I’m the luckiest person you’ve ever met (online). Seriously. No one has more luck than me. What gives me this confidence? Well, for starters, I’ve got a wife who’s willing to fight for my honor, supportive parents, beautiful and healthy kids, wonderful friends, solid health, a nice home and enough money to pay for things while I work on the next business / investment idea. I had a reasonably safe childhood, travelled to some amazing locales, and held cool jobs. This all adds up to off the charts fortune. Not to brag, but I’ve got it all.
Is everything I just said true? To me it is. I believe all of it.
Are there people out there with more? Absolutely.
I’ve never won the lottery, my wife was never a supermodel, I’m below average height, my dream of being a professional baseball player ended in failure, my kids whine and cry with the best of them, I have a bum leg that hurts daily, I struggle with confidence at times, I was bullied growing up, and I’ve been fired from my job 40% of the time. With that said, is there anyone out there luckier than me? Nope. Not even close and no one can tell me otherwise.
You can call me delusional, but you’d be wasting your energy. This is my reality and there’s only person who is in control of my reality…me.
We’ve all heard of the saying, “you are what you eat.” There’s a lot of truth to this as science has shown the healthier foods we put into our bodies, the more effective we become. With that said, I think a better adage to start with is, “we are what we think.” Or, what we think dictates who we are.
Having the time to look at what I am thinking about, led me to quit social media (I’m still working on hitting the delete button on linkedin, but it’s coming!). While the addiction to “likes” was a strong motivator for deleting my facebook page, I had also come to realize that social media was filling my time and subsequently, my thoughts, with material that wasn’t helping to turn me into the person I want to be. This is not to say I don’t see value in good ole fashioned time wasting (or entertainment), but when that information taken from time wasting equates to a Dan that is less than my best self, then the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.
In a nutshell, I believe that “what I think” leads to “what I do” and that leads to “who I am”. Therefore, I think I am lucky, I translate everything that happens to me as a lucky event and then I believe and become lucky within my reality.
Another way to talk about this is through the very popular, “fake it, until you make it” adage.
Today, I consider myself to have the skills and experience necessary to lead a large-scale organization. However, this wasn’t always the case. Rewind 9 years (nearly to the day) and I’m back living in my parent’s basement attempting to startup a business for the first time. My business card said CEO, but it should have said, “Chief Executive Imposter.” As I pretended to lead a business, I had zero experience as a CEO. There was only one thing to do, fake it. Without “faking it”, there’s no chance anyone would want to work for the business, no chance any bank would provide capital, and no chance any customer would trust me with their money – all things vitally necessary for the success of a burgeoning company.
More important than convincing prospective employees, banks, and customers that I was a “real” CEO, I was convincing myself that I could in fact, “do this.” In those early days, my “self talk” was constant words of encouragement, followed by doubt, followed by more positivity to push the doubt out, followed by more negativity, followed by, well, you get the picture. This went on constantly, but the positivity had to win. If it didn’t, there’s no way I’d believe in myself and no chance in hell anyone would put their belief in me.
Somewhere around the 4th or 5th year, the dance with doubt and belief subsided and in my eyes, I truly became a “real” CEO (it may not be a coincidence that around this time is when I moved out of my parent’s basement and got my own place again). After pretending to “play CEO” for so long, this image had been cemented as my reality.
I used to think that “faking it until you make it” meant, “until you make it to the big leagues” or “making it to a promotion.” I don’t think the “make it” piece is actually a destination. After my own experience and seeing how I faked myself into thinking I was a CEO (when I probably wasn’t), I see “making it” as something more malleable – it’s us “making” ourselves into what we set out to be. Or, making our own reality.
Recently, I have had some hesitations about one of the next steps I plan to take “post firing.” Namely, that of an investor in businesses rather than leading businesses. I’d like to take this approach as developing a startup is a time intensive process and I want to have the flexibility to spend as much time as possible with my young children and be there for them in the same way my parents were there for me. With that said, there is a specific business I want to buy, but I have been finding it difficult to tap into the motivation and have the conviction to really jump in head first. Without the mental self-talk of encouragement, my attempts to make this happen haven’t really taken off. I have the confidence in what I’m investing in, the desire, the time and the access to capital, but I’ve been struggling to really own this image and become “an investor.” It may sound overly simplistic, but I think I’ve recently found the answer. I haven’t been faking it enough.
It is often said that humans are the most adaptable animals on the planet. I believe that adaptation begins with our thoughts. Want to make a change in your life? Try starting with what you think.
This is my reality and my reality is real.