I want to be useful, truly useful — but it took a crisis or two for me to figure that out. Two years ago I hit rock bottom. My health had been in decline for a number of years when I hit a crisis. I needed to be cared for and was virtually useless to my family and company. Often, it was all I could do to get from one hour to the next.
I prayed to recover so that I could become useful again to my family, friends, colleagues and society. During the past two years, I’ve made remarkable progress, slowly but steadily returning to my old roles. A good marker for my return to health is my cholesterol level which has risen from a low of 99 two years ago to 146 today. In high school, it was measured at 150 which I suspect was too low (for me). So I will keep eating all the saturated fats that I can until I reach about 170. Someone pass me the chicken liver please.
Rock bottom has a lot to offer. Reflecting back over a 10 year period of time, I can see that I was burning with ambition when I started LatPro. I wanted to achieve something big. I always liked to express my creativity, build things and make my own decisions, but I was also driven by visions of fame and wealth.
I wanted to be perceived and remembered as being intelligent and competent. My parents would notice and remark on my success. My wealth would enable me to travel with my family on extended vacations sharing outdoor experiences like fishing, camping, biking and so on. I would start another company or two and become an angel investor or venture capitalist.
Although the last two years has been the performance of a lifetime for us, my oldest and grandest visions haven’t materialized. My health crisis, the emergency move from Florida (where our office is still) led right into this great endless recession. In the end, a mighty performance just kept us going.
Hitting rock bottom helped strip away the fluff from my vision and helped me prioritize what I want and work for. I saw clearly that I most wanted to be useful/helpful but couldn’t without good health. The two are tied together. If you think about the way sleep and health are related you can see even deeper connections. The more people you help, the stronger the foundation of your business & career. The more stable your career is the better you sleep and healthier you are.
Somewhere along the way I also realized that being smart, successful, and wealthy might earn you more enemies than friends. And, if your parents aren’t interested in business or aren’t in the habit of paying compliments, no amount of success will change that. On the contrary, chasing success for its own sake is just a recipe for exploding your health and family.
I’m still burning with ambition but it has a different flavor. Today, I’m just focused on providing useful services that move people forward in their careers, that cause them the to sit up and say, “Wow, that’s helpful, I can use that!” Furthermore, I’m committed to doing this without leaving my family or my health behind. And well, the good news from above rock-bottom is this — every day we get more useful, help more people and I sleep a little better. That’s a dream come true!