Passion AND Work Ethic

Lessons from a motivational speaker

Motivational-Speaker[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ey ya’ll, did you know that I am a Motivational Speaker? I have lectured at TCU, DePauw University and to many companies. Listen, I know what you’re thinking, what the heck could this long haired motorcycle goon possibly have to talk about that would motivate anybody? The only story I know to tell is “My Story” and that’s a story about work ethic and passion!

In 1976, I was 19 years old and hadn’t done anything in my year away from high school. My brother, who is 11 months younger than me, was working at the local DQ and I was washing cars. One night I did what a dumbass 19-year-old shouldn’t do – I got drunk and got behind the wheel of my 1964 Chevy pick-up.

I thought, I’m just gonna cruise to the DQ to see my brother and maybe get a FREE Dilly bar. But I never made it to the DQ. I wrecked my truck because I was so drunk that I fell asleep and drove into a light pole. I was arrested for DWI and hauled down to the Dallas City Jailhouse and fired from my job!

A few days later, my Aunt came and picked me up to take me shopping for clothes to go job hunting. She also took me to get a haircut, because she told me, “Nobody wants to hire a hippie” (remember this was 1976). Afterward, she took me to see her husband, my uncle. They owned a regional paint manufacturing company called Roach Paint Company.

After an hour of my uncle telling me what an idiot I was and how I need to get my s**t together and grow up, he offered me a job. But along with that offer came a stern warning that I would have to work harder and smarter than every other employee there. I accepted his job offer and he had one more piece of advice for me. He told me to go get a haircut before I came to work Monday morning. That was the only time in my life that I got two haircuts in one day!

So I started out working in the factory of Roach Paint Company in downtown Dallas pulling paint orders for our paint stores. I was one of eight guys pulling orders and my first goal was to be the best of the order pullers. I knew if I was the best, I could move my way up the ladder. I got to work 30 minutes early every day and I worked one hour later every day than the other order pullers.

The thing is, the company didn’t pay overtime, so I clocked in and out the same as everybody else and I worked an extra hour and a half every day without pay. It didn’t go unnoticed and within six months I got a raise and a promotion.

I continued to move up the company ladder and I asked if I could transfer to the Irving store. I had to start out as the delivery driver to get the transfer and took a pay cut for that position. But, I worked hard and worked my way up to clerk, then assistant manager and finally store manager of the Irving store!

The only problem was that the Irving store was the worst performing store of the 30 stores in the Roach Paint Company chain. I worked hard and started to build the business. Then one day I had a crazy idea. The No. 1 store was in Plano, Texas where new homes were being built. I figured the contractors who were buying all that paint didn’t live in Plano, they just worked in Plano and that’s where they bought their material.

All the stores opened at 7 a.m. So I decided to open up every day at 4 a.m. hoping the contractors would get their paint from me in Irving and be on the job working by 7a.m. instead of standing in line at the Plano store. It worked and I gradually built the Irving store to the #1 store in the company!

Next, I wanted to go into outside sales. Naturally, I started with a new territory and ZERO accounts. Within two years I had worked my way up to the No. 1 Sales Rep in the company. A few years later, Roach Paint Company sold out to the Glidden Paint Company. I wanted to be the No. 1 sales rep in the country! I did it within three years! But it wasn’t fun anymore. Glidden is a great company, but it’s a big company with big company rules and I was never much on rules.

I decided to retire and take a chance on my own motorcycle shop. I’ve had lots of headaches along the way, but I’m still here and doing just fine. I’ve built a motorcycle shop that I am very proud of! I’ve also opened four other businesses which include; Strokers Ice House Bar & Grill, Strokers Ink Tattoo Shop, RF Custom Parts & Big State Fountain Grill.

I just can’t sit still, I have to be making things happen and always trying new things. One of my proudest achievements is that in my 20 years with Roach Paint/Glidden I never missed a day of work. AND in my 20 years owning my own business, I still have not missed a day of work. That’s 40 years without ever calling in sick, not even once. NEVER! That sounds crazy even to me!

So that’s the story. It’s a story of PASSION and WORK ETHIC! It boils down to a simple question: What is it you want to do with your life and how bad do you want to do it?

In closing, “If a dumbass like me can be successful, ANYBODY can!”

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