According to Google, an engineer is a person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or public works. You speak with any engineer and more than likely their dream is to design a new innovative technology–to create something that solves a problem. What I perceive as my “innovative technology” is a system of people working together to change lives. Less technological, but requires engineering nonetheless.
Finding the solution to a problem is probably one of the greatest feelings in the world, especially if you connect with the problem you’re trying to solve. I connect with people and love seeing how each individual fits within the larger picture. Everyone has different experiences and fresh perspective that play into the world that we live in. So, you can probably understand why Morph has become a passion and why envisioning the operations is so fulfilling. Morph started off with myself, then turned into a founding team of five, and now it’s becoming an entity that will operate with more players involved. While each will have their own role in the grand scheme, they are all so interwoven within the fabric that makes up Morph’s mission. Collaboration and cohesion has been the key focus when creating company roles because these focus areas, coupled with our diversity, are what has made the founding team so successful to-date.
So far, progress has consisted of steps–now, soon to be leaps.
As an engineer and an entrepreneur, it’s a dream coming to fruition and words simply can’t explain the feeling. The journey has just started, and I can’t wait for you all to see what we create within communities around the world.
From the moment we are born, people, organizations, institutions, and other external entities help shape our experiences and character. Parents, aunts and uncles, school, the media, the drunk guy in the bar spitting some mad truth (preach); they all have some level of influence.
However, there’s a certain point when our lives transition from having no control over this exposure–when we’re really young–and when we finally get the opportunity to take control of our independence. Those of you that are parents would probably call this transition “the teens”, when you’re still treating them like Jon Snow and they think they know everything.
College gives us a small taste of freedom, but it’s still a relatively controlled environment with a campus that has structure, rules, and classes. It’s only when we graduate that we have an opportunity to understand what the word responsibility really means.
Becoming an adult is terrifying–enough so that our generation has turned it into a concerning verb. However, I believe adulting and living alone at some point in our lives, especially in our 20s, is an essential learning experience. It’s the first time we have the opportunity to connect with our own voice–something that has been drowned out from all our previous influences and peer pressure. While these influences are ingrained within our character and still have an enormous impact on our decisions, we’re finally able to listen to our thoughts. Not only that, but we also have the opportunity to take control–to take action. Take that, parents… I can eat dessert for dinner if I want…
We’re all looking for some purpose in our lives as if some old wise man will appear and tell us our destiny. In reality, finding purpose starts with understanding ourselves and that takes time to reflect with no distractions. It takes Silence.
You can imagine the discomfort of sitting in a room with absolute Silence, but I challenge you to try and do it for fifteen minutes. You’ll probably find yourself thinking it’s ridiculous and want to seek out comfort with some sort of distraction, such as your phone or Netflix. But pay attention to your thoughts and be curious. Reflect and ask Why (there’s actually an iterative technique called the 5 Whys to explore cause and effect).
With practice, you’ll start to realize just how much you can accomplish in doing nothing for fifteen minutes and your appreciation for time will increase. You’ll start to understand the things in life that truly bother you, and the interests that you really connect with. Who knows, maybe you’ll realize Netflix and Chill isn’t life and check out the cool stuff going on in your community.
Beyond that, you’ll start to recognize your emotions and accept them as being normal. If you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s no book on life. Literally no one knows the true answer because we’re all flawed; we all have our own moral code, beliefs, and experiences that guide our decisions. The only difference is that some have been doing it longer than you have, and there’s really no point in dwelling over that because it’s out of your control anyway.
Bottom line is that as you start becoming more self-aware and being alone in a comfortable setting, you’ll start to feel less lonely. Think of it as weight-lifting for the soul. Get SWOUL. <– TM, dibbs.
There are too many external things in life that we can’t control, heck, there are some internal things we can’t control. When we understand ourselves, we start to recognize what can be controlled and act progressively. Find Strength in Silence.
*DISCLAIMER: This post is not meant to promote isolation. Always make sure you have some support system that you can talk to in times of depression or dark thoughts, especially if you’re just starting out with this “technique”. The idea is to build independence, self-awareness, and mental/emotional strength. If you have no one, talk to me below with some comments. More to come 🙂
Ever accidentally close out a word document without hitting the save button and lose an entire five hours’ worth of content? That’s pretty much what it’s like moving to a new city. You kind of remember what you wrote about but, dammit, you have to start ALL over. It’s soooooooooo stressfullll and you want to blame yourself and the computer and you spend all this time bothered about something that’s already happened, potentially time that could be spent rewriting the paper.
Screw it. Write a better paper. You might find that as you’re rewriting from memory that you come upon a different perspective and can expand on your original idea. As time goes on, you’re thinking to yourself, I’m going to ACE this paper. Little do you know, five hours pass by and your new paper is better than the original one you drafted.
Life isn’t lost when you move to a new city. Sure there’s a sense of starting over, but you have the great advantage of taking what you’ve learned with you. Along the way, you’ll start to notice things from a different angle because of your new experiences. That’s growth. You learn from your mistakes and move forward, hopefully, this time remembering to hit the damn save button.
P.S. Ironically, my laptop almost died while writing this, but no worries, it would have been written better the second time.
“The Team” was starting to come together. After a number of months, the organizational structure was finally starting to fall into place. Of course, that is what I thought anyway—change is so fluid in a startup that things are constantly falling into place at about one million miles per hour. I remember the feeling I had during our first meeting at The Nook in Huntsville. It’s very similar to the feeling I have right now as I write this post. A surge of electricity that flows through the entire body with a sense of confidence that makes you feel that you can take on the world. And that’s exactly what we were setting out to do.
So, who was the team that turned out to be Morph’s co-founders? What was it that made them stand out and how are they all each vital to Morph’s success? Most startups struggle trying to find a group of individuals, let alone one individual that truly understands the vision and problem a company is seeking to solve. An obvious problem may make it even more difficult, because an individual may understand the need but whether or not they’re the right person for the team is an entirely different question.
So what separates this group from those that just relate to Morph’s vision? Dedication. Not only that but the excitement and wide-eyes that come natural while talking about the bigger picture. The trust and understanding that they have with me and each other to make this dream a reality. The shared confidence that we all have moving forward in revealing that Huntsville is a great place to live. We all have a different relationship with the city due to our diverse experiences, but we’re all able to relate to one thing, and that’s Huntsville. We love our city and we are invested in making it shine for others that move here.
I want to go back to talking about my perspective though because I love talking about my team, and what they’ve done to allow me to grow as a leader. To receive trust, trust must be given. This became a powerful source of energy, as a leader, to know that the decisions that I make to ensure this vision comes to fruition would be supported. In return, it gives me the confidence to trust them in calling out my bullshit sometimes (not all ideas are good ideas and I’m glad that I’m free to shoot out a couple bad ones sometimes; they got my back to call me out).
Morph has become my baby, my heart and soul. The very fabric of its vision is drawn from my own experience moving to a new city and attempting to draw a bridge between that and the experience I’ve had growing up with my incredible friends and family. However, I know that if Morph is to succeed on the very fabric it was founded, it would need to be implemented into our culture. That’s exactly what I’ve found in Morph’s co-founders—family.
I found the kind of team that’s going to put the mission above each other’s gains as if it was their child. The kind that’s going to make sure each piece of the family succeeds at what they do (and call out each other’s bullshit). The kind that’ll have laughs together and dream bigger than anyone could understand; our dreams would develop our own inside jokes. The kind that would infect new members of the family with the same euphoria that we felt. The kind that each had an important role to fill and would complement each other so that each person could count on one another to get shit done.
Much like a start-up, the team needs to be fluid in their understanding and communication while the vision remains a commonality. As the founder, I’ve come to recognize this over time; something that the team has helped me realize and understand. While it started out as one with a dream, has now become a family. We’ve only started, but I consider Morph to be one of the most successful startups, but then again, I’m a little biased.
Just like any family we’re going to have our problems, every startup does, but we’re going to get through them when they come up because our mission is bigger than each of us. It’s bigger than all of us put together. However, our strength as a team is enough to carry the weight.
Trying to explain something with words as an engineer is difficult, ESPECIALLY if it’s emotional (the struggle is real). I’ve probably gone through a million iterations, trying to pack Morph’s vision into a sentence or two. How we’re accomplishing the vision is straightforward:
“We assist local businesses acquire, acclimate, and retain their employees through curated, community concierge services. Our focus on the employee’s lifestyle allows our clients’ human resources department to focus on improving internal productivity and culture.”
Our vision is what separates us from any other company and makes Morph the best for the job. So, here’s the vision:
“We redefine how residents perceive their community by virtue of fostered connections, thus magnifying a city’s identity and growth.”
Seriously though, SO MANY ITERATIONS.
So, what does this mean? I want you to think about the place that you call Home. What exactly makes it feel like Home? Is it the people there? The experiences you’ve had with those people? Maybe it’s the days you used to spend climbing the tall oak tree at your neighborhood park, or playing lava tag during recess. But this is something you can really do anywhere. There are parks with trees and lava (the original “the floor is lava”) in every city, so what EXACTLY is it?
This is something that I’ve really reflected on recently after visiting back home for my best friend’s wedding. It wasn’t until I got home that a sense of nostalgia hit like a tidal wave. I’ve known him since grade school and have had a lot of memories with both him and his family. Whether it was getting chased by his large poodle, Cyrus, while frantically trying to get to the fence before he caught us. Or dressing in our costumes on Halloween and acting like a statue waiting to scare the shit out of trick-or-treaters (we’d obviously go easy on the younger ones). The truth is we can all relate to these experiences in some shape or form.
However, if you’ve noticed, Home is never a place, which is why I guess they say “Home is where the heart is.” It’s always a memory; an experience that’s independent of location and something that human beings will always seek. That’s why it’s always so damn hard to leave in the first place when moving to a new city.
Life happens. Those people you’ve grown up with create their own lives, perhaps with the same people they’ve grown up with and perhaps not. We go off to school or a job takes us to a new city and sometimes a new state. What we once had, now doesn’t exist in a foreign place. Thus begins another milestone in our Long Journey. An experience that can be terrifying, yet exciting. The unknown does mysterious things to the human emotional complex and each experience can be different depending on the individual.
We seek out familiarity in our new community. We seek out that same feeling of Home that we grew up with. We understand that it obviously won’t be the same as what we had before because change is unavoidable; however, progress is always imminent.
Home is not a place, which is why a community can be shaped. The voice of one becomes the voice of many, and our vision is to amplify that voice as new employees start to join our community. We’ve all had that feeling of Home, but the beauty is that each perspective is different. We all hold the feeling dear to our hearts, and for each of us it’s DIFFERENT, yet the same. To bring this perspective and appreciation into a new community, and being able to acclimate these fresh set of eyes can only be comparable to seeing for the first time.
We’re here to show new employees their new city and help shape their reality, so that they may grow and become a part of the larger picture. We all have a fresh perspective to offer to a city’s identity and growth. Welcome Home.