Lessons from my Father

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Business for me all started with a DJ mixing table. Not the electronic mix tables they have now. I’m talking about the “old school” table when I had to mark queue points with tape.

Kids today don’t know how good they have it.

In the late 1970s -- still in high school -- I had a strong love for mixing music, arranging dance parties with friends, selling tickets.

It was the first time I had been exposed to running a strong business.

And wow, did we have fun.

“Work together as a team, with each team member being a finger on a hand,” my father would tell me. “When clenched together, you have great force. Unless you’re Bruce Lee, you can’t hit very hard with a single finger.”

It was a lesson I took to heart. If you want something bad enough, you have to work hard for it, as a team. And work hard we did.

Since that venture, I’ve never really looked back with business.

Right after high school I opened my mailbox rental center.

I worked my way into the mailroom of a National Canadian Brokerage firm, becoming a securities broker shortly after. I eventually left to take part in strategic capital and management for a variety of companies.

I worked hard. Nothing was handed to me. So when I was asked to pen some personal thoughts on success, these three key points just flowed.

There’s no reason you can’t do this, too…

Even if the odds are against you, you have control of your life. If there’s something you want bad enough, do it, make it happen.

I started out making small money as a DJ. But I knew where I wanted to be.

As I tell my team here, to most business associates, to my friends, the one thing you always have complete control over is the amount of effort you put into things. Nothing comes easy. You want something bad enough, be prepared to work for it.

If you want to be successful, it takes a bit more than just connection with people. Learn to hustle. Make your own calls. Show people that you can make their lives easier. Work hard.

And remember, what you put into something is what you’ll get out of it. Want to earn nothing, sit around all day. Want to be successful as I’ve become, buckle down and just get the work done.

The reward is worth it.

Keep it honest…

No one likes working with a thief, a liar, or that person more interested in padding his own pockets. Don’t be the crooks that robbed people blind during the subprime crisis is what I’m telling you.

As my father also taught me, “Always be honest. If you lie once, you have to lie 100 times to cover the first lie.”

My Secret to Success…

I’ve taught this to my own children. I’ve had to. They need to know this.

I’ve developed an easy formula after working with so many different people over the years, relating to individual success.

I’ve taught my kids that success is more than accumulating material things… because that’s not what life is about.

Success comes from a unique combination of knowing where you’ve come from, where you want to go, your goals, knowledge, commitment, personality, etc.

That combination had allowed me to successfully invest in a great number of industries, ranging from auto dismantling to sophisticated medical R&D.

As I’ve taught my kids, “there are no shortcuts to anything in life. Work hard. There’s no reason you can’t do this.”