Keep working…

I started this crazy, little experiment called BTL fourteen years ago in June of 2002. In 2003 I stumbled onto Chateaubriand’s (L.P. Jack’s actually) famous quote about work and life, labor and leisure, and that mastery in the art of living is all about play. 2004, my fellow builder, Larry, introduced me to some Latin. He taught me about the two latin words that translate, literally, to the English word, work. Opus entered BTL language and a piece of the melody line was emerging. That same year I began to fall in love with the idea that the foundation of our work wasn’t building your foundation. Funny, huh. I latched onto the CORE concept and began to write about our figurative and literal CORE and how both are needed to hold us together and keep us upright.

2005 would roll around faster than expected and I began to think about giving BTL a facelift. The dark blue and very basic logo just didn’t feel like me or the band of builders that was starting to come ’round. So I, with the input of a trusted few, began to interview designers. Element was the perfect fit. Two years later, the new logos were born, new playbooks were authored, and as we launched this affair on a cool evening at Muirfield, I can remember feeling very satisfied that my masterpiece, at least a version of it, was being authored. I knew next to nobody knew. I knew. I knew Miss knew. I knew Larry knew. And, I knew that others were beginning to believe. I’ll never forget the feeling of satisfaction that night. So, so good.

In 2008 I knew I no longer wanted to work for public companies. They knew I wasn’t a fit for their message. I knew they didn’t like my jeans, my lack of a filter, and my lack of compromise. I knew what I wanted. My belief was getting stronger. Somewhere in this year, I knew I couldn’t go back. I knew. 2009, my brother and best builder, Larry, went home, for eternity. I felt, in that moment, like I knew nothing.

I knew nothing.

2010 would bring me some work in STL that would serve as a catlyst for additional clarity. Opus would change from a word that we use to describe a labor of love, to a word that would describe an overarching vision, purpose, unifying strategies, and scorecard for significance. Freakin’ MAGIC. In 2011 another rewrite to the playbooks would occur. This one would not be a wholesale facelift but would simply be a “missing piece” addition of 18 pages in length. This piece would bring clarity to the melody line of this massive effort called becoming BTL. OPUS, PoP, and sCORE would cement themselves in our vocabulary. These are the three we want you to want.

Durp and kman would come on board and take BTL in a couple new directions. We would play with BTL in a startup and discover all kinds of nuance as we had a front row seat to kman going from one krazy on Warren street and one project in New Albany to the man recognized for his artistic flair and high powered team of krazies. We would watch a young Durp go from being a junior partner to the man on a mission to change the perception of collections. Today, he and his team have launched re-start and flipped the script on what we expect from debtors and collectors alike. Very cool.

2015 would start with BTL practice getting underway with our first sports team, OSU wrestling. We had no idea what we would learn from practicing with grapplers. We’ve learned more than we’ve taught. Late in 2015 the crazy FD would shoot me an email asking “what if.” I tried to talk him out of it and it kinda reminded me of a day back at Easton many moons ago – he, just like kman would have none of it. So, today, the BTL band has a new builder. We’re growing, slowly. Exactly the way I want it. Good…

Why do I write this for Y.O.U. to read?

I want you to realize that you most likely are in the process of becoming BTL and frustrated with how long it’s taking and how non linear your progress. I want you to be encouraged and keep climbing. Clarity is coming and when it comes, it always feels like it should have been here all along. You can live your OPUS, your masterpiece, if you will. You have to keep working, keep working, keep working. Do not settle or get comfortable. Don’t allow your accolades to compromise your aim toward becoming elite. Keep working.

Thanks for fourteen great years together. Special thanks to Peteboy and Lockton Companies, my first and second clients back in 2002 and still with us to this day. See you soon at another opportunity to get better. See you at practice. Good…

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Keep working…

  1. Fantastic history. And much more things in store in the near future. You’re changing lives Chet…and by that I mean Deep Change. And that’s the only type that counts. Be safe on that ladder.

  2. Too kind, PJ. It has been fun having you a part of it, friend…

  3. Brett

    Thanks Chet for sharing this post and all that you have shared with me through BTL in work and life. From Easton to Warren (with lots of pitstops at Northstar) you have given me the gift of OPUS for which I’ll forever be blessed. Thank you my friend and builder.

    • Thanks, kman. It continues to be my great pleasure to build beside you, my friend. We will keep working and keep enjoying those beautiful pit stops at NSC…

  4. Kit

    Amen and amen, Chet. Thank you for showing us both the splash and the ripples. So cool! Thank you for the incomparable gift of inviting us to discover our OPUS and for encouraging and empowering each of us to pursue what only we can pursue with LOVE. Here’s to the next fourteen!

  5. Hi Chet, I wanted to reach out and congratulate you on 14 years! I can only imagine the journey – ups and downs along the way. I think the ironic part is, you may just be scratching the surface with your impact on the world. On eternity. Keep pushing. You’re doing great work. Important work.

    You are probably saying who the heck is this guy. Let me explain. It’s a great example of the impact we can have and the seeds we plant in every interaction. Rewind about 2 years ago. I was sitting in a room at the DEC getting ready to head to Shawshank with Kary O’s mastermind group. At the time, I was jumping into a coaching business full fledge. You called me out as I talked about the fact that my company would be pissed if they knew I was looking for a way out. I didn’t like you that day. I’m a sales guy much like you were. Tech sales – 16 years. I’ve had a solid career but was looking for more. At the time, I was chasing the wrong thing though. I had success backwards. I thought I had a strong core but in reality, I was jacked up. You talked that day about not being able to help people until I helped myself. You talked about cleaning up the messes in your life – one at a time. Did I say I was pissed at you that day? : ) I was chasing the wrong thing and you rattled my cage. What I’ve learned now is that awareness isn’t comfortable. Honesty isn’t always easy.

    As I look back, I see that day and you calling me out….although probably something you don’t recall, was an inflection point for me. A paradigm shift.

    I haven’t been the same since. I essentially stopped coaching after that. Although frustrated with your message, I realized that I couldn’t help others until I helped myself. I knew it was a painful road ahead.

    Fast forward two years. I read all of your posts and follow all of your storylines. I look forward to each and everyone and many times forward them to friends. They are words of encouragement. Words of challenge. Words of “keep pushing” when things aren’t going your way.

    So, I’ll tell you more about the seeds you planted. Since that day two years ago, I had to look in the mirror. I struggled for many years with an anxious mind. I was a former D1 college athlete. One of those can’t miss types as a youth. It all went south when my parents divorced when I was 19. I had to break up a fight between them. Dad grabbed a bat. I got in between him and mom. Police was called. Marriage over. I blamed myself for a lot. It bled into my play on the field (soccer). I was lost. Turned to drugs and alcohol for pain relief. Then medication. Doctor said I was bipolar just like my dad. Mom used to call him crazy. I had a label – didn’t want anyone to know. My college career didn’t go as planned. Found myself on the bench my senior year. I was a head case.

    I ended up getting into tech sales and crushing it. It was my new outlet just like soccer used to be. By 30 I was the “it thing” making money and having it all going for me. Got married to a great girl and started a family…but, never figured out my CORE or my OPUS at the time. Didn’t know what those were.

    I lived a life at home that was very different from my life on the road. I would kill the anxiety with booze, gambling and women. I was turning into the guy I never thought I’d be.

    At 36 I knew I didn’t want to live this way. I was a church goer but didn’t know God. I was a fraud. I poured myself into coaching thinking helping others would make up for the rest of my shenanigans. I wanted out of my sales gig but for all the wrong reasons.

    After you spoke to us that day and it set in, I decided to make some changes. I sought a Christian counselor and decided to come clean with my wife about my transgressions. It was ugly. It was painful. It was hit or miss for a while but we sought out counseling together. We sought out faith. She has forgiven me. I’ve repented. I can honestly say I’m a new man. A newborn soul if you will. I got down on my knees last October 21st at 9:30am with my pastor. I committed my life to our savior. I wake up everyday now and read the word first. In the chaos of daily life, it’s this fundamental practice that sets me free. I met with my father in law, the man who I asked 10 years ago for his daughter’s hand. He trusted me. I broke that trust. But when I met with him, he saw my heart and my soul. He forgave me that day. He told me he believed in me. He gave me his highlighted, Written in, broken down Bible. A true gift from above. It’s a reminder that we are all broken…once we accept that and embrace that – that’s where FM is (as you say).

    I’ve since decided to lead a mission trip at our church. We are serving refugees this summer in Charlotte. My whole family will be there. Gabe (8), Reese (7), Emerson (2) and my beautiful wife Michelle. My marriage has been reborn. My family has been reborn. My life…has been reborn.

    I write to you to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You challenged me greatly that day. You planted a seed and I couldn’t help but move. Take action. I’m a work in progress. Always will be. But what guys like you and Kary O are doing is true Opus work. You are not only impacting individuals like me….you’re impacting generations to come.

    Words can’t do it justice but I thank you for pouring your heart out daily with your writing. For being vulnerable and authentic. For being true to yourself. This helps all of us and I thought you’d like to know the impact you continue to have.

    Jon Giganti 614.264.7528 jon.giganti@gmail.com

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  6. Thank you, Jon, for your kind words. I do remember you and that day a few years back. I had no idea I called you out. Don’t remember that but I do remember you. My heart is overjoyed as I just re-read your story. God is good. Thank you for your attention over the years and God bless you…

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