and if you don’t know where you’re going, do you mind if I come too?

November 23, 2015 By Tom

not nearly enough time on the trails this fall to offset the stress and clear my head…and that needs to change

This has been a brutal quarter for me in terms of schedule and stress and logistics. Any startup runs on the razors edge when it comes to looking forward and we’ve definitely not been the exception to that rule. In a quarter that has seen us sign more commitments and contracts than we had in four years of operations to date (think about that…four years of Nine13 and since October 1…we’ve closed out more deals with valued cash than in those first four years combined and total) and it’s a quarter that has left me curled up in the fetal position with stress migraines more than once. From slow checks arriving to deals simply taking forever to close, it hasn’t been pretty behind the scenes despite the consistent barrage of good news coming out.

Earlier in 2015, I got approached with a job offer that would be my second dream job. The sort of job that sits only behind my position at Nine13 and overseeing my vision on a daily basis. It was a job that would have combined a lot of my passions and platforms and in some ways, give me a much bigger megaphone to disrupt the traditional nonprofit community across the country. Despite all of that, it was a job offer that was easy to turn down in March and again in July…mainly because it wasn’t Nine13sports and it wasn’t my vision. At the end of the day, I’m well aware that as an entrepreneur, I’m a little narcissistic, and building my dream has meant I’ve never had to go to work for the man, freedom I genuinely enjoy and find rewarding.

So, fast forward to October and the same organization comes knocking on my door again with a final offer. An offer that made me blush, that turned me on, that quite honestly for the first time ever…gave me a slight pause as to what it would mean for my future and that of a future family and lifestyle that I imagine would be pretty comfy and content.

And I’ll be honest, I let them court me a little bit. I mean, who doesn’t like to have sweet nothings whispered in their ear? It was hard to imagine operations and logistics behind handled by other people, about not needing to stress about closing a deal so my staff can eat, about being able to separate my work and personal life (because I suck at it).

another perk, I work with two of my best friends every single day….that’s priceless in itself

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much that job just wasn’t for me and the only reason I would take it was because of the money.

And another motto, “passion over paycheck”, kept coming to my mind. In fact, the very woman who taught me that motto wound up doing a TEDx talk on it just a few weeks back at Ball State and I took it as a friendly reminder to stay grounded with what we can build at Nine13.

So, family, friends, sponsors, donors, and whomever else: I’m not going anywhere. Indy is my home and Nine13 is my dream, my staff and community partners make me a better human, and the amazing relationships and friendships that exist in this community make it impossible to leave.

I would have lost every bet on this journey, and every time I have my arms wrapped around where I think life is going it gets totally turned on its head….and on the days when I don’t know where I’m going, I appreciate you all being part of this journey and tagging along.