The hardest thing I have ever had to do was abandon all of the ideas that I grew up with as a child. These were not ideas that I created, but ideas that were instilled in me.
Ideas about success, money and what it took to live the type of life that I desired to live, even from the time I was 11 years old.
Growing up I was always told, “Hector, if you want to make a good life for yourself when you get older, you’ll have to sacrifice, study hard, get good grades and one day you will find a safe, secure job that will pay you lots of money.”
While there is definitely validity to that piece of advice I received as a kid, later in life I came to discover that this specific advise did not serve me in the type of life I wanted to live.
I grew up poor, by western standards, in the southwest side of Houston, Texas, with two younger siblings, friends that stayed with us because their parents weren’t around and cousins who came and went because they had no place to live.
From the time I was a young boy, I knew I did not want to live like parents. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were incredibly honest and hard working people, and I love them to death, but their constant worrying and arguing about money, and the stress of it all left an impression on me that I knew I did not want to experience in my own life as an adult.
So I followed the advise I was given.
By the time I had graduated high school, I had completed two internships; one with United Space Alliance, a contract company for NASA, and Reliant Resources, a major energy company – performing IT services and even graduated No.2 in my high school class. That led me to Texas A&M University, where I made the front-page of the Sunday edition of the Houston Chronicle. I struggled a bit in college initially, but in the spring of 2009, I finally graduated with a degree in Technology Management.
Reality hit me when I discovered I graduated at the worst time possible. The Great Recession was stall in full-effect and there were hiring freezes all across corporate America. The worst part of it all is that while in college I had incurred over $50,000 in student loan and credit card debt and the bills were coming due soon. With no way of paying it back, for the first time in my life I was scared about my future.
I spent ten stressful months looking for a full-time job. When I was finally hired full-time, announced layoffs at the company I worked for had me go into panic mode. I soon started to compensate for my lack of experience and began to work super early mornings, staying late and even working through lunch just to prove my worth just to avoid being laid-off. I needed this job more than even after all. During this time I put myself through a horrible diet and the stresses it all started manifesting as health issues – alopecia errata to be more specific.
All of the stress and worry in my body had showed up as hairless, smooth patches of scalp exposed for the world to see. Not only was this incredibly embarrassing, but I knew that I could no longer continue on this path. The late early mornings, long days, horrible diet, lack of exercise and stresses of it all would literally kill me if something did not change, and fast!
After much research and in trying to figure out where I had gone so wrong in my life, I realized that it, in fact, I had done nothing wrong. I had simply followed the path I was always made it believe was the ONLY path to success in life.
Since then, I have dedicated myself and my life to becoming an entrepreneur and fulfilling what I now understand is my life’s mission.
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