The details are starting to get fuzzy at this point after nearly a decade, but it was probably around 2003 or so, and I was waiting tables at a Chinese restaurant in Sacrament. (That would have made me about 25-ish years old).
I’d quit my job recruiting surgeons in Dallas in order to pursue my dream of being my own boss. I worked on a network marketing business during the day, and waited tables at night. I’d say my average monthly wage plus tips totaled around $2,000 to $3,000/Month.
But The business was making progress. I honestly have no idea how much I was making at the time. Probably a few hundred dollars per month. Maybe $1,000.
But after years of lessons learned the hard way, I saw light at the end of the tunnel.
My confidence continued to grow by the week, and the stench of clothing covered in sweat and Chinese food as I entered my car at 2:00 am each night, grew more sickening with every new dollar my business made.
I don’t remember what the catalyst was exactly, but one day I reached that magical moment where the pain of staying where I was, was finally greater than the fear of failing where I was headed.
That day, I had a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon lunch shift.
As I put on my black pair of Dickie’s pants, my starched white shirt, and those horrendous shoes made just for waiters that restaurants make you wear these days, I did something out of the ordinary.
I walked into my closet and grabbed a backpack. I put a fresh pair of jeans in it, a pair of leather boots, and a t-shirt.
That day, another long lunch shift began the way the always did.
But how it ended was very different.
As my shift came to an end, I clocked out, walked out to my car, and grabbed my bag.
Upon changing clothes in the restroom, I walked the floor to find my boss.
I can’t remember his name any more. David comes to mind, but I can still see his face. A slender build with dark hair and glasses.
He was the best manager I’d ever worked for in a restaurant. He was nice, professional, and on a mission to work his way up the corporate ladder.
I walked up to him and said something along the lines of… “David… It’s been a pleasure, but this was my last shift. I’m going to pursue my business full time.”
I was holding my dirty work clothes in my hands, and that’s when he said something I’ll never forget…
“I understand Mike, but you should hold onto those in case things don’t work out. That home business stuff is just a dream. I’ll bet you’ll be back here within two weeks…”
“No… I’ll never be here again,” I kindly replied, and I took my uniform and placed it into the garbage.
I pointed at a table out on the patio, and said, “I’m going to have lunch here as a customer today at that table over there, and I’ll start with a beer…”
It was the best tasting beer I’d ever had in my life. I sat there for a few hours saying goodbye to the rest of the staff, and answered their inquiries about my plans. I’m sure I just sounded like some crazy dreamer. Some kid who thought he’d beaten the system somehow.
It turns out that David was right…
I did come back.
Five years later in my brand new Aston Martin.
Today is December 8th, 2012… Write it down on a tiny piece of paper and put it somewhere safe.
This is the day you can make the decision to live your life to its fullest potential. To live free. To live without want by learning how to give value to the world and your fellow man… To become an entrepreneur.
I cannot promise how long your path will take, but I can promise you this…
It’s worth it.