You have probably been asked the question, “What is success?” Success is different for everyone and can be personalized, so the key word here is you. How do you define success?
If you had asked me to define success 40 years ago my answer would have been very different than it is now. My personal definition of success back then was starting my own business, having enough money to pay rent, and being able to provide essentials for my family.
One week after graduating from high school, I went to barber college (even though I had never been to a barber because my mom always cut my hair). It was 1971 and 1972, and men weren’t getting haircuts. I had no goals in my life and no direction for where I would end up. I was in survival mode and was truly a “wondering generality.” Luckily, I was only 18 years old and the only place I could go was up. Looking back, I feel God was using those experiences to shape me into the person I am today.
In 1986, I went to an all-day seminar featuring Zig Ziglar. After the conference was over I bought each of his books and cassette tapes. I read the books, listened to the tapes, and incorporated the value of setting goals into my life. I learned the importance of creating balance between the family, spiritual, physical, financial and business aspects of my life. Success started to become clearer for me once all of these components were identified and prioritized.
My business was started on a shoestring. It began with a $2,500 loan – $1,500 of which went to buying a one-chair barbershop, leaving the remaining $1,000 for operating capital. I was feeling successful when in reality I was living day to day. My wife was working as a nurse for $3 an hour, so thankfully we could make things work. At the time, this was our success.
When I started my career, I went to trainings and networked with people who worked full time in hair replacement. I had become a goal setter and decided I wanted to have a full time hair replacement studio. For the next eight years I wrote my goal on a piece of paper. Finally, in 1990, I changed our business model and began to specialize on people who were struggling with hair loss. Once again, this was success.
My wife, Cheryln, joined our business after our children were born. Our daughter, Sara, joined us 15 years ago, and the plan is for her to have full ownership. Today we have a 6,000 square foot office and 12 employees. Could this be another example of success?
I have found as I age that my definition of success is different. I still need balance, but what I feel is important has changed. Now I think about my legacy. Have I spent enough time with my family, kids, and grandkids? Is my spiritual life in balance with my time spent at work? Is my health as good as it could be? How is my relationship with my wife? The big question is: How will I be remembered and what difference have I made?
I have been blessed with a business that allows me to touch peoples’ lives. My business, clients, staff, and life experiences have helped shape the person I am today. I want to be remembered as a Godly man, an exemplary husband and father, and a generous person who ran a business with integrity.
That will be success.