Part 2 of 4, a continuation of ‘A Letter to my Three Sons on Being Self-Employed’
I would be remiss and unfair to you if I did not touch on the spiritual part of our journey. Your mother’s and my faith in God, and His biblical promises have been the bedrock we have built the company on. This faith permeates through all these principles I have shared with you in this letter.
In the Spring of 2008, I felt strongly that God was speaking to me, telling me not to quit when I thought we were ruined from the Great Recession. His Spirit spurred me on, and our business received one financial miracle after another. Throughout the history of the company – including this difficult time – we were blessed to never go 30 days late on a payment- ever.
I am compelled with the need to be completely transparent that your mother and I did, and still do, lean on our faith in God and His promises. We have found him to be trustworthy and faithful in meeting our needs and even our wants.
5. The Belief That You Will Succeed
‘The Belief in My Success’ is a necessary belief that you must hold firmly when you wake up in the middle of the night with only your thoughts to comfort you or torment you. It is one thing to make the statement, “I will succeed” to others at a weekend party or family event, but to sound confident and get others excited about what you’re doing does not go very far Monday morning when the actual work starts. When challenged with the checkbook in the red and bills piling up, the most important person that needs to believe in what you are building is YOU.
When your mother and I started MDL, it made no sense to either of our families. Your grandfather was a farmer and your mother’s dad a school administrator, and none of us were educated in real estate or business. Pam and I were just two small-town kids from Cass City and Columbiaville who really had no mentors to follow- just some cassette tapes on real estate, our beliefs, and a strong mindset.
And Boys, let me tell you, finding a great spouse was crucial for me! There is nothing like knowing that someone truly has your back. I married an amazing woman and have leaned heavily on her throughout the building of this company.
6. Healthy Thinking
Negative, unhealthy, and toxic thoughts are almost impossible to stop from popping up. Television and newspapers headline all the ‘imminent storms on the horizon’ while leaving out all the positive things going on in the world. You must do your best to control what you dwell on.
BOYS, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT!
Are your dominant thoughts positive when thinking about your business? As I look back at the history of MDL, I am painfully aware that my negative thoughts severely limited our growth potential. I never thought about how I was responsible for what I dwelled and focused on.
Looking back at the 2008 financial meltdown, it created a great fear in me that affected my business decisions for the next 10 years. The longer I allowed these negative thoughts to stay and grow, the longer it took to uproot them.
The sooner you start to take control of your fears, the better off you will be. You can always change your way of thinking. With the help of God and your mother, I have, and it has been worth the effort.
7. Fear of Failure
Due to the fear of failing, a lot of people never even approach the starting gate of doing something significant with their lives. There are many available options out there to live a life of significance, but self-employment can be rewarding both personally and professionally as you leave your mark on life.
The toughest issue with being self-employed is that it is so public, your friends and family know you don’t have a traditional job like them. So, the natural question when you gather with them is “How is the business doing?” The fear that someday you may have to say “It didn’t work. I was unable to make a go of it. I failed.” is a very difficult reality to face for a lot of people.
I experienced these emotions (and many more) in 2008. You three were too young to grasp the financial earthquake in our household but for a long time,
I was fearing failure. Looking back now, Fear of Failure only hurt me. It gave me no direction in how to push forward and no creative ideas to solve my problems.
Fear of Failure gave me no encouraging words to pass on to others in the company. This Fear was only a weight to drag around my ankle, slowing my ability to captain my visions through the storms.