“What made you want to travel so much?” is the question I get asked frequently. It almost seems as if the people who ask me this question are really asking me not because they really care why I travel so much, but because they hope that the answer I give them will convince them to leave the current city they’re in to take a chance at fulfilling their dreams.
So then I wish people would really ask me, “What inspired you to take control of your own fate?”
Anyone who knows me knows that I speak in quotes. Whether it’s lyrics from the new Kanye song, or it’s some quote I found online from a person I’ve never heard of. Quotes inspire me in different ways, which is why I will use them while I explain this loaded question. Some won’t make sense as to why I used them, maybe I just liked that particular quote and it made me ponder uncontrollably.
apologize ahead of time for offending whoever reads this, hence I didn’t say “if” I offend someone. Reason being is because I normally offend someone in some way every time I open my mouth, even if I have the best intentions at heart. However, I will try to answer this question as truthfully as I can with much exaggeration to make it even more exciting.
Actually scratch that, I’m not really sorry if I offend anyone.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” – Alan Alda
From 18 when I started my first company, to 23 years old by the time my 3rd company was growing, I was highly motivated. Working long nights, skipping class to work/catch up on sleep, staying in on the weekends to work, working in class during the very small amount of time I actually went…you get the idea. I worked, and I worked a lot. I was motivated, I had my head on straight, and I was focused. I graduated college in 2011 and was ready to put 200% into my company now that college wasn’t taking up 50% of the 200%. I could sense our growth coming, it was just waiting for me to graduate and give it all I had. And boom, the growth happened. Company was doing great, we were doing great, we were happy. I opened up an office, hired the wrong people, and tried building the company out of the city I once called home.
But then something strange happened. I was exhausted. I worked my ass off for almost 5 years and I was finally drained. I gradually noticed that I was becoming comfortable with the small level of success I had gained after all these years. Although the virtually unattainable high ass goals I set for myself weren’t anywhere near complete, for a moment I was okay with where I was because I worked my ass off to achieve it. No one around me worked as hard as I did. No one around me sacrificed sleep and precious memories for a crack at success. No one around me challenged me to strive for more. When no one around me has that same fire, that same drive, why should I? That little voice in my head that always pushed me to my limits was dying because for the first time in my life I was finally comfortable.
“I take a step back and notice that things ain’t what they seem. That’s when [I] refocus, yeah I turn on them high beams.” – J. Cole from a dollar and a dream III
While getting comfortable was a big reason as to why I took control, a smaller reason deals with the friends I once had. That is a touchy subject that I won’t elaborate on, and the only reason I brought it up is because I said I would be truthful. However, I will leave one piece of advice. It’s important to figure out the difference between friends that genuinely want the best for you, and the “friends” that “genuinely” want the best for you. Once you figure that out, you’ll find the true beauty of calling someone a friend.
“Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his idea, to take a calculated risk, and to act.” – Maxwell Maltz
It was around August 2012 when I had a conference to attend in NYC. During the trip I visited one of my mentors that we do business with to catch up. I mentioned to him that my family is moving out of the city we called home for almost 15 years and I was thinking about hitting the road to Austin, San Diego, or New York City. The next few sentences he told me literally made up my mind for me.
He said and I exaggeratedly paraphrase, “You need to travel to New York City. You might think you’re some hot shot over there, but you move to this city and it’ll kick you right in your ass. It’ll make you realize that you’re one of the many who have just scratched the surface of success. The hustle, the drive, the personalities, the streets, the pace, and the lights – they will all beat you down repeatedly until you’re ready to punch back as you once did. And knowing you, you’ll start punching back very soon with a fierce vengeance.”
I went back to my old home, packed 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on, and I acted on what I once thought was a “risk.”
At the end of September 2012, I left everything and everyone behind and I started my travels around the states.
To be continued…