In this episode of the Sweaty Startup, I want to start off by telling you about my grandfather and the grinding this man did during his working career. He started off joining the Navy after high school for a few years and later left to start his family in his early twenties. Working for AT&T, he did well for himself helping build the communication infrastructure. He did this for many years, but started a side hustle buying and reselling tools. This sweaty startup grew and became very profitable.
To further paint the picture of the grit he had in the day to day, he told me that while he was still working for AT&T, he frequently would use his vacation time to end the week early on Thursday so he could go straight to the flea market to set everything up. All day Friday, Saturday and Sunday he would spend his time at the flea market selling. By the time he finished cleaning everything up it was 3 am giving him only a few hours of sleep before waking up for work Monday morning at 7:00.
My grandfather did this for many years. In fact I even remember that most of our family trips growing up were based around going to locations where he could purchase tools for resell. The reason I bring all this up is because of how inspirational he was to me. This is in large part where I firmly believe in the power around the grind in business.
When I was getting married, he wrote me a letter where he told me how proud he was of me and what I had accomplished so far in my career. This meant so much to me that I wrote back. I expressed my gratitude for him. I also brought up what it meant to me to be successful in my life and how that would be a residual effect from decisions he and his wife made to work as hard as they did for their family.
Their hard work gave their children more opportunities than they had and because of that, my parents were able to give me more in my life. So much of what I learned came from this man. He taught me how to work; he taught me the essential entrepreneurial skill of making money. So much I have I owe to their efforts.
In writing this, I didn’t expect much other than to reach out and thank him, but one day I found out the depth this letter meant to him in return. A few years later, while I was visiting him at his home, I was moving things around and grabbed the TV guide he had by his chair. I opened it up and found my letter, wrinkled and worn. I teared up and realized that he had read my letter over and over again. This letter had left an impression on him that he kept it as a reminder.
There are people in your life that have equally affected the trajectory of your life: family, friends, mentors, etc. It’s important that we take the time to thank them for what they have done and how they have influenced our lives. You may be shocked to find these simple thank you’s mean the world to them and in return expand the relationships you have with them. I encourage you to do this regularly not only with those closest to you but to anyone you come across. Not only will your relationships grow, but the opportunities for growth in your life will as well.
Three Key Takeaways:
- There is power that comes from the hard work and grit of building a sweaty startup.
- Much of our own success in life comes from the residual effects of those that worked hard before us; take inspiration from those in your life.
- Regularly take the opportunity to say “thank you” to those around you; you may be surprised as to how much that means to them.
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