10 years, 7 months, and 9 days ago I signed a seemingly endless number of documents as a promise to make a seemingly endless number of payments, all so I could take ownership of half of a printing company.
As I click “transfer” to send my last payment across the internet, I am keenly aware of how naive I was those many years ago.
28 year old me thought I was buying a business, 39 year old me realizes I was really buying an education.
My first decade in business has proven eventful. Many of you know the peril that came with the fall of 2009 and how I was terrified the business would fail. I would never have asked for that experience, but I can’t help but be thankful it happened because so many of the best parts of my work today are a direct result of coming face-to-face with losing everything.
Without that experience I might have never realized that I am surrounded by an incredible family who loves me without condition…and the prospect of losing everything is really just losing every “thing,” which is far different.
Without that experience I would probably still live my life like a victim instead of choosing to take responsibility for my choices and the quality of my work.
Without that experience there would be no Thanks Fairbanks, no Fortress of Gratitude, and no realization that gratitude is a powerful elixir for the stress and cynicism that are around every corner.
Without that experience I wouldn’t be sharing my story with people around the world. There would be no Powered By Humanity, no Sixty Second Sundays, no talk at TEDxAnchorage, no weekend with Seth Godin, no conversation with Simon Sinek, and no interviews with some of my professional heroes.
Without that experience I wouldn’t enjoy the many rich relationships that color my life in the best ways. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to get to work and play with some of the very best and brightest around. I don’t know why they put up with the likes of me, but I learn so much from each of them.
I don’t want to know where I would be if everything had just gone according to plan.
I may have made my final payment, but I’m not done making a ruckus. Not by a long shot.
The best is yet to come.