“I was envious,” Hodges said. “His success in creating this great film was jarring to me. Especially since this was a movie that had a fantastic story and a message about the relationship between a father and son.”
After some reflection, Hodges recalled the toll that making this film had taken on his cousin. He knew that he had sacrificed everything to bring it to fruition. “He was 100 pounds overweight, had no personal relationships and had made his whole life his job.” Not only was there no envy of that position in life for Hodges, but it sparked an idea that would change his life philosophy permanently.
In that moment, he let go of “the illusion that we can have it all and have it at the same time,” Hodges said. “You can have things at different times in your life, but anyone who thinks they can have it all at once has been watching too much tv.”
Hodges shared this ideology with others, and he discovered many were struggling in the same way. He found a society searching for the elusive definition of success and the delicate balance of the varied sectors of adult life.
Hodges, a Naval Academy graduate and former naval officer, was so energized by his revelation that he knew he simply had to get it down on paper. “I didn’t start out intending to write a book,” he said, “but I had been keeping a journal for about 15 years that was filled with aspirations of excelling in different areas. I just built on that.”
And build he did. He likened the parts of our lives (careers, relationships, etc) to “stones” and set about showing how our personal placement and prioritization of those stones determine our destiny.
His book, “Placing Stones,” and an ensuing website of the same name have led to some new stone placement for Hodges. “It took almost two years to write the book, getting up early every morning and writing for an hour.” He would then switch gears and transition to his career as an engineering management consultant with a Fortune 500 firm.
“The book was originally over 300 pages long,” Hodges admitted, “but I hired an editor, and she suggested that I cut it down and change the chronology. It all came together from there, and I was able to publish it through Amazon in 2010.”
“Placing Stones” boasts numerous positive reviews on Amazon.com. Though the book is printed on demand in small runs, it has parlayed into speaking engagements for Hodges all over the world as it is a business guide as well as a personal how-to.
“I will probably speak six or seven times this year, mostly to corporations,” said Hodges. “I try and combine travel for work and speaking as often as I can. If I really marketed the book I might be able to speak more, but that is not where my stones are right now.”
Adding book-related activity to a career and family life begs the question, does Hodges practice what he preaches?
“Absolutely,” he vows. “This summer I had to release running the Marine Corps Marathon because I needed to devote the time to my son Rio’s summer swim season with the [Kentlands] Kingfish. Stones change and placements change. The goal is to achieve great things without regretting the things you didn’t do and not envying those that made different choices.”
Yet Hodges has lived what some may call an enviable life. He is a seasoned world traveler and marathoner and a successful entrepreneur. Recently he added author to his resume as well.
“I don’t really consider myself an author, but I am starting to work on ideas for a second book [that] will flush out some of the concepts in the first one.”
Most importantly, Hodges looks forward to passing on these life lessons to his son. “This is an idea that young and old can embrace. It’s never too late to change, and it is never too early to learn.”