Who Told You That You Could Do That?
There is a trait that I see in successful entrepreneurs that is not common among successful employees and I’m convinced more and more each day that this is a trait that separates them. It is the reason why a lot of entrepreneurs can bounce from one thing to the next and try something different and be successful at it or fail at it, learn from that and then go be successful at something different. It is the thing that paralyzes so many employees that want to be entrepreneurs. The reason why this is confusing is because this is not taught to us. This is not taught to us in formal education. This is not taught to us even through our own parents. For the most part, this was a relatively unknown unspoken thing that not only isn’t talked about, but it’s frowned upon in every step of the way as we mature and we grow.
Now looking back on my life, I could see the patterns of why I was meant to be an entrepreneur or freelancer more than employee. It’s so obvious now that it’s actually kind of silly but it’s also funny that nobody pointed this out to me as I was growing up. There wasn’t one teacher that said to me that I was built and wired to start my own business and do my own thing. And I’m thrilled the way things went but I wonder how much different would’ve been, how much less confusion I would’ve had during those years of 18 to 24 if I would have somebody in my life that would have was said you not built for this life and that’s okay. It actually can be a really good thing for you that you’re not built for this life. But as I teach this stuff to others, as I start to connect the dots on my own life, it starts to make a whole lot of sense and that’s why I want to get this out to more kids to more 16-year-old and 17-year-old that feel lost. The one where their parents say they got a real spirit, they gonna drive and they’re stubborn and they want to do their own thing and they don’t follow the rules and follow the orders and I’m so worried about their future.
When I talk to these parents, I tell them, these are the kids that are gonna lead the world someday and they’re can be good at it, simply because they don’t follow the rules. I really truly want to start creating something for these kids because that who I was. I might’ve said it before the show but I remember being 17 years old specifically, all my friends are going to colleges they have chosen and have everything for their future lined up. And I remember my friend said what am I gonna do and I remember clear as day and very confidently saying I have no idea but I would figure it out. And that truly at 17 years old didn’t scare me at all but it scares those people around me because we’ve been trained and taught that you better have your life figured out when you’re 17, you better know what you’re doing.
I’ll say it over and over that I think it is a crime to put on these kids because it’s all about following somebody else’s rules. It’s about following a different person or different organizations plans. When you start looking at your past, you start connecting those dots, you start seeing these little things that used to be funny and just a side note to your life and you start realizing that really fits in with the pattern. That’s all I want to talk to you today.
So, I was your typical 1980s kid, the rocker kid that grew his hair out. I was in to heavy metal music and after a couple of attempts when I was young to grow my hair a little longer, I finally got it to grew it the way I wanted to grow. I was about 17 or 18 years old, maybe I was 19 at the point. I was still living with my parents and I am still doing odd jobs here and there. I was still getting in trouble and for years I heard my older brother Steve asked my parents if you give him hearing. And I remember through those years when I was 14 or 15, the argument in on our house. The back and forth, Steve wanted an earring and my dad and my mom saying that no son of ours will have an earring and I just sat back quietly while I listen to this and all the struggle that went on with it. At that point I did not want an earring and I did not pay attention to the conversation and the disagreements that went on in the house.
So, years later, my hair has grown out and I’m into the whole scene. All my friends are in bands. I am the only one that doesn’t really play an instrument well and just acting like I do. At that point, I decided to get an earring but not long after I decide that probably almost immediately I realized that my parents will never let me get an earring because I remember all the arguments and the fights my brother had and I am still living under their roof but I’m also become well-versed in the saying that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission and I knew with my hair growing out, they might not even see it.
So, my brother went for two years, begging and trying to get an earring and he never got it and one afternoon I went to Roosevelt Field mall and got an earring. I never told my parents and the earring was in, life went on. I went to sleep. the world did not come to an end. I put my earring in the morning I took it out through the evening. My parents knew nothing about it. Then one morning, I woke up late after a night of being out with my friends. I had the earring for so long that I didn’t even think about it. I put my hair back into a ponytail and I poured myself a bowl of cereal and my dad walked downstairs and he flipped out. He said what is that in your ear? And I was like I guess I’m busted, it is earring. He said how long has it been in there. I said it is probably been in there about five or six months. he was furious and he said, who told you that you could do that? you never even asked us. I said yeah well, I know. I saw the way it went with you and Steve and how many arguments then you are just gonna say no so I just figured why ask when I know that you are going to say no.
He immediately went downstairs to his office and called my mom and said do you know what your son has in his ear? Do you know he got an earring? I am listening to the whole conversation not knowing what’s going to happen. My mom who is generally that got worked up about the stuff said to him “how long has he had it?” He said it’s about five or six months. And my mom said something that really made me understand this approach, I don’t even think she meant to do this. She said “okay, it’s about 5 to 6 months and we haven’t even noticed it. is it really that big of a deal?” And my dad thought about it and he agreed. he said he didn’t like the idea that I went behind their back and he always told me that I should be a lawyer because I argue so well, but I point out the loophole that I didn’t really go behind their back because they never said no because I never asked. My parents allowed me to keep the earring and ironically, I took it out within two years that I was just kind of tired of it. But again, their decision allowed me to make my own choice on it but I remember my brother being furious because he asked and asked and asked and they always say no and he sat there while my parents said yes because I have already done it.
One of the questions my dad asked me which I want to talk about and the point I want to bring up today. The question was “Who told you that you can do that?” And that is the difference between the entrepreneur that become successful and the employee who doesn’t become entrepreneur who is successful. Because the one to become successful don’t wait for someone to tell them that they can do it. They go and do it. They’re not waiting for someone else’s permission but we been so trained through 12 years of school and then college and working for a boss that we wait for someone to tell us that we can do something. The greatest advantage of my stubbornness was that as clueless as I was, I did not wait for other people to tell me I can do something. Good or bad, success or failure, I knew inherently that I had to do it. nobody told me that a person with a dream to become a sports photographer with no experience, no talent and no connections can eventually be paid to be on the field at the super bowl and the world series. I failed English class multiple times. I got made fun of by my teacher, Mr. Carter which was a future episode in my junior high school writing class. he would never have said that I should go and write a book but he was the teacher quote unquote. But I wanted to write a book. nobody told me that I can do it. most stories can go on and on but the message I want for you today is to stop waiting for somebody to tell you to do something before you go and do it. Waiting for someone to give the green light so you do what you want to do with your life is a killer of so many dreams and I don’t want that to happen to you because the only way you’ll ever get better at something is by doing it over and over again and you’ll never get started and you’ll never be able to do it over and over again to get better if you allow someone else’s vision of you to stop you. so, when somebody says to you, who told you can do that? if you truly want to do that thing there is only one answer to it. you told yourself that you can do it. you do not need permission from anybody else.
I’ll be back with you tomorrow.