When I was child, I went door-to-door selling driveway repair services. In my town, people’s driveways went straight from the garage to the street, but everyone cut the corner when they pulled in. Call it poor design or just laziness but eventually muddy triangular ruts formed on either side of every drive. At 10 years old my friend and I figured out how to pour concrete into these areas to create a clean addition to the existing driveway. We rode our bikes around looking for muddy ditches selling this idea with a handwritten flyer. Over the next few weeks, I hand-mixed and poured concrete to make a few bucks.
At 11 I got my first paper route. I woke up at 5am to fold and rubber-band the local newspaper. My route had 50 houses on it. I was up alone in the dark delivering a 25 cent newspaper everyday to have cash in my pocket for the drug store, where I would buy baseball cards, gum, and dumb shit like squirt guns with disappearing ink. It was just me and the headlines every day. Market crashes 507 points! Berlin Wall Opens to West. San Francisco Earthquake Interrupts World Series. And eventually, Boy learns work ethic and responsibility, makes a few dollars!
When I was 16 I worked with dead people to make $4 an hour. I helped bury caskets and cover them with dirt. Afterwards, I’d cut the grass that grew over the older graves. I trimmed the headstones with a weed cutter for so long my hands went numb. All I had was my AM/FM radio headset, the weed-wacker, and the tombstones. At first, I read everyone’s names, giving a fleeting consideration as to who they were. But after awhile they all just became rocks to take care of in order to make my minimum wage. My vibrating hands collected a skimpy paycheck each Friday. It was a good summer.
It’s not like I was hungry. My parents were professionals who made good money. They just didn’t give me what I wanted, so I had to go out there and get it myself. I owe them for that. They could have handed me anything I demanded, but they didn’t. Anything I wanted beyond the basics I had to will into reality. And usually that reality required money.
The greatest thing my parents ever gave me was the opportunity to develop this “make it happen” attitude. Whether it was by design or happenstance, I don’t know, but the skills I developed because of it shape who I am to this day.
Like most of us, my path took many unexpected turns. After a rocky college career that included dropping out, pursuing a music career and even releasing a record I turned my attention to the professional world.
First, it was hedge funds and the world of international finance. I forced my way into an entry level job I wanted, found the right grad school program, and eventually put myself in position to create the career of my dreams…until 9/11 happened.
With Wall Street in shambles, I had to look elsewhere. I assessed the market and made the turn into real estate and began building buildings in Washington, DC. I wanted control of the entire process so I started a brokerage, a design firm, and a construction company to design/build my own projects, owning every component from start to finish. “Make it happen” indeed.
I built a growing portfolio of commercial real estate which would eventually deliver mailbox money every single month. Then the financial crisis hit and I was swept away with all the other boats in the historic meltdown. I took a year to develop a business plan and ultimately gained a toehold in a completely different industry running non-profit organizations. I started as a consultant. Within a year I was CFO and then Executive Director a year later.
By all accounts, I had made it. Again.
So, at 40, when my latest career incarnation exploded suddenly, I knew I needed to reflect and find that same urge to create what I wanted in the world, rather than wait for it to appear.
Because this time, things were actually different.
I did everything I was supposed to do in this situation. I sought out job opportunities with old colleagues, businesses I had worked with, or folks I had hired in the past. But, the normal networking moves weren’t paying off. I had a friend personally hand my resume to corporate executives. I heard nothing back. Nothing panned out.
No “job” appeared for me even after several months.
And then it hit me- there is no new “job” waiting for me out there. There is no advertisement which says, “wanted: entrepreneur who can’t work well with others needed to run business gratefully for no equity.”
Why? What went wrong? Perhaps hiring managers were intimidated. Maybe partners in firms didn’t want to bring me on as the new guy with the scary ideas. Maybe I would upset the apple cart. Maybe I’m a risk. Maybe I am just unhire-able.
What many people may see as negative traits I happen to believe are my biggest strengths: I’m headstrong and I’m right most of the time. Plain and simple. And while these qualities may allow me to get the job the done better than anyone else in the market, in this case they made me a threat, rather than an asset.
Change is difficult. People avoid change even if they know it could be lucrative. And let’s be honest, no one in a position of strength or power wants to be challenged, especially by the new guy. Inevitably, I’d end up challenging some dumb thing or another. You know I’m not going to let stupid shit pass.
So, after my many attempts I failed. I couldn’t convince others to dramatically change the course of their business and grasp my vision. Although I offered growth and huge profits, they just couldn’t or wouldn’t see it.
And then it dawned on me. I was giving others my vision of their future and asking them to change.
Instead, I needed to pursue my vision of my future and invite others to join me, knowing eventually the momentum will attract others when the time is right.
My former job titles of “Owner, CEO, Managing Director, Executive Director, CFO, or COO” – means my life wasn’t about satisfying a daily task list or managing a set order of processes. No, my job is to create a vision and motivate others to join me in the pursuit of that vision. Whether it is investors, bankers, partners, employees, or clients – leadership is about inspiring others to invest in your vision and thus in you.
No one was going to hire me to help them fulfill their vision, because I am the visionary.
Visionaries don’t get hired, they create.
I had forgotten the valuable lesson my parents taught me: create that which you desire. I had forgotten the 10 year old me, the driveway addition hustler with the paper route. I had forgotten the builder, developer, and creator I once was. Rather than immediately launch a new business, I wasted time trying to fit myself into other’s. Chipping away at those possibilities revealed the wisdom I had already earned in prior lives: I just needed to “make it happen.”
And so here I am again, making it happen. My new business has launched. My name is out there. I am an expert in my field. And I’ve taken what I learned here at jackmurphylive.com and applied it to a more traditional business. You too can take what you learn here with me and use it to create a new future. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other, grinding away daily until one day visions become reality.
Bloody accurate, well-written and inspiring as hell.
A man who handles roaring destruction by roaring back with infinite power and rebuilding higher, is the most dangerous and powerful man alive.
I am greatly looking forward to the next installment.
Thanks a lot, Ivan. The tides come and the tides go, how you ride them is the key to life.
Appreciate the support!
I don’t mean it as a criticism or in a negative way, just as my thoughts—
When I read such texts on the net I note that they are always written by college-educated people. Most Americans don’t have a college degree. We’re talking about a minority here. Yet your post ‘dream job and how I got it’ starts with something most people don’t have – a college degree.
So let’s look at a 40-year-old jobless and recently divorced factory worker. I think when we want to imagine a typical American man in need of help we’re closer to him than to you.
I believe our 40-year-old jobless ad recently divorced factory worker could mail his ‘resume’ to a hedge fund for ten years and still would be lucky if he’s ever allowed to clean the toilets. I also believe if our man goes to his local gym to ‘network’ he won’t meet a hedge fund manager who helps him to get a job – rather he will meet a pimp or some criminal thug (which is still a more patriotic and dignified profession than working at Goldman Sachs). And I believe that if he’s told that his problem boils down to not having a ‘business plan for his life’ or not being positive enough about his situation, he would perceive it as mockery.
Your former job titles (Owner, CEO, Managing Director, etc) suggest you are a visionary? Probably. Sadly, most people don’t boast such an impressive collection. What should they learn from your story? I think the audience for your post is incredibly small.
The ‘lost’ men out there who are really struggling and who invest their tremendous stamina into just avoiding suicide every day will regard the world you live in as much alien as the other side of the Sloan Great Wall – at a minimum. Winners, on the other hand, don’t need advice.
What do you want to accomplish? If you want to tell the world how fabulous you are – well, good job. And nothing is bad about it – you have a good reason to be proud of yourself. But if you want to help those men who really need every help they can get, then I have to tell you that you offered a wonderful story about how you managed to turn your life around again and again – thanks to assets most men don’t have. And I just don’t mean education. You, sir, are an exceptional person. If we look at energy, stamina, and the pure force of will you are maybe (probably?) in the top 1% – globally. (And I admire you for it.) It’s another aspect most people won’t be able to relate to, despite it looks natural to you.
So it was a very interesting read, reminded me on one of life’s most important lessons – never give up five minutes before the miracle. But that’s pretty much it. If you want to attract more readers and if you want to really help people, you might want to look into how you can turn your experience into a more universal message, because currently it’s mostly a biography telling people that they can work their way up into Wall Street megabanks and still lose everything because a small group of people is dumb and/or evil. That’s another aspect that confuses me: What should people make of the not-so-encouraging fact that you worked so hard to get a job in the finance industry, only to end up with empty pockets?
And while I find your other posts more inspiring, I doubt that the people who founded Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter – or Goldman Sachs – got successful after they spent time in the gym (if you spend that time learning Chinese you’re probably better off, if your IQ is high enough), and it’s a flat out lie that truly dominant women are attracted to weak men – no woman is, not even brainwashed feminazis and bitchy princesses. Talk to masochists on the net – really dominant women are rare, know that very well, and will usually go for the high prize. That’s how the world outside of the clichés is. And while I’m talking about chlichés… The fact that you stress that you have the hots for submissive women (most are submissive – and only care for your social status) doesn’t project an aura of strength, it comes across as weak and as something between a sex offender and an ISIS creep. You might want to change the way how you present yourself there, maybe just out of respect for the women you have sex with and for your children. And I say that as a self-professed sexist.
Tremendous comment, I especially liked being compared to ISIS and sex offenders. Thanks for reading!
LOL that was sooo personal wasn’t it!!? I’m a woman. And have been in your position. Had to start a business plus Black to boot so my passion can sometimes seem…too much. But I get that. Now back to being an entrepreneur. THANK U for this. xoxoxoo
It was a bit personal but whatever! Congrats on your business!
You’re welcome for the post, and thank you for reading, I appreciate it.
I think you missed the point. I worked as a barista before starting my own business so fully relate to this. it’s not about the specifics of his background but the “hustle” that was the point of this article.
Thanks for clarifying that for her 🙂
Keep on hustlin’!
Killer post and I can relate to it.
I’ve been in the military for almost 10 years, mostly office stuff. I’m in a position of leadership and known to be warm to the go-getters and caustic to bullshitters. This trait makes me completely unemployable, I was always meant to be an entrepreneur. I’m leaving the mlilitary in the coming months. I can no longer stand the bureaucracy, sycophants and the culture of conformity.
I had read a book on starting a business when I was 14 or 15 and tried starting a landscaping business, I had a couple customers.
Right now I have a blog and a couple of other business ventures I’m working on or involved in. Decided to pursue the path in earnest after I read Think and Grow Rich 3 years ago.
Good leaders are visionaries, and see what others cannot introducing new ideas. Visionaries do not conform to a norm and this intimidates people. People will always fear what they don’t know.
Thanks for the heart you put into this post.
I can definitely relate to your comment. Sounds like you’re on the right path, keep it up!
I appreciate the compliment. This post was a little different than some of my others, tried to make it more personal – hope I succeeded. Good luck to you!
Well-timed Jack. I think we all needed this.
Currently in the process of recovering from major anxiety & I know that feeling all too well, and was just able to put it to words a few days ago… “Money has never made the man. Skills, however, last a lifetime, and often bring others’ hard-earned cash with it, as you enlist them into your grand vision.”
A very tough lesson for all millennials, as the answer to all of our fears and uncertainties is in the calming and confidence-building art of the craft. Once you make yourself worthy, the money will come when you call for it.
Was wondering where you had disappeared to! I’m with Ivan on this one, keep up the good work!
One foot in front of the other improving everyday is the best way to go.
I did disappear there for a little while. It’s been some kind of year. But I am back and enjoying it.
Thank you very much for reading!
Just out of curiosity, do you think your age had anything to do with not finding a job? I’ve seen so many talented, highly qualified professionals with top-notch experience and strong networks go through the same thing once they reach 40+…and yes, I’ve been there myself. Too old to hire, too young to retire. Like you, I finally changed strategy and decided not to leave my future in the hands of others, but to go make my own way. But such a shame for society, to disregard the potential contribution of millions of smart, savvy individuals simply because we’ve “aged out” of the high-value talent pool.
That’s a good question. I am 40, about to turn 41. While I’m not precocious anymore, I don’t think my age had anything to do with it. The guys I was talking to were all of similar age and standing. I can see how maybe once you hit your 50’s this ageism becomes more of a thing. I’ve seen it with family members who were imminently qualified but probably just too old.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment!
It is extremely encouraging to discover a man who is middle aged and is literally starting from scratch – for the umpteenth time. It sounds like my life. We also appear to have similar temperaments. I stumbled on this blog today. And it couldn’t be a better day to have had it happen. Its been a low point in my life these past few months and your doggedness , persistence and desire to keep striving – just gave me great encouragement. Its obvious you’re not a “made -man” at the top preaching to the great unwashed. Your a middle aged guy in the trenches, getting back on his feet and grinding it out. I fervently hope your new venture is a smashing success and thank you for what you wrote.
My pleasure, glad you found the site. Welcome, keep coming back.
I know I’m a couple of years late to this party, but holy crap, what a post!
Currently faced with the same questions in my own industry, concerning working with others vs. following my own vision.
My inner truth wants to beat it’s own path, but everyone on the outside wants me to submit to their goals.
Thanks for posting this and for your honesty. Nice to find an individualistic-centric haven for us pariahs/visionaries.
P.S. “The Key to Success: The Comeback” was excellent. Really enjoyed the part about conforming reality to your will. Cheers!