When I was in high school, I was clueless as to what I wanted to do with my life.
I grew up in a suburban middle-class neighborhood, attended 8 years of parochial school, graduated from a catholic high school ranked 50/280
I never went without my needs and even most of my wants, or never had to make hard decisions.
And I didn’t hear no very often, don’t get me wrong I was not THAT spoiled, It was because I was taught work ethic and hard work would pay off. And I found out my lane and stayed in it for the most part.
Yes, I was a pain in the ass teenager and did things I wasn’t supposed to be doing but I still knew my boundaries and knew how to integrate my misgivings with positive behaviors.
My sisters thought I was spoiled, and I was a closet momma’s boy. All of which had merit.
My grandfather was an entrepreneur, but he sold his last business when I was very young. So, I never saw the hard work and struggle involved in operating your own business. I just saw the rewards he had earned.
It was expected that I was going to college, so the first big decision I had to make was which college and what am I studying.
I was not prepared for college, or the decisions I would have to make on a daily basis.
I was not naïve; it was simply a lot of choices to make with a lesser week mind.
My first few years of college, I did not come close to the expectations that had been thrust upon me… But I stayed in the fight.
During this time, I also started to feel that I was wondering a lost path.
Years later reflecting on it I realized…
Deep down, I have always been a leader and when I was stuck following others, I was making bad decisions.
At the age of 21, my job that turned into management responsibilities and then an ownership role within 6 months, was the turning point in my life.
And this was the first memorable appearance of my heroic self.
Having the childhood, I had, I never had an expectation that I could NOT do something.
I knew that others were successful and never thought about how to get there. I just did what came naturally to me… work hard and others will follow.
I had some great successes without ever thinking about how or why.
Fast forward years later, the lessor weak self, started making more and more appearances.
‘take the easy corporate job without the responsibilities’
‘just be comfortable, you deserve it’,
‘You put in your dues’,
‘you can’t take that risk, you have a family now.’
I’m getting back to that 21-year-old self, the heroic self that never had self-doubt or let fear creep into the decisions to be made. He did the right thing, worked hard, and brought people with him… And he thrived on every challenge presented to him!
If 21-year-old Mark could do it… so can 45-year-old Mark.