The Last of the Firsts

Today marks the one year anniversary of my position being eliminated from Thomas Nelson, and the end of an almost sever year run with a great company. After I was let go, I almost immediately began marking time in milestones – the first sales conference I missed, the first time I didn’t go to this type of meeting, etc. I would actually call my old number to see if it was still active, and mourned the day it came back as “invalid”.

I guess this was one of the ways I coped with the shock and the disruption to my routine. I would go to Christian bookstores and look at the product I helped place on the shelves. I followed ministries closely to see the custom product I had created for them. I would keep in touch with as many people as I could. It was my way of validating myself during a very trying time.

A lot of this was thrown back at me as I went to my first NRB last week since not being at Nelson. Seeing former co-workers and clients in my new role was awkward and difficult, but I was proud to represent my new employer well. I even got a compliment on that from my former boss at Nelson (the one that let me go). That felt good.

So, today puts the proverbial nail in the coffin. It’s the last of the firsts. Maybe now I can truly move on, as I no longer have milestones to measure. I guess we’ll see.

Is there anything you’ve been hanging on to for a little too long?

Don’t Do Your Best, Do What It Takes

This is the stuff they make movies out of! I’m talking about the amazing run the Tennessee Titans are having right now. Here’s the breakdown:

Last year the Titans had the best record in the NFL. There were high expectations this year that fizzled quickly as they started 0-6. The decision came down to start the relative rookie over the veteran that had played in a Super Bowl before. When they won their first game, everyone assumed it was a fluke. Then they won again. And again. And again! Last week they faced a pretty good Arizona Cardinals team, who had themselves won three in a row. At this point no NFL team had ever won five straight games after starting a season 0-6. Three huge mistakes by the Titans put them in a situation where the only way they could win was to get a touchdown – a field goal wouldn’t cut it. They got their last possession, with just a few minutes left in the game, but the ball was on their 1 yard line. The relative rookie rallied his team and took them down the field, converting several 4th downs along the way. Finally, with just seconds left, it was 4th and goal. The Titans HAD to score or their winning streak was over. Sure enough, a pass into the end zone as time ran out was caught for the game-winning touchdown. The Titans had made history.

But, amazingly, the story isn’t even finished yet. At 5-6, the Titans are only two games away from having a winning season. But first, they have to get through the tough, undefeated, Indianapolis Colts. This will be a huge game. Again, Hollywood couldn’t have scripted this better!

Have you ever faced loss after loss? Sometimes all the platitudes and trite sayings in every leadership book you have ever read won’t do any good. As author Andy Andrews recently said, “It is not always enough to do our best… Sometimes, we have to dig in and do ‘what it takes'”!

Are things down right now? What excuses are you hiding behind? The economy? The sales team? The manufacturing team? The creative team? At the end of the day, only you can change your destiny. That’s not to say others won’t throw obstacles in your way, but what responsibility are you taking? Are you working longer, harder, better, and faster, or are you allowing the losses to pile up and have given up the season simply because no one has ever come back from that kind of a bad start?

I don’t know how the Titans season will end up. Yes, the opposition is tough, but by “digging in” and “doing what it takes”, they have a good chance at coming from a huge deficit, and pull out a winning season. That means you can do it too.

Are you doing your best, or doing what it takes?

When Will You Stop Denying Who You Really Are?

I’m an introvert. Or am I?

I have always gravitated to positions that put me in front of people. I have found, over the years, that I love it. Which is TOTALLY contrary to who I feel I am. If given a choice I would rather stay at home and, with the exception of family, be by myself. I don’t like parties. I don’t like social events.

And I hate confrontation. I will go out of my way to avoid it. My number two strength on StrengthsFinder is Restorative. I seek harmony, and seek to establish harmony. When you are in the relationship business, conflict is a natural progression of almost any relationship.

I’m also painfully shy. I hate meeting people for the first time. My natural tendency is to become friends by osmosis – hoping that close proximity alone will draw us together, not the act of meeting and talking.

What’s even more interesting is that I love being around people. But if I’m at a party, I would rather be the wallflower – observing, not interacting. I love watching people at the airport or mall. Just not talking to them.

The reality, though, is that my life has played out very differently. I have had jobs in retail, customer service, and sales – all jobs that put me in direct contact with people. And I’ve had success in these jobs. And not just success –  at the risk of being arrogant, I am good at building relationships! What?! How can an introvert be good at building relationships? And on top of that, enjoy building relationships?

If I had to define my dream job, it would be a job where I could speak in front of people, then leave. One way communication. It’s one of the reasons why I loved being on the radio. Unfortunately, I don’t have a message. That’s kind of a problem. So, I’ve worked in positions where I get to communicate, but I’m also forced to relate.

So, all that being said, I guess my real question is have I learned to become interactive because I’ve had to for jobs, or have I really been an extrovert all these years and just didn’t know it? I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that here I am again in a position where the whole job is building relationships. And you know what? I love it. I love getting on the phone and chatting with new people and finding out their story. I love that I can serve them and make some new friends along the way. I love finding out their needs and meeting them. Would I rather be by myself? Sure. Am I energized by my daily interactions. You bet!

So, I press on – living with this juxtaposition in my life and, hopefully, finding success in something I fear.

Is there anything about yourself you’ve been denying? What fear is holding you back from working in your sweet spot?

On Being Unemployed

I play the scene over and over in my head. It’s the one in the movie “The Incredibles”, where Mr. Incredible (now reduced to being “just” Robert Parr) comes home frustrated with how his life has turned out and the neighbor kid is sitting in his driveway. Mr. Incredible, very irritated, says to the kid, “Well, what are you waiting for?!”, to which the kid responds, “I don’t know. Something amazing, I guess…”

That’s how being unemployed feels like to me. I’m frustrated with my life. I know I can be something big. I know I have a lot to offer any company. But I feel like I’ve been reduced to being “just” Scott. Like I’m not useful anymore. Like I’m waiting for something amazing. I guess.


Today is the seven month “anniversary” of my position being eliminated from a job I loved. I must admit, this has been the most emasculating experience I have ever been through. Doubt, fear, feelings of failure and inadequacy are constant companions. But, at the same time, there have been some good things. Here is a partial list of what I have learned over the last few months:

  • When in shape, the body of Christ is amazing. I have chronicled on this blog a little about our church search, but we landed at a church earlier this year. It is so obvious that God led us to this church, and this small group, to help us through this period. There was a time when those around us would have wondered what sin in our lives had caused all this to happen. Not these people. They have been gracious, loving, accepting, and giving – everything we are called to be as Christians. Lest you think all of this has diluted the spiritual side, think again. They have been our constant encouragers, making sure we are in the Word and in prayer. If you need a church home in Franklin, ask me about it.
  • I have been blessed with time. From house projects, to a summer (and now a fall break) with my wife and kids, I have had time that I would not have had if I was working. I have even had the opportunity to teach the aforementioned small group, something I love to do. While I am surprised by how fast this time is going, and I’m sure I will wish I had done more, I am so thankful for the time to focus on other things.
  • I have re-established, strengthened, or made new relationships.  They say 70% of people find jobs through networking. I have been doing a lot of that, and it’s been great. Many of these people are very well-connected and influential people in the publishing industry and, no matter what happens in the future, I will be able to count them as personal contacts.
  • My faith is so much stronger. I have no idea what the future holds. At times it scares me (especially as it gets harder and harder to pay bills). But this I do know, now more than ever, God will never leave me nor forsake me. We watched the movie “The Hiding Place” recently, and Betsie Ten Boom said it best, “There is no pit so deep, that God is not deeper still.”

There are more lessons, and more to come I’m sure. I’m ready and open to learn them. While I have these dark feelings, they are also accompanied by an undercurrent of anticipation. I know something amazing is going to happen. I don’t know when, or how, but I KNOW it. I don’t have to guess. All I have to do is wait. And sometimes that is the hardest thing to do.

Finally, I must give credit where credit is due. I have had this blog post in my head for some time, but haven’t taken the time to write it out. Lindsey Nobles (a former Nelson co-worker) had the courage to write this post on her blog that inspired me to finally get my post out of my head. Thanks, Lindsey.