A S*&$@Y Way to Lose $1,000

1000_dollars copy

Last summer I ended up hiring a trainer who was in amazing shape physically and lousy shape financially. After he got to know me a bit, and without any prompting, between sets he’d tell me what was going on in his personal life. At one point over months of struggling, he had an immediate need for $1,000.

I seriously considered giving it to him anonymously. In fact, I felt like I was supposed to. Not obligated, just intuitively compelled. While I don’t think it’s my job to try to fix or help every person in need that comes to me, nor does my intuition always tell me to help them out, I do feel like it’s my job–at the very least–to have compassion. In certain situations I’ll try to help, especially when it’s coupled with some intuitive calling. Too often these situations present an opportunity that defies my logic. Like the time I was supposed to give my coat to a guy whose car just caught on fire BUT DIDN’T DO IT  (though there’s a follow-up to the Car on Fire post, where “I Finally Found Him” on this link here.)

Sometimes my intuition tries to lead me to a bigger conflict with rationality, like the time I was supposed to give my car away to a waiter at my favorite restaurant in Reston, Virginia, but also didn’t do it.

Sometimes I listen to my intuition. Sometimes I don’t. Other times I get to observe random strangers demonstrate What a Little Hope Can Do, like a few weeks ago.  I wish I deferred to my intuition more often, but sometimes my analytical, risk-averse, or logical side wins out, which of course is sometimes the right thing as well. If I’m hesitant or anxious to take a risk, I can justify seven ways to Sunday why I shouldn’t do it. But sometimes you have to make the jump.

Finally the day came when my trainer hit me up with his idea: I’d pre-pay $1,000 for training, and in exchange he’d reduce his rate by 50%–effectively giving me double the number of training sessions. I thought about it for a few minutes and agreed to the plan. Drafted a simple agreement with signatures, captured all his information including social, address, alternate phone numbers, and his email.

Fast forward two weeks, I text him to schedule a workout and he never responds. Eventually called the gym where he trained and found out that he had skipped town. Totally gone.

Numerous calls, emails, texts over a period of weeks and months yielded nothing (though I did catch him on the phone once). I went full spectrum from southern polite to New York City nuclear. Nothing worked. Since then I’ve been torqued at this guy for ditching our deal. Until two days ago. I was at the gym late one night and on Pandora came a song by Safety Suit called “Life Left to Go” and as I’m listening to the somewhat mesmerizing melody doing lat pull downs I realized what happened with this situation was really lousy, though not because I’d lost a grand.

But because I knew that I was supposed to give this guy a break before all of this went down. Incidentally, if I’d done that I wouldn’t be blogging about it–instead I’m sharing the scenario where I didn’t listen to my intuition. Which resulted in two dynamics, both of which are pretty s*&$@y:

It left one man knowing he was a thief.

And another man knowing he was robbed.

I’m not absolving this guy of his responsibility. If you interpret this as me saying that my act of not giving a guy a $1,000 makes him justified, then you’re totally missing the point. That is, most definitely, not what I’m saying. There could be a lot of lessons in here. I see all the obvious ones, but I saw those in advance–I knew the risk. And then there’s a chance that the logical lessons really aren’t the lessons at all.

Maybe there’s another lesson in here. Maybe it’s the hidden one.

And maybe it’s the magical one.

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 data 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, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Lessons Learned, Numero Tres

SF Marathon, Mile 18-ish
SF Marathon, Mile 18-ish

A few quick lessons learned from my latest marathon, which was really not a very good run, all for self-inflicted reasons. Some of my other running posts are here, herehere, and here.

These are all the things I learned not to do through my personal experience of making a mistake on each item below. If nothing else, there might be a few amusing anecdotes in here; for me it’s a living list to read through again at a later time.

1. Don’t enter the race fatigued.

The week of, you really do need to bank up the sleep. I couldn’t have changed it around anyways, as I had been on the road for most of the month prior to the marathon including a long Asia trip. If you can regulate your sleep when you travel you might be in good shape. I didn’t, and missed at least several nights during the week of the run. This is a straightforward fix.

2. Don’t forget to read your list.

Make a marathon check list, and READ IT in the morning. Sounds obvious. But, I was overly confident the morning of, grabbed my stuff, and went. I forgot several important things, perhaps most importantly I forgot rule number one from one of my earlier marathons. Tape your nipples. Which leads me to lesson number three.

3. Don’t try to be clever if you forget rule number one.

By “clever” I mean do not find packing tape at the starting line and tape your nipples. Well, that part might be okay. But if you do that do not then, at mile 13, because you’re wondering how the pictures are going to look with packing tape across your chest underneath your running shirt, take the tape off and run the remaining 13 miles with your chest that has remaining residue that’s stickier than the floor of a U-haul rental center. There are two types of people in the world. Those who have had that experience…and those who haven’t.

4. Don’t do anything new on marathon day.

Everyone says this. It seems SO LOGICAL. It should be an easy rule to follow, you know, like along the lines of “Don’t play out in the street” and “Keep your hand out of the blender.” But then you run two marathons in half a year and you’re a pro and suddenly you’re all like “I got this” and the best practices don’t apply any longer and you stick your hand in the blender. For this latest race I bought new shoes on the day of the race because going into SF Marathon I decided to drop to the half, and I brought a different type of training running shoe to run in. At check in I decided to run the full, and needed shoes. I also bought new Yurbuds, which I absolutely love. The shoes were totally not broken in, and this was just a bad decision. The Yurbuds were the wrong size, and fell out of my ears continuously. I must’ve put them back in 300 times during the run.

5. Don’t under train.

Perhaps obvious, but if you want to finish, and finish comfortably, you really have to put the miles in. I was reminded of this on my last marathon, thinking that despite very little training 45-days prior it would be easy as I’ve been CrossFitting more, lost another few % bodyfat, etc. But, nothing works like putting miles on your legs; at mile 17 or 18 your legs just don’t care how much you’ve been crossfitting, or how good the Kale nutribullet was from three days ago. Check out great programs from Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, and the Hansen Method are all winners. I’ve just bought the book and am training using Hansen for Chicago, my goal is to run a sub 3:30 which for me would be quite fast–but I have a TON of training to be able to get close to this and not a lot of time. Miles on the legs matter. Get your miles in.

6. Don’t go out too fast.

Marathoners say “run reverse splits” which is basically translates into “run the second half faster than the first half.” It is good advice. Everyone generally feels pretty good, if not amazing, the first few miles. Crowd energy, music, glycogen loading, fresh legs…it’s all a recipe for going out too fast. And remember that the first few miles you’re in a heat that is following a way-faster heat, so say you’re targeting to runs sub-nine minute miles then early on it’s easy to run those first few miles in the seven’s or even six’s Like ridic easy. Don’t do it. Save some gas.

7. Finally, don’t forget to fuel your muscles.

Glycogen load big time during the week. If you’re a Paleo eater you can still do this, sweet potatoes are perfect. And eat clean days before, and on the morning of make sure you’re consuming what you generally do prior to your longer runs (I usually take SFH pre-race with water, a banana with Justin’s honey-almond butter and drink a few low calorie G2 Gatorades with a several Nuun tabs dropped in each). For your nightly meal before, you could try something like my dinner before the SF marathon. I had fish tacos. Two beers. And some Tequila (it came with the beer). This will not go down as one of my better pre-marathon meals. And I forgot to glycogen load race morning by taking my GU Energy Gel’s 30-minutes pre-race or at mile five. By the time I took my first GU gel at mile 12 it was too late, and I couldn’t catch up on fueling my muscles, which became very–very–cranky around mile 15.

 

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. 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 soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

What a Little Hope Can Do

hope

Yesterday I was working at a Starbucks. At one point I stepped outside to make a few phone calls. Since it was the day after Independence Day, the whole shopping area was pretty quiet. A few hours earlier I’d seen a girl and her mom walking around with a sign asking for money, seemingly without much success. Were they really destitute? I don’t know for sure. But based on what happened yesterday, I became pretty convinced.

I was outside leaning against a corner in between calls and had a close view of what’s basically the back alley of the shopping area. Nearby, I saw a guy leaning against his car. Then the little girl–I’d guess about ten years old who was wearing relatively tattered clothes–and her mom approached the guy by his car.

The girl and her mom looked so…Dejected. Exhausted. Hopeless. Step by step they apprehensively walked in his direction.

The little girl approached the guy with great hesitation, and finally mustered up the courage to ask for money.  The guy shook his head no and moved them along with a little wave of his hand. The little girl looked devastated. And so tired.

Then, he did a double take, almost as if he knew he couldn’t send them along without some help. With a gentler and more compassionate tone than I would have expected, he called her back and said “Little girl, what do you need the money for?”

“Para comer, por favor. Para comer” she said meekly.

He reached in, and I could see him scrounging through his wallet–I assumed to find a smaller bill–and to my surprise I watched him hand her a $20. It was gracious for him to give it, but from the looks of his high end denim and European car, I’m sure the $20 meant little to him compared to that family (which, from my subjective observation, I think, is part of his realization later).

As she sees the gift is $20, the little girl burst into a scream of delight as he handed her the bill. She grabbed his hand and thanked him profusely in broken english. She ran, hugged her mom, who smiled brilliantly and had tears welling up in her eyes, and as they were walking away the little girl turned around and yelled out “Gracias Señor, gracias Señor!” Then, she proceeded to–literally–skip off holding her mom’s hand with a smile the size of Texas. As they faded in the distance, I could hear her talking excitedly with her mom. It was as if she got a new lease on life.

Two minutes and $20 later, her entire outlook on life at that moment had changed.

I looked back to the guy who was still leaning against his car, and saw him moved with uncontrollable tears of compassion pouring down his cheeks.

And yesterday I was reminded, probably just like that guy, what a little help–and a little hope–can do.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant info 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 heartiness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

My Most Epic Bike Ride Ever

Biking
Purely a re-enactment, on my Plan C bike after the evening festivities

Sometimes I write stories with an intentional point. Other times I just write. Today falls into the latter category.

41 out of my last 50 days were spent traveling. When I got home two days ago, I PROMISED the kiddos I’d watch the fireworks with them last night. And I’ve missed a lot of events in my years of being a dad. So I wasn’t going to miss this one.

Last night we arrive at a neighborhood cookout at 6pm, where we were to view the fireworks later that evening. At 8pm I drove home to jump on a conference call with China (yes, I had a call with whole country). It was supposed to end at 8:45pm, plenty of time for me to get back for the 9:30pm fireworks display. Of course, the call went long and at 9:10 I’m hustling out the door to make it as promised.

As I got closer my destination, all the roads to my final venue are blocked off and street parking was non-existant. I circled around to head back towards our house, and by the time I found roadside parking I was about a mile away from my destination. So I headed back home for plan B.

And here begins the story of my most epic bike ride ever.

Since it was then past 9:15, my best option was to run inside and jump on my road bike–dress shoes and all. But it had two time-flattened tires so after a minute of energetic use of the air pump I was back to 115 PSI and at 9:20 ran out the door, threw my bike on the ground and hit the road. My last thought to myself as I ran out the door was “Should I grab a helmet?” But I didn’t, rationalizing that I’ve never laid down a road bike or a motorcycle, it’ was only a mile away, nobody was on the road, oh and up to six weeks ago I’d been training for a half-Ironman so clearly I was an expert biker (insert sarcasm).

What could go wrong?

About a quarter of a mile away from my house I was cycling around 20MPH and suddenly heard a pop–I get a flat–then suddenly caught the rim on the asphalt, fork the handlebars, and flew over the bike headfirst. As I was in the air, I actually think I laughed. Yes, right in the face of danger. And then, after I landed and rolled around a few times, my laughter changed to moderately expressive commentary. I moved my arms and legs to make sure it all still worked, felt my head to see if it was still in one piece, then picked up my bike with mangled handlebars and a seriously bent front rim and started running back to the house. I then noticed my right arm burning with thick liquid dripping down it. Yahoo! A battlescar! I reach for my iPhone to use the light to see how bad it was

No iPhone. I run back to the spot of my accident,and found it in the middle of the road. Shattered. Grabbed the iPhone in my left hand, with the bike still in my right, and at that point I’m pretty much in a dead on sprint back to the house because it was then 9:25. I had five minutes left to make it!

Debated between taking Erica’s bike (plan C) or throwing on running shoes (plan D), I opt for the former. As I leave I noticed her bike, too, had time-flattened tires. About 9:29pm I’m out the door with a minute to go. Since it was pitch dark and eerily quiet, I had assumed nobody was around–until I heard our neighbor yell across the street “Hey partner, looks like you really wanna see those fireworks!” He must’ve been pretty amused. Perhaps even frightened.

At 9:32 I made it back to our venue looking like a hot mess. But I arrived within the first few bursts of red, white, and blue explosions in the sky, in time to grab the kiddos, grab a seat on the asphalt (intentionally this time), and proceeded to watch an awesome show with RoZo. Once they knew everything was okay, the girls got a kick out of the story at the end of the night–though they kept asking me “Dad, are you SURE you’re okay?” 🙂 Though waking up this morning quite sore all over my body, and several Benjamin’s poorer, it was worth the excitement.

And that, my friends, is the story of my most Epic bike ride ever.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. 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, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

“You Lose Your Face?” (my first before and after photo)

Raz before and after

If you stop by on occasion you know that I’ve been working on losing weight, after many years of going up and down. Mostly up. Usually staying up. Several things motivated me to finally make it happen; and a big one of them was seeing all these before and after pictures of different people who had lost weight. So I promised myself that when I hit my goal I’d do the same thing, in the event that it might motivate just one person to keep after it.

Yet I have bailed repeatedly on posting my before and after photos. Why? I guess because I’m embarrassed. Partly from the before pics themselves, and carrying the weight for so long. Partly from my goals evading me for so long. But two weeks ago I was traveling in Asia and as I was going through customs the agent looked at my passport picture, then at me, several times back and forth and finally asked “you lose your face?” Going through customs again this last week, I had another agent say, after looking at my passport picture and me back and forth several times, “this isn’t your passport, is it?”

And these are the two interactions that nudged me to post my first before and after picture—using my passport picture as the baseline—and also one I just took on this flight as the “after.” I’m still not feeling it right now, as I’ve been on the road most of the last month and my eating has been horrible. Ah yes, I also need a haircut. Plus my eyes look a little wigged out. And I think my nose looks bigger. No, no, my nose is definitely bigger. Which I didn’t think could be possible. Despite many imperfections that I can find in both pictures of me all too quickly, I do look skinnier in the pic on the right than I did a few years back in my passport pic on the left. And, THAT is the point.

The customs agent dialogue also prompted me to set a date of September 15th to post my before and after pictures, this way I’ve got enough time to work up to it mentally and I wrapped a goal around that date too. So, there it is. My first before and after picture. Nothing great but I finally made some progress on the lbs. I’m not shy about telling people that I failed at my goal of losing weight for a long time. I’m still very humbled by the whole experience.

I don’t have (usually) pithy little quotes that I rattle off. But, I do have one overarching theme I lean towards. Which generally translates into “keep on going.” Of course, this isn’t a universal truism. For example, if you’ve failed at being an entrepreneur 50-times, the data is showing that this is likely not your thing (though success could be right around the corner–who am I to tell you to stop going if that’s what’s in your heart?).

But there are some things that, no matter what, you shouldn’t quit pursuing. Starting something. Stopping something. Whatever your thing is, you shouldn’t quit the pursuit of your accomplishment of it. Instead, you should get after it. Hard.

Don’t ever give up on your goals. Even if everyone else has.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. 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 soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Why You Should Run a Marathon (seriously)

The San Francisco Marathon Start
The San Francisco Marathon Start

I have become one of those annoying “hey-I-ran-a-marathon-so-should-you” types.

If you’ve never had an inkling to run a marathon, if the thought of it bores you to no end, or makes you nauseous. then read no further. But if you’ve ever had even the slightest thought of it, let me give a quick rundown on why I think you should sign up. Now.

I signed up for the San Francisco Wipro marathon five months ago, when I was in better running shape. And, I’ve kinda lost that over the last three months: work–and particularly travel–crushed my running schedule. So going into the weekend I decided to step down to the half marathon…until I checked in where I decided to do the full. There were lots of mistakes with this last marathon, including going out way too strong, and the last 11 miles were a serious struggle–I have a lessons learned on this one coming soon.

Yet, one of the gifts of the last 11 miles was that it caused me to think about why I even love marathons–despite being so frustrated and “uncomfortable” on this last one.

Not an all inclusive list, here’s what went through my mind during those last 11 miles as to why I love marathons. And you will (might) too.

1. Check in is a blast.

Adrenaline. All these runners with the anticipation and energy of the next-day race. Check in is a great experience, it’s a blast because you’re still a day away from pain. This is the fun part, anticipation, carb loading, butterflies, all that stuff! Really great energy. Check in is totally underrated.

SF Marathon Check In
SF Marathon Check In

2. Training shapes you.

Years ago, I started playing the guitar. “Playing” is probably gracious. Strumming? Plucking? Screeching? I could play a few songs. And sing along. Horribly. Truly, I am horrible horrible singer. And the last time I touched that guitar was three start-ups ago…But when I was playing a lot I swear it changed my thought process–as if playing music started mapping my brain differently. Yes, there is probably data on this. No, I do not want to google it. I just want to write. Leave me alone. 🙂

I think running does something similar, though not through the same mechanism. Running will map you differently, perhaps less because of how sound and dexterity maps your brain and more because you’re going to have time to think. And if you’re doing the proper training, a lot of it. So get your miles in! It’s part of what shapes you, the discipline of training. And your mind will be open to thoughts and ideas that never have time to germinate in quite the same way otherwise.

3. You get to break limits. Your own limits. 

Especially if you don’t think you can run a marathon, but you kind of want to, you should do it. Because it’s a breakable limit. When you break it, your perspective will change. About yourself. You will be less boxed in, less risk averse, and less timid on the next challenge. Which might not have anything to do with running–that’s cool. But do it once and I think it’ll change your mindset on your limits.

It's You vs. You
It’s You vs. You

4. You’ll be inspired during the race.

Perhaps by watching someone that you never thought would run a marathon run alongside of you. Maybe by some guy carrying the American flag whilst playing country music out of his iPhone. Perhaps by a father and son combination, shirtless and running in front of you.

It might even be the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of the race. Or magical scenery throughout the run.

I promise, you’ll be inspired. Somewhere along the way. In a big way. By someone. Something. Or even yourself.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

5. You’ll fall in love with new music. 

Since you need to have tunes. A lot of them. Some swear by not listening to music in a marathon. I, on the other hand, have to listen to music. This latest playlist included Jeff Bridges (frequent favorite), Kaskade (newer all time favorite–especially after hearing him perform live in LA), The Civil Wars (hoping they stay together!), and a pretty eclectic smattering of other artists.

And, of course, every marathon has to have a “song” that’s basically your Power Song. And every marathon has a different one (these are just my rules, if you’re running then you get to create your own). I just learned of these guys from Pandora (have I told anybody how much I LOVE Pandora? Did you buy your ad-free version yet?), and here’s my SF Marathon power song.


6. You’ll get healthier in the process.

You’ll eat better, you’ll learn more about your body, you might even fall in love with the Nutribullet (does ANYBODY know how much I love this thing? Kale as the base…always Kale as the base then fruit after it’s half full). Your metabolism will increase, bodyfat will decrease. But, still, you have to watch what you eat–weight is 70% managed in the kitchen. You’ll feel better.

I LOVE the Nutribullet
I LOVE the Nutribullet

7. You might replace one affliction with another one.

Pretty self explanatory. Some people think runners are obsessive, or caution about the ills of finding a new addiction. Generally, this is probably a good thing and better than the alternative. I wish I were more obsessive about running, but I’m getting closer. For the most part, I don’t have much of a dial–it’s more of an on/off switch.

In the process of training, you might find yourself with a new affliction.

8. You’ll see some clothing that nobody should be wearing. And that will amuse you. 

And, if you do wear long pants that show every crevice of your booty body, especially if you are a guy, please make sure you’re running close to a three hour marathon rather than a four. I mean, really… 🙂 But, I guess, you know, if you’re running your marathon, each to their own…

#tryingtoforgetisawthis
#tryingtoforgetisawthis

 9. Nothing beats crossing the finish line.

And it doesn’t matter who is there, if anyone at all, to greet you. Or even your time, especially if it’s your first. Yes, for sure it’s awesome to get a personal record, or have friends or family there–two of the three marathons have had my wife and RoZo waiting for me, which was great. But one of them I was in Phoenix, by myself, and in some ways it was just as gratifying. Because there’s something internal about running one of these. If you don’t know whether you’ll have anyone at the finish line, sign up anyways. And tell me you’re running it. You can call me after the marathon and I’ll be someone that gives you a virtual hug and high five. But you won’t need it.

~Raz

Finally finished...
Finally finished…

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. 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 soundness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Anecdotes from Asia

Streets of Shanghai

My name is Rich Razgaitis. I am in Asia. And I am a type A.

My patience is being tested. Not because of Asia, but because of me. And my type A-ness. Perhaps a surprise to many, I’m easy—if not downright great—to travel with. Live with? At best I’m moderately difficult. But the adventure and activity of travel somehow calms me on the road, like New York City does. Though sometimes I can get tested through some of the seemingly little things. Following are a few stories from my latest trip. Any reference to language barriers is me laughing at myself—as I don’t speak more than two words of either Chinese or Korean.

On trying to get a wifi signal…

I’m at my hotel in Shanghai looking for a wifi network to jump. I found my digs by going to hotels.com, reverse sorting price “lowest to highest”, and selecting the cheapest one without the word “hostel” or “hotel-like” in the heading. Yes, seriously. It’s called the start-up grind. No more CoEx Inter-Continentals for me.

I walk up to the desk and say “Hi, yes I’m in my room and the wifi doesn’t work. And on hotels.com it said wifi comes standard. I haven’t connected since I left 24-hours ago and I’ve got to get plugged in quickly.”

The woman at the front desk says “Oh, only in the lobby. Wifi is only in the lobby.”

Twenty minutes later having tried all three network names, rebooting, and repeating the process I approach the desk.

“Hi. The hotel wifi is, ummmm, how should I say it? Ah yes. A nightmare. I need to get online. Pronto. Can you help me?” (okay, I didn’t really say pronto, but I did do that little twirly thing with my hand going upward commonly associated with the usage of the word pronto).

For a split second I feel like she is yelling at me and says “Yes, yes, it works. You do not understand. You need to sit over there.”

I point to a general area of the lobby to clarify. “Over there?” I ask.

She looks at me directly and exclaims “No, no. There. You must sit right there. Right there. Do not move your body.”

And she points exactly to this chair. There is wifi. But only in the lobby. And apparently only in this chair.

 IMG_0074 - Version 2

On plugging into Social Media…

Arriving to the hotel I plopped (this really is a word that should be stricken from the English language) down on my chair, and proceeded to get all my social media updates, forgetting for a moment which sites were restricted.

Twitter? Blocked

Facebook? Blocked

Vine? Blocked

YouTube? Blocked

Pandora? No global licenses

Instagram? Available (for now)

Yes, believe it or not, I get tired of social media so it’s nice to force myself into a break. But I do miss Pandora. By the way, for next to nothing get a much better experience, and support a great company. Go and buy the ad-free Pandora subscription.

 Starbucks

On finding a Starbucks…

Me: “Hi, I’m looking for a Starbucks so I can get some wifi since someone is sitting in the wifi seat. Specifically, my seat.”

Concierge: “Nihao.”

Me: “Hi hi, yes for sure, nihao. Starbucks?”

Concierge: “Tour bus?”

Me: Nicely smiling “No no, I’m sorry. Starbucks.”

Concierge: Raising voice and eyebrows “Oh oh, tour BUS!”

Me: Matching raised eyebrows and his tonalities “Ummm, no. StarBUCKS. Bucks. STAAAARRRRR–(long pause)–BUCKS.” Big smile with my eyebrows raised for effect to help increase translatability.

Concierge: Nodding profusely with big smile “Yes, yes, get you tour bus right away.”

I walk over to the front desk.

Me: “Hi, Starbucks?”

Front desk lady: “No, no. No Starbucks. Too far. You cannot walk. So sorry.”

I walk outside, hang a right because I could’ve sworn I saw a Starbucks in the general vicinity on my late night taxi drive in days before. 200 yards later I’m there.There is wifi, but after I order a hyper-customized coffee drink I learn that unless you have a Chinese mobile number you can’t get on. But there is a taste of home. After I’m done with my drink I go next door to Costa Coffee. There is wifi!

I ask if I need a Chinese number to access the wifi. They tell me no number needed, so I buy more coffee, open the laptop whilst shaking with excitement—which could be due to the IV drip of caffeine all morning—to find out that the wifi doesn’t work unless you have a Chinese mobile number. J

On Finding Wifi...

On finding a Doctor…

You don’t want to really get sick in China. Trying to find, schedule, and coordinate a doctor’s visit wasn’t the most fun or efficient accomplishment. Okay, so it was a PITA. But, fortunately “Z-Pack” translates easier than “Starbucks” and after a full afternoon of messing around with this I am purportedly within five-days of feeling like a new man.

The experience was still way better than the time I had to go to a hospital in Kolkata—holy shazam…

On Finding a Doctor...

On eating…

“Do you like Chinese food” my hosts in Wenzhou ask me. “Of course!” I reply, debating in my mind whether I’ll be calorie-splurging on an order of all-white meat extra crispy General Tso’s chicken with a medium-hot spiciness level, or sticking with healthy—steamed veggies with a nice soy/garlic sauce and a side of organic tofu.

We arrive at what doesn’t look like any Chinese restaurant I’ve seen before, and upon entering I see a buffet of what looks to be creatures that must have dividing cells, but none of it I can place. “Order whatever you want!” they offered enthusiastically. I didn’t recognize one thing, let alone could I name any of it. A friend told me one of those items in the picture is silkworm. Which sounds eerily close to tapeworm.

IMG_0181

So when I saw these little fried guys, disturbingly open mouths and all, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to order a plateful (you eat the whole thing, bones, head and all).

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Alas, we ate family style which means we shared everything, but I dug into every single item on the table. There is a pretty high probability that I had some funky stuff, but it all tasted good. And the conversation was amazing and quite humbling to hear as an American. I wish I could share the content, but I can’t. I met some great people there.

Days later in Seoul, my other hosts (also equally delightful) took me out to Korean BBQ. Woohoo! I love Korean BBQ—a little kimchee, grill some beef or pork and wrap it in lettuce and throw it down with an Asahi or a little soju. Easy peasy!

But did you know that instead of ordering the plain ‘ol boring pork or beef options for Korean BBQ, you can get it with cow heart, stomach, and intestine instead? Yes, you can! And we did.

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I gnawed down that cow heart, stomach, and intestine (and I preferred them in exactly that order) like the Paleolithic-caveman-eating-long-haired-Californian that I am. Perhaps too enthusiastically, because they ended up ordering as a third course Bibimbap, which I generally like, but subbed the tofu for more cow stomach. I hung in there like a champ, though during dinner I also justified more-than-normal amounts of soju (still within reason).

A fun night, which I’m convinced they did this for equal parts experience and hazing. I loved the adventure and I’ll never forget my first really authentic Korean BBQ.

But I’m ready to get back to my traditional fare. You know, like a breakfast consisting of 2 tablespoons of grass-fed Kerrygold salted butter blended for 95 seconds into my nitrate-free coffee with 1.5 tablespoons organic MCT oil and ¼ teaspoon of wildcrafted vanilla.  Yes, seriously.

Oh, and I wouldn’t mind sucking on a few metronidazole tablets as if they were Ricola’s, either.

On showering, including with my clothes on…

My Korean hotel was “cozy” (per hotels.com) meaning I could do a 360 turn in my room if I pivoted on my heels just so. My tiny washroom also contained a wedged-in toilet; for a minute I thought they forgot to give me a room with a shower. Then I saw the showerhead resting above the sink. Basically, you just washey washey right in front of the sink, somewhat next to the toilet. Everything gets soaking wet but it all seems to work out.

The last morning between meetings I hustled up to my room to check out; I am obsessed with germs, specifically keeping them off of me, so I tend to wash my hands whenever I can (read: compulsively). After packing up I decide to wash my hands up one last time.

Standing in front of the sink wearing my suit I turn the water on full blast, not realizing the shower lever was still switched “on” from hours earlier. You know in the States when you have that little shower lever on the tub faucet and you lift it up, and how it is SUPPOSED to drop back down once you turn off the water pressure? Well, that should be an International standard. J

So as I turn on my sink full blast, the showerhead hanging right above the sink and is pointed right at me kicks into gear. It takes more than two seconds to break free of the disbelief of my predicament, soaking most of my suit and even dress shirt underneath it in the process–though you can’t see it that clearly from this picture.

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I walk outside pretty much dripping, say hello to my host and simply exclaim with as much confidence as I could muster “Wooohooo, that felt good!” He smiled and nodded, and we were on our way. Sometimes you’ve just gotta act like it’s all part of the plan.

(repeating to self) Life is an adventure. I am on an adventure. Everything is okay. I am happy. I am smiling. This is funny. Laugh at yourself.

From this post you’d think all I did was work, sleep, and try to get on wifi. And you’d be mostly right. But I had some fun along the way.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. 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, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

My Dirty Laundry

My Dirty Laundry

Note: this is one of those blog posts without a punchline, let alone a solid point. Tonight en-route a six-hour flight, I just felt like writing about the moment that lingers the most from my trip thus far. How’s that for a compelling opener? 🙂

I’m in the midst of a week of business travel and can’t stand to pay in-hotel laundry gouging prices if avoidable. So while staying in Santa Monica, I found a nearby Laundromat in Venice and scooted over mid-day Friday to clean my dirty laundry.

I pull into the parking lot in my Buick rental (an amazingly great ride), with a large Brian and Amy’s Coconut Water (with pulp) in-between my legs while toggling a conference call (using handsfree).

Within ten seconds of pulling into the parking lot, a local Laundromat-goer who is sitting in his parked car awaiting a wash cycle starts yelling at me. Apparently, there’s a special parking protocol that I don’t understand. Thankfully, Mr. Enthusiasm was more than willing to school me.

Cringing, I mute my business call, and feel my annoyance level rise as he continues to yell. “Okay, you got this” I say to myself as I roll down the windows and resist my NYC-instinct to start yelling back. We are in SoCal, after all, and unless the car is in motion there is little justification for hostility.

“Hey bro” I say in my best attempt at California-cool as I pull up my Ray Bans and kinda flick my not-quite-long-enough-to-pass-as-a-surfer-hair “just tell me what I’m doing wrong here and I’ll fix it.”

He looks at me as if I am the biggest idiot in the world (possible) and with an irritated voice and angry emphatic hand gestures instructs me on where to park, in between obvious exhalation and eye rolling, as if to solidify the point that, once again, I am indeed the biggest idiot in the world (moving from possible to probable at this point). He tells me that if my vehicle gets blocked it is my job is to track someone down and get them to move their car for me, which is why I was reprimanded in the first place—I wasn’t pulling my car all the way forward.

Fair enough. His turf. His rules. I’ll follow.

Despite the aggressive greeting, as soon as I walked through the doors of the Laundromat an amazingly unexpected wave of comfort, simplicity, and peace was around me. The quiet repetitive hum of rotating washers and dryers, with the fresh scent of cleaned clothes and dryer sheets, and a comfortable immersion in a toasty warm room that invited me to slow down and linger.

Ironically, Mr. Enthusiasm even ends up becoming quite friendly with me and is supremely chatty—even smiley—once we’re inside, which I also attribute to the healing and equalizing properties of a Laundromat.

Nobody there owned, or at least was using, an iPhone or Blackberry (let’s be real, nobody uses a Blackberry anyways), there was no multi-tasking, and not a single person stared at the dryer trying to “will” the clothes to bake faster. It was chill.

It ended up being like a 90-minute vacation for me. Sitting in a Laundromat. Talking to the locals.

So far this week I’ve been in Dallas for three days, Los Angeles for two, and now I’m off to Honolulu for the final leg of this journey before heading back to San Francisco. Not only interesting travel venues, but I’ve had some great meetings with people along the way and some amazing food to boot (Riva Bella on Sunset—if you’re in LA, totally worth a visit).

Yet, my most memorable experience so far?

The Laundromat.

I don’t even understand it, but it’s one of those things that totally stands out to me. The kind that compels me to write without any particular reason…

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant info 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, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

During a Meeting This Week in New York City…

Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max Test Drive
Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max Test Drive

There was a “bit” of tension. It was all good, but it was more than just a tad though certainly not a lot.

So we imposed a coffee break into the meeting at the “bit” of tension point, and during the down time one of the guys asked me “Have you seen the Jeff Gordon video yet?”

I hadn’t, thinking to myself “I don’t want to watch a video at this moment.” But he pulled it up online, and a small group of us watched it and shared in the laughter. And it shifted the dynamics after that point as well.

So, here it is, one of the funniest videos I have seen in a REALLY long time. Totally worth the four minutes. I have no idea whether it’s real or not, but it’s still a riot.

And, a lesson learned from one of my business colleagues on diffusing a bit of tension by leveraging a funny distraction to allow everyone to regroup and come back slightly refreshed in order to work through the remaining issues.

Pepsi Max and Jeff Gordon “Test Drive” video

And if you found that one amusing, then here’s the other video previously released a while back, featuring Pepsi Max and Kyrie Irving as “Uncle Drew”

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 data 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, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

What If Money Were No Object?

What if Money Was No Object

Tonight a three minute video moved me.

I already have another blog entry prepared, and wasn’t going to publish it until a few days from now. But, this is quick, and I just had to share it…I wish I’d seen this years ago, repeatedly. And I’m blogging about it now so that, if nothing else, I’ll watch it in the future. Repeatedly. Because it has a good amount to do with what we do for work–and with life.

I look back on my professional and personal life and in many ways feel as though I’ve had more luck, fun, and great experiences than I deserve. I’m genuinely thankful for all of it. Yet, in other ways, I wonder how my life would’ve unfolded had I more often listened (or what could happen) to the voice that echoes in the video below.

It’s a voice of passion rather than reason.

That tells a song of love versus logic.

Brings forth a story of purpose instead of pursuit.

There are times in my life when I knew I shouldn’t give up on something, or that my heart was pulling in a certain direction and towards a particular passion, yet instead at times I answered to a “voice of reason” when my heart and soul told me to do otherwise.

My most recent example sits in the pit of my stomach as I write, a lingering regret from a voice and intuition I ignored. Years ago, my favorite DC-area restaurant was in Herndon, Virginia. And at this restaurant there was a server named Henry. He worked there many years, lived a simple life. And he was a fantastic man.

The short story is that, after getting to know Henry over a period of months, I knew then–and carried this conviction with me all the way up until two weeks ago–that I was supposed to give him my Toyota Prius when I bought a car to replace it. Not loan it, not discount it, but give it to him. Freely. Without expectation or reciprocation. I can’t explain it logically. I. Just. Knew.

What happened that changed my conviction?

Through a forced combination of ignoring this voice, and distraction, I pushed it to the back of my head, and I sold my Prius two weeks ago to some guy in California–when what I was supposed to do was send it back out to Virginia to where Mist (yes, I name my cars) belonged. I think there are probably only a handful of people in my life who would even understand this, and an even shorter list who would have said to go ahead and do it.

Regardless, I didn’t. And I regret it.

It’s a reminder to me of the things that I should and could do, professionally and personally, if I thought less about the money and logic, and more about “what makes you itch?”

~Raz

(if you’re reading this via the Feedburner newsletter subscription, you’ll have to go to the site www.razflections.com to watch the video)

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant data 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 soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Everyday Heroes: “Grandma”

Grandma

Last night I spent part of my evening with Grandma (yep, that’s her name). She worked during Royce’s birthday party at the bowling alley last week; while she was almost hidden, something captured me about her. While I enjoyed two hours with a dozen 11-year olds running around, I’m not sure I could do it for more than a few times with a smile on my face. Yet, Grandma’s been doing it for decades. Smiling the entire time. For some reason I was spontaneously compelled to ask her if I could interview her for my blog, and with a shocked, confused, and flattered look on her face (yes, all at once), she agreed.

During my road trip across the United States, which started in Florida and ended in California (part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here) I fell in love with the “real people” in our lives all over again.

I am as enamored by Steve Jobs brilliance and legacy as the next start-up guy in Silicon Valley. And I can rattle off dozens of other “heroes” that impress me in various disciplines, from Jeff Bezos to Colin Powell to Johnny Cash…But among all the well known, accomplished, and highly celebrated heroes, there are millions of forgotten ones as well. They’re “Everyday Heroes” and that’s what inspired me during my cross country road trip. These are the millions of people who are the fabric of America, the ones who serve a purpose to our lives yet too often goes unseen.

When I met Grandma something captured me. I loved her spirit, simplicity, and compassion. She has all these gifts that I don’t have, and it’s so often in life that this goes unnoticed. So below is a short interview conducted with Grandma last night at the bowling alley. What I didn’t expect is that she was rather difficult to interview, she just kept things so simple and straightforward. When you read her responses below, on the surface you won’t find anything profoundly interesting or funny. Though, I can attest, she is adorable.

Post-interview I gave it some thought and, for me, captured this insight: there’s a simplicity to her life that few of us understand. One that I will probably never fully grasp, but it’s something I’ve grown to appreciate and respect.

With pins striking in the background, contemporary country music playing overhead, and unsurprisingly even a few guys with full on mullets in view, me and Grandma sat down and talked about life. So here’s to Grandma, one of my Everyday Heroes. 

Raz: How’d you get the name Grandma?

Grandma: My husband worked at this bowling alley before me, and they called him Grandpa. So when I started working it just seemed like a natural fit. People just started referring to me as Grandma, especially the kids.

Raz: Where’d you grow up?

Grandma: San Francisco, went to Balboa high school and I’ve lived here my entire life.

Raz: So tell me about Grandpa. How did both of you meet?

Grandma: Oh, we met through the bowling alley really, that was how we dated. The first time I met him I was working in a drug store and one day he brought me a rose and asked me out to dinner. Later, we got married at the bowling alley where he worked, in lanes 11 and 12–350 people were here! At our 20th year we renewed our vows at the Bowling alley, and we’ve been married 37-years.

Raz: So what’s the key to 37-years of marriage?

Grandma: Agree on everything.

[editors note: I was expecting laughter after that one…Grandma didn’t laugh. Ummm, okay that’s a tough one Grandma…can you give us a few other options? 🙂 ]

Raz: What do you love most about Grandpa?

Grandma: “He’s kind and sweet. So kind.”

Raz: Do you have kids? And do you have a “secret” to raising kids, or was there one piece of advice you’d share to other parents?

Grandma: Yes, I have two daughters. I was a good disciplinarian when they were young, that’s what I would tell people. Be a good disciplinarian. They are both wonderful daughters.

Raz: Grandma, you’re amazing with kids. That’s one of the things that drew me to you. What’s your connection with kids?

Grandma: I just love kids, that’s why I love being called Grandma. They just make me feel good, they interact and talk with me naturally. I have no favorite age group, I love them all. I’ve even had people want to be their nanny, but of course I couldn’t do it–I work too much.

Raz: What was one of the more challenging experiences you’ve had in your life?

Grandma: I’m not sure! (lots of laughter, and a really long pause).

[Editors note: loved how she couldn’t think of anything, if someone asked me that question I’d probably respond with “okay, how much time you got???”]

Raz: What are a few things you’ve learned about people from working at a bowling alley for so many years?

Grandma: I’ve learned that most parents don’t discipline their children very much. I think instilling discipline at a very young age is critical.

Raz: What inspires you?

Grandma: Being here, right at the bowling alley. It’s never boring, it’s always an adventure. I love it here. Grandpa’s birthday was on Sunday and he turned 80, they gave him a big tournament (points to a lane). He used to bowl four nights a week. He taught the children how to bowl. Oh, he was such an amazing bowler, but now that he’s sick he can’t bowl anymore. But he was so good when he was younger.

Raz: What’s the one thing you’ve never done but you always wanted to do?

Grandma: Gosh, I’m not sure. (lots of laughter followed by silence)

Raz: Where else have you worked? And what did you like about it?

Grandma: Oh, I worked at a drug store on 25th, and also at Collins pharmacy. I worked there 37-years. They sent me to cosmetics school, so I would help the people pick out cosmetics. There was nothing I didn’t like there. That was such a great job, I loved every moment.

Raz: Grandma, you have been such a delight. I love your passion for kids, and your spirit. You are a total gem. Thanks for giving me this interview.

Grandma: Awwwww, really? Thank you…Did I do okay for this interview and did you get what you needed? (pause). Are you sure I did okay?

Yep, Grandma. You did just fine.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant info 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 heartiness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

The Long Road Home: Part Two

I made it to Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday evening, and I pretty much caught up my highlight events from the first leg of my road trip with this post here. Though, I’m adding a a few more pics to the below “Part Two” even though they were from the first leg because they were fun parts of the adventure for me. I stayed in Tucson at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch for three nights, it’s a great place and during my time there I tried to recover from this nasty bug using DayQuil, desert air, and sleep. Though I was also able to get some work done on a few various start-up projects, and I had an absolute breakthrough in terms of writing a book that’s been lingering for five years.

Being in Tucson was a reminder of a realization I’ve had in the last year about building and running companies. In hiring, lots is discussed about identifying and assessing competencies. Little is discussed in the way of chemistry. However, when I hire, those are the two things I’m looking for. Competency AND chemistry. Generally in equal measure, because I think chemistry is as important as competency, and was reminded of this during my stay at the ranch. The ranch is the same as it was in years past, but the staff is different this time. And it made a huge difference in the feel of the whole venue. That’s what chemistry does. When I ran a start-up in NYC/NJ a few years back, this was one of my big takeaways. The team was good, really competent. But the chemistry was great. And it was a difference-maker. Seeing Tanque Verde with some great chemistry among the staff really reminded me about this, and it’s a lesson I’ll never forget.

Bulletproof glass at the boiled peanut gas station

Okay, one last Florida story! It’s not my fault, the state is just SO chalk full of craziness…So if you know me, you know I LOVE boiled peanuts. Made a stop at a Florida gas station based on a Google query, it was in a rough–and I mean rough–neighborhood. When I walked in, there were bars over every possibly entry, and when I entered the cashier was sitting behind bullet proof glass (this picture–no exaggeration).

So as I’m loading up my boiled peanut containers (which are not Paleo, by the way–a peanut is a legume, so it’s a cheat meal if you’re going to splurge) a very large man wearing a tank top and a bandana barged into the store and suddenly yelled:“Alright everybody, put yo’ hands up and git yo’ asses on the floor!” 

Then, just about after enough time elapsed for everybody to wet their pants, he laughed and said “Just kidding ya’ll”. Thank you, sir, for sharing your gift of hilarity this evening…

This story further adds to my I love/hate Florida repertoire. I love Florida because you can get boiled peanuts at a gas station. I hate Florida because you can get a fake hold up whilst getting those boiled peanuts at a gas station.

Preservation Hall

This was in New Orleans, at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. There are three shows a night, no photos allowed during the performance. Here’s what I LOVED about watching these guys play jazz. Not only is the venue steeped rich in history and legacy, but these guys LOVED what they were doing. I looked at their clothes, some of them looked as if they were wearing recycled second-hand stuff. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I realized if I were to see one of these guys at a gas station and judge him by well worn clothes I’d probably assume he was either not successful or not doing something of significance. And I’d be wrong on both counts. Each of those guys were more successful than me, and following something with a passion that I yearn to replicate. Watching them play was like watching magic unfold.

The Amazing Teri Baker! 

This is a pic with Teri Baker, a great person who used to be on my team at a former Company. She ran the Call Center, but did a lot more than that too. She’s got a lot of heart, and I have always admired that about her. Teri happened to be in Austin as I was driving through, so we caught up over Stubb’s BBQ. So much fun. She is, as they say, great people.

Sunset at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

This was the view from my room at Tanque Verde Ranch at sunset with a field full of saguaro cacti, which are truly amazing. And it’s equally amazing what an Instagram filter can do to your pictures. I posted this one on IG and was contacted by some Arizona online magazine who wanted to make it their photo of the day. I was pretty excited, until I saw I basically have more IG followers than they do (which is not a lot).

I love the desert, and the saguaro are simply spectacular. It’s generally hard for me to sit still, but it’s different in Arizona. I think this is one of my favorite states. And in Arizona, while I love Tucson, I really think Sedona is exceptional. I could get lost there. Figuratively.

Of course, if I were using Apple Maps in Sedona, I could get lost there literally too.

Happy Horses post-trail ride

I love this photo because it was taken after all the horses got back from an afternoon ride and they seem genuinely happy, like they know they just did a good job. There’s an amazing sense of satisfaction in hard work.

I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as an anaphylactic allergy with horses, but I think I come pretty close. I’m ridiculously allergic. Therefore, I would make a terrible cowboy. And I don’t even really like horses that much. Though I do like wearing a cowboy hat and boots. Just, keep the horses away from me. And lasso’s. I probably shouldn’t be near those either.

Endless fires at the ranch

I checked into Tanque Verde on a Wednesday night, and left Saturday morning. During that entire time, I had a fire going from the moment I arrived until the moment I left–as well all through the night, and would wake up to throw more logs on the fire to keep it going.

For someone that has a hard time sitting still, I did pretty good at it at the ranch–but the fires help, they’re mesmerizing. So the big breakthrough I had while in Tucson was with this book I’ve been struggling to finish. I started it almost seven years ago, and should’ve finished it five years ago. Going into this week I was probably 70% “done.” The problem was, I hated it. Every time I opened the document to work on it, I just didn’t like it. The writing, structure, order, voice. There’s little I liked about it. It has been 70% done for years.

So this week, I started over. Completely over. Brand new document. Didn’t carry over one word from the last one (though I’m sure as I write more, stuff will carry over). I started and finished the first chapter on this new take, and for the first time I feel like I’ve got some of my book writing mojo back. I’m not sure what the lesson in this is, I mean surely it can’t be when things are hard just ditch ’em and start over. But at the same time, maybe with some things, you do…

Anyways, this was THE breakthrough for me this week on the road trip (so far). If I hadn’t lost myself with the scenes of the southwest outside and the crackling fireplace inside, away from all internet connectivity and my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/emails/surfing/texting and all other distractions, I’m not sure I would have ever had the realization that to get to where I wanted to go, I’d have to break free from what I’d done.

I also realized that I have to unplug my life more. Yes, many of you have been telling me, and encouraging me, to do this for years. I know, and you were right. But I just had to learn it for myself. Sometimes telling someone (repeatedly) to do something doesn’t quite work. It MIGHT even have the opposite effect with SOME individuals. 🙂

Okay, I officially want to be a Cowboy

If I wouldn’t be so terrible at it, I’d want to be a Cowboy when I grow up and work at a ranch. And write. As well as play the guitar. I’d like to be able to sing, too. Okay, let’s switch this up. I want to be a country music singer that has enough money to go to a ranch on occasion and play cowboy. Alas, I get to play Executive and consume copious amounts of Allegra and point at, instead of ride, horses. I am not even a City Slicker. I’m a City Sniffler. Ugh.

1970 VW Hippie Bus

In college I had one of these for a few months. It was not my favorite car. It was in the family for a while, I didn’t drive it long. Compared to the guy in the Jag in my earlier post, this guy did NOT look like he was having fun. Because, after all, I do not think cruising at 45 in a 75 with puffs of black smoke willowing out the tail pipe constitutes fun.

On my way from Tucson to Phoenix, I actually passed this guy three times (had to stop twice on the way). And it wasn’t because I was speeding. When I looked over at the guy I could practically see him standing on the gas pedal, and kinda rocking his body forward as if he were trying to give it some momentum.

Only if you owned and drove a VW Bus at some point in your life would you even understand this…

Raz at the Phoenix Marathon Expo check in, number 53496

When I got to Phoenix I checked into the hotel and hit up the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Expo at the convention center. My number is 53496, the 5 was cut off by my RFID timer. Given this sickness I’ve been fighting for ten days, I have seriously been debating whether to show up for the race, and if I did show up whether to simply switch to the half marathon or to go ahead and try to finish the full.

I decided to try to run the full marathon, partly because physically I feel back up to 80% now, and partly because if I didn’t run at all I’d always wonder if I could’ve finished. I’m going to try my best to have a solid run tomorrow, but I’m also trying to be somewhat aware of my body and recovery and not push it too hard. In retrospect, it was a little overzealous to do this six weeks after my first marathon. One of my future posts will be a “Lessons Learned in Marathoning.”

Since being in Phoenix I’ve read and seen some super inspirational stories about marathoners, including one guy in particular with multiple sclerosis. One of the things I love about running is drawing on inspiration from other people. And it’s usually from observation more than hearing some story, but both work.

I still remember so vividly running in Central Park this summer and a guy with an artificial leg was pacing alongside me, and I just found it breathtaking. Not in a I-feel-sorry-for-you type of way. No, in a you-inspire-me type of way. And, that’s one of the many gifts of running.

Ciao, for now. I’ll complete my third and final leg of this blog in a day or two when I get back to Cali.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. 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, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Sometimes You Have to Say “Screw It” (My First Marathon)

Sacramento Marathon, 5am Bus Pick Up

Today, I ran–and finished–my first marathon.

Yesterday’s post basically covered up to this morning. I’d committed to finishing, and then to achieve what was a very difficult (for me) stretch goal of completing under four hours.

Literally hours after I posted yesterday these two commitments, I met this awesome marathon coach/trainer at the CIM Expo and was asking her advice on the run today, what products to take, what to eat for breakfast, and how to pace myself for a sub four hour marathon. She was so helpful and encouraging, yet when I told her about my goal pace she asked about my training distances and times to date (which I exaggerated slightly to try to help my cause). She looked at me  and said “look, I don’t want to discourage you–but there’s no way you’re going to be able to do that pace based on your previous runs and training, especially with the rain and wind tomorrow–it’s supposed to be brutal. Just try to finish this one, I want to make sure you can finish.”

Raz at 4am marathon day, pretty scary hair!

This morning I caught the 5am bus, and who sits next to me? An ultra marathoner, and one of the pacers for the Sacramento marathon today. So she asks my goal, and I tell her to finish and then my stretch is a sub-four. She asks me the same line of questioning as the marathon coach last night, and based on my responses says “I don’t want to see you discouraged, but you can’t get close to four hours based on your prep. Even if you had a chance, everyone today is going to be off their target pace considerably because of the weather, the winds are gusting up to 40 MPH. Just focus on finishing this one, do your next one for time.” She really was awesome and full of helpful advice and super encouraging, and she was just being realistic.

But sometimes I hate reality. And a lot of times you can bend it.

It was like I was getting taunted, especially after my affirmations yesterday. Two really experienced marathoners, both telling me getting anywhere close to my goal was impossible. This happens to all of us in everyday life. And it’s so so so easy to succumb. Sometimes the wisdom makes sense to heed. Today, for me, it didn’t.

And this is what I know about myself: sometimes I need people to say “Hey dude, I believe in you” and other times all I need is a person–or two–to tell me at “There is NO WAY you can pull this off!” (incidentally, thanks to those who read my post yesterday and sent me kind messages).

So, I said screw it. I’m trying anyways. First to finish, then for a sub four hour marathon.

And here goes my first mile: 

Starting line: wind howling, it’s raining sideways, I’m wearing a trash bag. It’s in the 50’s and I’m freezing. Soaking wet. And excited. Oh, and I’m sick with a head cold. 🙂

Rich Razgaitis Just off Bus (video at the starting line of some CRAZY wind and rain going on, gusts up to 40 MPH)

At 0.1 miles, I get pretty emotional–yes, the teary kind. Ridiculous, I know, but three years ago I had two failed marathon attempts, 18-months ago I couldn’t run due to this nagging tendonitis, and four months ago I was starting my Sacramento marathon training with three mile runs at an 11-12 minute pace. Today I KNEW I was finishing a marathon. It was a bit of emotional overload. Oh, and the National Anthem was playing. That always does it to me, too. I am so in love with America.

At 0.4 miles, I throw up.

At 0.75 miles, I have to pee. Already. And waited in line for 90-seconds to do so (these 90-seconds become critical later).

Jitters, anyone? I start to settle in after that first mile.

So I’m running about a 9:12 pace the first half of the race. A sub four hour marathon is a 9:09 pace. So I was tracking close, but it was also only the first half and I was still fresh.

The second half I pick it up a tad, but I’m getting fairly fatigued. At 20 miles my legs are bloody screaming. At this point it’s mostly mental. Your body is begging at you to stop, slow down, or keel over. Each step feels like knives in your legs. And I keep thinking, if I just get to 23 or 24 it’ll be easier. Actually, it doesn’t. The reverse is true, it gets massively harder for each mile beyond the high teens. At mile 23 I debate making another (my fifth or sixth!) potty break, and opt to take the 35-seconds to stop. It’s about this time that I also finally ditch wearing the trash bag, as the rain and wind finally subsided and the sun starts to peek out.

Miles 24 and 25 feel eternal. But it’s a strange feeling of excruciating pain coupled with elation, because I knew I was going to finish, and my pace was improving–I was running 8:30 miles at this point, but wasn’t sure this would be enough to get me below four hours.

Raz at Mile 25 of Sacramento Marathon

26.2 miles later, I cross the finish line and my NikePlus tells me I finished in four hours and four seconds. But I thought I’d started the NikePlus early, and that the chip would show a faster time. Alas, this afternoon I learned my chip time was four hours and 33 seconds, which is about a 9:10/mile pace. I needed a 9:09/mile pace to finish under four hours.

33-seconds over four-hours. So. Stinking. Close.

California Marathon Finish Line

I’m still thrilled. I finished and I chased a time-based goal that a lot of people told me I couldn’t come close to accomplishing today–and got pretty dang near to it in tough conditions. I had a blast. I learned a lot about myself in the process. I accomplished something that’s been evading me for years. And I was inspired by thousands of other runners in the process.

And I got a great reminder that at times you’ve just got to say “screw it” in the face of rational advice or things that seem to difficult. A lot of times you know in your heart what’s possible, and you’ve got to go for it, even when others tell you that it’s impossible.

Finally, I really want to express special thanks to all of those who have supported or encouraged me in the process of my first marathon, there were many of you along the way–from helping me pick the race and designing the training schedule, to various encouragement and checking in throughout, I’ll forever be grateful.

Raz Just Across Sac Marathon Finish Line

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. 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 heartiness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Yep, I Attended Burning Man…And Loved It.

Sunrise at Entrance of Burning Man

About a month ago I went to Burning Man for several days. If you’ve never been, I pretty much guarantee it is everything you heard. And nothing at all.

1990 was the first year Burning Man took place on Black Rock Desert (previously on beaches in San Francisco). That was also the same year my dad gave me an article in my inbox (here’s the link that explains my growing up with an inbox) and it was about this specific Burning Man event, before it ever became popular–heck, before most people had heard of it let alone popular. At the time I was 17, I’m sure he doesn’t remember giving it to me, but I can still recall certain excerpts, the creativity, and photographs from the article. Since reading that story, I always wanted to go and given newfound proximity (SF is a relatively short drive to Burning Man) that sentiment grew over the past year.

One of the many awesome costumes on the Playa

At the last minute, and based on an invite from a fellow SF start-up friend that gave me the chance to stay in a very cool camp, I decided to go to Burning Man 2012 along with another good friend of mine.

It was an event itself getting into the Burn, we arrived at the entrance at 2am but didn’t make our way through the gate until 7am. Just the process of waiting was a fun experience, and unforgettable whilst watching the sunrise come up over the Playa. Initiation through the gate included rolling around in the alkaline desert, gonging some bell, and being told “welcome home” by the hosts.

There were a lot of things I enjoyed about Burning Man, but the winner for me was really discovering the creative process people need to go through to get to, well, their creative output.

My great friend, Joel Canon, hanging at Camp Ideate

So many of us love the end result of creatives, the completion of artwork, acting, music or whatever else. But often it’s easy to discount or underplay the creative process that people need to go through in order to achieve the end result. For me, Burning Man was an amazing look into the creative process that can benefit both creatives and non-creatives alike. And just so there’s no  misunderstanding, my use of the term and interpretation “creative process” isn’t code for illicit drug use, etc. Yeah, there’s some of that at Burning Man. But not everybody participates (nor did yours truly) nor is there pressure to do so. What I mean about the creative process is literally just that. The process of communication. Exploration. Artistic expression. Learned through either or both introspection as well external observation and sharing.

And while I loved my time at the Burn, it doesn’t mean I loved every single thing about it. But I’m focusing on the parts I liked, not the select few I didn’t.

Stopped Here for My Crazy Buddy...

Tons of  amazing artwork and exhibits, fantastic conversations, and an eclectic–very eclectic–array of workshops. Our camp, Ideate, was focused on technology workshops and demonstrated a really cool 3D printer. I’ve read a lot about this technology, but it was my first time seeing it firsthand. And for the record, the 3D printer is insane. Absolutely crazy insane, because what’s available today is a glimpse of what will be forthcoming in the future. 3D printing will be one of the next big disrupters of this decade.

Burning Man Sunset at Camp Ideate

Burning Man is lots of things. Yet, for me, the most apt truism of Burning Man was shared by a guy helping me shop–yeah you’ve gotta dress up in costume to go to Burning Man–in Haight Ashbury a week before the event. I asked him to describe it, and he looked at me and matter-of-factly said:

“Whatever it is you’re looking for, that’s what you’ll find.”

Which is exactly what I did.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. 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, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Raz Family Update


So it’s a long ways coming, but anyways here’s our update. It’ll be a quick entry, one because at the end of the day nobody really cares THAT much to know the minutiae about our move, but I still have people who text or email and say “dude, where did you go?”

Where we went: New Jersey. Neeeewwww Jeaaarrssaaaaayyy!

Side note: my daughter, Zoe, recently said to me very sincerely “Dad, now that we’ve been here a little while shouldn’t we start talking like them? Like, shouldn’t I start saying “yooooous” instead of “you”? Ummm, no Zoe. Absolutely not. Please don’t even let those thoughts creep into your head.

So on June 1st I started as CEO of DealOn Media, a VC-backed start-up company that is in the Group Buying space (competitors that you might have heard of include GroupOn and Living Social). Here’s eight months of summary at what we did at DealOn: bootstrapped, built great technology, secured some big partners, didn’t close a few big partners we should have, made some brilliant decisions, made some lousy decisions, built a great team of incredibly-talented-and-highly-committed people (this was really the key success factor), tested and trialed to figure stuff out, figured more stuff out, got some momentum, and along we went until we unexpectedly and very rapidly found ourselves in a position where we started to get approached by a lot of buyers.

And, last week it was announced that we were acquired by ReachLocal. I never expected that we would get acquired within eight months, but we did more things right than not, we got a few breaks, we built and accomplished some pretty cool stuff, and we landed with a very successful publicly held Company that’s full of exceptional talent, passion, and commitment. Things I dig. So my Board and DealOn investors are (very) happy, I’m quite certain all of my employees are happy, and I think the buyers are happy…so, therefore, I’m pretty happy. While it wasn’t all fun and games (though we did have some fun, too), this has been one of the most stretching and adventurous business experiences of my life.

Here are a few links to the announcement:

http://www.screenwerk.com/2011/02/15/reachlocal-buys-dealon/

http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/2026544/reachlocal-buys-dealon-plans-deals-exchange

http://www.socaltech.com/reachlocal_s_zorik_gordon_on_daily_deals/s-0033998.html

So, I left Olympia the end of May, and Erica and the kiddo’s came out in August. We’re at a temp location in Western NJ, and while we miss the West Coast immensely there are quite a few nice things about being on the East Coast–including being much closer to three of my sisters, Erica’s dad, and a MUCH shorter flight to see my parents (at one point on the West Coast we’d gone years since seeing them, and now we see them every few months).

There are things that I really love about being out here (like, that I’m able to write this from a coffeeshop in Manhattan and adore the energy in this town; I literally think my biochemistry changes when I drive through the tunnel to get into Gotham).

And there are things that I don’t love about being out here (like, working out at the gym w/ the natives in New Jersey. It’s not normal, and it’s an experience I hope you can bypass).

But, all in all, it’s part of the adventure we’ve been on and I’m grateful for every minute. Hour. Day. Okay, at least every week. 🙂  Seriously, I’m very grateful. And I’ve met some incredible people out here who have changed my life in so many ways.

Erica continues to homeschool, in an environment that isn’t that homeschool friendly or resource laden (“okay, now, which cult did you guys say you belong to again?” I promise, peeps, it’s not that weird; but it was way easier in the NW/Olympia where SO MANY people homeschooled); Royce is booting away the soccer ball in between reading books (I LOVE that she wanted her 9th birthday party to be a “bookstore birthday party” where they all got together at Clinton Bookstore to read and share stories out of books. Go Royce Go!). And, Zoe, ahhhh little Zoe. She’s more creative than ever, has turned into an aggressive little basketball player, and completely adores cooking (often but not always with me, and she’s an avid Food Network viewer). Ahhhhh, I miss our Oly kitchen! She could watch cooking shows for hours on end. It’s pretty darned cute, and I think it might be her gift.

Longer than I expected (it always is), the Raz Family update. The adventure continues…

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant info 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 heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Stuck Here in This Hole

I keep learning so much, the last month is no exception.

Part of it is observation. Part self-reflection. Part experience. And part musical influence.

Tonight via Pandora (no question, the best $30 I’ve spent for the ad-free version, and the free version is fine too) I heard for about the 20th time in my life a Coldplay song that never before caught my ear. It’s a song called Amsterdam, and I always liked the song but never even heard a word of the lyrics.

But tonight, perhaps funded by a melancholy mood, I heard the story from a new perspective. Growing up I remember my dad used to only let me listen to “Sunny 95” in Columbus, Ohio, which was maybe two tones away from classical music. I am sure he never knew that in the late evening hours I listened to the forever-forbidden 97.9WNCI, or even the really rebellious 92X when Suzy Waud was hosting late nights (funny how even 20-years later it comes right back). The reason for the contraband stations was he told me “the words in the songs matter…and some of that ‘acid rock’ isn’t good for your ears or your mind.” (me and my sisters still tease about the ‘acid rock’ comment, but he was probably more right than wrong on this).

Tonight, the words struck me.

And it’s not necessarily because the words resonate with how I’m feeling–but because they’re actually profound, depending upon your interpretation of the story. If you reflect on it, you have felt stuck–massively stuck and perhaps hopeless–at some point in your life. And, having spent the day in Manhattan observing myriads of people, and learning a lot in the past month, it is revealing to me how many people go through the same emotions yet rarely can release the emotions to each other.

To me, it’s a beautiful song about the redemption that friendship and solace can offer during times of headache or heartache; video below from a live event, and the lyrics are listed below the video.

Come on, oh my star is fading
I swerve out of control
If I’d, if I’d only waited
I’d not be stuck here in this hole.

Come here, oh my star is fading
and I swerve out of control
And I swear I waited and waited
I’ve got to get out of this hole.

But time is on your side, it’s on your side now
Not pushing you down and all around
It’s no cause for concern

Come on, oh my star is fading
And I see no chance of release
And I know I’m dead on the surface
But I’m screaming underneath

And time is on your side, it’s on your side now
Not pushing you down and all around
No, It’s no cause for concern

Stuck on the end of this ball and chain
And I’m on my way back down again
Stood on a bridge, tied to the noose
Sick to the stomach


You can say what you mean
but it won’t change a thing
I’m sick of the secrets
Stood on the edge
tied to the noose


She came along and she cut me loose
You came along and you cut me loose
You came along and you cut me loose

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. 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, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Memories of Morristown

Denise, Raz, and AlyssaRecently I was visiting some family on the East Coast. Every time I’m in the area, I usually stop by the Hospital where my daughter was born–Royce–just about nine years ago.

As many know, she was born very premature. I’ll skip the details of the story, I’m sure in accumulation or specifically I have a post in here somewhere that details it.

Anyways, lots of long hours in the NICU. Looooong and stressful hours. And as long as they were for us, for the staff there–particularly the nurses–it was a day after after day. Probably without a lot of gratefulness. Likely without tons feedback. And, all too often, seeing a wrenching end to a life just begun that affects families in deep and emotional ways difficult to explain.

So Royce, our oldest, was a perfect product of Morristown Hospital (lots of things contributed, Providence, the Doc’s, modern technology, lots of prayers, and as I’m addressing today, particularly the nurses). So anytime I’m in the area, which is about once a year, I drop off a note thanking whoever from the staff that’s on at that particular time, and generally something like an Ice Cream cake since there’s a Friendly’s right down the street.

Too often I forget about the people who have difficult and often thankless jobs, so maybe this annual pilgrimage to Morristown was my reminder to myself to do a better job of this, as well as to provide a really sincere thanks to some people who transformed our life.

Sometimes I get wrapped up in thinking that for us to make an impact we have to do something exceptional. And, while there are many great illustrations of people doing just that–I think I can find far more from people who do the simple things, consistently, with a lot of heart, and persistence towards excellence.

In my 8+ years of doing these thank-you-drop-by’s, I’ve never once ran into our two Primary nurses from Royce’s stay at the NICU–they just never happened to be on when I was stopping by in the past.

Until this last visit. It was so cool but on my last visit BOTH of her Primary nurses were on duty, Alyssa and Denise were both there that Sunday afternoon when I was making my annual stop. And it brought back a flood of memories to see them both, and a few other emotions. I got some great time with them both, and was reminded about the simple acts of service that can make such a big difference in peoples lives. For us, the big thing was helping ensure some precarious months in the NICU by paying such great attention to Royce. But beyond that, there was a whole level of emotional support they provided as well.

So, today, a shout out of thanks to all the people out there in jobs that don’t get the gratitude that you deserve. Because whether you saved a life, changed a life, or changed a diaper (for someone young or old), you deserve some appreciation–and a reminder, that the stuff you do, even the routine and mundane, can be a game changer for someone else.

You just don’t always know who, or when.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant info 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, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Goodbye, Univera

As many of you now know, yesterday with the internal team and today with the entire external field organization I announced publicly my resignation from Univera as the CEO of International. I’ll be wrapping up my time at Univera through the end of May.

I have nothing but the greatest things to say about my time at Univera. The people involved, and particularly each of the field leaders as well as some key people internally (special thanks to Regan, a great boss and friend, as well as my teammates, too many to mention), have been nothing short of exceptional to me–you’ve been true partners all along the way. I’m also grateful to Bill Lee, who has provided me such an incredible opportunity these past four years.

raz-reagan

It’s now been 4.5 years, and after several expanded roles at Univera, I can think of no other job in North America that could have stretched me as much as did these past experiences. From good times to exceptionally tough times, from long-term strategic planning to dealing with urgent “today” issues, from driving to objective decisions based on market data to those decisions related almost wholly to heart, emotion and subjectivity, there is no other job that I can think of which would have been as powerful an accelerator in my personal and professional life as this one. It’s been 15-years worth of experience in a little under five years of time. And while I have learned so much, at the same time, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up.

Which puts me at a place in my professional career where, for a variety of reasons, I have selected to take a different path and move onto the next thing professionally. The dream that has existed at Univera for each of you still remains; for me, however, for now my dream and destiny rests elsewhere (the details of which I’m keeping quiet about for now). While I’m very excited about my future, I’m also bittersweet for the reasons each of you know.

What’s next?

Rich RazgaitisAs some of you recall, at Convention two years ago when I spoke about our goals and dreams, I made a firm commitment to achieve four goals in my life and created a plan in order to achieve each one. Two have been accomplished (a certain business goal, and also my trip back to Kolkata, India), yet two still remain to be completed–and I’m stubbornly determined to accomplish them both, in addition to some new ones along the way.

The two goals? One is to complete a book I am supposed to write, and it needs to be done this year. The second is a physical health goal, specifically to get down to 15% bodyfat. So I’m still going to succeed at these, no matter how frustrated or off course I’ve been with them both (and as an aside, neither should you be frustrated by any delays in your goal setting/achievement…you can still accomplish them, stick with it, keep re-loading as needed…don’t quit, don’t quit!), and those are going to be a focus this year in addition to my new professional endeavors.

And, there’s more writing I’ll continue to do. It’s not for lack of content that I haven’t blogged for the past month, for a variety of reasons I just felt better to let it rest. But I’m going to continue blogging.

And my focus will largely continue to be about personal development–to try to write in an authentic way, without idle BS that so often peppers our talk that gets in the way of truth, and to try to continue to share stories of people who have done either the ordinary or extraordinary, or have learned lessons along the way.

Some of them are stories of the deepest magnitude, a hero who touched–and saved–so many lives, like that of Rick Rescorla during 9/11. Others have been fun filled gifts of laughter and play, like the Forever Wedding Dance couple who taught us a simple lesson about celebration and having fun. And then there are stories about the unbridled passion to make a difference in the lives of kids–like Geoffrey Canada with the Harlem Children’s Zone. None  of those are original content, simply the pulling of stories of others with a few pieces of commentary alongside.

And it will continue to be sprinkled with some personal stories and anecdotes–some involving my business endeavorsTwitter, Facebook, Blogging and others around personal experiences. So those things will continue, and I hope you’ll freely participate along the way. You can also follow me on Twitter (@richraz2) or on Facebook (“Rich Razgaitis”).

What I get absolutely fired up about is to see people pursue their passion, whatever and wherever that may be, so that each of us can find their destiny and achieve greatness (which, has nothing to do with title or money). These can mean radically different things for all of us. The key, though, for every one of us, is to find and pursue with unbridled passion those things for which you and I were intended.

That is when the magic happens.

It’s the reason that I love movies like Crazy Heart. Stories of redemption, personal calling, overcoming a struggle to achieve greatness. I read a great quote the other day: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I love to connect with those who are fighting the hard battle–but also remain determined and destined to achieve greatness. At the same time, I would love to imprint upon others a distaste for apathy in a way that makes them sick. Yes, we should hate apathy (in most all cases) because it’s one of the greatest thieves from you pursuing your purpose. Being apathetic is giving up, it’s not caring. And once we’ve lost the heart and passion to care, well, I don’t know how to reignite that again–let alone help someone win.

So onwards with the stories of perseverance towards purpose.

Erica and the girls are both torn yet excited for our future. They, too, went “all in” with us on this Univera journey. I’m thankful for the sacrifices they’ve made to let me have the time and adventure with each of you. They’re ready for the next move, though, and are resilient and excited despite this being bittersweet.

I will miss each one of you. Tremendously. Together we have gone through it all, especially those of you who have been on this journey with me for years. It is, really, too difficult to put into words without sounding trite or filled with hyperbole. There’s a lot that’s happened. A lot we learned. And even more we gained.

So I’ll leave it at this: together we’ve been through it all, and I love you a lot. No matter what.

Thanks for a great journey.

Your friend,

Raz

fam-hawaii-black-beach2

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant info 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 soundness, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Happy 5th Birthday Buddy

Levi's 5th Birthday
Here’s my annual disclaimer:

The reason I write in my blog is to connect with people. Not just from one segment of life, but from many. Usually the focus revolves around finding your purpose, passion, and renewal.

And as part of the thread of stories I try to share experiences and observations in leadership, volunteerism, wellness, as well as some events that are simply personal experiences that fall in none of those particular categories and, might, at times, be more personal.

Today’s entry is one of those. So if the personal aspect is too much, please skip this one today. The first entry that I made a year ago was here: Happy 4th Birthday Buddy.

Here’s today’s entry…

Dear Levi,

Today marks what would have been your 5th birthday.

This year I’m home instead of on the road, and lots has changed in our life–some for the better, and other parts not so much. But we’ve learned a lot, and we’ve grown a lot. God has been really gracious with us, and me, more than I deserve I am sure.

Royce is getting to be such a great soccer player, and has become so exceptionally good at reading. At night she reads to Zoe, sometimes “illegally.” She has a little flashlight that she pulls out after we’ve turned the lights off and I often catch her continuing to read into the evening. Mom makes her stop 🙂 (as she probably should) but the truth is I sneak in and give her a little thumbs up when I catch her reading and tell her it’s okay. She has such a heart for people, and an exceptional ability to communicate with others. And she’s intense, in a high-achiever way. Perhaps sometimes too intense (that’s probably from my DNA). I admire and love her passion and enthusiasm for life.

Zoe is amazing as well in her own unique way as well, she has such a compassionate heart. And is so incredibly creative. You should see (or maybe you did?) the latest “dog feeder” invention that she made out of who-knows-what materials–I can’t believe what she thinks up! I love it, every day it seems there’s a new contraption for me to scope out. Her ability to develop deep relationships and comprehend complex information is pretty amazing too. She processes so quickly, I love her ability to think thoughtfully and deeply for such a young kid.

I’m so proud of both of them, and so is Mom. And today I know we would be equally proud of you as well. I wish I knew your attributes that I could brag about, someday I’ll find out what those are specifically. I’m sure there would have been, or are, lots.

We talked about you a great deal this week, and more than ever, we miss you.

Yesterday and today, especially.

You might not know it, but Royce and Zoe each have their own “baby song”, which kind of represents them as a kid. This whole thing started with Royce, when she was in the hospital NICU as a preemie and we didn’t know whether she would live–or if she did the kind of life she would have. At many points the outlook was grave. During our daily drive to Morristown Hospital, Mom and I often would hear the song by Marvin Gaye (probably one of my favorite artists) “Aint No Mountain High Enough”, which came to symbolize our confidence and belief that everything would be okay with Royce.

Of course, we still play that song and think about those days. So, naturally, about a year ago Zoe wanted her own “baby” song that represented her! We chose, with a strong bias from Zoe, “I’ve Got a Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas!!! LOL. I think that’s hilarious. You can listen to the song, I think the lyrics are fine, but don’t watch the YouTube video–it’s a little too racy. Especially for up in Heaven. That could be awkward.

So you’re the last one without a song, and yesterday I thought we should pick a song for you on your 5th birthday. I wish you were here to help select it, but I think you’ll dig it. Unanimously we picked “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. Your mom thought of it first, I can’t tell you how much she misses you. It’s beyond words.

Some people have told us that every year this would get easier. And while time helps heal some things, it doesn’t seem true as it relates to missing you. Every year represents another year without you, and we’re both comforted and saddened as the years go by. levis-cupcake

This evening the girls made little cupcakes for you, RoZo decorated yours–it’s the one in the middle, with all the balloon candles. And we went to play laser tag–we’ve never done it before, but the kids thought it would be something you would enjoy doing so they picked it instead of going to some princess movie, which I don’t think you would have liked as well.

There’s one project that I was supposed to do for you several years ago. It’s been on my mind, and I know I’ve been negligent in finishing it and I’m really sorry about it. This is the year. I have to do it, and I want to make a commitment to you that I’ll get it done.

Tonight, as I wrote a year ago, I hope that this message gets to you somehow and in some way. I think it will. Know that we love you so deeply, and we’re so glad that we even had you for a few hours. I wish it had been many years, but the hours and memories that have ensued are better than never having the gift of you in our lives.

Levi, here’s your “baby song.” I hope you enjoy it. Whenever we hear it we’ll think of you.

I love you buddy, no matter what.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. 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 soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Jake Shimabukuro

jake-shimabukuro
A simple song brings a simple message.

Find your passion.

Watch this guy, Jake Shimabukuro, play the Uke and ask yourself if this guy isn’t just amazingly passionate about what he does? With 50-years of training, I couldn’t do what he just did on this YouTube video.

But, the point is that he couldn’t do what YOU’RE supposed to be doing when you’re connected with your passion and purpose.

So he found his, and as a result can do some pretty amazing stuff.

Have you found yours?

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant info 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, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.