I just finished my talk in Los Angeles where I spoke to entrepreneurs of various types of manufacturing companies. I didn’t get to meet all of them. Seldom do you ever get to meet everyone at a networking event. Actually, you never do. Your goal at a networking event should be to make a couple key contacts. But more on proficient navigation at a networking event on a later post. Or you can read “How to make a Smashing Intro,” my guest post on the Recruitment Partners blog here.
I’m incredibly honoured to report that this is my fourth keynote speech in 6 months. What I love most about it is obviously the ability to deliver a fun message: “The Power of Connections and How Technology Inspires Confidence in Building Business.” In fact, I am incredibly grateful that I got the opportunity at the invitation of Maximizer CRM. (love these guys). But what I find most valuable is the opportunity to meet some amazing entrepreneurs. Especially being in LA, it’s pretty cool with whom you can cross paths.
Everyone Starts Somewhere
The two I managed to meet this morning were both owners of, in my opinion, fairly significant sized businesses. One of them was John Allard, who back 20 some years ago, got out of the military, and started working for an automation components company, Claycon. He started out as an entry level employee, worked up the ranks. Then some 12 years ago, he and a partner acquired the company. We chatted about what industry his company serves, since I had no concept of the possible applications of automation components. He told me that they have always worked with a lot of start ups. Then, he asked me whether or not I’ve heard of Solar City. I had to admit. It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Solar City is Elon Musk’s company and Claycon supplies the parts for his solar roofing tiles. Oh! That Solar City, of course! Turns out, one of those start ups that he had been working with all along was none other than Tesla. In fact, they started working with Tesla when they were holed up in the corner of an old factory out in Fremont, CA. Years later, they expanded and built out an entire Gigafactory and have continued to build multiple other factories in the area. Cool, is all I can say.
The other one, Billy, started his company Wet Products Inc. from scratch with one product out of college. He told me that he created a version of Backgammon that one could play on the beach. He called it ‘Beach’gammon. Over the years, he kept building his company. Now, he produces beach accessories, and other sundry items for the likes of Rite-Aid (a chain of pharmacies), Safeway and others.
My point for bringing up these two individuals is that everyone starts somewhere. For every multi-million dollar corporation, there was once a day 1. For every household brand in whatever industry you can think of, there was once fledgling start up. I get that most ventures don’t make it. I get that most ideas never get off the ground. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing. For sure it’s not a walk in the park. Never is anything worthwhile easy. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it.
Pursue Your Passion, Wherever You Are
Whenever I’m in LA, I always get re-inspired, and optimistic about start-up. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished when you are surrounded by so many dreamers. I’m talking about way beyond entrepreneurship. Los Angeles is packed with ambition. One word can sum it all up: Hollywood. I spent years working alongside people in regular office jobs, CPA’s, IT folks and multitudes of other professions here. Many of these folks have a side pursuit as a screenwriter, actor, singer, or film producer. Will they ever quit their job and make it to the big screen? Possibly. But that’s not even the point. You don’t need to be an A-list celebrity to be considered successful. You don’t need to direct a huge studio blockbuster to have ‘made it.’ You don’t need to be an overnight sensation discovered by JayZ to say that you are legitimately a rockstar. In fact, there isn’t such thing as overnight sensation. None of the ‘sensations’ that we know of today ever had their first big break right off the bat. Everyone, but everyone who has made it in business, show biz, or done anything significant had one thing in common. They “toiled during the night, as their comrades slept to make it up the mountain.” We just got to witness their glory. But everyone had a Day 1. And here’s the kicker. They continue having Day 1’s.
Keep Having your Day 1
What is success anyways? If you Google images of the word ‘success,’ you’ll likely find a mountain peak, with a climber who reached the summit, arms in a victory stance, staring off into a beautiful sea of other mountaintops in the distance. That, to me, is a poor description of success. It insinuates that success is a destination. Once you reach the top, you’ve got nowhere to go but down. And, more importantly, that the only time you would be ‘successful,’ is if you reach the top. But that’s a very lonely view of success. Where do you go from there? No where but down.
The fact of the matter is that we keep having successes, just like we have day 1’s. Success, to me, is a journey rather than an end goal. Success is a string of moments that we worked like a dog, and we see a fulfilling accomplishment.
Related: The Tao of Lego in Business and Life
I’m so Jelly
The good news is that success isn’t a pie. It’s not finite. Someone else’s success doesn’t mean that you will no longer get it. Quite the opposite, actually. The fact that someone you know has achieved what you want proves that it is possible for you as well. People who say that they are jealous that someone else has accomplished something are hopefully saying that to make you feel good. Hopefully they don’t really mean that they are jealous. That would mean that they don’t see it possible for themselves. Envy doesn’t help you accomplish anything. On the contrary, it puts you further away from where you want to be. It wastes energy. It’s really a scarcity mindset.
So I invite you to stop being feeling jealous or dwell on someone else’s accomplishments. They are in actuality a key success factor to you accomplishing yours. It gives you solid empirical evidence that you are able to accomplish the same thing by doing the same thing. Now you just have to do it. Keep having your Day 1. Every day.
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