turning point for me started in the summer of 1998. I was putting in a
private airfield on my 52 acre estate just outside of Atlanta. A month or
so into the project, I found myself in a battle with Dekalb County challenging
my right to put an airfield on my property. To be sure it was an audacious
undertaking. Dekalb had only one other airport at the time, and the county
commissioners would close that in a heartbeat if they could get away with
What really gave me pause for reflection was that I saw something about myself and my life that I hadn't seen before. Here I was battling tooth and nail for a private airfield expending an incredible amount of time and energy for a relatively minor passion.... and yet I was completely ignoring some far more deeply rooted passions.
Having your own airfield is certainly one way to express personal power... but it seemed to me to be a somewhat shallow expression. Not that there is anything wrong with it; more like it just seemed like I was using my talents and abilities in self-serving pursuits that I found to be not quite what fit my own personal definition of "heroic".
I think every 12 year old boy creates a vision of the type of man he wants to become. My vision for myself was huge. Though I had all the trappings of success the world seems to value, my own company, wealth, talents, intellect, etc. I still knew there was incredible potential inside me I simply was not tapping. Talents that were not being fully used, developed, and put on display. There were Contributions I could make.... and wasn't making.
I might be successful in others eyes, but in my own, I had a vision of who I could be, and I knew how much bigger it was than I was being. I am not talking about more money or external success. It is more a highly individualized "code hero" we all carry inside ourselves. Our own set of personal values. It has nothing at all to do with accumulation as an objective. Indeed for me feels more like contribution and developing oneself. Far more about who you are being in your life than what you have.
How do you define your hero? To me it would be a person who embodies your own highest individual values. It seems to me that if one acts with integrity, they cannot help but embody their own highest values. How on earth could anyone outside yourself express your values better than you have the potential to do? And who else could you possibly end up being than the embodiment of your own hero if you made all your choices consistent with your highest values?
I spent a lot of time with myself in the mornings getting in touch with the parts of myself I had evidently lost touch with, reclaiming some of my "humanity" I had evidently lost. The ten year old boy who upon discovering that people were starving in the world, felt pain and promised himself he would not loose that feeling and would somehow, someday do something that would make a difference. Where did he go? I wanted that part of me back! Now that was something worth fighting for!
Being a person who really committed a part of his life to making a difference in world hunger and disease prevention would be consistent with my values and is something my hero would do. I had been fascinated with hydroponics for cultivating foodcrops since I had seen an exhibit in DisneyWorld's Epcot exhibit called "The Land". I also had interests in design and architecture as well as self sufficient housing.
It seemed possible to me to design a structure to feed and house a family of four and do it in a manner that was economical and ecological. I love design and have this incredible creative nature. Indeed, I have been labeled a "creative genius" by lots of people. Having invented not one but two methods of removing vocals from recordings and being pretty much regarded as "the world expert" in this arena, I started to take the gifts of my talents more seriously. Perhaps I really could do something this incredibly ambitious.
I also wondered about whether people like "Habitat for Humanity" were already working on such projects. I took a trip down to Americus to look at their "International Village". I was surprised to find out that even sanitation was not being addressed with some composting technologies that had been around for over a decade.
I knew that what I was looking at undertaking was incredibly ambitious. Most would think it outrageous to attempt to address the multitude of issues I was contemplating in one fell swoop. A single structure to provide 1)Shelter 2)Food - with hydroponic, soil culture and aquaculture 3)Sanitation 4)Passive Heating and Cooling 5)Self Sufficient Power Generation through solar and fuel cell technology. It does seem quite an undertaking.
Still it is the very type of problem I LOVE to tackle. One that looks "impossible". Having been told vocal elimination was "impossible" and having developed two ways of doing it, I am not one easily dissuaded by the opinions of others, if I feel I am up to the task. I feel I am.
I contacted and hired Raymond Bridwell; the hydroponics expert who had designed Disney's "The Land" exhibit. I am in the process of refining the design and plan to construct a full size prototype on my property in 2003. I expect LOTS of difficulties and temporary setbacks. Anyone who engages in such an ambitious multifaceted undertaking would be foolish to expect otherwise. The difficulty and the challenge makes the project all the more attractive to me. I love things that test my metal and more importantly force me to grow.
I call the project the GreenHouse.
How I Started My Company
From the time I was thirteen, I knew I wanted to become a singer. It was one of those other moments... that change your life forever the primary pivotal point of my adolescence. I was sweeping the patio one Saturday morning and the intercom was playing. A song came on and I started to hum along with it. The words were easy "Can't get used to loosing you. No matter what I try to do. Gonna live my whole life through .... Loving You." As I sang I was awestruck at how my puberty changed voice sounded so incredibly similar to the person singing.... and it sounded Good!
"That was Andy Williams singing 'Can't Get Used To Loosing You' " the announcer stated. From that moment on I bought every Andy Williams recording I could find. The die was cast! Singing was my newfound Passion!
I also had this
thing for airplanes. Perhaps because between the age of two and six I
lived directly across from the airport in Columbus, Ga. Actually, come to think
of it my airstrip is in my front yard now... guess the idea got it's roots
early! I competed for and won a nomination to the United States Air Force
Academy in Colorado. I wanted to be an astronaut to give me
"something to fall back on" if my singing dreams didn't work out.
After all the hazing from the first year of cadet life was over, I had a little time to think. It didn't take me long to choose singing over space travel. I left at the end of the first year and went to Georgia Tech and studied architecture.... all the while spending far more time on figuring out how to start my singing career than studying.
Some time around my senior year credit wise, I was driving to Tech when another of those magic "moments" that change your life dramatically occurred. I really needed background music to sing with and had been thinking "What if there was a way to remove the voice from a recording and leave the music." Having been told it was "impossible" by persons who should know.... I still thought about it anyway.
Well, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. The music on the left and right channels was different yet the voice was in the middle and the same. What if you flipped the phase of one channel and added it to the other? It should cancel the voice and leave the music.
I knew Nothing! about electronics at the time. I went to one of my acoustics professors Dr. Gene Patronis after I tried to wire up something at home to do the trick. Dr. Patronis drew up a circuit to cancel the common information, I built it and amazingly it worked!
Initially, it was to be my "secret weapon" to produce my singing backgrounds.
I had suspended my studies and after an altercation with my dad, was working at a hardware store. I thought that selling this new invention might be more profitable than what I was currently doing and I could do that "just for a couple of years" until my singing got established.
Well, after a hairy first year, the business started to prosper. I became quite successful though money has never been much of a driving force for me. The two or three years..... somehow turned into many, many more.
Success had put my passions to sleep. On hold.
Faced with the glaring contradiction of spending upwards of a half
million dollars on the airfield, hangar, and aircraft and a Huge amount of
energy over a MUCH smaller passion than my singing made me see there was
something terribly, terribly 'Wrong With This Picture'.
It forced me to to really sit down and do some very very serious introspection. I feel some of the processes, and observations I have seen may be extremely valuable to others who want their lives to more closely mirror their true passions and values as well as enable them to make their highest contribution.
You see, I have come to believe that there is a Hero inside each of us that is waiting to be discovered and Passionately expressed. A passionate life each of us can create through taking responsibility for our lives. We create our lives.... and indeed even our own personalities. Few acknowledge and take responsibility for what they create. When we do take responsibility we can begin to act and create the life of our dreams.
When I say "hero" most people think of that as something other than themselves. Something unattainable. If I told you I was committed to being my "hero" you probably would think I was conceited. To me a hero is that person who embodies your individual values. If you took responsibility and chose your actions consistent with your true values who else could you possibly be? No one outside you could possibly embody the whole of your values as much as you have the potential to do.
To me there is no greater "Hell" than when I choose to act inconsistent with my values. Conversely, there is no greater Ecstasy than when I find my actions truly consistent with my highest values.
External vs Internal Orientation
I think the reason there is so much confusion, so few people living passionate, fulfilled, heroic lives ( which I believe is our nature ) is that culturally we seem to be "externally" rather than "internally" oriented. Indeed critical terms like "self centered", "narcissistic" , "hedonist" discourage looking inside, but focus on looking outside ourselves for direction. Most have no clue what they truly want in life. Usually it's a live directed by "shoulds" from the world and people around them. Couple that with some religions that teach our "nature" is sinful, and you would get the idea that it is downright dangerous to look inside yourself for direction.
I challenge you to spend an hour alone with yourself first thing in the morning just "being" not doing. Catch up with your "self" and get in touch with the spirit inside you. I think the deeper you look, the more you will see how beautiful your true nature is. I found a spirit who wanted at it's very core to contribute something of truly heroic proportions. Something that expresses your core values. A contribution you and perhaps you alone can make.
Some heroes are born from adversity. If you want an excellent illustration, see the movie "Lorenzo's Oil" the true story of two parents who's child has ALD, a rare, progressively fatal disease that destroys the insulating sheath around the the nerves resulting in paralysis and death, usually before the age of 12. The doctors were making slow progress in developing a successful intervention. Too slow for Lorenzo or his grief stricken parents. Desperate, the parents studied everything they could get their hands on, put together worldwide conferences, and incredibly Lorenzo's father discovered something that would arrest the disease. At the end of the movie there are actual healthy children, hundreds of them who introduce themselves. One potentially tragic situation for Lorenzo was transformed into thousands of miracles by some incredibly heroic, passionate, responsible parents. Ask me who I admire , the fictional "super" heroes or the real life ones and it is simply no contest.
There is nothing "super" human about these people, the Gandhis, the Martin Luther Kings of the world. They do not have the rare athletic ability of a Michael Jordan or the IQ of an Albert Einstein, who incidentally was thought to be "retarded" as a young child. I maintain that what separated them from typical people of their day was that they had an extraordinarily deep connection with their inner spirit and were guided internally by their core values.
I maintain that these heroic core values are universal and part of our human nature. We become misguided when we look externally for direction. The compass for our passions and our heroic nature lies deep within our being.
E-Mail Me: Lacy@LTSound.com