The following is a transcript from a video, so please forgive any syntax errors.
Today I wanted to talk about something probably a little more serious than I normally talk about, and that is the lie that my mom told me before she died that changed my life.
This all came about, because yesterday I was talking to a friend from Las Vegas. He was just asking a bunch of questions about me and my business. He kept saying, “Why is this so important to you? Why do you care about other small business owners? Why have you made this your mission to help small business owners make more money?”
To be honest, I don't know. I was giving him some flippant answer and wasn't really into answering the question that he was asking me. He kept prying and pushing it.
Finally, it occurred to me why, and I guess I had never really thought about it before, but the reason why it's so important to me was the lie that my mom told me before she died.
My mom was always an entrepreneur. My grandfather, her father, was born in Greece. When he came here, he did what every other Greek does, You know what that is, right? He opened a restaurant. I don't remember it, because I was just a baby, but there are pictures of me sitting on the bar in the little coffee shop that he and my grandmother owned.
This is the last picture I have of my
mom and my sisters all together.
My mom was an entrepreneur. I have three sisters, and none of them are entrepreneurs. I've been an entrepreneur since I was 26 years old, since April 29, 1985, if that helps.
While he's asking me all these questions, it occurred to me that I had been thinking about my mom. She died seven years ago, and I think that what it really came down to was, while my mom was an entrepreneur, she was never super successful in any of the businesses that she started. She had some degree of success, but I wouldn't call her a super successful small business owner. She was like a lot of small business owners, that she struggled in what she did every day to make enough money to pay the rent. She had a lot of businesses.
I see so many small business owners doing that, that they go from business to business. They know they have that entrepreneurial spirit in them, but they don't really know what to do with it. They don't know how to get past the point of earning enough money, creating the life of freedom that they wanted when they became entrepreneurs.
My mom had cancer. When she was diagnosed, they had told us that it was terminal and that she would have four to fix months without any treatment, and if she had treatment, she would have nine to 12 months.
At some point near the end, it was probably about six weeks out, she had said to me that she had done everything that she wanted to do in her life. I understood that to mean she was ready to go.
She had determined that she was ready to go and that she had accomplished and done everything she had wanted to do in her life. She was 68 years old, and that was a lie. I knew for a fact that she wanted to go to Greece and she wanted to travel more.
But that lie changed my life. I didn't want to be “that” entrepreneur, that didn't fulfill my dreams, and I don't want to be that entrepreneur that will lie to my children and tell them that I have done everything I wanted in my life. I don't know about you, but there's so many things I want in life, still.
I have a great life, but there's still so many places I want to go, and so many places I want to see, and so many things I want to do.
I guess I've been thinking about it a lot lately, because when I was in New Orleans a few weeks ago, my coach had said to us, “Your business can only grow as large as your life.”
The last 9 years or so I had debilitating knee pain. It got worse every year, and my life had gotten very small. It was painful to walk even from room to room in the house, let alone, speak to groups where I had to stand for more than 5-10 minutes. Finally, the pain was so bad that I knew it would be less painful to have the knee replacement surgery than it would be to become wheelchair bound. I’m now all healed and I am back out, and am creating that big life that I had been working on before all of that started.
That was my “why.” I want to help other business owners create the amazing life I have. Zig Ziglar told he, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
I want you to make enough money, so that you can live the life you want, so you can fulfill the dreams that you wanted when you became self-employed. You don't ever have to lie to yourself or lie to your kids, that you’re living the best life possible, when you know you not.
That's really why I get up every day and do what I do. And as ticked off as my friend was making me yesterday, asking me all these questions, at the end, I appreciated it. It was his questions that really got me to my “why,” and my “why” was, life is too short, 68 is not that old.
I don't want to die without fulfilling all of my dreams. I don't want you to come to the end of your life in your business and not have all of your dreams fulfilled or all of the freedom that you want.
I guess I'm going to leave you with that today. Don't keep struggling. Find somebody to help you. It doesn't have to be me. Find someone who can help you build your business to that level of success that you're looking for.
My mom was always looking for success. She was always looking for success, and the first 25 years of being an entrepreneur I was looking for success. I kept trying something else, and I didn't stick with a lot of things long enough, and I know my mom didn't stick with things long enough to have the success she needed.
I wish, all those years ago, there had been business mentors, there had been business coaches that could've helped my mom have that level of success that she wanted, so she could've done all the things she wanted to do. She could've gone to Greece where her father was born and made her dreams come true.
I think the best gift that we can give our children is: If you're an entrepreneur play full out in your business. Be a good example for your children, so that if they decide they want to be an entrepreneur, that can follow your footsteps of success.