Guide And Protect…

It seems that every January as I’m getting ready to kick off the new year, I’m inundated all around me with an over-emphasis on making new years resolutions and setting big insane goals. It can be inspiring to think about and I agree that it’s great for everyone to get out of their comfort zones to try new things, but I also think that there is an equally important ‘other side of the coin’ that’s usually neglected. Before taking any bold new risks and trying to ‘live dangerously’ to follow a dream, we need to first seriously consider and establish Guardrails in our lives.

‘Guardrails’ are defined as a system designed to keep vehicles from straying into danger or off-limit areas. They can be found at bridges, medians, winding roads, and many other places. We may not usually notice guardrails because they seem like the invisible part of driving, but they’re important barriers between us and certain dangers. Even though they’re significant for saving lives, it’s easy for us to think we don’t need them… until we actually do.

‘Guardrails’ are the boundaries we set to provide margin in our lives. I think they’re absolutely necessary, and even though they’re not sexy in our culture or usually a natural concept that’s embraced, we simply can’t have healthy marriages, strong friendships, controlled financial situations, or strong businesses without them. Guardrails are a key part of any decision making process and establishing them into different areas in our lives allow us to avoid detrimental mistakes that we might not be able to recover from.

The purpose of Guardrails are to protect and direct us. Even if we smash into them at full speed they cause less damage than the catastrophic danger that’s on the other side.  Guardrails are intentionally set up just before the danger areas to prevent us from moving into devastating problems like fast oncoming traffic, being launched off the side of a bridge, or rolling down a mountain cliff. If you look closer, you’ll see that Guardrails aren’t actually located in the most dangerous part of a road. They’re constructed in places we could technically drive on, BUT the point just beyond them is what’s troublesome. Just like with driving, I believe in life, we also need a margin for error.

As a leader, husband, father, business owner, and in many areas of my life, I think it’s important to apply the same principles of guardrails. Some of the biggest regrets we can have financially, professionally, morally, with relationships, or in our marriages, (really in any negative situations we’ve found ourselves in), could have ALL been prevented by having proper guardrails.  It’s just a simple fact that in life if we cross certain lines we end up hurting ourselves. If we compromise certain personal standards, we increase the potential of our future not being what we would want it to be. If we break specific boundaries, it’s going to make some relationships much more difficult. If we go past certain limits then our hopes and dreams will simply be less attainable.

As a realtor here in the Twin Cities, my schedule can be crazy with a constantly ringing phone and urgent problems to solve. Without proper guardrails, my job can quickly consume and overtake every area of my life. Over the years I’ve had to establish guardrails (both personally and professionally) to ensure my clients will always have a rewarding experience, AND still have balance and quality time with my family. A couple years ago, one of the guardrails I set up was to make sure I had dinner with my family at least four evenings a week with little to no interruptions. I wanted dinner with my family to be an intentional and protected time together where we could engage and be ‘fully present’ without distractions. Sometimes, I have an urgent matter that needs to be resolved, and I’m not able to be there for four days that week with my kids, but that’s ok. Crashing into my guardrail doesn’t mean I’ve made a terrible mistake, it just means if I keep breaking the healthy habits I’ve established, I could create a situation that I would really regret in the future and might even not be able to recover from.

It’s important to think through what our guardrails are so they act as a warning sign to us in order to avoid having regrets we’ll never be able to change. I’ve heard people say that instead of setting up personal boundaries, they just need to ‘learn from their experience.’ I couldn’t disagree more. I know many people that make the same horrible mistakes over and over and get stuck in the same damaging cycles.

I believe we learn from reflecting on our experiences (and the experiences of others). If we don’t take the time to evaluate what’s happened, how we ended up there, and what can be done to prevent it, we’ll just find ourselves back in the same destructive cycle over and over and over again.

I recommend setting up guardrails, they’re not about being legalistic, using them to judge others, or see how close we can come to danger. Guardrails are tools used to inform, ignite, or energize our conscience to provide warnings or red flags so we can prevent paralyzing danger. They keep us focused on what really matters and on track to prevent us from serious danger.

So take risks! Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, & Timely) and don’t let fear prevent you from following your dreams or going out of your comfort zone. BUT just remember when you do, make sure to have established Guardrails that will protect and guide you in the process.

What are your Guardrails? What personal conduct with friends, finances, relationships, and your career have you’ve established so you can continue living the great life?

*If you’d like to hear a great in-depth teaching series about this topic check out No matter what your spirituality is, the principles explained within these videos are gold.

About me

After taking a break from writing and performing music for a couple years, I’m official back! Not because I’m trying to be cool, sell stuff, or impress anyone (I’m too old for that kind of thing and honesty, just don’t care). Instead, I’m just one of those creative ‘artsy’ people who loves writing, performing great music, and sharing good stories. It’s in my blood, it’s like medicine for my soul, and like an escape from some of the chaos of life. I write about what inspires and matters to me most. I create all this nerd music/video stuff from my home studio in my basement. I’m a husband and father of three beautiful kiddos. My day job is being a realtor here in Minnesota and I love it!
If you’re interested in having this 40+ year old dad guitarist guy named David perform at your next event? Reach out at

Greetings, folks! Get ready to unleash and grow to your highest potential with our online community ‘Living a Greater Life!‘ We’re here to make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. We’re not your typical self-help gurus who make you feel guilty for not being a billionaire by age 25. Oh no. We’re more like your hilarious, yet wise, BFFs who has your back and will give you the low-down on all the best hacks for living a truly exceptional life. 

With practical tools, helpful insights, and inspiring stories that could make you question your entire existence, we’re the one-stop-shop for all your leadership needs (like a motivational speaker on steroids, minus the creepy vibe). We don’t do boring here – we keep it real and entertaining because life’s too short to be serious all the time.

Now, if you’re new to our community, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Grab yourself a drink like a shot of espresso (because sometimes you need a caffeine kick in the pants), and get ready to be blown away by realizing your own potential, future awesomeness. You’ll learn how to live your best life while having a blast, because who said self-improvement had to be dull or full of kale smoothies? So, buckle up and get ready for a wild ride. It could feel as exciting as doing a spacewalk, but without the fear of drifting off into the abyss. So let’s prepare for launch and get ready to do this! Here’s what is recommended to get the most from our experience together:

Browse through our articles: Don’t just sit there staring at the screen like a confused ostrich – take a peek at the stories on our website! We’ve got everything from personal growth and self-improvement to career development and relationships, and let me tell you, they’re juicier than a gossip session at a retirement home. So, put on your reading glasses and get ready to transform into the superhero version of yourself (with less spandex and more emotional stability).

Sign up for our newsletter: Looking for a way to spice up your inbox and make your spam folder jealous? Then sign up for our newsletter, where we’ll send you more positive vibes than a room full of yoga enthusiasts. You’ll get regular updates with new content and special offers that are hotter than a jalapeno on a summer day. So, what are you waiting for? Join the newsletter party and let’s make your inbox great again!

Follow us on social media: Ready to spice up your social media feed and add a dash of inspiration to your scrolling routine? Then connect and follow us on our Facebook group, where we’ll keep you connected with a community of like-minded folks who are just as awesome as you are but more motivated than a cheerleading squad on Red Bull. So, give your thumbs a workout and join the fun on our Facebook group!

Share with friends and family: If you come across an article that resonates with you, consider sharing it with friends and family. Inspiring others is a great way to spread positivity and encouragement in the world. If you stumble upon an article that tickles your fancy, why not share it with your friends and loved ones? You could be the spark that ignites a fire of inspiration, motivation, or healing in their souls. So if something you read could help inspire someone you know, spread spread the word! After all, who doesn’t need a little pick-me-up in this crazy world?

Take action: It’s time to stop scrolling and start taking action! Whether it’s setting a new goal, developing a new habit, or making a small change in your life, these powerful resources and fresh perspectives are more sought after than a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. So, don’t let them go to waste. Take charge and make a step forward. 

Don’t travel alone: Don’t keep all that wisdom and experience locked up inside you like a closet full of ugly Christmas sweaters. Sharing your ups and downs, your triumphs and failures, and all your best practices for life is not just about helping yourself, it’s about breaking down those walls of isolation and making a positive impact on the community and world around you. It’s like being a rockstar, but instead of just shredding on guitar, you’re spreading the love and knowledge with every chord you play. And don’t forget the real icing on the cake – by sharing your experiences, you could be giving someone else the boost they need to get out of a really dark hole. Think about it, you could be the hero that someone else needs, like Batman but with with a more positive attitude and fewer angry outbursts. So, let’s all come together like a big ol’ family reunion, where the only dish on the menu is hot tips and insights, and the dress code is whatever pants make you feel like you could conquer the world (or at least your inbox). So take courage, be bold, and share your stories with our community and the  world because together, we’re stronger than a group of sumo wrestler in a game of tug-of-war.!

Let’s be real, life’s too short to be all serious and no fun! That’s why we’re here to offer you some laughs and practical tips to break through the barriers holding you back. We want to help you climb higher and reach new heights in creating an absolutely epic life! So, buckle up and get ready to blast off to the next level of awesome!

Your fellow adventurer, David Olson

Connect with David on social media:

Igniting the Fire Within: Living with Urgency and Passion

Ahoy, my fellow adventurers! I want to talk about something near and dear to everyone’s heart: A ships’s rudder. Yes, that’s right, that very small unassuming piece of a boat that’s often overlooked and undervalued. I know it’s not the glamorous, sexy part of a boat but it’s the AMAZING unsung hero of any functioning water vessel (and probably deserves its own action movie franchise). Without a rudder, a ship is directionless, adrift, and arguably worthless. But with it, a ship can stay its course even in the face of strong winds and turbulent waters. 

A boat at sea without a rudder is completely lost, directionless, and entirely at the mercy of the waves. It’s a sad sight to behold, and unfortunately, a tragic metaphor for how many people live their lives. They react like a pinball,  bouncing from one obstacle to the next, with no clear sense of direction or purpose. They get pushed around and are aimlessly drifting. Similarly, in life, having a clear sense of direction and purpose are essential. Without it, we’re liable to get swept away by the whims of our circumstance and find ourselves way off course.

This concept is important to consider because just like a ship without a rudder, we can easily lose our direction in life and get carried away by external forces, circumstances outside our control, and the distracting opinions of others. By having crystal clear awareness of our own principles, values, and goals, we’ll have a clear sense of direction to steer and adjust our lives in a positive and fulfilling direction. Making small adjustments along the way that can help us stay on course and make progress towards our desired destination.

We don’t just need direction in life, we also desperately need URGENCY! Now hold on to your hats, this next part is shocking. Of the average 78 years that we’re alive to walk this earth, we’ll end up spending a whopping 97.32% of it snoozing, munching, hustling, doing our taxes, or sitting on the porcelain throne! Here’s the actual breakdown:

  • 33% Sleeping: According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Assuming an average of 8 hours of sleep per day, that would be approximately 33% of a person’s day. 
  • 36.8 % Working: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American full-time worker works 8.5 hours per day. Assuming a typical 5-day workweek, over 78 years would be a total of approximately 123,660 days, roughly 36.8% of their life.
  • 4.9% Eating: Assuming three meals per day with an average of 30 minutes per meal, 1.5 hours per day eating, over 78 years would total approximately 33,930 hours eating, roughly 4.9% of their life.
  • 2% Bathroom: Assuming a person spends around 30 minutes per day on these activities, then over 78 years they would have spent a total of approximately 11,385 hours. This would be roughly 2% of their life.
  • 1% Taxes:  The average time required to complete and file a Form 1040 (the most common tax form for individual taxpayers in the US) was approximately 8 hours a year. This includes the time spent on record keeping, tax planning, completing the form, and submitting it. Assuming a lifespan of 78 years and an average starting age of 20 for tax filing would mean a total of around 624 hours, or 26 days, spent on taxes over the course of a lifetime.
  • 8.33% House Management: The average individual spends about 2 hours per day on household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, organizing, and maintenance. This would amount to about 14 hours per week, or roughly 728 hours per year. Assuming a lifespan of 78 years,  is a total of approximately 56,784 hours spent managing the home over the course of a lifetime.
  • 11.29% Child Care: Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, parents with children under 18 years old spend an average of 2.7 hours per day on primary childcare activities, such as feeding, bathing, and playing with their children.For a lifespan of 78 years and an average of 2.7 hours per day spent managing kids, this would amount to around 77,175 hours spent managing kids over the course of a lifetime.

So what’s the point? On average, we only have 2.68% left of our lives to spend engaging in additional activities that we’re passionate about (like hanging out with friends, exercising,  planning our lives, or volunteering). That’s it! If your entire 10 fingers represented your whole life, 2.68% would be around the thickness of your pinky fingernail.

Another thought-provoking and sobering reality, is that roughly 50 years of our lives are spent working at a job to enjoy 11 years of retirement. (If we retire at 67, the average retirement age, and have a life expectancy of 78 years, it 11 years of freedom (without considering any physical and health limitations that we will all certainly experience at that age).  It’s humbling to realize and especially in contrast with most people’s current priorities. For some, this s motivating enough to become a human bulldozer willing plow through any obstacle or challenge. But for others it can be so depressing it makes Eeyore seem like an energizer bunny.

Each person’s situation is unique, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re all racing against the clock. Every moment counts, every decision we make determines whether we’re contributing to something significant or aimlessly adrift to nowhere. Instead of being overwhelmed, we can use a sense of urgency and  motivation to maximize our time, work diligently, follow our passions,  and construct a life that brings us satisfaction where we can relish every moment we have remaining.

A ship’s rudder is roughly 2.5% of the total size of the boat. One tiny part ultimately determines the direction and fate of the journey! Our intentional ‘free time’ on earth is only a small fraction of our entire lives, but what we do with it directly determines the experience and outcome of our journey.

Let me be honest for a moment – are you really living your best life right now or are you stuck being a sad trombone solo? Are you drifting aimlessly, just trying to survive each day? Are you lost in a dense fog without a compass? Without a rudder?

Life is a precious and delicate gift that should be treasured, but sadly, many of us miss out on the full experience. Fear, doubt, and putting things off hold us back from achieving our true potential. Far too many people find themselves stuck in dead-end jobs, unfulfilling relationships, or destructive habits that drain their energy and happiness. Breaking free from these patterns can be a constant struggle, leaving many feeling hopeless and stuck in a downward spiral. It’s a bleak reality that many face every day.

It’s time to stop being distracted and making excuses! No matter what season of life we’re in, it’s time to re-adjust the rudder and take better control for the direction of our lives! Just like a ship’s captain carefully chooses the orientation of the rudder, we need to carefully plan and make the most of where our lives are headed. We can’t afford to waste a single second, because our limited time is SO precious and quickly running out. Whether it’s reconnecting with loved ones, pursuing our passions deeper, or spreading kindness like glitter at a craft fair, we need to take action and be VERY intentional about where we set our rudders and have urgency to sail towards a brighter tomorrow!

Imagine waking up every day feeling energized and excited about the possibilities that lay ahead. Imagine feeling fulfilled by your work, relationships, and personal growth. This is not just a fantasy, it’s a reality waiting for you to claim it. So what are you waiting for? Start building the life of your dreams today, because tomorrow is not promised.

Unleash your true potential and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. Don’t let fear, doubt, or uncertainty hold you back. It’s time to take charge and make intentional choices that align with your values and passions. You have the power to create something extraordinary, and there’s no better time than now to take bold steps forward to elevate your life. Remember, it’s not about the number of years you spend on this earth, it’s about the impact you make and the legacy you leave behind. So go ahead, start today, and let your light shine bright!



Our Story

“An exceptional life is finding joy in the journey & not just the destination.”

Get ready to embark on a journey of inspiration and transformation, as we delve into the reflections of a transformative leader named David Olson.

David’s story is one of grit and determination, starting from humble beginnings in rural Minnesota to becoming a thriving business leader, entrepreneur, and artist. His personal and professional growth is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and he openly shares some of the vital experiences that have shaped and given him new perspectives for achieving an authentic, inspiring, and fulfilling life.

But this is not just a solo expedition. This space was created to bring us together as a community of collaborators, supporters, and travelers. A place to learn and grow together into our best selves, develop authenticity, integrity, and purpose, and ultimately build an inspiring and supportive community.

So embark on your journey together, be inspired, and be open to start living a greater life!

‘Connect the dots’  and find more significance, gratitude, and opportunities!  Join the movement towards creating and ‘Living a Greater Life!’

David received his undergraduate degrees in Music, Psychology, and Theology at Northwestern University in St. Paul and a Master’s Degree (MDiv) from Bethel University. In the middle of the economic crash of 2007, he unexpectedly found himself switching from a full-time ministry career to building a real estate empire as a licensed realtor, broker, general contractor, and insurance agent in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida.  David lives in the southwest metro of the Twin Cities with his wife and three daughters. When he’s not up at his cabin in Crosslake Minnesota, he volunteers as a substitute teacher at some local schools, leads music at churches in his community, and enjoys reading and writing.

Connect with David on social media: