I met John Saddington in downtown Orlando a little while ago. He was staying at the Aloft Hotel while in town to help see the 10th or so city established in his Iron Yard Academy. The hotel feels very modern yet classy, like somewhere you’d go to make some kind of “business deal”. I’ve lived in Orlando for about 8 years and have never stood foot inside this hotel before (not sure what that says about me).
John has no idea who I am really, yet agreed to meet with me just to hang out and chat, which honestly surprised me. As I walked into the lobby, he’s lounging on a couch like he just got home from a double shift. We half recognize each other, shake hands and hobble over the to the bar.
Lately, I’ve been reaching out to interesting people in the area via twitter. Just trying to meet up. Find out who they are, what makes them tick. Interact in reality a little. And it’s resulted in making new personal connections in a way that can’t be done through bits and pixels.
We order some drinks. John gets carded but I don’t, even though he’s a little older than me. He has much more hair than I do. His jet black hair is practically anime. He says he’s looked the same way for the past 10 years.
I feel for you John ;-)
We start chatting and I explain how I first found out who he was because I was a huge fan of a particular WordPress theme he helped create. After only a little bit conversation I can tell Saddington is a leader. There was genuine interest from him in what I had to say, and that is an invaluable quality to have. Not only did he listen, but he opened up about his current situation and some heavy choices he’ll have to make in the near future. He leant his trust to me and sought my opinion which was humbling. A good leader listens, is genuinely interested in others, and is also vulnerable. Check all three for Saddington.
He’s also a “doer”. He just does, things. More like he runs with them, without the fear of imperfection slowing him down. His website is john.do. He’s already got a startup track record and now he’s building a national coding school. We started chatting about his adventures in getting The Iron Yard up and running across several cities. It’s clear he loves what he does and is passionate about helping and teaching others. But it’s also no easy undertaking.
After telling him more about my story and current struggles, John left me two amazing golden nuggets:
1.) The internet rewards doers.
2.) Businesses are always intentional.
I’m 30 years old and have not done what I’ve wanted to “do”, or what I thought I wanted to do 7 or 8 years ago. I’m a perfectionist about my personal projects. I overanalyze, I procrastinate, I agonize about unnecessary details that only matter to me. And it’s gotten me nowhere. At this moment I am not one to “do” anything completely.
But, the internet rewards doers. And honestly, life in general rewards doers. There’s no perfect moment to wait for. So I need to start doing now.
Of course I’ll pour my life into jobs and the projects I work on for others. But the ideas and projects that mean the most to me, I hide them. I let them sit unfinished, let my interest atrophy. Subconsciously, I’m sabotaging myself in a twisted way to protect my heart. If no one knows what I’ve created or what I’m capable of, then I can’t be rejected.
I can live in what could be instead of what is. Safe and sound right?
It’s only just recently that I’ve realized how much I’ve held myself back. But I had a lot of growing up to do over the past few years. Though I’m sure it could have been “better” if I grasped this sooner, I’ve learned things that I wouldn’t have had I taken the easy route to begin with.
As for businesses, and really anything you want to make happen in life, they require intention. Ideas don’t get executed on by accident. It takes intentional action to see them through. Things only fall into place when you start putting the pieces together first. Think of a puzzle. You can’t just throw it up in the air and hope everything lands in just the right place. You have to start putting the pieces together, one by one. Once you do most of the hard work upfront and begin to build the picture, the rest of the pieces fit in easier because you’ve got somewhere for them to go now.
I really need to follow my own metaphors.
Thanks John for putting timeless principles in the right words for me. Hope to hang out again soon.