Two months ago my life changed completely as my wife gave birth to our firstborn son. The moment our eyes first met each other is something I will never forget. I then asked myself, what will my son accomplish in this life? Will he be a professional athlete, a comedian, the President, a firefighter……or will he follow in his Dad’s footsteps and be an outside salesperson.
This thought sunk deep into my soul as I thought to myself, would I follow me?
As children we all have dreams of what we will be when we grow up and how we are going to change and influence the world. We see life full of opportunities and dreams and we feel as if we are invincible beyond stopping. My dream was to always be a professional basketball player. I practiced and played harder than anyone I knew. On vacations I would bring a basketball with me and dribble outside my hotel room for hours on end while my family would go to the beach or pool. Life was basketball and it was what I loved to do. I could see myself becoming the next Pete Maravich or Michael Jordan and I did everything in my power to make that possible by shooting and dribbling until I couldn’t feel arms or legs.
My dreams and ambition to become a professional basketball player began to dwindle as I got older. Something stopped me in my tracks of pursuing my dream. I eventually began to practice less and fall out of love with the sport that had me consumed from dawn til dusk.
You may ask, “what happened?, why did you stop practicing?, were you any good?” Fact is I started to believe in what others told me. I heard their words as factual and realistic. I started to tell myself that maybe it was all a dream and a dream I would never wake up to live.
Until my son was born I never pondered my childhood dreams and why I never accomplished what I set out to do. Now I realize what many out there fail to realize until it is too late. We let others dictate our lives….People would tell me, “stop wasting your time practicing so much”, “you will be too short”, “you aren’t the right skin color” and the list goes on and on. It then hit me as I started remembering my past, if others can’t do it they will tell you that you can’t do it either.
The path I took was safe and conservative, it led me to what my family always thought I would be, an outside salesman just like all my brothers and Dad. For 3 years I have been a robot along with the rest of society, wake up, eat a bowl of cereal, rush out the door at 7:30, get to work at 8:00, fast food lunch at noon, leave work at 5:00 and get stuck in traffic for a couple hours, get home in time for dinner, go to the gym and do it all over again the next day. When is the weekend going to start was the only thing I could think about Monday through Friday and from Friday to Sunday all I could think about was Monday and dreading the work week again…..
Is this how you are too? Take a look at your life, did someone else tell you the path you should go? Looking back would you follow you?
My life changed with my son. I knew from the moment he was born that I wanted him to pursue his own passions and to live a life of no regrets. It changed my outlook as well and how I want to live the rest of my life. So I took a big risk, spent some money and started my own company. I didn’t start it just for my own self gain, but more for the gain of my wife and son. I could no longer look myself in the mirror and be proud of where I was at in life. No more did I want to go 9 hours a day getting yelled out by customers, bosses, and co-workers and then come home to take out my frustration and grumpiness on my family. My family is my life and every minute I have with them is my best time spent. Time with them is critical, so make that time worth it.
One of my favorite quotes I tell myself each morning is, “You can fail at what you don’t want to do, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love”.
Don’t let others tell you what your dreams are and what your future is. Your future is dictated by you, not by the world.
So again I ask you, “Would you follow you”?