When I was around seventeen, I was your typical late 1980’s rocker kid. I had long hair, a bad attitude and heavy, guitar driven music blasting everywhere I went. I was getting into some trouble at school, which was typical of the crowd I hung around with. What was also typical of that crowd was having an earring, which I wanted desperately. I remembered over the past few years, how my brother always wanted an earring, but my parents wouldn’t let him get one. Disagreements waged on and on, and he didn’t get the earring.
Years later, I wanted that earring. But I remembered those arguments and I knew my parents wouldn’t go for it. So, with my hair easily covering my ears, I went to the mall and got that earring. I didn’t tell my parents, and life went on. Mom and Dad never saw it and the world as we knew it did not come to an end.
One morning, in a bleary state after a late night out with my friends, I pulled my hair into a ponytail and stumbled into the kitchen for a bowl of cereal. Earring exposed, my dad saw it and flipped out. I was obviously busted. He asked how long it was in there, and I told him I’d had it for about six months. He was furious.
“Who told you that you could do that?” he asked.
“I remembered all of the arguments you and Steve had,” I said, “and I knew you would say no, so I figured why would I ask?”
He went downstairs to call my mother in frustration. I overheard the conversation, and she also asked how long I’d had it in, and he told her six months. I heard my mom say something that really made me understand this approach. I don’t even think she meant to do this.
“Okay,” she said, “It’s about 6 months and we haven’t even noticed it. Is it really that big of a deal?”
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 pointed out the loophole that I didn’t really go behind their back because they never said no- because I never asked. Yeah, I was that kid. I kept the earring for two years, but took it out because I got tired of it.
One of the questions my dad asked me that day is I why I’m writing this today.
“Who told you that you can do that?”, he asked.
That is the difference between the entrepreneurs that become successful and the ones who don’t. The ones who don’t, often have the employee mindset of waiting for someone else to give them permission. But we’ve been trained through twelve years of school, then college, then working for a boss where we wait for someone else 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, 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”. But I wanted to write a book.
Nobody told me that I can do it. And I want you to stop waiting for somebody else to tell you to that you can 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. The only way you’ll ever get better at this 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 that 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 to live your dream.