My wife and I moved to Hawaii in 2003. We were living in Portland at the time. One day her father called us out of the blue. “Hey, we’re all moving to Hawaii. Want to come?” One big garage sale and one month later, we were on a plane to the Big Island of Hawaii with her entire family.
My wife’s parents. Her 2 brothers and their families. Her younger sister and her family. They’re all from Canada and were sick and tired of the 6-month winters. 10 adults and 5 children in our group when we started. Now there’s 11 grandkids running around.
We really should have done a Reality Show. “Survivor” had nothing on us. I’m still toying with the idea of writing a book, “Here’s what NOT to do if you move your entire family to an island in the middle of the Ocean.” Guaranteed best-seller.
We did a little of everything as a family business. Scuba Diving Shops. Timeshare & Activity companies. We even started our own footwear company. Went international, did the whole tradeshow circuit. (Is that a cool logo, or what?)
We expanded an internet company from Hawaii to the West Coast. One of my brother-in-laws still owns and operates a luxury pool building company that has won several National Awards – Kona Sunset Pools & Spas.
Overall, we had some failures, and we had some great success. TONS of lessons learned. You can’t make this kind of stuff up.
One crazy experience I remember more vividly than most is from our very first business upon arriving in Kona: Manta Ray Snorkel & Dive Shop. We had a great location right on the main tourist strip where the cruise ships unloaded all their passengers.
As you may already know, running your own retail business is a lot of work. We wanted to maximize profits, so we didn’t hire any employees. Employees cost money. Owners work for ‘free’. This meant we all wore about 15 hats- managers, inventory, sales, stocking, purchasing, booking dives, customer service, clean-up, accounting, banking, etc.
We all did it all. The men put in about 60+ hours/week. Between the shops and our kids, our wives were also putting in about 40 hours/week, too.
I remember one morning was going a little slow. My brother-in-law, Trent, and I were manning the main shop. It was stocking and inventory day. Sweeeeet! We’d just received a huge shipment of wetsuits- all sizes, both men’s, women’s and children’s. Trent and I had the mind-numbing job of folding, sorting by size, stocking and displaying several hundred wetsuits.
Keep in mind, profits were slim in those lean days. No big checks. Every dime we made was fed right back into the machine/black hole/business… whatever you want to call it.
So Trent and I are swimming in an endless sea of black wetsuits. Our only form of entertainment was a TV. I can remember it like it was yesterday…
We were watching MTV, one of the typical “bling bling” shows on the lives of celebrities. You know, the kind that talk about Britney Spears dropping $30K for a surprise party for her boyfriend, or spending $10K to get her hair done and $15K for a Spa treatment, etc. We were both silently watching this, when Trent summed up our unspoken thoughts in a single sentence:
“…And here we are folding wetsuits for $1 an hour.”
We both started laughing our a** off. Non-stop for about 5 minutes. Customers fled to the doors. I mean seriously, here were 2 strong, smart, healthy guys who both had grad school under their belts. Folding wetsuits for about a buck an hour. Goodness, we hated Britney’s boyfriend!
Now there’s all kinds of lessons here, but one more story first…
Just a few weeks ago, I was listening to an extremely successful entrepreneur that made me remember Britney’s boyfriend of 8 years ago. This lady related how when she was a young girl, her family would all jump into the Brady Bunch mobile and drive to their favorite little restaurant for dinner. It was their one big “night out” they could afford.
On the way, they’d drive by a “rich” neighborhood, and she’d see the huge, beautiful homes and the fancy cars. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she began to be inwardly resentful of successful people.
What happened next leveled her like a truck. Immediately the thought came to her mind, “If you believe that person is a snob, you’ll never own a Mercedes.”
Take a minute and let that sink in. Huge, massive ripple effects all over the place.
Back to Hawaii. One thing I’ve learned out here is the “Huna” philosophy- When you see something you want, bless it and the person who has it. See a nice new car or a beautiful home? Bless it and the person who owns it. Want better relationships? Bless those that have them. By doing so, we become more likely to attract these things into our lives.
If our mind associates negative emotions with the things we want, it will do everything it can to stop these things from coming into our lives. That’s just how it works. Why would our minds try to bring something into our lives that gave us negative emotions? Think about that for a minute because this principle is absolutely HUGE.
Back to the young lady- Once she recognized what she was doing, she was able to begin turning her thoughts around and getting her mind right. The results followed like day follows night. And a few months later, she was driving a new model Mercedes.
Now, I have no use for a $10K styling job – if you’ve seen my photo on this site, you’d see why But I’m betting my wife wouldn’t mind a “spoil-me” Spa treatment. So a big, fat “Bless You, Thank You” to Britney and her old boyfriend.
There’s more than enough to go around. Misery loves company, but it works the other way, too. Success breeds more success. Do you want to be on the side of misery or success? So be happy for other successful people. Don’t envy them… bless them, and learn from them. Don’t try and take them down to your level… elevate yourself to their level instead.
And then go get it!
Go create a great day… You deserve it!
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