First, I hope everyone who’s celebrating whichever holiday you believe in has a good one.
I have two friends I’d like to talk a little bit about today. Both are very successful people, both are millionaires a few times over.
My one friend is a really interesting case. He has a Ph.D. in Nursing. He owns a hotel, two restaurants, two buildings, two houses in the same city, another house in Mexico, and two other businesses. He might have another house somewhere; I’ve never asked. He works hard and he plays hard. He travels all over the country and lives in hotels most of the time. When he goes on vacation, it’s not to resort cities like Cozumel for relaxation. He vacations hard; he takes 3 week trips and goes to places like the jungles of Costa Rica and Vietnam, or rides rickety trains like the Orient Express into places like Mongolia and many of the former USSR countries. He’s a very engaging guy, very knowledgeable, but sometimes doesn’t know how to turn it off and just relax and talk about other things.
My other friend is actually more interesting, if that’s possible. She was born in another country whose name is no longer known by most people, and came to America with little money and a couple of little kids. She’s had two businesses that made her wealthy, and is now in real estate, where, despite all the troubles the industry had last year, she actually made out very well and had a multimillion dollar year. She has houses in multiple states as well, and is another person who puts in tons of hours working. She also pays for a life coach, very big dollars, who she talks to every day because he holds her accountable for everything she does. And for the most part her work day, every day, runs from 6AM to 9PM.
These two people are driven, that’s for sure. I like both of them; I just don’t know that I could be like both of them. Sure, I want to be rich, but I also kind of want to do it on my own terms. I don’t mind hard work, but I’ve found that, after many years of working a lot of hours for others, that I need a bit more work/life balance. Both of these people are exhilarated by what they do, but I have to tell you the truth; just thinking about it makes me tired.
It begs the question I asked in the title; how far are you willing to go to be successful? In a weird way, I guess I should talk. I’ve been working for myself since 2001, and there are days when I put in 18 hours on the computer. In January and February of 2009, I was working on a project that consumed 20 hours a day, and in one stretch I didn’t go to bed for two days, trying to complete the project on time. I got paid well for that, but I knew that wasn’t a pace I’d ever be able to keep up for long periods of time.
At the same time, there are also some major compromises that one sometimes has to give up to be that kind of successful. I’m not one who genuflects well; I need the same kind of respect that I’m giving, or else I’m out of there. After all, I’m an incorporated business; I’m legitimately the CEO of my company, which has multiple divisions. No, I’m nowhere close to millionaire status, but by title and by having given my own version of sweat and blood to the cause, I feel that I’m at least the equal of anyone else I meet, financial background notwithstanding.
Now to you; how do you answer this question on this Sunday that’s so special for so many, while also being the 42nd year of the assassination of Dr. King?