When my parents died when I was in high school, family and friends told me it was okay not to succeed. I was left “an orphan” and people like us normally don’t make it very far because we have no support structure. God would make sure I had food on the table and a roof over my head. They said it’s okay to have a receptionist job. I’d get by okay.
Now picture this. My father, a man with 3 degree in chemical engineering, metallurgy and physics as well as two masters. He lectured at the local university, worked with the European Union and spent his life in and out of planes advising government officials and business leaders across the globe. His wife… my mother worked for an international NGO which taught entrepreneurship to the various rural areas of Africa. Now can you imagine two great people like them… having a daughter who gained nothing from them and settled for a receptionist job? They would crawl out of their graves and flog me for treason to our family name!
Needless to say I didn’t follow anyone’s advice to settle for whatever came my way. I left the country and moved to South Africa… to the “city of gold”. Sure I took a job, I worked full time during the day and I studied for my first university degree at night. I wasn’t going to allow myself to be defined by my circumstances. I don’t have a backup plan. I don’t have anyone I can run to when sh*t hits the fan. It’s do or die. That level of risk knowing that failure isn’t an option is what drives a lot of successful people. Some are successful enough to take care of themselves… buy a neat little house and enjoy their lives… others are very successful to the point where they are on magazine covers and buying jet planes. When you go out on a limb, it’s not possible for you to fail. It’s just the degree at which you succeed. Can you pay your bills? Yes. Can you buy a car which isn’t falling apart? Yes. Can you go out with friends, drink a glass of wine and know that you’re not worried about your next meal? Yes… then believe me… whatever venture or business you got into has made you a success.
Like me, we’re all faced with this one stand point… life or death. God tells us to choose life. And I did. I chose to live and dream. To pursue the ideas that came to me and to love the exhilarating feeling of freedom! I didn’t allow myself to be limited. I didn’t allow myself to fall short. I kept going. And I’m still going. What’s great is that…. I found a new family. People who desire to be my mother and father. I get a message once in awhile that ends with … “love Mom and Dad” ….even though I know my real ones aren’t around… I have a handful of parents who are just as proud me as they would be. And I don’t feel like a lost anything. I gained so much more.
So don’t limit yourself by what people say. You might out on mind blowing opportunities!
By the way… if you ever want to experience business and Africa or you just want to be inspired, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re planning a whole set of jaw dropping experiences around Southern Africa in 2014.