How many times have you caught yourself saying "I wish I knew then, what I know now"? I often joke with clients saying my 20-year-old self knew everything and now my 32-year-old self doesn't know a thing! They often laugh but there is some truth behind that. I thought I knew everything when I was younger, I could conquer the world and I didn't need any ones help in doing it. I remember working for my father, one day him and I got in an argument about something stupid and he said, "well someday when you own your own company you can run it your way, but until then we are running it my way". At the time, my first thought was that makes perfect sense, so a few weeks later I quit!
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly and probably even laughed a little bit. Looking back now it wasn't the smartest thing to do but I was stubborn and extremely hardheaded. I went on a few months later to start my business and about 3 months after starting called my dad and causally let him know I had no idea what I got myself into. He laughed and said, "Good luck!". The next four years were a blur looking back. The more I grew in business, in life, in relationships, and all around in general I realized I really didn't know as much as I thought.
Looking back, I've brought a lot a hurt and heartache to many with the decisions I've made, things I've said, and actions in general. Believe it or not, I have a list of those people and companies I've done wrong in my life. I tell you that because no one ever goes into business or life thinking I'm going to screw over this person or that company. Sometimes in life things happen that you don't expect and you must make decisions you don't want to make. I have that list because it keeps pushing my forward in my journey for a couple reasons. One I don't want to add to the list, and two as I'm able to make right my wrongs I can cross off a name. Not proud of it at all, but it's a step in the right direction.
In the journey of life, you don't always know what's in store for you and sometimes you must play the hand your dealt. You'll encounter people that will be in your life for a brief period and others that will be by your side the whole time. Either way they are both there for a reason, to teach you something and you might not always realize it right away but you will look back one day and it'll hit you. Good, bad or indifferent everyone that you encounter will play a role in your life.
If you take away anything from this article please let it be this. How you treat others matters! The golden rule treat others how you want to be treated. I know, sounds simple doesn't it. Then why the hell do we live in a world with such hate and a country where the divorce rate is through the roof! I'll tell you my thoughts and feel free to shares yours with me in the comments. I was the guy that grew up in a family that looked at others and said what can they do to better serve me instead of what I could do to help serve them. I ran my business where my employees worked for my gain and my success instead of my being their leader to help them grow. I was the husband that took my wife for grant it and when she finally left me I had no one else to blame but myself. Treating others with respect will go a long way. I was talking to the boy scouts last week down in West Virginia about the President speaking to them and the one just made a snarky remark about it and his view on the President. I was going to let it slide, but why write an article if you’re not going to practice what you preach. I said to him, “you’re going to go through life encountering a lot of people and you’re not always going to agree with everything they say or believe in, but you do need to respect their views and opinions because you’re going to expect the same in return”. You could tell by the look on his face he wasn’t just listening, he heard what I said.
I'm not looking for self-pity, I brought it all on myself and I wasn’t holding myself accountable for my own actions. But wait, there is a silver lining, just like the flower in the picture above we continue growing and overcoming the obstacles of life. We weather the storms, the seasons, the long days and long nights. We can overcome our past if we're willing to look back and hold ourselves accountable for those decisions and say to yourself "my life is the way it is because of the decisions I've made, and this is only a chapter in my book and I can either let it define me or I can start writing a new chapter". The choice is yours.
As I continue to write articles I write them on personal experiences and how I've gotten to where I am today. If you are looking for a speaker at your next company event and would like me to share my story please reach out to me at Shannon@shepherdsconsultinggroup.com or give me a call 717-756-5481.