I liked the teacher. I loved the subject. A hot girl sat in front of me. Hell, I even got straight A’s during the semesters.
But I skipped class 57 times.
I’m not sure how many school days are in tenth grade, but 57 seems like a pretty high percentage, and it was high enough that they failed me.
Up to that point, I didn’t care. The point is that I learned the material, right? Why make me stick around and keep a chair warm when I could read the book, test myself, and move on?
That F was a wake-up call. I gritted my teeth and started showing up every day, whether I knew the material or not. The next semester, I started knocking down A’s again, Denny Love gave me a high-five:
I kept showing up, and I got a free ride to college courtesy of the National Merit Finalist program.
So I learned to show up, right? Wrong.
Next I went to the University of Houston for the great weather, honors program, and Mexican food. The college rules didn’t have anything about mandatory attendance, so I thought I’d just teach myself through the books and self-study materials like I always had – I’m good at that kind of thing.
Then I took my first set of exams and bombed.
I floundered around for a while trying to figure out the work/life balance thing, but after three semesters, I walked away from the scholarships and just quit. I moved in with my girlfriend and went to back to work in the hospitality industry, where I already knew the ropes from my high school jobs.
I still haven’t learned to show up.
Entrepreneurs talk about “showing up” as waking up every single day and busting your hump to make it happen.
I am not that guy.
If I was graded on entrepreneurship relative to other business builders, I’d have a big red F. (Well, a D maybe – after all, we’re profitable and growing, but just nowhere near the hockey stick chart that startups look for.)
I picture my work as having an on/off switch. When Work = On, I work hard. I show up at the dawn, I bust my hump all day hustling, and I try to maximize the amount of bang I can get out of any given hour worked.
But that switch ain’t on all the time, and mine is off way more than other entrepreneurs. Heck, not just entrepreneurs – I think I take more vacation and work less than any other “working” person that I know. As this publishes, I’m on vacation in Michigan with my wife and our dog.
Take vacations. It doesn’t matter whether you go somewhere or just hang around the house with your loved ones, just make damn sure you use every vacation day that’s available to you. Just know where to draw the line so you don’t fail psychology class.