General


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

I recently received an inquiry from a law school classmate that prompted a great discussion topic. The gist of the note was twofold – 1) how did you go from being an aspiring trial law student to an in-house contract lawyer and 2) how do you continue to stay passionate about your work. With permission, I thought the best way to respond was to use those questions as blog entries.

A little bit of history…While at the FSU College of Law, I was a member of the Mock Trial Team and fortunate to serve as president of the team my last year. We entered trial competitions and advocated against other law school students. It was a close nit group, a lot of work, a ton of fun and the best preparation for a career as a trial lawyer one could get while still in law school. After a few competitions, I just knew I was cut out for trial work! When it came time to enter the “real world,” I quickly found out that while many people sue, few actually go to trial. As a baby lawyer who wants to try cases, you either go to a government job handling criminal cases (state attorney/public defender) or carry a seasoned lawyers briefcase, learn the ropes, and pray you get a shot one day. Neither one of those options really appealed to me, so I began looking elsewhere.

I landed my current position right out of law school in a manner that most of the time doesn’t work…I sent in a blind resume to a company and hoped for the best. For a variety of reasons, I wanted to return home, but just knew that the legal market in Daytona Beach, FL would probably not allow that to happen. I can honestly say that many years of hard work, prayer and Divine Intervention landed me with a job I enjoy. While I had offers from traditional firms, many lawyers I spoke with wanted to get out of a firm and go in house, and there were few in house folks who wanted to go back to a firm. I figured I would skip the firm experience and land in a place where many hope to finish. My background synced up perfectly with an open position and 9 years later, here I am!

The boardroom is now my courtroom. Preparation for a successful negotiation is similar to how one would prepare to try a case – know the issues, know the parties and try to masterfully convince others to see a set of facts the was you view them.  While trail law and contract law seem to be polar opposites, there are many similarities – both sides have clients; both sides have different perspectives; both sides want successful outcomes.

Staying passionate about my work is a topic for the next post….that one could take a while.

Striving for The Best!-mwr

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

Continuing a glimpse into SPEEDWEEKS, I have wrapped a few days into this post. Friday started with a bang, as the crunch was on to complete deals for the Bud Shootout activities. The biggest was a sampling contract that we literally had 3 days to draft, negotiate and execute before the benefits were began Sat morning. Signatures we exchanged late Friday and our on site camping guests were pleased, as it provided them with a sampling of Old Spice shower products for the upcoming days. During the madness of the day, I snuck away with my family for a few minutes to visit the Budweiser Clydesdales. My new friend, Hans, travels with the horses and their Dalmatian, Barley, 320 days per year. It was neat to be so close to these amazing animals….Mackenzie especially liked going into the stalls with this huge horses!

 

Next up, the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday. Great weather greeted us and the night concluded with a fantastic finish on the track. The ARCA race before the main event was well attended, but, as expected, was a bit of a demolition derby. I did not have any responsibilities during the day, so Amanda and I attended most of the race, but had to watch the finish from home, due to a couple of sick little girls. We spotted Jared from Subway, along with some RoushFenway racing folks during the race. The Shootout is the first change to see some of the change for the upcoming season and this year was no exception. Getting used to all the driver, number, sponsor and team changes will take some time, but here are a few of the most notable – Tony Stewart in the #14; Mark Martin in the #5; Casey Mears in the #07; Clint Bowyer in the #33; Joey Lagano in the #20; Bobby Labonte in the #96….and on and on and on…

 

Sunday was reserved for church and watching the Daytona 500 qualifying on TV. It’s great to see EGR driver Martin Truex, Jr. in the #1 on the pole, but also thrilling to see Daytona Beach resident, Mark Martin, on the outside pole. Looks like we are in for some surprises and new faces during the upcoming season!

 

Monday and Tuesday were pretty quiet on the track, but it seemed that the last minute deals and ticket sales were non-stop. A few track visits, combined with meeting on projects and contract completion for the weekend were the main highlights…Nothing too exciting there, but tons of work for sure. Wednesday will bring the start of a flurry of activity culminating with The Great American Race on Sunday!

 

Striving for The Best! -mwr

Today is an historic day in the life of America. Regardless of your political affiliation or feelings about an election outcome, as Americans we must honor our government and the leader of this land. We must not minimize our duty, responsibility and even respect to those in authority.  It is an unbelievable sight to watch this very peaceful passage of power every 4 or 8 years. Though the campaign trail may at times feel like a war zone, there were no shots fired, political coups or unnecessary violence leading up to this transition. We are blessed to live in the United States of American and today we should clearly remember that fact.

 

As Americans, we have a duty to do the following:

1)       Support Your President. This means you must stand behind the man who is in authority over this country. (Romans 13:1-7) You do not have to support each policy or action, but supporting the office of the President is critical to the strength of America.

2)       Pray for Your Government and Its Leaders. Take time each day to thank God for this county and ask Him to give supernatural guidance, wisdom and direction to the leaders placed in power.  

3)       Get Involved and Make Your Voice Heard. Though the election is over, policies and decisions will be made that directly affect you. It is up to us to let you government know how you feel and what you believe.

 

I thank God that I am a citizen of the United States of America. This is the greatest country on earth and on this inauguration day, I am proud to be an American.

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr

The search for significance is a lifelong journey. No matter what your background, socio economic status, political leaning or any other factor, every person, on some level searches for significance in their life.  Countless books, sermons, speeches and other materials have been prepared on this subject alone. My favorite definition is “the quality of being significant or having a meaning.” We all want to live a life that is more than a meaningless existence. The exact answer is a very personal one and will be different for every person, but I believe you must fulfill the following 3 areas to personally accomplish your lifelong exploration for significance:

 

Spiritual Significance – Every person has a “God shaped hole” in their being. There are countless religions and beliefs looking to a higher power and answers to this life. There are even “unbeliefs,” but in and of themselves they are acknowledging the presence of something or someone. The search for significance begins and ends with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. All the other factors revolve around this critical threshold.

Emotional Significance – Being tied to others on an emotional level will complete your search. I thought my life was complete before my girls….and then they arrived. Your marriage, your parental bond (both with your parents or figures and with your own children), and those very special friendship bonds reserved for only the closest friends are some of the areas where we develop emotional significance.

Physical Significance – Humans crave touch. As babies we are immediately cradled and held. As kids, a hug and kiss from a parent means the world. As teenagers, a high 5 from your coach, hug from your parents or even holding the hand of your “first love” are important. As adults, touch usually means comfort, welcome and safety. Physical significance is also achieved via accomplishments such as contests, sports, accolades, raising your family, education and professional development.

 

The success of your life will ultimately be determined by how your resolve these three important areas. My daily walk is consumed by becoming a WORLDSHAKER. For me that means i) being the best husband, father, son, brother and person I can be; ii) working with others (especially teenagers) to help them realize their full potential; iii) making a professional impact through opportunity, drive, training and skill; iv) leaving an indelible positive mark on this earth; and v) doing something that is bigger than me!

 

Striving for The Best! –mwr

 

Ed. Note – This may be my most difficult post to date. It literally took weeks to develop these seemingly simple thoughts. I hope it will begin a string of comments below for our readers to exchange thoughts and ideas.

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