Sunday, March 27, 2011

Living life one day at a time

So since I recapped my last cross country adventure I've since begun another one. To catch you up (assuming someone is actually reading this) the company I helped out by driving across the country to the opening round of the ATV AMA national races offered me a full time position. Its amazing to see how the Lord works and opens doors in a particular order and at just the right time. It would take too long to recount how my journey into this industry over the last three years has lead to this opportunity but I believe whole heartedly that God has had his hand in it every step of the way.

My first task with the new job was to fly back east to attend round 2 of the racing series. As of right now I'm slated to attend all of the AMA Nationals for 2011. The tour schedule will take me all over the eastern US and give me an opportunity to visit numerous states I've never been to so I'm VERY excited.

Two weeks ago I stopped into the office to sign paperwork and gather the necessary things I'd need for what I thought would be a five day trip to Alabama. Little did I know they had other plans. Ty Zimmermon, one of the several people who was pulling for me to get this job asked if I would mind extending my trip and hitting an event in Texas the weekend between races. Fortunately my life is rather flexible at this point in time so I said sure and went home to pack my suite case for my three week trip.

My first stop was in Pell City Alabama for Round 2 of the AMA Nationals. From there I headed to Jacksonville Texas for an event known as the Mud Nationals. This is basically an excuse for around 15,000 people to get together and party, southern style, in the backwoods and mud holes of east Texas. It was certainly an eye opening experience and for how crazy things tend to get, I'm thankful I was able to miss most of the mayhem. I was on hand to display our product and help get our company out and in the minds of the people.

Currently I'm spending a couple days off in Kilgore Texas before I head back to Alabama to pick up our teams race rig before heading to the next national in Bowlingreen Kentucky. I am so thankful and continue to be amazed at the doors God keeps opening. We're going to be spending a couple days midweek at a former national champions house before heading to the races. Jeremiah Jones was a top ranked professional racer when he was tragically injured in a race and is now a paraplegic. He's still actively involved in the industry running a race team and supporting his wife who races in the women's class. Just another awesome opportunity to get to meet some of the people I've only ever seen in magazines and in media.

This is about the midway point of the trip so hopefully I'll get some free time to write another post before heading back to California and on to the next adventure. Thanks for tuning in.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Saga Continues...

Welcome to the chaos and craziness that is my life. Ha ha. I'm now on an airplane headed back to California after yet another experience I never really thought I would be blessed with. Many of you know that I've been obsessed with the world of ATV racing for most of my life. Unfortunately the biggest ATV racing series is held on the east coast and I've never had an opportunity to attend a race. All that changed last week though as a team manager for one of the biggest race teams in the country called an asked if I could drive their racer support vehicle to Washington Georgia for the season's opening race. Turns out their usual guy had injured his knee and was unable to drive. So, whats a guy that has no real commitment or responsibility to do when an opportunity like this is dropped in his lap? Drive 39 + hours across the country in 3 days of course!!!

I made the trip from Oregon to Illinois a few times in college but it was always with other people and I was to solo this trip. Thankfully I could break it up and didn't have to drive straight through. I made it to El Paso the first night, Monroe Louisiana the second night and on into Georgia on night number three. An unexpected surprise was making a brief stop in Fort Worth to visit one of my lovely nurses from my extended hospital stay there last July. It was great catching up and much nicer chatting without my head ringing and leaking fluid everywhere.
In Washington I met up with the race team and helped mount and dismount tires for dozens of racers throughout the course of the weekend. I had an awesome opportunity to watch the pro race and afterward, even connected with a local member of the Fox news crew who was milling around the track. He was the weekend sports guy who happened to show up because he heard there was an event going on but he didn't really know anything about it. Being the rather shy fellow that I am, I offered to take him around the event and explain how things work and even helped him get an interview with the top two pro racers.

I continue to be amazed at how God works all things together and knows SO much better than we do, what He is doing. So many of the experiences I've had and people I've met over the last two years were always just hopeful thoughts and not something I really ever thought I would get to experience. Even more so over the last months as life has been challenging and work has been scarce. But isn't it just like God to make us wait, grow impatient and then just when we feel we've had enough, He lavishes something so new and exciting upon us.

This trip has been an unexpected blessing and I'm not sure what my involvement will be in the future but I'm hoping for good things. Everyone I met seemed happy to have me around and it was an awesome experience to be able to work in the thick of the industry I love. I even made some new friends that promised to bring me real Tennessee Barbecue if I make it to the next round. I can only hope.....

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Rearview Mirror

So often we speak about forgetting what is behind and moving forward. It's true that in dwelling on things of the past - mistakes, choices, relationships -we often see things that we don't like. Focusing on those things can impede our ability to move forward and into greener pastures. While I agree whole heartedly that it's not about what is behind you, but more so about what lies ahead, I can't help but peer over my should every once in a while to remind myself of where I've come from.

So often along the path of life and the pursuit of a dream we can get bogged down. We become discouraged when things aren't happening like we thought or we just seem to be pouring out and pouring out while receiving little in return. I heard Mark Sanborn speak recently and he comented that "successful people find themselves discouraged more often than unsuccessful people." Successful people set the bar so high that they often times become discouraged along the way, but the important thing is to keep trying.

I find it useful every once in a while to peer into the review mirror for two reasons. One, it allows you to truly gauge how far you have come. Things seldom happen in our lives as quickly as we'd like them to but it's important to step back and see the big picture. This should show you that despite what you may feel, you are moving forward and you continue to gain ground.

Secondly, peering into the past can help us through those times when faith is in short supply. "Look at your track record" was the encouragement my dad gave me to get me through my senior year of college. He was trying to remind me that I had ended up at college because I believed that's where the Lord had called me. He lead me there and He would lead me to wherever I was suppose to go next.

Look at your track record. When faith is in short supply, recall times from the past when God provided a friend, money to pay the bills or a cool drink of water in the middle of the desert. He has seen you through storms before and he will see you through whatever lies ahead.

Just remember as you move forward and walk through this life, every once in a while, peer over your shoulder to remind yourself of how far you've come and to assure yourself that the God who was with you then, is with you now.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Moving forward

Soooo.....Its been a little while since I've written on the old blog. Chalk it up to spending time looking for a job and the rest of the time worried about not having a job. Things have been up and down quite a bit over the course of the last few months but they are finally starting to look up.

A quick rehash, about mid October I suddenly realized I didn't have a job and the things that I was doing to generate money were barely cutting it and they were slowly vanishing. So after applying for jobs on craigslist and a day spent making cold calls as a part of the interview process for one company, I finally took to the streets to try and find a job. The day was bitter sweet.

The second door I knocked on was a film company called Endeavor Production Group. I talked to the owner for almost an hour and basically left with a job. It would be entry level and only part time but I was energized and continued my rounds to see what else I could find. Later that afternoon my truck died and failed to restart. That began about 2 months worth of recurring truck problems, which are still not settled to this day but its running and for that I'm thankful.

Fast forward to today, I'm still working with EPG and I'm in charge of a little branch we started called SpecSpot TV. I'm producing 60 web videos for business to promote themselves and their services online. I really like the work but its slow going. Everyone seems to want video to promote their business but no one wants to pay.

I also have another part time job working as a marketing assistant for the Stromsoe Insurance agency. I actually found and applied for the job on craigslist. It was an interesting interview process but after meeting the owner Mike and learning how he does business it made perfect sense and the system really works.

Outside of my "real" jobs, I'm continuing to pursue the motorsports world with everything I have. I've had some INCREDIBLE opportunities lately in terms of getting my name out there as an industry insider. I wrote a story for ATV Rider Magazine that should be on stands now, and basically just told my story of how I got to where I'm at and some of the exciting events that have happened along the way. That was a huge blessing because the story turned out to be 6 pages in the magazine and I've received a lot of great feedback from people about it.

I've had some other AMAZING opportunities recently that I will share in my next post but for now, it's late, I'm tired and this is the first time I've posted since'll have to check back :) I always love hearing from you so please feel free to comment below or on facebook.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pound the Rock

So the other day my truck quit. I was out driving around town making cold calls on some businesses trying to find a job and things were going fairly well until my truck died and failed to restart. I had it towed to my house and with the help of my dad over the phone, began to diagnose the problem. My roommate was helping me out and could sense my frustration. Somewhere in the process I muttered, “at what point do you say enough is enough and quit?” He responded very pointedly, “You don’t.”

We had a saying in the Greenville College football program, “Pound the rock.” The idea is that if a man were standing in a field beating on a rock with a sledgehammer, regardless of the rocks size, sooner or later the rock is going to break. Each swing of the sledge transmits more energy into the rock and eventually, the rock will crumble.

The saying is meant to illustrate handling life’s challenges. So often in life we can feel like we’re giving our all with little to no success. We’re pounding away but just can’t seem to crack the rock. Life throws us challenges and obstacles and threatens to steer us off course at every turn. All too often, we bend and break under our circumstances and opt to go in another direction. “I’ve been doing this for so long and I’m not getting anywhere,” we reason.

I find myself doing that very thing as I reluctantly have begun looking for a job. Not by choice but life, bills and other commitments don’t stop coming just so that I can establish myself in this industry and figure out a way to make a living doing what I love. Fortunately I have a great support group of people that encourage me every time I entertain the thought of quitting. They put my pursuit back into perspective and help me realize that I have come a long ways. I might not be where I want to be yet, but I’m on track.

Fortunately, God has allowed me a situation in life that I can afford to pour myself out and live for next to nothing in hopes of achieving this goal. I certainly couldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I was married or had other people depending on me.

All I can do is keep showing up. Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 7:17 “You must accept whatever situation the Lord has put you in and continue you on as you were when God first called you.” My roommate echoed Paul’s words when he told me, “You just gotta keep showing up.”

It’s easy to tuck tail and run when trouble strikes. Even more so when you fail to see any sort of fruit from all your hard work. But like our man standing in the field, you’ll never know what that next swing will bring if you don’t take it. It might not be but one that breaks the rock but one thing is for sure, the rock won’t break if you don’t swing the hammer.

I can say with confidence that I believe this is the place God has me in life. I’ve not neglected His word or his voice in those moments when He’s called me elsewhere like Greenville for instance and He has, in a very round about way, brought me back to the very place I’ve always longed to be. It’s not going quite like I had planned, but then again, when we do things Gods way how often does it work out just like we thought?

So as I’m working this out in my own life, my encouragement to you is to stay the course. The season you find yourself in my be unpleasant and may lack any sort of fruit but continue on “as you were when God first called you.” Maybe you don’t buy the whole God thing. Regardless, the quickest way to ensure you won’t reach success in your field is to quit.

We all feel some sort of purpose in life otherwise we wouldn’t keep showing up to work, class, practice or that 5am meeting. We have faith that what we are doing is in some way bringing us closer to our goal, even though at times, the end goal may seem a little hazy. Regardless of the end result, keep showing up. Keep taking steps in the direction you feel lead and watch the path continue to unfold.

“Pound the rock…Relentlessly. Pound the rock.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Man Time and Girls Night

So the other night I joined my roommate and several of his co-workers to watch UFC 121. It was a testosterone fueled evening full of good food, quality entertainment and plenty of dudes yelling at the TV. Everything about the night was a celebration of all things man from the food, to the fights on tv and even the company. I’m a freestyle motocross rider (well, use to be) and these guys spend long hard days scaling power poles in the hot sun. Manly guys getting together to fellowship with other men.

The guy who hosted us all for the evening has a wife and two kids who spent the evening at a relative’s house. They returned late that night as the fights were wrapping up and she was excited to see that we all very much enjoyed our evening. She was delighted to sacrifice her (very nice) home for the evening to let her husband and a group of his buddies have a little fun.

I don’t know this couple at all but judging by the interaction that I observed between them, this woman gets it. She understands that a little time away from the responsibilities of home to be a guy and be with other guys was good for him. It energized him. It allows him a few moments to celebrate being a man with other men and I would venture, gives him the fill-up that he needs to continue loving her and taking care of his family as a man should.

I say she “gets it” because I think all to often, men aren’t celebrated or allowed the opportunity to simply be men. (Perhaps that’s where the ball and chain jokes come in at bachelor parties?) Certainly a man has responsibilities when he gets married and his family must be at the top, but all too often rather than granting the freedom for a man to spend some time with his friends, he’s ridiculed for even suggesting it and is seldom if ever afforded the opportunity. A man needs this time and this particular wife realizes that.

Now before you ladies go hating on me or stop reading, don’t. Because just as much as I believe men need this free time away from home to be with other men, I think women need this time away from kids, cooking, cleaning, work and any of the other tasks that fill up their day.

My question to the guys reading is this, when’s the last time you offered to take the kids out just to give your wife an evening at home alone? Or better yet, when’s the last time you played babysitter so she could go have a night out with her girlfriends? The argument I would expect to hear is, “well I’ve been busy working all day providing for this family.”

Indeed, you have. And so has she though likely her contribution, while probably not monetarily, is just as great and taxing as yours. She’s quite possibly been changing diapers, giving baths, wrangling kids around grocery stores, folding laundry, cleaning house etc etc etc. (I’m just throwing things out so if I offend any feminist readers, please forgive me) She’s tired too. She wants time to herself or a weekend away with the girls just as bad as you want your man time.

I wonder how much more open the typical wife would be to giving her husband a night or weekend away with the guys if she herself had more time to be with women? We are wired for fellowship and there is something about a woman being with women and a guy being with other guys that cannot be replaced. It energizes us. After all, the world knows we handle emotions and communication along with a million other things differently.

I can think of a whole host of excuses that both men and women would give for not providing this opportunity for each other but like everything in life, we make time for the things that are important to us. What if giving her a night out with her girlfriends twice a month, shoot make it once a month, (probably more than she’s getting now) became something of importance to me as a husband? I’m willing to bet she’d be so blessed by my effort and refreshed by her time with other women that she would jump at the chance to give me an opportunity to get away with my buddies.

I’m speaking in the future tense of course because I’m not married, but to those that are, doesn’t that make sense? Sure it will take time, planning and effort when you probably are exhausted and really don’t want to spend the evening finger painting with your toddler, changing diapers etc. But if it benefits you in the long run, wasn’t your night of sacrifice a small cost to pay in order to 1) bless your wife by giving her a much needed break and 2) give you an opportunity to go be with your buddies?

So how to get there. We’re busy, she’s busy, schedules never seem to coincide so even if we are willing to make that sacrifice so she can spend some time resting and recuperating, how on earth do we make it happen? Fellas, here’s another opportunity to shine; make it happen for her.

Scour the calendar for an open weekend or figure out which night she’s most often free (you live with her for goodness sake). Make it exciting, buy her a card and put a coupon inside good for “a weekend away” or a girl’s night out, paid in full. Get CRAZY and book her a day/weekend at a spa. I hear chicks love that stuff! If you pay for it in advance, it’ll be all the more special to her.

“Well I don’t have the money to be doing that.” Good point, it’s only your marriage your sewing into…not to mention YOUR overall happiness too because I’m willing to bet she’ll come back reenergized and you’ll reap the benefits in more ways than one.

I’m not saying do this so you get something in return, but the truth of the matter is, you probably will. Marriage is kinda like a team sport, both parties work together at this game called life in hopes of scoring the goal at the end. We help each other out, support one another and sometimes that means going out of our way to make extra time for them to do what make them happy.

How much different would marriage in America be today if we actually went out of our way to give our spouse an opportunity to do those things that truly make them happy and feel refreshed?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Measure of Success

A year ago today I quite my job at Columbia River Bank and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. It was a surreal feeling as I hung up the phone knowing that in a few short days I would be packing my truck and making a move that I'd been praying for, for almost ten years.

So much has gone on in the last year it would take a book to chronicle. As is so often the case, with each year gone by we examine ourselves and our situation in hopes that we are farther along than we were the year before. "Am I closer to my goal?" To answer that question you have to first know what that goal is and how to measure success. By the worlds standards, I'm farther away from "success" than I've ever been.

A year ago I owned two vehicles, had a secure semi-well paying job, a house all to myself, money in the bank and some level of freedom. Today my 30 year old truck needs new tires, I'm renting a room in someone else's house, I write articles for a living ranging from $100-$300 and whatever money I have in the bank is committed to paying next months bills.

Depending on your perspective, you might scratch you head and ask "Seth, what are you doing?" To many, my present situation is less than appealing and certainly isn't much to brag about. Most of my friends are married and many are starting to have kids. That season of my life is so far out of the question it seems almost comical to even consider.
Some mornings I wake up asking myself if I made the right choice. I have no guarantee of success, just a passion for what I'm doing and a vision for the future that seems to keep evolving. By this point, certainly after my trip to Texas last July, I'd hoped to be well on my way to some level of stardome. The "plan" was to become a superstar in the action sports world and become one of the sports elite. Didn't quite work out that way.

So now what? Do I limp back to the corporate world since I'm "educated" in a particular field? Do I move on to other avenues since I couldn't quite measure up as I had hoped to? Again, based on your definition of success, most wouldn't use that to describe the last year of my life. As I sit here planning my next move, scrambling around the pacific northwest for a week in hopes of finding the next peice, I'm reflecting on the last year and wondering just what exactly have I accomplished?

If accomplishment is the definition of success, than I've failed miserable. If experience fits the definition then I feel as though I can die a happy man. In the last year I have seen and done things that I only considered in my dreams. Example. I visited some friends in Corvalis recently and they had a poster of a guy upside down on a quad hanging on the wall (Caleb Moore). It's comical to me to know that the guy in the poster took me to the hospital after I crashed and nearly killed myself. I never thought I'd actually meet the guy, let alone hang out at his house for two weeks with he and the entire team of riders.

I had always hoped that one day before I die I could attend the Baja 1000 and witness the Matlock racing team continue to dominate the sport. In the last year I've served on their pit crew twice and each time the night before the race got to sit down and enjoy a pre-race BBQ with the whole family. DEFINITELY never saw that coming!

Those are just two of the countless experiences I've been blessed with in the last year and it's those experiences that I measure my success by. In terms of achieving my end goal (not even sure what that is any more) I wouldn't say I'm particularly successful, but if success is measured by satisfaction, fulfillment and joy, I'd say I'm living in the overflow.

I look at the last year as purely a gift. I cannot begin to describe the excitement I feel with regards to the experiences I've had and the people I've met in the last year. No, I don't know what tommorrow will bring. I don't know what the future holds, but I trust that this gift is from God and it is the clearest example I have that the Lord truly does "delight in giving us the desires of our heart." (Psalm 37:4)

Many might not understand my measure of success. Most people think I'm crazy for getting excited at the sound of an engine or the smell of race gas and exhaust fumes, but I do. Thats what makes me tick and it's the experiences revolving around this industry that make me come alive. It will be interesting to see how "successful" the next year is but if its anything like the last one, I'm in for a wild ride and I can't even begin to guess what it will entail!