Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Internal Struggle


1. A state of depression: "I sat absorbed in my own blue funk".
2. To become frightened and shrink back 

I wouldn't say I'm sad or depressed. I would also not consider myself to be frightened or shrinking back. I would, however, classify my current state of being as a FUNK. I sit here and ask myself, "Robby... how on Earth are you in a FUNK!?" I'm currently working at the best Outdoor Outfitter in Cincinnati, Roads Rivers and Trails, and I'm in my last semester at NKU! I'm about to graduate and enter into the real world! I have no time for a FUNK. I'm also involved in multiple jobs and opportunities that will make a difference to not only my future but the future of those I love around me. 

When entering into 2013, I told myself that, "This is the year." This is the year... 4 simple words of one of the biggest years of my life, and all I need to do is put my head down and focus. The only problem is that I can't... As I said earlier, I'm definitely not in a state of depression. I'm actually very happy and content, which is the problem... I'm content. I don't want to be content I want to be EXCITED! I want to be motivated and I want to be progressing on not only a personal level but on a professional level. Everything in my life is at a standstill and is content. 

As I look at the possible reasons for my FUNK I can only mark it back to three things:
  1. Not Getting Outside (Enough)
  2. Not Having the Ability to Say No
  3. Taking On More Than I Can Chew 
Not having the ability to say no, and taking on more than I can chew can definitely be put together, and I think they are the biggest causes of my FUNK. (By the end of this blog I will hate the word FUNK) The other day I greeted someone at work by saying, "Hi, how are you doing today?" Their response was, "Same shit, different day." That was by far the worst response that I could ever imagine for the question that I asked. NEVER in your life should you say, "Same shit, different day." If this is the case in your life, which it currently is with mine, then you need to take a step back and reevaluate how you're living.

I HATE that that response can be used to describe my life. I need excitement! I need energy! I need passion! Content is not how I live my life and will not continue to be how I live my life for 2013. This is the year... this is the year that I start a new chapter in my life, and I take everything that life has been preparing me for since preschool and put it into action. I want to craft a new response to my life, "New shit, every day." 

I don't know where I'll find my excitement... whether it's in mother nature, in work, in family/friends, or in the closing to my academic career. All I know is that I'm ready and eager to be excited. FUNK is a word I hate and a state of being that I will not go back to. FUNK can no longer be used to describe me.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Go Time!

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." - Colin Powell

I heard someone say that being in the heart of a startup means experiencing the highest highs and the lowest lows. Everyone who has been a part of the startup industry knows that that last sentence touches home. Just like any adventure, there are setbacks, there are unforeseen factors, and there are moments when you want to call it quits. Although you experience these negatives, the positives are what keep you pushing forward. They are what keep you looking for more, and striving to be better/do better.

It's go time. It's time to move forward, and give it everything I've got. The worst possible thing someone can do in life is to give up. I've learned at different points throughout my life, that giving up leads to regret. Live without regret, is the best advice I can give someone. This is an exciting time for Venturepax. We have plans, an we have a strategy to initiate the plans. It's all up to Danny and I, if we make it happen. Stay excited, and by God share a venture! There will be many exciting Venturepax updates coming soon :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Concept of Adventure

"Money comes and money goes, but time can never be replaced. To waste someone's money is a slap on the wrist, but to waste someone's time is the biggest crime you can commit."

Adventure is a simple concept. Everything new and worthwhile has come from adventure. From classic adventurers like Christopher Columbus to the common adventurer, you, we all seek and thirst for the road less traveled. Almost like pioneers, adventure fills a void in our thrill seeking lives and puts us at ease. It makes a restless soul calm. 

Adventure is extremely important to me and it keeps the gears in my mind/body constantly turning. The most important advice I can give to having a good adventure is to control what you can, but don't worry about the extraneous factors. Weather always changes, and every adventurer knows that once a journey starts, it never goes as planned. Instead of trying to control variables like this, control factors that can directly affect or influence an adventure. 

Don't plan an adventure by deciding who to go with. If you're like me then you have a secret bucket-list stored away of adventures that you want to go on before you die. Open up that list and pick an adventure. Work towards making it real, and once it is established throw out an invite to friends and family. Those who truly want to go on that adventure will reach out to you and make it happen. There is no need to work around the schedule or adapt the venture to their liking if they truly want to be a part of it. Don't miss out on adventure because a friend backs out, or changes the dates on you so you can no longer do what you set out to accomplish. I understand that this can come across as being selfish, and it honestly is. If the person can't enjoy your adventure than leave them at home and bring them back a souvenir.

Just go! Adventure now is better than adventure later as I like to say. The truth is that life never makes a "best" time for you to go do something. The "best" time is here and now so take advantage of it and #GetOutside. Time is something we have a very limited amount of on this Earth, so use your time wisely and make a drastic decision every once-in-a-while. Leave the second guessing and trip planning for your elderly years. You'll have more time to sit around then then you do now.

Enjoy the little things. There are many factors of an adventure that can make it good or bad. Don't get bogged down on the bad moments. Seek happiness in the little accomplishments, and truly reward yourself after big accomplishments. In the end you're still outside, so that in my book still counts as a good adventure!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Dusty Camel - As it Happens Trailer!

Around 3 months ago, Venturepax had a new user join the site, Ian Mangiardi. Back in 2009, Ian was solo hiking the Appalachian Trail where he met Andy Laub. After a successful AT thru-hike, the 2 set off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail back in 2011. Their thirst for adventure and endless months on the trail led them to what is now known as The Dusty Camel. Ian and Andy started The Dusty Camel in order to protect America's wild spaces. Here is a blurb from their website, "The Dusty Camel will do as their ancestors did thousands of years ago - take advantage of man’s freedom to roam. Using their knowledge and passion for the outdoors, they assist in planning and executing, trips and excursions of all sorts with one concept in mind - the more people that enjoy the outdoors, means more people to protect it."

After months of anticipation, The Dusty Camel released the trailer for As it Happens on Monday and it did NOT disappoint. For all of you adventures junkies out there... proceed with caution before viewing because it WILL inspire you! The full documentary is set to release Winter of 2013, and it couldn't come soon enough.

For more information or to contact The Dusty Camel click here. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Keep Moving Forward!

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire." - Fred Shero

Planning is a safe zone for people. The unknown can be so scary for some people that they try to plan out every scenario in their lives to minimize the unknown. In the life of a start-up, you have to be spontaneous! Being spontaneous to me is not lacking a plan or resources, but it does mean being adaptable. Life is an oncoming storm, and you can only stay dry for so long.

I don't think this is a pessimistic way to view life, but rather a realistic or more practical way. One of the most inspirational people of our time, Steve Jobs, said in his commencement speech to Stanford in 2005, "I wake up every day and ask myself if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." This to me is a very healthy way to view life if you truly understand what Steve Jobs said. He is not referring to going skydiving every day, or climbing Mount Everest, but rather surrounding yourself with what makes you happy. No matter how small or how simple, happiness comes in many different forms and everyone knows what makes himself or herself happy. The problem with this is that people often surround themselves with friends or activities that don't truly make them happy. Far too often we settle. I'm here saying don't settle!

Some recent moments in my life have led me to write this blog post. These moments have really made me think and open my eyes to what makes me truly happy. No matter what happens, life goes on. Don't be afraid to truly give yourself to someone else, or to a job that makes you happy, or a hobby that engages not only your body but also your mind. It is okay to be rejected. It is okay to be upset. Being upset is what makes us grow. If there wasn't rejection then there would be no innovation. Whether this is personal innovation or innovation from a company, societies and people grow from being turned away.

Making a plan is essentially creating an outline of possibilities. Nothing is certain in this world, and to hold yourself back from fear of the uncertain will only hold you back from life. Someone once said to me that instead of pivoting, you should try tacking. Pivoting means you stop, switch directions, and keep going. Tacking (Which is a sailing term) means going different directions but never stopping or going backwards. Let life take you forward! No many how many different paths you choose, don't stop. Life is to short to stop.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mother Nature Gets a Bad Rap

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller

When telling someone about your future outdoor excursions or adventures, far too often you hear over-the-top negative responses. Here are a few things that I have come across from discussions with people: "If you don't have cell phone service you'll most likely fall off a cliff and die or get eaten by a bear. Millions of people die camping every year from not going out in groups." My all time favorite, "If it is raining, you'll most likely catch pneumonia and die." It is safe to assume that every self proclaimed adventurer has heard something along these lines from those who do not understand or fear the outdoors.

The honest truth is that anything can happen. No matter where you are or what you're doing, anything is possible and sometimes the consequences are severe. The point of this blog is to take what people say with a grain of salt. One extreme side of the spectrum is people who believe that exploring nature is only meant for the animals, while the other side retaliates that society is more dangerous than mother nature could ever be. There is a happy medium. If you respect mother nature, and educate yourself on responsible practices then you can minimize risk just like anything else you do.

Sadly there are people who think they are above nature and #GetOutside with little regard to weather conditions or of other extraneous factors. They don't wear or bring the necessary equipment and accidents happen that push more and more people into subdivisions and big cities. These lackadaisical people are essentially ruining the outdoors for others. Scaring people about the outdoors doesn't get more people outside and definitely doesn't teach people how to be safe while they are getting outside. Instead, we should educate people by promoting safety and encouraging others to enjoy and respect the world we live in. 

I, for one, will never stop getting outside! No matter what happens you'll always hear about me going on adventures. If someone tells you that you can't do something or that something is too dangerous, educate yourself! Most things in life are dangerous if you do them blind. Open your eyes to adventure.

Monday, October 29, 2012

How Do You Define Yourself?

The education system has been a big topic of discussion in the ongoing presidential debate. A couple weeks ago Prana posted a video that inspired me to write this blog post. Check out the video below:
I am currently enrolled in my last year at Northern Kentucky University, and I find that the most popular question asked to students is, "What do you want to do when you graduate?" Too often the answer is, "I have no idea." I honestly believe that society has been brainwashed to think that everyone needs a college education, and then everyone with a college education deserves a well-paying job that they enjoy. I'll see students that graduate with a degree, and I'll ask why they chose to major in physics, or math, or criminal justice, or whatever they decided and the typical response is, "I don't know; I just did." These are the same people that graduate and get blue collar jobs and work for minimum wage while trying to pay off mounds of accumulated debt. It is not their fault they don't earn big salaries with their own offices or really nice homes with multiple cars. These people did exactly what they were suppose to based of what society dictates as normal and essential to a living a great life.

Yes, I think everyone should have the opportunity of a great education, but not everyone should pursue that great education. We have been molded to believe that mistakes are wrong. That if we make mistakes then the consequences are far to severe to recover from. Mistakes are ESSENTIAL to personal growth and learning. I have made many, many mistakes in my life, and I have learned from every one of them (Some took multiple times to learn from). I strongly believe that people need to personally educate themselves, and decide on a path that they wish to take before taking on the commitment of a college education.

I'm not saying college doesn't help you figure out what you want to do next, but I am saying that experiences are far greater than any education you can receive. I can attribute 99% of everything I know about marketing from working at Venturepax, and from various internships that I took part in. Not until Venturepax, did I fully decide on what I wanted to do with the (sorry for the expression) rest of my life. College didn't help me explore different internships and jobs. Giving myself the title "College Student" helped me explore different internships and jobs. College is a gateway for some people, and for others it's a large investment with a very small return.

My experience is different from others. What the Prana video taught me is that people need to be encouraged, not only to pursue a great education but also to harness their gifts and talents and share them with others. Some people were meant to be doctors, nurses, lawyers, and politicians, but some people are also meant to be blacksmiths, musicians, artists, gardeners, and zookeepers. To encourage certain professions and discourage others is a flawed system. Happiness comes in many different forms and from many different paths. A strong education is just one road to a sustainable, happy society. Unless we encourage other paths like apprenticeship or craftsmanship then we are going to continue to be stuck in one hell of a traffic jam!

The world doesn't need a better education system, we just need society to stop controlling us like puppets. Everyone is different and to generalize happiness isn't feasible and it is wrong for a society to do. In the end, our jobs are not what define us, but the relationships we make and the actions we take do. How do you define yourself?