RH Jumping Lake 3x1
No mat­ter how self-aware we are, there are always things we’re miss­ing about our­selves. Hav­ing a good friend or men­tor shine a bit of light on our strug­gles can cre­ate break­throughs. 2015 brought sev­eral lessons into my life.

Figure out how to be heard, even when no one’s listening. Then make it happen.

This was a les­son for giants. The pas­sive employee men­tal­ity is to take an idea to a min­i­mal point, sug­gest it to the boss, wait for the reac­tion, and if it’s not rain­bows and fire­works, to mope and let the idea fade away. Then, of course, never take that risk again and warn the cowork­ers not to as well.


The boss can’t be respon­si­ble for car­ry­ing every con­cept for­ward, open­ing every door, and know­ing what to do with every sug­ges­tion. We all have to take respon­si­bil­ity for our­selves, for our careers, and for our ideas. Yes is yes. No is maybe. Maybe, not sure, we’ll see, let’s revisit that later are instead forge ahead, think cre­atively, find out whose ideas are being heard, advance it fur­ther, enroll oth­ers, flesh it out. We have to let go of the ego. Let go of the credit. Make. It. Happen.

Identify the limiting narratives running on repeat in my life. Stop them.

We do this…a lot. Every­one car­ries the bag­gage of their life around with them every­where. We use the expe­ri­ences that pur­chased that bag­gage to fill in the story of what’s hap­pen­ing now, even when we don’t know the story yet. Some­times what we’re fill­ing in is killing us. Zap­ping us of our strength and courage. Steal­ing our optimism.


For me, the nar­ra­tive is a tale of men­tors, coaches, and bosses. I’ve had a lot of them and have spent years being frus­trated. The story I’ve been cycling includes: They under­es­ti­mate me. They don’t see my value. They don’t care about devel­op­ing me. They don’t appre­ci­ate what I’m capa­ble of and on and on and on with more self-limiting crap. I had to stop so I could take own­er­ship of my life and my atti­tude. No one  else can do that for me, and it’s incred­i­bly unfair to go around ask­ing the advi­sors of my life to carry that bur­den on my behalf. It’s my bur­den. It’s my oppor­tu­nity. It’s my life.

No matter how much my positive energy can be an asset to a group, my negative energy can be even more of a burden. Take responsibility for that.

I’m a loud guy who talks a lot. It’s just the truth, and I used to feel bad about it. I imag­ine there’s a lot of, “Who’s the loud guy?” going on around me at any given point. The beau­ti­ful thing is I can use that to bring a lot of pos­i­tive energy into a room. I can be an asset to a team in that way. Yay!


Here’s the deal: that’s a respon­si­bil­ity. If I’m going to bring the pos­i­tiv­ity and I’m going to deliver energy, I don’t get to hide in the cor­ner and be a grump when­ever I want. I’ll still be impact­ing. The fluc­tu­a­tions between the pos­i­tiv­ity and the neg­a­tiv­ity will kill a team. It makes me more of a lia­bil­ity than an asset. I have to take respon­si­bil­ity for that.

The internet is the new New World, the new Wild West, overflowing with opportunity and an even playing field. Take advantage.

If I could see a ver­sion of myself in a buf­fet of his­tor­i­cal eras, I’d like to believe I know how I’d act.
I’d surely have boarded a boat for the New World risk­ing death for oppor­tu­nity. I’d have swayed with the waves for months just for the unknown pos­si­bil­i­ties on the other side of the ocean.
Cer­tainly I would have packed my sad­dle­bags full and headed west, just me and my horse, in search of adven­ture, gold, and freedom.


Here’s the point: his­tor­i­cally, oppor­tu­nity and an even play­ing field required risk, great risk. The risk of death. In 2016, the inter­net is where the oppor­tu­nity lies and the risks are not life. The risks are mean com­ments from inter­net peo­ple and the frus­trated feel­ing of learn­ing new things. It’s not okay to not take advantage.


If I want to claim I’d have been on a boat bound for North Amer­ica, I bet­ter start lever­ag­ing the incred­i­ble power of the inter­net. I started with read­ing Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.


It was a good year that has set up the fer­tile ground for a great 2016. There’s been incred­i­ble free­dom and pos­si­bil­ity for me in tak­ing own­er­ship of the lessons 2015 had for me. It’s been hum­bling, but there’s beauty in that.
  • Barb

    Con­grat­u­la­tions Ryan! This is a fan­tas­tic site! I might add an obser­va­tion from short times of con­ver­sa­tion with you. You seem to have a great con­nec­tion with your inner-net! May the Force be with you!

    • http://ryanholdeman.com Ryan Holde­man

      Thanks! It’s so good to get the ideas out there and hear what peo­ple think.

  • Chi­anne coffman

    Great reflec­tion arti­cle Ryan! The past gets us where we are, but doesn’t have to deter­mine where we are going!!!!

    • http://ryanholdeman.com Ryan Holde­man

      Thanks! I love a good men­tal shift and how it can shape where we’re going, but it can sure be dif­fi­cult find­ing that shift when you know you need it.