Once, early in my business career, I was having a lot of trouble. A LOT!
Financially, socially, family-wise, career-wise, all was going down the drain.
Not only was I failing miserable in business, the business I was taking down the drain was founded by my father, who was the man among men. A remarkable man, an immigrant who came to this country at the age of 16, founded an extremely successful business, and died at 44 as the one of the first people to have a radical surgery called ‘open heart surgery’. That was 1953 and I was 2. My whole life, to this day, I have heard laudatory stories about my dad from people I did not know until the story was told. So here I am burying the business he started.
Pretty shitty. Really, really shitty.
So, I go to the world’s foremost Lebanese philosopher, ranked just ahead of Kahlil Gibran, my mother. We sit at the kitchen table at my mom’s little house, which was a rest area for all the animals in the neighborhood, including all the neighbors’ dogs and Earl the Squirrel, and begin the counseling session. I am cry babying to my mom about everything and the common theme is that all my troubles are other people’s doings.
None of it is my fault. The business failing is a conspiracy constructed by my employees, vendors, customers and members of my family. I am too stupid at this point to realize the undoing of the business was my fault, my fault alone, 175%.
Now she has gotten to the point that I can see, in her expression, that I am hitting some nerve. I am sure that I have done such a remarkable job of telling the conspiracy documentary that she is going to jump on my bandwagon and vilify all the jackasses that are causing my problems. Then it happens.
While there is a finally a time of relief from the twaddle coming out of my mouth, I wait for the response from the oracle. First, she inhales from the Salem Light 100 dangling from her lips. The powerful draw moves the flame on the cigarette from the tip to the halfway point of the cigarette — so know I REALLY know something great and supportive is coming out. Then it happens. She says, with just the right pinch of disgust in my weakness;
“Honey, sometimes if you step in shit you have to throw away the shoes”
In one sentence she surprised me, motivated me, shamed me and found a unique way to say, “get off your ass and do something about all this.”
Moral of the story. Our failures and our accomplishments are OUR doing. And that’s great news because it relieves us of the confusion caused by people like the birdbrain complaining at his mother’s kitchen.
Throw the shoes away. Before it gets on your pants!