Interview With A Champion – My Dad’s Thoughts On Escaping The Rat Race

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Along the Inca Trail

Warning: This is a long post… However, I think it’s worth the read, especially if you know my father or myself, or if you feel like being inspired today.

My last post included an interview with my father, where he reflected on how he overcame the hardest physical challenge of his life, The Inca Trail. As I watched my Dad go through this experience, I noticed something that really intrigued me.

He was not the same man that I remember from my childhood. He is a completely different person than he was even just a few years ago. With this realization, I sent him some additional questions, probing into how he completely changed his life over the past couple of years.

I wanted to hear his thoughts about how he was able to go from focusing on the negatives to focusing on the positives; From waking up stressed out to waking up each day with a smile on his face; From skeptic to open minded; From working a 9-5 job that he didn’t love to becoming an entrepreneur with a purpose; From making only linear income to making passive income; From making a wage to making a profit; From being reactive to proactive; From letting external circumstances control him to taking control of his life.

Describe any differences in your outlook on life now, compared to 2 years ago.

Our family has had to deal with the tragic and sudden loss of Shane and Jess a little over three years ago.  I miss the boys and think about them on a daily basis.  Life is too short to dwell on all the negative aspects.

I have a more positive outlook on life and I want to be able to appreciate and enjoy the time I have on this earth. For this reason, I have retired from my full time job. Now I am more in control of my life and I am able to do what I really enjoy doing, without being tied down to a 9-5 job.

Describe how you felt when you woke up and had to go to your 9-5 job, before you retired? Compare this to how you feel when you wake up and start your days now.

When I was working full time in my “9-5” job, it was difficult for me to get motivated and excited to go to work each and everyday. I had worked for the same employer for over 30 years and for some reason, I had lost my passion and commitment to excel in my position.

Since retirement, I have a new and fresh outlook in life again. As I mentioned in my previous answers, I focus on the positives and tend not to dwell on the negatives. What I love now is that I am totally in control of what I do each day. I am able to wake up in the morning and balance my time between my business and the rest of my life.

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The good life

I have the time to oversee how my rental properties are doing; I’m spending time golfing with friends on a weekly basis and also, I find time to work in our beautiful garden at home.  Each morning when I wake up, I am more relaxed now, since I know I have the freedom to plan my days to fit my personal needs and not the needs of my employer.

What was going thought your head when you finally decided that you would leave your full time job?

For me personally, words can’t even express how happy and relieved I felt to leave my full time job and the daily stress and pressures that came with the position. After the loss of Shane and Jess in 2012, as a result of a car accident, I came to realize that life is too short. We all need to enjoy every second that we have on this earth.  I wanted to ensure that I was still young, healthy and active during my retirement years, so that I can still enjoy life to the fullest.

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Still young enough for this

Jared, I listened to your advice about five years ago.  I remember all the conversations we had at home about what actions I needed to take in order for me to get to a stage in life that I could financially afford to retire early. You helped me formulate my “plan”, you recommended personal development and financial courses for me to take and you told me to start investing in rental properties.

Thank you for your help and guidence!  To this day, I still listen to your advice and I still follow up and implement many of your recommendations!  I tell many people that my son is my mentor!

How has personal development and working with companies like Make Your Mark and Peak Potentials positively impacted your business and your life?

Once again, thanks to your advice and guidance, Jared, I am now actively involved in personal development and entrepreneur programs/courses, as well as business networking groups.  Attending the Peak Potentials seminar in Los Angeles with you in 2014, I experienced, for the first time, how successful people can become, just by taking action and tapping into the potentials that we all have inside of us.

As you know, I was always skeptical about these types of programs and courses and I thought they were expensive and a waste of money.  I can honestly say, attending Peak Potentials was a real eye opener for me.  Since that trip to LA last year, I am now actively involved with like-minded entrepreneurs in a program called Make Your Mark.  We meet on a bi-weekly basis and attended one or two day business courses every few months.

“Formal education will make you a living. Personal education will make you a fortune” – Jim Rohn

This has positively impacted both my personal life and business. Some of the key learning points is that in order to succeed, you need to have a positive outlook and not dwell on the negatives.  The negatives will only bring you down and create barriers when trying to move forward. It is also important to be exposed to and to take advice from successful people and lastly, to share successes and gratitudes with others.

In closing, my gratitude and thanks goes to you Jared for getting me on the right path five years ago, so that I was able to retire in my mid 50’s and for me to be able to have the freedom to do what I want to do in my personal life and in my business ventures. For this, I am forever thankful!

It’s Never Too Late To Start

I hear too many people say that they wish they did things differently when they were younger, but that it’s too late for them to change. My Dad’s story just goes to show that you don’t have to be young to make drastic changes in your life. All it takes is a bit of courage and faith.

Here is a real life example of a man, who completely transformed his life, at age 55. He quit his secure, 6-figure job, losing a large portion of his pension. He started investing, after spending his entire life, fearing the word. He got involved with the same kind of personal development work that he used to roll his eyes at. He didn’t know exactly how to invest or grow his business, so he reached out to mentors.

When he first started making these big changes in his life, he didn’t know 100% that everything would work out perfectly, and honestly not everything did. There were road bumps along the way, but he learned from them and moved on. Now, less than 2 years later, his life is completely transformed and he is a very different man.

“It’s never too late to start, it’s always too late to wait” – Jeff Olsen

Life is too short, to live a life that you do not love. If you are just entering the work force, in the middle of your career, or just a few years away from retirement, it makes no difference. If you are not happy, then maybe it’s time to make a change.

If you have kids, don’t use them as an excuse. I can assure you the last thing your kids want to find out is that you are sacrificing your dreams for them. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to experience, knowing that my father was going to work each day, to a job he didn’t love.

I share this to show that change is possible no matter where you are in life. Whatever your excuse is, let it go. Whether your excuse is that you’re too old, too young, too uneducated, too educated, too dumb, too smart, too short, too tall, too unattractive, too attractive, too white, too black, too chinese, too shy, too loud, it’s all the same. The fact is that whatever your excuse is, it’s a bullshit story that you’ve made up in your own mind and it’s holding you back.

Don’t Let The People You Love Kill Your Dreams

Above, I wrote about my Dad’s success story. Now I am going to write about my own.

The man who is now thanking me for setting him on the right path and is calling me his mentor is the same man who just a few years ago, told me that I don’t know how life works when I told him that we that we don’t have to work 40 hours a week for 40 years, building someone else’s dream. He’s the same man who got angry when I came home from my first personal development conference and told him I was going to start a business and that I never wanted to work for someone else ever again.

I still remember clearly, sitting at the dinner table with my Dad, a few years ago. I told him that I planned on becoming financially free at a young age and that I was going to retire him within 5 years. He responded by rolling his eyes at me.

I remember getting so incredibly upset, saying some not so pleasant words to him and leaving the dinner table. When I finally confronted him about this the next day, I told him that I wasn’t going to let him hold me back. I told him that if he wasn’t going to support me in the pursuit of my dreams, he wouldn’t see me for a long time.

“A man must love his father yet be free of his fathers criticisms in order to be a free man.” – David Deida

There are a couple lessons here. First of all, I was only able to help my father change his life because I was so committed to my dreams and beliefs that I was willing to stand up and fight for them, even if it meant having to cut my own father out of my life, temporarily. After this incident, my Dad was still skeptical, but at least now he supported me and respected the path that I had chosen.

Now, would I react the same way now? Probably not. What I did was a bit extreme, but that’s how I was 5 years ago. I’m not saying you have to threaten to cut people out of your life, although sometimes this may be necessary if someone is excessively negative.

My point is that sometimes the people that you want to help are the people that are going to be negative and try to hold you back. If you really want to help these people, you have to have the strength to stand up for your beliefs and do what you’re going to do anyways. If I had given up on my dreams because my Dad was negative, then he would probably still be waking up and forcing himself to go to work each day, to a job he doesn’t love.

Lead By Example… People Will Follow When They Are Ready

Here is the second lesson. After being introduced to personal development and experiencing incredible results, I thought I had the answer to everyones problems. I thought that it was my job to push this new way of thinking on everyone in my life. I thought everyone should start thinking like I did.

However, after years of arguing with people about the way life works, I learned that this is not the best way to affect positive change in the people around me. I came to realize that trying to convince someone that their way of thinking is wrong, is not the best way to influence them.

I’ve found that the best way to have a positive influence on the lives of the people we care about is to simply lead by example. To stop trying to convince anyone of anything and to go out and show people what’s possible by making positive changes in our own lives. When we do this, people will start to follow us when they are ready.

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done. Then they begin to hope it can be done. Then they see it can be done. Then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” – Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is what happened with my Dad. He didn’t believe in my way of thinking until I went out and showed him that it worked. He saw me go out and challenge the status quo. He saw me doing the exact opposite of the majority of the population in most areas of my life. He saw me take risks. He saw me dream big. And he saw me create the life that I told him I would.

Many times people need to witness a success story take place in the life of someone they actually know, before they can relate and break through their limiting beliefs. If you really want to help the people you care about, the best thing you can do is become that success story. By going out and leading by example, you will naturally infect the people around you.

Turning Your Back To The Audience

At times we need to be like a musical conductor. Sometimes it’s necessary to turn our backs to the audience, temporarily, while we create our masterpiece. However, before we know it, it’s time to turn back to face the audience, to enjoy a standing ovation and to pull some people up onto the stage with us.

I heard a speaker share this advice, years ago, and it really hit home for me. When we set out to change our lives, there will probably be people in our lives, that we care about, whom don’t believe in us. Sometimes it’s necessary to turn our backs on them, temporarily, as we build our dreams. In time, we are able to turn back around and some of them will be ready to join us on our journey.

“The people who are meant to be in your life will always gravitate back towards you, no matter how far they wander” – Unknown

This happened with my father. This also happened with some of my friends. One of my best friends Shaun, who I have been friends with since I was 5 years old was quite negative when I first set out on my new path. I completely stopped hanging out with him for about a year and started hanging out with new friends, who supported me and who pushed me to go for my dreams. A year later, I got a message from Shaun saying that he wanted to start doing what I was doing.

Our friendship is now stronger than ever before. He got involved with personal development and like my Dad, is a completely transformed man. He’s on his own path of creating the life he wants to live.

I had the privilege of traveling with him earlier this year. He now has a great girlfriend. He dedicates much of his time to his family and to participating in charity events. He may be starting a new business with my ex-business coach soon and he just fulfilled one of his dreams, by publishing his first book, “The Happiness Effect: Business Without The Headache.” He is an inspiration to me.

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In Patagonia with Shaun

Again, if I hadn’t been willing to pursue my dreams and stand up for my beliefs all those years ago, there are people that I care about that may be suffering today because of my lack of courage. I’m not saying that I am the only reason for the positive changes in my family and friends lives, but I do believe that I have been able to positively influence many of the people whom are close to me in my life, but it’s a two way street. These same people have played such a big role in influencing me to become who I am today.

Learning From Galileo

In conclusion, I will share one last story that my friend told me recently. He said that if we study the life of Galileo, we can learn about the stages we will all go through, if we challenge the beliefs of the masses, in pursuit of our dreams.

When Galileo first started telling people that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe, people thought he was crazy. No one took him seriously. Then when he began to form undeniable evidence of his theory, the catholic church now saw him as a threat. He was forced to renounce his views, his publications were banned and he lived under house arrest for the last 8 years of his life. Now, he is considered one of the most famous men in history and many people believe he started the scientific revolution.

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do” – Steve Jobs

Learn from this story. When we choose to challenge the status quo, to make a difference in this world, we will often experience these same 3 stages. First, people will think we are crazy and no one will take us seriously. Second, people will fear us and/or what we stand for. They will challenge us and try to pull us down. Finally, only after persevering through the first 2 stages, will people admire us and ask to take our photo.

If you ever decide to become a Galileo, be ready for this. It’s just part of the process. And whenever you meet one of these Galileo’s, do this world a favour and skip ahead to stage 3. Believe in them, support them and admire them now. Ask to take photos with them before everyone else does.

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