What do you write about when you are stepping down after 29 years of Stop At Nothing?
The memories of co-founding the firm with Su, including the excitement, creativity and the year of fear that the startup was for the two of us?
Do I write about how we stacked supplies in the shower of our little beach hut apartment? Or the thrill when we landed our first paying client, Bluewater Marine, for a whopping $1,000 dollars for one day? There are too many memories to recount them all here!
Starting Stop At Nothing created years of radical aliveness and creativity for both of us. In many ways, we “Started At Nothing,” since there was no simple blueprint to follow for the new ground we were breaking. That first year, our “year of fear,” we winced as we watched our cash reserves drain, and developed a renewed appreciation for ramen noodles and PB&J sandwiches.
SAN Headquarters – Neptune Beach, 2003
A few years later, after we gained some sales traction, we celebrated when Kevin and Ted joined our team.
It meant we were making it. As former clients at IBM and AT&T, Kevin and Ted almost “Started at Nothing” with us after having experienced SAN in each of their companies. Over the years, we grew our competence and confidence as we worked to translate our vision into useful real-world processes.
After Ted and Kevin joined our Managing Partner team, the four of us, along with their spouses, raised Stop At Nothing while we all raised our children. My ex-wife, Linda, was also a huge part of the child raising story for our four kids. She was always there for them, while Su and I traveled a great deal.
As we transition from our 29th holiday season with family, friends and esteemed clients, all of us at Stop At Nothing have so much to be grateful for.
SAN Managing Partners and Spouses – 2016
Our little baby company has grown into a substantial difference-maker across the world. I am writing this in the Virgin Australia Lounge in Sydney, Australia, chilling before my return flight after three great weeks with special clients down under, who, like so many other clients, have become life-long friends. Gratitude and awe are the words that best describe my feelings for this good fortune. Many clients, near and far geographically, have become dear friends.
Dozens of people have contributed to the Stop At Nothing company effort; some for short durations, some for very extended time periods. The common theme for those who stayed for many years, and for those who are still there, was the opportunity to make a life-enhancing difference for the human element individually, as well as for the organizations we serve. It has all added up to achieving the original Stop At Nothing vision and more. This attracted our fifth Managing Partner, Jon Patton, who joined us more than a decade ago leaving our long-term client, American Express.
As I prepare to step aside from my full immersion role at Stop At Nothing, I do so knowing that the baby company that began nearly three decades ago is in great hands and has a bright future ahead. I am excited to continue contributing with clients and programs as an affiliated consultant, and I am grateful for the good health to be able to do that. So, I’m not here to say good-bye. I am simply saying Happy New Year for the last time as a Managing Partner. I’m wishing all of our clients, friends, employees and associates the very best for 2019 and beyond.
Wherever you are, and whatever your dream or vision, I encourage you to let your ambitions grow, and then to act on them, before you are certain you are ready.
We were not ready in 1990 and it all worked out. One day, you can “Start at Nothing” with a dream or idea. Before you know it, you are “Stopping at Nothing” to make a difference. Then, you will feel the deep gratitude that comes from living your dream.
SAN Managing Partners – Old Creek Canyon, 2017
Thank you from my heart to all of you who I have worked with in any way over these 29 years and more.
I appreciate every one of you. I am also thankful that I will be seeing many of you for years to come in my new role, as SAN continues to fulfill our collective purpose, and I concurrently begin some new endeavors that I am not ready for.