Other People’s Words

September 28, 2014 By Tom

(I originally started this on Friday, wrapping up tonight, and will have another timely post about the past few days tomorrow)

To be honest, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed (and not in a good way) by work over the last few weeks, we’ve been working with 700+ kids per week and it’s been a complicated program session for numerous reasons that have bogged me down at times.  This past week was the first week where things really clicked and I felt like we were firing on all cylinders.

But the last few days…I’ve been overwhelmed by love.  I’ve shed a tear or two on multiple occasions.  I’ve been beyond moved by the kind words of others.

the stack of letters

I applied for something that needed several letters of recommendation to supplement the application.  I reached out to some of my peers in the community and some of the leaders I’m fortunate to work with on a daily basis and asked if they would consider taking a moment to pen their thoughts on me in a letter to support the application.

The outpouring of support, the kind words, the numerous folks who called me after giving me their letter to say “hey, just so you know, this isn’t just good spin that I wrote, this is genuinely how I view you both personally and professionally.  Thanks for giving me a chance to highlight it with this letter.”

Overwhelmed.  Touched.  Moved.  Fortunate.

I do a pretty good job of tuning out praise and over-listening to negative commentary.  The negative commentary is what inspires me, the naysayers who say “this isn’t possible” or “that won’t work” or “you should walk away and get a real job”–that’s the stuff that drives me past exhaustion, that forces me to dig deep and put forth my best effort to find success.

Slightly twisted?


a favorite spot to sit back and sip that beer on a Friday afternoon

But operating with a chip on my shoulder and a vision that I believe in and being steadfast in that pursuit is what has allowed for the massive  growth I’ve seen in 2014.  It’s what pushed me to dig deep and focus on work when everyone else thought we would be dead by spring.  It’s what drove me to find success at work as I let the wounds of my personal life unraveling heal.  It’s taking that first sip of beer with friends on a Friday afternoon after a successful week and tipping it back to my previous co-founders that are no longer with the organization and expected failure when they were no longer part of the operation.

But these letters of support.  Damn.  I could care less about if I get through the application process because those letters are more rewarding than anything I could ever imagine.  You know who you are, and I want you to know that those words meant the world to me and I’ll work on listening to the praise better and having that being the driving factor for me going forward.

Seriously, cheers.

you all rock, truly