There has been no “overnight sensation” energy surrounding any progress I’ve made in my life. Any successes I have enjoyed were the result of prolonged effort. And the ability to fall in love with the process of becoming, more than the state of being. To say that I’ve been playing the long game for a long time, would be an understatement.
A recent part of this never-ending process, was running a small mail-order business from home, shipping limited run shirts, hats and books under the #GoHard aegis. From a pile of boxes in my bedroom to an exterior closet on my condo porch to a back corner of the basement in my new house, what was an incredibly ambitious and focused visionary brand, behind the scenes was about as “Mom and Pop” and unsophisticated as they come. It was humble. But it was real.
In the midst of it all, on top of a sixty-hour work week, my daughters were born in the course of twenty months. So there was a certain test of my tenacity to maintain the intensity and fire behind the movement. Passion which would have to account for a significant amount of thankless toil. Coming out of pocket time and again for assets the business needed, packing orders at all hours, heading to the USPS kiosk in the middle of the night, writing the first two books under incredibly challenging circumstances. But for a real dream, there’s no length to which you won’t go. And in the process of this process, I found new meaning…. I was building my legacy.
Probably from the time she could walk and talk, I began to take Sienna with me everywhere I went, whenever I wasn’t at work. The supermarket for groceries. To Wawa for gas and coffee. To Target or Walmart or Home Depot for this or that. Wherever I went, she went… The mundane became an adventure. It is still the case to this day. And in the middle of this practice, another special thing happened. For the last two years, every time I went to pack orders and schlep a dozen packages to the post office, Sienna was there. The staff came to know her at the USPS, keeping lollipops on hand for her visits. Alongside me, doing the work that was not glamorous week after week, was Sienna. Funny, because when I reflect back, I remember being a kid in my early twenties, dragging her older sister Madison, all of five years old at the time, with me while I went to Staples to print DVD covers for bootleg home-burned copies of my first film.
This sort of extra effort, in Sienna’s formative years, has become a matter-of-fact reality of life. The daily investment in a dream, no big deal. Doing the dirty work, simply quality time spent with her Daddy. This is important to me for myriad symbolic reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that through observation, she is being raised to understand what it takes to bring a vision to fruition. How consistency and diligence over time are capable of changing a person’s life.
My aspirations have always been the loftiest, so as I undertake this new enterprise, close to my chest I hold my ambitions for the future. But if I am ever so fortunate to know triumph and create opportunity and open doors for those in my circle, there are a few who know the truth… That it all began so humbly. And took so long. That there was a fair share of struggle and frustration and a lot of the essential work wasn’t necessarily fun or pretty.
Over the years, I’d often postulate philosophically, that the most important work a man does in pursuing his dreams happens in the shadows, away from adulation, when no one is watching. For the most part, that is true. But not entirely. What I’ve come to learn in time, is that, as a role model, as a parent, as a leader, someone is always watching. And your actions teach voluminous textbooks that your mere words never could. Sienna has been watching. Like it or not, everyone is watching. And it is our job to show them how it is done.