Creating Champions in Sports & Education

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Battle Plan

Posted on April 10, 2018

Every business needs a battle plan (or a business plan). I like to call mine a battle plan because it needs to be locked and loaded with iron-clad tactics to accomplish lofty goals. It needs to address how you are going to handle basic training, hit your targets, scale the walls, and arm yourself against the enemy. It also needs to include a marketing plan that provides air coverage for your battle plan. If you have a weak battle plan, you will get beat. So, I challenge you to get your battle plan out and make adjustments. Tighten it up and get your game face on. There’s no crying in entrepreneurship.

ITSZ had meetings with NASRO to discuss their Public Safety Activity Book content. One of the pages talks about what a hero means to the child. When I think of a hero, I think of any person who would risk their life for that of another. My friend, Rik Doggett is a hero to me.

Jon (Rik) Doggett is a United States Navy SEAL who served 22 years, before retiring Honorably in February 2018. During that time, he conducted operational deployments to 25+ countries to include multiple deployments to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa. Rik also completed assignments as director of the SEAL Sniper and Lead Breacher schools.

He has had multiple injuries, but he mustered up a few push-ups for me to make this video. Rik and I will be visiting Gideon and other kids in hospitals over the next several months. My battle plan includes making an impact. Does yours? Suit up and let’s go!

Busy Bees Making Honey

Posted on October 12, 2017

Bees are industrious and complex. They buzz around being productive. That sounds familiar! Entrepreneurs buzz around innovating new products and sometimes those ideas spur additional ideas and a business is formed. I buzzed my way to year five with new leagues, new products and new goals. Still buzzing...can you hear me?

Making honey takes time and is not easy. The process starts in a field where bees suck nectar out of flowers. They store it in their honey sac then return to their hive where other worker bees suck it out and chew it breaking down the complex sugars into two simple sugars. The bees then deposit the nectar into the cells of the wax honeycombs they have built. They fan it until the water evaporates and it thickens to make honey. I have never met someone who started a business who said, “Well, that was a piece of cake!” Starting a brand from scratch takes a lot of pollination and yes, even some regurgitation. (I hope it’s not your lunchtime). Sometimes I have an idea and then I’ll chew on it for a while and spit it back out. But, when I have a good idea, the sweet and sticky honey pours out into crisp honeycombs.

The beekeeper takes precautions so he doesn’t get stung. Bees will sting if taken by surprise; therefore it’s a good idea to use smoke to give them a warning. Entrepreneurs take steps to protect themselves as well. You should think through the worst case scenarios and have a plan to smoke out the competition. I look at the glass half full 24/7 so I have mentors that help me set goals and dial it in.

The queen bee lays up to 2,000 eggs a day to create the workforce needed to feed and protect the colony. Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with good, hard-working people. You don’t necessarily have to have thousands of employees, but you do need good mentors, solid contractors and reliable people around you who work hard. I have 5-6 mentors that provide strength, strategy support, and an extra set of eyes.

Honey is so sweet and tasty. When you pour your heart and soul into creating a product, you want the finished product to be just as sweet! I have certainly put many hours into creating products that I hope will make a difference in the lives of many. I hope my customers enjoy the thought and effort that goes into every single product that I create. It starts in the field of dreams and ends in a child’s hands. I hope they are encouraged to think big and buzz louder.

Pollinate. Motivate. Innovate. Cultivate. Celebrate. (Yes! Celebrate the little milestones along the way. You don’t need an excuse to celebrate, which is why I’m jumping like a mad woman in this photo.I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m determined to keep celebrating the small things.)

Butterfly Kisses from Heaven

Posted August 18, 2017

My journey began in the summer of 2012 and the ride has been full of ups and downs. When i started my business, i wanted to simply give a gift that i created to a little boy recovering in the hospital. Little did i know, this gift would turn into a thousand gifts that i would be on the receiving end of.a gift so great that i can put into words because of the way it makes me feel. I consider it a gift whenever i am blessed with meeting a child battling an illness, a bully, depression, a tough family life or whatever makes them hurt. The innocent children who endure are the greatest gifts on my journey and i feel like i'm the one who is blessed.

I hosted a book launch when i decided to pursue this gift idea as a business. I raised money that evening for two boys, Eli Williams and hunter Alexander. The two boys were both battling brain cancer. I met Eli through a friend who saw a post where i was looking for children who could benefit from my launch party. A friend reached out and and told me about Eli. I just happened to be going to Memphis that weekend for my son's basketball tournament and Eli was in the hospital. I remember calling the auburn licensing department to seek permission to give Eli my book because it wasn't even finished yet.they approved.i was staying a stone's throw away from st. Jude so i contacted Eli's mom. My son and i took eli an activity book and he was happy. His dad sent me this picture of him working in the book after i left. Eli loved old cars and had a quiet, but adorable personality. This was one of those butterfly kisses from heaven that i'll never forget.

Soon thereafter, i had my book launch and met hunter, an avid Alabama fan. Hunter smiled and lit up the room at the celebration. Hunter received my Alabama activity book even before the little boy who i created the gift for. I visited hunter and played with him on my app and we were the life of the party in clinic 8. Another butterfly kiss from heaven. I met ryan kitchens soon after and traveled to waffle house to meet him. He was the funniest kid i've ever met. We went to sec beach fest and to the sec championship game. He was one tough cookie who yelled roll tide like he meant it from deep within his heart. Another butterfly kiss from heaven.

I struggled when hunter and Ryan passed away and wondered how i should continue with donating books to kids. Would it keep hurting like this or would it get easier? Would i be guarded and careful in the future? The answer was...absolutely not. I was not going to let the hurt keep me from helping more children. These boys were some of the most selfless and giving kids i knew. They taught me that no matter what happens, you keep fighting. They were being poked and prodded with needles and injected with chemo. Yet, they still wanted to give their toys to other kids, host blood drives, and do good for others. Therefore, it has become a no-brainer for me to give back and keep impacting one life at a time. I have met so many beautiful souls on this journey. They each have impacted my life in such a positive manner. The reason that i am reflecting today is because Eli went to heaven and i'm reminded of how this all started. I'm reminded to not give up and to not take one single day for granted.

Hunter is saying "roll tide," Eli is saying "war eagle" and Ryan is saying "no purple in this house." they all three nod their heads and send three butterfly kisses from heaven.

Sports ARE Good.

Posted on May 18, 2017

Sports play a big role in many people's lives. I grew up playing sports and I now have a career in sports. I try to see the good in everything, which keeps my glass half full. I am a sports fan for many reasons and I'd like to share a few of those in hopes of inspiring others in this industry to KEEP making sports GOOD.

#1 - Growing up, sports gave me an outlet to channel my energy. The coaches taught me determination, hard work, sportsmanship, and leadership. The coaches spent a lot of time with me to improve my skills, but the biggest take away for me was how Coach Becky Brothers invested in the lives of each one of her students. She gave up her own family time to travel with us, she opened the gym when she wasn't required to and she was a great role model. She fought a battle with cancer, but she knows how important she was to me. There are so many good mentors out there that we never hear about. As the smallest player (#10) on the team, my coach offered hope. That hope turned into determination, which has stuck with me to this day as I'm running my business.

#2 - Athletes and people in the sports world do good things for strangers. I've chosen to be in this world where things are not perfect. I've made a choice to invest time in children who are going through cancer, have been burned, are struggling with an illness. My eyes have been opened wide. The coaches and athletes that I've seen give up their own time without being asked to are not doing it to get recognition. They secretly visit kids in hospitals, they send gifts, and the list could go on and on. Coaches plan visits with their teams that we never hear about. Sports companies donate time, money and products to people who need a smile. There are so many good athletes and people in the sports industry who care.

#3 - Kids are positively impacted by sports. There are a lot of kids who don't have role models at home. They get their mentoring from their teachers, coaches, players, and others. There are millions of volunteers who give their time to places that serve children in need.I've seen kids watch their favorite team and player until the bitter end. If you ever think you aren't being watched, think again. You are.

#4 - I love competition. Enough said. If you are reading this, I know you understand that. I love to see good sportsmanship. A firm handshake after a loss, a hand when an opponent falls to the ground, an encouraging word, a team rallying to help another fight for their life.

My encouragement is this. Whatever you are doing in any industry, know that it's not important that you are seen, it's important that you keep doing good. Those of us in sports know that actions speak louder than words, but words can inspire others to do the same. Keep teaching, inspiring, investing, coaching, mentoring, volunteering, giving...with no expectations of receiving.