Let's get a little personal today.
As many of you know, my real job is not writing at Give 'Em Hell, Brigham. In fact, my real job is not writing for Cougar Sports Insider either. Those are both endeavors that I take on as hobbies. I love to write, I love BYU sports, and I love interacting with all of you. So, it's easy to love those side hobbies.
My real career is in banking. I am the Vice President over Commercial Banking and Customer Experience at an online bank in Ogden.
We're a small(ish) bank, managing just over $1B in assets. Like any small company in any industry, people are asked to wear many different hats, most of which fall outside of what is in a dedicate job description.
That is the case with me. I'm over commercial banking and customer experience for both consumer and commercial banking customers, but I also dabble in marketing, research and development, various IT tasks that don't include actual coding but include just about everything else, high-level data analysis, and a myriad of operational jobs that are scattered throughout the bank.
Over the past few years, our bank has been tackling a couple of major endeavors. We converted our phone system to a new system that is entirely driven by data and APIs. We started with a whiteboard and scoped everything out from scratch.
We did the same thing with our online and mobile banking experiences.
We also did this with a couple of new product types.
All of those things have gone live in the last month. Couple that with the day-to-day operations of a bank that already take up 50-60 hours a week, and I have been exhausted.
So, this past weekend, I unplugged. I took my Jeep and headed to Southern Utah to find some trails. I took my brother-in-law, my father, and a long-lost cousin of mine. We had a great time hitting trails, hitting Mesquite casinos, and just hanging out.
I stayed (mostly) unplugged for the entire time.
We took a drive south of Mesquite to a place called Little Finland. I'd never heard of Little Finland, but once I got there, I immediately fell in love with the place. It was like a very-miniature Arches of Bryce that was in an area that was so secluded that I was the only person on the mountain.
I hiked to the top of the mountain and got to spend a bunch of time there by myself. There was no service. There was not stress of daily life. There was just me, a few family members, and one of the coolest places that I had ever seen. It was perfect.
Upon my return home, the stresses of life immediately sank in. Rollouts at work were back on the forefront of my mind. The lack of content on either of my BYU outlets weight heavily on my brain. Spending time with my wife and kids that I hadn't seen all weekend was an obvious priority. There were many things that immediately jumped back to the top of mind - and they were all critical.
The relaxing moments in Little Finland dissipated quickly. Life was back.
Why am I sharing all of this with you today? Because I had an epiphany over in the midst of all of those emotions. I found the new direction (realistically, it's the same as the old direction but we're going to emphasize things more) of Give 'Em Hell, Brigham.
I finally figured out how to describe what we are trying to create here.
Give 'Em Hell, Brigham (particularly our Discord Server where the conversation is ongoing all day, every day) is our own Little Finland.
GEHB is our escape. It is our moments of reflection. It is the place where you can pat yourself on the back for a new online banking rollout after multiple years of hard work. And the best part? Everyone around you will celebrate with you.
It is the place where you can be yourself, in the most authentic way possible. We have had discussions of religion and digging into the doctrine of the Church that most BYU fans follow. We have had open, transparent conversations about the trials that have been caused by the same Church, and learned why many people no longer associate themselves with the Church. We have talked about careers and career advice. We have debated whether subscribers should take a new job or don't. We have talked about family trials and worked through things as friends.
We also are active. We raised thousands of dollars (yes, thousands) for refugees in Ukraine who were fleeing the country. Subscribers have gone to dinner with each other, made friends, and talked about life. Business deals have happened as a result of relationships that have been made at GEHB.
All of this has happened while talking about BYU sports with some of the most connected and educated fans that BYU-world has to offer.
Over the last few months of the offseason, we have seen our membership numbers stall - and that's okay. It's the football offseason, we expected membership numbers to plateau for a bit.
But, what that tells me is that people still view GEHB as a BYU outlet, designed to produce BYU content and give BYU insights.
The BYU content is certainly there, but if that's all you are looking to get from GEHB, you are missing out on the greatness of it. You are missing out on the most valuable part of the entire platform. You are missing out on US. On YOU. On ME. On your fellow BYU fans - the ones who you might sit next to at LaVell Edwards Stadium and the ones that you would never expect to see wearing a stretch Y across their chest.
All of us are what makes GEHB great, BYU is just part of that.
As I got back into the swing of real life after my unplugged get away, I found myself missing Little Finland.
After logging back in to the GEHB servers and seeing people celebrate a new job and reading private messages from subscribers asking if we can leverage the GEHB platform to raise money for someone else, I recognized the feeling.
GEHB isn't a breathtaking landmark that you will take pictures of but that doesn't mean that GEHB won't take your breath away.
This is a special community with a unique, special objective.
We exist to lift others, to connect as human beings, and to be there for each other when our friends - no, our family - need someone to be there.
If you haven't seen this community and the power that comes with it, join us. Subscribe for a VIP membership, download Discord, and jump in head first. We will be excited when you do.