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Life throws you a curve ball. Sometimes it seems like all you get are curve balls and fast balls high and inside, right on your knuckles.
The question, however, is this:
Are you going to use those struggles to define who you are or are you going to let those challenges derail you and prevent you from becoming who you could be?Believe it or not, it is totally within your power to choose how you handle the situation. You can be the victim or the victor. You can be conquered or the conqueror. You can be overwhelmed or you can be an overcomer. But you have to choose. I can't choose for you. Your parents can't choose for you. Your spouse can't choose for you.
You. Have to. Choose.
I know what your thinking right now... I've heard them all before... I've even had some of the same thoughts before... Heck, I've even said them before... They usually go something like this:
- "But you don't understand MY situation."
- "Nobody has ever had to go through something like THIS before."
- "I wish there was something I could do about all this, but there is not ANYTHING that can be done."
- "It's hopeless to try to fix this. EVERYTHING I do blows up in my face."
- "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to." (had to throw that one in there just for fun).
Did I miss any?
Look. Life is hard. My life has been hard. I've had to fight and claw for everything I've ever achieved. And I'm still not finished fighting. I'll be honest, I don't have everything figured out. But it's an absolute miracle that I'm still standing.
If you want to keep reading, I'll tell you a little bit of my story, if you've had enough for one day, you can always bookmark this page and come back to it later or you can jump to the comments section and let me know your thoughts.
My parents got divorced when I was fairly young and my mom never dated or remarried until I was out of the house with a wife and a child of my own, so I never really had that "perfect male role model."
My dad was chain smoker and an alcoholic. He never smoke or drank at home, he always tried to hide it and he was never abusive toward us, but it was enough that at an early age I vowed to never touch the either one and I can proudly say that I never have.
I dropped out of college because I couldn't afford the tuition and had no desire to take out a student loan. As a result the early stages of my "professional career" were littered with dead end jobs in retail, restaurants and customer service gigs. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those, they just weren't for me.
Eighteen months after the birth of our first child the pediatrician discovered that our precious little angel had a tumor in her kidney. It was like our world got turned upside down. How are you supposed to cope with a baby that has to have MAJOR surgery to remove a kidney followed by six to twelve months of chemotherapy?
In December of 2007, I was in what should have been (based on the condition of the van) a deadly wreck. Long story short, I was cruising up the highway in a work van (a Dodge Sprinter) when I got cut off by a guy on the freeway. I swerved to avoid a collision and this whale on wheels started "fish-tailing." The back tire caught the rumblestrip on the side of the road and the van did a barrel roll about 4 times. No, I was not wearing a seat belt. I probably would have been decapitated if I had been. A shelf came loose from the cargo area and punched through the partition and was sitting on top of my headrest. I had ended up wedged between the two captains chairs and basically walked away with just a minor gash on the side of my head. The van however was shredded.
The following month our now 4 year old daughter was found to have a new tumor in her remaining kidney. Just when we thought we were out of the woods. So now it's surgery to cut out the tumor, followed by radiation therapy, and another 6 to 12 months of chemo.
Shortly after the birth of our second daughter, I'm put on 2 week layoff due to the epic slow down in the economy after the "housing bubble pops" and then eventually in June 2009, it becomes a permanent layoff from a company I had invested nearly 10 years with.
So I spent 2 or 3 weeks kind of dazed and confused. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I had spent the last 8 or 9 years developing a skill set that was almost exclusive to the niche industry that I had devoted so much time and energy to. My options were few.
I could go back to school and in 2 to 4 years have a degree in something that may or may not be usable. Meanwhile I had a house to pay for and a family to feed.
I could take a job in a call center somewhere or try my hand at insurance sales or something along those lines. Nothing against those, but not in my genetic pattern.
I had to decide. I had to decide fast. Was I going to let all of the crap I had gone through derail me from providing the type of life I want for my family or was I going to choose to do something about it?
I chose to start my own business.
Not only that, but my business is in the same niche industry and the same geographic market as the company that let me go. And I chose to start blogging about what I've learned as a result of being in business. Being an entrepreneur is Not For The Meek Or The Weak. It is one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I keep doing it because I believe it was what I was meant to do with my life.
Have I "arrived" at my Utopian dream life? Not hardly. But I get up every day and continue to fight for what I want. And I'll compare my work ethic to anybody out there any day of the week (except the day after Thanksgiving - I'm hiding from all the crazy people trying to get to WalMart).