In my senior year of college I took Education 101. From Day One I was hooked, I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
The only problem, I had to graduate that year and there wasn’t money to pay for staying in college longer.
Upon graduation I took the first I was offered and I regretted every second of it.
Ten years later I sat for the National Teachers Exam so I could return to college for teaching. I took the test and failed by just a few points.
With two young children, a hectic work life and little money I put Plan A on the backburner and remained on my self-destructive Plan B path.
Let me share a story with you about a man who followed his Plan A right out of college.
Upon graduation this man had to choose between a secure business career at Fidelity Investments or an uncertain and potentially difficult path of becoming an Actor, barely getting by and struggling in New York City.
This young man chose Acting.
When things weren’t working for him and he wasn’t getting parts, he created his own opportunity and gathered some fellow actor friends and started his own television show in their apartments.
People thought he was crazy and it wouldn’t work but now his show is one of the longest running TV comedies.
The show I’m talking about is “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and the Actor I’m referring to is Charlie Day
Charlie grew up not far from where I live. He attended the same small school that my children attended (his Mother was their Music Teacher).
Earlier this week Charlie delivered a Commencement Speech to his Alma Mater, Merrimack College.
Had I heard this speech upon my graduation I think my path in life would have been quite different and I would have hoped that I’d had the nerve to follow my Plan A earlier.
This speech doesn’t apply only to college graduates but to entrepreneurs as well
And here’s some of what he said:
Having a Plan B can muddy up your Plan A –
Don't wait for your break make your break.
Go make it happen for yourself.
You cannot let a fear of failure, fear of comparison or a fear of judgment stop you from doing what's going to make you great.
You cannot succeed without this risk of failure. You cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism. You cannot love without the risk of loss.
You must go out and you must take these risks.
Everything I'm truly proud of in this life has been a terrifying prospect to me.
From my first play, to hosting Saturday Night Live, to getting married to being a father,
to speaking to you today.
None of it comes easy and people will tell you to do what makes you happy but a lot of this has been hard work and I'm not always happy.
And I don't think you should do just what makes you happy, I think you should do what makes you great.
Do what's uncomfortable and scary and hard but pays off in the long run.
Be willing to fail.
Let yourself fail.
Fail in the way and the place that you would want to fail.
Fail, pick yourself up and fail again.
Because without this struggle what is your success anyway.
Look, as best we know it we have one life.
In it, you have to trust your own voice.
Your own ideas.
And through this you will find your way.
You do not have to be fearless, just don't let fear stop you.
Live like this as best you can and I guarantee you will look back on a life well lived.
You are capable of greatness in your profession and more importantly in your quality of self.
Stay hungry, stay young at heart.
Take those risks. You are going to change the world around you in great ways and in small.
Charlie Day, Actor
As an entrepreneur you’re going to have times that aren’t great and times when you want to give up.
But within every great success there are many failures.
Go for your Plan A with as much passion and gusto as you’ve got.
You’ve only got one life to live!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What came up for you when you were reading his speech? What keeps you from playing full out in creating your Plan A business?