Let me warn you before you start reading this, it's probably going to be long. Go grab your popcorn, Mountain Dew with exactly four ice cubes and settle in.
There are two things I hear a lot...
1. "Cody, how do you do it?"
2. "I'm going to (insert dream here)"
When people ask me "how do you do it?", it's addressing the idea of owning and operating your own business. The truth is that I was forced to do it. Not by my parents who still to this day like to tell me to get a regular 9-5 job since it's less risky. But, I was forced to do it because I was tired of working with people who didn't care about their jobs. They would show up to work under the influence of either alcohol, drugs or a combination of both and yet they got paid just as much as me or more. That didn't sit well with me and used to anger me. Then, one day I told myself that I can sit here and do nothing about it or take a chance and do something different.
Let me tell you a little bit about my mindset at the time. I knew that failure was an option. But, I did not fear failure. I feared the idea of working a job that I hated for the rest of my life just to make ends meet. We only get one shot at this thing called life and I was not going to waste away behind a desk.
Knowing nothing else about business except for what I read in books in college while pursuing my degree, I made a leap of faith. Faith that I was willing to bet on myself. Faith that I could make anything work because I was willing to do what was necessary. Faith that I refused to be unhappy for even a day since as humans tomorrow is never promised. And with that faith, I ventured into the unknown...
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a complete shot in the dark. There were business owners on both sides of my family. But, I never really took much of an interest in what was going on behind the scenes. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at a young age so I never bothered outside of the occasional observation when the opportunity arose. With the gift of hindsight, I wish I would've asked more questions because the struggle was so real in the beginning.
No one really tells you how hard it is to start a business. No book that you read in college explains to you how hard it is to continuously make a sale to pay yourself. There's no way of knowing that you might have to eat Pop Tarts and Vienna Sausage straight from the can for a meal because you reinvested all the money you made back into the business.
On top of that, there is no way of telling what kind of sacrifices you need to make. Sleep and my social life are at the top of the list of things that have suffered over the years. I am positive that I have taken years off of my life by going hard in the paint like Shaq for days on end barely being able to keep my eyes open until sleep deprivation kicks in and I lose an entire day to it.
I could write a book on the various social events and experiences I have passed up on because I wanted to live my life a certain way. I wanted to continue to be able to sleep until I was done sleeping on those days when my body tapped out. I wanted to continue to be able to not miss anything that was important to me. And I wasn't going to build someone else's dreams when I could be building my own!
With my head down, I kept grinding and then it happened. Something that I had no idea how to react to. People who doubted me began to ask questions. They began to probe me to see if they could somehow do what I've managed to do and create a business for themselves. They began to tell people that I was "successful" and they were so happy for me and wanted to carve out a similar path.
I always laugh when thinking about this because it happens a bit more now than before but I've never considered myself successful. I am so blessed to live in paradise and I refuse to get complacent. It would be so easy for me to take my foot off the gas. I could be relaxing on a beach in Waikiki instead of locked in my room on a computer trying to answer 200+ e-mails before breakfast. But, if I did that, I know I wouldn't be happy. So I push on. Onwards and upwards.
There's this weird thing that happens at some point when you are a business owner and people begin to pitch you their own business ideas. Or they will tell you that "I am going to do..." or "I know I could do...". (You didn't think I would forget about #2 did you?)
I take it as a compliment that they are willing to share their ideas and dreams with me. But if there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that everyone is dreamer. These dreamers all have this idea in their heads that they are going to one day reach their full potential. Or that they are going to be rich and be able to take care of their families. And these dreamers will tell you these things over and over and over again. Don't be alarmed if you know someone like this and are annoyed. These same dreamers will tell anyone willing to listen this same elevator pitch about how they are going to improve their lives.
While everyone may be a dreamer, not everyone is a doer. It takes a special person willing to give up that life of being able to just show up to work and get paid every two weeks. Doers don't tell you what they are going to do, they pull a Nike and just do it. You don't hear their elevator pitch until they have made that leap. And this is exactly how it should be!
If you are offended easily, I would suggest you stop reading here because your feelings might get hurt. I posted on Facebook the other day that "not all pretty words are true and not all true words are pretty". That's exactly what I'm going to share with you right now.
If you are someone who has spoken about your dreams or business ideas more than five times and haven't acted on it yet, you never will. It doesn't matter what your dream is. Or what your business idea is. You aren't going to do it.
Doing something five times in a row makes it a habit. This habit could be good or it could be bad. Either way, it's become a habit. And it takes 500 times of doing the exact opposite to break that habit. This is why many people struggle with their various vices. Not a lot of people have the resolve to force themselves into doing something different 500 times in a row when it would be so easy to just continue being set in their ways. Not everyone is cut out to be about that business owner life.
Does that mean you should stop dreaming? Absolutely not. You should never stop dreaming. But, it's time to become a doer. Do what makes you happy. Do what encourages you to want to get out of bed each morning. Do what you want without fear of others judging you because they are going to judge you anyway! Most importantly, do you!
Just remember it's never too late to change. There's still time for you to be a doer!