A Long Story Short

Long Story Short
Rich Razgaitis and Jon Lewis with a little Coffee

There are many great things that I loved about undergrad and grad school; I loved the education and friendships, the challenges and opportunities, the personal development and the learnings, and particularly graduation with an exciting departure to go to Kolkata for a month followed by a new job at Johnson and Johnson.

Yet I also loved the beginnings.

Every semester represented, to some degree, a “do over.” Another way to start again. New classes, often new professors, a mix of new peers, new books, new assignments. A new beginning. If you aced the last semester (academically, relationally, or otherwise) then you had another challenge of doing it again–and better. And if you screwed it up, you got another shot at getting it right.

When I talk with people about their lives, one of the things that I realize is that so many people crave a new beginning. A lot of people can’t see beyond today, ultimately it happens to everybody. But some get more stuck there than others. In fact, so much so, that sadly some people get so engulfed in feelings of ¬†hopelessness and despair, of a finite set of moments that feels infinite, of possibilities that seem impossible, obstacles that are insurmountable, and of accomplishments that seem unattainable, that tragedy strikes in such big ways it’s difficult to fully understand.

And for others, it can simply lead to a paralysis or a life left not fully lived. And a constant longing for a new beginning.¬†For that reason alone, I love stories of “reckless abandon”, where you hear an example of someone that pursued their life’s dream, their purpose, and their heart. Even when they felt few choices existed before them.

A friend of mine from undergrad was a roommate of mine for two years and one of my best friends for many years beyond those days. Without question, he was one of the smartest guys in our University. And he was academically and intellectually DESTINED to be a doctor. No question, everybody knew it. And if I recall, he was considering Neurology specifically. Aced the MCAT’s, had the perfect grades, everybody loved him, perfect bedside manner. Was going to be an absolutely brilliant doctor. Make us all proud.

Yet, at an intersection of his life he took a drastically different turn, which must have required some significant courage. And he pursued his passion. Broke free, and found his calling.

Espresso.

He has made a life of coffee, and because it’s a passion of his he’s found his calling. Perhaps his academic and intellectual destiny didn’t intersect with that of his heart, or perhaps he was simply destined to use his intellect in ways never known in the world of coffee. Fortunately for him, despite going through years of biology and chemistry, he still found the way to make a courageous decision and to follow his heart.

So, tonight, here’s to following your heart, to opportunities that exist before you that you might not fully see, in industries you might not fully expect, and to my friend who has given the gift of his example to me and many others.

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A Random Update

dc

This has been the longest I’ve gone for quite a while without a blog update.

I’ve missed writing, and am also a bit embarrassed for the time that’s passed. So as I was thinking of blogging topics I thought better might be a quick highlights from the past week. So this particular entry isn’t focused on volunteerism, leadership, or even a specific musing–it’s really just as the title says. A random update (side note: I think in the past I’ve titled something “A Random Update” so in this case it’s “Another Random Update”).¬†

Last week was an absolutely PACKED schedule, much of it oriented around some great things we’re working for to roll out at Convention–as well as the event itself. This years event is going to be very business focused; from our guest speakers to our tools to our workshops and to a few other things, it’s all oriented around helping those who attend focus on ACHIEVING THE NEXT RANK. Getting the “what’s next” that will lead to their success. But, it’s not all business of course. And even though much of the business focuses on the things I mentioned, it doesn’t mean that it excludes things like the product or cultural piece. That’s also part of getting to the next rank. B

It’s my feeling that, strategically and topically, this is going to be our highest impact event ever for those that go–and particularly for those who go AND bring one, two, ten, or twenty people with them. Your business will grow–it’s that simple.¬†

So that consumed a lot of time. I’m also running more, and decided to sign up for the Portland Marathon in October, so am in the midst of a training program that actually takes quite a bit more time than I realized. So I’ve simply committed to making my wellness goals and the preparation for this event a priority (one of many, but it makes it up higher on the list than before). And, truly, as a result I feel the more I’ve applied myself towards this the more focused, productive, and creative I’ve been. More for another posting, someday.¬†

I left Oly on Wednesday morning, along with Dave Nash, and we arrived into Montreal late that evening and spent the following day with our Montreal team where we worked on the integration plan–a lot of good stuff. We had a great time working together, and on the Montreal side it included Bijan, Rob, and Jonathan–three exceptional individuals who know a lot about this industry.¬†

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From there it led to a great event Thursday night at the Montreal office, and despite the language barrier (the entire meeting was done in French; of course, with the exception of myself and Nash). Was good to see both familiar and new faces. The next morning we flew to Halifax, my first time in Nova Scotia. Rainy and a bit cold, but still beautiful and the people are charming. Friday afternoon I did a Q&A session for the local leaders, and later that evening enjoyed a fantastic dinner (and even some celtic music later in the evening) with Univerians. 

 

Dave and Harry smiling and dialing at the leadership dinner
Dave and Harry smiling and dialing at the leadership dinner

 

 

The Saturday morning attendance was good, probably about 300 and quite a few first-timers; I had to jet to catch my flight to NJ right after I spoke, so I’m sure the event went well but I was off for the great Garden State of NJ. A Newark arrival and rental car with 2.5 hours on the turnpike led me to the BBQ in South Jersey being hosted by Glen Crawford and team where a really nice setup of great food and activities for kids was hosted by the local associates. By 8pm I was on my way to DC and arrived, feeling just a tad spent, close to midnight last night.¬†

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Charles at the mic during the NJ BBQ

DC is a gorgeous city, I love the geography but also the political energy of the city. It’s a bit like the feeling you get driving into Manhattan. And what’s amazing are all the exhibits and museums, most of them totally free. This city is such a great reminder of the privileges of the freedom that we enjoy.¬†

So I woke up this morning on what really was a perfect day and went for a long run–it was fabulous to be able to run through the streets of DC and see the White house and Capitol, many memorials, the Washington Monument, and even the West Potomac Park is spectacular. It helped me realize there are so many virtues to the simple ways to exercise, whether it be walking or running, which include that’s pretty darned cheap and a wonderful way to spend time breathing fresh air and there are incredible sights to see. When I think about my travels from the last few years, one of the things I remember most are some of the runs I’ve been on–from the chaotic streets of Beijing on a weekday morning to the salty seaside of Carlsbad my runs have served as a good way not just to get exercise but to see and enjoy various travels, or even my hometown. Plus, running is a good appetite suppressant, which is something I need more of if I’m to hit my bodyfat goal of 15%.¬†

So to conclude this “random update” my afternoon consisted of participating in a DSA meeting. I sit on the Strategic Planning Committee for the Direct Selling Association, and the role of this committee is to put forth the key strategic recommendations and objectives for the DSA for the following years. There are about 10 Executives that sit on this committee and it’s an exceptional opportunity to learn from peers as well as contribute and give back to our industry. Today we spent some great time discussing and debating some of the most critical strategic drivers for the industry over the following few years.

Tomorrow begins the first of two days of general session DSA meetings, which will be kicked off by the Executive Director of the DSA: Neil Offen (who is ALSO one of our many exceptional speakers at the end of June at our annual convention).

Despite the sheer quantity of activities and initiatives ongoing it was a really engaging and rewarding week.

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A Whirlwind of a Week–from Singapore to Reno

In the last week I feel I’ve been guilty of blogglect.

It’s basically the neglect of a blog.

A common condition not easily managed even with a superstar nutritional supplement like Xtra and often caused by busy schedules, lots of traveling, little sleep, much excitement, and quite a few meetings and phone calls with a few brief visits to those within the immediate family in between.

So much has happened since my first Singapore posting, of which I’ll post more (or share more via meetings) later on, but a quick update from the last ten days includes:

An incredible conclusion to the WFDSA meeting, where I left with even greater excitement about not just our international potential but also what we can do in North America. In meeting with so many different peers from around the world, what I also clearly saw were some companies I admired BUT also many companies that clearly don’t have a competitive edge on us.

Sure, there are pieces of other businesses that I admire, and there are always lessons we can learn and apply. But at the same time, there are so many companies out there that are global and successful (at least now in the short term) that have no clear business model, next-to-nothing in the way of resources or science, limited human and financial capital. So while I’m not in the slightest picking on any of my peers at any other companies — as there are some fine Direct Selling companies out there — I came back more confident than ever with our current and future potential given the resources, the science, the products, strategy, and our growth plans.

australia_1008_dscn2554Then, on the way home, I stopped by Sydney, Australia to do some due diligence on that market as we’re going through the preparation process for international expansion. Corporately, there will be an EVP international position that heads up this international work, but as an organization there is already a group working under Regan’s direction to lay some of the initial groundwork and preparations.

australia_1008_dscn2541In Sydney, I met with the executive director of the DSAA (Australian DSA), the former executive director who has spent nearly 40 years in this industry, predominantly in Australia, along with several other executives from companies within industry.

There’s so much that I learned and am excited about with this market that it’s really fodder for another blog posting. It’s a market that is similar in size to Canada, yet can also serve as a fantastic springboard to other international markets — particularly in SE Asia. Generally speaking, the feedback I heard from those on the ground in Australia is that they loved our model and could see great potential for us “down under.” Not only is the market potential great, but the city of Sydney is absolutely fantastic; if it’s not the best city I’ve ever traveled to, it’s certainly in the top three. And the people are an absolute hoot — friendly and enthusiastic. Great engaging personalities. A little bit feisty. For some of you this will represent a chance to go and work and enjoy a country that, perhaps, you would never have the opportunity to visit otherwise.

islandwood_dscn2582From there I flew home, cleaned out one bag and packed another to attend a portion of ECONET CEO meetings in Seattle. Of particular note, half the day on one of the meetings was dedicated to touring and learning about sustainable environmental practices at a retreat on Bainbridge Island. Islandwood is basically a teaching center for organizations and individuals and even serves as a summer camp for kids, dedicated towards building awareness and practical application of sustainable living and environmentally friendly practices.

Organizationally, our commitment from Bill on down runs deep in the integration of sustainable business practices, and the love of nature and the earth was rooted in him from an early age by the vision from his father — Yunho Lee. Beyond this anchor that serves throughout our Company, the Islandwood tour also served as a practical workshop for the things that we can consider and incorporate as a Company and individuals moving forward.

islandwood_dscn2568And, upon returning from the retreat, I unpacked that bag and immediately packed another for a trip to Alderbrook Resort where we held the Gold/Platinum Xpand your Business Seminar. Lots of excitement, it was a gorgeous weekend bookended with great training as well as some exceptional networking opportunities for those in attendance. Of course, for me it’s always fun to hear the stories of success — both from people within this industry who are familiar with its virtues, but also from many others who swore they would never get involved in Direct Selling…But became captivated by both the physical and financial freedom that’s available in Univera.

islandwood_dscn2581The part I enjoyed seeing most was the connection of relationships and people who, outside of this, would likely have never connected in quite the same way as they do now.

After this event it, too, led to another bag-change (this is like changing dresses for a beauty pagent, only I’m not a woman nor is this a pagent and neither am I wearing a dress — other than that, though, it’s identical).

So I came home, repacked as quickly as I unpacked, and hit the road on Monday morning to remarkable Reno. There is some outstanding leadership in Reno, anchored by Glen and Reagan Hubbard. This team engaged about 400 people (and I would guess nearly 200 guests) to our very first Road Tour city, a remarkable accomplishment in any city but particularly one that’s so new.

Glen and Reagan did a fantastic job opening the meeting, and Kenny Rossi (our most recent new Diamond) closed the event. At events where there are a lot of guests, the tone is often a bit different in that people are a bit more reserved; they’re coming in with questions rather than a full-on commitment. So while the meetings are more energetic and exciting when it’s 100% Associates, that’s not the market for the Road Tour. The objective is to have as many new people involved as possible so they can clearly hear about the vision, products, and business of Univera — while having a bit of fun.

reno_rt08_dscn2636So while I think we had a good solid event, the first one is always a little rusty (I’m speaking from the Corporate side) and it takes a while to work into it.

This is a unique event at a unique time in our history. As most already know, we have Michael Jr. joining us, which will be a one-time event for the Road Tour (no, he’s not becoming part of the Corporate team, we’re including him for this Road Tour only). What MJ provides is the opportunity for our presentations to more tightly hit the mark, to more seriously broach the very topics that people are dealing with most harshly right now — their health, and their finances.

The humor is intended to not only serve as a draw to the event and make it enjoyable throughout, but it also enables the Corporate team to get really engaged into the heart of the matter and what matters most to people in North America today.

So in Reno, after the event, which only lasted about one hour and 40 minutes (almost a good hour shorter than the last tour, to allow for plenty of dialogue time with guests/sponsors post event), we were thrilled to see so many tables of engaged people having great dialogue.

My sincere congratulations to Kenny, Glen, Reagan, Jordan, and many other leads in the Reno area for such an outstanding event, their outstanding performance and leadership, and I offer my congratulations to each of those guests in Reno who decided to take the important step of bringing financial freedom into their own control, destiny into their own hands in as much as that is possible, by engaging in the opportunity within Univera.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, itís doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft ó can kill the mood in bedroom.