Ladies & Gentlemen Place your bets – My Day at the Belmont Stakes

It is Saturday morning June 10th, I am dressed up in slacks, wingtip shoes, and a pink button down shoes. Safe to say this isn’t my normal weekend morning attire but today is special, it is the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes. Having never been to one of the legs of the Triple Crown, let alone a horse race I didn’t know what to expect but was very excited as we piled into the car.

About 45 minutes later I found myself on the grounds of the Belmont Racetrack. This was truly like nothing I have ever seen before. The old world feel of the track/horses, women in bright dresses with large floppy hats, and men dressed to the 9s in suits was a site especially considering the 80-degree temperate at 11:00am with expectations that it would rise.

We toured for a little then took our seats in the Clubhouse, marveling at the influx of viewers but more importantly the athleticism/grace of the horses. As each race passed, you could see the agony of defeat and elation of winning as patrons went to cash in their winning tickets. I personally, don’t gamble horses but you can imagine how it makes for some great people watching.

As the day grew on I began to take more notice of the sponsors/advertisers/entertainment that was at this event. You had everything from NBCSports, to Logines, to KetelOne, to Grammy Winning artist Andy Grammer performing. It was interesting to try and figure out the audience that the Belmont was attempting to attract. This mix appeared to be a balancing act of keeping the Old-World Spirit of horse racing, while engaging a younger demographic. Think about modes of transportation over 100 years ago (most likely horses) to current day (Uber, electric powered cars, and self-driving vehicles coming soon). This alone should allow you to understand the difficulty in attracting such a broad audience. In a year where there was no Triple Crown threat with an attendance of around 58,000, it’s safe to say those running the show are doing a good job.

With the day ending and Tapwrit edging out the favorite Irish War Cry, I was very grateful to get to experience one of the nation’s most iconic sporting events and I highly recommend you check it out at least once. If you are planning to be there the whole day I have a few recommendations 1) Drink/bring plenty of fluids for the warm day 2) Comfortable, yet appropriate clothing is a must (make sure to dress to impress though) 3) Sunglasses and or a hat will save help you avoid the dreaded lobster hue.

 

Thanks for checking out my blog and keep an eye out for more! Also, please follow and share with friends if you liked what you read.

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A Year in Review (2016)

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I realize that it has been a while since I did one of these but as the year comes to a close and I am reflecting on everything that has taken place in 2016, it seemed appropriate.
One of the main things that sticks out to me, even now being a consultant for about 3 years, is how much traveling I did this year. While travels have been for both work and leisure I certainly have gotten my miles in this year. To be more specific, I believe by year end the number will be around 150,000 miles.

Domestically alone (not counting car or train rides) my travels have taken me to Houston, Dallas, Atlantic City, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Utah (Park City), Miami, New York, Chicago, South Bend (Indiana), Philadelphia, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and I am sure I’m forgetting some. While I will admit some of these have just been through connections in the airport, 11 states and 14 cities is not too shabby.

Internationally I have experienced Paris (Nearly 2 months since Late August), London, Munich, Salzberg (Austria), & Brussels. While this may not seem impressive to most, considering my previous lack of international experience I am pretty proud of myself.

All of this traveling has given me a lot of time to reflect and get inside my own head. The 3 main things I came up with are:

1) How valuable time is with family, friends, & loved ones

2) My gratitude of the opportunity to increase the depth/breath of my life experiences

3) While it is important to care for others, make sure to not spread yourself too thin and take care of yourself

I think this quote probably sums up my year best and I would recommend you adhere by it. “The world is a book, & those who do not travel ready only a page.”

 

Have a great end to your year and Happy Holidays!

Lessons to Learn from the Super Bowl (Making the Most of Your Oppurtunity)

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As I walked back to my apartment after Super Bowl XLIX, I tried to reflect and see what takeaways I had from the evening. Yes the game was unbelievable, yes many of the commercials were way too sad/serious for my liking, and yes Katie Perry put on one heck of a performance but what else? What really stood out to me was all of the “No name” athletes that made huge plays on the biggest stage of their career. There is something to be said for making the most of your opportunity and the following three athletes whether they were on the winning or losing end sure did that.

1) Do me a favor and raise your hand if you actually knew who Chris Matthews prior to the Seahawks vs. Packers game? I can honestly say I had no idea who this man was and probably for good reason. Matthews was an undrafted free agent in 2011 who bounced in-between the NFL and CFL for a few years prior to ending up with the Seahawks. He literally played 26 offensive snaps this season prior to Super Bowl (Less than 2 per game). 2 weeks ago Matthews recovered an onside kick versus the Green Bay Packers, which gave Seattle an opportunity to win the game. In the Super Bowl he had 4 receptions for 109 yards and 1 touchdown. Have a day young man!

2) Julian Edelman of the Patriots is the next player I want to focus on. Many thought he should have been the MVP, with 9 catches for 109 yards and 1 touchdown, but let’s take a step back. Edelman was a 4’10” Quarterback when he began high school. From there he played quarterback at a junior college and then then transferred to Kent State. For those who don’t know, Kent State is a relative unknown in the college football world. Once drafted by the Patriots, all he has done is change positions to wide receiver, break the Patriots return record, and oh yeah help to win a Super Bowl. Not to say he is not talented, let’s be honest he’s in the NFL, but talk about making the most of your opportunity.

3) Who else found themselves saying, “Malcolm Butler who?” and then immediately Googling his name? In case you don’t know his background, Butler is was undrafted rookie free-agent out of Division 2 Western Alabama by way of Community College and a one time employee of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. He played 0 snaps in the Patriots vs. Ravens Playoff game, but managed to make the game saving interception in the Super Bowl. What I find more impressive is that he admits he made a mistake on the exact same play in practice on Thursday of this week. Less than 96 hours later, Butler corrected his mistake and clinched the biggest game of his career. Talk about making the most of your opportunity, I’m not sure anyone could optimize this statement anymore.

Now to bring this full circle, think about how you can apply this to your everyday life and career. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” and don’t make the same mistake twice. These are actions that the players above clearly put into action and you can see the results, imagine what it could do for you…

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, any feedback is welcome and much appreciated!

Who Knew Working for a Big Corp could be Healthy?

The other week I went to my physician for a checkup and to my surprise I was the healthiest I had ever been. Blood Pressure, cholesterol, and weight were all down. The reason I make note of this is because over the last 8.5 months I began my career with IBM as a consultant and have been traveling for work. You have to admit it’s kind of ironic that one would get healthier with the life most consultants find themselves living.

Everyone is different and finding that healthy balance of work, exercise, as well as maintaining a diet that works best for you is key. I found my routine and even though it involves sacrifices such as waking up earlier to hit the gym or occasionally being teased for eating “rabbit food” the outcomes are worth it. By no means is my routine perfect and I am planning on making minor adjustments, but it works for me. Also remember it is important to reward yourself every once in a while, to maintain sanity.

Thanks for taking time to read my blog and hope everyone has a great rest of your week! Also Go Canes beat UVA.

Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover!

As Fall starts to take over, the leaves change color, and the temperature begins to drop it’s time to select some books to occupy your time on the couch. Recently I have been reading the book How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Yes, I know there are plenty of jokes that could be made about this title and trust me I’ve heard most of them from friends, but I really suggest you check this book out. It came highly recommended to me and has not disappointed.

Though your first reaction to this book might be “I’m not a salesperson, why would I read this,” it absolutely applies to everyone. At the core of it all this book is really just about how one individual should treat another. This read is definitely worth your time and if you find you don’t like it, it’s just under 250 pages so it shouldn’t take up much of your time.

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend, go Canes & Birds!

Return of the King

The return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers has an impact that goes way past the wins and losses column. Bloomburg News has reported that this move has the potential to bring $500 million a year back to the city of Cleveland, Ohio. As well, Peter Schwartz of the VC firm Christie & Associates says LeBron makes the Cavs a $1 billion franchise. I am all for helping out a beaten down city, especially when it means so much to that individual athlete, but let’s not lose sight of the real winner in all of this…..Dan Gilbert.

Gilbert the owner of the Cavaliers absolutely ripped LeBron in a letter after his “Decision” to go to Miami, but you better believe he is crying tears of joy to have him back. Obviously the franchise’s value will increase due to increased merchandise, ticket, and other sales but what else is there for Gilbert to take advantage of?

                Here are some facts you may or may not know:

1)      Dan Gilbert is founder and chairman of Quicken Loans Inc.

  1. The arena that the Cavaliers play in is the Quicken Loans Arena

2)      He also is the chairman of Rock Gaming

  1. They opened their first Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland in 2012

3)      Gilbert also owns the Cleveland Gladiators, an AFL team

  1. If residents of Cleveland have more money to spend they will potentially use it for luxury expenses

4)      As well the NBA will be negotiating a new television deal within the next few years which will be sure to stuff more money into Gilbert’s pockets’.

Now I can’t fault Gilbert for being a savvy businessman, which he clearly is but don’t think that his only motivation is winning an NBA championship. I wouldn’t go so far as to compare him to the marketing and business guru Jerry Jones, but it sure seems like he wants to get there.

My dream scenario, which I can’t take credit for thinking of, would be that after LeBron retires he has enough money to buy out Dan Gilbert and become the new owner of the Cavaliers. Imagine the feel good story that would be, hometown hero not only wins a championship for his long deprived city but becomes successful enough to own them. Undoubtedly there are plenty of “What if” scenarios, but for now what we know is LeBron is once again a Cav and Dan Gilbert is laughing his way to the bank!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and let me know what you think!

 

http://www.si.com/nba/2014/07/11/lebron-james-cleveland-cavaliers

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-14/lebron-james-s-return-to-bring-500-million-a-year-to-cleveland.html

Giving Thanks!!!

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What are you thankful for on this November 28th, 2013?

I highly suggest you take sometime out of your day and really think about this question. It is easy to give the generic answer of family and health, which don’t get me wrong is extremely important, but I’m sure you have much more to be grateful for. I could give you my list, but we all might be here for a while and I absolutely don’t want to keep you starring at this screen longer than necessary on this holiday. Go spend this special day with family, friends, and those who are important to you.

Also we must remember that though Thanksgiving is just one day a year it is important to show your gratitude towards others throughout the year. A simple, yet genuine thank you or telling someone how impressed with them you are can really go a long way.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone, make sure to stay safe if you’re are traveling, eat plenty of food, & GO CANES BEAT PITT!!!