If I had not met Rachel in Taiwan on June 25th, 1995 there is a good chance that my two daughters would never have existed. My wife and my daughters have become the cornerstone of my heart and the greatest blessing in my life. For this alone I am thankful.
I cross the doorway of 40 next week, quite possibly the midpoint in my life.. and during this time I’ve been reading many books on leadership, faith and our destiny and purpose here on this planet. I am seeking learning and understanding, the illumination of the heart as well as the mind.
In this fashion I have reached a very simple yet profound conclusion about the path I’m about to set upon for the rest of my mortal existence.
I want to live my life as an expression of love.
I want to channel love, kindness, patience, light and beauty, in EVERYTHING I do…. and everyone I come into contact with. In my small way I want to create more laughter and kindness in the universe.
For too long I neglected to do this, and my potential as a human being was limited. I made all the mistakes that sprout from the gnarly roots of ego and impatience. I loved some people around me, but not at the level they deserved, probably because I was incapable of fully loving myself in those moments.
The writer Dr. Wayne Dyer says that EGO is “Edging God Out”. I love that.
If you truly allow God to come into your heart there is no further room for ego, anger, frustration or resentment. In discovering my own Faith in 2012 I cried many times as I asked God to come into my heart and wash out the mud and the muck, rinse out all the accumulated debris of a life that was NOT lived in Faith, a life that was lived far below the potential that He has ALWAYS had in store for me.
Everything in your life stems from the intentions in your heart, from being a parent, to running a business, to the marriage that you choose to have.
As I wrote this I was listening to this music:
Benjamin T. Alexander
March 1rst, 2014
To whom much is given, much is expected…..
When I was a 22 year old kid finishing up the last 50 credits of my Economics degree I did what most busy (and broke) college students do; went to a local restaurant and got hired as a waiter.
A balloon artist named Ray started coming into the restaurant on a regular basis, he would make amazing shapes and people would tip him really well. Ray was a law student at the Rutgers Camden campus. Balloon Twisting in restaurants was a lucrative side business for him.
As a waiter with 5 tables in my section I was limited to THOSE 5 tables, but Ray the Balloon Guy had the ability to work all 120 tables throughout the restaurant, so if one table stiffed him he could go on to the other 119 that would hand him a $1, a $5 and in some cases a $10 bill!
A week later I was at the Ray’s house in Blackwood, I paid him $100 to teach me 15 shapes, the following week I made $800 in tips by working 6 nights in a row at the TGIF in Marlton, NJ.
In the year following that I finished my degree, got married and became a father. Since my wife had just emigrated from Taiwan she did not have a driver’s license or the easy ability to get a job, so the financial responsibility of my little family rested squarely on my young shoulders.
I sold insurance 40 hours a week, and twisted balloons in restaurants another 25.
Because of the SKILL that Ray taught me I had enough cash for food on the table, rent on our apartment and gas in my car. When I had a dry month in insurance sales balloon twisting saved my bacon.
Ray probably does not know that a few years later I started Balloon Distractions in Tampa. If it weren’t for Ray and his creative idea I never would have appeared on Shark Tank!
Over 2,300 Independent Contractors have come through our system in the past decade.
2,300 people who have used BALLOON TWISTING to pay for college tuition, car notes and mortgage payments.
Ray has indirectly passed his skill onto an entire Army of balloon twisting Entertainers!
If you are on our team please consider becoming a Crew Leader / Trainer.
You can pass this skill onto other people and change their lives in a very positive way.
If you are a person of Faith consider the repercussions of teaching other people how to give JOY to children.
This is a GIFT, and if you are on our team you get to bestow that gift to many people.
Thank you for reading our blog,
February 20th, 2014
This is me and my sister Andrea in her kitchen in New Jersey, about 2 years ago.
We were joking around that day, I was talking about goofy stuff and making her laugh, probably because I had said something outrageous…. Andrea’s husband Jerry took the pic and it captured that specific moment perfectly.
It’s important that we connect with other people, every day, in a non-social media way.
I spent this morning interviewing applicants for an admin position within Balloon Distractions, I met a bunch of nice folks, and in the process had some lively discussions with a pretty diverse group of people. One applicant had been a detective in London, who knew?
Social media has it’s place and it’s utility, but let’s not substitute this for REAL human interaction.
This is one reason why I enjoy volunteering in local community events, it gets you out there meeting people and interacting with real human beings, not staring at a computer screen.
Commenting to a post on Facebook is nice, but sharing a laugh with someone in person is far more powerful.
Those are my thoughts for this afternoon….
Tuesday afternoon, February 11, 2014.
Last week I ordered a 7 foot backdrop from our local print shop to use as a background wall when we filmed clips for BD’s YouTube channel.
When I went to pick it up I rolled it out on the floor of my printer’s office and stared at it silently for a long time. I looked up at the owner of the print shop and asked him:
“Can I borrow a sharpie marker?”
For the next few minutes I got down on my hands and knees and began circling all the FLAWS in the logo that you would only notice when the logo was expanded to 7 foot proportions. It was a real mess. When I was done I stood up and looked at the Printer.
“This is a B minus logo, can your design person fix it? I’m tired of second best, I want a logo that’s A plus, with zero flaws, even if its expanded out to the size of a building.”
Just like our logo on the print shop floor Balloon Distractions enlarged a bit when we went on national television, and there were little things in my business that I tolerated BEFORE because I thought those tiny details were not that important.
I was dead wrong.
I was cutting corners on OUR own success.
No more, we’re done with AVERAGE.
We’re done with “just getting by”. Mediocre is DEAD.
We are the biggest in the country in our weird little niche, but right now we are NOT the best.
This year, 2014, we are going to raise the PRICE we charge all new clients and raise the Training level of EVERYONE in our organization. We are going to DEMAND nothing LESS than A plus work from every single member of our team.
We have a handful of advanced level Entertainers in the company, by the end of this year we are going to RAISE THE BAR and get 95% of our people to that level. We are going to be so dangerously good at this that we can double and triple what we are currently charging.
Let’s raise the freakin’ bar, folks. Let’s make amazing stuff and MELT THE BRAINS of every restaurant GM who sees us in action!
If you are on our team right now and have no desire to GROW and get BETTER and be AWESOME please leave, right now, and go work for my competition.
For those of you who are still here?
B minus is NO LONGER going to fly at Balloon Distractions.
WE are the BIGGEST, it’s high time that we are the BEST.
Jan 30th, 2014
When I filmed Balloon Distraction’s Shark Tank segment back in September of 2013 and FAILED in HORRIFIC fashion I came back to Florida and took an honest look in the mirror and realized that I was the problem.
I needed more work, more learning, more improvement as a business owner and also as a human being. I needed to improve MYSELF before I went out and found the team we needed to move forward.
So I began to read, all the time, over the last 4 months.
I’m currently reading ALL of the books in the picture during my downtime, at the same time.
Turn off the TV, stop looking at silly gossip on social media, and just READ A BOOK.
Garbage in, garbage out, GOOD stuff in? Positive results.
We all have flaws, we ALL have stuff we need to work on. For about $3 per book I bought a whole bevy of used paperbacks on Amazon, almost a mini library.
(I can not believe that it took me THIS LONG to finally read all of Dave Ramsey’s stuff, awesome!)
Amazon.com made this easy, for a few bucks you can buy used books and they arrive in a week.
Using the least expensive shipping each used paperback will set you back about 8 bucks.
Of course, you can also read this stuff off the internet, and reading actual BOOKS is kinda old school… but I love the feel of a book, and I write notes in the margins as well. Hard to do that on a Kindle or Ipad.
You can also Google all these writers and watch YouTube clips (except for the Bible).
So, if you are not happy with WHERE you are and WHO you are please start reading, learning, growing and then DOING!
Jan 30, 2014.
My company was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank; episode 514 on January 17th.
In the following 3 days our website saw more traffic than it had seen in the previous FIVE YEARS.
This blog doubled in views within 2 days, and we got a ton of people filling out our Build a Region Form: http://balloondistractions.com/build-a-region.html
Even though we did not get an investment on the show we got in front of people who NEVER would have known we exist if not for Shark Tank.
This afternoon I was talking to a lovely lady who told me that she had been praying for something than would allow her to earn an income, be there for her children and also serve her Faith.
The next day she saw our segment on Shark Tank!
We are so BLESSED by this national exposure, since January 17th the people who have sought us out have been very impressive, people devoted to their family and their community, people who have service in their heart and wish to work for the betterment of those around them.
As the Founder and CEO of Balloon Distractions I am well aware of my role as a humble servant to all the people who have come to us. I will do everything possible to help all of our Regional Partners build a strong business that demonstrates kindness towards children and helps college kids work their way through school.
Our leadership team has a solemn responsibility to be great stewards of this business, providing all the tools needed to guide and assist our Regional Partners.
If you are a person of Faith please take a moment and pray for us, pray that we guide our team in His ways, with His wisdom, guidance and grace,
Jan 27, 2014