Mikey at a restaurant

Depend on it!

There was that one year back in 2004 when I didn't make it home to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. 
You may already be familiar with the back-story, but there's more to the story...ya know, embarrassing stuff.
I was working in Pensacola, FL after Hurricane Irene. Thanksgiving was fast approaching and my Dad called to be sure we were coming home for the holiday. I had to tell him we couldn't make it.
My Dad was angry because everybody else was making it back home. My Grandma's health was fading fast and she might not have another Thanksgiving with the family.
Coming from a divorced family, it was the one time a year everybody got together in the same place at the same time. For that reason, we also celebrated Christmas together during Thanksgiving. Really, it was a special time and I wanted to be there desperately.
He must have thought I was making so much money that I was too selfish to leave.
It was the exact opposite. I was barely making it. In fact, I would be eating peanut butter off a spoon on the night of Thanksgiving. All my big plans to get rich working a hurricane hadn't yet materialized.
I was still hoping, but hope isn't really a strategy, is it?
Obviously, I didn't even have the gas to drive home, much less bring presents for all the cousins.
I was the kind of broke where you're just happy to eat that day...and I had a pregnant wife in her 2nd trimester with a 4-year old daughter. My wife was looking to me and I was failing miserably. It still kills me when I remember my daughter saying, "Daddy, I'm hungry. Can we go eat?"
Maybe I was too selfish. I mean, who in their right mind puts their family in that kind of position, especially around the holidays. What is it that drives an entrepreneur to take such extraordinary risks, not only with themselves, but with the people they love the most?
Thanksgiving is eternally scorched into my memory for that time of desperate struggle.
Three years later, at Thanksgiving, my brother gave me a hot tip on a marketing job with a Fortune 500 company. Although I would have preferred to stay in roofing full-time, I didn't want to put my family through another desperate struggle. Besides, we really needed the health insurance. I couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like to get a steady paycheck deposited into my bank account every two weeks.
I took the advertising agency job in Boston at the first of the following year. For the first year, I worked from home in my bedroom -- occasionally flying out to shake hands and sell at industry conferences. In year two, I moved into the corporate cube to manage teams of account managers responsible for millions of dollars in online advertising spend every month. 
My business partner managed the roofing company while I was in the corporate cube. I would still get out on the weekends to sell and did all the lead generation work. We couldn't keep salespeople because I was too busy working in the corporate cube. 
My wife was happy with the regular paycheck. She was thrilled to have good health insurance, but she knew I wasn't happy. It's hard to stick an entrepreneur in a corporate cube and expect them to stay there for very long.
I was in corporate for a little over two years. 
Both years we had great Thanksgivings. Both years I made steady money, maybe not as much money as I made in roofing, but it was steady money all year long. Actually, I made more money because the roofing company was still generating revenue while I was in the cube. 
When I decided to jump back in full-time with roofing two years later, the only thing I missed was the steady paycheck, all the benefits, and some great friends in the corporate world -- people I still stay in touch with today.
Although I would never want to go back, the years of struggle were worth the pain because they transformed me into the man I am today. I made a lot of mistakes, but they've all proven to be valuable because you don't really learn anything when everything is going your way. 
I've done much better in roofing since that Thanksgiving in Florida. Some years have been good. Others have been great. My consulting business has also grown every year with new clients and more success.
None of it would be possible today without all my experiences, especially my bad experiences. 
Maybe you're struggling to make it today or you've been through a similar experience.
If you'll just keep moving forward, you'll figure it out. 
You can depend on it.

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