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Alum of the Year Adventures

by Jimmy Tomczak
2011 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year

Hi, my name’s Jimmy Tomczak. I was honored as a 2011 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year. I spoke in Phoenix at the Elks National Convention. I served on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, I helped at the National Hoop Shoot Finals, and I became even more involved in my local community and with Elks scholars at the University of Michigan, my alma matter, where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience plus the College of Engineering’s Program in Entrepreneurship. But not everything’s a success story.

Andy Warhol once said you have to be willing to get excited about nothing. I was trying to get excited about everything. I didn’t realize that with all the highs of life that I was experiencing while living and building a company—I somehow thought I could escape the equally low lows.

After starting with nothing and taking my first company from a crazy idea, all the way to being selected to appear and taped for an episode of Shark Tank, things just didn’t work out. After investing years of my time and countless resources, I failed. Or chose to fail. I spent months figuring out what went wrong. I wondered if I had fear of success. Fear of failing at what was next? I was barely ready for putting the past behind me, let alone ready for what could be next. But then again, when is anyone ready for anything? When you choose to be ready.

I kept on keeping on.

As I willed myself to move forward, I recall doing more of what really mattered in life: connecting with friends, helping family, serving with strength in ways that made me happy and truly helped. I traveled. I worked at other business concepts in areas where I could learn the most the fastest. I love learning.

I remember sitting down with one of my mentors who runs a software development firm in Ann Arbor, Mich. He’s famous for bringing joy into the workplace. In fact he wrote a book on the subject.

Joy Inc. is the story of his organization and has been featured all over the national media. His award-winning company is noted as an outstanding workplace that puts out exceptional products and services for the world.

I asked him how he knew it was a good time to write a book. I too wanted to share some of what I learned in hardcover form with the world.

“Should I do more before writing a book, or can I start writing now?” I asked him.

He told me you’re never really ready—but you’ll know the right time.

In fact, when I purchased a copy of his book—now a bestseller—I caught him one day between his intense tour and speaking schedule to ask him to sign it and meet to update each other on where we were at. We chatted about life and joy and doing good work. His handwritten dedication in the book to me: “Jimmy, It’s been great walking along together on our journeys. I wish you JOY on the journey ahead." – Rich.

* * *
Voyages through life’s highs and lows make life worth living. When we embrace all experiences equally we can really shine. We can live, love, and serve with boundless energy. I chose to build a community around the concepts of inspiration and living your best life now. I found the best way to do that was to ask people to support what I’ve already been doing along the way: documenting my personal journey that started from very little to learning a whole lot by doing. I created a Kickstarter campaign to create a one-of-a-kind hardcover book—a book you’d be proud to own. A book that looks like art just sitting on your coffee table. A book that can be passed along to future generations.

If you’d like to learn more or order your copy of Lakeside and Tide, please visit lakesideandtide.com

Thank you for your support. I wish you the best on your journey.

-- Jimmy

PS: Know that nothing would bring me greater joy than to connect with you and find how we can share inspiration. If something resonated with you in this post or something else you found about me online please reach out via facebook, twitter, email or via my website jimmytomczak.com.

Connecting with each other and becoming real friends is so powerful. I’ve watched friends I met at Elks events go on to do big things: Clara raised money for a train ride across the country to meet other millennials and promote healthy food. Maryann got involved with the ENF at the organizational level. Macy’s volunteered at more Hoop Shoots than anyone I know. I still keep in touch with Sean, Erika, and other scholars too. Sharing these kinds of experiences and the ones we will in the future make for the warm-fuzzy-feels of joy and happiness every day. The Elks National Foundation helped teach me how to serve to the best of my abilities.

So how can I help you, really?

by Jimmy Tomczak
2006 Elks Most Valuable Student Scholar
2011 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year
2011 Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member




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