Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fate is crap

When you look at your life, do you see fate?  I used to think so.  My dad died the summer I turned 13.  His death set a series of events in motion that shape the rest of my life, fate.  My mom woke up the next morning, no education, minimal work experience (she occasionally worked as a waitress), 2 kids, a mortgage, and no life insurance or savings to speak of...  My mothers reaction to this is a defining lesson in my life.  Rather than curling up in a ball and shutting out the world she steps up.  Mom packs us up and moves us to Boulder, CO where she gets her certification for massage therapy, starts college full-time to become a psychologist.  She is now a doctorate in Psychology and runs her own private practice.  Talk about a role model.  But really fate?  Sounds like hard work to me.

The view from where we got engaged

I did not get married until I was in my mid 30s.  I dated many women but it never seemed right.  Then it seemed like fate brought Molly and I together.  I had not taalked with Dan in years but I looked him up to raise money for a charity.  My friends and I organized a cancer fund raiser, riding our bikes from Seattle to Atlanta for the Olympics.  Dan was so happy to hear from me he said I had to come to NY and join this new ecommerce start-up.  I fly to NY, interview, get the job, move to NY.  Seeing how as I knew no one in NY, the office manager, Molly, takes me under her wing.  On Thursday Molly invites me to dinner with the CEO and his wife.  I try and politely decline, too early to hang with the CEO, so I say I have too much work.  Suddenly click, clack, click, clack, these shoes are purposefully stalking me across the loft.  A woman swooshes around the corner, I look up, surprised I say, "Paige, what are you doing here?"  And she says, "Todd, you're the new guy?"  Paige and I had gone to college together including a great spring break on Lake Mead.  Of course I go to dinner with Paige, Molly and Bob.  Molly and I move in together after 2 weeks later and after 2 years I fly her to Paris to get engaged.  The spot I chose was Vaux le Vicomte happens to be the location Molly chose her her high school graduation project.  There are at least 2 handfuls of other "fate" like indicators that Molly and I are meant for each other but after 5 years and 2 kids she leaves me for my best friend.  Yeah, it was fate I was going to get my heart broken.  Love at first sight bah, humbug!

Something like this except I have aall my hair, there was no fire, and we were alone

Lisa and I met on  Her mother took one look at my picture and said "who is he?"  Well Lisa and I had a few false starts, you know how life can get in the way.  I made a couple of big mistakes, you know how guys can be idiots.  I proposed on her couch in our pajamas, is that lame?Earlier this summer we went to Cannes and Paris for our 5th anniversary and our son Slater turned 4.  We have an amazing relationship.  We work on it every day.  Contrived because we met on the Internet?  Puh-leez, just another way to meet someone.  You may want to feel it is fate that brought you together, get over it, only hard work will keep you together.

No we are not brother and sister but everyone thinks that
When I graduated from college, 1990, the economy was bad.  I still have a folder of the 80 some rejection letters I received before I got my first offer, I took it.  I was a trust officer's assistant at Bank of America (SeaFirst at the time).  Boring, repetative job kissing trustafarian ass.  In college, I spent many years figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.  I started by asking myself what I wanted my life to be like, where did I want to live, was marriage in the cards, did I want kids, etc.  Then what types of jobs held my interest, did it need to be outdoors, could it be at all repetitive, what kind of stability did I need, those types of questions.  The answers all lead me to a short list of companies and one that really stuck out, Accenture.  Sadly I did not have the grades to get in but I just kept telling everyone that was my target.  To offset my grades and have a fall back plan I signed up for the GMATs always taking positive action.  One day, at my Aunts 2nd wedding I was telling my story to the hostess of the house (it was a nice house) and she said, oh please give me your resume and maybe my husband caan help.  Well turns out he is the managing partner in the Seattle office so I get an interview, sah-weet!  I crush in the interview but in the end they decide my grades are too low, I am too big a risk.  As fate would have it, the day they are making the decision I get my GMAT scores back, 96%, good enough to get into any school in the nation at the time so I fax my score in.  They decide with that high a GMAT score, my grades do not matter and offer me the job.  Focus, perseverance, dedication, hard work got me that job and launched my tech career.

Thank god for this or I would be living in a van down by the river

Fate is crap, my dad died because he was riding without a helmet, stupidity not fate.  My mom was successful because she worked hard to achieve her goals.  My marriages either lived or died on hard work and respect, fate had nothing to do with it.  My career is based on skill and focus, no luck involved. You want a fairytale marriage and life?  Its easy, there are only 4 things you have to do...

My dad thought he was Dennis Hopper

Everything good that has ever happened to me in life was the result of  these 4 things:
  1. Be happy and see the best in everything and everyone.  Its called good energy, effuse it at all times.
  2. Never blame someone else, you are not a victim, if something bad happens figure out how you could have done something different to avoid it.  A man gets mugged in central park at 1am is not a victim, he is an idiot.
  3. Have a target in mind, if you don't then you are wondering aimlessly.  I am not saying fill your life with goals and use those as happiness milestones I am just saying know where you want to head so you do things that are consistent with that direction, you will actually get there one day.
  4. Ask for help, always ask for help from everyone even if you think they could not possible help, they can trust me.  If nothing else, they can tell other people and maybe those people can help you.  You have to recognize you cannot make it on your own, we all need help in the form of introductions, suggestions, money, whatever, and if you don't ask you wont get any of it.

Fate my ass, life it what you make of it.  Mine rocks, I hope yours does too or if not, take action and make it rock soon.

So make it count

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