I recently interviewed Pejman Ghadimi an author and successful entrepreneur on my new show Power Players airing on the new Whatever It Takes Network. The interview with him reminded me of how much we take for granted in our lives.
This guy escapes Iran as a kid, had everything going against him and every reason not to make it. He comes to America and creates success for himself. He turned his liabilities into his assets and used his obstacles to propel him forward in his life.
If you own or operate a business you have a balance sheet that includes a complete list of assets and liabilities. Most people don’t have a balance sheet for their personal lives and should. It would include an honest inventory of your assets and liabilities. Then, it needs to be updated constantly because it changes.
Early on in my life my balance sheet was full of liabilities. Later in life those liabilities actually became assets for me. As a young man I had what appeared to be a number of ‘bad breaks’. I lost my father when I was 10, was an outcast throughout most of high school, lost an older brother when I was 20, was almost killed at 23, and suffered from a terrible drug problem for ten years. Through that time in my life I was a liability to my family, friends, my employer and myself.
Even when I started to turn it around I was still very unhappy like I had a hole inside of me. Friends suggested therapy workshops whereby I started an introspective search for the cause of this ‘hole’ and unhappiness. I found myself hooked on finding out who was to blame for my problems and ended up in fifteen years of introspection.
Then one day I realized that the people doing all this ’therapy’ were actually NOT getting better, they were getting worse. They talked about being happy but weren’t. They focused on what was done to them rather than what they could do to be more productive. Many of them were broke, addicted, depressed and spending time talking about how their parents failed them. I had this epiphany. What if all the ‘bad’ things were actually assets not liabilities? What if everything that happened to us actually contributed to who we become? Immediately I realized I was unhappy because I wasn’t living up to my potential and my purpose! It had nothing to do with my past at all.
Looking at my own life now I see that even the worst things that happened to me proved to be great resources for whatever success I am experiencing today. For instance, I was born an identical twin and we were constantly compared to one another. People who met us always asked us who was smarter, taller, or stronger. You know how demeaning and humiliating that is to an 8 year old trying to be an individual? This probably fueled my first business of creating a unique selling system rather than just copying what other people had done.
My dad’s passing was very painful and grief provoking yet, I am certain it contributed to my self-reliance knowing there was no one there to pave the way for me. I was not well liked in high school, beaten up at least once a week probably because I had a big mouth. At 23 I was beaten up so bad, I almost died. I survived and today get paid to say what I want, how I want and as often as I want knowing I don’t need everyone to like me. I’ll survive criticism, haters and even physical attacks.
I have a motto today that I try to live by, “nothing bad happens to me it happens because of me and when bad things happen use them!” Regardless of how negative the experience, figure out how to take responsibility for it then use it to make you faster, smarter and stronger. Let’s face it; life comes with painful experiences. You will either figure out how to use those experiences to fuel your life to another level, or spend the rest of your life stopped by that experience.
I challenge you to make a list of all the ‘bad’ things that have either happened to your in your life or may be happening to you right now. Write down how they can actually become assets not liabilities.
If you are as committed to creating a successful life as I am, then you have to be willing to do Whatever It Takes. These are not just three words tied together. Whatever It Takes means doing whatever it takes, going thru whatever it takes, the ugly and the impossible and then figuring out how to succeed anyway.
I tell my daughters, “Life isn’t fair. Life is bad for too many, good for a lot and great for a few. Which do you want?” Everything that happens in your life will contribute to whether your life is bad, good or great. You have liabilities. Know what they are and then turn them into your assets.
Be great. Nothing else pays.