A Sit Down with Rocky Garza

Posted on March 07 2018

 In a world of millennial comforts and FOMO (fear of missing out), it is in rare form to come across a young person that is truly above all the trivialities. In fact, he has mastered it so well, he's guiding others to do the same.

I met Rocky about a year ago at Houndstooth Coffee. Was immediately drawn to his look (you know I'm a sucker for a good beard). But there was something so solid and welcoming about his presence. Fast forward a year later and we took a day to capture looks with photographer Reed J. Kenney, and some favorite pieces from our Heritage Collection. Wrapped up the shoot with an inspirational interview at Rocky's new studio space in Oak Cliff. We talked deep about the trials of living a creative life in the modern age. Left it all on the table. Let's just say I claimed that day with a full heart and still carry with me his words of wisdom. Even bought myself an old school alarm clock.

Check out why.  

Priscilla: All right. Rocky, hi, welcome.

Rocky: Thanks.

Priscilla: Thanks so much for being here today.

Rocky: It's good to be here really. Hi, everybody.

Priscilla: Can you tell us for people that don't know who you are, can you describe what you do?

Rocky: That's a really good question. So, is it okay if I go backwards a little bit before I land on where we are now?

Rocky: So I graduated college. I went to a place called Sky Ranch in East Texas, a summer camp. I worked there full-time for about four years, moved to Dallas, I was a pastor at a church for about three and a half years. During that time is when I met my wife, she was an architect and interior designer. We got married, and about six months into our marriage, we'd been dabbling in photography. She realized she didn't want to sit at a desk and do architecture all day long.

So we decided we're gonna move from a 1,500 square foot apartment to a 500 square foot apartment, sell the car, buy a scooter. I'll drive the scooter, we'll live off one salary, and you start a business. So that in Thanksgiving of 2009. We started photography business in 2010. I still was full-time at my job, but she was shooting full-time, and we just shot together. I ended up resigning from my job at the end of 2010, because I got offered a position that I thought I'd wanted the last eight years, but know that I wanted to be famous more than I wanted to teach people about Jesus, and that's a really shitty reason to be a teaching pastor.

So they said, "If you can't take this job, what do you wanna do?" And I said, "Well, I think I want to be a wedding photographer." So we had dabbled in the year prior. I ended up quitting my job January of 2011, and then we both pursued wedding photography full-time starting in 2011. We shot weddings full-time. We shot 50 weddings in 2011. We found out we were pregnant with our son Ezra, the beginning of 2015, and decided that we didn't really want to give Saturdays away every weekend for after having a kid. So we said, "If we were not gonna do that, then what do we wanna do?" And my wife, "If you could do anything, what would you wanna do?"

And I said, "Well, I like business, I like strategy, I like branding, but I don't have the desire to be an expert in any of those categories." If I could be an expert in anything, I wanna be a people expert. So I said, "How can I take my childhood growing up, which is a little bit crazy," my eight years of ministry, eight years entrepreneurship, how could I marry those things, and do something that I loved. So I said, "If I could work with anybody, I just want to work with individuals figuring out what does it mean to be human? Why you do it? How you do it? What you do? And then how to take those things to be most effective and efficient. Either building a personal brand, or as an individual in every aspect, or around who you are.

So we created a process called Identity Mapping, where I work with individuals, and teams, and organizations, to go through a process for you to leave with a clearest picture of who you are as an individual. So I do that for teams and organizations, and then I'm a keynote speaker. So, basically, of those same topics, identity, values, humanity, who you are, why it matters, vulnerability, empathy, all those sorts of things. So talk on those topics. Again, conference, workshops, and corporate office, and so on. My wife and I have a property in East Texas called The Wilde House that we rent out for guests to stay at.

Occasionally I'll take a team there to work with, or we'll go there to stay for the weekend. And then my wife is a photographer still. She does lifestyle commercial stuff, and then she has another business, where she focuses specifically on moms and kids. And then she also has an interior design company. So we kind of have a lot of hands...

Priscilla: You guys do everything.

Rocky: ...in a lot of places. But for us, that provides us the ability to be self-employed even if we have to have four income streams. I think us, the lifestyle we want to live, how we want to spend our time, and the amount of time we want to spend with each other, and with our family is priority over getting a job that makes us a significantly more amount of money.

Priscilla: That for me resonates so strongly. Do you think that this entrepreneurial mind frame is generational, or do you think it's just the time that we're in that people are starting to value their pursuit of purpose more than ever?

Rocky: Yeah. I think our parents didn't have the opportunity, and didn't see from our grandparents that you could have your own business, because everything was growing. Everything was being industrialized. Everything about culture, and  business was about taking something that you had done in your hometown. They didn't have the ability to get the data, or the information, or the products some place else. So they industrialized. They made a bigger business to get across the country in a faster way. That wasn't entrepreneurship, that was the industrialization of America.

There's only so much space, so much energy, and so much time. I think with the growth of technology, and with the internet, it became "I don't have to go get a job at a firm to do something I love." Anyone can be looking for a marketing executive go online, search that, and find me now because I can put myself out there. So I think it's a mixture of all those things. We watch the way our parents grew up, and the way our parents lived, and we don't want to live that way. We don't want to have to say, "I want to be dedicated to one thing my whole life for 25 years, have a 401(k), to get an IRA, and then retire, and not to do anything that I actually wanted to do my whole life, because I was waiting to get there, and now I can't do them."

So I think it's a marriage of all those things coming together. There isn't anything that you want to know, need to know, or need to figure out, that with a lot of effort and a lot of energy you can go figure out. So I think there's a freedom in that.

Priscilla: Freedom in everything. What made you want to get into this field? Was there a defining moment that changed everything? Or did you just decide, "All right, this is what the next chapter of my life is going to look like."

Rocky: Yeah. I think the defining moment was...

Priscilla: The baby.

Rocky: Yeah. We were gonna have a kid. We were gonna have a kid, and I didn't want my motivation for being a father to be related to an attempt to be a better father than my father, or an attempt to be a better husband than my mom's husband. I wanted what I was doing, and how I was gonna parent, and how I was gonna be a husband, and how I was gonna be a friend, I wanted that to be related to the things that drove me, the things that motivated me, and all different things that I value, regardless of what anybody else thought. And my wife is wonderful. She is amazing. This is not an attempt to say that she's not those things, but it doesn't matter what my wife does, or doesn't do, that's not gonna change the way that I husband. Follow me?

So in business, I could make a shitload more money, if I worked twice as many hours. I could put in twice the amount of effort, and turn twice amount of revenue, but I want to go home at 3:00 pm every day when my son wakes up from his nap. That's why I'm self-employed. So would we be on a budget? Sure. Will we spend less money? Yes. Will we think about what we do before we spend it? Yes. Because I want those things more than I want for somebody else to look at from the outside, and say, "Oh, that guy must have it together. Oh, they must have it." Because as much as I care deeply about people, I don't give a shit what anybody else thinks about what I'm doing.

 I'm doing it, because it's the way I feel like I was made, and designed in what I've done. I'm supposed to be doing it as a husband, as a father, as a friend, as a son, as a grandson. So to do this now means... I lived 21 years of my life in the middle of my own world. It led to the worst place I've ever been in my life. I lived another six or seven years being the martyr for everyone, serving everyone, doing everything that everybody else needed me, choosing nothing for myself, and I ended up in the same place I did before. Spending a significant amount of time in counseling with my wife as individuals, and as a couple, being in good community of people, who cared about us, loved us, would ask us hard questions, and tell us not to be assholes to each other, or to them.

I arrived at a place where I said, "I don't want to live my life in the middle of my own world. I don't want to live so far outside I can't see it. I want to be intentional in the thought of whatever things that I'm choosing to do." I'm 35 now and I have the rare privilege of living exactly half my life with zero technology, and half of my life inundated with it.

Priscilla: I'm 36, the same. I thought we had a choice to particpate.

Rocky: I think because of that, it's given me the ability to understand both sides. My business is based on the fact that I force people to have face-to-face conversations with me. That's it. It works, because I'm asking people to do something that we've forgotten and lost how to do. We can cover so much ground in four hours uninterrupted, and no technology. We can do four years worth of work in four hours if we'll put our phone down, and have a face-to-face conversation. So I think for me the turning point, that moment, that how'd I get into this field without sounding too hippy dippy, I think this was what I was made to do.

I think growing up the way that I did gave me the ability to make a connection with someone really quickly, and allowed them to trust me really fast. I don't have a ton of empathy, so I don't go home with what you told me. When we leave, I don't ever think about it again. That's not because I'm an asshole, it's because you can't have empathy, if you're going to be unbiased, and you're gonna have a non-jaded view. I can understand what it is, but I don't feel it. So I can push, and push, and push.

Priscilla: That's good that you defined the difference between the two. Empathy in design it works really well, but in my personal life not so much.

Rocky: Not so much.

Priscilla: So it's funny, because we have to just take those as strengths, and put them in the right places, right?

Rocky: 100% 

Priscilla: I love that. What would you say someone needs in order to "make it"? 

Rocky: They need to first define what it means to make it. So you have an idea where you're gonna go. You need to be patient. You need to work really hard. I'm gonna steal this from a guy named Gary. He's a marketing wizard. "You need to shut your eyes until you're 29." That's not my quote, that's directly from him. But why do you graduate college at 21, get your first job, and by 23 you're frustrated, 'cause you don't own a home, you haven't paid off your car, and you don't have $100,000 in your savings account. You've been an adult for two years, and I'm not knocking anybody whose young. I'm just saying, "If you go to college, you are not an adult until you graduate college. Period." So that's a generalized statement, but define what success actually means for you.

Put blinders on, and don't look at anybody else. Put your head down, and work really hard in something you believe in. My guess is at some point you're gonna wake up, and raise your head, and open your eyes one day, and go, "I think this is actually what I was going for." But to continually look to the left or right, this is how I see it, "There's no reason. Every time we compare ourselves with somebody else, and we get frustrated."


Priscilla: But do you think social media is a positive influence to someone who's striving to define themselves? Or do you feel like it's a distraction from the greater good?

Rocky: I think if you understand, if you've done due diligence to understand yourself, and know what it is that you want to say, I think social media is a platform for you to communicate and give you a voice that you can't have by yourself. I think if you don't do that though, and you use social media, and it ends up ruining your life, and it becomes a comparison...

Priscilla: That's the feedback loop, you know?

Rocky: Here's the deal... comparison is detrimental. So there's a quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy." I believe that fully. But more than that, for me, I think every time we compare ourselves to somebody else, and we get frustrated that we're not doing what they're doing. In other words, what we're saying is, "I am frustrated that my life doesn't match up to somebody else's purpose."

Priscilla: Exactly.

Rocky: Which blows my mind that we get frustrated that somebody else got something that we didn't get, that we didn't work for, and that we don't have, because they were designed to do that, and we weren't, but we're frustrated, because we don't have it. In that moment, the chain is broken, and you no longer have the ability to see what it is that you are made for, and what you were designed for. So if and when that's the place, do I think that in order to be an entrepreneur, or to have your own business, you can do it without social media? No. Do I think you can do it without communicating your own person on social media? Yes. But it just depends. I have a personal brand. I'm selling myself. So can I have a business about me without talking about me? No. 

Can you have a business though that is branded based off of your human identity, that's not about you as a person? 100%. So it's a matter though of whether or not you're gonna put in the time to understand yourself first, to know what it is you want to communicate. Second, in order to then be able to say, "I have a really clear grasp on what's gonna happen." 

Priscilla: Sometimes I wonder what this is all for.

Rocky: I would rather have 300 followers and all 300 of them comment every single time that I can interact with a post, then have 30,000, and get 300 likes. 'Cause what's the point?

Priscilla: That's true.

Rocky: Why am I putting out content if I don't actually expect people to engage with it? For me, it's already on my phone. Why do I have to put it any place else? Open your phone, unlock it, go to photos, and just look there, if that's what you're interested in. But if you're interested in community engagement, then use a platform of social media in order to create engagement. Otherwise, just open Google Drive, open Dropbox. It's all there if you want to just look at it.

Priscilla: I think it makes people nervous. I think the interaction on Instagram specifically. Facebook for some reason feels like less of a risk. Something about Instagram that just captures people's anxiety on a whole other level. I mean, it hasn't been fully addressed publicly. I feel like people should talk about it more.

Rocky: Instagram of all the platforms just gives you the ability to control your perception the most, which is why it creates the highest level of anxiety. Because I can control everything you see about what I'm doing, and paint a picture of what I hope you understand, and I never actually have to communicate what it is I actually feel. I think Facebook, because it's always been status driven allows people to communicate their emotions more. You see many more fights on Facebook than you do Instagram, because it was created as a status platform. Let me tell you how I'm doing. They're looking for a recommendation, how I'm feeling. So that invokes something personal. Right. Let me check in here. Because I think you're looking for all feedback on Facebook. You're only looking for the best feedback on Instagram.

Priscilla: I just wonder if social media is just made for people without anxiety. 

Rocky: Social media was made by the most anxious people. And their way to communicate with someone was say, "I'm gonna completely hide, and show you what I want to show you. You should follow me."

Priscilla: God, that's such a good point, it's insane. It's beautiful.

Priscilla: I mean, I found that most people I know in my field don't have a lot of followers, but they're doing insane, incredible things. I mean, their work is just out of this world. And they're looking at me like, "How do you..." and I'm like, "I dunno." Nobody knows the rules, or the answer to any of these questions".

Rocky: Because there's not any. That's why. I know that I could do enough research, and enough things, and build a following, people that I don't know, who are never gonna hire me, never gonna write me a check, and are never gonna matter as it relates to my ability to communicate value. Or I could do those same things, and when an opportunity presents itself for me to have a face-to-face interaction with someone, just say, "Yes."

If I didn't show up today, what else would I be doing? Like sitting at home having a snack? Like what does it hurt to say, "Yes," to have a face-to-face interaction with someone, even if at the end it was awkward, you didn't like it, you still met another human being. You still created opportunity to be seen. You still created a chance for someone to know.

Priscilla: There's still a way to enjoy life.

Rocky: Yeah. Why not just say yes?

Priscilla: Yeah. It's true. It's true even though we are using this for content. We're still enjoying life.

Rocky: Totally.

Priscilla: And I think that that's where the blend comes in.

Rocky: Totally.

Priscilla: That's where we feel like we're doing the right thing at that moment, you know?

Rocky: Everything is for content. Everything.

Priscilla: I feel Dallas Creatives are having their moment, and being in a space like this just proves my point. What do you think sets us apart from coastal cities like LA or New York? I don't know what makes us special. Why would people wanna come here instead of going to a mecca?

Rocky: So I mean, one, I think just general cost of living. It's cheaper to live here than it is to live on either coast. Not because I want to say Dallas is behind in any way, but I think there's opportunity for people to be seen here without overarching it's supposed to be LA, it's supposed to be New York, it's supposed to be Miami, whatever the city is. They haven't established a thing, vibe, whatever, style's supposed to be. That you go to those places, 'cause that's who you are, what you want to be.. if you go to LA, you go to LA because you specifically don't go to New York. 

I think there's something about Texas. Dallas more specifically. There's a freedom here, because there is a really crazy marriage of tons of burbs, right? So I think as weird as that sounds, it's a whole other opportunity to thrive here. I think there's a freedom to come here if you've done your due diligence, and you've done the dirty work to make your mark, to create your brand, to find the right place where you fit, and to build a community around that, you're way. Because there's not a Dallas way.

So I think because of that, it provides the opportunity for you to be able to create something new, fresh, or maybe it's not brand new, but it's new your way without an overhang that says, "You have to fit into this kind of mold."

Priscilla: I've never heard anybody define it better.

Rocky: Thanks.

Priscilla: Thank YOU! Moving on... let's talk a little fashion trivia. What's the first thing on your mind when you start your day, and the one thing you can't leave the house without?

Rocky: That's a really good question. Probably the first on my mind on the start of the day is getting my family ready, out the door. So I'm the cook in our house, and currently our two year old is thoroughly daddy obsessed, so it takes me about a 30 minute to get my son ready, dressed, teeth brushed, breakfast ate, and they get ready to go to school. So, because of that, I tend to do that. So, yeah, I would say it's like getting them all ready, getting them out the door, getting my things together. I typically try to workout before I go to the office.

I try not to look at my own phone. I don't look at emails, I don't do any of that till I get into the office. I don't wake up and rollover. I don't keep my phone at my bedside. It's in the kitchen plugged in every night. I bought a clock on Amazon to put next to my bed if I need a clock. My wife does the same thing. So I think because of that I try not to have work or data media as the first thing on my mind.

Priscilla: I feel like a lot of people do that. Reach for their phone first thing.

Rocky: Oh, I mean... like, "Oh, it's my clock, it's my alarm clock. It's my..." And I think the one thing I can't leave my house without...

Rocky: I don't know. I guess I would say my wallet, but I can Apple Pay on my phone. So I don't have to have that.

Priscilla: My boyfriend can't leave the house without his knife.

Rocky: Yeah. See, I'm not manly enough, I don't roll that way.

Priscilla: But is there something like that? A little tool that you use?

Rocky: Yeah. I don't have anything fancy. Well, I take it back. I don't leave my house without my hat.  Everyday, no matter what the outfit is, I never leave the day without the hat.

Priscilla: A good hat really can really make a look, make you feel like yourself again.

Rocky: Maybe hat and beard oil, maybe those are two.

Priscilla: Do you feel like fashion plays a role in one's path towards like your greater goals? As in, do you think fashion will help you get somewhere?

Rocky: 100%.

Priscilla: Really? Tell me your theory.

Rocky: It's guaranteed. So my style does not fit my profession, or the people that I work with. Every time I walk in to go someplace, the first person I gets like, "Who are you looking for?" That's the nice way of saying, "You don't really belong here. What are you doing here?" But I value that. I want that. I want to walk in a place and go some place, not because I'm like, "Oh, check me out, look at me, I'm different," because I want to walk in a place that says, "I have something distinct to say." I want my style to match my voice to match my message. It's not going to be what you expect. So, yeah. And I think how you dress dictates how you feel, and how you feel begets how you act. If I had to go someplace in slacks and a button-up in a tie, with dress shoes on, what am I supposed to do with that?

That doesn't make any sense to me. I don't enjoy that. I don't like that. So, yeah. I think fashion 100% plays a role in how you feel, in what you do, how you perform, how people see you. Does it all match? As silly as it sounds, is it on brand with what you say that you do? Right? I think it dictates how you spend your money. I think it dictates on how you say you're gonna spend your money. You talk about you're, "Oh, I'm super generous. I care about the world. I care about clothes. I care about people. "But you buy from everything from H&M and Urban?" You probably don't. You care more about buying things cheap to save money so you can change your outfit every four months.

Don't tell me one thing, and then not buy anything that's actually handmade from American makers, because you say you care, when you buy everything from Thailand.

Priscilla: It falls apart after one wash.

Rocky: You can't wash.

Priscilla: Haven't we learned that yet?

Rocky: Don't wash them.

Priscilla: Yeah. No. You really can't. In three words how do you define your personal style?

Priscilla: This is very particular, you know?

Rocky: Does it have to be like a phrase, or it can be three independent words?

Priscilla: Three independent words.

Rocky: Man. Raw. Classic.

Priscilla: Very good.

Rocky: Good words.

Priscilla: We make clothes for the everyday man, tell us some pieces that stay in the front of your closet.

Rocky: My hat, boots, and typically it depends on the season. If it's winter, a jacket.

Priscilla: Do you have a specific jacket that you just wear and love?

Rocky: I just bought a new jacket. Prior to that, no, I don't I had one that I ever loved. I'm a fairly hot-natured person, so this is not for because I'm sucking up, probably the Speckled Snapback jacket I just got from you will probably be one that I wear the everyday. I'm too hot-natured, and I'm outside for eight seconds at a time, so I don't wanna wear a coat that keeps me warm outside to then go inside. That doesn't make any sense for me 'cause I'm hot anyway.

Priscilla: Awesome.

Rocky: And probably just then there's a really good tee.

Priscilla: You have multiple tees of the same kind?

Rocky: Yes.

Priscilla: I find that to be a common thing among guys. They'll buy like 12 white tees.

Rocky: Yeah. Buck Mason makes a T-shirt that's really nice. It's already preshrunk, pre-washed. I can dry it. I don't want to buy something I can't dry. A tshirt that I can't dry doesn't make any sense to me. So typically I wear some sort of denim, boots, that tee, jacket, and a hat. That's kind of uniform. I pretty much wear that every day.

Priscilla: I mean, I feel nostalgia's everything. It's something you really can't put price on right now. But why do you feel like our generation is so obsessed with the past? Particularly the era that we were born in. It's almost like we're reflecting and going back to the way our parents dressed at the time that we were born.

Rocky: Yeah. I mean, I think... maybe this doesn't exactly answer the question, but I think the value that we have just around nostalgia in general is because we're the first generation to be awakened to how wasteful we've been for the past hundred years. So I think because of that, it draws an essence of how can I take what is already here to make something great out of that again? As opposed to always trying to buy something new, new, new. I think there's an acute awareness to how I think how frail things are, and how fast they're going, and to the scarcity principle, how it's real now.

 It's 2018, and in 1997, you didn't think about 2018, that was a whole other millennia. So 50 years later, shit's gone. So I think we just think differently. I mean, I think about things I have, and I think about my son. I have a pair of Redwing boots I bought five years ago that's like the first pair of boots I ever bought. I wore them every day for three years. And I've actually stopped wearing them as often, because they've been resoled three times, because at some day, or at least when he's that shoe size, I want him to have those. A buddy of mine, he's a leather worker, and I just bought a bag from him, a briefcase from him, and for that very same reason.

Priscilla: Is it Odin?

Rocky: No. His name is Clint Wilkinson.

Priscilla: Oh, Clint! Yeah. He did some aprons for me. Helped with the patchwork weekend bag too. He's amazing.

Rocky: Yeah. He's insane. So even things like that. Like, I intentionally got a bag from him, he's a client of mine, but I got a bag from him for that reason. I want my son to have it. I don't want my son to buy a new bag. I want him to carry a bag every day to show what happened, what his dad did for 20 years to provide the opportunity for him to do the things that he wants to do 20 years from now.

Priscilla: Okay. I guess, we're just more appreciative maybe of those little things. I mean, artisan coffee didn't exist in the '70s, you know what I mean?

Rocky: Yeah.

Priscilla: Maybe we're just more particular.

Rocky: I think we just have access to things now that we've never had access to before. I can look up the coffee farm, where the bean came from, my favorite coffee shop, where they roasted... if I can look it up as a nobody, I'm four steps away from creating my own custom coffee roasting company, right? Because of the ease and the access of information.

Priscilla: God. So true. What was the best advice you've ever been given?

Rocky: I mean, the first thing that comes to my mind is my grandpa told me when I was young, and he said it my whole life, and I hated him for it until now, "Work smart, not hard." That doesn't mean you don't work hard. It means you think about what you're gonna do before you do it. You just don't do it, because you feel like you're supposed to do it. I mean, I'd say that's probably the first thing that comes to my mind is just a gentle two or three second pause before you make a decision to do anything. To make sure that it's the smartest way to do it. Sometimes the smartest way is the hardest way. Being smart is not a lack of effort or energy.

Priscilla: Yeah. I agree. I guess this kind of goes back towards beginnings, but in terms to be successful, I feel that's just... we spend a good chuck of our lives letting our parents define that for us, as an adult, you start to define it for yourself. I mean, how do YOU define success?

Rocky: Yeah. So a few things. One, I want to make sure the decisions I make are always in the most accurate direct alignment with the things that I value. So the five things I value most are vulnerability, individuality, trust, generosity, and fearlessness. Everything I do needs to fall in line with those things. If they don't, I'm choosing out of fear. I don't want to choose out of fear. I don't want to choose out of pride. I don't want to choose out of anxiety. I want to choose that, because it's the five things I believe are the most foundation, fundamental to who I am as a human being.

So, one, know what you value. Be unwilling to change, and vary for the things that you value just because you're afraid, or because you want somebody to like you. I think secondly, I wanna go to bed every night knowing that I did everything in my power to be as intentional, and as purposeful with my time to love, and care, and serve the people around me as well as I possibly could. Knowing that I didn't leave anything to chance, because I was afraid that it was gonna be weird or awkward. My grandfather probably had the biggest influence on me from afar in my life. I spent the last 10 years kind of afraid to say, "I Love You." 

So I wrote my grandfather a letter about nine months ago, and just said, "Hey, I love you. I care about you. Here's all the things you did for me that I'm grateful for. And here's all the things in the last 10 years that I've done that I wish I would've done, but I didn't. So I just want to say I'm sorry, and I'm asking for your forgiveness. I need nothing from you. You don't have to respond. You don't have to write a letter. You don't have to say you ever got this. This is because I want you to know this is how I feel." He never said anything to me. He never said that he got it. I know that he got it because my grandma knows that he opened it. So this Christmas, we're at my grandparent's house and he said, "Hey, come outside.He has something for Ezra." So we go outside, and there's a thing covered with a big sheet over it. So he pulls the sheet back.

Well, his dad, so my great-grandfather, when I was four, bought me this cast iron blue Ford pedal tractor with a little trailer on it. I used it, rode it till it didn't work anymore, and been at the barn for 30 years. Nine months ago, he got it out of the barn, went and had it fully restored, and bought all the parts, put it together himself, had it repainted, had the trailer repainted, and the back of the trailer, he had it painted, where it said, "Pops." Which is what I called my great-grandfather. And it said, "Pops," and then an arrow "Rocky", and then an arrow to "Ezra" on the back of the trailer. He had it fully done, and fully restored to give to my son. Not that I want to say that he wouldn't have done it if I hadn't written him the letter, but I'm pretty positive he wouldn't have done it if I hadn't written the letter. I think it opened the opportunity for him to see me as just a normal person. And the opportunity for him to be able to see himself as an individual.

Those type of things in life are what I mean by being intentional, and being methodical, and being purposeful. It cost me 18 minutes and 74 cents with the envelope and stamp to send my grandfather a letter, but it would change the course of the next 30 years of our relationship. So I want to make sure that for me, that's what success looks like. I don't give a shit how much money we make. I don't care where our house is. I don't care what anybody else thinks about what we're doing, what we drive, where we go, it's irrelevant. I want to make sure that every night when I lay down, and I put my head on the pillow that I know that I've reconciled, I have forgiven, I have cared for, served, and loved, and trust the people around me, given to me to have some sort of influence on the course of my life.

Priscilla: Wow. That's really powerful.

Rocky: Thanks.

Priscilla: I think people will get a lot of clarity from your story. 

Rocky: Cool.

Priscilla: Thank you for the inspiration.






Special thanks to Wax Space and Noble Coffee Roasters for letting us invade your space :)