I was 15 and I thought I was invincible.
I was the kid who didn’t have to (or thought I didn’t have to) study and could still show up and ace a test. This is one of those “skills” that does not serve you well in the long run. School, work, and life inevitably get more and more challenging as you grow. Going into more challenging situations unprepared as an adult sets you up for failure.
During high school, my mother, who was wheelchair-bound from multiple sclerosis, found out that she had brain cancer and underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Despite this, she continued to persevere, raising a child on her own, competing in triathlons, raising dogs for Canine Companions for Independence…you get the idea.
By 15, I had seen both sides of the poverty line. When I was younger, we lived in someone’s garage that had a bathroom. My mom slept on the couch and I got the closet. By the time I was in middle school we moved to Land Park (an upper-middle-class neighborhood in the suburbs of Sacramento).
Why am I telling you my life story in an article on a marketing blog (there isn’t enough internet for my full life story)? All of the things, good or bad, that I have experienced in my life have brought me to where I am now. I have done everything from washing dishes to running my own company, and I am not above washing dishes again if that was what was necessary to provide for my family. Most marketers (or business people in general) know what they need to do, we give free consultations away all the time; the plan is there. Where people fall short is not having the tenacity to do the right thing, all of the time.
Anyway, I digress.
The vice principal at my high school, Brandon Contreras, once told my mother, “I have never met someone so intelligent who worked so hard at trying to do the wrong thing.” In life’s irony, I reconnected and worked with Brandon 20 years later.
I married twice, made all sorts of foolish decisions, and continued to look for shortcuts. If there was a paved path to the beach and a rocky cliff next to it, I would always take the rocky path.
Get to the point Jake!
Eventually, I grew tired of making the wrong decisions. I had the drive to be ridiculously successful, without the toolset to know how to achieve success. It was time to take a page from my mom’s book.
What it all boils down to is HARD WORK. There are no short cuts in life. No, really, I am going to say this once more – THERE ARE NOT SHORTCUTS IN LIFE.
I had glimpses of success throughout my life (out of dumb luck and being personable), but it wasn’t until I decided to truly apply myself that I realized that hard work always pays off. You can sit around and wait to win the lottery, or yell at your roommates to put their shit away, or you can just put the mayonnaise away yourself and it will take one tenth of the time than whining about it does.
Marketing, or any job for that matter, isn’t always about the technical details. What will make you successful in any environment is outworking, and out-behaving everyone around you. What will make you even more successful is doing all of this with kindness and love.
Here is what I would like for you to take away from this article:
- You will never fail by working hard.
- Don’t take shortcuts.
- Stay humble.
- When you are tired and want to throw in the towel remember that someone else always has it harder than you.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Hug your mother.
- Just put the mayonnaise away.