410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Big Rock Star Surprises My Daughter

Big Rock Star Surprises My Daughter

August 25, 2011

Like any teenage girl, it takes a lot to impress my daughter.

My brother-in-law, Matt, has been manager of his friend, Eddie Van Halen, for as long as I can remember. But it wasn't Eddie who surprised her. The Biebs? He's sooooo last year. Taylor Swift? Nope. The Back Street Boys? Definitely, not.

But this 'rock star's' surprise left an impression that will last a lifetime ' and I hope it does for you and for those who mean the most to you as well.

Feeling like a 'rock star'

I may not be a "rock star" like my brother-in-law's friend and client, Eddie Van Halen, but I certainly felt like one for 2 days while MAKING time for those who matter most to me.

I humbly admit I'm no rock star but for 2 days I just might have been one with my daughter. Look, I don't do a lot of things well in my life but this is one area that I think I'm doing okay and yes, for two days I really was a 'rock star' in my daughter's eyes ' and that's cool!

Everyone has 'big rocks' in their lives. These are things that matter most to you. For me, the big rocks are my spiritual life, my wife, children, the team at Brand Launcher, my customers, friends and community. Those relationships matter most to me. They're my priorities; at least they're supposed to be.

But how often do the 'little rocks' get in the way in our day to day lives and we never get to the big rocks? We end up working late, doing work around the house, taking a call when we know we shouldn't and as a result we end up not 'being there' when others really need us, breaking promises and disappointing those closest to us.

Enough already! I decided to do something about it some time ago and I've made it a priority to each one of my five children with getaway trips together, just the two of us that I hope they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

My most recent getaway was with one of my teenage daughters ' who is not easily impressed. She is really fun and loves surprises. I wanted to make the experience memorable.

Creating an experience she'll remember for a lifetime

For a short time, I felt like a "rock star" to my daughter because I MADE the time to spend two incredible days with my daughter. Here's an "old-time" picture of us while at 6 Flags Amusement Park. What a blast!

Since she had no idea what I had planned, I left clues for her. One day, I emailed her a picture of the top of my head. I sent her a poem about 'The ring of the giant Og, King of Bashan. Yum!' Another day, I gave her a pot and six matches (don't worry I'll tell you what these mean in a moment). Another day I put a flag on her bed. I also gave her a shot glass with stuff floating in it. Can you guess what the clues mean?

On the first day of our trip, I took her to Six Flags Amusement Park (six matches and the flag). We had giant bagels that looked like the ring of the giant Og. Then, it was off to the next big surprise. But here is the funny part. Each time, I blindfolded her so she had no idea where we were going until she figured out. (I should mention that I asked my daughter's permission before I did any of this, and she completely agreed. She wanted to be kept in suspense and enjoy the surprise!)

It was a little embarrassing but we didn't care what anybody else thought, we were on 'special time.' I escorted her to the next big building blindfolded. To throw her off I had her feel the concrete columns outside the entrance with engraved Egyptian hieroglyphics. A policeman on Segway rolled up and looked at us suspiciously. But he saw she wasn't being kidnapped or tortured so he moved on. As we entered, she asked, 'Do I smell popcorn? Are we at the movies?'

When creating "special time" make it fun. Create some suspense and intrigue. In this case, I blindfolded my daughter before the opening of the new Harry Potter movie. She loved the build-up as much as the movie!

Still blindfolded and in suspense, I walked her to our seats. As she listened to the opening, she asked, 'Are we seeing the opening of Harry Potter?' She was thrilled! (Did the clues of the picture of my 'Harry' head and the pots give it away?) Probably not, she preferred harder clues and more surprise over easier clues and no surprise. What do the people you care about prefer?

The next day, we went white water rafting (stuff floating in a shot glass). She loved every minute. But what she enjoyed just as much, perhaps more, was the suspense and the sharing leading up to our time together.

Just as importantly we enjoyed the experience. It was an opportunity to just share some very valuable time together. I don't always do surprise trips. This week, I went on another trip with my oldest daughter to DC which we planned out together (with the exception of the last minute, impromptu stuff).

The secret is to plan around your big rocks. Be clear about your priorities and plan for them. Put your 'big rocks' on your calendar and plan the rest of your day, your week or your month around those 'big rocks.' Life is filled with so many 'small rocks' that they push the 'big rocks' out of the way every time.

It's also more than just about planning as I've learned. It's also about allowing yourself the freedom to live in abundance so you spend the time giving of yourself and your time to others. It's amazing how it also benefits you. I've seen it firsthand in my own life and in the lives of others.

The tale of two rock-star wannabe's

Last week I was talking to my client and friend Nick Sarillo who owns Nick’s Pizza & Pub outside of Chicago. He was recently on the cover of Inc. magazine. Why? He’s a “big rocks star.” He’s constantly supporting local groups such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Humane Society, church groups, local schools and the local hockey club. Recently, they surprised a woman with all the profits they raised that day at the restaurant and donated it to her so she could pay the medical bills for her daughter who suffered a brain aneurism.

He plans for events like that in which he gives away his profits! Why? Because his team and his community are important to him. Those are his “big rocks.” The community also supports him in a big way as a result and his business is growing exponentially. The guy is absolutely a “big rocks star.”

Compare that situation to another. In the same week I was talking with another client. He has the same gross sales as Nick, taking home even more money. But he’s miserable. His business is only growing about 3% a year. He feels like a slave; gets up at 6, goes to work, does the same thing every day and comes home at eight.

He’s in terrible shape, he’s not making enough time for his kids or his wife. He’s afraid to take time off and he’s not taking care of his “big rocks.” We’re working on it, he’s committed to change. You see we only make change when there is enough pain or pleasure attached to the action.

I’m the first to admit it’s not easy. The hardest part is taking the time. I mean MAKING the time. I actually get out a calendar a few months in advance with my wife and plan how and when we’re going to make time for the “big rocks.”

When it comes to doing special time here’s a tip. Most make the mistake of just doing it. But it’s the build-up, sharing and planning together that makes it so much more meaningful. Life is a journey. Not a destination. Focus on your “big rocks” by putting it on your calendar. Try it yourself. Who knows, maybe you’ll be a “big rocks star” too!

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,


Jon Goldman, President & CEO 
Brand Launcher 
Lumpy Mail

At Nick's Pizza