I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

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2018 Year in Review

2018 was a big year for me! Another amazing year of growth. 

I am going to go into detail in a bit on my vision, but first I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about focus. I had a lot of irons in the fire in 2018. Any one of them would have been gangbusters if it had taken off, however, with so many things going at once I want not able to give proper attention to any of it. I have always been a guy who shoulders a lot of responsibility. I loved everything I did in 2018, but looking into 2019 I am going to be trimming the fat- once again.

Let’s go over some of the major highlights before diving into the vision update.

These are in no particular order.

San Juan Sailing Trip

Alix and I went on our first extended cruising trip together. We toured the beautiful San Juan Islands for a blissful two full weeks! I had never been to the San Juans and Alix had only been a couple of places. The island chain is stunningly gorgeous. There were boaters all over, but we kept our marina stays to a minimum and were able to avoid most of them. 

Winds were flukey, as they tend to be around islands. We kept the engine running most of the time, motorsailer often (where you use the motor to generate apparent wind for the sails), and sailed disappointingly little. The massive forest fires in Vancouver, Canada had smoke settled over the whole region, so thick that it was like brown fog everywhere, but we did not let that slow us down! We hiked, swam, lounged, and read lots. Even met up with fellow Shilshole Bay Yacht Club (SBYC) members Larry and Sharon for a great dinner aboard their boat Antares in Deer Harbor.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. Alix is already scheming on how we can stretch it to three weeks in 2019!

Baby on the way!

Alix had been feeling odd for a few days after returning from our sailing trip. We found out she was pregnant! We are expecting our first child, a little girl, in April of 2019. Don’t worry! We are not going to let a baby slow our sailing down any. We have been getting lots of good advice from friends who live aboard sailboats with babies, SBYC members, and the Giffords from Sailing Totem. They are from the Pacific Northwest and spoke to our club after returning from a ten-year circumnavigation (sailing all the way around the world!). They wrote the book on Voyaging with Kids.

Real Estate Investment (REI) purchase

I picked up a house hack. A house hack is a house that is purchased and you can live in part of it while renting the other to pay the mortgage. We snagged a large two story house. The lower unit needs a full renovation, and the upper is livable but does need some big renovation to make it modern. We are living in one currently, while building out the other. The goal is to have most of the renovation in both units done before the baby arrives.

By the way, I picked up this property without a dollar coming out of my own pocket. Read how I did it in here .

Business partnership fell apart

I partnered with a good friend on a business venture that started in 2017. It was exciting and had huge promise. I was all in on it. When we started the business it was with a grand dream. We worked hard and pushed the company to grow. There were three employees hired in the first quarter of the year. Unfortunately, my partner and I had different ideas about the company we wanted. Neither idea was wrong, but they were mutually exclusive of each other. So we called it quits. He took the company to the other side of the state with his family, renamed it, and is doing well for himself. I am glad to see that. My hope and prayer is that the company supports him and his family well in the years to come.

Won first in class for sailboat racing!

I am very proud of this! My first full season as the owner, captain, skipper of a racing sailboat. Granted, Billabong’s “racing” design is from the 1980s and does not compete with modern races boats, but she does great against similar boats in her class. We had a bumpy start in the first of three series; in the second series we moved up in rank, and would have been first if not for a modern racer in our class; during the third series, we dominated! It was like the turbo button had been hit. The crew was perfectly in sync and everything we did went off flawlessly. It was thrilling.

Over the winter we decided to step it up a notch and enter the spinnaker class. Billabong is not rigged well for spinnaker, and we have not flown it before during a race. The other spinnaker boats have been racing with spinnakers for years and are really dialed in. We did a great job and really made them work for their wins.

Read 89 books

I saw a stat somewhere that the average person reads only a handful of books after graduating from college. That is not my style- I love reading! Last year I read something like 42 books. I wanted to push myself and see if I could read 80 books in 2018. I killed it at 89, and that was easy. I read primarily business, personal growth, coaching, and real estate investing books. I gained a lot of knowledge from books this year, but I also found that while 80 books was easy to hit, I have not retained all the knowledge. I kept going from book to book without a pause to really absorb the knowledge and let it sink in. 

I am tracking the books I read on GoodReads. Become my GoodReads friend.

Footloose boat fundraiser

Footloose Sailing Association, a non-profit that gets sailors with disabilities out on the water, has a few old boats that are showing their age. I am currently Vice President of Footloose and I put forth a vision to get the two Columbia 21s replaced. We were able to raise enough money to purchase a new boat! Footloose has been in operation for 28 years and I want to ensure we are positioned for another 28 years of operation. This new boat puts us well on our way.

Ok, you still with me? I know this is long, and really only good friends and family will read the whole thing, but I do not care. These year-end posts are mostly for myself, to look back to my life with. If you have read so far props to you! I hope I am providing inspiration.

Update on the vision statement

Vision: Become a topnotch, well respected communicator and coach

To date I have completed/am currently doing:

Speaking Engagements 4
Masterminds 7
Coaching Over 90 hours!

Over the year I gained respect and trust as a coach and a team trainer. There were some great events and fantastic coaching sessions. 

Look for a change here in 2019!

Vision: Let my money make me money, not me making money

This is my fun vision! Building businesses is exciting. This year I lost one business :(. That loss was humbling and has helped inspire me to drive harder into the future with businesses and partnerships.

The percentage of income did not reach as high in the “from business” category as I had hoped, but it was a year of great learning and 2019 is poised to be a business growth year.

In planning/exploratory phase 2
Pre-launch 1
Self-sustaining 2
Flops 1

Vision: Build an ever improving relationship with my wife that others coming behind can model after

Woowee! The relationship with my wife helps drive every other area of life. When our relationship is good I am motivated and take on the world. When it is not going well I lay around without energy to do anything. The impact she has on me is astonishing. 

This has been a huge year for Alix as well. Everything listed above, in addition to several of her own ventures, including running her own business and starting her teaching career.

With all the change it would seem that our relationship would be suffering from chaos, but quite the opposite has happened. I feel closer to my wife than any other time. We are more in sync and operate better as partners and a team. 2019 is set to be a great year for our relationship. The addition of a new member of the family is going to be an interesting one too!

Vision: Live a slow paced life

If you read all of the above, you are probably scratching your head, wondering how in the world this vision fits in. I have always been a busy person, very busy. Everything you read above did not hit my capacity. 2018 was a busy year, but there was also a lot of open space. By honing my focus I was able to accomplish more in a smaller amount of time. Heck, I read 89 books! That should prove successfully slowing down life right there 🙂

Will my vision be changing?

The beauty of having a vision instead of yearly goals is that allows me to drive forward toward something in freedom. Goals lock you in place, visions provide openness and flexibility. Goals change often, visions can last a lifetime. The beauty of vision is that as you walk down the road you learn more and the vision becomes more and more refined.

Will my vision be changing in 2019? A little. At its core, it will remain the same, but with the addition of a child life is going to look a lot different and my vision will change to support that.

Stay tuned for a post on my 2019 vision soon!

2018 Vision

Q1 Update

I am not a fan of the “new year commitment”. While it may be well intended, the new years commitment is just one more item on your todo list. One more thing to work into an already busy schedule. One more thing to force yourself to do. This year I am creating a vision. Visions create passion and excitement. A vision creates a trajectory and provides momentum that can lead you to achieve far more than a goal will. Goals are stopping points, visions create life long growth. I want to be a known as a person who is constantly growing and chasing a vision.

In 2017 I started laying a foundation for life long growth. In 2018 I want to begin to shape that growth into a long term vision and start taking the steps necessary to get there.

Vision: Become a topnotch, well respected communicator and coach

One of my greatest joys is seeing someone have an “ah-ha!” moment, that lightbulb that goes on when they realize they can be and do more than they thought before. I am passionate about helping people find and reach their potential. In 2017 I became a certified speaker, teacher, and coach through the John Maxwell Team. Already a natural leader, teacher, and encourager, I wanted to take my ability to help people to the next level. My vision is to expand my audience beyond my current job and industry, to impact individuals, hospitals, businesses, and organizations in a truly transformative way. To leave each day behind having added value to everyone I came into contact with.

Vision: Let my money make me money, not me making money

Time is precious and the older I get the more precious it becomes. Time is the only true currency that exists. Once it is gone it is gone. I want to spend more time investing in my family and close friends. More time helping others see their potential. More time transforming others from a poverty mindset to an abundance mindset. In order to do that I need to spend less time making money myself and more time focusing on how my money can make me more money. By studying wealthy people I have found that the best way for money to make more money is by investing in real estate and businesses. I was already on this path, however there was no vision. The vision gives clarity and a focused why statement that provides motivation. This vision will lead me to invest more heavily in businesses and real estate for myself.

Vision: Build an ever improving relationship with my wife that others coming behind can model after

Life is hard to navigate, relationships are harder. Finding someone who has been there already who you can follow is an invaluable resource. Along with my dream to add value to everyone around me, I want to be a relationship model everyone can emulate. No marriage is perfect, and that is the beauty of marriage. Anyone can have a good marriage in good times, but it is when the going gets tough that the quality of the relationship really shines through. I want my struggles and achievements to provide hope, inspiration, and a path to follow for all the other couples out there.

Vision: Live a slow paced life

Our society has a go-go-go mentality. Technology, fast food, kids school activities, work following you home, are all contributors to the idea that our schedule should always be full. Start one thing and then go start the next thing. No time in between to breathe. We have a belief that if we are busy we are productive but really all being busy means is that you are busy. Slowing down and creating space in life allows you to spend time thinking and reflecting. I have heard it said that even one minute of reflective thinking is worth an hour of activity. I want to slow life down so I can relax and enjoy it more as well as making the times I am busy truly more effective and productive. I want to be able to think and reflect more to enhance my relationships and all aspects of life.

Books I read in 2017

love reading! When most of my peers were struggling learning to read simple words I was reading full novels, such as the Hardy Boys. By the time I was 10 years old (maybe earlier, my parents might remember) I had amassed a library that covered one entire wall of my bedroom. I noticed that as time has passed there are more demands on my attention and reading books has slowly fallen away. In fact in all of 2016 I did not read a single book! That needed to change. For 2017 I set what I thought at the time was an ambitious goal:

Read a minimum of two books per month; one for education and one for pleasure.

Once I got rolling I blew that goal right out of the water with 45 books!
I want to see if I can nearly double that number to 80 books in 2018.
– Piranha by Clive Cussler
– Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller
– How’s your soul by Judah Smith
– American Assasin by Vince Flynn
– Vision Blockers by dr Eric Scroggins
– Marine Diesel Mechanics by Nigel Calder
– Presidents Shadow by Brad Meltzer. Poorly written
– Emperors’ Revenge by Clive Cussler
– How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
– The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner
– Be a People Person by John C Maxwell
– Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey
– How to build a website by Greg Rickaby
– *Do not recall the title :(*
– Sea Trials by Wendy Hinman
– 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
– The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2017-2020
– Tightwads on the Loose by Wendy Hinman
– I would like to inform you that tomorrow we will die with our families
– 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell
– 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell *Yes I read it twice!
– JMT training materials
– JMT training materials
– 15 Laws of Growth by John C Maxwell
– 15 Laws of Growth
– JMT coach training resources
– Start with Why – Simon Sinek
– Good Leaders ask Great Questions – John Maxwell
– JMT Coach Training
– The White Mountains by John Christopher
– The City of Gold and Lead by John Christophero
– The Pool of Fire by John Christopher
– Extreme Ownership
– Structuring Zero Down Deals with Joe Crump. *Poorly written. Tries to write from the buyer and seller perspective at the same time. Only about lease to own contracts.
– The Bootstrap VA by Lisa Morosky
– 7 Years to 7 Figure Wealth by Brandon Turner
– Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
– How to create your ultimate mastermind team by  Liz Seda & Scott insmore
– Return of Tarzan
– The beasts of Tarzan
– Put your dream to the test – John Maxwell
– Son of Tarzan
– The lean startup
– Acres of Diamonds by Russel Conwell
– The Personal MBA

2017 Year in Review

For several years I have made a resolution to create an intentionally slower life with more space in it. It is a resolution I have never kept. 2017 was no exception. 2017 has been packed so full of experiences that I have coined it as the year I packed 10 years of experiences into 1 year. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, with several bucket list items and astounding personal growth happening.

When I looked back of the year I created a categorized, bulleted list of significant moments and achievements thinking it may be more digestible than writing everything out….the list is several pages long!The following is my attempt to summarize said list into easily digestible chunks.

How did I do on my 2017 goals?

I did not publish any 2017 goals, but I did write down and track them myself. Of the 15 goals I had I accomplished 7 of them, those 7 being the most important and the others being pushed out by life priority changes. Here are the goals I achieved.

Spend more quality time with Alix. Because she is was attending night classes as well as working nights time together was at a premium but we were able to make the most of the time we did have.

Learn better communication methods with Alix. Learning to communicate better with your spouse is a lifelong commitment to improvement. Alix and I have had several amazing breakthroughs in our marriage and communication this year. There is much room for improvement and I believe we have created the start of a solid foundation that will hold us through the future.

Help Alix build a successful business. Alix Lularoe business has come a long way since the beginning of the year. My “help” has mostly been through photographing her modeling outfits, which I am surprisingly good at. I have helped her brainstorm ideas for better customer engagement and setup for big events. Schoolwork has been the limiting factor in business growth. 2018 brings with it many great new growth opportunities.

Read two books per month, one educational and one fun. NAILED IT SO HARD! In January I read 4 books. The most books in one month was 8 in November, with an average of 4 per month. Because I was hitting my goal I picked up a Kindle (used, because I did not know if I would like it. I cannot recommend it enough!) which allowed me to accelerate my reading goal significantly.

Do another trip to Uganda. I joined the September medical trip. It was simply astounding. The clinic was able to serve 2,121 people from the Kampala slums in 4 days. At the orphanage/boarding school we supplied the new girls dorm with hundreds of mattresses, the younger girls with dresses, and the younger kids with two new pairs of shoes.

Become a leadership coach! This was the goal that popped up partway into the year. It excited and transformed my life, and is also the reason the other items on my goal list were deprioritized and bumped off.

Personal Growth

This is THE big one! Personal Growth consumed 2017 for me, with breaks to go sailing.

2016 was a bad year for me, personally and professionally. I tried to write a year in review post but I could not figure out how to do it without spewing massive amounts of negativity across the interwebs. I quite frankly hated my life. I had turned into an incredibly negative and bitter person, completely opposite of who I am.

I could not continue living that way, something had to change. After spending many hours in personal reflection I realized the root of the issue stemmed with who was leading my life. Instead of taking responsibility for my own growth and happiness I had handed it over to my employer. Not good. I had to get out of that rut and started the process by reading through a couple of the classic leadership and communication books. What I learned floored me. I knew to be happy and successful again I needed to take back control of my personal rowth and development. I had on ordered several more books and lectures on leadership and communication and then a conversation with my CEO confirmed to me that I was on the right track.

I will post more about this separately (eventually) but to keep things short, as I started growing I hungered for more and search out where I could get the best training. In my search I bumped into John Maxwell again. John Maxwell has influenced lives of leaders around the globe and is considered to be the world’s #1 expert on leadership and communication. In 2011 John Maxwell created a program to train and certify leadership and communication speakers, teachers, and coaches. I joined. John Maxwell’s Team has created an astounding amount of amazing training material. Several months ago I completed the John Maxwell Team Certification and enrolled in the advanced mentorship.

I have seen spectacular changes in my life, my marriage, and my team at work through implementing lessons in my life. I love love love helping people unlock their potential. I believe it is the calling on my life. Starting as a side project in 2018 I will be providing training and coaching services to companies and individuals. If you or your company are interested in a free training session please get ahold of me on the contact page!

Professional Update

As I mentioned in the personal growth section above, my work at WebDevStudios has really kicked up this year. I have aggressively implemented what I have learned and even started doing some internal training. I would like to see leadership development expanded to encompass the entire company in 2018.

Some quick stats:

  • My team touched 22 projects!!! That is a significant number My team is the best! I am incredibly proud of and honored to serve with them. The next closest team clocked in at 16 projects (I think), with 13 following on their heels.
  • I interview 5.5 people (That I remember, there may have been more! I read through dozens of applications).
  • Hired and trained 4 new team members.
  • Started doing internal leadership development.

Boating Update

Somehow in the midst of everything else I found time for boating activities. November 2016 I acquired part ownership of Billabong, a beautiful Lancer 36. She needed some serious work to be “ship-shape”. The first thing I did was to learn everything I could about diesel motors and pull Billabong’s motor and rebuild it with fellow Shilshole Bay Yacht Club member Harold Baldwin. It was a long, slow, rewarding process that I still have yet to document. 7 months from the time I took ownership the motor was back in the boat and she was ready to leave the slip for (my) first time.

We entered into the Ballard Cup races and I was able to take the existing race crew from a 5-6 place team immediately to a 3rd place team. By the end of the series we were handily in 1st. Not bad for never having piloted a boat in a race before! I credit it entirely to my racing mentor Joe Bozick..

In the freshly rebuild sailboat, Alix and I were able to do a few weekend cruises with the Shilshole Bay Yacht Club. They were a ton of fun and Alix is enjoying sailing much more now too. This summer we used the cruises as a shakedown of the boat and identified several key upgrades for the boat (such as fixing a rudder leak!).

Wrap Up

There is a ton more that I could write about but these cover the major highlights. 2018 will build upon the foundation of things that have happened in 2017 to propel Alix and I further and faster into our future. More to come on that soon!

2015 Year in Review

Ben and Alix (824)

I can hardly believe 2015 is already gone! 2015 has been an amazing year, and it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. As I relive events in my minds eye, 2015 seems to have been the best year of my life. I said the same thing in my 2014 Year in Review post. This excites me for the possibilities that 2016 holds.

2015 Highlights

Here are the highlights of 2015, in no particular order.

  • Got married!!! Ms. Alixandra McCuen became Mrs. Alixandra Lobaugh on August 21. I am excited and enthusiastic about the future we envision together.
  • Joined Footloose Disabled Sailing. Sometime after chatting with a friend about Matt Rutherford’s sailing trip that benefited Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) I was pondering my own life an realized I was not participating in anything charitable at the time. Inspired by Matt I researched disabled sailing in my area and found Footloose. I quickly came to love the organization and the participants. Helping people otherwise unable to get out on the water at Footloose events became the event I most looked forward to.
  • Joined Joe Bozick as racing crew on his sailboat Breeze. I met Joe during a Footloose event and we quickly connected. Joe races his beautiful Sweden 36 sailboat and was needing crew. Joe is an amazing sailor and teacher. He has been racing for ~30 years. Sailing is in my blood, now racing is in my blood as well. My knowledge of boat handling has increased exponentially under Joe and I look forward to winning more races!
  • Became a member of the Shilsole Bay Yacht Club (SBYC). Joe is a past commodore at SBYC and invited me to the July 3rd raft up with SBYC. The people at SBYC are great! They actually do own and use their boats, unlike some other stuffy, overpriced yacht clubs in the area. I am going to be working with the Racing Chair as Fleet Captain. I am happy to be with this great group of people and look forward to the events in 2016.

2016 Goals

I have a lot of hobbies and things that I would like to become hobbies. Problem is that historically has led to many projects/goals/ideas/dreams sitting around in various states of completion. I recently read The One Thing, which I highly recommend if you want to learn to get extraordinary results from your life. It confirmed many patterns I saw in myself and how I can change things up to do extraordinary things. This year my overall personal goal is to identify the projects/goals/ideas/dreams that I really want to focus on and prioritize. My desire is that my 2016 Year in Review post will confirm I have reached all the following goals of 2015!

  • Purchase real estate. This was a goal in 2015, however with the wedding craze it was bumped to 2016 to relieve some stress. This is my number one goal for 2016. To that end I am already networking and working on finding a deal that will provide a solid foundation for Alix and I going into the future.
  • Lose 20 pounds. I already had extra and since the wedding I have gained 16 more pounds! Exercising and being more fit has always done wonders for my mental capacity and general state of mind. I want to get back into that rhythm.
  • Perform major maintenance on Zippey. Oh Zippey, my beloved sailboat. Zippey had a maintenance goal in 2015, however as I looked deeper into her I realized it was going to be more time and expense than originally thought. Nothing is structurally wrong with Zippey, nor is she unsafe. Instead of filling Zippey’s maint. coffers that money was diverted into the wedding fund. This maint. has to be done in 2016 or Zippey really will resemble the classic saying, “A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into.”
  • Reach an intermediary stage as a fabric welder. Alix got me a sewing machine for Christmas (yes, another new hobby). I plan on using it as a tool to save significant amounts of $$$. I will be posting projects on this site.
  • Become a better sailboat racer! I have learned a lot and leveled up significantly in skill, however there is always more to learn. In 2016 I want to get to a point where I am anticipating all the moves of the captain. I also want to make my name more well known in the general racing community here.
  • Increase the reach of Footloose. Bob runs Footloose. Bob’s passion for sailing and providing a space for disabled sailors is inspiring. Bob is disabled himself. Bob’s goal is to provide the best possible experience for as many people as possible. Right now Footloose has a small reach into the disabled community and he would like to see that grow. Using the talents I have as a web developer and general technologist I want to help grow Footloose into the premier disabled organization in the region.

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