The Elephant in the Room


13 Aug The Elephant in the Room

I’m a Screen Printer.

There, I said it.

I just spent a week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin hanging, prepping, and spending time at our annual community service event we affectionately refer to as GameOn Day.  I met hundreds of people who don’t see me as a Screen Printer but as a Change Maker for childhood cancer.  Like an alter ego.  “Gamerosity Manny” and “Manny the shirt guy” have an alternating relationship with one another.

This isn’t hyperbole either.  Last Friday we spent the day at Children’s Hospital where we delivered 2 Hero Packages, celebrated a boy’s Bell Ringing Ceremony to celebrate the end of his chemo cycle, and hung out with a handful of children at a special Gamerosity event.  As I was walking out of Children’s Hospital, I received a phone call that one of my employees broke a $200 plate of glass that effectively shuts down our operations until we can get it replaced.  It’s an interesting dynamic when in the same 60 second span I get to meet a child who is pumped to meet me because I’m “Manny the Gamerosity guy” and at the same time fielding phone calls from customers who are worried my trip will effect their timelines.  One moment, I have a microphone in my hands sharing the vision behind our little charity and the next I’m answering an email from a lady who needs 8 shirts for a family reunion.

No matter how far I travel, I’m a Screen Printer.  No matter how many lives I get to interact with, I’m a Screen Printer.  I can’t escape it.  It’s who I am.

But it does not limit me.  Ever.  And it shouldn’t limit you.

When we first started Gamerosity, I used to say cheesy lines like, “God can do extraordinary things through extra-ordinary people.” my point the whole time wasn’t to garner praise or encouragement from others, it was to hopefully encourage you who feel this burning in your heart to change the world that the difference between the wanters and the disrupters is simply moving forward.

You want to start a charity?  Do it. You want to volunteer your time? Do. It.  Your job isn’t IN your way, your job IS your way, it’s what finances your ability to take risks. The sooner you start seeing it that way, the sooner you can start filling that void in your soul that screams, “YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE THAN THIS!”

Sure those hours that you could be changing the world you’re stuck behind a desk or on the job site or whatever!  But if you’re not making a little difference behind a desk, you won’t make much of an impact when you (finally) land that job for that charity you’ve been wanting to work for!  You need that journey, that rocky road, that struggle.  You need to look back and see how your job helped you get to a place of great impact.

There was a time I hated Forte.  It was my burden.  It kept me from Gamerosity with all it’s logo revisions and business card designs and “I want American Apparel shirts but for $5/shirt and I only need 8 shirts” and all the other things that go into the daily grind at our shop.  All I wanted to do was make videos, design Gamerosity graphics, fill Hero Packages, and strategize new ways to make the platform more sustainable.  I hated Forte for getting in my way.

I didn’t see the beauty in my day job.  It feeds my family.  It keeps my wife home with the kiddos.  It puts clothes on our backs and it puts a roof over our heads.  It finances Gamerosity.  Any work I put into Gamerosity is because I’ve been given the freedom through the job I have.

Gamerosity families don’t need me to work on Gamerosity full time, they just need me to care and respond from my heart.  The rest is just selfishness and short-sightedness.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s NOTHING wrong with working a Charity full-time, its a dream of mine and maybe one day that’ll happen in my life.   We pay these Charity workers so they don’t have to do anything else, so they can give their full attention to this cause, that’s important!  Let’s be honest, Peach belongs at the MadLab changing children’s lives!  I’m a monthly donor because I never want to see her have to split her time!

Our culture likes to make excuses.  We say we can’t make a difference because we have no time and our jobs get in the way but we’ll Netflix binge for 4 hours straight without any guilt or hesitation.  Listen, our free time LIVES IN INCONVENIENCE!  That’s where it thrives, where it flourishes, where it manifests!  We’ll talk about Game of Thrones, The Bachelor, The Walking Dead, or whatever latest TV show that steals from us 45 minutes at a time and still appeal to our day jobs as the main thief of our difference making. We act as though the world can only be changed from 9-5.

There’s a whole 8 hours out there waiting for you to clutch it by the throat but we’d rather play poker with the fellas or see who the next America Ninja Warrior is.  1/3 of our days are full of potential, that’s where you’re no longer a name tag and you can become anything you want to be.  So be it.  You don’t even have to make money doing it! You just spent 8 hours of your day financing this venture of yours!

I hope, if nothing else, there’s someone out there that reads this and is emboldened to step out and start the next “big thing.” I hope there’s a Disrupter out there that realizes that the only thing holding them back is themselves.  I hope there’s one less “I had THAT idea years ago and I never did anything about it.” out there.

It’s Friday.  The weekend has started.  Every Friday at 5pm I clock out as Co-Owner of Forte Clothing Company and I clock in as Executive Director of Gamerosity.  I never want to look back on my life wondering why I didn’t do something worthwhile during those times I took those weekend naps.  There will always be another Bachelor, another Game of Thrones, another Ninja Warrior.  There will always be another NBA Champion.  There will always be another blockbuster movie.  But there will never, ever be another you.

Make the world feel your roar.