In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to express my appreciation for the mistakes that I have made in the past. Yes — I’m saying thank you to various decisions I made in my life that turned out to be utterly wrong. Have you made some decisions in your life that seemed to have only brought you heartache, pain, and long suffering? If so, I encourage you to say “Thank You”. Has Damon lost his flipping mind? He’s asking me to recall a painful experience in my life and he is suggesting that I say Thank You?
If I’ve lost you so far it’s because you have not learned from your mistakes. Or worse, you’re still blaming someone or something for your current state of affairs. I agree with Les Brown. He said, “if you learned from your mistakes, you didn’t GO through anything, your GREW through them.” I also agree with the old maxim that when you point a finger at someone or something, you’ll notice that you’re also pointing three fingers at yourself. I believe that an adult man or woman’s current position in life is the subtotal of the decisions that he or she has made in the past. As a result, whenever I’m going through tough times, I hear a Michael Jackson song playing in the back of my mind. “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.”
If you’ve experienced tough times or you’re going tough times, I want you to pick yourself up and brush your shoulders off. More importantly, I want you to do an autopsy on the mistakes you’ve made so that you can get to the root cause of your demise. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself repeating your mistakes. If you allow history to continually repeat itself in your life, I consider you to be a “jive turkey”. I define a jive turkey to be someone who is simple, silly, ignorant, or insane. It sounds harsh but knowingly or unknowingly you said the same thing. You just worded it differently. You said, “Fool me once, shame on you — fool me twice, shame on me.” Growing through your mistakes can apply to all areas of your life.
Since, I’m a financial guy, I want you and me to take an inventory of the various decisions that we’ve made that’s preventing us from reaching our financial goals. Below I’ll reveal a decision I made that turned out to be a mistake.
I was exposed to sound financial principles at an early age. When I decided to launch my business in 1999, I still maintained full-time employment. I worked long hours for my employer then came home and went to work on my business. I maintained this schedule until May of 2003 when the manager of the company that I worked for learned that I owned my own financial company. They considered it to be a conflict of interest and decided to let me go. Gratefully by this time, I had grown my business to where I was earning a decent income. I don’t know when I would have taken the leap of faith to operate my company full time if the decision had not been made for me. After being fired, I wanted to prove to myself that I could make my business work. I worked hard from dust to dawn striving to make my business prosper. My hard work paid off. In one three-month period, I almost doubled what Corporate America paid me to work for an entire year. I thought I was “The Man”.
I teach small business owners that they should stabilize their income for a 2-year period before making any major changes to their business for an increase in income could be an isolated occurrence. For some reason, I must have thought this rule didn’t apply to me. I counted the dollars that I made and look at my growing pipeline. I began to make decisions as if I would maintain the income level indefinitely. I made the most critical error in my business life that ultimately impacted my personal life. I hired a direct marketing company to take control of generating business for me. I was tired of knocking on doors, cold calling, brown nosing, stuffing letters and the like. I wanted someone else to make my phone ring and then I take over from there. This decision cost me dearly. The short end of it, I paid a small fortune on the front end that resulted in the revenue from my business dropping 60 percent. Being overly optimistic that things would turn around, I nearly depleted our emergency fund to keep the business going. I lost confidence in my ability to make the company work. I went from wearing an “S” on my chest (Superman) to wearing an “S” on my forehead (Sucker).
The experience was gut wrenching. My wife had never seen me in such a vulnerable position. She had more confidence in me than I had in myself. She reminded me that if I did it once, I could do it again. After having a pity party for myself that lasted about 6-months, I began to pick myself up. I did not point any fingers. I identified two problems: Ineffective marketing and lack of multiple revenue streams. I learned everything I could learn about marketing and I searched within to determine how I could use the knowledge that I acquired to create multiple streams of income.
By addressing my problems, I developed a better business model with multiple streams of income that I now know how to market and promote. Through this process I also became a better husband, a better father, a better servant to my clients and I reconnected to my spiritual base. For that I’m grateful. I refuse to be a jive turkey again. Are you grateful for your mistakes? Will you be a jive turkey again?
(Mortgage and Money Coach Damon Carr is the owner of ACE Financial. Damon can be reached @ 412-856-1183.)