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May 11, 2011

My 3 Words for 2011 and How They are Changing Our Lives

If you are familiar with Chris Brogan, you are familiar with the concept of 3 Words for the Year. For those of you not familiar with the concept, instead of coming up with a new year’s resolution every year, Chris Brogan comes up with 3 words for the year. He comes up with those words based on what he wants the focus of the year to be, then bases his decisions throughout the year on those three words and how the decision will affect his focus on those 3 words. What’s interesting is that even though I haven’t blogged about my 3 words yet, I have already told you what they are with the recent redesign of this website. My three words for 2011 (in this order) are:

  1. Faith – Faith has always been of central importance to me, however, in recent years I had noticed that most of the time I was skipping any sort of devotional time in the morning or evening and really wanted to get back to it. One main tool that I have used is a Bible app on my phone from YouVersion. They have apps for (what seems like) every smart phone available as well as an online application that allows you to track your reading plans (there are a ton of them).
  2. Family – My family is awesome and I love to spend time with them, but I was missing out on some of the best moments with them because of our company. I had to work late all the time, work on the weekends almost every week, and constantly say no to my family because I was trying to keep our business alive.
  3. Fitness – Ever since I graduated in May 2001, I have been fighting the battle of the bulge. I have had some weight loss success (at one point I lost 40 pounds) and have gained things right back. This is the year I am going to change that. With the support of my amazing family, I have lost 25 pounds since November (not a ridiculous success I know, but it is definitely a start and one that I can and have maintained and will improve on). To do this, I am using P90X as my workout program (I am now a BeachBody Coach as well and if you use the P90X link here, you get 2 free DVDs and me as your coach) and am watching what I eat (most of the time) and trying to cut back on the junk. A major reason for the decisions that have been made have been my health. As many of you know, but a lot of you don’t for a period of time, I was suffering from massive headaches that would leave me incapacitated and in extreme pain. On April 1st at a city wide worship service, I was miraculously healed of them and hope to blog about it at some point in

    the future, but the headaches served as a wakeup call that I needed to make changes in my health or there were going to be serious problems.

To tell you how my 3 words for this year are affecting my decisions, I need to back up a little bit. Back in March 2007, Mandy and I embarked on the journey of owning our own company Two Miles Solutions. We have consistently grown the company every year (with one exception 2009 was pretty rough because of the down economy) and were doing great. Around November of 2010 though we knew we had more work than I could handle and I needed help BADLY.  So we ended up hiring a friend of ours to work with us starting in January of 2011 (due to figuring out the legalities of his contract, we had him as a contractor the first month, the full time W2 employee from then on). Working with him was great, we got a lot accomplished and he actually helped me almost entirely catch up on the backlog that I had created for myself. But then, a company that he had interviewed with and not gotten a job with before we hired him called him back and gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse. So we were left in a much better position, but without an employee to help us move forward. What I haven’t mentioned up until this point is that a major reason for the backlog we experienced was due to a customer of ours that was exploiting a loophole in our contract to get free development from us to the point that it was all I could work on most days. Even after our employee left, we still continued to in good faith provide work for that customer for free and have spent the last 6 months trying to appease that customer and it has definitely affected other customers. Because of

where we were at when our employee left us, we felt like it made sense to take our nose away from the grindstone long enough to just assess where we were at as a family and as a company (ironically, his last day was our 5th wedding anniversary) and we decided that we wanted to make sure Two Miles Solutions, LLC was what we really should be doing. We wanted to be open handed about it and give God the most latitude to speak to us  so we cast the net wide and submitted resumes in Madison, WI, St. Louis, MO, Tulsa, OK, and Fort Worth, TX. You may ask why those cities and the answer is simple, we have family in those areas. I threw one other resume out to YouVersion but got into the process too late and they had already hired someone. Because of the toil that they guy who worked for us went through to find a job we were not surprised when door after door was slammed in our face (even ones we thought were sure things).

The one door that stayed open the whole time was Tulsa, OK. Most people would look at that and first have to look up Tulsa on a map…I didn’t and neither did Mandy. 10 years ago when I graduated college at Drake University I went on a road trip to visit my grandparents in Enid, OK, then spend time with a friend in Dallas, TX, then round out the trip working an FCA camp in Abilene, TX. As I was driving west out of Tulsa on highway 412 I felt in my heart that Tulsa was home, but not quite yet…there were things that needed to happen first. Mandy was actually just finishing up college (in Tulsa, OK by the way) and would eventually make her way to Madison, WI where I would meet her (you know the rest). Because of our shared history and interest in Tulsa, the discussion of a move there has come up several times in our marriage, especially because neither one of us felt like Madison was home (don’t get me wrong, we love our friends and our church and I will speak more to that in a minute) but even when we visited Tulsa a few years ago, we didn’t feel like it was time. However, when I submitted a resume and 15 minutes later received the phone call from a recruiter in Tulsa that was interested it felt like the door had been flung wide opening and I began to suspect that God was moving us in that direction and bringing to fruition what had started 10 years ago. Because of vacations and hiring for other positions on the company’s part the process didn’t progress very fast after the initial screen with the recruiter so we bided our time. Then, the HR group at the company turned their focus onto the position that I was applying for and the process took off. I had a phone screen which went really well, then the next week was informed that they would like me onsite for an interview. So on Sunday, May 1st we packed up the van and drove our kids to Mandy’s parents house then left on an airplane from St. Louis to Tulsa on Monday, May 2nd. On Tuesday I went through a pretty intense 5 hours of interviews and was offered a position on May 6th. Which I accepted on Monday, May 9th, so starting on Monday, June 6th, I will be a web programmer for the Web Application Services Team of ConocoPhillips.

To answer a few questions that have already come up and I know will continue to come up:

  • This is not our employee’s fault. While our employee leaving was the catalyst for us taking a moment to reflect on where we were at he did not cause this. If anything, he should be thanked for allowing us the opportunity to take a realistic look at where we were and what needed to be done moving forward. We are not and have not been angry with him for leaving our company and doing what was in the best interest of his family. Any silence or lack of communication on our part regarding his departure was strictly for the reason that we did not in any way want anything we said to be perceived as bitter or angry. We chose to let him be the one to notify people and we wish him and his family the best.
  • One of the biggest catalysts for this change is for me to spend time on what matters most Faith, Family and Fitness. One of the biggest selling points for Mandy on this whole situation was when I told her during my tour of the campus, when we went to the area I would be working in at 4:45 on a Tuesday, it was already clearing out for the evening. I have actually mapped out what my week will look like in excel just to make sure the priorities we are doing this for are indeed going to be able to be focused on.
  • Yes, it is a really fast transition, but they originally wanted me to start in 2 weeks but there was no way that was going to happen so in my interview when it was discussed I asked if it could be a 4 week start date.
  • Two Miles Solutions, LLC will continue to exist but only for the purpose of selling software that I have already written or will write in my spare time as Mandy and I decide (after taking a significant break to get settled into our new home, job and routine). We will no longer be building websites for companies or developing custom software. We are investigating possible companies and individuals to be able to recommend to our customers as to who can take care of them in our absence and will do our best to provide the necessary information for whoever picks up the reins behind us.
  • Relocation is a part of my package and we are doing everything we can for our entire family to move down there at the same time but realize there may be a little time where Mandy and the kids are in Wisconsin and I am in Oklahoma.
  • It hurts to leave our friends in Madison. This decision was not made lightly and was made through lots of tears and heartache. Our friends were one of the main reasons we did not want to leave Madison. If we did not feel that it was the direction that God is leading us there is no way we would leave Madison, we love our friends way too much. Being on the pastoral team and ministry leaders at Metro Believers Church we have a deep bond with the friends, families, and children of our church and will miss seeing everyone on a weekly basis. When MBC says their motto is “We do life together” they really mean it and we have experienced it. We have laughed, cried, bled and sweat with some of the greatest people on this planet because of being a part of MBC and wouldn’t trade our time with them for anything.
  • Mandy and I are working through the transition of our ministry duties with the Pastoral team and as things become more clear as to who our successors will be it will be announced through the appropriate channels.
  • We played our cards on this decision extremely close to our chest. We did that on purpose. Because we did not know if we would even accept an offer if it was given and didn’t want to cause any undue hardship on anyone we kept the circle of people in the know very small. Please do not be offended if you did not know about this ahead of time we really didn’t tell very many people at all (some of our family members didn’t even know).
  • If you want to keep up with what is going on with the Miles family, we will continue to be on facebook and I will continue to blog (I can’t guarantee what my blogging schedule will be, but I love to blog and will continue it in the future).

We are excited about the change and look forward to seeing what God has in store for us in the Tulsa, OK area. I have worked for the leading medical records software company as well as the leader in window and door manufacturing software. As a business owner, I have written software that has helped several companies streamline their processes, written a personal training application that is being used to change the way personal trainers service their clients and help their clients meet their fitness goals. I have built a website for a man that may be the next president of the United States. I have written a website that will revolutionize the way people search for mortgages and research information on their house and find home professionals. Now, I am looking forward to spending time being a father and working for company #6 on the Fortune 500 list.