Begin with Why

Fitting Quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
- Nelson Mandela

Sometimes our greatest lessons are those we must re-learn. 2014 has been that for me.

For Brick House Partners, 2014 will close as a decent year in terms of the usual financial metrics. Beyond the metrics, it will close as a gnarly, soul testing year that netted into the largest step forward for personal growth I have ever endured or been blessed with – either description would apply.

As background, our year will end with the worst first half and the best second half we have had in 7 years. “Wow Ralph!” I know, that’s what I have said too. Yes, our business is cyclical but it’s not like this…EVER. So, here’s the reason and it’s quite simple – I lost my “Why”. Going back 18 months, I let our business submit to hard assignments, abandoned assignments due to client budget issues and some generally difficult situations. We lost track of why we are in business and I lost my personal sense of what drives me every day and provides my normal sense of gratitude. I mistakenly thought that strategizing deeper, obsessing over details and grinding harder (boy did we) was the way to fix it. Our business became transactional as many can when problems occur. But, I am fortunate to be blessed with a new partner this year who also happens to be my wife, Janet. Beyond whipping the business into shape, she also pried my tight grip off the club and helped me reconnect with why I started the business and what is special about us. Most importantly, Janet helped me reconnect with my personal “Why” which got lost in the goo.

Looking back, it’s now clear-headed learning. But, it’s not new learning, it’s re-learning, and I hope it’s now branded into me instead of intellectually accepted. I believe this learning is relevant for many who read this article…it is a simple message: “Begin with Why”

Here’s my “Why” and a great video and article about developing one.

“Live gratefully. Inspire people every day…help them live a more significant life.”



I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts and own experiences regarding this article. Please send them to

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