In my 20s, my life was saved by Dr. David Deckert.
I mean that closer to the literal sense than the figurative.
In my 40s, my life was saved by Dr. Collin Myers.
This time, more figurative.
Shortly after my father passed away in 2011, I called up a therapist who could help with grief and sat down with her for two sessions.
In the first one, my grief overtook me.
I cried through most of that session.
In the second session, I had very little to say and she had very little feedback for me.
So, I quit.
I started back in therapy in 2019 when I was in great shape professionally but terrible shape personally.
I looked up therapists on Google who were close to my studio so that I wouldn’t have to travel far.
I found Dr. Collin’s name, saw some reviews which didn’t seem to sway my thoughts one way or another and set up my first appointment.
He was perfect.
He was exactly what I needed in a therapist: He knew when to speak and when to listen. He knew when to ask questions and he ALWAYS would nail me with a question that would leave me processing between visits.
He also was just enough of the paternal side of my life that I was missing with the loss of my father.
I look at therapy a lot like personal training and nutrition coaching.
A good therapist can’t do the work for you.
And a good therapist “shouldn’t” spell all of your bullshit out for you (but sometimes they need to).
Therapy is painful. Therapy is uncomfortable. Therapy is, in my humble opinion, necessary for basically everyone.
And if you’re the kind of person who says: “I don’t need therapy.”
My friend, you probably need it more than most.
Of course, it does take finding the right person for you…like personal training…and nutrition coaching…
Dr. Collin and I spent a lot of time together between 2019-20.
We have spent a lot less time together between 2020 and now.
Most of that has to do with the fact that my life feels pretty good right now.
Not perfect. It will never be perfect.
But it feels good. It doesn’t feel like it’s cracking.
One thing I appreciate when I’m able to reconnect with him, is that it can be like picking back up with an old friend. We know the story, we know the history, and we can fill in the gaps from there.
It reminds me of something that happens with my business too.
Some clients come and they stay for a long time.
Some clients come, take what they need and leave, never to be seen again (we hope it was a good experience, nonetheless).
And some clients come, and leave, and then return.
Of course, they all have value to us. There’s something to learn from each of those types of clients.
But personal training, nutrition coaching, or traditional therapy can feel like it’s a stepping stone.
Sometimes the service provided is merely a place for an individual to stop for a time before they go on to the next stage or chapter of their lives.
I can’t be stingy with Dr. Collin. If you want to reach out to his office, you can do so HERE.
Not everyone wants a male therapist, so if you need a female therapist to speak to, he has someone on staff who can help.
For as long as he can tolerate me, I know I’ll have a place with Collin.
Coincidentally, he dropped by my studio as I was writing this piece about him.
Perhaps that is serendipitous.
Thank you, my friend. My life would not be the same without you.
If you don’t know the background on this, check out Day 1.
Yesterday, I wrote about being a fan of limited edition bourbons/ryes.
Today, I’ll write about my other love of collecting: records.
I’m in a weird place as a record buyer. I currently have no more room for records, which means that if I want to buy more, I need to get rid of some.
It also means that if I buy a record, I REALLY want it.
And it means I’m a bit of a snob.
I can’t claim to be an audiophile by any stretch but I do have some stellar pressings of albums that make me appreciate why vinyl is better than digital and why some sources of audio are better than others.
It also led me to the company Acoustic Sounds.
Acoustic Sounds has been selling high quality records and turntable gear since the 80s.
Over the last few years, they’ve been releasing a series called UHQR which have raised the bar for how records arguably “should” sound.
As one might imagine, they only press so many of these titles and, discontinued ones are typically sold for 2-3x (if not more) of their original retail price.
Last year, they announced that they would be pressing many (not all) of the Steely Dan records. If you know much about that band, you’ll know that sound quality was important to them (perhaps to a fault).
That same care and attention is also on the UHQR releases.
Acoustic Sounds has also released two of Bob Marley’s albums: Rastaman Vibration (which came out first) and most recently, Exodus.
It’s my experience purchasing Exodus that inspired not just this post but yesterday’s as well.
Unlike the bourbon offerings that I referenced yesterday, vinyl pressings like this can reach into the low thousands (say, 3000 or so). However, demand can be quite high and, when you’re purchasing items on the internet, it’s every buyer for themselves.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you view this), the demand for Exodus was very high.
So high, in fact, that it clogged their website.
Mind you, those in the know complained that it was because Acoustic Sounds has an antiquated website that is in drastic need of being updated.
Maybe they’re right.
However, one customer in their frustration offered a suggestion not unlike what the business I wrote about yesterday does.
Give priority to customers who you know have spent the money in the past and open up access to them before you give the general public access.
Now, whether or not owner Chad Kassem updates the website to something that can handle the traffic, I am not sure.
And, perhaps, clogging the website is exactly the kind of publicity which may drive more people to check out the site.
I also understand that when things are limited, that means (by definition) not everyone gets the item.
Win some, lose some. No pouting.
I tend to agree with that customer.
Yes, quantity may be limited but give your faithful customers “first dibs” at access. They can opt in or out. Either way, the item still sells. The same revenue is made.
Sadly, many people purchase records (and bourbon, for that matter) simply to flip it on the secondary market and make a profit.
It’s not the way I choose to do it. If I’m buying something, I want to enjoy it.
It would take little effort on behalf of Acoustic Sounds to curate a list of customers who A) spend the most B) specifically buy the higher-end options and then put them on a separate mailing list.
As for me, I did get my copy of Exodus, and it did take me a long time to get through the site.
But the purchasing process was not amazing.
Not for me and, by the looks of it, not for many others.
This is Day 9 in my 30-day blogging journey. If you want to know how this started, check out Day 1.
I’ve been buying a lot of bourbon and ryes over the last handful of years.
While the last few months have shown a significant decrease in my spending (for reasons I’ll mention later), Marissa and I still have a dining room full of bottles that we enjoy.
A couple of years ago, I came across a company called The Prime Barrel.
They sold specially picked bottles from distilleries across the nation.
If you don’t know much about how this works, let me give you a condensed version:
Bourbon aficionados can reach out to distilleries to try single barrel offerings. These are usually selected by a small group (say 3-6 people) and bottled up so that those looking to purchase can have a very limited selection.
Most barrels yield somewhere around 200 bottles each (sometimes less, sometimes more). Once those bottles have sold, you’ll never taste another offering identical to it.
As someone who has collected things for most of his life, having something I enjoy (like records or bourbon) and then giving me access to an item with scarcity (limited edition versions), is a big draw for me.
So, The Prime Barrel became something that I was interested in.
Co-founder, Michael Nagdi, has done an excellent job sourcing barrels from more popular distilleries (like Maker’s Mark or Old Forester) to smaller distilleries (like Black Button or Taconic).
In addition, he gave some exclusivity to people who purchased from The Prime Barrel in the past.
In other words, since I’ve purchased several of their barrel picks, I’m on a mailing list (and text alert) which gives me 24-hour access before a bottle is offered to the public.
One of the things that I appreciate about Michael is that he is constantly looking for ways to make the experience working with his company more special.
Case in point, The Prime Barrel recently offered an NFT membership to its fans. Those who are interested can pay for a lifetime membership and priority tiers to have access to future barrel picks (and bottle offerings exclusive to those tiers).
When he was gathering information trying to see which of his customers would be interested, he set up Zoom calls with many of us to tell us more about what he envisioned the membership could be.
I thought this was a brilliant idea. How many business owners take time to set up Zoom calls with their client base to help them understand how to grow the brand?
Of course, those who have elected to join will gain priority access to those barrel picks ahead of the people who are non-members (but still customers).
As of now, I’ve not joined the NFT side. It’s not that I don’t see the value, I do.
I’m not buying bourbon like I used to for one simple reason: I’m not drinking as much of it.
Don’t get me wrong, Marissa and I still enjoy our nightly pours, they’re just smaller pours.
Here’s what I continue to like and appreciate about The Prime Barrel (and I’ll be referencing this in Part Two of this post), is that: membership aside, I still have some degree of priority access to a bottle before the public gets it.
As a business owner, it’s a good refresher that the people who are long-time customers or are customers who have spent a considerable amount as patrons deserve some type of priority status. Maybe they won’t elect to take part of every offering we have but they’ll know that they’re members of an “elite club”, “platinum/gold club”, or “VIP”.
Thank you, Michael and TPB for giving “first dibs” to the customers who achieved the appropriate status.
If you’ve been following my 30-day blogging journey, this is Day 8 and it will be a bit different than the others. However, I’ll still find a business focused tie-in to keep a common thread going.
If you don’t know the background on the 30-day experiment, check out Day 1.
My mother is celebrating her birthday today and while she didn’t want a lot of fanfare for it, she did give me the inkling of inspiration for this post.
1-Unconditional Love: I wish I could tell you that every parent gives this but I know that’s not true. I was blessed with not just one great parent, but two. We lost my father in 2011 to multiple myeloma and unconditional love was something we experienced through him as well. Despite having great parents, I haven’t always been a model son. I try my very best to change that as I get older. My mother has always stood by my side. She has always come to my defense, even when I didn’t deserve it. If I’ve learned anything from her (and I have), it’s to not only take that love and cherish it but to give it back; to her and to my own family.
2-Sacrifice: When you have a mother or a parent who is able to give unconditional love, what you find is that they will go to great lengths to sacrifice their time, their love, and their attention to give you everything they possibly can. I’ve seen this in my own life and I watch it happen respectively with the mothers of my sons: my first wife, Megan, to our son Jackson and my wife, Marissa, to our son, Sebastian. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by women who would give anything (and I mean anything) to see their boys thrive. And where did I experience that first? From the woman who brought me into this world. For 47 years, I’ve watched my mother give her all in every single endeavor I’ve seen her take on. If it meant that sometimes she had less, so that I could have more, then that’s what happened. It may not have always been fair to her but she gave it (and continues to give it).
3-Loyalty: It wasn’t just loyalty to my father and their marriage, it’s loyalty to the people around her. My mother can be quite reserved and a bit of an introvert. When she finds her people, she latches on and she holds them dear. I have sometimes told her that her loyalty can betray her, as sometimes the people she holds close don’t return the favor. I guess the safest way to address that is to say that loyalty, while admirable, can come at a great personal cost. Some battles you fight, some battles you win.
4-Work Ethic: I was raised by two people who worked their tails off. When I was of an age where it was expected that I would join the work force, my mother and my father were the ones who impressed on me how important it was to have a strong work ethic. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate why that mattered. As I got older, it became clear. You work, not only to support your family but to create and curate a better world around you. I have said, only half in jest, that when it comes time for my mother to leave this world, it wouldn’t surprise me if I was picking her body up from her shop floor. For the last 40 years, my mother has given her life to the floral world. Since we lost my father, it’s only made my Mom dig her heels in a little more because time spent making stunning floral arrangements for “Just Because” gifts, holidays, weddings and funerals is less time spent grieving the loss of my father. If you know her, and you know how she works, you know that her commitment to her craft is without equal. There is hardly a soul in this world who I would, in good conscience, say they could outwork my mother. Thank you, Mom for teaching me something about this.
5-If You Don’t Have Something Nice To Say…: Perhaps it’s that Southern upbringing but it’s rare to hear my Mom speak unkindly about people. It’s not that she doesn’t have an opinion and it’s not that she doesn’t share it. It’s that she typically reserves those comments for “behind closed doors.” In a world where nearly everyone with an opinion shares it openly and often without reservation or hesitation, learning to be a bit kinder to those around you has only served me well in my life. This was taught to me by both of my parents. I’m pretty good at adhering to it but even I need to polish my skills.
6-Etiquette: “Jason, say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’. “Jason, say ‘Yes/No, sir’ or ‘Yes/No, ma’am’. “Jason, hold the door open.” “Jason, be grateful.”, “Jason, patience is a virtue.” You’re getting a snapshot of much of my upbringing. Be polite, be a gentleman, be respectful. When the lessons took, they always worked out for the best. As I mentioned before, I haven’t always been a model son but when I remember these simple lessons, life is just better for me and those around me. Again, both of my parents taught me these things but my mother is still here to refresh my memory and to model the behavior herself.
7-Simple Pleasures: Growing up, my mother didn’t ask for much. Want to give her something she’ll love? Take her to the movies and grab some buttered popcorn. The greatest gifts to her are the things which aren’t expensive but, are relatively easy to find and appreciated because she rarely makes the time to buy those things for herself. It’s not about “bigger and better”. It’s about the simple pleasures in her life that allow her to rest, allow her to recover her body from a hard day’s work, allow her to freshen up her home, and allow her to enjoy some escape and entertainment.
8-Southern Cooking: My mother and I are both from small towns in Tennessee. My love for Southern cooking comes not just from her, but my grandmother as well. I don’t get the opportunities to eat a home cooked meal with my Mom as I did when I was growing up, but rest assured, if push came to shove, I could walk into her house and she could whip something up with what she has on hand, no recipe needed, and it would be delicious. I know most Southern fare isn’t the “healthiest” but there are few things in this world more comforting and therapeutic than the love put into a home cooked meal no matter what side of the globe it originated from.
9-The Best Knowledge Isn’t Always Found In Books: Unlike me, my mother is not an avid book reader. That being said, there is one publication that she reads and pays close attention to. That would be an industry specific magazine for the floral industry. While I continue to plow through all manner of books for pleasure and for continuing education, my mother condenses most of her reading to this journal. In it, she can take these bite-sized chunks of fads, trends, technological advances and design tips and apply it to her craft. Of course, when you have decades upon decades of design experience, you probably have a better handle on what you need to keep up with and what’s essentially derivative. Mom takes what she’s learned from all of those years of work and applies what she needs from her industry magazine. It saves her time when time can be in short supply. Basically, she learned how to work smarter, not necessarily harder.
10-Respect: I could probably write an entire post off of this one word. I’ll try not to drag it out that far. I was raised to respect my parents. In return, I was raised by parents who respected me. I can say, in hindsight, that my parents never failed on their end of the bargain. Respect is a loaded word. Many people who demand to receive it, don’t deserve it. In reality, those who rarely ask for it, tend to receive it (I’m sure there are exceptions). My mother and I have always been close. When we lost my father, we became closer. The last argument I ever had with my mother (and I’m not sure if argument is the right word) was the week of my father’s passing. Dad witnessed that and while I don’t remember the details, here is what I do remember: Mom and I sorted out the disagreement and we’ve never argued with each other since. While I wholeheartedly believe that you can disagree with someone and still have the utmost respect for them, as far as my mother and I are concerned, there just isn’t a need. It’s left such an impression on me, that it has changed the way I raise our son. There is a consistent thread of understanding: “Sebastian, listen to your mother. Respect what your mother tells you. She is only trying to do what’s best for you.” Perhaps that’s the lesson to leave you with in this post: All of my life, my mother tried to do what was best for me. We didn’t always agree and we didn’t always see eye to eye. But I knew (and I know) that all she’s ever tried to do was what seemed right and to do it from a place of love and respect so that I could live the best life I could. I think I’m finally learning to mirror that with my own family.
Mom, Happy Birthday. There are far more than ten reasons to love you. I’ll tell you here, like I tell you in person: Dad would be proud.
This is Day 7 in my 30-day blogging journey, if you missed the “why” you can read more HERE.
After many years of friendly nudging, I took the advice of my chiropractor and friend, Dr. Robert Ault, to start getting routine massages.
My body takes its toll from the long hours, the high step count, the constant un-racking, loading and re-racking of weights each day plus that nagging reminder that my body is getting older not younger.
Historically, massages were something that I would treat myself or my wife to once a year or even further out than that.
It wasn’t that I didn’t see the value, I just didn’t prioritize it.
Once I got over the mental hurdle, I got standing appointments set up with our massage therapist, a gentleman by the name of Tom at the salon in our plaza (Shout out to Gavin Scott Salon).
For Marissa and myself, we each go once a month to see him and it’s been tremendously helpful for both of us.
It’s also very convenient to be able to set the appointments out a year in advance so that we don’t accidentally forget to stay on schedule.
As a result, the likelihood that we need to cancel an appointment is low and, fortunately, it’s easy to reschedule.
Doctor’s offices are typically no different. There’s the ability to set appointments far in advance and, technology being what it is, you can get text reminders of your appointments as well.
Often, we’ll hear the advice about scheduling appointments in advance so that we have a better chance to A) show up B) not schedule something else in place of.
Most of the clients at my studio schedule themselves about a week out (even though we have the ability to schedule out much further than that).
It begs the question I would ask of you: What do you need to schedule for yourself to make sure that you are:
-Focused on some degree of self care
-Getting closer to your goals
Are you letting life just happen to you or are you managing the few areas of your life that you have a say over?
This is Day 6 in my 30-day blogging journey, you can find out more about the “why” HERE.
I have a soft spot for new businesses.
Especially the ones that operate in my industry.
Whether that’s a massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist or general practitioner, I know how hard it can be to get started and make a name for yourself.
I’ve always tried my best to spread the word about the people who take care of me, my family and my clients because I know how much “word of mouth” referrals mean.
Recently, there’s been a surge of physical therapists who are branching out on their own. Coming out of school, they are now Doctors of Physical Therapy who will likely start working in a PT clinic.
Because healthcare and health insurance are messy at best in the domestic U.S., many of these same PTs (not to be confused with personal trainers) are attempting to strike out on their own.
And as they are settling into spaces to rent and offer their services, one of the best avenues towards growth is by reaching out to local gyms and networking.
I’ve been very fortunate to meet a good handful of highly qualified and helpful PTs myself.
One of whom is Dr. Alina Mille.
Dr. Alina reached out to me a few months ago looking for an opportunity to meet with me and potentially set up times to meet some of my clients and schedule some hands-on sessions.
While we were working through the details of those sessions, I mentioned that I’ve been struggling with plantar fasciitis for the last several months and might also need her expertise.
So, over the last couple of months I’ve had my sessions with her.
What I realize is that, much like many doctors have found, it’s harder and harder to give patients quality care when insurance is involved. Perhaps there’s not enough time and perhaps coverage itself leaves something to be desired as well. I’m not the expert on that.
My sessions with Dr. Alina are one-on-one and I know that I’ve got her undivided attention during that hour of time.
There’s also the fact that in between sessions, she’s looking at options for trying to get me fully recovered as quickly as she reasonably can.
I remember what it was like in my first couple of years of business.
I had fewer clients and could spend a bit more dedicated time with each of them (depending on what time of day they would train).
As business grew, it became more difficult to offer the exact same type of service. Our business had to evolve as membership increased.
What I appreciate about Dr. Alina is that, for the foreseeable future, she has the time to spend with each of her patients. Unlike a personal trainer, she might not see her patients as frequently as I see my clients.
But it’s a great reminder that I’m in good hands, and I’ve invested my own recovery with someone dedicated to my progress, because ultimately, my ability to heal and get back to my normal self makes her look good, too.
Her next big challenge aside from continuing to grow her business is when she and her husband welcome their first child into the world later this year.
To Dr. Alina, thank you for your time and dedicated attention. I know these first couple of years of business can/will be a challenge and I believe you’ll come through them (baby in tow) just fine.
If you’d like to find out more about her services, I’m sure she won’t mind if you contact her HERE.
This is Day 4 in my 30-day blogging journey. If you want to know the background on this experiment, check out my post from Day 1.
When COVID hit in 2020, one of the most shocking and fascinating things for me to watch was the music industry.
Those who know me know how much I love music and how very opinionated I can be about it.
So, to watch so many bands and artists that I have an affinity for try and adapt to the fact that they couldn’t tour as a way to earn their income, it became a battle of who could think out of the box to generate revenue.
One band (or in this case, artist) stood out to me: Matt Friction of The Pink Spiders.
The Pink Spiders hail from Nashville, Tennessee, my home state and a city I’ve lived in twice and still have a lot of love for.
When they first made a name for themselves around 2003, I was aware of the band but I didn’t totally catch on to them with their first album, Teenage Graffiti (produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars).
It was their second album, Sweat It Out, that made me pay attention.
They got started when pop-punk as a genre was still very popular thanks to bands like Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy.
Like so many bands who got caught up in the all the hoopla, they split up shortly after the release of Sweat It Out.
They’ve since reformed and released new material as well as embarked on more tours since that split.
However, in 2020, they did something unlike many of the other bands I follow.
Matt sent out an email to his mailing list asking fans to submit requests for a project he was working on.
He offered up his entire list of songs from The Pink Spiders with the opportunity (paraphrased):
“Pick any song in the line up and I’ll record a personal acoustic version on a one-of-a-kind 7″ lathe cut.”
I think the service was going to cost about $30.
Of course, this hit all of my buttons.
-Fan Selected (Check)
Sure enough, several weeks later, I received the 7″ single with my song of choice “Busy Signals“
I threw it on my turntable and heard Matt’s opening words: Hey Jason, here’s “Busy Signals” for you.
At which point, the acoustic guitar starts and my personal selection begins.
Three years later, I still remember this.
Now, I know it’s not like asking Dylan or Jagger to sing you a personalized song, but damn if it didn’t make me feel special for a few minutes.
And that’s what comes to the heart of today’s post: How do we make our customers or our fans feel special?
Matt did it by mentioning a name, kicking into my personally selected track and making a version of it that no one else would have.
But as businesses, how can it be replicated?
They say that the sweetest sound to a person’s ears is their name.
I’d say a close second in making someone feel heard and appreciated is your ability to make eye contact and to try your best to filter out distractions when engaging with people.
This can be difficult when our smartphones are another appendage (guilty as charged).
But I believe every business, every business owner, and, in many cases, every staff member has the opportunity to make someone feel special.
Sometimes, that might be more attention and sometimes, it’s recognizing when someone needs space.
It can be an unsolicited expression of gratitude, a more personalized experience, or a “Just Because” gift.
As we’re known to hear: Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about, so be kind.
And to Matt Friction, I know it was a service you offered to everyone on your mailing list but for those few minutes, I felt special.