I have been blessed to have some incredible educators in my life, but recently I have had a serious appreciation for one high school class and teacher in particular.

Flash forward to present day: about two months ago I was presented with an incredible opportunity to take over the entire marketing effort of a financial practice that manages an incredible amount of money; legally I cannot tell you how much, but trust me, it’s a lot.

I am not a marketing major. My degree is in finance and economics which landed me in the office I am now, but my marketing background is limited. It is something that has appeared to come to me naturally at this point in my life, but to be honest, it isn’t a natural talent, it was something I had to work at and develop and I owe it to my writing ability.

In my Junior year of high school I took AP English Language Composition. It was about as dreadful as it sounds. It is a class that is essentially built around developing an effective argument on paper. A complete breakdown of argument and logic. To the intellectual it sounds interesting when you put it like that, but the logistics involved are anything but. It is brutal. A grueling process and deconstruction of the English language. writers-block

It takes a special brain to appreciate this type of study – I didn’t have that. The work in this class for me was… painful at best.

Fortunately I had the most incredible teacher – Betty Tuso. Ms. Tuso was and will always be one of my heroes. She is the model teacher. Passionate about her subject and her students.

It was her passion for her subject – and in me as a person –  that forced me to give the attention to syntax and diction; a topic that many people avoid like the plague. But, because of this class, Ms. Tuso and her love of teaching, that I am where I am today. Again, I am not a marketing guru, but because of this class I learned to develop an effective argument and write like a champ. This skill landed me the dream job for a college student. Not too many people can claim the title of Marketing Director at the age of 21.

Now, despite Ms. Tuso’s expected chagrin, my grammar still leaves a lot to be desired, but the fundamentals of persuasive writing are still there (I also owe a massive thank you to Mary Groves for my professional writing skills).

My point here is this. I’ve done a lot in life to this point even though I’m still basically a kid. I’m not bragging. I am saying thank you. I wouldn’t be here without you.

Saying thank you is important.

You never sugar coated it. When I was wrong, I was wrong. When I wasn’t preforming, you let me know. When the quality wasn’t there, it wasn’t there and while at times I severely disliked you for pushing me to the limit and being so tough I realize now that I owe you everything.

Thank you to the incredible educators that I’ve had. You irritated me. You made me feel uncomfortable and pressured, but you never made me feel inadequate. You pushed me to achieve things I didn’t think I could. And because of that, I am on a journey that I could have only dreamed of – because of you.

Thank you.


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A Sideline Visit

September 20, 2012 #26 Boise State vs. BYU.

It was a rare Thursday night gathering at Bronco Stadium, but a special one for me as it would be the last game I ever spent on the sideline in a Boise State jersey. But, there was something even more special that happened that night.

Boise State defeated BYU 7 to 6 at Bronco Stadium on September 20, 2012. (Robby Milo/The Arbiter)

Boise State defeated BYU 7 to 6 at Bronco Stadium on September 20, 2012. (Robby Milo/The Arbiter)

Earlier in the week my football career had come to an end. We didn’t know it at the time, but I had sustained what would be a career ending knee injury. Now I don’t want to say that my knee was the reason I left football. In truth I had been battling for the better part of a month if I still wanted to play football. I was on the fence. And then my knee happened and I was mentally done, even though at the time we thought I could still make the physical recovery.

That week was shaping up to be a special night because we would be playing BYU and one of my high school teammates Kyle Van Noy.

Kyle was a senior when I was a Freshman at McQueen so I never actually got to play with him. But, I grew up watching him. He was an electrifying player. Many McQueen Alum have often made the comment that he was the best athlete and football player to ever come through McQueen. Which is a big complement considering he stands in the ranks with Chris Carr, Jeff Rowe and many others who had long successful careers.

From the beginning of fall camp that year I was struggling. I was undersized, outmatched and felt like I didn’t belong at a prestigious college program like Boise. I built a mental block I couldn’t get past. So I reached out to my high school coach and he told me to call Kyle. He thought that Kyle might be able to share some insight and give me support.

And that he did.

Here was a guy who knew me sure, but had never played with me and was on the goal_line_stopNFL watch list for the draft going into that season. He played for a team that would be making the trip to Boise that year in one of their biggest games of the season, but despite all of that he not only answered my call, he continued to check up on me throughout the coming months.

That night was insane. A Capacity crowd of over 40,000 and, via ESPN, the football community watched a defensive slug fest. An absolute boxing match.

7 to 6 was the final. We came out on top thanks to an early 3rd quarter pick 6 by Mike Atkinson – a 330 lbs nose tackle.

It came down to the wire, but the game would end with the ball in Boise State possession. After Joe Southwick took the final knee and the clock expired Kyle made his way to the Boise sideline to find me.

Kyle had a great game including a touchdown saving tackle on a goal line stand. He was a major highlight for BYU and a big game standout, but that didn’t stop him from coming to talk to me. We spent a few minutes catching up in the post game chaos. It was surreal feeling really in many ways, but it was a moment I won’t forget.

Here was a guy that I grew up idolizing and trying to chase the same level of success that he had. And while I would never get there, I did get to share a moment of mutual admiration on a national stage.

So Kyle, thank you.


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Greatness: Property of the Mildly Insane

Faith – 

So often we tend to think of greatness as an elusive destination that evades us. We look upon other people who achieved it and think that we will never get there. That greatness is a finite commodity and like all desirable things, you have to possess some truly special ability to get there.

I’ll level with you there. You do have to have some pretty special qualities to be great, but the most important one isn’t one you’d expect – insanity. Bare with me while I make my point…

Albert Einstein was famously quoted as saying that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” which I would agree with, but I also believe there is a different kind of insanity – extreme courage. 15d3bc2f8a2066759370b49470c2ea16

My dad’s birthday was this last month. To give you a little background – my dad has always been one of my best friends. So much so that I am working for him and pursuing a career that he has made a living out of in hopes that one day I will earn my way to being his partner. Anyway, some serious changes have happened in the lives of both my dad and I in this last year and I thought of the perfect gift. My dad has a “Hall of Fame” of all of us boys in his office. It has grown rather extensive over the years. Filled with home run balls, state championship medals and college football memorabilia, but the one thing it was missing was me coaching. So I got him a picture that had a quote from Tom Hanks on it,

A hero is someone who voluntarily walks into the unknown.

There has been a lot of unknown for my father and I in the last year. He has always been my hero, but he joined the ranks of super hero this year. Like his father before him, he isn’t a man of many words, but when he speaks, you listen. Often I find myself captivated by his wisdom that he keeps to himself.

These last few months though have been particularly trying. Trying is probably the understatement of the decade. Aside from the above average chaos at work I am in the midst of a life changing project (more on that at a later date). But, he has been there supporting me every step of the way despite the potential consequences.

This project will change my life forever. Good or bad I am not sure. The risk is undeniable and potent. It is distracting at best. I am walking thing ice. Constantly. While the end goal for me is clear and is a dream of mine that I was born to fulfill, the consequences of failure would be devastating.

So today on my commute home I thought, “What in the hell are you thinking?” No one before me has attempted this. And now that I am in the process I see why (haha!). You do have to be mildly insane to think there’s a chance of this working. But, when I look at my role models and inspirations in life that is exactly what they thought.

After all, who would voluntarily walk into the unknown?

I will. Not because it is easy, but because despite of the obvious precedents of failure I believe that there is a good chance I might just be the one to do it. And if I do, greatness awaits.


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Get Your House in Order

Coach Pete in all his wisdom found one fundamental truth that always comes back into my life – if your room is a mess, your life is a mess. He would always say,

“Get your house in order.”

It sounds stupid. How does having a messy room or house have an impact on your life? Besides, the natural order of the universe is chaos and my room is no exception to the laws of the galaxy. I wasn’t exactly sure as to the scientific correlation, but one thing is true. Every time life catches up to me and things get crazy, my room is a mess. petersen-washington

So I did some research behind the psychology surrounding the filth – Coach Pete was right. There is a correlation.

Researches have found that the behavioral norms for those who live or work in messier environments differ from those who live or work in cleaner, more well organized environments. Diet, productivity, mental well being and other things increase positively with the cleaner environments.

If you would have walked into my room on Sunday you would have thought that my life was falling apart at the seems based off of this formula. Now while it wasn’t quite that bad, I have been in a serious funk. So I got my house in order. It took all day. Literally all day, but at the end of the day I was feeling much better. It’s like magic. The one thing you really don’t want to do when you’re tired and overwhelmed can make a world of difference.

Here’s an article that explains some of the psychology surrounding clutter.

But next time you feel like life has caught up to you and you’re feeling overwhelmed, go look at your house. I bet it’s feeling overwhelmed too.


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