We were standing outside our hotel room door, just 8 months away from our wedding date, and I was looking at the ring…
The ring that I spent hours custom designing with the jeweler to be just right.
The ring that I really couldn’t afford, but I bought anyway.
The ring, not on her finger, but in her outstretched hand, “Take it.”
In a moment, I saw two different lives laid out before me, two different paths diverging from this moment…from my next move…right now.
With only a slight turning and opening of my hand, both of our lives would forever change…all because of my entrepreneurial arrogance. All because I took her saying “yes” to sitting shotgun on my entrepreneurial journey as ammo against her when times got tough, and they got real tough; when she became frustrated with me, and she got real frustrated. All because I couldn’t look in the mirror and take ownership of the adversity I had created, I had caused.
Although there were years we really didn’t like each other, we always loved each other, and I’m happy to say that my wife and I recently celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with an amazing trip to Costa Rica.
A few lessons I now look back and continue to apply to the rollercoaster life as an entrepreneur, now with a wife and 2 kids:
- Buying an abandoned building to live, work, and rehab at the same time, while trying to grow a business at the precipice of and during a “great recession” is really, really…really hard.
- Before starting a new adventure (and there are always new ones coming or in motion), I talk with people who have already gone on that one, or at least a similar one, and hear about their experiences, trials, and tribulations. I talk with my wife about the potential opportunities, pitfalls, and develop contingency plans…the bigger the project, the more numerous the contingency plans.
- Instead of lashing out to those closest to me when times get tough because “you said yes too”, I take ownership, or Extreme Ownership as former Navy Seal Jocko Willink preaches, of the situation. I look for ways to be and become better, because if I don’t fully own my failures and the messes I create for those around me, then I cannot even take partial credit for my successes and the abundance created for those around me.
I think I’m similar to most entrepreneurs in being able to reframe situations until the right lens makes it look “not so bad”; to grind it out until adversity cries uncle; to sacrifice today for a greater tomorrow. We’re pretty good at justifying the means.
Are there decisions you have you made in the past, or maybe are making right now, that could benefit from lowering the tunnel vision blinders forged by strong vision and ambition? That could benefit from getting additional perspective from a mentor, peers, or family?
I know as I’ve opened up my perspective to better understand the collateral impact (positive and negative), it has made me a much better leader…a much better husband/dad…a much better human.
What is one of your most defining moments in life? When you stood at a crossroad with a choice that would forever change your life?