Reflections on Turning 50

I’ve hit another big milestone in my life today turning 50. For the last month I’ve been reflecting on my life and what wisdom I would share on this special day. More than ever, I’m now being sought out to give advice and share my experiences.

Many of my values that define me where shaped by growing up in Nebraska. I lived in an idyllic setting much like fictional town of Lake Wobegon made famous in the radio show Prairie Home Companion. Living on the edge of the prairie gave me a set of unique experiences that have propelled me through my life.

My wife Gina and daughters have also impacted my life with their un-ending love and support. My daughters have always inspired me to step back and take a look at things through a different un-filtered view.

My mother influenced me with her artistic skills and sense of humor. And my father instilled into me skills to be a life long learner.

Some phrases that have stuck with me over the years:

“You never make it unless you deal with the person at the top” This was advice that my neighbor Mrs. McLaughlin would always tell us growing up with her very heavy Boston accent. McLaughlin was a very formal lady that always wore white gloves. She was very successful as a businesswoman and owned about half the real estate in our downtown area.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This was the Golden Rule that my grandfather Geddes would always quote to me. He was a mortician and always had to deal with people at the time of their deepest sorrows in life.

“No matter what happens…people will always eat” Was advice from my grandmother to hold unto ConAgra stock that has been in the family for 4 generations.

I’ve always set significant goals than define each decade of my professional life. At age 20 I got a lucky break and had already worked at the White House as a photographer. I was challenged by a mentor to put myself on the map at a major national newspaper, so I ended up at the Orange County (CA) Register as an editor when I was 31. When I hit 40, I was a Vice President of an Internet company.

Now I’m in the position to help provide people the tools and the strategy to move into the digital age that is rapidly changing our lives and economy.

I end with one of my favorite quotes from the martyred Lutheran Minster Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“By the time you have grown up, the old country parsonage and the old
town villa will belong to a vanished world. But the old spirit, after
a time of misunderstanding and weakness, withdrawal and recovery,
preservation and rehabilitation, will produce new forms. To be deeply
rooted in the soil of the past makes life harder, but it also makes it
richer and more vigorous. There are in human life certain fundamental
truths to which men will always return sooner or later; we have to be
able to wait.”