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INTRO Self-inflicted wounds and my "F*ck this!" moment......

MatthewFoster

New Contributor
Jun 1, 2019
4
13
14
Crowley, Texas
Some people pay a high price for self awareness. I'm one of those people. I learn shit the hard way. I lived in self ignorance/misunderstanding/unconsciousness until my WHY hit me in the face like a wicked sour fart in an elevator. At the time, I had been self sufficient for almost 20 years. I don't mean just barely getting by, I mean being the most successful person to EVER come from my family by a long shot(Not that it took much to be more successful than poverty). Even to have the degree of success that most people only dream of, I knew something wasn't "right".

Background: My stepdad filed a tax return in the 90s with $20k worth of gross earnings. To say we were poor is polite. In 2011 I invested in, started, and committed to a business partnership and venture that consisted of 2 other people, a spreadsheet, and $0 in sales. We got our asses kicked really hard along the way, but we did it. Fast forward to 2017, my business partners and I owned 4 profitable businesses grossing almost $30M last year, we had 90 employees, and I was making $200k plus member draws. I laughed at people that preached success and entrepreneurship. Most of them didn't have the first f'n clue about sacrifice, discipline, decision making, managing, work ethic, vision, focus or anything else it takes to be successful. Turns out wanting to be successful isn't enough to actually BE successful.

Then: All business partnerships end. That's the reality of it. Here's how mine ended. I was absolutely f'n miserable. I was a minority partner that had been lead along with a dangling carrot. I got hustled. I was so mentally weak that I allowed someone else to determine my worth/value. One empty promise after another to keep me motivated to build, build, and build and someday it'll be better and you'll have more. I constantly felt bad for our customers and often felt worse for our employees. I was an enabler and contributor to a crap business, a worse product, a broken system, and awful working conditions. Nothing I had envisioned when starting a company. Yeah, yeah, yeah....I can hear it now "But you're making a lot of money! Who gives a F*ck?" Well, me. I refuse to shit on people for money. I was so stressed waiting for the leaning tower of Jenga to fall that I couldn't function in what little downtime I had available. (Not why I wanted to be self-employed by the way) I pulled my business partner aside one day and voiced my concerns. I'll never forget what happened next. MY "F*ck THIS!" moment. After giving him very clear examples of what I found unacceptable I ended my thoughts with "If I would have known it was going to be like this, I would have invested in the company in 2011 and not come to work here." Then.....it happened. His response rings in my ears today. He said "Self-inflicted wounds." And he was right. I didn't see it that way then, but I do now. I was pissed. After all the sacrifices I made for this MFer and he's gonna say I did this to myself?? But he was right, I was responsible for all of it. See, I had this false narrative in my mind that we were in this together. We weren't. He didn't give a F*ck about me. I thought when I quit my awesome career it was a sacrifice. I thought when I missed funerals, graduations, birthdays, concerts, weddings, births, holidays etc to be at work I was sacrificing for our long term goal. I wasn't. I wasn't sacrificing, I was choosing. And guess what??? Anyone that is benefiting from your bad choices is not going to stop you from making those bad choices!! He was benefiting from my choices that I thought were sacrifices for us. You see where I went wrong yet?? It wasn't that I "did" all of it myself. I didn't create these circumstances, but I sure as hell made the choice to be there. I chose to suit up and play the game. I made the choices that put me there. I couldn't blame anyone for that. I was pissed at him for wasting 6 years of my life helping him build a business he owned 51% of while I owned 10%. That's not his fault, it's mine. I did a bad job of negotiating my position in the company, not him. I'm the one that trusted someone else with my future. I made those choices and I made those decisions. Turns out I'm pissed at me for helping him F*ck me. It's not that I created all of those circumstances, it's that I voluntarily showed up every day to play THAT game by THOSE rules, and the was MY CHOICE. As soon as I heard "self-inflicted wounds", it was GAME OVER. From that moment forward, I started the hardest project of my life.......me.

Black Swan: For now let's just skip the extreme suicidal depression I went through to get where I am today, but here's how I got through. Books. Yeah, sounds stupid, but it worked for me. I read 125 books in 6 months. I flexed muscles I didn't know I had. I can honestly say neuroplasticity saved my life. Once I was on the upswing mentally, I started doing all the things I should have done from the get go. More training, less handling it myself. More understanding, less ego. More listening, less talking. Previously I had been one of those business owners that didn't pay any attention to numbers. Most everything was in my head, I trusted my gut, and do the right thing and it all works out. Reading showed me that mindset is what led me to where I was. I had to have a different pattern of behavior to produce a different result. So, I started getting more involved with understanding the business, financials, and talent development. In September 2018 I reached out to our payroll company, financing company, and accounting firm to get financial records. If I was going to understand business, what better place to start than the company I built?? I had been there every day for 7 1/2 years. I knew my half of the business inside and out. I would have been unstoppable if I could have learned his half of the business. I was adding new tools daily. I'm becoming the most effective and efficient working business owner in the world! Enter Black Swan. 35 days after I asked for the financials I was fired without warning or cause. I still haven't received the financial records and we're nowhere close to an agreement on a valuation for a buyout.

Now: I'm spending my days working and growing a small business with 7 employees. I haven't received a check in 8 months. Yes, entrepreneurs, if your only metric for success is a weekly direct deposit, you're F*cked. Now I'm understanding the difference between a choice and a sacrifice. I'm still reading, growing, learning, and observing. I've almost put all the pieces back together and I'm almost ready to make my next move. Being an entrepreneur isn't jumping from one money making idea to another, it's getting your a$$ kicked from one way of thinking to another and finding a way to make it work.

Next: ....................


Thanks MJ for letting me throw that out there. I don't have people around to talk about this kind of thing. I love your books and other content. I've already learned a lot from you and I look forward to checking in with you and your forum to continue my education. Thanks again.
 

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Lee H

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 8, 2018
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112
@MatthewFoster thanks for sharing your story. I can totally relate to the idea of "self inflicted wounds".

I worked in a slow lane job as a lead consultant for a small business for years. Always waiting for the big payout that was never actually coming. I was angry and frustrated with the CEO until one day, following yet more unfulfilled promises I blew up at him.

We never really fell out but that was the start of my realisation that I had to forge my own path. I was abdicating responsibility and expecting someone else to get me where I wanted to be.

I've now firmly taken my life into my own hands. Sure I've stumbled and failed, but I've learned so much along the way.

I also truly now appreciate the lessons I learned from that CEO, that drove me to take control of my own destiny.
 

MatthewFoster

New Contributor
Jun 1, 2019
4
13
14
Crowley, Texas
@MatthewFoster thanks for sharing your story. I can totally relate to the idea of "self inflicted wounds".

I worked in a slow lane job as a lead consultant for a small business for years. Always waiting for the big payout that was never actually coming. I was angry and frustrated with the CEO until one day, following yet more unfulfilled promises I blew up at him.

We never really fell out but that was the start of my realisation that I had to forge my own path. I was abdicating responsibility and expecting someone else to get me where I wanted to be.

I've now firmly taken my life into my own hands. Sure I've stumbled and failed, but I've learned so much along the way.

I also truly now appreciate the lessons I learned from that CEO, that drove me to take control of my own destiny.
Exactly. I'm glad someone understands. I still catch myself in negative thought patters about all the time I lost and missed opportunities. I've learned to quickly correct my thought pattern to be grateful for all the lessons I did learn and all the blessings that came from that time period. I read a great book called What got you here won't get you there. It completely destroyed the glass ceiling I built for myself in my own mind. It's a really great book. I repeat the title at random times and remember the lessons in it. I could read it once a year and it would take on an entirely new meaning every time. Haha. Anyway, I'm grateful for that time. I needed it. That book and The Big Leap really helped change the way I talk to myself.

Thanks for not being a stranger by the way.
 

Lee H

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 8, 2018
32
57
112
Thanks for the tip on the book. I'll look that one up.
 

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