Many requests…Many fears…17 years. It’s time.

I pierced my tongue. I was 26 years old, lost, devastated, feeling empty and hopeless. I had lost my best friend and father to cancer and in the same year connected with my biological mother for the fist time who informed me that I was conceived by a gang rape…three black men had raped her…a white, Irish woman. I left my full time job as a leader of a non profit in Minneapolis and was now a bartender back in Baltimore. I thought that when my Dad told me to “Stay True” to myself that it meant “be free”, don’t care what others think of you….and piercing my tongue was evidence that I understood what he was telling me. I clearly had not understood the depth of what my Dad talked to me about. I did and always do care what others think of me and so do you. The first few years of this now 17 year journey were rough…real rough.

A few years later I started to feel ashamed of myself. More than ashamed…embarrassed and lonely. I was so out of balance that I was actually further from where Dad advised me to go than I had been even before he passed. A true life lesson…needed change often happens at the bottom of the well…and I was there.

I took the tongue ring out.

I had always been someone that wanted to help people…whether it was the classmate that was getting picked on at recess or the junior high school student I counseled. It is just in me. Unfortunately I had lost all belief that I was capable of helping anyone. My first step on the right path was to simply get a job that would give me an opportunity to help people so I took a job as an addictions counselor in down town Baltimore. That was 14 years ago. I have spent the last 14 years evolving and helping people. Directly and indirectly. In group settings and one one. In leadership positions and as a friend. I often tell people that while I have held different positions in my career, the work has been much the same. It’s people. And people and emotions are deep. I am deep and work hard to create a platform for people to go deep. For people to feel safe talking about what scares them. For leaders to address what is in their way of being great…often ego and insecurity. For people to find similarities and like minded intent, instead of differences. This blog is an extension of that platform.

My father was right and how my life has unfolded is the evidence. My true value to this world was not being presented. It was and in many ways still is the hardest work I have ever done and will do….Staying True. And, it’s a never ending journey. Now I want to share some of it with you.

So yes, many people have told to me “start a blog” or “write a book” over the years. They assured me that my story and my words could have impact on many people. But, self doubt is strong. And, I have been riddled with it over the years. Who the hell wants to listen to me? What makes me credible? Let me just get one more executive level position to qualify me. Sound familiar?

But, it’s time. Why? Because my heart tells me it is and after 17 years of evolving and addressing my fears I think I have earned the right and have some valuable things to share about life and leadership. Perhaps above this, I care deeply about people and choose to continuously work on becoming more empathetic. I often sit in a room and the pit in my stomach tells me someone is “off”. I extend my hand and 9 times out of 10 my gut was right. With care and empathy I offer to be a travel companion and off we go. I suppose this blog is my way of extending my hand and starting a community of Stay True so that anyone that decides to travel with me/us can have an opportunity, a safe platform to explore and extend themselves. A cliche I live by… “I may not be able to change the world, but I can change the world of one person”. Join me and imagine the extent of our efforts.

Side note: More on cliches as the posts begin. I have become fascinated by the deep truths and challenges they pose to us. And, how we use them daily ever so casually but fail miserably at living them out.

So what should you expect to read about? Why life and leadership? Well, I am going to approach this blog the same I would if I was facilitating an executive team retreat…with no agenda. I used to approach every meeting with teams and individuals with an agenda but have learned that I often cheapened or put a ceiling on the discussion when I did that. Several years ago I stopped using an agenda and trusted myself to facilitate the people, the purpose, and the emotion in the room….magic has been happening. Having learned this lesson, I am going to take a similar approach with this blog. I am slightly unsure how the topics will unfold but absolutely sure that I will share things that will challenge you to think deeper and to evolve. Leadership because I spend a ton of time with leaders and have learned that when they tap in to some of what I will write about they become phenomenal leaders and get better results. Life because it’s true, “Life is not a dress rehearsal” and I will die trying to be a better, more evolved, more loving, successful (ahhh, how do you define success?) human being and through my work and life I have learned that 99% of us want the same. Don’t you?

I look forward to walking and exploring with you. Please plug in to my first post on May 9th, my first born son’s birthday. I will open up by talking about resilience and introducing you to my beautiful Mom.

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30 comments

  1. My first exposure to you was during my interview. I had heard many good things about the company, but a key factor in my decision was meeting you….and hearing you had been with the company for 3 years. This spoke volumes to me about the company! I am happy to know you and look forward to more blog entries! 🙂

  2. Ted-I have a thought about you several times over the years. You always have had such a strong presence. I really appreciate your honesty and look forward to reading your blog.
    While life has offered me many blessings and I love Asheville, NC…the move came with many changes, including a divorce. We have two beautiful children together, but there is so much sacrifice to not have them under my roof every night.
    I own a company here that I founded 5 years ago. It has really taken off and many goods things are developing through my work. I have surrounded myself with a great team and the future is bright.
    Anyway…thank you again for sharing. I hope you and your family are blessed and well. Keep in touch
    Taryn

  3. Congratulations my dear friend! I’m so proud of the work you have done within yourself and as a result the work you now do with and for others. To get to the point in your life to know your truth is one long and difficult journey. And here you are, not just knowing your truth, but speaking it and standing up for it! You’re an amazing human being and I look forward to reading your blog and being inspired by your truth!

  4. I miss you calling me Deeeeeep…every morning u come to the office. Love your blog!! Tx u for adding/sharing. Can’t wait for the next one esp of your sons!! Kudos!!

  5. Ted,

    Great read and very inspirational. Glad you have become a part of my life and look forward to reading your blog.

    Jay

  6. Ted,

    Excited about your blog and am inspired by your first story. I am starting a new chapter in my career and value your Stay True message and what it means to be a leader. Thanks you!

    Kristin

  7. Ted – so glad you’re doing this. You are authentic in your kindness and willingness to help others. The world needs more of what you have to say, so please bring it on! Can’t wait for more!!!

  8. Ted,
    I’m so impressed and inspired by you…once again. It has been a long time, my Friend, but I have never forgotten our conversations. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself through this blog, I have no doubt you will continue to help others with your truth.
    Kindly,
    Cindy

  9. I can’t wait to hear more. We are just starting a new adventure together and I can’t tell you how much it means to have your insight for something I’ve worked so hard to build. It’s time to change and change is tough but I think you’ll help us through it and we will be better for it.

  10. Cappy,

    Only one week and look at all the positive feedback and love brother. A step closer to the book. Loved reading about your past, things I didn’t know, things that add up to who you are now and the expectations for your future that were created from reading your first post. Glad you finally took this step. Long overdue but perfectly timed.

    Rainman

  11. Cappy,

    I hold special a series of conversations at that breakfast joint in Remington discussing next steps on a variety of topics. All centered on Stay True. Seems to have worked out for the both of us. Can’t wait to feel Ted’s Truth in the power of the written word.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    Dave

  12. Ted – Some brands try desperately to live up to the promise of their tagline. Your motto: “Stay True” is just two simple words that are trying desperately to tell the world how special you are. Any one who has experienced you spreading Ted, knows your gifts are beyond words.

    Keep teachin’.

    Pep

  13. I too started life the same as you. Thanks for sharing your life. I am still struggling but am happy you are staying true to your goals.

    1. I never knew this about you Mary. I am sorry to hear that you are still struggling. If you ever want to talk please know that I am here. I have learned that my makeup, the man I am today, has nothing to do with those events and would welcome sharing my full perspective.

  14. Every time I hear you give a presentation I get a little choked up… now add your writing onto that I may never have a dry eye! Very inspirational Ted! Can’t wait to read more.

  15. And a birthday gift has been granted! Your #courage is infectious and your authenticity encouraging – thank you for sharing a piece of you, my friend!

    Here’s to your Greatness,

    Misti

  16. Amazing…I am touched by your story and your value of “truth”. So few people know what “truth” is nowadays, let alone how to be true to themselves. People need to hear your message. I am grateful for all that you’ve done to show me how to find truth and to be true to it. Proud and thankful that you’ve started this. What is meant for you will come you, in exactly the right way. Big hugs!

  17. I’ve always thought you a wonderful person Ted. I love you, Angel and the boys as my own family.
    I look forward to this Blog as I know it will be fabulous!

  18. Ted I enjoyed reading your blog.Its very interesting learning things about you more and more that I never knew.You are such a great dad and husband and excited to read more.We are so proud of you and the man you become.Your Dad would be so proud .Cant’t wait until May 9 th for the next blog.Love you !!!!!!!!

  19. Ted, I am so grateful that you have started sharing your wisdom and courage online for others to hear in this type of forum! You are an amazing person and leader; I always love our deep conversations when we are together. Keep allowing your spirit to shine as you walk and share the journey of your one wild and precious life!!!

  20. I look forward to hearing your ideas about leadership and life! You have always been a fantastic writer and now you’re bringing your great gifts of insight, compassion, vision, and good humor into print so that we can all share them. Go Ted!

  21. I was in a company meeting the first time I met you. We were in a circle and each of us were to tell who our hero was. You started telling about your beginnings and I started quietly crying. I cried throughout your whole presentation. After, I sought you out and we connected immediately. Here was a young man who could so eloquently get his message out. Throughout the years, I’ve watched you evolve from the scared, insecure, and sometimes “wild” kid, to a man who can walk into a business and within a very short period of time figure out what needs to be change for more success. You are for sure a “people person”. I’m very excited to read your thoughts and feelings about various topics. I’ll be your biggest “fan”. Thanx for getting yourself out there so others can enjoy and learn the same that I’ve had the privilege of for the past several years. I’m very proud of you, Ted.

  22. I look forward to your future blogs. It is so freeing to bear your soul. Hugs to you and to my niece Angel. You are both truly blessed!! Your boys are adorable.

  23. Love the blog. Looking forward to the next. What a gift of writing you have. Thank You for using this gift to help others. Wishing you lots of success. You have a beautiful family..

  24. Ted, it’s good to hear your voice my friend. I miss it. I love seeing you put yourself out there and I know I am not the only one. Thanks for being you! I can’t wait for the next one… and yes, we are over-due for a meet-up. BOOM!

    1. Thank you, Joe. How fitting that you would be the first comment as you were the first person in Baltimore that recognized I was out of balance some 15 years ago. I served you lunch for several months before you said, “What’s your story, man? Why are you waiting tables…seems to be so much more to you?” Angel as my witness, I went home and wept and told her there was indeed more to me. About a year later, and many conversations with you in between, I joined you at EntreQuest….ain’t life grand! I thank you for seeing the burning inside me then and still today.

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