As I write this I am working on several huge life challenges. It seems as if the weight of the world is on my shoulders and for some reason, It’s my option to waive a white flag of surrender or willingly carry a massive, nearly impossible load on my back.
I can’t speak for you, but as for me, I am wired to live a comfortable life. Everything in me wants to have a life that is on easy street… I want everyone around me happy, no drama, no tough times, no meaningless tasks… and yet life was not designed to be that way all day every day.
Julie and I watched an awesome movie recently titled The Gentlemen, starring Matthew McConaughey as a drug lord that has to outwit and outwork those around him. He has to overcome obstacles and challenges and outsmart those that want to take his life. I commented to Julie how great I thought the movie was, and how I loved the plot twists that threw me for unexpected loop time and time again. She agreed.
What’s interesting, though, is that the movie would have been super boring and bland if Matthew McConaughey would have had it on easy street, had no conflicts with other drug lords, didn’t have to fight for his life, and didn’t have to think strategically and make bold, courageous moves. That movie would have been terrible. I would have fallen asleep and been frustrated with losing time on such a terrible film.
Let me ask you a question…
Who do you admire?
Take a moment and really think… who do you admire the most in your life? Make a list of those people.
Now here is the big question…
Why do you admire them?
Make a list of the attributions that you admire.
When I think of people that I admire… people like Winston Churchill, Daymond John, Robin Arzon, Frank AuCoin, Darnell Self... I admire them for a ton of different reasons, but I admire them all for one common reason: They overcame tremendous odds and adversities in their lives, AND they became heroes to other people. Allow me to share with you these incredible, inspirational stories…
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen. In the 20th century, he helped Britain fight Hitler and the Germans, even though they were the last country left fighting with ridiculous odds. He inspired Britain to keep fighting even though it looked like a lost cause. Under Winston's leadership, the British held off Hitler and after a very lengthy and bloody war, they defeated Hitler. In the midst of the battle that most thought they would never win, Winston said: "We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." I admire his tenacity when the fate of his country was on his shoulders. I can only imagine the pressure and the sleepless night. But he made it through and led Britain to victory. And that is what we admire. It’s not that he was almost sure to win and he won, it’s that he was almost sure to lose and he won. Read more about Winston here.
Daymond John’s parents divorced when he was 10 years old and his mom raised him from that point forward. He started working at that age. He struggled with reading and writing and later on in life was diagnosed with dyslexia. Struggling financially while waiting tables at Red Lobster, his mom encouraged him to figure out what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. Since his mom taught him how to sew caps, he decided he would start an apparel company. He bought some cheap fabric, sewed 80 caps, sold them for $100 each and made $800. His mom mortgaged her home to help him fund his business. His brand, FUBU, generated over $350 million in his first 6 years, and today has generated over $6 billion globally, and today everyone knows him from being on Shark Tank. Read the rest of his struggles here.
Robin Arzon was a former non athlete. Her mom was a Cuban refugee who taught herself how to speak English by watching PBS, and later became a doctor. Her father who was born in Puerto Rico, became an attorney and inspired her to become a lawyer. Robin went to law school, and while at a wine bar in Manhattan’s East Village, a man armed with three pistols and a samurai sword came in, shot three people, hit the group with kerosene and threatened to light them on fire with a lighter. He grabbed Robin by the hair and held the gun and lighter to her head while using her as a shield to talk to the police. After the trauma, she started running. One day, as a successful corporate litigator, she decided to just start running and thought somehow she would learn how to make a living at it. Everyone called her crazy, especially considering Robin is a type-1 diabetic. Needless to say, today she is a New York Times best selling author, and is the face of the multi billion dollar fitness brand Peloton. Read more about Robin here.
Frank AuCoin grew up in South Carolina and was raised by a single parent. He struggled in school massively and they labeled him with a learning disability, resulting in him dropping out of school in the 6th grade. At 30 years old, he met a special needs teacher that saw potential. She believed he did not have a learning disability, but had an eye issue that resulted in his pupils vibrating so fast that words and letters were blurry. She trained his eyes, and then was able to teach him how to read. The two got married, and while she taught children with special needs, he did odd jobs to make money. One day he severely injured his back and was not able to work, putting the family in a bad financial position. After healing, he made the decision that his family would never be put in to that position again. He went to an old building that had been up for lease for a long time that no one had rented, spoke with the landlord, and offered to lease the building, provided he did not have to make payments for 90 days. Then he went to the hardware store and asked for paint and supplies and said he would either pay them back in 90 days or would work for them for free until he paid it off. He then got scrap wood from warehouses and built bookshelves. He went door to door and asked people to donate books. He opened a used book store that did so well, he decided to open more locations. To get inventory, he created a “bring in two, leave with one” free trade offer which doubled his inventory. He ended up opening up a string of used book stores that did over $500 million in revenue. While opening stores, he started a sign company which turned in to Sign It Quick franchises, generating over $500 million. He started a networking sales and marketing business all over North America which has generated enough profits to invest cash in over 110 rental properties, and today is known by the US Chamber of Commerce and one of the Top 52 business men in America. Learn more about Frank here.
Darnell Self worked at the mall in a men’s clothing store and worked his way up to Manager while going to college. He changed his major many times, ultimately graduating with a degree in Public Relations just to graduate and get out of school after being there for 7 years. An entry level job in Public Relations paid less than being a Manager at the clothing store, so he stayed at the store. Once he got married, his wife who worked at the cable company and he struggled financially, resulting in their home being in foreclosure and their cars being repossessed. In the midst of that stressful time, a man came in the store and held him up at gunpoint while robbing the store. Darnell decided something had to change. He started a network marketing business even though he had failed multiple times before. Since then, not only did he and his wife retire from corporate America, but they have surpassed a 7 figure annual income in his business and Darnell is the only man to be named by the US Black Chamber of Commerce as the Entrepreneur of the Year twice! He has led an army of other families beyond a six figure income as well, setting others free. Read more about Darnell here.
So who inspires you? And most importantly, why? Make a list of those attributes and live a life that reflects that list. That’s how you live the story that you wish to tell with your life.
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