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Young, Fearless and Fed Up

Take the leap, follow your passion and pursue the new American Dream.

How many of you dread Sunday nights because you know that the next morning you have to show up for a job you can't stand? How many of you have a boss that you know you're undoubtedly smarter than? I am sure there are many of you out there that feel this way. I felt that way while working at Lehman Brothers in New York City back in the early 1990's.

Fortunately, I decided that life was too short to stick around in a job that just wasn't for me. I decided at the time that I needed to follow my passion and work in sports to really be happy.

In the end, I started a sports marketing company in 1997 called TSE Sports & Entertainment, which I eventually sold to Premiere Global Sports in 2006. I had followed my passion and started my own business doing something I truly loved.

I feel it's essential that you are able to marry your work and what you love. This passion will ignite the minds of your potential clients and connections. Your business has to be a reflection of what you are already willing to pour countless hours into. Your passion and enthusiasm for your business has to connect to your why, be a part of your own experience, and is ultimately what will make you successful.

Unfortunately, many young people today don't realize the types of risks they can afford to take. If you don't take risks you'll never accomplish most of your goals and you'll never know if your dreams could have come true.

We're socialized to believe that the path to success is to graduate from college, take an entry level position with an established company and work our way up the corporate ladder of the American dream. Our generation faces one small problem with this plan: that world does not exist anymore. It's a fantasy to expect anyone or any company to provide a path to riches.

If you're young and hungry, why not go take a chance on launching your business? Most likely, you have limited responsibilities with no kids or mortgage payments and only a deep passion to obtain your dream; all keys for success.

Look at Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook. He started the site as a hobby out of his college dorm room and turned it into the global phenomenon we know it as today. He had an idea and a vision and took a huge risk. Now he's worth billions, all because he went with his gut and didn't worry about what others would think.

How about those three guys from YouTube? Steven Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim were PayPal employees who started a little website in their free time for users to upload their own videos for everyone to see.

Take a look at their timeline of events:

  • January 2005: The three young friends chat at a dinner party about the need for software that would make it easier to share video files.
  • February 2005: The YouTube.com domain is registered.
  • May 2005: The site opens to the public.
  • Late 2005: They secured funding from Sequoia Capital, which kept servers from going down as people flocked to the site in vast numbers.
  • June 2006: the site announced that 2.5 billion videos were watched on the site during this month alone.
  • August 2006: The Wall Street Journal reports the company hosts over 6 million videos and boasts over half a million subscribers.
  • October 2006: Google completes a deal to acquire the company for $1.65 billion.

That's an amazing course of events to occur just over a year and a half but it happened for them. Why can't it happen for you?

Ever heard of Rudy Pensa? My guess is unless you're a member of U2, Green Day, Velvet Revolver, or are John Mayer, you probably haven't. On 48th Street in New York City there's a tiny guitar shop called Rudy's Music Stop. As an ambitious, high-energy twenty-something, Rudy set himself apart from the "big guys" in New York's highly competitive, geographically centralized "guitar Mecca".

Pensa did this in three ways: by stocking (and, eventually, creating) higher quality guitars; providing deeply personalized, one-on-one service; and offering a family-style atmosphere that the more traditional (stuffier) guitar outlets would never have dreamed of allowing. Thanks to Rudy's enduring love affair with guitars, his little shop is legendary for finding, building, selling, and servicing electric guitars of the highest quality. Today Rudy's client list includes some of the most prominent names in music.

Don't get the wrong impression, this kind of success doesn't come easy; it involves a tremendous amount of hard work and a fire burning passion to keep you motivated on a daily basis. You have to be willing to take big risks, there are a people who talk about doing it but they just can't seem to take the leap. It really comes down to being ready for a better the quality of life.

If you decide to take the leap, you can't expect everything to go according to plan; just know mistakes are inevitable. You have to keep pushing through, though; don't let one mistake ruin your opportunity for success. Life is full of obstacles and hardships, you need to work through them--by doing this it will better you as a person.

Don't settle for the safe bet, push the limits and expand your horizons. Take a risk, what's the worst that can happen? At least you can tell yourself, you went for it!

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