TRUE STORY: Balconies vs. Basements

Strategic | Futuristic | WOO | Ideation | Communication

That’s me…and I’m proud of my TOP 5.

Those of you who know me, know that I own the crap out of those five talent themes. I have a deep-rooted passion for each one, and love how they have shaped my ability to do some crazy cool stuff.

I could stand on a stage in Wrigley Field, and feel alive as I share my message with thousands of motivated listeners. I could lock myself in an incubator with aspiring entrepreneurs, and devote countless hours to generating new product ideas. I could walk into a networking event, and work the crowd as I inject value into each conversation. I could collaborate with teams to develop a vision of what their company could be, and reveal the steps they need to take to get there.

I could, and CAN, do these things!

But I should make sure I’m leveraging my talents from the balcony, not the basement. The basement is a cold, damp, and lonely place.

I am recently divorced…like super recent. My wife of 12 years and I decided to go our separate ways. I won’t go into the details of our failed relationship, but my desire and endless motivation to CRUSH IT did play a factor.

She has been super supportive for the last five-ish years while I jumped from venture, to idea, to game changer, back to something more stable, and off, again, to a new idea.

I’m a ping-pong professional. Not the game. A game…yes, but not that one. The game that forces entrepreneurial minded men and women to edge themselves toward the brink of a nervous breakdown, only to be refreshed by the introduction of a new shiny opportunity.

It’s a blessing and a curse.

But I like it LOVE IT!

Hindsight is 20/20, and I HATE reflecting on the past, but my “new normal” deserves some attention if I am going to learn anything.


You may know what your plan is, but be sure to share it with others. For me, the development of a strategy is simple, but the application is a bear! I like to communicate, but it’s hard to disseminate your intentions when your foot is pressed down heavy on the accelerator. Slow down…and put your plan on paper. No one, at least not until Google or Apple invents the app, can read my mind. Loved ones don’t want to be in the audience, they want to be in the passenger seat.

MENTAL NOTE: Paper is my pal. (Google docs too) Click To Tweet


Don’t lose sight of what’s happening NOW. I’m like a racehorse with blinders and one speed…FAST. While I have big dreams, and hopes for future success, those far away stares often result in missing what’s right in front of me. I have no home address in the world of “now,” but I’m building a mansion in the world of “what if?!” Stop and smell the roses. I may have been satisfied for a moment or two…. who knows? No doubt I’d be off to the races again, but I’m sure the roses would have appreciated a visit.

MENTAL NOTE: Tend to my garden. Click To Tweet


I want you to like me! I really have a burning desire for others to value the time they spend with me. In fact, I often care more about the feelings of strangers (at least strangers in the moment), then that of my own family. While my ability to win over the crowd is like a super power, it is exhausting. When I leave a networking event, I’m beat. Like crawl on the floor drenched in sweat kind of beat. It’s not just an opportunity for me, it’s a challenge. And I accept it anytime…anywhere. Game on! When the gas tank is tapping on E, that means there’s nothing left for the drive home. And nothing left for those who reside there.

MENTAL NOTE: Pace yourself. Click To Tweet


So, you have an idea?! But is it a good idea? Combine this with my Futuristic, and look out! “There he goes again!” Did I already mention that I am a ping-pong professional? Maybe I should buy that domain. SEE! It happens that fast. Now I am going to spend money on another domain, build another website, and slap a DBA under my LLC. Geez! I need to find myself a partner that acts as a filter. Someone to reel me in when the drag is set too high, and I take off for shark invested waters. It’s true that there’s power in 2. I just need to find my number 2.

MENTAL NOTE: Start looking for #2. Click To Tweet


“A little less talk and a lot more action!” Thanks for the tip, Toby Keith. I know my desire to share a message motivates me. The stage acts like the tractor beam from Star Trek. It draws me closer to the lectern, and when the mic is flipped on, it’s time to hide the women and children. Andy’s coming!!!! OK. It’s not that bad, but I do sniff out speaking opportunities like a bloodhound on a fresh trail. I think people enjoy what I say when given the opportunity to listen, but I often feel like I would push down my own grandmother for a chance to entertain a crowd. And social media is like crack!

MENTAL NOTE: Communicate with those that LOVE hearing my voice because they LOVE me. Click To Tweet

There you have it. This is going to be my last reference to what I could have done better…or differently. I don’t want to live in the past, but I want to come out of this situation a better man. If anything, I have the experience of balconies vs. basements, and can use that in my coaching sessions. #vivalastrengths! ~Andy 

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.

~Mahatma Gandhi




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About The WOO Warrior

Andy is a GALLUP-Certified Strengths Coach, and the owner of UnleashStrengths. He lives with his wife, Marlana, and two children, Adelyn & Drew, in the small Midwest town of Clinton, Iowa. he can be reached at [email protected] View all posts by The WOO Warrior

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