At a young age, I had a mentor–two mentors to be exact–my Father and Mother. Both were entrepreneurs and started running successful businesses before their 25th birthdays.
Without even knowing it, I was learning core principles on how to run a successful business as well as how to be a good human being at the dinner table and around the house.
There have been many moments that stuck with me growing up, but one conversation in particular that I had with my Father has helped and encouraged me throughout my business journey.
I can't remember the exact year, but I know I was in middle school.
We were talking about success and failure...something he had experienced multiple times.
We were discussing a situation where he was taking a business risk and he was working through his options about whether or not he would follow through on the decision.
I was likely his sounding board to verbalize his thoughts.
What I found amazing then and even now was his cool, calm, and collected demeanor and his ability to separate the decision from his everyday life as a Father and provider.
My parent's businesses supported our entire household including myself and my two siblings.
A wrong decision or a business failure could drastically affect our daily life.
But none of that pressure seemed to get to him.
He was confident in his decision-making, but most of all confident in himself and his ability to provide.
What he said to me next forever changed my perspective on life and business. He said, "...you know Jay, if things don't work out, I can always sell apples on the corner!"
You see, my Father was raised in a financially struggling household.
They likely didn't know any different and from what he said and never went without the essentials–but he had four other siblings and all had to hold their own weight for the good of the household.
He had a paper route at nine years old and was no stranger to an odd job for some extra pay.
From time to time he and his Father would pick fruits and vegetables and sell them on the local corner for extra money.
This specific "odd job" seemed to help shape his life outlook.
That outlook translated into his business life and decision over a decade later to start his own company when he was 23 years old.
This personal, unforgettable, life-shaping moment can mean many things to many people, but to my Father, it was a life experience that taught him no matter what the situation, with the right work ethic, a positive attitude, and using what was right in front of him, he would always be able to provide for himself and his family.
Ironically enough, I used this same sage advice when I was transitioning into starting my own consulting agency.
Work hard, stay positive and use what is right in front of you!
We live in a world where there are more opportunities right in front of us to succeed and provide for ourselves and our families than ever before.
Don't overcomplicate things.
Work hard, stay positive, and don't be afraid to sell apples on the corner!