So what did you get up to over the Christmas break? It was Jingle Bells and Wedding Bells for my new bride and I, a happy day shared with just 40 family and friends, most of whom couldn’t stop telling me how lucky I am. They were making fun, tongue and cheek but they really meant it and frankly, they are right.
It was Jingle Bells and Wedding Bells for my new bride and I, a happy day shared with just 40 family and friends, most of whom couldn’t stop telling me how lucky I am. They were making fun, tongue and cheek but they really meant it and frankly, they are right.
If you check out the photo of my bride and I, you can see I have a grin from ear to ear for lots of reasons, some of which are blatantly obvious. That said, I am one of those guys that likes to be married, love sharing my life with someone and don’t feel complete on my own.
Although I have done it (gone solo), I don’t mind my own company, but frankly, nothing compares in my mind to sharing your life with the love of your life.
So what did you get up to on your Christmas break?
Mostly, Christmas and the Christmas family gathering is something we all share in common.
It’s often the only time the “WHOLE” family gets together for the year.
It is unusual for me to write on a subject that has such universal participation, so I suspect most of you will be able to relate to my VERY VERY personal experiences over my Christmas break.
Parts of this rant are incredibly personal, it contains information I have rarely shared, if ever, in a manner such as this.
However, I truly believe by baring my soul again here to you, it may be instructional and useful to you. In other words, I believe you can benefit from it personally and in business.
I don’t know the “lay of the land” in your family, but in mine, I’m the baby. I have 2 sisters and a brother, it goes girl, boy, girl, boy. I love my sisters and brother and I am proud of them too, but I don’t hang out with them.
I know they love me too, even though we don’t hang out. I suspect they are also proud of me, even though they have never said so, you see, I am very different to the rest of my family. Always in a sense, the “black sheep”, only entrepreneur for starters.
When I was at school, my mother was often summoned to the principal’s office for harmless bad behaviour, no cheating, stealing or fighting, just pushing the boundaries.
I got the “cuts” at school many times, while on the other hand, I doubt the rest of my family ever got them, bunch of goody goody two shoes. A couple of incidents come to mind, once I jumped the school fence and ran through a rose garden, that got me the “cuts”.
Another time I left the school grounds to make a phone call to mum who I knew was going into David Jones in the city, this was long before we had shopping centres and going into the city was a big deal.
Anyway, when mum went to town, she always bought us a few treats and I got caught putting my order in. By the way, do you remember those red phone boxes? Well I didn’t hear the bell and got caught out again, that got me the “cuts”.
Another time there was an “all in” lemon fight where some kid got whacked between the eyes with a lemon which pretty much knocked him out. That got quite a few of us the “cuts”.
On another occasion, in primary school, a pretty young thing gave me a kick in the bum as she ran past me after school. Unfortunately, I chased her down and did the same thing, that got me the “cuts”.
Mum needed to explain to me that the girl did it because she liked me and was trying to get my attention… sorry Val.
In more ways than one, my whole school life was a nightmare for me, a complete and utter struggle. Worst reader, worst speller, made in those days to stand in front of class and try and read, turn me into a nervous wreck.
That’s how the teachers did it in those days but by today’s standards, probably child abuse.
It certainly left its scars on me, in fact, I managed to complete 10 years of schooling without reading a book, after all “Malcolm couldn’t read”.
I never read my first book until I was 41, it was called “Thick Face, Black Heart” and It took me 2 months to read.
Wait for it, you will love this… for 20 plus years of my adult life, I wouldn’t walk past a book store. Sent me into a panic attack just thinking about what happened back in primary school when I was made to read to the whole class.
In spite of all this, by the age of 41, I had done alright (accumulated a small fortune), probably bought and sold 15 plus businesses using my wits and intuition, which by the way, has served me well. I was a marketer and I didn’t know it.
I simply asked myself back then as a youngster, “how can I get them (the customer or client) to buy from me as opposed to my competitor?” That question produced the right answer and it is still the number one question I ask myself today and you should to.
In fact, how would you like to, at the tender age of 23 (after having been fired by a multi-national company), start a business and sell it 13 months later and have almost enough money left over to buy the equivalent of a $500,000 home today?
Well that’s exactly what I did. That’s how I figured out how a kid who pretty much failed everything, could get rich and I didn’t read one book, didn’t listen to one tape (long before CDs and DVDs) or attend one seminar.
Now, back to the Christmas gathering. Late afternoon on Boxing Day, I turned to my brother and said “What was your childhood like brother, was it tough for you?” he replied “It turned me into a nervous wreck”.
You see, our father was a drunk and abusive, occasionally violent alcoholic, drank 5 – 8 bottles of beer a night, sitting in his lounge chair speaking a language none of us understood. A night never went by when this wasn’t the case for my mother, sisters, brother and I.
I suspect all of this was much tougher on my brother and sister’s, dad had “slowed down” a fair bit by the time I was old enough to understand what was going on, they weren’t so lucky.
As fate would have it, dad was 55 when I was born and I suspect the effectiveness of his drunken behaviour had diminished somewhat. None the less, he was never a father to me and I suspect never to them either.
We did have a loving or be it, dysfunctional mother, heck, who isn’t dysfunctional. We did not have a loving or caring father, we had a drunken and from my point of view, the oldest father in the world. So when I was 10, dad was 65, not such a big deal today but back then it sure was for me.
You know what, my sisters and brother turned out ok and so did I, I love them, I am proud of them and they are good people, even if they aren’t entrepreneurs. In fact, they are sought of the polar opposite of me, all the entrepreneurial bones are in my body, not theirs.
Anyway, my brother, who I thought was dad’s favourite, is still as angry as heck about dad and with good reason. By the way, I sought his permission to share our story with you. He said “say what you need to brother”.
On a lighter note, at my wedding when my brother was asked to say a few words, one of the things he said is he is often asked “are you Mal Emery’s brother?” his standard reply is “No, he is my brother”.
That got a laugh.
Ok, back to the point here, you see, I saw my childhood quite differently to my brother, bearing in mind it was tougher for him. I just saw dad as a “dead loss” and negotiated my way through it all. To me, that was just how things were at our place.
It took me 41 years to figure out what really happened for me during my childhood.
At the age of 41, I did my first seminar, it was called “Money and You”. It was run by Rob Kiyosaki and DC Cordova and there were about 150 people in the room. Anyway, on day 2, Wayne Morgan the presenter, asked us all to close our eyes and imagine our father was in front of us.
Of course, in my case dad had passed away years ago, for others the story would be different, either way it was a highly charged, emotion filled room.
Here is what happened to me when I was asked to imagine that my father was in front of me that might be instructional for you…
I said to dad “You know dad, if I had been marched to the war office at the age of 16 by my father, along with 5 or 6 of my brothers to fight for my country (UK), in the trenches of France, then I might have been a drunken, abusive alcoholic also. By the way, I understand 2 brothers never returned”.
“You know dad, if on return to the homeland at the age of 19, I was sent to Australia by my Tyrannical father who ran his household of 13 siblings like a “Drill Sergeant”, then I might have been a drunken, abusive alcoholic also”.
Think about that for a moment, dad found himself fighting in the trenches of France as a 17 year old, if you know a 17 year old, have a look at them and see how young they are. Hell of a thing to happen to anybody, never the less a teenager.
Not much later Wayne surprised all of us and said “I want you to say goodbye to your father” and here is what came out of my mouth. It was something I never thought about previously, it happened spontaneously in the moment.
I said “Dad, thank you dad, thank you for being my first mentor. Thank you dad for showing me what NOT to be”.
I finally realised, at 41, that I deliberately set out to be the opposite of my dad to the point where I didn’t even drink, although I promise you that has well and truly changed now. In fact, one of my favourite rituals is to share a nice glass of Grenache Shiraz over a meal at night time with Ying, occasionally over indulging.
We were also poor, again worst for my brother and sisters who tell me how lucky I am “because you had shoes to wear to school” and they didn’t, seems we were a bit better off by the time I went to school.
That’s why I set out to be successful, so I could provide better for my family than my dad had provided for us. So if you are thinking I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, think again.
I am a self made, from scratch multi millionaire who raised himself from nowhere to the top of 5 professions, marketing, sales, coaching, consulting and mentoring and speaking.
By the way, I have no special talent for anything, what I do have is HIGHLY DEVELOPED SKILLS THAT ARE ALL SELF TAUGHT.
I also deliberately set out to create businesses that didn’t take my life (away from my family) but actually gave me a life. In other words, I wanted to be a better husband and father than my dad was.
So, the moral to the true story is, and there are a couple of morals to the story, firstly, it is just as important to know what NOT to be as it is to know what to be. Said another way, it is just as important to know what NOT to do, as it is to know what to do.
Finally, we have all got a story, it’s our interpretation of what we heard, what we saw and what we experienced when we were young. It is only however, a story, you have a choice as to how your story shapes you and your life.
Just because my father was an abusive alcoholic, didn’t give me an excuse to be one.
In my case, I unknowingly, unconsciously made a choice to be the polar opposite of what I didn’t like about dad and never let it negatively affect me. My brothers choice, and he had a very good reason, was to still be angry at dad.
So, if you are confused about what you want in life, who you want to be in life, a great place to start is to make a list of what you DON’T want in your life, who you DON’T want to be in your life and surprisingly, your path will be much clearer.
Of course you can also make the same list in a business sense.
Another moral to the story is you can learn just as much from bad mentors just as much as you can from good ones, put another way, you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your triumphs.
It all comes down to what I truly believe is the meaning of life and it literally comes down to one word for me, and that word is “DECIDE”
DECIDE what you want to be, DECIDE what you don’t want to be and then do everything in your power to BE and STAY congruent with that decision.
I promise you the universe will mysteriously come to your aid.
I hope you find this further sharing of my soul helpful and instructional.
All the best,