Larry – Much More than Meets the Eye
MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
Are you 85 years old and have 77 marathons under your belt? You guessed it. Larry is 85 and has run 77 marathons all around the world in addition to a number of triathlons. I met Larry as a locker “neighbor” at the gym. He was a nice, very unassuming guy and, like the rest of us, just trying to gear up for another day at the gym. Small talk over a number of other chance meetings during the next few months also uncovered the fact that Larry has PhDs in both sociology and physics. During his career he was a professor at a number of leading universities where he both taught and did research. Eight years ago (at age 77) Larry got into digital art. His art works garnered enough acclaim and demand that he was able to sell part of his collection. The proceeds from those sales were sufficient to provide college funds for his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and to allow Larry to purchase new cars for each of the grandchildren upon graduation from high school. By this time, you are thinking that every kid should have a “Larry” in their life. Larry stopped running marathons 20 years ago, but did not stop exercising. Now he swims two miles every day. He has not missed a work out day in 40 years (including the day he had to sneak out of the hospital to go to the gym). A few weeks ago he showed me a picture of the new “skateboard Segway” that he purchased and was learning to ride. However, here is the rest of the story. Larry has not done this “pain free.” He suffers, and has suffered for many years, from a malady that makes him always feel like he has the aches and pains that most of us would experience form a bout of flu and/or serious arthritis. Unless you know Larry, he would just be another person walking out of the gym in his normal unassuming manner and then getting ready for the next day.
Larry accomplished many things (and I am sure I will uncover more as I have more locker encounters with Larry), and he did so with a lot of adversity. I marvel at what Larry has done, but I am also equally impressed and amazed at the story behind most successful business owners. I have taken the opportunity to sit down with some of my business seller clients after the sale to get more details on how they (and maybe their relatives before them) built their businesses. Business owners know how difficult it was to accomplish their goals. Their stories include the failures, the risks, the hard work, the extremely long hours, health hardships and risks, the financial risks, nights laying awake wondering how to make payroll, etc., etc., etc. I recognize how talented a successful business owner must be and how persistent that owner must be to succeed. Larry’s story is a good story, but the successful business owner’s story will often rival or exceed those stories about the Larry’s in your life. We should appreciate and celebrate personal and business success and we may now be entering an era when that is possible. An era where people and businesses can be rewarded and not penalized for their success.