Friday, December 28, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You Will Make You Stronger

Both in life and in business, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger.  This CEO Blogger comes from very humble beginnings.  Though my immigrant grandfather was a successful businessman, I watched my blue collar parents really struggle, living pay check to pay check, like so many other Americans.  While we always had food on the table, clothing and a roof over our heads, there really wasn't much of anything else; no vacations, no eating out, no luxuries of any kind, no fun. 

I determined at a very young age that I would not be in this position, which caused me to begin working at 12 years old, while other kids were enjoying their childhoods.  By the time I was 17, I worked at a pet shop, a dog groomer, a grocery store, the Ontario Speedway, selling programs and peanuts,  the LA Zoo as a vending machine operator and Dodger Stadium running souvenir stands.  

Now at University, once I turned 18, I started selling ladies shoes in Beverly Hills to rich women, including many movie stars, that shopped for a living.  This turned out to be very fortunate for me because I began earning more money, on commission, than many adults working full time and double what I earned as a first year teacher.  As such, no student loans for me.  I was never a starving student, that's for sure.   Ultimately, after earning several university degrees, I ended up teaching in the barrio in East Los Angeles for six years and then joining Merrill Lynch as a very young manager at 29 years old.   The rest is history and today I own a global company. 

Years later, during a family discussion, while I was not complaining,  since I never asked for any help, I mentioned to my Dad that he never gave my brother or me; one dime for university, or anything else.   My father responded that he would have helped; "but I didn't need it".   To which I said, I didn't need it because I worked my butt off, going to university full time, while working 30 - 40 hours a week.   Dad quickly retorted,  "And, you are better off for it and stronger because you did".  Though this was many years ago, Dad went on to say, "Look where you are today because of your hard work".   I never realized it at the time, but my father did me the biggest favor of my life by giving me nothing.   It created my relentless drive to succeed and survival instints that continue to this day. 

This CEO Blogger only recounts my personal story to demonstrate that anyone can come from humble beginnings, with enough hard work, Focus, Discipline and Passion, to accomplish big things and eventually become wealthy.  Many employees make excuses for their lack of success.  If you are a 9 to 5 employee in a 7 to 7 world, get with the program, or live with your fate.  If you hate your job, or boss, as I often did when I was a kid, do it better than anyone else to get a better job.  If you have been passed over for a promotion because you don't have a university degree, get one.  If you are living pay check to pay check, first get your life in order and second, get the job skills to make more money.   I can attest that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger.  I know.  I have been there, done that. 

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