I voted. And I won’t hire you if you don’t.

Today is Election Day in America, and I love to vote. In fact, I would vote for more voting if I could. I never feel more powerful than when I walk into an election booth and personalize my ballot. I love weighing in on officials and referendums. I love voting for obscure roles, like Coroner General, Keeper of the Records, Chief of Lawns and Registrar (which sounds like a role that should be held by lions).

Stickers

I love wearing the sticker that says I Voted. Or I V(Ohio)ted or I V(peach)ted, depending on the state I live in during the election. It’s a great way to show the world that you have lived up to your civic responsibilities. That sticker is a great little advertisement that reminds others to vote. And when you put that badge of honor on your shirt it also tells your friends, family and co-workers that even thought you are a legal adult, you still like wearing stickers on your clothes.

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My wife Dawn and I, collecting stickers.

The Other Team

Not everyone feels the way I do. Not everyone votes. Or cares about voting for anything more important than the next American Idol, a Who Wore It Best poll, or the Pringle flavor they want to munch next. That’s why the following question is worth asking in job interviews:

Did you vote in the last election?

The answer to this simple question reveals a great deal about your job candidate. It offers insights about their sense of responsibility, time management and teamwork. It tells you whether or not they feel empowered to make a difference. And it may reveal whether of not they know how to read a calendar, and a map.

My Dream Team

If I knew that a candidate didn’t vote it would be a deal breaker for me. As an entrepreneur, I want my team members to have an opinion, to take initiative and to feel empowered. I want team members who believe their ideas matter. I want coworkers who want to weigh in, speak up and tell me when there is a better way. I want people who want to continuously improve the world, and our business.

Honoring The Sacrifice

Today we should also honor all of the men and women who have sacrificed in order to defend our ability to vote. The least we can do to show our gratitude is go fill in some tiny circles.

Key Takeaway

Vote. Have an opinion. Exercise your duty as an American. Know that your views and your values count, and are counted. Help determine the direction that your country, state and local community are headed. Show that you care, and that you are involved, even if you are not fully informed. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican, Democrat or an Independent voter. Get your vote on today. Because the only thing that matters to me, is that it matters to you.

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Today is the best day to declare your independence.

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. Even when it falls awkwardly on a Wednesday. Today I will hit two parades, watch fireworks, have a cookout, and tune in to watch a professional scarf down enough hot dogs to feed all the Pilgrims on the Mayflower for a week. #Murica

 

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Me and my family getting our 4th of July parade on. Notice the sign my daughter chalked in front of us.

The thing I love most.

As much as I love celebrating the 4th of July, I love what it symbolizes even more. Independence. It’s the not-so-secret ingredient that makes our country a powerful global magnet. Independence is what attracts those looking for a better life of their own making. I love that our country is powered by a population that left their native lands with the courage to say, ‘We think we can do this better on our own.’ That is so badass! Of course, Australia is built on a population of criminals. That’s pretty badass too, mate.

Career Independence

As we celebrate America’s independence I am also celebrating all the Founders who have declared their independence by taking charge of their careers. I admire the entrepreneurs who have the courage and confidence to do what our nation’s founding mothers and fathers did in establishing this country.

I am thankful for the inspirational stories and examples I’ve heard and read from Founders across the country. I love the consultants, freelancers and solopreneurs who have decided to bet on their own skills and abilities. It is the safest bet there is.

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Is it time for you to fly your own flag?

My Independence.

I declared my independence when I started by own advertising and ideas agency, The Weaponry, two years ago. I always felt I had the ability to attract great clients and extremely talented creative thinkers and doers. I was willing to bet my financial wellbeing on that belief. Today, The Weaponry is thriving. Which makes every day feel like Independence Day (no, not the creepy alien movie).

Embrace your independence.

But you don’t have to start your own company to declare your independence. Because independence is a mindset. You must believe that you are a rock star at what you do, and that you could do it wherever you want. Just as Lebron James decided to take his talent to South Beach, then back to North Beach, and now to West Beach, you need to know that whether you are a business executive, a salesperson, teacher, professional creative, or burger flipper, you have the freedom to take your set of skillz anywhere that makes you happy. Even Cleveland.

Key Takeaway

Our foremothers and forefathers founded this country with the belief that they could design a better life for themselves and for all of their cute little red, white and blue-wearing offspring to come. By doing so, they have empowered you to design your own life in a way that makes you happiest. Never forget that. Recognize and take advantage of the great opportunities that come your way. Or create your own opportunities. You always have the freedom to choose what is best for you. Nothing is more American than that.

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Happy Independence Day!