I don't want to be here writing. I don't want to sit down right now. This is going to suck...blah blah blah!!!!!!
Fuck it I'm writing. Duke you are so lame for writing shit and publishing it on the web. Yeah maybe I am lame...fuck you. No fuck you. No fuck you and shut up while I write.
OK enough of that.
I had a business at one time. I don't know how it happened. One minute I'm in my bedroom working in my boxer shorts all day listening to Howard Stern and the next thing you know I'm in an office building with 23 employees whom I was doing the payroll for and basically responsible for paying their rent. What the fuck? How did I get here? That's another story. I have a lot of "That's another story" statements within my writing I'm noticing.
I'm getting paid pretty good but I'm stressing out because it seems like a headache each month to keep this business going. My partner and I are having huge power struggle arguments and confrontations, so much so that we go to therapy. But, you guessed it, that's another story.
So many bills, so many costs, so much money freely flying every which direction. I feel like a guy trapped in a wind box with flying money all around him desperately trying to grab what he can but it just keeps slipping through my hands. I have my own office and I spend my days procrastinating from making hard decisions that could effect peoples lives. People with families and bills of their own. I've got my wife in my ear, and it always seems to be pulling me in a direction of comfrontation. I can't get a grip of things.
I heard of this company called Score. Score is a company, I believe they are non profit, that is comprised of older successful business people that want to donate their time and experience to young entrepreneurs like myself. I remember going to meet with this guy at the score office. I waited in line. The guy in front of me was some guy with a business idea just asking questions like, "will this work?" "How do I start a business?" and other general questions coming from a guy in the first phases of wanting to step out and do something for the first time in his life.
I probably was feeling somewhat cool when it was my turn and I started off by saying that I have a business with 23 employees. I told him about all of these seemingly random expenses and bills and payrolls and overall business confusion that I was going through. I was basically telling him that I was lost in a sea of confusion that seemed like a sand storm of important unmade decisions that left me feeling both stressed and numb at the same time, if that's possible.
He introduced me to some accounting techniques, the main one being the cash flow statement. He said even now that he's older and successful he looks at where the money is going and coming at the end of each month. He will sit down with his wife and discuss what they are spending money on and what it is they they want to spend money on in the future.
This guy (from Score) Bill was cool. He was a multi millionaire who started an electronics business from his garage in the suburbs. I think he might of took the idea from someone else and just did it better but that's another story. He ended up selling the company for something like 20 million dollars. Now he lives on the beach and donates his time to score. He also spends time making music on the computer which I thought was pretty cool for an 80 year old guy. One other thing about Bill is that he drove just a regular small pick up truck. I remember my partner was so curious to see his car. I think sometimes the truly successful people don't care about showing off their money. The habits they learned regarding living within their means has remained deeply ingrained in them. But this is another story. We set up an appointment for Bill and his friend Jim to come to our office and give us some free mentoring.
I love the idea of a mentor. Someone that has accomplished what you want and they are willing to take you under their wing to guide you past the pitfalls that they learned from their experience so you to can achieve success. I've had one true mentor who taught me more about life in a short period of time than I had learned in the 22 years before I met him. I wish I had another mentor right now but these are two different articles for another time.
Jim and Bill came over to meet and mentor. Jim turned out to be the talkative one. He was the controller at a few very successful companies and apparently a genius when it came to accounting and numbers. He started by telling me that I need to watch everything I spend and put each item into about 15 categories. Then just like Bill was telling me at the end of each month we will look at the expenses and see if anything jumps out at us. Then he asked if I had ever heard of the term "Moonshot".
He went on to explain that in the 60's the term "moonshot" was very popular. Everyone was constantly thinking about going to the moon and business experts came up with this particular metaphor titled the "moonshot".
When a rocket gets launched into space with the goal of landing on the moon it's never a straight shot. Inevitably the rocket will get off course. It will start traveling too far to the left. The people in control of the rocket, I don't know what these people are called, space ship navigators?. (Hey reader, don't worry about it just keep paying attention to the lesson.) When the rocket goes too far left they make an adjustment to the right. Then it starts getting back on course. But, I bet you already know what happens, it's on course for a while but then it starts going too far right. So what do you do? You make the correction. It goes off again, make the correction.
You don't just say,"Oh I guess it's going too far left, that's that." and watch it race pass the moon. You make the correction and you keep doing it until it hits the moon. This is called "course correction." "Course correction" is definitely a lesson I need to learn. I've recently been looking back at my life to see how I just kept the course with no correction. Many rockets in my life have passed the moon. Maybe most of them have.
There was the time when the girl from high school dated me for 3 months yet I dated her for 5 years. On retrospect I could have done some evaluation and course correction which would have saved me some pain. Since junior high I wanted to be a rock star. The band broke up and I blamed the lead singer. I said I will be the lead singer, and be reliable. Problem is I can't really sing. That's not a problem I thought, "I'll learn to sing." I took lessens. I went to music school at San Francisco State. I tried out for the vocal program. You have to get in front of three professors and sing for them. They quickly realized that singing wasn't my forte and said I can't be in the "vocal major program" but I can major in general music and take the voice class. I took this particular voice class over 8 semesters in a row and practiced constantly. The teacher said I was definitely tenacious. (To my credit I did improve as a singer) but I never became this natural talent and I wasn't going to make it as a singer. I went years and years with this thought. Some self analyses and course correction was definitely in order.
Let's not even mention the time I decided to become the replacement for Conan O'brien and did 114 talk shows in 2 1/2 years on my own dime.
How many times in my life have I kept repeating the same thing that doesn't really work over and over because I'm scared of being wrong and scared to try something unfamiliar? There's a fear of failure that holds us back. Because in order to succeed we have to alter the course and every time you alter the course chances are the new direction you take will not be the one that hits the moon. It'll in essence be a failure and will be painful. We know the direction we are currently heading and we become attached to it. It feels comfortable, it's what we know, and worst of all it becomes a part of us. Maybe each time you course correct you are loosing a part of yourself. Each course correction is a little like death and we're scared of death. Maybe success is death and when they say you are scared of success it really means you're scared of death. Maybe being successful means you need to kill off who you are, the loser part. You need to become someone else and that's scary because we imagine this someone else as being like some complete kook. So we stick on the path that is familiar and slowly it eats us up inside until we die of cancer, literally or metaphorically.
Maybe we're scared of becoming the type of person we detest. We don't want to change. We don't want to become someone we don't like, but ironically it's by not changing that we become the person we hate.
I'm making a guess and have a theory that when we "course correct" and head toward success, we become nothing like the person we detest but with every "course correction" we become closer to who we always wanted to be. Our best.