The reports of my retirement have been greatly exaggerated. After I stopped laughing, I thought it might be valuable to clarify what “retirement” has meant for me. I can tell you that I have been busier than ever. However, I’ve been much choosier about the work I do with my clients.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a severe case of burnout in 2011. Back then, my dad had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and my mom had COPD. I was making regular treks between my home in Colorado and theirs in Florida, serving as their patient-advocate. Only now, almost one year after losing my mom, am I getting my mojo back, and find myself running 3 companies.
[For any of my friends and clients with parents or loved ones with Parkinson’s or COPD, I’ve got many caregiving lessons to share. Please call me.]
It was soon after this experience that I began my involvement with Slow Money and impact investing. I formed Carbon Neutral Investments LLC in 2013 and I have been drinking water from a fire hose ever since. As I’ve told those close to me, I’ve made more mistakes in 7 years as an impact investor than I made in my first 23 years as a coach and entrepreneur. As many industries have started moving in the direction of social awareness, I have been considering writing and sharing my lessons learned from those adventures in future blog posts and white papers, which will be available across all of my platforms.
So with all that as preamble, I have a confession to make. I love working with innovators. Let’s be honest, it’s no secret that most law firms have trouble with innovation; and given my penchant for innovators, that has me working with all kinds of other companies. As I joked with an attorney who recently hired us for mentoring him on an innovative team selling program he is leading in his firm, “the words innovative and lawyer almost never appear in the same sentence.” In fact, much of my work in the past seven years has come from mentoring food entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs care about the ‘triple bottom line.’ For those who are unfamiliar with that term, it means companies and entrepreneurs who care about people and planet as much as profit. It has also given our team ideas on building a B Corp practice and client base as well as many other ways to generate new revenue inside law firms.
So for all those who might have wondered if I retired. If running three companies, two company supported kitchens from 2012-2018 and investing in another 12 companies while serving on two advisory boards is your idea of retired then yes, I’m retired. As I say to people who ask me when I plan on retiring: “I haven’t worked a day in my life why would I want to retire?”
The thing I’m most excited about is the awesome talent I’ve surrounded myself with. Maraia & Associates continues to thrive, providing the core Rainmaking coaching and training we are known for. I advise the company and get involved with projects that excite me. Matt Rowe is my wingman and the energy and force behind our launch of a new product coming later this year. We’re excited for his project as it provides a fresh and innovative way to meet our clients where they are today -online- and allows professionals to access our highly sought after content with the click of a button. He’s also written a book about healing his MS via diet, called the Identity of Health. Kate Jenulis and Heidi Ryan have been vital in continuing the Maraia Minutes and maintaining our core programs. Tom Schwing is now the publisher of my books and is adding a children’s division to my company, Professional Services Publishing. Abigail Walker is helping me organize the vast library of my writings in hopes we can share much of my thinking with my readers and those who are interested in knowing what I’m up to. I’m also hoping to write about the lessons learned from my 30 years as a relationship development coach and the last 7 years as an impact investor/social entrepreneur with Carbon Neutral Investments, LLC. However, even though all of the above is exciting, I’m even more jazzed about something my team has been bugging me to do for awhile.
The same great professional rainmaking advice you’ve come to rely on will continue to be shared in our newsletters. Starting with the April issue of the Maraia Minutes Newsletter, we’ll also be sharing stories about the MVP’s in my network. You’ll learn about many of the innovators I’ve been working with. You’ll also have the option to check out our newest publication on the website, Mark’s Musings, which is a dedicated space for all of those business lessons I’ve learned over the years, as well as my thoughts on how I think industries should be moving in the future.
As always, thanks for reading and allowing me to share my thoughts.