The Journey of a Lifetime


Dad, the Musician

Dad, the Musician

Why do some people seem to reach the most amazing goals, enjoy huge success, seemingly effortlessly, while others struggle, give up along the way?

What makes some people succeed beyond their wildest dreams and others fall by the wayside?

I was thinking about this this morning as I was doing some reading. How is it that two people can start the same endeavor, maybe with the same level of skill, talent and ability, or nearly so, and one thrives and enjoys great success and the other quits?  Sometimes before even getting started.

By this stage of my life, I know the answer has little to do with talent, ability, skill level, intelligence, age or how much time/money one has to invest in themselves.

What it has to do with is a burning, strong desire to succeed, no matter what.

One person believes that if they just keep trying, pushing, tweaking, doing, they’ll reach their goals.  The other does not.

I think about myself and the goals I’ve set for myself, both in health and fitness and in business.  Am I where I want to be yet?  No, not really.  Am I further than I once believed I’d ever be?  Absolutely!  Do I believe I will succeed, reach those goals, and be who I want to be?  Yes.  Most of the time.

And that keeps me going.  Not a person. Not a thing.  Nothing else.  Just me, myself and I, and the belief and desire I need to keep me moving forward.

My Father and Mother — They Risked Everything

Not everyone knows this story about my family.  When my mother and father where first married, they lived in the Midwest. My father grew up in Bay City, Michigan, and my mother grew up in Worthington, Minnesota.  She loved to dance.  He was a musician.  Two sides of the same coin, and believe me, the irony is not lost on me!

But back then, to succeed as a musician, living in the Midwest was not the best place to be.  New York or Los Angeles was where everything was happening.  Want to break big into the music business?  Move to either the west or east coast.  

He chose Los Angeles because at that time, back in the early 50′s, something called coaxial cable was being laid in LA and that promised to open more doors to the future.  

So what did my mother and father, and my older brother, do?  I was not yet in the picture, but I’ve heard the story many times.  They picked up their meager little family, what few belongings they took with them, and drove from Michigan to Los Angeles.  As they’ve relayed the story to me over the years, they had very little money, no job prospects already laid out and waiting for them.  They didn’t move their furniture or household belongings. Apparently there weren’t many to move.

What they did move was themselves, fueled by a dream of what the future could hold.  A belief that it would all work out.

They’ve told me that they got waylaid along the way, becoming tourists even though that wasn’t the purpose of their journey.  Stopped and saw sights along the way.

Arrived in North Hollywood, California, with not much more than the car they drove and the few items it was able to contain. And very little money.

Nowadays, I doubt you could what they did, with the level of distrust and cynicism that exists.  They bought furniture and rented a small apartment on payments and no credit history.  Try doing that today!

And my dad went to work.  No, not as a musician.  Not at first.  He did all kinds of menial labor type jobs, while trying to make a name for himself and get known in the music industry.

Did he doubt himself at times?  Most probably.  Did they wonder if they did the right thing? I’m guessing, yes.  At least at times.

He once said when my brother had to write a story in school about what his dad did for a living and he depicted him as a factory laborer, he was horrified.  Not because that was a bad thing, but because it wasn’t who he was.  He was a musician.

He also told me that years and years later, after he was in the music field, making a living and raising a family, he would lie in bed at night and think about that trek across country and feel his hair literally stand on end.

But you know what?  He lived his entire life as a musician.  He worked with some of the greats — Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and probably the one he was most known for and that everyone always wanted to hear about, Ray Charles. Yes, he went on the road with Ray Charles and his band in the 60s, in their heyday.  When he decided to leave the band because the travel was too much and he had a young family, Ray Charles himself called the house and tried to talk him out of it.  At the end of his life, he once said, “All the great musicians I’ve worked with and the only one anyone ever wants to hear about is Ray Charles.”  We should all have such problems!

My dad, a Michigan native, raised by a successful banker (businessman) made a life for himself and his family, as a musician, because for him, there was never any other option.  He was a musician.  He felt he had to move to LA or New York.  So he did.

He never looked back.

My Own Resolve

I like to think that some of that resolve was instilled in me.  Certainly I never felt comfortable in the corporate world, where rules and bosses decided what you did, how much money you made and when you could take a vacation.

It took me longer than it did him, but eventually I found what I wanted to do.

Do I doubt myself sometimes?  Yes.  Do I wonder if I’m good enough?  Yes, sometimes.

Do I believe in myself and what I can do and how far I can go?


Your age, your current income, your talent, your past, your abilities, none of those hold you back.

The only thing that will ever hold you back is YOU.  Just ask my dad.  If he was alive, he’d tell you.

Go for what you want, don’t regret the things you wished you’d done, later on.  Fail.  Fall on your face.  Make mistakes.

But above all, keep getting back up.

You can do this!


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