While I shared a bit of this with my friends and family, I’ve omitted some somewhat private info and left most of the thoughts I feel might be good for the world to see. Frankly, as my journey continues to become more public, I’m finding that it’s o.k. to share a considerable amount to the world who may find themselves in this batch of “good peoples” I hope will surround me. Happy 2021!
This past year deserves a good swift “get out of my life” kick in the pants! As a result, this is my part at doing it in spite of it being one helluva “365 days.”
- realizing how “rich” I truly am
- priorities w/ relationships
- new faces & hearts I’ve been blessed in crossing paths
- the 19+ year journey continues
I don’t do these every year. When I can, it’s my small way of sharing what’s going on in our lives; would love to get one from you!
As you know, my last name is “Na.” In hangul, it’s 나. In Korean, it means “me” informally. 나 want to do. 나 in pain. 나 am happy. These are poor examples, but I hope you get the point. So, when you hear in a song “나나나
” again … just think of “me, me, me” or “Brandon, Kade & Kamden.” Ha, ha, ha. Or should I say again 나, 나, 나
Just finished 1000 km
Yup, I can’t believe it myself, but one of the activities I hated the most growing up, happened the most this past year. More on it below in “believe.”
Wealth is not measured in dollars
This year, I realized I’m richer than anyone I know — in “real”ationships. I’ve stopped counting in dollars & started tallying high quality conversations. It’s not about reaching $1 mill or $1 bill. It’s about taking each zoom call, one at a time.
And if you know me, I’m not counting, but I’m appreciating each conversation.
This year I said goodbye to 2 good friends — it’s o.k.
Focusing on who matter
2020’s been a brutal year, but it’s also reminded me of who is important. First and foremost, my parents. I am lucky that their love has gotten me to where I am. Sure, they did some crazy things to me growing up, but ultimately, they’re the reason I’m alive. They could have aborted like my mom did with multiple others, from what I learned. I was lucky. I’m alive.
And my 86 yo Aunt. She’s the reason why we’re in the states. So, I’ll do my best to spend as much time as I can with her — that’s most of the reason why I flew up to Seattle this past Thanksgiving.
Schools must change
Also, I’ve been helping my mom’s dream come true of me broadcasting once again. After my stint as the drive time host for BeFM in Korea, I’ve launched a podcast called EduK8 haven’t some absolutely amazing guests from Emily Carrion
to her husband Lazaro
and my old Expedia Co-worker now future Elon Musk Honor
to my 40 year educator friend Bob
. It’s been an incredible time with each of them getting to know them better than ever and talking about a subject that needs improvement.
More than ever, Education needs to change. Covid shed light on it, but honestly, it’s been needing improvement for years
. And my show is an attempt to partially fix it. After doing it for another 1-4 years, I’m thinking, I’m going to launch a venture in the field. I’m not going to let my 10+ years of actively working in it and 20+ years of seeing it first hand with my sons and 30+ years of experiencing it my life go to waste.
For now, however, I need to focus on WiL
Always keep your doors open (& swinging each way)
While I’m focused on the people closest to me and prioritize them highly, I’m adding a few to the list and it’s because I’ve allowed myself to meet some absolutely wonderful souls. As I mentioned Jen has graced us with her support
because she understands the journey more than most. I’ve met some absolutely astounding founders including Kwame
and reconnecting with past friends like Nick
. I had the fortune to get to know 30 under 30 Sara Itucas
who’s graced my little group of entrepreneurs ( Rosalinda, Margie & Tina) with her mentorship. Charles
have also been incredible new friends in the startup space. My friend Steph
who runs AdmitSee
introduced us to her main architect & he’s been supporting us in amazing ways.
And before most of these new relationships blossomed, old relationships reignited and helped us in so many ways. I have to thank Peter Yoon
, who I used to work in the Daechi district of Seoul — considered the most intense education center in the world. Peter helped our company get its first legs and did so many things for so little money. He charged me for 4 hours a week, but easily put in 20. He introduced us to his most amazing wife Liz who works for one of the coolest design firms in the country more people should know.
On a related note, I “believed” I could run 82 miles or 131+ km in two weeks. After I realized I was about that much away from 1000 km a little over a week ago, I embarked on the most painful set of runs I’ve ever done.
You see, I would have to run 11.7 miles a day (or 4.8 MORE kilometers than I have ever run in a single day)!!! I would have to do this 7 times over the next 2 weeks. Could I do it? The answer is here.
Not sure if I’ve shared this, but 2019 was one of my worst. I couldn’t get myself to continue running after attempting to start about ironically 7 times. My stomach has been a little off over the past 5 years or so where it gets so hungry, it starts to feel like it’s literally eating away at things inside. I probably should get it checked out, but every time I go to the doctor, they say the same thing: let’s run some tests and after we get them back, it’s usually “You’re o.k. Just exercise and eat healthy.” LOL
In December of 2019, I literally thought I had prostate cancer (esp after my homeopathic doctor had said I have “nodules”). The urologist in January said, “Nope. You’re o.k. Just exercise and eat healthy.” After the emasculation, I was relieved (I know — any guy reading these words together must be ROFL).
Shortly before this little episode, I also had thoughts about the last 5 minutes of life. All the thoughts that Seneca had in “How to Die
,” or Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture
” or Paul Kalanithi’s “When Breath Becomes Air
” had become so clear that I decided moving forward, I would live every moment I could as if it were my last.
This revelation helped me start WheniLeave.com. This revelation helped me call my boss a coward (yah, I’m surprised I still have a day job). This newfound “belief” let me truly become stronger than ever.
As a result, it wasn’t impossible to achieve my last goal of the year. As I prepare for this email to send on the last day of this year, I am only 10 km away (or ~1.5 to 2 miles less than any run for the past week).
I have a feeling I’m getting there.
Happy 2021! You are much appreciated. And I know you can achieve anything you want. If you don’t believe it, at least tell the youth of our world that they CAN!!
And be safe and well. “Health is wealth,” as my friend D says.
p.p.s. We would love it if you can add $1 to our crowdfunding campaign
. The more “votes” we have, the higher the chance we have in getting VC funds later. We’ve been fortunate with what’s already there, but I think having a larger number of “backers” will be a great signal moving into 2021.