When I started in business, I imagined I could make some money to tide me over until I could return to working on cars.
I prayed that God would heal me quickly so I could get back to my calling as an auto mechanic.
But as Garth Brooks sings, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
Today my business touches the lives of millions of people. Yet I never lose touch with how it all began.
Twenty-five years ago I imagined how great it would be to have maybe a couple hundred people in my organization.
At that time, I thought that my purpose was to create wealth—and the means to achieve that was building a network of business relationships.
I thank God every day that I didn’t give up that first week when it seemed “nobody was interested.”
Instead I showed up, and I listened to my mentor.
He taught me that you become interesting to others by being interested in them.
As Mark Twain put it, “There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy.”
This business has enabled me to know and love some of the world’s most fascinating characters.
And now I realize that in the early days I had it backwards:
My ultimate purpose has always been to build these beautiful relationships and to contribute to these precious lives.
Our shared dream of creating wealth may, at times, have captivated the focus of our attention.
Yet in reality, that shared ambition has merely provided the means and the path to achieving our greater purpose: true friendship.
The American Dream has not died or disappeared. It may look different today than it did for our forefathers.
We have a global economy dominated by giant, multinational corporations that can seem intimidating to small businesses.
But new technologies have transformed how business gets done, and this has become an advantage for the independent entrepreneur.
At its heart, the American Dream still holds out a vision of freedom through personal responsibility, self-empowerment, initiative, and contribution.
This dream remains very much alive.
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