NEVER Stop Dreaming

Exhale Sailing Charters Our boat….the story

It started with a desire to “be the captain of my life.” For freedom. To live by my rules, not other men’s.

I remember our first step…a boat show in Chicago. It was in the winter and I’m not sure Vicki Muffley went with me cause  she just wanted to get away for a weekend or because she was curious about boats. One show bled into another, then  another and so on. Annapolis Maryland three years, Miami one year. Over 5 years…dreaming.

Then about a year ago, I wanted to give up. Doubt crept into our dream. Why do I deserve this? How can we do this? Is it    really viable? Maybe we should give up. I stopped reading my sailing magazines from cover to cover. I stopped thinking  about living off the ocean….stopped fantasizing about OUR boat.

Why? Why did I stop? Discouragement. Not from others, but from my own inner voice. Telling me, “be like everyone else”,  or “you don’t deserve that” and even “you’re not smart enough to own a sailboat.”

But then a glimmer came back and we went to the boat show in Annapolis. I can hear Vicki saying, “Annapolis Again?” Yes,  one more. It was crappy weather and boats were expensive. Even the boats I didn’t love were expensive. How can we do  this anytime soon in our lives? So many obstacles.

Let’s get some food, get warm and grab a drink…so we went to Middletons. Wait for a table or sit at the bar? Let’s take the bar. A series of events unfolded that put Vicki and I next to Jeff and Shelly, a couple from Virginia Beach. We sat and talked for hours about boats, life, kids etc.

They told us of the fun they have in their Gemini and how great a catamaran is. They also told us “buy used!”. Was it chance that happened to put us together or destiny? Luck or fate?

The next day, we met them again to talk more, to get inspired and to add some kerosene to the dream that was just a flicker. Another 3 hours and more talking..more inspiration…the spark is back…and its a flame…wanting to be fulfilled. We can do this!

Shopping is fun for most people, but boat shopping is not only NOT fun, it’s strenuous. I guess I take things to serious sometimes, shocker right. Jeff was a big help, sending me lots of boats for sale up and down the east coast. Many calls, many discussions. Rovin Tar, out of New Bern North Carolina. A ten year old boat with only 120 hours on its engine. Hardly used, she just needed some TLC. She has air, water heater, 3 cabins and one bathroom. Plenty of storage and a 27 hp Westerbeke diesel. Sails were in great shape, she was just dirty, she needed love….our love.

Weeks of negotiations, a trip to test her out (with good friends mind you), a marine survey, more negotiations, financing…so many hurdles…but the dream was within reach. It was alive!!

The checks were sent, the dream secured. But it wasn’t “real”. Planning the trip to bring Exhale to Norfolk was not a small task. Jeff volunteered to help me and I Shanghai’d Peyton to come along. Vicki kept asking “was I excited”…I wasn’t. More stressed and nervous. Stressed to balance work and a “vacation” and nervous to sail OUR boat on a 4 day trip to its new port.

But now, today, while walking up to the marina from dinner, I saw our boat sitting in the water and I was overcome with joy. The dream was accomplished. Over 5 years of talking, reading, traveling, planning…accomplished.

For the next 2-3 days, I’m going to enjoy this feeling, revel in it…bask in the adventures and live in the moments. I’m excited. I’m happy, no thrilled, about not only the next couple days, but the next couple of years.

When I get home, Vicki and I will plan a new dream. One that people will probably laugh at and tell us we’re crazy to attempt. But that’s ok, it’s a dream and it will be ours…and we WILL make it come true together!

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One Picture Changed It All

Be Original We are starting a new business, nothing new to us. We spend our days helping companies brand new companies, new products, new services blah blah blah. So when it came to our company, I thought I had it The name was one I saw somewhere, a faint memory now pushed into existence for another business…it was good, not great. It would have worked. It would not have had a story….a soul.

So there I was, eating Chipotle at the fashion mall. Alone, I popped up my phone and hit Facebook, killing time while I digested my garden dinner. Then I saw it. A picture of Kid Rock in a pair of overalls. And that was my “ah ha” moment. The company I was about to launch had the wrong name…what the hell was I  thinking? Could I actually call my partners and tell them I was about to change something we had been working on for a week? Something I lobbied hard for? Yep, because when you are wrong, admit it. Pivot and move forward. The calls went well and everyone agreed, it was a hit. Someday when the company is big and the team is famous, we can look back and say thank you to Kid Rock for wearing those crazy pants.

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Just Say It!

Sorry!One word. One little damn word. It can change everything. Demeanors. Attitudes. Perspective.

Today I chose to say it 3 times. Yes, I said “chose.” A sincere sorry, planned and genuine is worth 100 flippant one’s. Here is my breakdown of sorry’s today.

First, to my company, yep, all of them. I let my emotions get the best of me and debated two stakeholders (we don’t use the “e” word at Fat Atom) in front of everyone. It wasn’t right. In fact, it was embarrassing. After talking about it with a co-worker, I thought it best to address the company and let them know I was not only wrong, but I was sorry for my actions.

Second was to a client. This was hard. I like to think we walk on water at Fat Atom, that we do know wrong. Well, that would be a big fat lie. No one, I don’t care what business you are in or company you own is perfect…it just doesn’t exist. Today I had to apologize to a client for what I believed we could have done better. I had to reveal my shortcomings (they knew) and fix them (they were happy). Was this hard? Yep. Was I sorry? Yep. Did it makes thing better? I hope so…but nonetheless, it was the right thing to do.

Lastly I said I was sorry to a neighbor. Long story short, I am a board member for our HOA. At our meeting tonight I felt like I overstepped my bounds in “running the show” and apologized to my neighbor, the HOA President, for what I felt like stepping on her toes. Did I want to do this? No. Was it necessary? No. Was it the right thing to do? Yep.

One word…sometimes hard to say but went said with feeling and intent, can make you and sometimes the recipient feel better.

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Sex Sells! Or Does It?

Logic tells me it does, or why else would advertisers use it? Focus groups can’t be wrong…can they? I believe viewers of advertising at their core want to be entertained, to be made to laugh. Marketers know this so they make humorous advertisements. They also must know that men love sex…and looking at sexy people. When was the last time you saw ugly people in an commercial? What about obese people? It just doesn’t happen. Advertisers are selling the ideal…not reality.

That brings me to beer. Most people buy it and companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get people to buy even more of it. So, does sex help them sell more? More specifically, do sexy women in ads help them sell more? I recently saw this commercial, which usually doesn’t happen because I TIVO most everything and don’t watch live TV. What stuck out most to me was the lack of sex…see for yourself.

Beer ad # 1 –

I cannot recall a time I have seen fat or “unattractive people”  in a beer commercial, but the people in the new Corona campaign are not ALL hot models. Granted, they aren’t obese or even pleasantly plump, but Corona did their best to make the “approachable” They do a nice job of not showing any boobs, no cleavage shots and even going so far as to be modest…a trait you don’t find much in beer commercials, or any commercials for that matter.

Beer ad(s) #2 –

I couldn’t just pick one here, and even though this compilation video is put together poorly, I am sure you will want to make it to the end…spoiler alert, you will want to make it to the end.

So the question lingers…does sex sell? I don’t know, but I will keep researching it to find the answer.


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