By Rusty, Thu, 11/19/2020 - 09:54

It has been a long and strenuous year for us all. Many of us have faced new challenges that have changed our lives completely from 9 months ago.

As we move into the holiday where we are reminded of the importance of being thankful, it can be difficult to get into the season when considering how 2020 has gone.

Whether it is tangible or intangible, being thankful for everything we have is all about focus. That focus usually lies in comparison - and focusing on measuring this year to last year leaves me feeling many things - but thankful is not one of them.

However, changing our focus can absolutely change our mentality.

Although it has been a tough year, we thankfully have not seen the level of hysteria many experts predicted. Switching my measuring stick to those predictions - virally and economically - helps me stay appreciative.

Changing my focus to the positive side effects that have come from this year also helps.  This year has reminded me that my house is my home and I am fortunate to have one. I have also been reminded that spending more time outside helps me appreciate the absolute beauty and wonder of nature.

Political years will always have some form of chaos and division in them, but measuring our system against governments without the rights of voting, free speech, and open debate creates much more appreciation for our political freedoms than simply focusing on the flaws.

As we begin to plan for the holiday season, I am choosing to focus on the things that create gratitude instead of frustration. I'm also choosing to focus on the things that I am blessed with, rather than the negatives 202 has challenged us with.

Thanksgiving may be different this year, but it still carries the same reminder - maybe even a stronger one this year - that I can be thankful and show gratitude, even when faced with challenging situations.

By Rusty, Thu, 08/20/2020 - 08:50

In the past several months, we've had some interesting events in the world, and more specifically even, in our corner of it. We won't list them one-by-one, as we all know several that have made 2020 a year for the record books. In each of these unique challenges there has been a mixture of fear, stress, and panic that has gripped me - for my family, my health, my team, my friends, my business, my church, my community, and my country. I wonder how much less stressful these situations would have been if, instead of looking at the negatives and reacting with fear, I could have looked at things in a different way. 

I speak with our team often about one of our core values, which is having an "Attitude of Optimism." One example is weather, of which can be brutal on our team in a lot of different ways. Hot and dry weather causes dehydration for the team, drought stress in the lawn, and a higher liklehood for chinch bugs. On the other hand consistent rain causes high humidity, scheduling delays, longer work weeks, and saturated lawns. Both extremes are frustrating, and can cause green industry professionals to look negatively upon almost all weather in our ever-changing Florida climate.

Instead of taking the pessimistic view, we talk about how we should be more thankful for the dry weather allowing us to maintain a normal work schedule, and then appreciative of the heavy rains doing a great job of cooling us off and keeping the lawns healthy. We know that we cannot control the weather, but we can control what how we see and percieve the weather. Simply put, we strive to see things from an optimistic point of view.

Negativity only makes a hot day hotter and a long day longer.

When challenges come our way, it may be easy to succumb to negative thoughts; especially as the 24-Hour news cycle continues to push the next breaking news. However, working to change our mindset and look on the bright side allows us to see through the storm to the brighter days on the horizon.

At first, I struggled to come up with positive ways to view recent evens. I looked over things such as:

  • Extra time with my family at home
  • Renewed awareness and focus on my health
  • Increased space in my budget due to not eating out
  • More free time due to the lack of events cluttering my schedule
  • The amazing infastructure of technology we have to work remotely
  • More time outside in nature with so many indoor activities closed
  • More awareness of how we treat others in our community - especially those of a different race

I believe that no matter our circumstances, we can choose to see things in a more positive way. Cultivating an attitude of optimism takes work though.. It also requires that we be honest with ourselves and notice when, as I did earlier this year, we are seeing things through pessimistic eyes. This type of shift in thinking takes a lot of effort but the rewards are great.

I encourage you to adopt an attitude of optimism in your life. It won't just change your attitude though -  it will change your life. That's why I end most all of my emails and communicationswith one statement: "Create A Great Day." It's completely up to you.

By Rusty, Tue, 08/11/2020 - 07:33

Rusty Thompson of The Master's Lawn Care vists the WHOA! GNV Podcast and shares how he keeps this labor-intensive business fresh and qualifies team members to ensure a terrific service!

5:30 - Rusty, tell us your story.
9:51 - Is The Master’s Lawn Care a franchise?
10:47 - What has been the biggest whoa factor in your business career?
13:02 - What got you interested in the lawn care business in the first place?
14:35 - Talk to us about the competition in the market?
17:00 - What is one thing you have experienced that you never thought would happen?
18:16 - Has more sales meant more profit for you?
22:09 - Does the team get paid per job?
23:06 - What is your quality control system?
25:09 - How often do you check each truck’s GPS on your crew?
29:29 - Have you experienced a spike with COVID?
33:03 - Did you have any clients cancel?
34:05 - Did the cost of the job change because of the virus?
34:57 - Does the neighborhood lawn kid still exist?
35:54 - Are your sales up or down since last year?
39:52 - How has your leadership changed since you started?
47:41 - How do you get someone so passionate about a base level job?
51:36 - Are you doing assessments to qualify your employees?
53:36 - How do you qualify people for high labor jobs?
55:25 - How do you make sure people are not overheating on the job?
56:50 - What is your go-to advice for a new entrepreneur?
57:43 - Where is your time as a leader being spent?
58:32 - How long did it take you to identify your weaknesses?
1:03:54 - Where can our audience connect with you?
1:04:45 - What are lawn tips you have for those who do their own lawn?

- - - - -

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I, Collin Austin, founder of New Scooters 4 Less and Repaint The Wall - Gainesville's Digital Media Un-Agency, and Michael Dees, CEO of New Scooters 4 Less, are out to bring you incredible and inspiring stories of entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, and other awe-inspiring leaders.  Hear the fascinating challenges individuals have had to persevere through.  Soak in the wisdom of talented men and women that have had the grit and focus to get to glory.  Reflect on their life-altering stories.  Join in and celebrate the wins with them (and us) as well.  If it makes you go “WHOA!”, it’s on this podcast!  Educate yourself and grow as we come together EVERY Monday at 8am to learn from the BEST. 

We're out to accomplish 3 major goals:

1.  Show off what makes Gainesville so awesome... Its stories and people!  I want people outside of Gainesville to hear this podcast and go "Whoa! I want to go/move/build a business/etc. there!" 

2.  Keep some of our Top 7 University of Florida talent here by showing them that Gainesville is SO MUCH MORE than a place you go to college! 

3.  Build as many connections within the community as possible!  I can't begin to tell you how many people tell me, "I heard of that business for the first time on your podcast and now I'm collaborating/doing business/friends with them!"  I'm inspired by the impact this podcast has already had and can't wait to see what the future holds!  Join us!

Join us on the journey and listen on...

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By Rusty, Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:37

It’s been two months since our community started experiencing the disarray brought on by COVID-19. I know that for many of us, including some of the most vulnerable in our community, what we knew as normal still feels quite distant. And then for some of us, life is slowly settling in to some new sense of normalcy.

As we continue on this path towards normalcy, I have been reflecting a bit. It’s been a challenge, and one that we are still battling with, but I am encouraged by the many positives that I have seen and the lessons we can take from this experience.

Today, I wanted to share four of these takeaways with you.

Global Connection. Before this, I believed a pandemic was a thing that happened in distant times, faraway places, or in sci-fi movies. I have been humbled in seeing how something like this can effect so many lives across the world as we all weather the same storm. The speed that this pandemic moved across the globe has been illuminating in just how deeply interconnected the world is. The virus traveled fast, and that was relative to how we are more globally connected than ever. Although that was exposed as a weakness during this trial, I choose to see the global connection as a positive in that ideas, solutions, and cultures spread quickly as well - and more oft than a virus.

Local Community. This global event has really highlighted the importance of - and the strength of - our local community. I have seen our community band together to feed school children, to pick up groceries for those who are more at-risk, and donating masks and PPE where there are shortages. The chamber also put together the Eat GNV group to keep us informed on how to support local restaurants. I’ve heard before that a community is best measured by the compassionate acts of its members, and I am more convinced than ever that Gainesville is an amazing community to be a part of. We are #FORGainesville.

Empathy Towards Perceptions. I have spoken with people whose feelings about this pandemic range from devastating end-of-world scenarios to completely normal and business-as-usual. Most seem to lie somewhere in between the two. I work to remind myself that we are all unique individuals, and we come to this moment with our own set of experiences and perceptions. I don’t have to agree with everyone to be respectful of their viewpoint. Most of all, I work to remind myself that this broad tapestry of individuals is part of what makes our community such an interesting place, and that empathizing with others' perception of the crisis does more good than debating it.

Enjoy a Change of Pace. Many of us are compulsively busy people. The world moves fast. The list of commitments is unending and the calendar is packed. It doesn’t stop... until it did. We had to adapt quickly to hold on to our sanity. Suddenly, there was time for cooking, home projects, and forgotten hobbies. There was more time with the people in our homes. I’ve gone on more walks in my neighborhood with my dogs and family in this time than ever before, and there is something comforting about a simple walk with the family. I don't plan to forget those hobbies, the walks, or the new meals as I get busy again.

As we begin to slowly move toward some normalcy, I pray that these four lessons of global connection, the strength of our local community, empathy toward perceptions, and enjoying a change of pace aren't soon forgotten. They were takeaways that will be extremely valuable and useful for the future.

By Rusty, Wed, 04/29/2020 - 08:52

When you've had enough of news, projections, stress, and worry; turning down the noise and turning up the music can be just what's in order.

This week we've put together a list of the songs that make our team smile. This list features a broad range of music, reflecting our diverse team, with a little something for everyone.

I've enjoyed listening to their choices and hope this might inspire you to put together a playlist including favorites from your friends and family as well! Here they are in no particular order:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen - This selection by James will get just about any room singing along!
  • Love on Top by Beyonce - This song I learned was the recessional song at Bren's wedding.
  • Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson - This song of praise was chosen by Mike McGuire in our irrigation department. It's a song of peace, and trusting in God in those moments when we are in troubled times.
  • Whatever it Takes by Imagine Dragons - This song was definitely new to me. Added to our list by Morgan, a newer team member on TMLC's team it's definitely an upbeat and positive tune.
  • Billie Jean by Michael Jackson - Yomi Williams selected this as his song that always makes him sing along. "If it comes on, you just can't help but stop and listen. It's classic"
  • Macarena by Los del Rio - Just hearing the name of this song put a smile on my face! A contribution to our list by Luis Perez who serves as a foreman for commercial maintenance accounts. I'll be honest, I didn't play this one because I know it'd be stuck in my head all day! Maybe this weekend we'll teach the dance to Griffin.
  • Sunday Morning by Maroon 5 - Taylor chose this song I can definitely get on board. It has a relaxing feeling and I can see it playing while Cassie and I play a board game in the living room!
  • Feeling Alright by Rebelution - Another song that was definitely new to me, this one was chosen by Josh Jackson in our lawn health department. It has a light, easy sound, definitely feel-good music. It made me nostalgic for an afternoon at the beach!
  • Happy by Pharell Williams -  "Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth" I'm not sure that a song can get more positive and feel good with lyrics like this. Thank you to Bionca, our project department coordinator for the pick!
  • Until I Pass Out by Uncle Reece - Herbert Williams chose this song for our list by American Christian hip-hop performer Uncle Reece. It's a different style song of worship that brings a smile to his heart when he hears it.
  • Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel - My personal pick was born right here in Gainesville, and has inspired a book, a local coffee shop (CYMplify), and a movement. This song is about changing your focus, which changes your attitude, and can change your life. "Did you ever think there was another way to feel better about today?"
By Rusty, Wed, 04/15/2020 - 10:35

Many of us find ourselves stressed and restless these days, home more than we are accustomed to with very few outlets for energy. I continue praying that this virus affects as few lives as possible and that our lives can return to some semblance of normal.

With kids cooped up and business lives disrupted, it can be difficult to find calm in the storm. I worked with my team on this edition of Rusty's corner. Here are 7 things that we've been doing to get through. We hope some of these ideas are helpful to you!

  1. Create an Outdoor Oasis - This has been my go-to at the end of the day. Cassie and I hung a hammock that we've had laying around for ages, and it has been a great addition. Mostly, we lay in it and watch our son play in the sprinklers or play in the dirt. It gets him and us out of the house, and is relaxing to get away from all the digital distractions inside.
  2. Teen Cooking Class - Bren, our office manager, has two teen sons at home and has been spending time in the kitchen teaching them to cook. With time on their hands and eating at home, it's been a great opportunity for making pizza from scratch and letting them come up with nightly menus.
  3. Child's Play - Bionca, our project coordinator, has been building Lego kits with her son. It's something that they can do together and that she loved doing in the past, but had slipped away with the business of life.
  4. Neighborhood Games - Michelle, our Controller, has been playing games that her neighbors have set up like Hopscotch and Bear Hunting with her son. It's just another thing to get outdoors and enjoy family time together.
  5. Start an Edible or Pollinator Garden - This is the perfect time of year to install plants that are edible or pollinator-friendly. From Tomato plants and Rosemary to Lantana and Milkweed, many different garden options are available. One of our team counted 5 monarch butterfly caterpillars on their milkweed plants this week!
  6. Watch Movies Together Digitally - A team member shared an app called Rave with me, which allows you to watch movies together while being physically distant through platforms like Netflix and YouTube. They have been using this to keep their movie night tradition going with their adult children!
  7. Get Active. As someone who is used to going to the gym daily, this has been one of the most difficult changes. I am grateful for my new morning routine with a jog in the neighborhood and the abundance of online workouts available to keep me motivated.
By Rusty, Fri, 04/03/2020 - 11:17
Focus on What You Control

Control what you can control, and don't fear you can't control because it does no good. 

I have learned, as much as I hate it, that I cannot control wht happens in New York, Italy, South Florida, or even the City of Gainesville. I can only control what actions I take and where my focus is.

This past week, I got sucked into focusing on things I couldn't control. I was zeroed in on the latest breaking news. The problem is that the news media is built around one idea, "if it bleeds, it leads." Meaning, you can get a lot more clicks / viewers / readers if your headlines read:

  • "Death Toll surpasses world record"
  • "250 brand new cases of CoronaVIrus in Florida"
  • "Unemployment numbers skyrocket" 

Compared to:

  • "Testing response times have been reduced substantially"
  • "Alachua County is beating most expert prediction models"
  • "Death rate of COVID19 plummets 400% as testing is increased"
  • "Donations of money, food, and blood pour into local non-profits during crisis"

This is not new news, but it's important to remember. This week, I got caught up in the headlines and the fear almost paralyzed me. 

I had to remind myself that I can't control any of the above,  and neither can you. BUT-  we can control what we pay attention to. We can control where we focus our energy. We can control taking a bad situation and finding the positive in it.

I understand the situation is dire and I am not minimizing the threat. I am taking precautions, but I am also changing my foucs from the next breaking news story to things I control - my actions, focus, beliefs, and vision. 

The positives that are coming from this situation are there - but I had to look hard for them. Like spending more time at home with my family, getting back to some hobbies I had given up on, and getting caught up on some yard work at my home.

The bottom line is Fear is a liar, and he will magnify all of the things you can't control. What you can control is what you do today right where you're at.

Stop stressing over things you can't do anything about and focus fully on what you can.


Our company response to COVID19 and measures we are taking to protect our team, clients, and community are listed on this page that is updated regularly.

By Rusty, Wed, 02/19/2020 - 12:49

I am not a parenting expert. My son, Griffin, is only 2 and I consider myself still pretty naive to this parenting thing. He is a charming, loving toddler with an energy and curiosity. He picks up new skills with a speed that I could only dream about and he loves and trusts with his whole heart. In this short time, I’ve learned more from him than I could have thought possible. Here are a just a handful of things my son has taught me:

Never Stop Learning

I watch my son’s face sometimes and I am awed to see the gears in his head turning. He is making new connections constantly and his curiosity is insatiable. He doesn’t need a classroom, a conference, or a formal setting to take in information and explore. He has taught me that I can approach every moment in life as an opportunity to learn.

Persistence Pays Off

My son is somewhat of an escape artist. Our toddler-proofing skills have been stretched to the limit and he is constantly devising new ways around them. Maybe not the first time...maybe not the tenth time...but eventually, he devises a way that works. He applies this same persistence to everything he tackles, and it is amazing to see. I have learned tha we may have to fail a dozen times, but with persistence we can find a way past any challenging obstacle.

Be sad together

If you’ve spent any amount of time around a toddler, you know that those emotions run deep! From the most joyful exuberance to the depths of despair, and in a moment's time. When Griffin is sad, he reaches for us, for me and for his mom to offer support and comfort. Too often as adults we brave these moments alone, not wanting to burden those around us. But life’s hardest moments are easier when we reach out to those around us.

I am so thankful for all that my son is teaching me. From patience to perseverance, I look forward to the many lessons that are still to come.

man ans son smiling
By Rusty, Fri, 02/07/2020 - 11:33

"Events don't equal our Explanations."

When an event happens, we tell ourselves stories to explain the event. Whatever the event is - a fight with your spouse, a disagreement with a team member, or even an underperforming direct report, we attach stories to the event and this creates our perception.

It could be we decided that our spouse was being rude, the team member thinks you're incompetent, or the direct report is lazy and unfixable.

A quick example: a High school student fails an algebra test (the event), and then makes the statement that "I'm just not smart enough to understand algebra." (the explanation).

You probably, as a mature adult, have come up with a couple completely differing explanations from the same event that have little to do with him not being smart. Maybe they sound like:

  • The student didn't study hard enough
  • He focused more on something else (girlfriend, sports, video games) than Algebra
  • He didn't use a calendar to remind him of the test and forgot.
  • or a number of other explanations.

The point is simply that just because you know the facts surrounding the situation, doesn't mean you are completely correct on your personal explanation, or story you're telling yourself, about the facts.

Consider the scenario of being placed on a (PIP) Performance Improvement Plan, or 'written up' as the old terminology goes at work. Here are two very different stories about the situation:

"My boss is trying to fire me.or  "This is a wake-up call for me to evaluate my performance and action on KPIs."

Granted even the second, “positive” self-talk is still an explanation or story. But, what a difference it makes in your response to the event!

Simply noticing that your thoughts are writing these stories in your head puts you significantly beyond the masses—most people are not even remotely aware they are constantly telling themselves stories about every event they come into contact with, and how those stories affect their lives.

Be aware of the explanations you tell yourself, and how you frame events in your mind. Events don't create much emotion, but our stories do...and that is where the train can get off the tracks in a hurry.

By Rusty, Tue, 01/07/2020 - 15:53

5 Areas of Growth

Those close to me know that I am a big believer in setting goals and having targets to strive for. 2020 is a new year, a new decade and a fresh opportunity to take a look at where we've done well, and where we may still have some improvements we can make.

I will be honest, in years past my goals were driven more by my professional life and my goals for this team. As I've grown, and especially as I've grown in my role as a husband and a father, I've tried to expand that focus and make small gains in different areas of my life. Today I encourage you to take a look at these 5 areas of development and think about what changes you can that might bring you closer to your long term hopes and plans for your life.

Physical. This is the classic New Year's Resolution. Those few extra pounds. Getting to the gym more regularly. Scheduling those doctor's appointments we have been meaning to get to. It's an important area to focus on, and it might be somewhere that you can pair up with one of the areas below!

Financial. No matter where we might be starting from, whether that is learning to stick to a weekly budget, or increase your retirement savings, this is an aspect of our lives that is easy to neglect.

Intellectual Growth. This area is where I focus my professional goal and career. For some of us this could be learning new skills, a hobby that we want to delve further into, volunteer work, or a commitment to read more in 2020. It's about ensuring that your taking steps to grow in your intellectual life.

Relationships. I find myself spending more time in this area as my son grows and my relationship with my wife deepens. I also carve some time here to be intentional in spending time with my family and the friends that are most dear to me. As I mentioned above how these goals and areas might overlap, this is a great area to bring those closest to you on with your goals in other area. For example, we could aim to have a fun family fitness night twice a week.

Spiritual. I believe that we all walk a spiritual path and I believe this is something very personal to each of us. For me, that is leaning into my faith and my relationship with God. Whatever that path might be that speaks to you, your spiritual walk is what brings you back to center. This may be the easiest to neglect area of focus, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what this means to you, and how you can work on this area in 2020.

Thank you for reading and here's to a great 2020 for all of us!