The Long Road to Here
These bits are written in the first-person.
Three Decades of Starting Things
My work ethic was established by my dad, my sense of playful humor inspired by my mom, but wisdom was crushed into me, sometimes against my will, over three decades of realtime experience leading other human beings. If you lead the team, then you are first in line for pleasure or pain.
As a life-long entrepreneur I have lived through the business seasons of both success and failure—some I planned and some that just happened to me:
- My first book sold 8,000 units in paper print and was published in the debut trio of books from Relevant Books, now Relevant Magazine, then I went on to self-publish several books across digital and physical platforms.
- I applied for a patent for an audio production device and launched a business call Analogtone: from imagination to physical product, technical inventiveness, and market discovery.
- I started a turnkey author coaching service, from writing to publishing, called Empowerment House: from an author's imagination down into the final published book, from physical to digital conversions, and aggregated digital distribution.
- I founded a digital publishing company that aggregated e-books both in the States and in China called Bookshooter: development of new authors, technical advancement of PDF to ebook conversion, and international aggregated distribution.
- I founded and presided over a unique non-profit work that coached and launched countless full time performing artists called the Blue Renaissance Creative Group. This venture was the establishment of a new economy for artists, intellectual property revolutions, and co-working spaces before it was on trend.
- I have written, produced, and published dozens of albums and have hundreds of songs via Enter The Worship Circle and have produced or written for over 7 million song streams to date and still growing. I have lead performing teams around the world in places like India, China, Brazil, Peru, and Mongolia, and encouraged people in prisons, bars, and countless public stages.
- I developed the curriculum for a ministry training enterprise, called Kingdom IQ--including both print and online curriculum, multiple retreats--all designed to help pioneering leaders function in health.
- I was the Chief Design Officer for a credit processing company with a unique charitable works focus called World Changer LLC. This was a technical learning ground for creating a sales process, client services system, web-based marketing enterprise, and a charitable sharing mechanism all rolled into one venture.
- I created a record company for independent musicians which shared a revolutionary ownership sharing model call Worship Circle Records, which functioned like an imprint, but was built on a new model of property rights and generosity toward the artist.
- I worked as a financial advisor, and then as the Director of Strategic Development for a financial planning firm in Colorado Springs. My focus was on assisting in business transition planning. During this season learned a ton about how advisory-based businesses might best grow and prosper.
Hard Lessons from Overachieving
I discovered the need for a clarified mission through my own experience of trying to do--and trying to be--too much. I could have titled this paragraph, “High Altitude Leadership and the Trouble with Loneliness” because as a strategic thinker I am always drawn to the highest altitude perspective on a situation, but I often ruined relationships because I failed to take care of the people around me. I have learned the hard way that executives can’t execute any faster than the speed of relationship:
- I began my work in the non-profit sector in 1993 and continued to function as the president and director of the Blue Renaissance Creative Group through 2018. I learned the long and hard way during this season how to protect my family, fight for my marriage, hire people, fire people, recruit, train, and send people out to professional independence.
- The non-profit was formed to create redemptive art, and to share the beauty of the Christian faith in friendly and creative ways. It sponsored countless international teams, media productions, public presentation, training schools, curriculum development, retreats, and birthed other like-minded non-profit organizations. One of the things I learned during the season is not attractive quality and attracting quantity or two radically different sports.
- My first website was up in the mid-90's, my first podcast by 2004, and my first subscription-based, user-content driven, independent music distribution service around 2008. Being ahead of the curve taught me more about failure than success.
- My role in leadership morphed from musician, to producer, to career coach, to veteran voice, and what I learned about myself over three decades was that I was built for pioneering. I am not good at maintaining the status quo. I am a change-agent. I learned that slowly and with great difficulty. It was often the disappointment of others that taught me to slow down, talk less, and listen with the intent to understand.
- As an author and speaker, I have influenced thousands through retreats, schools, videos, books, podcasts, and writing ... however, I have also coached dozens of people in very up-close-and-personal seasons of career training which is a very different kind of experience than leading groups from a microphone. I have come to believe that mentoring in close relational proximity may be the most demanding of all the coaching arts.
A Few Extra Notes
- I am still famous for marrying Robin Pasley, best thing I ever did, and continue to try to convince her it is a great idea. She, a business pioneer in her own right, is an awarded commercial interior designer here in Colorado Springs specializing in helping business owners infuse their story, and profitability metrics, into their commercial spaces.
- My two sons, Zane and Xander, are both off to Grand Canyon University. I live and work in downtown Colorado Springs. I love being a dad more than just about anything, and I don’t always like it that my two sons have gone off to college. It makes me feel lost sometimes.
- I love to fly-fish, but usually I like to be by myself because I am introvert whether you believe it or not. I have the same feelings about hiking, boating, any outdoor venture.
- I also love shooting sporting clays, but I just started in the sport last year, and am frighteningly average. It bothers me, I want to be awesome at it because I like it when things explode.
- I like to obsess over specific aesthetics like design, words, and style, for example: I know too much about coffee, cigars, and minimalism, but I am barely functional at pop trivia, poker, or in tracing my own family tree.
- I have always enjoyed academic challenges. I finished my Bachelors Degree in Religion and General Business at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, in 1988, Cum Laude, I achieved my Series 6, 7, and 63 designations, and I landed above the 92nd percentile on the ACT. I am a Certified Exit Planning Advisor. Funny thing, however, I have never been rewarded for book smarts. I have only found success and personal joy in working with people, what I often refer to as Relational IQ.
- Disclaimer: My advisory grace is mostly recycled from my mentors, especially my wife, and I am not ashamed of how most of what I will relay to you, is what I had to learn from others, whether I liked it or not, along the way.
A radio interview. Skip to minute 13:12 for a conversation on coaching, generous ambition, and healthy growth.paragraph text here.
More radio. Skip to minute 3:45 for insights on the long music career, overcoming failure, and the importance of advisors in exit planning.
Enjoy an interview with Mark Imperial on how exit planning is basic business strategy.