I think Les Brown said it first. Although I’m sure there were others before him. Fact is, who said it doesn’t matter nearly as much as how much it means. It is possible… They told me I was too optimistic from the start. They said it could work but it would take a lot of time. They said not to come out swinging for the fences, or I won’t appreciate it when I make it to first base. Well, I swung for the fences. And I struck out. But what did I do? I sat back down on the bench and waited for my next at bat. And I hit a single. Then a double. Then I stole third, and by then we all knew I was just a pop fly away from taking home the trophy and looking into the eyes of the naysayers, and saying the phrase that I knew I would; "I did it."
Nine years ago I was lost and struggling big time. I helped my family start their first sunglass and watch store and grow it into what it is now. I would get out of school and head straight to work, usually until closing at 9pm. During the weekend I was lucky to catch a movie or go to the mall just to hang out. I was your average high school kid, except I worked extremely hard to make something of myself and the opportunity that was given to me from a young age. The hours of retail life became very familiar to me. I worked hard and was always the top seller; I always felt I helped customers rather than sell to them, and I taught all of our employees to do the same. It was this attitude that set the relaxed, fun vibe in our store, and I believe, contributed hugely to our success.
I had to become successful. I wasn’t in a position of success, but I had a shot. To me, those were two in the same. If I had a good shot that meant I was going to make it, no ifs ands or buts! We had some bumpy years, as does any business, but we continually grew and grew. We opened another location and guess who was in charge of making it happen all over again? The guy who was too optimistic from the start. Today we have multiple locations and a successful presence online! I am writing this to let you know that you too can be a success. I know they say you can’t. I know their passive aggressive gestures and fake compliments don’t make it any easier. but DON’T LISTEN! Heck, don’t hang out with them at all if they make you feel that way! You are not obligated to, even if they are your best friends or family! Sometimes it can be the people we love the most, who are the closest to us, that we feel most judged by; and even though that can be a tragedy, we must understand it for what it is. That can make all the difference. Usually, these people just care about us and truly think they’re doing the right thing. When people can’t do something themselves, they tell you that you can’t do it. Don’t listen. I’m paraphrasing Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. That is such a powerful line. Such a powerful movie. Such a great example of the type of stamina and determination that life demands from us all if were are to be successful.
If you want to do something, or you’ve been trying for a few years and don’t feel like you’re making progress, keep going. Usually we quit right before we make that breakthrough. Assess the situation realistically. See it for how it really is, not better and not worse. Get your ass in gear, go watch Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness (no typo) and get motivated! Make sure you are doing something you are passionate about, and do it 24/7 - 365! Go figure out what it is you are meant to do! Go help your team by creating and implementing new ideas and experiments. Go create a team of likeminded people if that’s the next step for you on your journey - that’s always an exciting time, when you bite down and figure out what you’re going to do and who you’re going to do it with! For me it was sunglasses and watches. I had the ability to provide insane discounts and deals because of how much we order for our stores, and I continue to do so today. I found a way to help the market, and brought the value straight to the customer; and I did not stop until I won. Of course I was just one member of a huge team, but I’m sure they couldn’t have done it without me. And I am sure that your team can’t do it without you, even if they don’t know they exist yet.