(Below I have posted my quick, raw thoughts and have not edited for errors. Thanks for understanding.)
Hey Everybody! I have some big updates and moves I want to share. I hope each of you are doing really well.
LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA HAS BEEN GREAT
For the past two months my family has been living in Cape Town, South Africa on an amazing journey. We’ve grown to have a deep love and affection for this city and for South Africa. When we first moved here two months ago, it was really at the prompting of my wife. She blogged all about it here. Our lease was ending at our home in Southern California and we opted for an adventure versus just finding a new home in SoCal.
The truth was, though, that I was in a low place and she was smart enough to know I needed something altogether different to shake me out of it. I’m 34 years old now and have been with Rai since I was 17. She knows me better than anybody in the world. Instead of moving from place to place – which can be hard with a big, young family like mine – our plan was to just deeply immerse ourselves in this wonderful city.
When we first made the move here, we honestly had an open heart to see if it could become permanent. We didn’t have a strong feeling one way or the other, but we knew that our passport allowed us to have a 90 day visit. Our daughter, Kendi, had just gone through a grueling multi-part audition at an AMAZING performing arts school back in California before we left for Cape Town and our private talk was that if she was accepted we would probably move back to California. Just a few days into our stay here we learned that she was accepted and we were SO EXCITED for her. It’s the best school ever and she worked so hard to get in. We were a bit conflicted, though, on whether or not we were still going to move back to California because we’ve found our groove here in South Africa.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILL BE OUR HOME BASE
We’ve wrestled with it, talked it out, prayed, and have a real peace that SoCal is where we will call home base for the foreseeable future. We want to still be adventurous and experience all the world has to offer, but Southern California is home to us. After living in Atlanta for the first 13 years of my adult life, I would have never guessed that California would put its hooks in us, but it has. In the past 4 years we’ve lived in Atlanta, Southern California, Kentucky, New York City, and Cape Town, South Africa – and it’s clear to us that California is our home. We love it and miss it. I’ve put a deposit down a home we will be renting and we will be returning home to Orange County in about a month.
I could honestly stay here in South Africa and be happy, but we all have grown to have a deep affection for California and want to give it a long term shot and see what happens. Kendi will begin her time at her performing arts school later this summer, our oldest daughter Taeyonna will begin high school, and we are really excited about what’s next for all of us back in Cali.
SOME BIG CAREER SHIFTS FOR ME
Since I have been here in South Africa I have gotten some real clarity on my future and have taken some really strong steps, privately, to move in a very different direction with my life. Sometimes moving to the bottom of a completely different continent can open up your heart and soul in unexpected ways and for that I’m thankful. Here are a few updates…
1. I am now a full time writer and teacher. I want to personally thank Jeff Goins for helping me to embrace this privately and show me a pathway to eventually embrace it publicly. My first book comes out this Christmas and I am excited to have a great agent, a skilled editor, and an amazing deal/team with Howard Books/Simon & Schuster. Empowering people to live their best life has been my passion since childhood. Doing this through writing and teaching and coaching full time is a dream come true honestly.
In the next few weeks I’ll be making some exciting new announcements about ways you and I can work together from wherever you are in the world.
2. I sold all of my stake in Upfront and have stepped down as Chief Creative Officer. I am still on the board of the company, believe in it more than ever, and have seen it grow leaps and bounds these past few months. I think I grew more as a leader and businessman in my two years as one of the founders of Upfront than I did in the previous 10. It stretched me and grew me in ways I never expected. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If anything, my two years @ Upfront have made me want to try to launch a another startup down the road. More than anything, though, I truly felt like the time was right for this move for me and for the company.
3. I have stepped down as CEO of HopeMob (@hope) and have completely passed the torch on to my co-founder and long time business partner, Chad Kellough. I will no longer be playing any role with the charity other than helping however I can with a smooth transition. Like my move with Upfront, I knew the time was right both for me and for HopeMob. I am excited to see the new ways Chad and his team will grow HopeMob and help what we started reach more and more people all over the world.
My heart and soul will always be with advocating for the less fortunate people of our world. I am thinking through new and innovative ways I can do this moving forward.
We will be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6 weeks before we head back to the states and would love your thoughts and prayers! Lots of changes and transitions coming. Stay tuned for updates!