This Is A Big Deal
I published a podcast last week called “The Crossroads”, it was a story about when my photography career interchanged with my coaching career. And the decision I had to make between shooting a Pirates playoff game and going to a conference with Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. If you didn’t hear it then go back and listen to the episode, it is a pretty important one in our career and our progress.
Dave Ramsey is somebody that I had a lot of passing by interaction with over the last decade or so. I was first introduced to him through the radio about 16 years ago while we were breaking and in debt and it was the perfect voice and the perfect time. I was fortunate to have photographed one of his events when he came to Evansville years back and I got to meet him then in person. I met him in passing a handful of times. They hired us to photograph a couple events like I mentioned in that episode. But to all the impact that he’s had and the content he’s developed has helped us, a relatively impromptu meet up at his studio about a year and 1/2 ago really impacted many of the validity of what we’re doing here and the book that I wrote and I want to talk about that today.
Elizabeth, me and the boys were a couple days into our thank you tour for our book Freelance To Freedom and we’re in Nashville for a couple days, meeting a couple friends and giving the book to Dan Miller who had a big impact on our life and his wife, Joanne and we’re hoping we could possibly give the book to Dave Ramsey. But we didn’t make any plans, we weren’t even sure if he was on the air at that time. So we met with Dan and Joanne earlier in the day. The kids got to hang out at The Sanctuary and we get to talk for little while which is great and give them the books. We met for lunch with a couple friends. Our friends Jamie Silverman and Andrew Buckwalter. We got to meet downtown Franklin for lunch. It is just great just to be able to see everybody along the road and then quite honestly we need to do some laundry and get some laundry done for the next part of the trip. We shot over to the laundromat and got a little bit done and we listen to the radio and realized Dave Ramsey was on the air live and he was at his office in Brentwood. So I said “Okay let’s give this a shot.” We have a hotel in Franklin. Let’s get this a shot. Let’s shoot by the studio and we’ll see if we could probably get in there and just give him a copy of the book, maybe get a picture with Dave because the first third of the book is a note to Dave Ramsey in terms of how we use his teachings, we got out of debt and that helped us on to the life of freedom.
So we packed up the car with our fresh clean laundry and we headed over to Brentwood and we were just hoping that we get there and it was in fact live and we would be able to meet him. I’ve been there before with the parking lot is empty but the show was going on and you realize this is a tape. This is something from before and it is not a live show. So we pulled into Ramsey solutions and we saw the parking lot was packed. We knew that the show is live and there’s a good chance that we could meet Dave. The kids were all excited, they went to the trunk and they grabbed a couple copies of the book and we went inside. When you walk into the buildings, it’s the old building now, it doesn’t take long to see Dave on air through the glass and he is doing the show. There was a couple outside about to do their debt free scream so the kids are so curious like “are they gonna be on the radio?” Like “yeah that’s them. They’re about to be in the radios.” They did their whole speech and their conversation.
What we learned is that we made it just in time before the final commercial break. We were standing there and then Dave comes out and starts greeting the people that on the outside waiting for him. They talked to the couple that just did their debt free scream and then we were the last ones in the semicircle before he went back to the studio. He came up, it was really nice, he knelt down and he talked to the kids, talking to them a little bit, shook Elizabeth’s hand and he came over to me and I handed him the book. I got to thank him to his face and I got to let him know how much impact his teachings and what he’s has done on me and on writing this book. It is really kind of cool. He looked at the book and on the top my book is an endorsement from Seth Godin. I am not sure if his reaction was based upon anything with that but he looked at me and it was really a moment that I’ll remember for a long time because he didn’t just blow me off which he could very easily could have done. And even though it was quick, it wasn’t in passing and he looked at me and he held the book and he tapped the top of the book very firmly. He looked at me again and goes “this is a big deal right here.” He slapped the book again and he took a moment to look at my kids and said “what your dad did is a big deal.” And he held it up, he said “be careful. This is how it all started for me” and he congratulated me. We talked a little bit more then we took some pictures together and then we went on our way.
He went to the studio and he start answering questions again. He finished up his daily, probably never ever thought about that moment again. The guy gets enough praise to last multiple lifetimes. And when you’re on the radio like that you’re impacting so we people you don’t know individually how much of an impact you can have on somebody’s life. I imagine after so much praise, it probably gets numb or probably gets normal. But to someone like me to give the book to somebody that had such an incredible impact on your life and then for them to validate what you’ve done and then the absurdity to compare it to the massive success that he’s had, it gave me a hope that I didn’t have before because you understand we were literally in the throes of ending our photography business. The business that got us all the stuff that led to this book. We had made the conscious and on purpose decision to end that business and go on a completely different career path that we were not sure was going to be a great idea. We were not sure if it was going to be profitable and there was no guarantee for success. But for some reason, Dave Ramsey looking me in the eye while holding my book and saying to me personally “This is a big deal” and “this is how it all started for me” and him walking away from me getting in front of a microphone and talking to 15 million people. It was then that I realized maybe this isn’t just a dream.
Now I might never impact the amount of people that he has but that wasn’t the goal at all. It said often that so many people are not necessarily looking for success and are looking for affirmation. And so often, people quit because they don’t get it. And I don’t walked into that studio looking for any type of affirmation from Dave Ramsey or anybody else but I can tell you that his affirmation changed me. It made me realize yeah everything he’s doing really did start with writing one book. It wasn’t an overnight success and he had a lot of hard times. He had to fight through a lot of difficult things but it was all worth it and not only was it worth, it was necessary to have that type of impact. What it also made me realizes is the power that our words have to the people that are trying to do what we’ve done and the importance of using those words in the right way to lift other people up. Other people that are in the same spot that we used to be in and supporting them to achieve their dreams and to use the work that they’re doing to make the world a better place.
So, Dave Ramsey I know you’re not listening, you’re too busy doing what you’re doing which is awesome but I want to thank you for saying those words because it truly has had a tremendous impact on the way that we’ve grown, on the way we helped others, on the way our business has grown and maybe most importantly, the way that I view my own work. Because when we don’t fully believe in ourselves and what we’re doing, how can we expect other people to do the same. So thank you for that and will be back with you tomorrow.