Advice


It’s been a long, long time (OK….it’s been an eternity) since I last took the time to blog. I’m still not exactly sure if I’m going to keep this up, but here’s what has been going on lately.

The last few months have been nothing short of a HUGE TRANSITION. Just about everything I knew as “normal” one year ago has now changed. Here is the short list (in no particular order) – new job, new house, new city, new child, new church (sorta)…and on and one and on. I’m sure you will eventually hear about them all in one way or another. I’m tired just thinking about it, but I can tell you that I learned more about life in the last 6 months than I probably ever have before. God’s been faithful through it all and we are still loving life and enjoying every moment. At the advice of a good friend, I took the time to journal about this transition and I am going to share some of it with you, in the hope that it may inspire someone.

Let me know if you are still out there (leave me a comment)….and I will try to be more consistent with my posts. As I re-enter the blogasphere, I’m probably going to share a little less legal theory, a little more personal/family info and mix in a bunch of random thoughts about daily living and what I’m learning on this journey we call life.   

Striving for The Best!-mwr

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Juggling a full time job, family, lots of other commitments and very little spare time has taken its toll on my blogging availability. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers (no offense if you do this) who blogs a few sentences or random thoughts that pop in their head. I desire to post some thought provoking content that challenges us to think, reflect and achieve greatness. So, my revised goal for this site, at least for the time being, is to post one meaningful entry per week. I am going to resist the urge to post a bunch and attempt to save the content for weeks when my schedule gets the best of me. Your participation, in the form of suggestions, comments, quotes, etc., is helpful as this web based process ebbs and flows. I value your active involvement more than you know.

 

As I pen this entry, I am somewhere between a very cold Indianapolis and a hopefully warm and sunny Florida. I’m returning from a fantastic legal conference called TRAC – The Racing Attorney Conference. I have had the pleasure of being a panelist at this great event for the past two years and have found it to be a very useful experience. This year about a hundred lawyers and industry experts gathered in the infield of the Brickyard to discuss the topics that we face daily in the motorsports industry. While the newfound knowledge was great, making personal connections and contacts is the highlight for me. Too often I negotiate deals with my counterparts across the country and never get to meet them face to face or learn about them past the particulars of a deal.

 

Establishing personal relationships are the most effective way to do business. Negotiations, contracts and general business go much smoother when you can sit across the table or on a call with someone who is more than just “the other side.” I pushed myself to meet new people during my time in Indy in an effort to be working with a friend the next time I am fortunate enough to negotiate a deal. We talked about business and the law some, but I was genuinely more interested in their background, family, and other interests. I also renewed relationships with my friends from many wonderful companies involved in this small world we call “the motorsports industry”. No matter what your industry, profession or current situation, go out of your way to make strategic acquaintances. These friendships will never be wasted time and may just make your job more enjoyable down the road.

 

Striving for The Best!-mwr

 My blogger friend, Charlie, left a comment on a recent post that stirred some attention. My wife and I discussed it at length and I even had a few friends ask me about Charlie (look man, you are now famous!). Seriously, his post made me intently think and it has not left my mind. I am going to do my very best but please forgive me in advance for this woefully inadequate answer to some very tough questions.

 Daily, I am humbled by the amazing opportunities that have been placed before me. God has truly blessed my life beyond measure and His grace is the foremost reason for the any perceived success. I can say, without hesitation, that my personal relationship with Jesus is the foundation for my life and provides direction for every step I take. A true relationship, not religious experience or ritual, is my compass for life. While this is THE critical component, I’ll expound on a few other personal reasons to which I can credit.  


Pondering this journey of life that has brought me where I stand today, several things stick out to me. In no particular order, here are some of those other pieces of the puzzle that contribute to my life’s journey – Relationships , Hard Work, Education, A Life of Giving. I could expound exponentially on these and other topics, so lets explore them over the next few posts.

 

Life has not always been a bed of roses and it never will be. Life gets in the way and presents challenges, problems and even heart ache. I believe the key to overcoming life’s obstacles is attitude and determination. You must always remember that “this too shall pass.”

 

This part is for Charlie, but I hope others will benefit as well. I know you think you are stuck in “middle management” and can’t see a way out of that shopping plaza, but I want to share a personal story with you. I have a very good friend who was working as a bank teller (less than middle management) for several years. She was determined to rise above her situation, but with only a HS education she did not know what to do. So, she purposed to be the best bank teller she could be and one thing she did was learn the name of each customer, so that she could properly greet them each time they came into the bank. One of her customers was a man I know well, who ran a very successful business in town. He noticed her commitment, drive and excellent way she performed her work. This man eventually hired her from the bank and she worked for him over 10 years. While there, she completed her college business degree. She was eventually awarded her own franchise and was so successful the company asked her to become a regional manager. Today, this very successful lady owns her own business, makes a VERY comfortable 6 figure income and is genuinely happy with her success.

 

I share this with you to let you know that anything is possible. Sometimes you have to “grind it out” and other times it may come quicker and easier, but it certainly can happen.

 

Striving for The Best! -mwr

Our church, Calvary Christian Center, has embarked on a 21 day corporate fast during the month of January, joining many other congregations across the country, like Free Chapel (Gainsville, GA). Most people I know are embarking on the Daniel Fast, though several have undertaken a full fast (water only) or a liquid fast. The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, referenced in the Bible in Daniel 1:8-16 (10 day fast) and Chapter 10 (21 day fast). Boiled down to its simplest form, it is a physical sacrifice to God by foregoing “choice foods” and eating fruits and vegetables and drinking water. Most have extended the list of included foods to whole grains and nuts, as well as 100% fruit juice, but definitely staying away from all meats, dairy, sugar, and processed foods.

 

The purpose of the fast is to separate yourself from the “ordinary” and use this time to draw closer to God. It is accompanied by prayer and a desire to seek Gods will for your life; however, most see physical health benefits and even weight loss as a positive side effect. My favorite part of the Biblical account of this fast is Daniel 10:12, when the Angel tells Daniel that Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”

 

I have taken hold to this scripture for 2009 and believe that God will honor this time of prayer and fasting. So far, this is one of the harder Fasts I have done. I was mentally and spiritually prepared for it, but for some reason it has been difficult. I think it is because I’m believing God for some very big things in 2009. I wrote down a list of things I want to see God do and pray over them every day. I believe that God has heard my prayers “since the day I set my mind to gain understanding and humbled myself” through this fast.

 

If you have never fasted before, I would encourage you to look into it and take the plunge, even if for three or seven days. Jentezen Frankiln wrote a NY Times best selling book entitled “Fasting,” which is a great resource for those with questions. Though it may be difficult, most find that after a Fast they are spiritually, physically and mentally stronger. In the coming days, I’ll do my best to share my thoughts during this fasting journey. I’m on day 9 and know that good things are in store. God will reward the faithful and He hears the prayers prayed as we strive to get closer!

I’ve tried to live my life in such a way that I am respectful to all people, regardless of if the world sees them a significant or insignificant. My job affords me the opportunity to work with celebrities like Kevin James, Kevin Costner, Trisha Yearwood, and James Caan during our race events as a “celebrity escort.” It sounds more glamorous than it really is; as my primary focus is to see that they (and their entourage) get many to places at the speedway on time, while negotiating crowds of over 250,000 people. It is a logistical nightmare to say the least, but I enjoy being in the mix of putting on the worlds greatest racing show!

 

Several years ago, Nicholas Cage came to the 500 as the Grand Marshal to promote his movie “Ghost Rider.” His agency flew in a private security person from New York to accompany us. I hit it off with the security guy and we talked often throughout the day. (He was a NASCAR novice, but very interested.) After Cage was gone, he told me he was impressed with the job we did with the schedule, transport, planning, logistics and the Daytona 500.  We parted ways, exchanged info and that was it!

 

Fast forward 3 years…..December 2009 – Amanda and I are in NYC, shopping at the Time Warner Center. I walk out of a store to see this very familiar person, but I can not place a name, context or anything….I just know that I know this guy! So after minutes of “pretend shopping,” I figure out who it is and walk up to him. (My wife thinks I am completely nuts at this point.)  Sure enough, it’s the security guy – nameless on purpose. CRAZY!!! I run into him in NYC of all places. After talking for a few minutes, Amanda runs up to me and within earshot of my newly reconnected friend utters “Hey Matt, there is Suri Cruise.” He replies “Well, I’m doing work for Katie lately.” I had kinda figured that out…..but next thing I know, we are walking along the mall with this crew! Amanda proceeds to fall in line right next to Katie Holmes and strike up a conversation – mostly about kids. It was a crazy encounter, but one predicated on the fact I was fortunate to meet, know and remember the guy who is suppose to be seen and not heard.

 

My friend gave us a dinner recommendation and we texted back a forth during the week, always getting good advice on places to see in NYC. The encounter just reminded me that it is important to value everyone. Not that the celebrity meeting was so incredible (although my friends think it was neat), but this world is a very small place! You never know when you will see someone again and it is always nice to reconnect with great people.

 

Striving for The Best! -mwr

2009 is here and things are rolling again in the Rearden house. I took an unannounced sabbatical from this blog to spend some much needed time resting and being with family. (I am sure it cost me some readers, but it was worth it!)  The Christmas and New Year seasons were just what I needed to get recharged for a great year. It is important to take all the time you can to spend with family and friends. At the end of this life, we will look back and have only memories to cherish. Make those memories more about life, love and family than about work, career and things.

 

I pray that this year is successful and prosperous for each of you. Last year was tough – gas was through the roof, the economy was in dire straits and I do not know many people who will remember 2008 as a “fantastic year.” Let’s start out this year with the right outlook, a great attitude and a can do spirit that fuels each one of us. Even if it is bleak right now, start looking forward to great things ahead. I am excited to be with you on this great journey we call life and anticipate great things!

 

I am always anxious to hear from you, so drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts on future posts, blog topics or just life in general.

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr

I don’t post specific personal stories much (though maybe I should more often), but I just finished a very cool trip and wanted to share! Amanda and I went on a mini jaunt, sans the kids. We had the chance to see Carrie Underwood the other night and the concert was fantastic. We have seen her several times now and she is an incredible performer! What a journey that woman has taken from the Checotah, Oklahoma (I’ve been through there) to the 2005 American Idol stage to worldwide entertainer in 2008. Her star seems brighter than ever and from my perspective she is truly remarkable. The journey she has taken should inspire all of us that anything is possible!

From the 34th Floor of the Marquis

From the 34th Floor of the Marquis

 

The next morning we headed for NYC.  One of our favorite places to visit, it’s amazing. People watching is off the charts and the sheer size is almost overwhelming. We did all kinds of great things – saw GREASE on Broadway, shopped till we dropped, ate great food (Bagels, Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity3, Pizza, Italian cuisine), played in the snow, and really just enjoyed being together. One day it was 70 and the next it was snowing in the City! We are so blessed to have celebrated 6 years of marriage in this fashion.

Me and my girl!

Me and my girl!

In a society where marriages are constantly under attack, it is critical to strengthen your marital bond by spending quality time with your spouse. Date nights with just you two on a regular basis and get away trips are the perfect way to do that! NYC was great – I can’t wait until next year!

 

 

My next post will reflect on a chance NYC encounter with a very famous celeb and my interesting connection to Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise.

 

Striving for The Best! -mwr

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