Inspiration | Philosophy | Motivation | Marketing | Business

Day: November 2, 2015

Not Trusting Your Gut

I’ve learned a long time ago NOT to trust my gut when it comes to people. Whatever entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen I have, it’s often been negated when it comes to fully assessing people. That’s why I gave up trusting my own instincts and instead rely on others (more often than not my wife or our President Colleen) when it comes to people. Both of them have a spider like 6th sense and a bullshit meter that’s off the charts! Today though I think I did pretty well on my own.

Last Friday was the end of many of the seasonal jobs for a number of workers here. Most of them start in February and run each year till right about now when we start slowing down at Aquascape. About half the guys get other jobs and return again next year and the other half are new each year. One new guy this year was very friendly with me from the start (almost too friendly) I liked him immediately but I’ve been burned before by “overly friendly” people so I was weary. <how sad>

He came to me today looking for his check that’s scheduled to be paid on Thursday claiming he was broke and homeless and needed it now. He even went so far as to claim his step mother died last week and he was trying to raise the money for the funeral. Sad, sad story and one in the past I might have bit on.

But I didn’t. Instead I told him the truth. That I truly felt bad for him but 99% of the time someone is sitting in my office in the situation he is in and saying the things he’s saying drugs or alcohol were at play somewhere in the equation. As I suspected he swore up and down that wasn’t the case.

I still didn’t bite but I did throw him a line back. Since he said he had been staying at the homeless shelter I told him to have his case officer call me and I will take it from there. I figured that would be the end of that. Amazingly he came back 15 minutes later and told me the Case officer could not speak to me legally regarding his case. I asked him for his case officers name and number and I said lets call him together. Without bating an eye he gave me the number and we called. True to form the case officer confirmed his story that he could not legally disclose any information about his case. But I pushed on and asked what their policies are regarding evicting someone from their facility. The case officer read between the lines and said more than I needed to know confirming my suspicions regarding substance abuse.

Why am I sharing this long story with you? Because I’ve had this sort of talk so many times before with people working for me that as an owner of a company in sure I’m not alone. And as sad as these stories are, and as much as you would like to help, the reality is you can’t help someone till their willing and able to help themselves. Most aren’t willing or able to do that.

As I walked him out of the building for a second time letting him know his check will be ready on Thursday and wishing him luck I noticed something. He didn’t turn to shake my hand or even give me a fist pump like he did every time I had seen him in the past.

The gig was up, and he knew it. As an owner I never loan out money and I always get others opinions on people now before I get involved with them. I am naturally far too trusting and always see an opportunity in every situation. Trial and error though exposed my errors a long time ago.

I’m sad for this guy and the others in the past caught up in these kinds of awful situations. But I’m wiser because of what I’ve been through with them and glad I have others around me to see what I don’t when I’m not.

As one owner to another I hope you have a gut on people or someone that does around you just the same.



Cabo 2016


How do you organize and plan the perfect vacation/networking event for the most passionate Pond Guys and Gals in the world?! First you start with the magical and exotic location of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, located on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula and situated on the beautiful Sea of Cortez. Jacques Cousteau once described the Sea of Cortez as the “world’s aquarium.” Cabo San Lucas is truly a one-of-a-kind destination location making it an ideal location for a rag tag group of “unique” characters!

Next, you rent out an entire hotel and fill it with nothing but Certified Aquascape Contractors and Aquascape Teammates (and of course, plenty of liquid refreshments). Finally, you jam pack seven days and six nights with the perfect blend of free time, networking, team building, fun and adventure!

In the end, our time together will surely produce many incredible life experiences, learning opportunities and bonding moments for each individual person, and even company. The only guarantee is everyone who chooses to invest in Cabomonium will be happy with their decision when they leave. You can try to replicate the experience, and certainly many will in 2017, but you never will be able to recreate the one-of-a-kind experiences that happen every time this Tribe gathers. Agreed?

Life’s short, who’s ready to Cabomonium Baby?!

Day by Day, Play by Play:

Sunday, January 24, 2016
5:00pm—Networking Reception: Relax poolside, drink in hand, and reconnecting with old friends while beginning to make new ones! Cabomonium is finally here and we made it (hopefully your luggage did too!)

Monday, January 25, 2016
Rise and shine to a pre-dawn breakfast and then join the tribe for a visit to Cabo Coffee (with the best damn Vanilla Chai Tea Lattes in the world!) With coffee in-hand, we will take a leisurely stroll through the downtown marina as the morning sun lights up the harbor. Walk as far as you like before heading back to Los Patios by 10am for an organized poolside discussion on sales that lasts through lunch. That afternoon we will head to Santa Maria Beach or you can stay at the pool, or do whatever else your heart desires (you’re on vacation!!!).

Tuesday, January 26th:
If you’re up for it, you can start the day watching one of the most beautiful sunrises you will ever see from the beach, or after a short but rigorous hike up a small peak. After breakfast we will have a poolside facilitated discussion about what you want to see at this year’s Pondemonium and together design the final agenda for the event! After lunch we are going to try something new that we are quite excited about, a team scavenger hunt. This is your chance to explore downtown Cabo while following a trail of clues to see what team will prevail in this timed event sure to provide lots of laughs and smack talking! We will all end up at the Casa Hogar Orphanage where last year we built a beautiful Pondless Waterfall for these awesome kids. We will play games with the kids before we cater dinner in for everyone. It’s going to be a fun and rewarding day for all!!!

Wednesday, January 27th:
There’s so much to do in Cabo and we can help you find the perfect activity, whether it’s deep sea fishing, whale watching, shopping in town, or a quiet day by the pool or the beach, there is something for everyone. If you’re really up for a big adventure you can take the 2.5 hour journey to La Paz with The Pond Guy for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of snorkeling with whale sharks! You can plan your own activity that day and invite others to join you prior to our week together on the Cabomonium Facebook page. Again, another fun filled day!

Thursday, January 28th:
This is the big day in Cabo! Everyone should have a recovery morning before buses depart after lunch for break-out sessions at the breathtaking Nelson/Noble Compound. We will have three breakout sessions that afternoon with presentations by Jerry Nelson, Brad Barton and The Pond Guy. Afterward, you can attend an optional evening out at a very unique secluded ten-acre organic farm restaurant in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains. After dinner, we will explore the old world town of San Jose filled with art galleries and unique shops. It’s going be a long but memorable day with us getting back to the hotel around 10pm.

Friday, January 29th:
After breakfast, we will divide into two groups, those looking for adventure or those who prefer spectating more. For the adventurers we will hike up, down and through the mountains out at the iconic Cabo Arch. We will meet the spectators who will travel by boat to meet us at Lovers Beach for swimming and relaxing. Lunch can be at The Mango Deck where you can experience Cabo nightlife during the day at party central or head back to the hotel for a well-earned afternoon siesta! Dinner will be at Los Patios where we will celebrate the close of a great week and give out awards to the various scavenger hunt teams. For our final hoorah we will head to Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina for a late night out on the town.

Saturday, January 30th:
Utterly exhausted, thoroughly content, and totally motivated to make 2016 the best year in every conceivable way possible, we will depart. Most of us won’t see one another again until Pondemonium in August. When we do, each and every one of us who experienced Cabomonium will have a bond that wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t lived it together.

Hope to see you in Cabo!

List of Attendees:
Carl and Jarrod Gennaro
Bryan Conklin and Bob Rogers
Timothy and Janelle Cutroni
Dan and Glenn Stanza
Jeffrey and Carrie Goller
Matthew and Heather Griffin
Danielle Cormier-Woodard and Claude Johnson
Mark and Charlotte Wilson
Adrian and Janelle Kapp
Chris and Jackie Sturdyvin
Hal and Jacklyn Rodman
Jeff and Rachel Duggins
BJ Linger and Amanda Wrigley
David and Sally Blocksom
David and Anne Misterly
Mike and Lisa Herrmann
Allan Schule
Chris and Michelle Ostrander
Chad Morrill
Rafael Rodriguez
Ralph and Alison Biezad
Tony and Cindy Sargeant
Bill Gaut
Charlie and Net Ross
Diane and Chris Baker
Tom Reber
Dustin and Tara Stohler
Saundra and Steven Springer
Bernie Kerkvliet
Andy and Chelsea Timmons
Habib and Sal Mandwee
James and Kim Whittaker
Andy and Kari Northey
Mike and Christina Gannon
Derek Johnson and Erin Tracy
Shawn Wenzel
Jaak and JoAnn Harju
Darren and Janie Tubito
Jorge Castellanos
Greg and Marlo Purkey
Carl and Michelle Petite
Brad Anderson
Trey Bradley
Tom and Nancy Smith
Brian and Christie Hoagland
Lisa Oren
Jay McCormick and Lisa Smith
Dan Davis
Chris Corcoran
Marcel Koller
Matt Boring
Chad and Cathy Turpin
Sarah and Jason Turpin
Gerard Touhey
Trever McClements
Mike Kurylo
Andrew Lingan
Steve Shinholser
Greg Wittstock
Colleen Heitzler
Ed Beaulieu
Brian Helfrich
Michael Hammer
Jennifer Peck
Roberto Cosme
Chris Hanson
Trent Caldwell
Scott Rhodes
Chris Wilson
Brad Barton

There are still 6 spots available! For more information or to register, visit




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