Thank You: My Year 2017

I recently wrote this on Facebook. However, I want these words to stay here forever so I’m going to paste the status here. Enjoy –

This is going to be the longest piece I’ve ever written on FB. But I don’t care because these are words I never want to forget.

In the beginning of 2017 I got into a major car accident. The car I was driving barreled into the air and then dropped perpendicular on the freeway: the oncoming cars, the blood dripping down my forehead, blood coming out of my left hand, and the screams on the scene is something I see and hear most nights in my dreams.

During all the commotion of ambulances, police officers, and shard glass, I don’t know why I did it because I’m not religious, but I asked one of the firefighters to stop what he was doing and just pray with me for a second… that everyone in the accident would live to see tomorrow.

He just so happened to be a black baptist religious soul from Oakland. He led the prayer.

It calmed me down.

Thank you.

I was driven home and when I opened the door to greet my roommates, I said –

“I got into a car accident…”

“How bad was it?”

They were playing video games and I could tell they were in their own world. I’m known to be happy. I’m known to be gregarious. I didn’t want to ruin their night with my problem.

“Don’t worry about it…”

I walked into the shower… and I began to let the water cover the tears streaming down my face.

I fell on the shower floor.

I cried.

I CRIED.

I fucking broke down.

I wanted a hug.

I just wanted a hug.

A friend from across the bay bridge randomly texted me because he “was thinking about me…”

He heard my cries.

The next day he drove over and brought to me to church.

He said, “I’m here because you’ve been here for me many times in the past.” And…

“God saved you. You’re standing because of God.”

Again, I’m not religious, but it helped.

It made me realize how lucky I was to be alive.

Thank you.

A couple days later I was reflecting on the situation, stressing out, and what was worse was the fact that I wasn’t making money.

To reference. for the past couple of years I took my career on hold. I used to be heavily involved in the social media space, making viral videos, and growing YouTube brands.

But either through laziness or trying to “find myself” or just plain excuses – I decided to become an uber / lyft driver to make my main income, while I did the “social media video thing” on the side.

There’s nothing wrong doing what I did, what was wrong was the fact that I wasn’t pushing myself to learn and grow my skillset of online video.

This accident would change everything.

Fortunately, before the accident, I was working for a friend to make memes for a company. In addition, I was also helping her teach a class on how to make things go viral on Facebook.

She gchatted me up to explain how happy she was with my work and wanted to give me a bonus: a bonus that just couldn’t come at a better time.

Due to this news, I couldn’t control myself and cried in front of her… on google hangout… and told her exactly what had happened.

Shock and in awe she did something I will always be thankful for… even though I had about three more days of work ahead, she gave me an advance.

She said, “I know and I trust you that it will get it done, and it’ll be great.”

It is something I will never forget. I owe her so much.

There are no words to express how much I’m in awe of her.

Ineffable.

Thank you.

A week later, my bank account was running low, and I thought… “fuck it. I’m not doing anything, so I’m going to write a book about how to make things go viral on Facebook.”

I walked to the nearest 24 hour Starbucks and lived in that place for two weeks. When finished, I started putting the plan together to promote the book.

Facebook ads.

But a dilemma… facebook ads cost money and I had none.

I decided to tell the “online viral” class I was teaching about the book I wrote, and gave everyone a free copy. A student, who is now a mentor and my friend, reached out and told me he wanted to help me with my marketing plan.

He loaned me money, “I believe in you. I love your work.”

Writing this now and reflecting what he did for me makes me want to tear up…

Thank you.

In that same month, I had no idea where I was going to live.

Upon my hearing my story, my friend said, “you can live here for free and you don’t have to pay rent until you’re back on your feet. You’re going places and I know you’ll keep your word. Just make me laugh and we’ll be great.”

I love this guy so much as he would become one of the best girlfriends I would ever have in a long time (haha).

Thank you.

A few weeks later I was unexpectedly invited to join an exclusive “all things social media group.” I was shocked because 26 of my online FB videos had recently been deleted.

I was a nobody? How was I invited?

When I asked later why the friend brought me into the group, he said “you’ve been working hard these past years and people know your work, I thought you would add value to the group.”

Many of the people in the group were old friends, colleagues, and similar people in the space. One of my friend’s intro’ed himself through a status, and I loved his style so much that I copied his format: I posted a picture and gave a brief synopsis of my work.

BOOM.

One of the admins of the group saw the post and wrote a comment:

“I love your guacamole video! We should talk”

What?

Who was this guy? Guacamole video? The video is one of the lowest performing videos I’ve ever done on FB? I had to talk to him right away.

He just so happened to be the director of performance marketing at hint. This guy would be one of the biggest movers of my career this year.

The next couple of weeks, I just wanted to shoot the shit. I wanted to help him with what I knew with organic Facebook video and at the same time, I wanted to learn more about Facebook ads (b/c of the book I was selling).

We bonded, I invited him to a few parties, I asked him to be a co-speaker at an event I was speaking at, he invited me to a few events, I loved his coworkers, and I think they liked my energy as well? haha.

He would say later, “everyone in the office called you the happy guy! Where’s the happy guy?”

Without judgement he brought me into his world.

He is not only my co-worker, he is my ride or die.

Thank you.

Then, this same guy would introduce me to the CEO of hint.

She was different than most CEOs I’ve worked with in the past.

She was raw, genuine, real, hilarious, experimental, and most importantly, transparent. Basically, she is a badass and I don’t know what the hell happened during our first conversation…

but

I was just open with who I was, what I was, and my work. I wanted to give value and I also wanted to learn from her. And, without even pushing for an opportunity, she asked if I wanted to work for hint.

What?!?!?

“You’re funny. It seems you know what you’re doing. I want to take a chance on you”

I now work at this company as head of video creative & influencer partnerships.

I try to work until I fall asleep. I love this company. It’s my number #1 priority above all things in my life. I’m not perfect, my work can fluctuate from time to time, and she knows this to be true…

But for now she likes what I’m doing.

I’m happy she gave this chance.

I owe her so much and more.

Thank you.

Throughout the proceeding months, I would encounter friend after friend after friend who would invite me to events, speaking engagements, provide resources like a CAR for me to drive, treat me out to dinner, loan me money when I needed it the most, hear me cry on the phone after bad dates or after a long day at work or after struggling with even buying a new pair of socks.

It was tough.

I would also fall back in love with my work, something I didn’t know I would ever say again.

I would also fall deeply in love with my interns, colleagues, family, friends, and most importantly… I’m beginning to slowly love myself again (this is the hardest one).

Basically what I’m saying is…

you know that hug I wanted earlier?

Yes.

I got my hugs from all of them.

These people gave me life.

They loved me for who I was, what I was, and continue to push me to keep moving forward.

They motivate and inspire the hell out of me…

So

Thank you.

God dammit – Thank you.

I want to end with this…

Believe it or not I’m actually a pretty private person. I only like showing one side usually (the happy, entertaining side). I really don’t like telling people the struggles and pain that brew in my heart on a daily basis.

And, what I’ve learned this year, is that it’s okay to show vulnerability as long as it’s coupled with the mindset that you won’t let the shit that happens to you affect your overall progress to move forward.

I’ve also learned that what you do to others in the past, will always affect your future.

So

Give unconditionally.

Provide as much value as you can to the people who make you smile.

Work hard.

Take risks.

Share your work to the world regardless of criticism.

Listen to criticism.

Be kind to those who you fight with –

Be genuine with your actions

Be honest with your intentions

Love yourself.

And most importantly, when you cry

And you will cry

Cry with fucking purpose.

Because when shit happens, people will be there for you.

People are generally good and there are so many out there who are willing to help you if you allow them to hear your voice.

It’s just up to you, to now execute.

Thank you to all my friends and anyone who has been there for me, especially this year: without you, I am nothing.

Though I really didn’t go viral this year (like I have had for the past three years)… this has been one of the best years of my fucking life.

I’m truly blessed and lucky to have you in my life.

Who knows what will happen next?

Thank you for listening.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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