When I started my own business I was under the impression that I would be the one calling the shots – and I was, for a time. For approximately seven years, I called the shots. I was a broken man chasing the dreams of other entrepreneurs, my friends, and what I thought was going to be my future. I was pretty much chasing everything and anything that wasn’t designed for me.
God was calling me into a greater knowledge of who He is and I was substituting that call to become closer with my desires to be a successful entrepreneur. It wasn’t until my business began crashing, hard, that I realized I had been calling the wrong shots or at the very least pointing myself in the wrong direction. I was focused on reaching my desired destination (insert generic “7 figure business owner with no worries” dream) and had I stepped back, even for a moment, I may have seen the truth: I wasn’t in charge.
Developing a Strong Work Ethic
From a very young age, I had a strong work ethic built into me. I may have gotten in trouble more than most (had run-ins with the law, and intentionally rebelled against the rules that were set in my home), but I did not slack off. When I wanted something, I was driven in my pursuit of that thing.
At five, my parents remembered a time when my dad was planting a tree in our front yard and while my sister and brother were playing as a 3 and 7-year-old should, I walked over to my father and offered to help. My mom and dad told me to go play and instead and I quoted scripture back to them: If any man would not work, neither should he eat.
As 16 began to roll around, I was super stoked to start driving. So much so that I took my brother's car out in the middle of the night a few times, sans license or learner’s permit, to which the police didn’t take kindly on that last run when they caught me. Fortunately, I was still able to get my license and as soon as I could, I knew I wanted to get my own car.
I worked at a restaurant and racked up enough money to buy the car of my dreams: a red 1992 Acura Integra GS that was sitting in a Kroger parking lot with a “For Sale” sign on it. After buying that car with my money from the restaurant, I was also responsible for gas and insurance. One of the reasons I bought this car is because I wanted to soup it up like my friends did their cars. After all the expenses, I didn’t have enough money but it was still my pride and joy.
That work ethic is something that has stuck with me throughout my career, even putting forth my best effort in roles that I hated and caused me immense stress.
A Lesson In Humility
When I was younger, my mom would constantly talk about Jesus. Jesus did this. Jesus said this. I would think to myself, “Mom! Everything isn’t about Jesus!” It seemed so obvious to me. I knew Jesus was important and all, but not every single thing needed to be about Him. Right? Wrong. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that my mom was indeed right.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Now that I recognize that this concept is biblically based and I’ve matured enough in my spiritual walk, I’ve taken it to heart. Every single moment of my life should be acted out with the idea of being in service to God and for his glory – and that includes my business.
I stepped into entrepreneurship in what seems like either an accident or a misstep. I hated the job I was working at the time so I took skills I had selling things online, asked a friend for help, and turned it into a business. In starting a business, I learned more about serving than I ever thought I would. Maybe more than I truly wanted to.