Never Stop Dreaming

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I started to show textbook signs of becoming an entrepreneur just after high school. I was the second youngest in a large family. All of my older brothers and sisters had jobs; all my friends were working, or going off to college.

It seemed college was the next logical step for me. After all, I had suddenly found myself in a good situation. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up so I qualified for grants, and combined with a partial athletic scholarship I was getting paid to go to college. What a great way to spend the next four years right? I was out in three! Three weeks that is.

I didn’t know what I wanted, but was sure that whatever it was didn’t require a college education. I was ready to join the working class. I’d get a good job, put in my 30 years and kick back with a nice pension before I was 50. I had life pretty much all figured out by then, right?

The longest I ever stayed at any job was about eight weeks. I was never fired from a job, I just never stuck around very long either. I was determined to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

Have you noticed a reoccurring theme? I make decisions from my heart and not my brain. Once again, I followed my heart and started a painting business even though I had no business skills, or painting skills for that matter. The only thing I was sure of was I wanted to be in control of my destiny – in others words I wanted to be an entrepreneur!

At age eighteen I looked only fifteen. Probably why so few people hired me for painting, but that was okay. Freedom was a blast. I was the only boss of me. It didn’t matter how much money I made at first, only that I was working for myself. The worst day as a business owner was 100 times better than my best day working for others.

I was 21 and my wife Lisa 19 when we decided to do what all young, jobless dreamers do in the middle of a recession. We walked arm in arm out of our wedding into our happily ever after… unemployed!  For some strange reason my in-laws just didn’t see the humor?

Times were tough in the beginning; I was bound and determined to be a painting contractor. The only problem with that plan, I didn’t have the slightest clue how to run a painting business. I had to make it work.

It was the lowest point in my life, with my back against the wall, but I never stopped dreaming of better days ahead. Even though I had nothing, I still remember feeling sorry for my friends and family because they had what I called “real jobs.”

For eight years I blamed the economy, the president, where I lived; I blamed everyone for my troubles but the person responsible – the one in the mirror. My sign finally came, in the form of three little words from Lisa.

“Terry, I’m pregnant.”

I found my motivation.

In that moment I realized I had shaped our lives to that point, and that I had the power to change it. After all, that was why I wanted to be an entrepreneur in the first place.

Those three little words inspired me to stop complaining and take responsibility for my life, to reinvent myself, to take control of my business – my future. I stopped thinking of my customers as just a pay check and started treating them like friends. I learned to communicate trust, and my business went crazy!

Over the next seven months, and by the time I watched our son Andrew take his first breath, I had quadrupled my income. I changed dreams to goals and I took action until my goals became my reality. In hindsight the hardest part of realizing my dreams was making that mental shift.

I stopped playing the blame game and took ownership for my mistakes and shortcomings. That was the game-changer for me because until then, in my mind, it was always going to be someone else’s fault. Change is uncomfortable, but necessary if you want to grow. The day I took responsibility for my life was the day I took control of my future.

For me now, no matter how tough things get, all I have to do is think back to a time when I bought a Christmas present with penny rolls, and remind myself that even though I was at rock bottom; I never stopped dreaming. I clearly saw myself living exactly the life I have today. Dreams do come true!

I used to be embarrassed to tell anyone about those sorry, pitiful times in my life. Now, I talk about it in the hope that it will inspire anyone who can relate to realize the power of dreams. To understand the strength behind having a clear vision of anything you want. Life will not deny the person who makes up their mind to give it their all. Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, and above all else, don’t ever stop dreaming.

Terry Begue

 

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