Hello, my name is Nick Schlekeway. I was born in a small town outside of Boise, Idaho called Eagle. Well, it was a small town. Now I tell people that I lived in Eagle before Eagle was… Eagle. I guess I am beginning to show my age. In my youth, I spent an enormous amount of time outside keeping up with my two older siblings, riding (and crashing) my bike, taking on dares, and trying to stay out of trouble, all with a substantial failure rate. I also spent a lot of time helping my father with whatever construction project he had going at the time.
He had just come out of bankruptcy when I was very young. Life was hard, we were poor, but the love was real. A hard worker and a family man, my father instilled in me the value of a day’s work, just as his father instilled the same in him and his grandfather, immigrated from Austria, before him. I come from a long line of men who broke their backs in the fields and on the job site. From sun-up to sundown and long after, I have never found a man who could outwork me. While I know that he is out there somewhere I will continue to make him earn it. My mother is a multi-generational native to Boise, which basically makes her a unicorn. As rare as that is, her heart of gold is much rarer. My mother taught me the meaning of true love, the value of doing the right thing because it is the right thing, and the true meaning of loyalty. Like all parents they made a ton of mistakes and as a parent I can only hope to do as well as they did.
Before I knew anything about the “what” or the “why” I was pushing to maximize my genetic capability. Maybe it came from being the youngest and struggling to keep up; maybe it came from my lungs wracked with asthma; maybe it came from a sense of being looked down on or disregarded; maybe it came from my stumbling gait or pudginess, or maybe it came from a childhood of poverty. Whatever it was, I was determined to do the best I could with what I had and maybe even a little bit better from time to time. I was good at math and I could work hard. That is about it. Well, that and I was a tough kid both because I had to be and because I wanted to be. I discovered pretty early that success at just about anything is basically a function of hard work and math, given that consistent, strenuous effort over time yields results; the nuances came much later. I broke a lot of bones (a lot); caused a lot of damage; missed a lot of sleep; was very lonely, and I hurt often… but I kept getting back up. After a couple decades of this (I am a slow learner,) I was both elated and dismayed to learn that getting back up is the point. The only point.
I have had a lot of victories, which is really nice because it helps to juxtapose the absurd number of times I have lost. Personally and professionally (which are the same, of course) I have the same mission in this life. I am (still) here to maximize my potential and to do my best with what I was given in the short time I have to do it in. That part has always been there and been obvious. What has not always been so obvious is the need that I have to make an impact through giving my gifts and talents to other people. A desire to leave a legacy of sincerity, courage, devotion, and excellence. The Bible says this: “To whom much is given, much shall be required.” My high school football coach, Mike Glenn— a great man—said the same thing, but it turns out he was riding the coattails of someone born a bit sooner and with a bit more renown. Nothing I have in this life was given to me without a lot of hard work on my part. On my path to climb as high as possible before the end of the journey, I feel a responsibility to share what I can of my experiences and my wisdom in the hope that someone else may benefit. I may even be able to help show them the way to their own path.