I had the extreme pleasure of giving my first college lecture with my partner Jami this year.
This was unique for me. I’ve given more college lectures at this point than I received in college so I always take a lot of joy from these interactions. I never found my place in college as a young man and I’m appreciative that I seem to have found my place there later in life.
Dave has a unique approach to life and learning which I know is a guiding light for those around him. Including me. He is a perfect example of what happens when you practice and teach gratitude.
Dave is also open minded enough that when he talked to me about coming to class I mentioned bringing Jami and Margaux. After some really long conversations with Jami we decided we would do the class together and thought this was the right forum to give it a try.
thank you to Dave and his class for being open to this experiment. we are both grateful.
The reason that I thought Jami’s inclusion was so much more important than mine is because Jami just struck out on her own recently and started her own business.
Emotionally and financially it’s scary as hell to get started.
What we don’t know as kids is that our parents have real responsibilities and starting a business and a second career as a founder and entrepreneur is very difficult because the risks are much different.
When people depend on you, it’s a lot harder to take big risks.
A lot of our audience was students thinking about starting businesses and I can say that I’ve forgotten what it’s like not to factor in those risks.
Jami had just went through leaving a corporate job after 8 years to start a business focused on art. On creating art with a strong anchor in photography. It’s a business with a brand and that brand is Jami.
After our daughter Margaux was born she felt it was the right time to take a swing.
I’ve watched and been a part of the process and remember a lot of the phases that I’m watching her go through but I remember them in a way that I know the hard days pass and the good ones need to be celebrated.
The situations when you start are nothing short of extreme. You’re broke or totally fucked about once a week. You also have breakthroughs once a week if you really keep at it and eventually those breakthroughs start to pile up. For years it’s rare those breakthroughs lead to anything, though.
The strength and weight of your momentum and breakthroughs starts to overcome the difficulty of the hard days. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t there but it does mean that the life you’ve always wanted to have is now possible. It becomes plausible rather than probable and in that, you’ve changed your life.
I woke up not long ago to a few text messages from Jami that some of her recent work shipped that morning. She directed a music video for MAIDS. Something she’d never done but fell under the art umbrella. Here’s the video:
This whole process was an experience in of itself. It’s a genre and style that I don’t think either one of us knew well but it was a blast to watch her process. It was another reminder of just how big and disparate artistic ideas area.
She also helped create an Artist in Residence position at Ballet Des Moines. This is amazing for a few reasons to me:
- Des Moines has a great ballet.
- Ballet Des Moines has a leadership team who is open to it.
- The community funded it.
- VC funds get what an EIR is. I didn’t expect that a non profit ballet in Iowa would get what an AIR is.
In this role she’s created countless pieces and most of her weekends are filled with shoots and other work. Just like anyone else starting a company.
As I’ve watched my partner go from idea to having to prioritize her time because she’s got a full plate, I’m filled with a lot of pride. At no time do I underestimate the difficulty in getting started.
Getting started is incredibly hard and whether or not someone is getting started in a new role, new business, or has their current priorities so right that they just need to focus, I really appreciate those that are able to plan their lives around what is important to them.
Getting started also forces you to do things you’d never think you could do. Jami, for example, is afraid of water. I don’t think I’m violating any trust by posting this but it’s true. Some of her most beautiful shots this year were taken underwater.
A friend literally held her underwater so she could get the shots done to tell the story she needed to tell.
Starting is hard. I’m proud of Jami for doing this and for the countless others I’ve seen experience a start this year.
I have tremendous respect for those that ship.