Richard’s story is all too familiar.
Richard had it all: youth, enthusiasm, charm, came from a normal English family and was inspired to work hard for what he wanted from life. Richard checked all the boxes for a successful life. His hard work paid. He would earn a high-level sales job straight out of college.
Richard’s natural ability to succeed started young. At as young as fourteen, he sold a computer he built by hand to his uncle. Thus, it was no surprise that he did well at his sales job. He did so well, in fact, you could say he was knocking it out of the park, so to speak. It would not be long before he felt like life was knocking him out of the park.
Richard reflects on this low time in his life with profound sadness. He lost a close family member after a two-year battle with cancer. Richard felt as though he was a shell of that fourteen-year-old who was selling handbuilt computers to his family with visions of building an empire. He felt absolutely crushed.
In normal situations, competition drove Richard. He would work harder so that he made more. The excitement of making more money by working was a thrill at first. His bosses loved him, and why not? He was the guy making them look good with his sales. He was the first to work in the morning and the last to leave at night. Day after day, Richard was chasing a dream that he soon realized was not his dream. Like many that run the rat race in life, he realized his wins favored his bosses and the toll the rat race was taking on him would not be worth it in the end. It was a lose-lose situation. Losing a family member revealed this truth to him.
The realizations did not stop for Richard. He started to see that job security was a false promise. He realized he was missing out on the special moments in life such as time with his wife and newborn. He was lucky to leave home in daylight or come home in it for that matter. Seeing pictures of his child on his wife’s phone made him feel as if he was missing out on life. His childhood conjures up positive memories, and he wanted his child to be able to say the same. After some time experiencing this lifestyle, Richard became sick of it.
Richard’s mood started to change drastically. He was no longer excited about getting up for work. He dreaded it, even. He became unusually despondent. In the midst of his low, he decided he had had enough.
The state of his mind signalled that all his motivation had died. He felt his skin and surroundings going gray. There came a point when depression about this 9 to 5 got so bad that he quit. Richard quit that job that once gave him such joy.
The story you have read about Richard to this point is not an uncommon one. Many workers get caught in the rat race, chewed up, and thrown out. Many decide to quit before they can get thrown out on a technicality. What Richard did next is something we do not hear enough of – he took his life back, bit by bit.
Richard was scared, but he also had great hope. He felt free from the shackles of his previous life, and when he left that job, he kept three things in mind to help drive him:
● His love and ability to share his love of teaching others.
● His goal to be fully self-sufficient in one year – it only took six months.
● The firm resolve that there would be no excuses because his family depended on him.
It did not take long for Richard to gain motivation and experience new success. He worked hard, not for money but for love. He started his own taekwondo school as he was a natural for teaching and had many years of experience in this martial art. In the process, he realized that trading his valuable free time for money was a big mistake. He used that knowledge to ensure that he grew his business in a way that did not demand as much of his time. He scaled his school by expanding into other areas of expertise.
Fast forward to today. Richard has successfully started four new businesses, and now he is an exceptional mentor to dozens of other budding entrepreneurs and business owners. Many of those he mentors came to Richard in much the same state he was in when he quit: ready to quit their 9 to 5 job and live life as they want too. Richard achieved miraculous results with his students. One student, for example, has made close to $500,000 inside their first year. Another had to hire an assistant to help manage her success. Yet another was able to use what Richard taught them to get a coveted pay rise. Richard’s return from down and out to successful businessman was helping people speak to the possibilities in life when we give up what is not working and start working on what we know and love.
In fact, when it comes to corporate work, according to Forbes, 63% of workers are not engaged or satisfied with their jobs. People tend to complain about their jobs but do nothing about it. That goes to show that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who keep whining about something but take no action to change the circumstances and those who take risks and turn proverbial coal into diamonds.
Richard falls in the second category. He took what could have been a disastrous situation in his personal loss and misery at work and decided to act. And it yielded great dividends for himself and those around him. What I love about Richard’s story is that it's real. Richard doesn’t tell you a tall tale. He speaks earnestly and honestly about how his life changed and how it took time to figure things out and grow personally and professionally from his losses and choices. Richard is the definition of integrity and the kind of guy you could spend hours with and learn tons. He is down to earth and earnest. He does not make the notion of being in business for yourself romantic.
Richard’s story is the true epitome of courage. He had to work hard. He did not have role models to show him the way. He struggled and succumbed to life’s hardships. He had to face large odds in very uncertain ways. That took courage. That is one of Richard’s traits for which I have great admiration.
Richard speaks of his ordeal as a rite of passage that most entrepreneurs have to go through. There is no direct jump from a corporate job to a multi-millionaire entrepreneur; the struggle is real. The risks are scary, but not half as scary as seeing yourself turn gray, lose your mind, and never get to see your own baby awake and playing. When Richard weighed what he feared becoming versus what he would have to do not to become that, he decided to forge ahead. He is a true inspiration from whom we all can learn a great deal about life and business. I am honored to share Richard’s story and welcome your responses about how his story affected you.