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Out of all the characteristics this might be the hardest for me to make sense of - quite simply because you can't. It's the one that requires the most surrender from ourselves to trust that something bigger out there has a plan for us. When my first wife, Desiree, was battling cancer there was an unyielding sense of faith that came from Andrea. It is a complete test of faith to see the child that you raised, loved and sacrificed for go through years of anguish only to painfully die at 36 and leave behind a 4 year old daughter. Desiree was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 31 shortly before our daughter's first birthday. Desiree went through surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments for almost a year. A year later she was diagnosed again but this time it was terminal. After the second diagnosis, my faith in everything was completely void. I didn't have faith in people, life or some greater purpose I was supposed to uncover because of all this. But Andrea did. She believed that in all this unfairness and suffering there was some plan. Something that she couldn't understand or see but it would be right in the end. In my state of mind, at that time, I couldn't see passed the facts and what was my reality. But the mere way that I'm disseminating this story to you through the internet is fact enough that everything was created from faith - the firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Someone had to believe in the possibility of the internet before it was created. So, to create any kind of success in our lives we need to see beyond what's in front of us. We need to believe that we were created to do something to fulfill our life's purpose and no matter what life throws at us we hold steadfast in that pursuit.

Purpose - My Second Wife, Kathie: So, here's where success and fulfillment converge. Purpose is the bridge that connects success to fulfillment. People ask me all the time how do I find my purpose? I usually respond, you look for it. There's no right answer and there's no correct how-to, you just look for it. The problem with people not finding it is that they don't look for it or they give up. They settle for the job that pays their bills or they settle for a relationship because it's comfortable. What will help to find your purpose is utilizing the last three characteristics. You must have faith that you have a purpose, the commitment to never give up on finding that purpose and the patience to wait for it. I've known Kathie for over a decade. Kathie was my manager at a company we both worked for. She's a big reason why I became a recruiter and started my own company. Back when she was my manager and I was working in sales, she recommended I be the recruiter for the company. She wrote my recommendation for business school and the rest was history. Throughout my years of marriage, she remained single. I found that interesting and I always questioned her thought process about it. However, she gave me the same answer every time I asked her, "I'm not going to settle for something that I don't feel fulfilled with." I would like to say that her purpose was me when our relationship turned from platonic to romantic, but that would probably be a lie. Our relationship is wonderful and amazing but it wasn't her purpose - my daughter, Chloe, was. Desiree asked me to find someone that would love Chloe as her own and from the moment Chloe and Kathie met I knew she was the one that would. Kathie was single with no children. How was she supposed to suddenly adjust to a relationship with me as a widower and help raise my daughter? And why would you even want to get involved with all that baggage. When you find purpose, it seems like it's no longer your strength that's carrying you. Something deep inside and high above is blowing wind in your sails. Something unexplainable tells you it is right. Kathie told me early on in our relationship that Desiree didn't have a choice to leave Chloe, but she does. And as long as Kathie had the choice, Chloe deserved a mom. Kathie never envisioned her life to look like this. She could have taken the easier route but as she said, "I'm not going to settle for something that I don't feel fulfilled with."

Courage - My First Wife, Desiree: Nothing great in the world can ever be done without courage. Courage is what allows us to fight against all odds. It allows us to face adversity and stand strong amidst criticism and opposition. It's what gets us through the darkest times when we feel most alone. December 14th, 2012 is when Desiree received the call - 6 to 8 months to live. She looked at me with tears streaming down her face and said, "Do you think Chloe will remember me?" Desiree was facing death with the understanding that she will not be able to fulfill a life with the family she loved so much. She'll never experience her child's first day of kindergarten, her high school graduation, her first heartbreak, her wedding vows or the birth of a grandchild. How do you realize all those things and not completely give up? How do you continue to give when life has robbed you from everything you have? I have never witnessed such courage as I did with Desiree during her years of battling cancer. It was moving and inspiring and yet humbling. I think we forget sometimes that our time is limited. We will all die and there's no escape from it. But we labor through our lives with things that are unfulfilling as though our life's timer will never end and we act as though we are guaranteed endless amounts of tomorrows. There's something about knowing you're dying that fuels the urgency to fulfill your life and leave it with no regrets. For Desiree, it was to spend every moment with Chloe. To bask in the beauty of motherhood and ruthlessly inhale all that life had to offer. That kind of life, regardless of how abbreviated it was, is all that she needed. She would say, let me experience one day of absolute perfection and I'll trade it for decades of emptiness. Having the courage to do what fulfilled her gave her life even with the knowledge of her upcoming death. It removed her fears and kept her focused on enjoying the present. She never viewed life for what had been taken from her but instead what she can add back. While she was with us she advocated for other young mothers battling cancer. She wanted to use her life, her struggles, her fears and her hopes to help ease the pain or inspire others in her situation. When she died there were over a thousand people that attended her funeral. Many never met her personally but all of them were touched and moved by her life. A charity was formed from her inspiration that helps hundreds in her similar situation. When Desiree was alive she use to tell me she wasn't anything special. She was just a mom and she wishes she could have done more. But if that's all she could do, she'd be the best at it. When we realize our purpose, and have the courage to pursue it it's not just ourselves that we move - we move those around us as well. 

When I look at the 5 characteristics, patience, commitment, faith, purpose and courage it paints an incredible road map. A road map not only to success, but to fulfillment. These characteristics are in no means step by step instructions. It's just a path and everyone's experience on the path will be different but the destination will be the same. There's no amount of preparation that will ever make you truly ready to be a mother. Even with multiple children the challenges are different. As with these mothers their situations were all unique, but because it's their children the option of giving up wasn't available. Their ability to dig deep within and search far outside themselves while surrounded by fear and uncertainty is what they needed to do for their children. When you're going through difficult times it's hard to realize what the purpose of it is. You're just trying to get through it. But when you do and the dust settles you realize you've grown as a person. It's the struggle that make you stronger and it's wisdom that's produced from suffering. From an outside perspective, my belief is there is no role in the world that provides more heartache and joy than being a mother, but at the same time it's one of the most fulfilling roles. I've realized by examining the lives of these mothers it was not in the success itself that fulfilled them, it was in their journey to become the mothers they needed to be. If we can take those experiences and characteristics and translate them into our lives, then I think we can all imagine how truly successful and fulfilled we can become. 

5 Ways to Make Your Job Stable

Actually, there's no way to make any job stable. But, we can still do something about it.

“I’m looking for an opportunity that’s stable and provides me room to grow.” I’m sure I’m not the only recruiter or hiring manager that has heard this at least a million times over their career. If you're a job seeker, please stop using this. Just erase it from your mind completely because there is no such thing as stable employment. Also, a company is not going to provide you anything except an environment to work in. Whether or not you grow is your choice.

The stable job is the elephant in the room. Well, it’s not really an elephant. It’s like a whale. Two of them dancing and waving around pom poms. I would argue that there's no such thing as a stable job. In fact, I would also argue that there's nothing in the world that's stable. Don't believe me? Have you or someone you know been laid off? Chances are you'll answer yes.

In our personal lives many of us are very proactive in preparing for the changes and instability life throws at us. We have all sorts of insurance because we know unexpected things can happen. However, in our professional lives we're not so proactive. We bring a lot of our skills and abilities to the companies we work for. When we do a good job we get recognized and promoted within the company. But, when market or technological factors affect the company we sometimes lose our jobs. Know that your career isn't comprised of just a job at one company. It's comprised of the skills and abilities that you can provide to many different companies. Many of us work so hard to grow within a company and that comes with many great rewards. However, if for some reason you're no longer with the company all the skills and abilities you have won't mean anything unless you can provide it to another company,

In an Inc. Magazine article written by J.T. O'Donnell called "In the Next Recession,Technology Won't Save Our Careers (But, The Right Technique Could)" she writes every job is temporary, so you should act accordingly. As a business owner, I'm always looking for multiple opportunities because I can't rely on just one to fuel the business. What's alarming to me is that most employees don't take the same approach. Their "stability" lays in the one company they work for. Heaven forbid that stability is taken and they were not prepared. Just like we do in other aspects of life, start increasing your career stability before you need it.

Here's 5 ways on how to do that:

  1. Expand Your Network Let's face it, while applying for a job online isn't as hard as winning the lotto, it's getting pretty close. The chances are drastically higher your resume goes to the top of the stack and to the right person if you know someone in the company that can get it there.
     
  2. Recruiters Are Your Friends Yes, we could be annoying because we're consistently offering you job opportunities. The horror. However, when you need us we're all of a sudden your best friends. Relationships with recruiters, if you need a job or not, are important. They can keep you up to date on employment trends or salary averages. Help you maintain resumes and professional online profiles. They deal with careers all day long and if you want to know about yours its probably a good idea to make friends with them.
     
  3. Stop Looking for Stability Instead of looking for stability, look for improvement. We already determined there's no true stability. However, there is demand. The more you improve yourself and sharpen your skills to meet employment trends the more likely you'll stay relevant and find new work when you need it.
     
  4. Your Online Brand Do you think employers are only looking at a resumes? We're in an age that we spend more time online than we do with just about anything else. If you think that sharing your weekly "Case of the Mondays" post or nightly partying snaps don't affect what people think of your then you're wrong. Whatever you put online for people to see is what you are branding about yourself. While no one can tell you what you should post, no one can tell anyone what to think about it. Including potential and future employers.
     
  5. Help Someone We're not all recruiters but we don't have to be to help someone find a job. It can be as simple as looking at your own company's opportunities and seeing if something fits them. This type of benevolence goes along way if you ever find yourself in the same spot. And if it doesn't, know you did the right thing and that should be reward enough.

The job market is continuing to change rapidly and we need to understand that our employment at a company isn't going to last forever. Be proactive in fostering future opportunities and continuously improve yourself to stay in demand.