Real Entrepreneur Life

From Content to Context

Resilience: do you have it? — May 30, 2017

Resilience: do you have it?

You’ve hit a roadblock. You feel as if you’re physically being held down and restrained with no hope in sight. How do you break free? Or better yet, how do you stay still and limit the damage done until the stranglehold is released?

Resilience and stupidity seem like they go hand-in-hand. Successful entrepreneurs always have amazing stories; I was broke, had $5 to my name, and ended up growing a company into a $5 million dollar a year business. Where is the honesty, though, when it comes to the nitty gritty details of the struggle? When do you hear entrepreneurs talk about the years of stress, failures, and deep deep sorrow they’ve undergone in order to see their story through? When do they discuss the constant heartbreak they experienced until success came knocking on their door or better yet, never showed it’s face at all?

Adversity in life is not the the exception; it’s the rule. Your path is not due to you discovering a way to supersede the struggles you face. You find your way, or get incredibly lost, amidst the obstacles: among the obstacles. Asking hurdles to be removed altogether would require you to run a very different race than everyone else in this world. The lessons you learn and victories you earn would be for not if there were no such thing as the struggle. Is that the life you want to lead; evading problems like they were a warrant, eventually finding yourself trapped in the closet and locked up for the same reasons you avoided all hardship to begin with?

Perseverance is the only logical answer when faced with adversity, I once heard someone say who was in the midst of battling an already advanced cancer, all the while having a content look on his face as if he had already beat the malignancies. I can’t say that’s always been my attitude. I can say I’ve doubted, I’ve fought hard, I’ve sunk low in my chair hoping nobody would call on me; to rise to the occasion.

When you pull back from your momentary struggle and look at the big picture, obstacles and hardships can appear to require an immense amount of fortitude. Question; are you attempting to handle all of your hurdles, even future ones, at once? If so, are you prepared to fail? The reality is that while the future may prove to be quite daunting and filled with a heap of shit, what’s only ever required of you is to get through the current moment. The future is not real. Unless you do develop a time machine, that impending moment hasn’t yet occurred and you’re only ever judged based upon how you face the moment.

Resilience to me, is the courage to face every moment with your head held high; not to shield yourself from the temporarily hurtful. Circumstances change. Let your life crash down around you from the epic waves the ocean brings ashore on a disaster of a day. For it is those same waves that you will ride to victory, should you choose to accept them.

Here’s to tragedy and the fortitude to run, walk, or crawl forward.

The Scenery — March 17, 2017

The Scenery

Fall drives were a way for my parents to get my siblings and myself outside of the house when financial circumstances didn’t allow for more extravagant trips or long distance traveling. Thinking back on those drives, I remember being bored as hell and all three of us kids complaining while seeing leaves change colors, stopping at overlooks on the side of the highway, with no real action to speak of during these mini-vacations. Now that I’m 30 and have a family of my own I look at those moments differently. While I technically remember boredom being a main theme on those trips, I don’t feel boredom when I reminisce. I have a deeper insight into the stress my parents may have been feeling to make memories with their children without any funds, due to an overwhelming amount of financial responsibility they assumed when my dad went to med school in the presumable middle of his life, while already having, from what I understand, a successful biomedical company. That insight shifts my view to one of gratitude for the effort my parents put into the family time we had.

Framing those early memories differently is all I’m doing. The time period is the same, the circumstances are the same, and so are all the players. My view, instead of focusing on my initial take on the circumstances, is now focused on the time my parents took to invest in me and their potential mindset while collaborating on this memory. I’m thankful for their opportunistic attitudes and rallying spirits. It’s this paradigm shift that makes me wonder if circumstances are really that important. Granted, there are some really difficult occurrences that are hard to put into perspective; say sexual abuse and terminal illnesses. I’m giving no claim to have an answer for those who’ve suffered such atrocities, nor am I attempting to explain the presence of these situations. I merely believe the experiences that shape us may not be as damning as we allow them to be. Looking at a situation with different eyes can alter your whole world.

If you are relying upon changing circumstances, or the lack of change, to be your answer to life’s trials and tribulations then your surroundings are indeed everything. If you’re success is tied up in your current situation, your career, your body-image, your relationships, you’re now invested in those specific parameters, not in yourself as a whole, and how you value yourself can and will change in an instant, depending upon the day’s events. If today you wrestle with adversity, let’s say a project at work, and strikeout, are you henceforth a failure? If the answer to that question is so obviously “No!” but you are still down on yourself because of the results, look inward a little deeper. Tripping up on something hard doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you are even failing in your current situation. It’s just difficult. Tribulations are built into everyone’s path, so to avoid them altogether would be the exception, not the rule. While others, especially on social media, are out encouraging people to push through the struggle, you don’t often see them sharing about their difficulties in the moment. It’s only after they’ve garnered their desired result.

So in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve been dealing with a huge change in my business. Some of the circumstances were in my control and others were wildly out of my hands. My initial reaction was panic. What did I do? I kept moving forward. I put faith in The Lord and chose to believe there was a plan for my life; that the adversity was placed specifically in my path for a reason. Is it crazy? Yeah, it is. But regardless of whom you call God, I caution you away from putting faith in yourself. YOU will always fall short and while those shortcomings can be used to grow you, putting faith solely in yourself can result in you missing out on the chance to be used: to be used for something bigger than yourself, for a much greater purpose.

The big picture is this; the scenery may change, the scenery may stay the same. How does that affect you? Does it? That all depends upon perspective.

When it comes to perspective; do you have the right one?

 

On Failure — March 1, 2017

On Failure

I have fallen short of every expectation and deadline ever placed upon me. Or so it seems.

So this is a slight exaggeration of the reality of my circumstances but at the moment, I feel like I’m up against a wall and I just can’t move: waiting for my torso to be severed from my lower half. You know that scene in Signs by M. Night Shyamalan, where Mel Gibson’s wife is pinned up against the tree by a car and if they move it she is going to die? That’s what I’m talking about.

When you’re feeling the almost literal weight of the world resting upon your chest and it feels as though you’ve failed every test up until this very moment what do you do? How do you proceed? Do you give up on your project and just move onto the next one? Or do you keep pushing until you feel like you’ve got nothing left; fight a little while longer and hope the tipping point is coming soon?
How you do you know when it’s time to call it quits; that what you’re fighting for is no longer worth it?

If you commit to a marriage, you commit for a lifetime. All crazy persons aside, when the road is tough and you can’t figure out how to communicate with one another without blowing up at each other, then what? You seek help; from a professional. You attempt to repair damage that has been done and build new pathways for a successful road ahead. Of course the road may be rough, but you keep trekking on. When it comes to business, the same rules seem applicable. The only issue arises when you factor in that quirky thing called capital. What if our emotions were considered comparable to currency? You can build up emotional fortitude, like cash. You can track emotions, like cash. But can you create cash from thin air like you seem to do with your emotions? Maybe emotions aren’t created from nothing at all, and they are made from the hard work and perseverance that is invested into that relationship. Can money be created from hard work and perseverance? Absolutely. How do you know when your emotional investment starts working? You and your partner start clicking. Every comment isn’t taken as a jab; or meant as one. How do you know when your business is working? Cash is coming in. Can that be the only factor to measure success? Of course not. But can you measure heart and determination in a way that is graphable?

My point is that our emotional investment in a business is similar to our cash investment; if a considerably less amount of emotion is invested into a relationship, like cash, you’ll receive less. It will at least take considerably longer to reap the returns, through either avenue. Would your courageousness to never back down from a challenge in your relationship be seen as stupidity in your business? Will you stick around long enough to find out?

This is my journey — February 26, 2017

This is my journey

Thank you to the few people who have been here in the past two weeks since my original post. I love that quote from The Bell Jar because it really resonates with me. I have so many passions in my life; music, fitness, entrepreneurship, coffee. Picking my path from those interests, I believe, is ultimately unfulfilling because they are simply interests and affinities I have that create shallow pools of belonging. They lead to a potentially empty sense of self.

Ultimately, I want to be connected to my community, wherever that is, a dedicated man to my family, and I want to give back. I believe that by focusing my sights on The Lord I will reach a deeper sense of fulfillment and spread His love unto others. Please don’t let my spirituality turn you away. I am a lover of all men and women; I put no expectations upon others. I have a passion for serving others that has been instilled in me for a purpose that has not yet been fulfilled.

I’m excited that you’re here reading. I seek engagement. I implore you to share. The thoughts I relay are reflections at certain points in my life; times when I was feeling lost or elated. I share because I believe open communication, about real situations we all face, can create a greater understanding of humanity. Here’s to the future; to moving forward. Let’s walk together.

Branches — February 5, 2017

Branches

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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