I thought being a business owner is risky.
Riskier than being an employee anyway.
So much so that I never even considered the idea of starting a business.
- "That's not for me."
- "I don't have any good ideas."
- "I don't have a degree in business."
- "Where does one even begin?"
- "How am I going to make money?"
All rooted in fear of failure.
So I took the "safe" route.
The "Safe" Route
Here's what my "safe" route looked like:
- I went to college and got a degree in occupational therapy (OT).
- I got a stable job as an OT in an outpatient orthopedics clinic.
- I got married and started building a life with someone.
- I moved into a nice home in downtown Minneapolis.
- I went to the gym 4-5 days a week.
- I took 2-weeks of vacation a year.
Everyone was telling me that I was "living the dream."
But what does it even mean to live the dream?
- Having a diploma with your name on it?
- Working a 9-5 job Monday through Friday?
- Committed to a rocky relationship?
- Living in a big expensive city?
- Scrapping to find time to exercise?
- Taking a vacation when a company approves of it?
Whose dream was I even living?
- My parents?
- My friends?
- My teachers?
- My employers?
- The governments?
The Beginning Of The End
What I thought was the safe route turned out to be the path to misery.
And I only had myself to blame.
- I had no idea what I wanted.
- I didn't know how to think for myself.
- I lacked true wisdom and honest guidance in my life.
I... for lack of a better word... was a fool.
And here's where that got me:
- Drowning in debt
- Living with my parents
- And no clear plans for the future.
The "safe" route burned me.
I felt like I had lost everything.
Like I hit rock bottom.
But a good friend once told me, that sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to know which way is up.
I was reading a book at the time called Choose Yourself by James Altucher.
Here's the punchline.
Everything we think is "safe" isn't.
Often described as the backbone of society.
Hard truth... they're not.
They are all outside of your control.
And anything outside of your control is, therefore, unsafe.
The ONLY safe route is to choose yourself.
To become the type of person that can thrive in any environment.
To become the type of person that when life throws poo at you, and it will.
That you have the skills and resources to figure it out.
The REAL Safe Route
The best decision I've ever made?
Betting on myself.
- Starting a business with work I care about.
- Moving to Austin to be around like-minded people.
- Building a body that doesn't just look good but feels good.
- Spending time with people that make me laugh and inspire me to improve.
- Growing a podcast show to spread a positive message.
Ultimately, choosing to become the best version of myself.
For the record, there is nothing wrong with the "safe route" I described above.
Manyith of people have lived that exact life and were fulfilled with their life choices.
The key is to make sure it's YOUR dream.
- Not the societal narrative.
- Not what your parents want you to be
- Not what your friends think of you
- Not what your community wants you to do
If YOUR dream is to have the white picket fence in the suburbs with a steady 9-5 job, live it up!
But if not... here's what I'd recommend.
Tips To Living Your Dream Life
I can't tell you how to live your dream.
That's yours to discover and yours alone.
But what I can do is give you three helpful tips that I wish I had known when I was figuring it out for myself.
Tip #1 - Move Sooner
I recently took a trip with 7 other guys to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in Minnesota.
After the trip, I spent a few days with my parents in my hometown of Rosemount.
If you know me, you know I wouldn't skip out on an opportunity for a workout.
I went to the local LA Fitness I had been going to for years before moving to Texas.
I was shocked... while at the same time, not surprised.
The same people, doing the same exercises, looking exactly the same as they did before I moved away two years ago.
Nothing had changed.
It felt like everything was frozen in time.
It reminded me of an essential truth about human nature.
Growth rarely happens by accident.
You have to be intentional.
Keep going to the same place and doing the same thing.
Nothing will change.
Go to a new place and do new things.
Things will change.
I lived in Minnesota for the majority of my life.
I wish I would have moved sooner.
Tip #2 - Taste Things
We suck at knowing what we want.
But we're great at knowing what we don't want.
The only way to figure it out?
I thought I'd love working as an occupational therapist.
I was wrong.
I thought I'd hate living on a farm.
I was wrong.
I thought I'd love to travel to San Diego.
I was wrong.
I thought I'd hate running a half marathon.
I was wrong.
My assumptions are almost always wrong.
But not because of poor judgment.
But because we don't know what we like or don't like until we experience it for ourselves.
Experience is the ultimate teacher.
Never take something at face value.
Taste it for yourself.
Literally and figuratively.
Tip #3 - Avoid Regrets
I only have two fears.
Brain damage and regret.
I wear a helmet to prevent the first one.
But how do I prevent regret?
By talking to my future self.
It sounds silly, but it's literally what I do.
I consult my future self with one very simple and very basic question.
"Hey Corey, are you going to regret doing this later?"
If the answer is yes, I don't do it.
If the answer is no, I do it.
Things I've regretted:
- Being mean
- Not saying how I truly feel
- Waiting for the "right moment"
- Buying things to impress others
- Choosing the easy path instead of the right path
Things I've never regretted:
- Working out
- Attending a funeral
- Attending a wedding
- Learning something new
- Helping someone in need
- Telling someone, "I love you."
- Chasing my dream
Both of these lists could be a mile long.
But you get the idea.
When faced with a decision.
Consult your future self.
- The "safe route" isn't safe
- The only safe route is to choose yourself
- Move sooner
- Learn by doing
- Avoid regret by consulting your future self
If I'm being unabashedly honest, I'm a long ways from living my dream life.
But at least I feel like I'm on the right path.
If you want to learn more, contact me here.
Hope you enjoyed this one, my friend.