Archive for November, 2013


November 30, 2013

For as far back as I can remember I have had nothing but opportunity however I can’t remember ever truly making the most of those opportunities until now……………..

I guess I can begin with school. It was always suggested I could be a better student if only I applied myself more. Certain things just came easy to me so I figured I was good to go and my mind always wandered to thought so I didn’t always focus myself correctly. 

But when I did focus on my opportunities in school great things happened. For instance I got great grades first year in high school (With exception to Spanish but I’m not sweating that). All 90 and above. You think I would have learned right there that applying yourself to the fullest made sense. Nah! I decided I was better than the opportunity of a private school education and wanted to be with my “friends” in public school (This isn’t a debate on public vs. paid schooling. Opportunity is everywhere!). Tangent, I threw the quotes around the word friends to suggest your friends are your friends no matter what. I had friends all over and I should have realized then that true friends will support you in your life. Yes, even your freshman year of high school.

So I, against my parent’s better judgement (At this stage of my life they couldn’t stop me anyway), decided I wanted to be with my friends. Well temptation to be cool won over and out the window went the focus on opportunity. By not seizing the opportunity to get good grades in my Sophomore and Junior years I ruined the opportunity of some of the most important educational years of my life and possibly the opportunity to play baseball (My first true love) on my high school team.

The second time I saw the light and applied myself was in the second half of my Junior year of high school. It made sense at the time as I began to see the real world approaching so I hunkered down, got decent grades and went off to the summer.

Let it be known I’ve always worked and have had a work ethic (And one hell of a competitive fire) but even my younger work years were spent trying to be cool, whether to impress girls or friends, that I didn’t seize what the true potential could have been.

Wrapping up the opportunity of high school. I nailed my senior year much like I nailed my freshman year. End result, played baseball and made the honor roll. Why this lesson didn’t translate I don’t know.

I decided college wasn’t for me. I had this pipe dream I wanted to be a cop. Well, let’s make it clear others decided I was only capable of going the civil service route so I figured being a cop was the best route to take. I enrolled in a local community college and it didn’t fair well in the least. My heart wasn’t in it. I was a part of the cool crew, I could bullshit my way around anything and threw the two years of more education in the trash. I walked away from a criminal justice degree, moved to liberal arts, played softball, and dropped out.

I still think college is a choice and not necessarily critical but looking back on it all I would have gone away. If not for the book education then definitely the life education that you can pull from it. Being away from home, learning to survive without the crutch of your parents. How can you say no to that?

So again another opportunity wasted for me. It was off to work I go. And the fun begins………..

I can’t tell you there was much opportunity for me in the restaurant industry. I was great at what I did, waiter, bartender, busboy, etc…It was a bridge to the party after work so for sure I excelled there. To have cash in hand everyday and appear successful, you bet I kicked ass! The opportunity was in what I wasn’t doing. Saving my money, building trusting relationships, building values, building my network for the future, looking for mentors. I’d go back to correct some of this any day. It is so important to understand these five life lessons and so many more. These are five of many opportunities you just can’t screw around with and it took me forever and a day to understand this. Let this be lesson one if any lesson of this writing.

So in walks the woman who will become my wife. College educated and professional (Not to mention extremely easy on the eyes). Ok she didn’t just walk in, she walked back in. After popping in and out for a couple of years. So in my wife walks, randomly on my birthday, at a time I was just about as confused about my direction as ever. Opportunity at this point was nowhere to be found until I was asked to leave the one restaurant I achieved and earned more than I thought possible. Best thing to ever happen to me! Just took me 12 years to realize it. I had NOTHING to offer this woman. I offered her a vision of what I could be and I was very convincing. Here was my opportunity. I didn’t know I wanted to marry her but I knew I wanted to be better for her. I almost pissed this one away too.

From the heartbreak of being let go by the restaurant (A story for another day) and a pitstop at one last place I decided that it was time to take control of my life and get out there in the real working world. 

First gig, I spent eight months going door to door selling insurance indemnity policies to mechanics and bodega owners (A necessary boot camp). I was declared rookie of the year. I was determined. I was on my way. I fucking hated every second of it! It was commission only and the thought of going into the field made me shake so after a few “no’s” I shut it down for the most part and did enough to earn a little but didn’t really take on the full potential of what it could have been. I needed out when I should have gone all in. It was boot camp, I am glad I went through it.

Opportunity knocked again. This time it was in the form of a huge organization. The biggest and baddest in it’s industry. The cream of the crop in fact…Opportunity was everywhere. You remember those five life lessons from above (Save money, build network, build values, find mentors, trusting relationships) I focused hard on them for a bit but got greedy, burned bridges, took advantage of who my internal connections were and ultimately parted ways with the company. Many opportunities lost here and I kick myself in the ass for only coming away with a few sales plaques and memories of being at the top of a few ranking reports. Remember I have always had a work ethic that kicks in for survival so I used it when necessary and when I have used it, applied myself to the opportunity, I have excelled. High fives feel good. Feeling good feels good. Being successful feels good. So why did I only excel in survival mode? I didn’t know the answer but I was learning

I moved on, burned all of the opportunity and took a position I never should have taken. This part is quick. I saw the opportunity, I went after it like a crazed madman, I showed up early, I cold called the shit out of my territory, I hated it, I never felt so alone in all of my life, I was treated like an outsider, I pushed hard to make good connections, I asked questions, I had a chip on my shoulder and it showed. We amicably decided we weren’t a fit for each but I left 437% of plan and regardless of anything else I know I busted my ass for that opportunity. At least the work side of it. I still didn’t have a network, I mismanaged money, maybe a couple of mentors, crappy values (At least work wise – I had become a Dad (Another post another day)), uneasy relationships.

Moving along. I was interviewing regardless and landed with another major player in it’s respected industry. I was hired because they needed cold callers and I could sure do that! This was the opportunity I needed. I was going to crush this opportunity. I had built up my ability to sell (So I thought) and that was all that mattered. Cold call the crap out of the areas I was unleashed to do so, set up the right internal connections, and BOOM…Let the good times roll. Until the entire financial system in America collapsed. Ok, not an excuse just the reality of the situation. Karma caught up with me here as it took 14 months before my first deal happened. This was the opportunity I wanted / needed. I did everything you could here. Nothing moved. It was a head scratcher. I ended up securing President’s club as a reward for my hard work. Some of it was earned other parts incentives. However my network was building, I began to see the light regarding money, I started to build trusting relationships, realized I had mentors and picked up a few new ones along the way, the values were coming together. It was getting exciting. Changes happened and then opportunity really came knocking.

I received an offer to take an absolute flyer and accepted a position with a company that on paper wasn’t what I ever would have looked at unless it was put in front of me. I couldn’t be happier I, along with my family, that I made this choice.

I was given another crack at opportunity and I decided I wasn’t going to let it go this time. I had a lot to figure out. A new industry, terms and language that was as foreign to me as the owners of the company. A new culture that I had to work with everyday, true money management, how to correctly pay taxes, how to expertly network, who were my mentors now. Time management. Holy shit! 

This was the opportunity of a lifetime, for me, and I buckled down and said I am going to embrace this, own it, and not screw it up because I may not get an opportunity like this again.

And the second I made this choice, the choice to absolutely own this opportunity was the second life got really friggen good!

I look forward to tomorrow and the possibilities that come with it. I look forward to the unknowns and the issues that can come up because I know I put in enough effort to have issues come up. I know that if I put the correct energy into this opportunity a lot of great things will happen. The process can be interesting at times but the belief in what I am doing as an individual is greater that any belief I have ever had in my life and the belief in the delivery of the company is the greatest it has ever been. I’ve seen the capabilities and it fuels me to be a brand ambassador to my opportunity.

This is a snippet to my story and there is a truckload more. I know there are so many people out there like me. They know it is in them to be more than they are, more than people say they are. They are presented with opportunities but not taking full advantage of them for whatever reason.

I am not sure if anyone will read this or maybe some will.

Opportunity is everywhere and we all have a golden opportunity to take full advantage. It can be done. I am not 2+ houses, multiple cars in the driveway rich but I am on my way to what I believe is success and that is because I made the choice (Took a while for sure) to embrace a golden opportunity to do things I always dreamed possible.

I hope there is some level of value in here for someone out there. 

Take advantage!