Why I Tattooed MOTOR on My Forearm

“G B Y B C O T”

That’s how all of my mom’s letters ended. It still graces the bottom of Birthday Cards, Christmas Cards and the occasional ‘just because’ cards.

“G B Y B C O T” was one of her ways of sending her blessing when I was in the Marines. There were other ‘codes’ she’d send along the way, but this was the most common. To me and to a few of the guys in my unit (who she wrote as well) it had meaning. They were more than letters.

“God Bless You Be Careful Out There”

I’m sure at some point the letters meant a lot to her as well. Maybe it was her way of feeling like she could still contribute to the safety of her kid? Kind of like a “Zip up your coat,” or “Don’t go outside with wet hair…you’ll catch a cold.”

Letters are amazing. They come together to form words, acronyms and whatever you call that thing between mom & I. They unite to inspire. They line up in an order that calls people to action or reminds them of how much they’re loved. These words can make us feel sadness, joy, insecurity, anger, etc.. Mess up the letters a bit and they come back together to educate surgeons or serve as a conduit for understanding a hint of God’s love for us.

Faith. Love. Hope. Strength. Words mean different things to different people. Some may see the word ‘faith’ and experience peace immediately. Some may see it and get squeamish as a result of a jacked up spiritual experience they had or church they belonged to many years ago. The point being, words can be extremely personal to us for a number of reasons.

Some people have personal mantras. Mantras can be affirmations that motivate and inspire us to deal with our own insecurities, fears and concerns. They can be for the purpose of reminding us of who we want to be and where we’re going. Personal mantras are often phrases that people say over and over to themselves in order to help us drown out the voices that doubt us, the internal and external ones.

These personal mantras are things like:

“No Fear”

“Love Wins”

“I control what I can control”

The football players at Notre Dame touch their mantra on a sign as they take the field. It reads “Play Like a Champion Today.” An unofficial mantra of the Marine Corps is “Improvise, Adapt & Overcome.” That’s how Marines roll.

These mantras communicate an expectation that the individual has for himself as well as the collective mindset of the group.

My Mantra

Several years ago I created MOTOR. I wanted to impact humanity because I wasn’t liking what I was seeing around me and in many cases inside of me.

I saw mediocrity. Entitlement. Lack of joy and hope. I saw people with dreams who took no risks. I saw so many not living up to what they were made to be. So I started something.

I told my friend Adam Mock one day over coffee that I had a vision of something that would help and inspire. I explained my mindset and what it means to me. Adam created the MOTOR logo as something that would meet the following criteria:

  • Grounded in strength
  • Bold & simple
  • Movement that was against the grain…uncommon
  • The letters represent challenges we all face. The ‘projectile’ thingy is you going against the flow, cutting through the crap and having your breakthrough.

We arrived at the current identity because it met those criteria, but was also really simple. I like simple. To me, MOTOR is blue collar and uncomplicated. MOTOR is my personal mantra.

I started a one man movement that is becoming a brand. When I started I didn’t know what it would be. And, truthfully, it’s probably not what it’s going to be yet. Each year MOTOR evolves as I do.

One thing that won’t change is what it means to me. You know, those letters that make up messages from Mom, notes from loved ones and mantras for individuals, teams and organizations worldwide. Because what it means to me is me.

“Motor is my my mindset. Keep pushing. Keep fighting. Find a way. Do the work others are unwilling to do. Always keep faith. That’s what MOTOR means to me.”

And, so I stuck it on my arm. It’s big. It’s bold. Just like I want my message to be. My speaking & coaching all comes from this mindset.

5 letters in a certain combination that reminds me of who I want to be…A man of faith. Willing to work hard. Willing to keep going when things don’t go as planned. A man who finds a way.

This mark on my arm has been in the works for several years, but it never felt right to pull the trigger on it until now.

I want to thank my wife Chris for supporting me when I wanted to to start something several years ago. Thank you to Adam Mock for nailing the look I wanted as an identity for this thing called MOTOR. Thank you to Chris Pollock at Ronin Tattoo Studio in Aurora, IL for doing amazing work on something that meant so much to me.

And, thank you to my mom for helping me understand the value of a few simple letters.

PS-you may notice some purple on the tattoo. That’s ink form the stencil he made. It’ll fade in a few days. The finished product is all black.