Mr. $25 Million

Feb 27, 2024

I'm going to tell you an interesting story. The title of this is “Mr. $25 Million”, and this story begins with a call. So I'm on a Zoom call with a guy I knew from way back, like 15 years ago. We were in totally different industries back then. He ran a very successful business with a few partners. Things were booming, and eventually, they sold the company to a private equity group. The jackpot? A cool $25 million for him and his pals.

Fast forward to now, and he's doing something totally different. But when we chatted, he was all, “Mike, we killed it during that decade. We crushed it. We were firing on all cylinders. We had a phenomenal team and great customers and we were printing money. It was just unbelievable.” Sounds perfect, right? Then he dropped this bombshell that shook me to the core. He goes, "Mike, my only regret was that I didn't see my kids during those 10 years." That's the trade-off right there.

Now, I believe you can have it all – a successful business, a happy family, good health, everything. That's the message I live and breathe. But here's Mr. $25 Million, he made a choice. He made a decision that said, "I am going to crush it in business and the only regret I have is I didn't see my kids during those 10 years."

We're all wired differently, shaped by our experiences and the decisions we've made since birth. We are who we are, we are where we are because of the things that have gone into our mind. If you grew up thinking risk and challenge were cool, you might make different life choices than if you were taught to play it safe. I'm not saying one way's better than the other, it is what it is.

Now, Mister $25 million, his moral compass was such that, "it's okay for me to miss out on a decade of my children to make sure that my business kicks a*s.” Me? I was cut from a different cloth. I've always believed that running a big business shouldn't influence my ability to spend time with my family.

I've coached 42 sports teams for my kids, and it's not about bragging. It's about having a plan and a vision. Maybe because my own dad wasn't that involved in my life, I knew I wanted to be different for my own kids. But back to Mr. $25 Million. The word he used that really stings? "Regret." He said, "I regret that I did not see my kids over that 10-year period." Ask yourself this question, "How much would you sell me your family for?" 

As for me, I was lucky. I had the drive and the background to be there for my kids, even while running a big business. I didn't let the business become my everything. Now, my kids are grown and out in the world, and I'm sitting here without an ounce of regret. I did all of the things that I wanted to.

If you're a young entrepreneur, whatever age you are, wherever you are in the journey, don't just let the business consume you.  I've seen this time and time again, I've been on the phone with clients, I've been at events, I've been at speeches, and I have people coming up to me and they're in tears because they're trying so desperately hard to build their business.

The most important thing you can do is forget about your fricking business. Concentrate on YOU because you can only build your company to the extent that you can build yourself. Remember, success isn't just about the figures in your bank account. It's about living a life you won't regret. Stay true to yourself, and keep the balance. That's the real secret to having it all.

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