My first real battle with the Force of Average was in 2005. I was 25 years old and the proud owner of Exquisite Mobile Electronics.
It had been my dream for many years to be a business owner in the car audio industry, and I had a real passion for it. Here I was living that dream, and I was miserable.
I was working 20 hour days sleeping very little and was tipping the scale at just over 300 pounds. I could barely afford to keep the lights on and the heat running with the ever-increasing expenses of being a small business owner.
I had fallen into the trap that so many who start their own business do. I was the only one who could do it. Not only was I the skilled technician installing the car audio gear that we sold, but I was also the bookkeeper, I was also the sales person, I was also the janitor, and on and on.
The problem with this was my business owned me, I did not own my business. If I didn’t work, my company did not generate money. Even when I did work, I was not efficient and didn’t create the revenue needed to cover my expenses.
At my lowest of low is when the problems really began. Since I had gained so much weight and was always on my feet, I ran into some severe lower back problems. It all started one day literally as a pain in my ass. Then slowly over several months, the pain began to go all the way down my right leg until it reached the tip of my big toe. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had several herniated disc’s in my lower back that was causing my sciatic nerve to be pinched.
Since I couldn’t afford health insurance, I ignored it. I popped 8 to 12 Tylenol a day just to deal with pain and with that hoped it would go away magically on its own. That did not happen…
I was working late at the shop, installing a remote start in a customers vehicle. This is a job that requires you to be on your knees and bend over or under the dashboard of the car for quite some time. About halfway through the installation, I attempted to get up, and my body failed. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t even stand up. I crawled over to the shop phone on the wall and called for help. I couldn’t call for an ambulance because that would cost too much. So I called my mom, and she came over and somehow picked my 300-pound fat ass up and put me in the front seat of her car. She took me home and made me as comfortable as possible, which wasn’t comfortable at all.
That day was the beginning of a three-week long battle, that kept me in bed, out of work and in a pain management center trying to heal my broken body. As you can imagine, my business was immediately incapacitated. No personal income, no business revenue generated, nothing being completed or produced. I wasn’t out of business at this point, but I might as well have been. This was one of the final pieces that forced my company to close, and that’s because I did not focus on myself first. I neglected my fitness, my health, and I was the only one who I thought was capable of completing any revenue-generating tasks. This was a huge limiting belief that I had subconsciously imposed upon myself that would take several years to get over.
Fast forward 12 years to February 2017. My first business was long gone, and I’m now the owner and CEO of Top Class Installations where we specialize in the installation of GPS Tracking and Dash Camera systems. A few short months before this, my wife and I were blessed with twins, a boy, and a girl. They came into this world healthy, and everything was dreamy.
For several days my twin son had trouble eating and drinking. When he did, he would throw it up immediately. On top of that, he had dry diapers. My wife and I knew this was not a good sign, and we waited a few days to see if the symptoms would improve.
The force of average reared its ugly head once again in the middle of a 2-foot blizzard at about 11:30 PM at night. Our cars were covered with snow, and our side streets have yet to be plowed. However, my brave wife hopped into her SUV and drove my son to the hospital while I stayed at home with our twin daughter and her older sister.
A few hours later my wife called to inform me that she’s in an ambulance on her way to a specialty Children’s Hospital as my son needs an emergency surgical procedure to remove a blockage in his intestines.
Once I was able to get coverage for my kids at home, I drove to the hospital to support my wife and be there for my baby boy when he came out of surgery. On the way to the hospital, I called my team to inform them of the situation. I let them know I was not going be available for quite some time and didn’t know exactly how long. I asked them to take control and operate the business for me as if I was with them.
I stepped away from my business for three weeks. The difference in the two stories of my life that I just told you is quite drastic. You see in the second story I had built a business. This machine, this business can operate without me.
When I returned, I found my business as healthy as the day I had left it. This is a true testament that as a business owner, you need to build systems, processes, and teams to support your vision. You cannot do it all alone.
I want you to go out and make sure that your systems, processes, and people are in place. When these inevitable situations pop up in your life, and the Force of Average rears its ugly head trying to take you down, you can survive, and in some instances, your business will still thrive while you go and take care of what you need to take care of because family comes first.