The Outside Insights Community

Every journey starts somewhere – why not right now?


Hey there, I’m Chris.


Servant leader, coach, entrepreneur, mountain man, and owner of Placers, one of Delaware’s 50 fastest growing businesses with a mission of igniting the spark between businesses and next-level talent.


I’m a firm believer that everyone we come into contact with has lessons to share – from strategies for successful entrepreneurship, to how to live a balanced life – mind, body, and soul.


Outside Insights is a platform for sharing those lessons and ideas so that we may all close our personal gap. At its core, it’s a community of individuals who know that there is always progress to be made – big or small.


As a business owner, I encourage my team to operate under one simple yet extremely powerful idea: that the best results come when you push the limits. Last year, I trekked up the glacial landscape of Mt. Rainier – a bucket-list climb. It wasn’t easy. When a blizzard hit at 11,500 feet, we spent a tough night in frigid temperatures with tents blowing and a mix of freezing rain and snow billowing into my tent. While nature ultimately decided it was time for us to descend, we were left with a life-changing experience reserved only for those who dare to step outside of their comfort zones.


Epic journeys wait on the other side of comfort zones. Outside Insights will give you the inspiration, tools, and aha moments you need to get there.

Stories, thoughts, and lessons for closing your gap.

Check out the Outside Insights library.

What We Actually Need from Our Leaders

The election feels like the exclamation point on the end of a long run-on sentence (otherwise known as the year 2020). We have been through a range of emotions and sticky situations this year. Many of us have gone from fear to frustration, to now what feels like a general sense of anxiety. With so much […]

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What Got Me Here Won’t Get Me There

This visualization represents my work/life story over the past 30 years. I imagine many of you can relate. To me work equaled independence. I started work early. From the age of nine, I had a paper route which I had until I was sixteen. It was hard work; I got up before school to deliver […]

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What 2009 Taught Me

In 2009, many businesses ground to a halt – almost a complete stop. Corporate customers stopped buying. Consumer sentiment was down, and people stopped spending. In the U.S., this was our entire economy. Most leaders found themselves navigating uncharted business waters, and leadership became narrowly focused on one thing: survival.   I am proud to […]

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Unlock Your Potential: Live with Intention

Are you where you want to be in your life? Did you cross all the items off your bucket list? Have all of your dreams been chased? If the answer is yes, yes and yes – congratulations! You can proceed with the rest of your day. But, if you’re like me, you probably answered no […]

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To Move Forward, You Must be Still

If you’ve been part of the Outside Insights community for a while, you know how important I view goal setting and developing actionable steps to make them a reality. We set our sights on outcomes that we want to reach and then act with intention, every day, to achieve them – knocking tasks out one […]

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Tired of the Pandemic? Sleep on it.

I’d like to start this week’s email out with a question for you. If someone offered you a pill that could decrease your chances of cancer and heart disease by more than half, increase your memory and intelligence, decrease anxiety and stress and make you happier with no negative side effects – would you take […]

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The Story of the Bucket

  The world of business is fast-changing. Fickle, almost. Climates evolve rapidly, markets come and go, consumer demand is continually in flux. Any company that navigates these inherent trials and tribulations with grace isn’t doing so because of sheer dumb luck. They have a secret sauce: Their employees.   The lifeblood of any company is […]

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The New Rules of Work

In business, there are assets, things that add or increase in value, and there are liabilities, things that must be paid for or are a cost to the business. All employees have the opportunity to be real assets – but not all employees are working to their full potential. Be an asset. Grow yourself, be […]

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The Master Puppeteer

“Recently, I was meeting with our recruitment consultant, Freddy, over lunch and I shared this story. Back in the early days of Placers 1.0 and the CBI Group, we set out to propel one of the key tenants of our culture: employee empowerment. We asked ourselves how self-directed our teams could really be. Would they […]

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The Importance of Knowing Yourself

Where does our confidence come from? How do I “fake it till I make it”? How do I know I am doing the right things with my life? I spend a lot of time with good people, customers, employees, friends, family and outside-inners that find value in our words and podcasts. The questions above are […]

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Thank you to the year 2020

Only in 2020 would we run out of Christmas trees! Yes, 12 foot pines are going for more than a grand if you can find one. We are all so desperate for some normalcy many started bringing in the holiday cheer a little early this year. We are all looking to lift our spirits, have […]

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Outside Insights: The Lake of Life

As a member of the Scaling Up community, a strategic coach, and a business owner of a growth-oriented mid-market company, I have had the pleasure of learning life lessons from some of the best leaders and entrepreneurs on the planet. I discuss one of my favorites below – and how I’ve used it to better my life […]

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Outside Insights- Why Do I Hike Big Mountains?

Steve Jobs once said, “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” Man, am I familiar with this phrase.   Many years ago, I decided to become an entrepreneur – my first company, the CBI Group, was born. At that time, I believed that every hour I worked would equate to future value. […]

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My View from the Road

For the last few weeks, I have been in Wyoming on my sabbatical (all Placers team members take one every 10 years). I’m accompanied by my wife, Kim, and two Aussie Shepherds, Ziggy and Gracie, in a small cabin-style rental.   Nature has welcomed us into its embrace as short-term guests in a place where […]

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Life Lessons from a Serial Entrepreneur

We all have a gap in our life that we are working to close personally and perhaps professionally. In fact, Outside Insights is dedicated to helping people understand and do the work necessary to achieve the life that they’ve been yearning for. The biggest hesitation I hear from people who want more out of life […]

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Let’s Grow Again in 2021

We’re eight days into January and it seems like all I read about is habit building, resolution setting, and how wellness is the key to my happiness. Now don’t get me wrong, I rock a daily plan, have a gratitude journal, I even review every week religiously for my wins and areas of improvement. And […]

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Lessons in leadership: Going against the grain

I am a firm believer that contrarian thinking often creates positive outcomes. That going against the grain and the opposite direction of the crowd is ok, and oftentimes, how one can find the right answer, direction, or philosophy for living. First off, its crowded going with the masses. Yes, staying in your lane is safe, […]

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Leadership by Temper Tantrum

As a history buff, I recently read a short story about the fall of Napoleon. Yes, the Emperor of France who conquered most of Europe in the 1800s. In a famous event, Napoleon raced back to Paris from the battlefields after receiving intelligence that his two top government officials were apparently conspiring against him.   […]

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Knowledge is Our Equalizer

While 2020 is a year we might hope to forget – we will always remember the realities faced and the lessons learned. Why does it seem like the issues, challenges, and obstacles keep coming relentlessly? That behind every crisis is another one waiting to greet us.First, a virus turned global pandemic, then the economic fallout […]

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How to be a hero in the year 2020

Superheroes of comic books and Marvel movies wear costumes and save the world from evil. Most come from humble beginnings and experience the injustices of their world first-hand. Their experiences forge their character and will in ways that enable them to later protect and fight for the rights of others. Think of Superman as he […]

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How Jeremy Saved My Vacation, Summer of 2020

My week in Block Island was planned when 2020 was looking like any other year. Right now, the idea of a vacation or time away is causing real consternation for many. Those lucky enough to have jobs find themselves exhausted from six months of heads-down work where time off just feels weird – “bad” even? […]

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How Do You Measure A Successful Life Lived?

At face value, the definition of success can feel pretty narrow. Growing up, many of us are told that to be successful we need to go to college, land a well-paying job, work up the ladder, receive hefty raises, contribute to our 401(k) and then retire with a healthy retirement and time to finally do […]

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Finding Peace in Chaos

Here’s the truth, friends – I have a war in my mind that gets fought every day.I am going to bet that I am not alone. 2020 seems to have done this to me and to most people I know – probably even you. We are in a constant state of angst, recharged with every […]

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Exhaustion in the Age of the “New Normal”

It’s officially August – about six months since news of a formidable virus with a strange name infiltrated the headlines. For six months, we’ve seemingly been in a constant state of alert while adjusting to a “new normal” – one that will never really feel normal. A reality where we’re continually asking ourselves, what comes […]

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Culture Reflects Leadership

Successful leaders know that one thing is at the core of every successful business: a strong culture. When done right, culture has the potential to be a key competitive advantage. When employees are empowered and encouraged by their company’s culture, they can move faster, solve more problems, and become more engaged in the broader goals […]

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Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Over the past two decades, my personal secret to success has been a simple one. To outwork and outlearn everyone else as best I can. This is so much a part of me; therefore, it is also a part of our Placers DNA. Part of our purpose at Placers is to serve our customers, including […]

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Build Your Top 20

  Build Your Top 20   We often think of being “results based” as simply achieving outcomes. Getting shit done. Hitting your forecast or sales quotas. Winning. You get the picture. But before you work full-steam ahead towards these outcomes you must clearly and succinctly understand what you’re trying to accomplish. What is the desired […]

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Ask Yourself: Who needs what?

This is a quick and simple reminder to add value to your important relationships today. I am sick and tired of politics and the divisive nature of the times. I am not right nor wrong for my views. Nor are you. And how I feel about you does not change when I disagree with you […]

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Advice I Would Give My Younger Self

Where will you be two years from now? How about 20? What short-term and long-term goals are you currently working towards? About 19 years ago, at age 32, I put it all on the line and became the fourth generation in my family to take the entrepreneurial plunge when I started my first company – […]

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A Life Without Limits

Close your eyes and imagine what life would be like if you woke up each day and lived life as if you had no limits? As if closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be was well within your reach. The system of life keeps us “on the rails”. As […]

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5 Ways to Manage Stress

When I was a young man, I avoided problems and stressful situations. I operated by the mentality that if I didn’t talk about it or think about it, the stress would disappear for a brief moment. Sound familiar?   As you can guess, and likely know first-hand, the stress would always come back bigger and more […]

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2020: The Year You Refuse to Settle

The start of the year holds so many feelings – gratitude after time spent with loved ones, perhaps a little melancholy as we settle back into the routine of things, and a hell of a lot of inspiration to make the new year the best it can be. No matter what your unique goals are, […]

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20,000 Times a Day

The average human breathes in and out around 20,000 times a day. Recently, I have been feeling extra blessed every morning. I remind myself that today is my privilege and not my right. We all know that the future is not guaranteed. Yet, I’ve noticed that my mindset and actions sometimes show that I forget. […]

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