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4 Lessons from a Pandemic

It’s been two months since our community started experiencing the disarray brought on by COVID-19. I know that for many of us, including some of the most vulnerable in our community, what we knew as normal still feels quite distant. And then for some of us, life is slowly settling in to some new sense of normalcy.

As we continue on this path towards normalcy, I have been reflecting a bit. It’s been a challenge, and one that we are still battling with, but I am encouraged by the many positives that I have seen and the lessons we can take from this experience.

Today, I wanted to share four of these takeaways with you.

Global Connection. Before this, I believed a pandemic was a thing that happened in distant times, faraway places, or in sci-fi movies. I have been humbled in seeing how something like this can effect so many lives across the world as we all weather the same storm. The speed that this pandemic moved across the globe has been...

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TMLC's Quarantine Playlist!

When you've had enough of news, projections, stress, and worry; turning down the noise and turning up the music can be just what's in order.

This week we've put together a list of the songs that make our team smile. This list features a broad range of music, reflecting our diverse team, with a little something for everyone.

I've enjoyed listening to their choices and hope this might inspire you to put together a playlist including favorites from your friends and family as well! Here they are in no particular order:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen - This selection by James will get just about any room singing along!
  • Love on Top by Beyonce - This song I learned was the recessional song at Bren's wedding.
  • Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson - This song of praise was chosen by Mike McGuire in our irrigation department. It's a song of peace, and trusting in God in those moments when we are in
  • ...
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Making The Most of Time at Home

Many of us find ourselves stressed and restless these days, home more than we are accustomed to with very few outlets for energy. I continue praying that this virus affects as few lives as possible and that our lives can return to some semblance of normal.

With kids cooped up and business lives disrupted, it can be difficult to find calm in the storm. I worked with my team on this edition of Rusty's corner. Here are 7 things that we've been doing to get through. We hope some of these ideas are helpful to you!

  1. Create an Outdoor Oasis - This has been my go-to at the end of the day. Cassie and I hung a hammock that we've had laying around for ages, and it has been a great addition. Mostly, we lay in it and watch our son play in the sprinklers or play in the dirt. It gets him and us out of the house, and is relaxing to get away from all the digital distractions inside.
  2. Teen Cooking Class - Bren, our office manager, has two teen sons at home and has been
  3. ...

Control What You Can Control (COVID19)

Control what you can control, and don't fear you can't control because it does no good. 

I have learned, as much as I hate it, that I cannot control wht happens in New York, Italy, South Florida, or even the City of Gainesville. I can only control what actions I take and where my focus is.

This past week, I got sucked into focusing on things I couldn't control. I was zeroed in on the latest breaking news. The problem is that the news media is built around one idea, "if it bleeds, it leads." Meaning, you can get a lot more clicks / viewers / readers if your headlines read:

  • "Death Toll surpasses world record"
  • "250 brand new cases of CoronaVIrus in Florida"
  • "Unemployment numbers skyrocket" 

Compared to:

  • "Testing response times have been reduced substantially"
  • "Alachua County is beating most expert
  • ...

What I've Learned from My Toddler

I am not a parenting expert. My son, Griffin, is only 2 and I consider myself still pretty naive to this parenting thing. He is a charming, loving toddler with an energy and curiosity. He picks up new skills with a speed that I could only dream about and he loves and trusts with his whole heart. In this short time, I’ve learned more from him than I could have thought possible. Here are a just a handful of things my son has taught me:

Never Stop Learning
I watch my son’s face sometimes and I am awed to see the gears in his head turning. He is making new connections constantly and his curiosity is insatiable. He doesn’t need a classroom, a conference, or a formal setting to take in information and explore. He has taught me that I can approach every moment in life as an opportunity to learn.

Persistence Pays Off
My son is somewhat of an escape artist....

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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

"Events don't equal our Explanations."

When an event happens, we tell ourselves stories to explain the event. Whatever the event is - a fight with your spouse, a disagreement with a team member, or even an underperforming direct report, we attach stories to the event and this creates our perception.

It could be we decided that our spouse was being rude, the team member thinks you're incompetent, or the direct report is lazy and unfixable.

A quick example: a High school student fails an algebra test (the event), and then makes the statement that "I'm just not smart enough to understand algebra." (the explanation).

You probably, as a mature adult, have come up with a couple completely differing explanations from the same event that have little to do with him not being smart. Maybe they sound like:

  • The student didn't study hard enough
  • He focused more on something else (girlfriend, sports, video games) than
  • ...
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5 Areas of Growth

5 Areas of Growth

Those close to me know that I am a big believer in setting goals and having targets to strive for. 2020 is a new year, a new decade and a fresh opportunity to take a look at where we've done well, and where we may still have some improvements we can make.

I will be honest, in years past my goals were driven more by my professional life and my goals for this team. As I've grown, and especially as I've grown in my role as a husband and a father, I've tried to expand that focus and make small gains in different areas of my life. Today I encourage you to take a look at these 5 areas of development and think about what changes you can that might bring you closer to your long term hopes and plans for your life.


Physical. This is the classic New Year's Resolution. Those few extra pounds. Getting to the gym more regularly. Scheduling those doctor's appointments we have been meaning to get to. It's an important area to focus on,...

Gotta Love Gainesville!

Something a little different for this edition of Rusty's Corner. As a life-long local, there is so much that I love about our hometown - We get to enjoy the outdoors year-round, from beautiful springs to amazing parks, with a great small community atmosphere and of course, The Florida Gators. Today I thought I'd mention Five of my favorite local things to do in Gainesville!

1. The University of Florida Campus - No surprise to anyone that knows me, I am a huge fan of the the Gators. Football games and tailgating come in first on my list, but there is so much more to do here. Basketball, Baseball, and Softball games, concerts and live entertainment and even just strolling around campus taking in the architecture and history. If sports aren't on your list of favorite past-times, you have working out running stadiums in The Swamp, riding your bike around Lake Alice, or stop by and check out the bats coming out of the bat houses in the evening. It would be hard to run out of...

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Finding Balance

Every business has a season and for us, summer is definitely the time of year that tests your mettle and wears your family's patience thin. Days start early and run long and weather wreaks havoc on carefully planned schedules. We all have these times in life where the hours are short and the list of things we need to get done is unending.

Today I thought I'd share a few tips that might help to ensure we are aiming towards keeping some balance in our lives.

  • Schedule a weekend to do nothing - I believe that we all need a bit or real down time. This isn't something that I have to opportunity to do often, but now and then a weekend with absolutely nothing on the calendar is deeply recharging!
  • Play to your Strengths - As much as I might like to tell myself that I can do everything, it's simply not true. And the reality is that there are people in my life who have skills and talents that are greater than mine. Focus your efforts on those tasks where you have
  • ...
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Habit 4: Seeking the Win-Win

As I'm continuing reading through the "7 Habits of Highly Successful People," the habit I'm rereading about now is seeking the Win-Win in every relationship. So many people think that everything has to be a winner take all ending, or end in a win-lose outcome. For me to win, someone else has to lose. Although that is true in sports (except in the age of everyone getting a trophy), it is not true in relationships.  Client relationships and even competitor relationships do not have to work that way.

For example, our company competes with a well-known Pest Control company in Gainesville for Lawn Spraying services, and they are one of the biggest in our area. For us to grow and take market-share - it will need to be from them at some point. There are a lot of times when we are providing an estimate for the same client trying to earn their business. Adversarially, that is a win-lose relationship. Either we get the business or they do.

However, if...

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