The Speech I Didn’t Make: Reflecting On My First 3 Years As An Entrepreneur

This past January, I was in San Diego, with many of my closest friends in the world, for my 3rd and final President’s Awards Ceremony with College Pro. This was a bittersweet event for me.

President’s Club marked the end of a very important part of my life. My time with College Pro was one of my most influential and overall positive experiences I’ve had, to date. I’d been immersed in the College Pro culture ever since I graduated University and it’s really hard for me to imagine life without it. I already miss it and I know I will for some time.

On the other hand, Presidents Club marked the beginning of the next chapter of my life, which was very exciting to me. I know that there is so much more out there for me to learn and experience. I am excited to leave the safety of the “College Pro Bubble” and to continue my entrepreneurial journey out in the “real world” as an inexperienced rookie again, in whatever I choose to do next.

I prepared a 10-minute speech for the Awards Night, but due to time restraints, I was only given 2 minutes. I was only really able to say some quick thank you’s before my time ran out. Afterwards, several people asked me to send them my full speech. Instead, I have decided to share it with all of you now.

It has been modified slightly, as I now no longer have any time constraint and because I’ve had more time to reflect.

My Speech:

This past year, I learned some of the most valuable lessons of both my College Pro career and of my life. A lot of this learning actually occurred over the past 3 months (Oct-Dec 2014), after closing down my business, once I took the time to reflect and really delve into my experiences.

This was by far the toughest year of my College Pro career. From the outside looking in, it may seem like everything went just as I planned. And don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of what I accomplished this year. In reality though, I missed every business goal I set. I was constantly hitting mental blocks and I didn’t really know why I was running my business. Now looking back, I believe that this struggle was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me.

One year ago today, everything in my life was going great. I thought I had everything I wanted and I believed I could do anything. However, I let the success get to my head. Because of this, somewhere along the way, I lost the burning desire to learn and constantly better myself, which is what got me to where I was. This past year was a wake up call for me and I feel like I’ve grown more as a person in the past 3 months than I have in a very long time.

Here is what I took away from this experience and what I will share with you. After spending a lot of time reflecting on the past year, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three key ingredients that we require to be successful and happy in business and in life long term.

I realized that any time I was really struggling, I was missing at least one of these three things. Humility. Clarity. Gratitude.

Humility:

During my time with College Pro I would always talk about the power of belief. I truly do believe that we, as human beings, can accomplish absolutely anything we put our minds to. We are only held back by the limiting beliefs that we choose to hold onto.

The belief, that anything is possible, has allowed me to accomplish many things that I am very proud of, but this alone, didn’t necessarily lead to long-term happiness and fulfillment.

I was missing the other side of the coin, which is humility. Ever since I parted ways with College Pro, people have been asking me why I decided to leave. They don’t understand why I would leave an opportunity where I was making a lot more money than I needed and living an amazing lifestyle with an abundance of fun and time freedom.

At first I thought I was leaving because there was no longer anything to learn with the company, which I no longer believe is true. College Pro and the leadership within the company, proved to me time and time again that if there was something else I wanted to learn, there would be someone there to coach and support me.

I also thought I should leave because of the inability to build equity and because of the fact that I’d have to put in the effort each year to systemize the business, only to have to start over again the next year. However, this is no longer the case, as of this year, now that there is the option to purchase long term Franchises.

The reason I now feel I had to leave is because it was too hard for me to stay humble, as a top performer in College Pro. Always being told how well I was doing, having other Franchisees looking up to me and asking me for advice, seeing my numbers at the top of the RAG (Results At A Glance) each day and basically being put on a pedestal, was not a healthy environment for me to be in.

I’ve talked to several past high performing franchisees recently, and they all agree that this has always been an issue. The top performers being treated like gods, developing  big egos and believing that they have the world figured out.

It seems like a common trend, that most top Franchisees have a very humbling experience once they leave and enter the real world. And then there is the great challenge of finding the perfect balance of confidence and humility, which is a whole other topic that I have discussed at length with some of my close friends.

This isn’t to say that it is impossible to stay humble within College Pro. Some of my best friends ran amazing businesses and are some of the most humble people I know. Either way, if you are currently a top performing Franchisee, I’d recommend that every once in a while, you give yourself a check up from the neck up.

Be proud of what you are accomplishing because it truly is incredible. But just realize that you are in a safe “College Pro Bubble” right now. When you leave, there is a big world waiting for you out there and in reality, a half million dollar business is tiny in the grand scheme of things. It’s sometimes easy to forget this.

Clarity:

I learned first hand this year, how important it is to know where you are going in business and in life. I didn’t fully comprehend just how important clarity is until I lost it. For the first time in a long time, I was not clear on what I wanted and where I was going.

I did not have a meaningful goal to surrender to and I felt like I was lacking any real purpose in what I was doing. I was constantly questioning if I made the right decision, coming back for a 3rd year. I know now that, without clarity, I would not have been truly happy last year, no matter what I was doing.

It is so powerful to really understand our life mission and vision. Clarity truly does equal power. Once we know what we want and where we are going, everything becomes so much easier. It’s like all problems and obstacles disappear. In reality they are still there, but we don’t let them bother us because we are too busy moving towards our long-term vision to take notice.

Sacrifice is not so bad, when we know that the sacrifice will lead us to a meaningful goal. It’s a different story when we are making sacrifices and we have no idea why.

I hear too many times people tell me that they have no idea what they want out of life and that they don’t know what their life’s purpose is. This is fine, as clarity can come and go, especially in times of transition. The problem is that many people know that they don’t have it and yet they still don’t go out and search for it.

It’s like they are just hoping that it will magically fall in their lap some day. Still being young is not an excuse. Having a vision does not mean you have to stop enjoying life and having fun. I’ve met 15 year olds that know exactly what they want and where they are going in life and I’ve met people in their 60’s that are wandering aimlessly through life and still have no idea what they are doing here.

If you want clarity, then go find it. I lost my clarity this year, but when I focused on finding it again, I got it back clearer than ever, within a few months of searching. I can literally feel more energy and creativity flow through me now that I have it.

I have written an entire post, explaining a system that I developed for finding clarity. You can find it here.

Gratitude:

Lastly, it’s important for us to be grateful for what we have. After being extremely humbled, during a process at a leadership course that I attended, I lost a lot of my confidence and belief in myself. It was gratitude that brought it back.

I am grateful for the amazing friends and family that I have in my life. I am grateful for the wonderful mentors that have come into my life. I am grateful to have my health. I am grateful to have live in a beautiful city, like Vancouver. I am grateful to be able to travel. I am grateful for all of the opportunities and challenges that I’ve faced throughout my life.

I am grateful that I was born in a Country that has unlimited opportunity. I have been fortunate enough to have had the chance to travel all around the world, and trust me, we have it good it Canada. Yet, I am always inspired, as I meet people everywhere I go, who were born into a world of struggle, and who against all odds, have turned their dreams into reality.

I was recently in the Philippines where I met a man who had such a story. He was born into a lower/middle class family in the Philippines, but he always knew he wanted more out of life. When he was in his early 20’s he begged a friend for a job in a 100% commission sales role. He had no sales experience, but he became the top salesman in the his division, purely because he wanted it more than anyone else.

With the money he was able to save up, he risked it all and started an online company, which he was able to sell to a Chinese investor a few years later. Now, in his early 30’s, he is currently expanding one of the largest hostel chains in the Philippines and his vision is to become the largest hostel chain in Asia.

What he told me was very interesting to me. He told me that he can’t understand why people in the western world are so afraid of going for their dreams. If we fail and lose everything, we may have to declare bankruptcy. We may lose our fancy toys and lose our credit score, but we are not going to die. We are not going to become slaves.

He told me that if he had failed, he very well could have died. His family could have starved. This man, started with no money, no experience and a family to support, in a country with a lot less opportunity than ours. If he can make his dreams come true, why not you?

I am also so grateful to have been introduced to College Pro three and a half years ago. This is an amazing program and a blessed company. Whether this is your first year, your last year, or somewhere in between, be grateful for the opportunity that you have your hands on and don’t take it for granted.

I remember:

Now that I have left, when I reflect on my time with College Pro the tough times are not the ones that come to mind. I barely remember the day that all my painters quit on the second job I ever produced. The pain and struggle of 100-hour work weeks in May of my rookie year is no more than a distant memory. The customer complaints, the financially costly mistakes, knocking on doors in the rain, and so many other issues that seemed so important at the time, no longer seem to matter.

Nor is it the size of my business, the records I broke or the awards that I won that come to mind.

No, It’s the friendships I made, the good times I had and the people I had the opportunity to help that I will never forget.

Now, when I think about College Pro…

I remember the first estimate I ever did. I went to do a buddy estimate with Kit, in the snow, in early January of 2012, and walked away with a friend for life.

I remember talking to Gavin on the phone every day of my first year and making another lifelong friend.

I remember our family dinners.

IMG_1900

I remember how great it felt to book my first job ever.

I remember spending my afternoons by the water, talking shop and drinking Pranksters with Brad at the Blue Canoe during my first two summers.

IMG_2240

I remember blowing off steam every Tuesday at Schanks. I don’t think Gavin and I would have done what we did, if we didn’t have you by our side that first year, Kit.

I remember all the dinners with Igor and trying to take photos of him with his girly drinks. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be coached by two of my best friends.

I finally got one!

I finally got one!

I remember the day I hired Jenny on at the waves coffee house in Steveston. It’s hard to believe how far she has come from the 18 year old girl I met that day.

I remember watching Jenny and Charles emerge as leaders in my business at the end of my first year to teach me the value in working with great people.

I remember BBQ’s at the beach and kegs at the river.

IMG_1085IMG_1155

I remember being lucky enough to coach some absolute rock stars and being able to watch several of them start their own businesses.

I remember taking my amazing painters out for beers after work.

I remember the June retreat campfires and the Managers Weekend shenanigans.

Getting ready for another College Pro Event.

Getting ready for another College Pro Event.

I remember all of the epic weekends we had up at my Whistler house.

IMG_2271IMG_2278

I remember running through the finish line together at tough mudder last summer.

10403615_10152593540934497_2092623348248788993_n

I remember taking Katie under my wing in her first year and being so proud of what she accomplished in her second. I really do believe that she deserved entrepreneur of the year, over me.

I remember meeting my first girlfriend, Raman, and learning so much from her about life and about myself.

IMG_1608

I remember getting to cheer up Raman and Anne when they would call me every day during their first May.

I remember Vegas and the Ferrari day.

1527029_10152101174354651_700062830_n1532127_10152101182589651_2127812144_n

I remember when Shaylee called me crying one day asking for help when her business and her mindset were down and out. I had the privilege of taking her for dinner and helping her help herself completely turn both her mindset and her business around. She was always a champion. She just needed to believe it herself.

I remember there were some pretty awesome pranks.

IMG_1491IMG_1498

I remember flying down to San Diego a week early to spend New Years Eve with a group of absolute beauties.

10898230_10153016541541000_4270242885008423304_n

I remember watching Brad Copes and the GM’s completely transform BC, turning the division, into a family.

I remember feeling like I was where I belonged with the people that I was meant to be with.

1555362_10152101180809651_28273979_n

When times get tough, understand that these are not the times that you will remember looking back. Realize that every problem you solve and every obstacle you overcome is making you stronger. You will come across the exact same situation next year and you won’t even flinch.

Remember why you are doing what you are doing. Find a deeper “reason why” than trying to move up the RAG. If you are motivated by competition, then let that serve it’s purpose, but just don’t let it consume you. You have nothing to prove to anyone, not even to yourself.

If you just listen to your coach, treat your customers and employees right and keep moving forward with a smile on your face, you will find success.

The experience you take away from College Pro is 100% created by you, so you might as well create a great one. Take full advantage of this opportunity. Take it all in. Make yourself proud. Love life. Have fun. Hold nothing back. Play full out and leave with no regrets.

I wish you all the best of luck this upcoming year.

If you enjoyed this post, go ahead and follow my blog. I throw in lessons that I’ve learned into pretty much every piece that I write. 

Stuck At The End Of The World: 11 Days In Ushuaia
The Land Of Ice And Snow: Antarctica (Part I)

Comments

  1. says

    A couple years too late for me, or just at the right time. The path you’ve paved, while it’s not my own, is a constant reminder that greatness has many forms. Wise words and timeless value, thank you.

    • says

      Thanks Alex. There is no such thing as too late. Timing is always just right. Everything happens for a reason and that reason is here to serve us. I saw greatness in you from the moment I met you. I look forward to watching you continue on your path of greatness. Have an awesome year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *