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Day 90 - In the Trenches

Part of this journey has always been about me making deeper connections with people I may have seen or worked with in a business setting. I have connected with a number of people from networking events, those places where we may have seen each other and known names, but the truth is we knew as much about each other as we often know about the extras in our favorite movie. We all have these people in our lives and we could all benefit from taking the time to get to know them better. Today I got that chance. Per a certain set of circumstances I did not have a connection on my calendar today, so I went to an event in Summerville, a wellness fair, and ran into someone I used to work with.

JD Crowell and I used to work in financial services together. Truth be told, though I sat one seat away from him in meetings and engaged in morning coffee banter with him daily, I never really took the time to get to know him. I knew basic details. He was a family man, married with two children. JD was known to be very successful and driven, in truth it was hard not to admire the guy. I just hadn't taken the time to get to know him, to really talk to him. We were both too busy. About a year ago JD left the company and we both went on. Life is full of meetings and partings. I saw his new ventures and, when I eventually left the same company, he saw mine. Knowing that we hadn't had the chance to connect before, I wasn't about to let today pass by the same way.

JD is a student of self-development, of personal growth. It doesn't take long as you talk to him to realize that he considers it a great opportunity, the chance to improve, to become more of the person we truly are. It's not just a work thing either, he applies his lessons as a father and a husband. Family and friends are huge drivers for him. JD builds on relationships, always offering to help in any way he can, seeking to connect people to one another, to be the one degree that bridges a gap. I have always admires that about him, and I still do. His intelligence is hungry. He tries to read 1 hour a day, craving knowledge and the chance to use it. Conversation with him is quick and electric. You learn a lot from these types of talks, JD always has a podcast or a book to recommend. He is passionate and excited about his road, his journey, his purpose.

After leaving financial services, JD started Greens and Grounds, a coffee shop and healthy eating concept here in Charleston and he has launched it with the relish he does all things, at least in all things I have seen him in. Talking with him, I imagine he is an incredible father and a wonderful husband, such joy and passion are at the core of him. I taste the coffee, sample a smoothie pop, and it is all amazing. Clearly the work of study and development, of a mind that takes information and knowledge, then weaves it into something incredible. With locations opening, carts working events and trucks on the way, JD has studied his process, his coffee, his craft, his business. Attention to details and precision come across in everything he does, but it is not all glamorous and he doesn't want it to be.

JD loves the trenches, the place where entrepreneurs are made. It is the place where we wake before the rest of our friends, dig deep and build. The place where days are long, nights are longer, and our dreams are crafted from threads woven by our own hands. Entrepreneurs like him are the ones we should look to, they are builders and they love to build. He is also a man of ideals, seeking to make the world a better place. Part of his proceeds go to the Green Heart Project, a Charleston group that builds community gardens and educate the youth about healthy eating, community and the power of food. His stores will also be changes in many policies in food and beverage. JD crafts brilliant things, from his coffee and food to the change he wishes to see in the world. He is an entrepreneur, a builder, a true change agent.

As the fair winds down we take a moment to hug, say our goodbyes and talk about keeping in touch. Today is a good day. I have made a connection with someone who may have been too far to reach for all I knew at one time. In those moments where we shared and talked, I met a great man setting about to do great things, had a conversation with a friend and tasted some amazing things.

It is never too late to take a moment to connect. Here endeth the lesson.

Favorite Dinosaur: Brontosaurus

Why: He was really tall, industrious and a healthy eater, just like JD.

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