It’s not easy being an entrepreneur. But if you’re in it, you don’t need me to tell you that.
It’s a series of peaks and valleys. The bad times can seem impossible. The key is to realize that there is always another summit (see what I did there?).
Back in fall 1988, I was a college freshman and fraternity pledge.
When the semester started, I was excited to take 16 credits. It didn’t last. I skipped classes, failed quizzes, did pledge chores, and partied.
A month into the semester, there was a fraternity camping trip. The first night was fun, the first morning was not. Long story short, I got arrested.
I went on with life and forgot about it. One day, I got a subpoena to appear in court. Damn.
During the semester, I dropped Latin. Then I dropped Geology. By December, I had nine credits left, and finished with a 1.0 GPA. Then I had my court date.
I thought the whole thing was a joke. I didn’t get a lawyer, and my co-defendant went home for winter break. The judge wasn’t as playful about it. He sentenced me to Probation Before Judgment with 500 hours of community service (not joking, I still have the paperwork – it was a “frat prank” gone awry).
At Christmas, my dad saw the rag sheet for our fraternity, and he laughed about how I was in the “America’s Most Wanted Club”, and how all the ladies were after me.
My brother (thanks, Mike) pointed out that it was because of my arrest, which I hadn’t mentioned to my dad. I figured it was a good time to mention my 1.0 GPA, and my dad suggested I consider enlisting in the US Army.
It was an uncomfortable scene at home, so I headed back to school to see my new girlfriend and prepare for my fraternity “Hell Week.” She nervously informed me that she’d missed her period, and thought she may be pregnant.
“Hell Week” was starting the next day, and I felt hopeless and miserable. My future looked bleak, and I didn’t want to get out of bed. So, I did the only thing I could do – I got out of bed and confronted my mess.
“Hell Week” ended, she wasn’t pregnant, I worked hard enough to not get kicked out of school, and spent most Saturdays and Sundays in 1989 doing community service.
During community service, I’d listen to my off-brand Walkman, and one of the cassettes I had was “Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars” from Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. There was a lyric in the song “Circle” that made me smile and pushed me. She sang, “Everything is temporary.”
And it was. It got better. It wasn’t easy, but I came out on the other side. I learned some lessons, got my shit together, and moved on to the next summit.