Is anything really possible? Can you really have anything you desire? Is the American Dream alive? If it is, can anyone access it, or is it just for a select few? In all honesty, these weren’t questions that I ever asked as a child. I grew up in a working class family, and there seemed to be a certain order to the world. Like all kids, my siblings and I talked about what we were going to be when we grew up and the dreams we had for our lives but, as the years went on, we began to realize there is a difference between dreams and what is actually attainable. Our conversations focused on what kind of job we would get, what city we’d live in, if we’d still have the same friends, and would they be our neighbors.
It seems strange now, when I think back to my childhood and the dreams we had. It’s even stranger to think about my brothers and sister and the fact that we all grew up in the same home with the same parents and, yet, our life paths have been radically different. As I reflect back, I can’t seem to find anything that would have hinted at the divergence. I didn’t have a secret mentor that gave me access to any secrets of life. There was no businessman who took me under his wing and taught me the ways of business. There was just our family, and we all learned the same lessons, went to the same schools, and even had a lot of the same teachers. Nevertheless, my sister married a farmer, and they run a good sized farm in my home state, Montana; my brothers are both steadily employed in our home town, Helena; and I sit in the back yard of my home in California on a beautiful fall day pondering how, out of all of us, I have built a business with over 200 employees (www.myTERRIO.com). I have traveled to a lot (although not nearly enough)of incredible places but, most importantly, I see so many more possibilities to explore.
Is anything possible? Sitting here now, I believe that it absolutely is. Can you really have anything you desire? I have come to believe that you can, given a few caveats. Is the American Dream alive? There is no doubt! I know because I have lived it and, yes, it is accessible to anyone willing to learn and grow.
I’ve come to understand that one of my talents is the ability to connect pieces of complex and seemingly unrelated information and make it useful for others. I first realized this with my physical therapy patients. I quickly learned that they weren’t interested in all of the complex anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology, they just want an understanding of what is wrong and what they need to do to fix it. I took the path into business of being a really good practitioner of my skill but, as the business grew, I realized that I wasn’t equipped with the knowledge and understanding I would need to continue growing my business. To correct this, I started learning from as many sources as possible: books, tapes, seminars, coaches, and mentors. I used my talent to apply what I was learning and continue growing the business through various stages.
With success in business, I have been privileged to join YPO, Young Presidents’ Organization, and meet wildly successful presidents of companies from around the world, which has exposed me to even more possibilities.
While the business success has been great, I realized that there were other areas that needed energy and attention. I have been blessed with an incredible wife and three amazing kids. I decided long ago that I wouldn’t miss their sporting events or school programs for business and especially not for any of my personal endeavors. I have taken the time to coach each of my kids in the sports of their choice and have enjoyed all of their plays and concerts. Could my business have been even more successful if I had focused solely on it? Maybe, but I don’t care because I wouldn’t trade the time with my kids. Could I have spent more time with my kids? Yes, and I hope that they understand that, when I did work long hours, it was to build opportunities for them that I never had, show them what is possible with hard work and determination and, yet, balance having time with them.
Over the years, I have also become acutely aware of the need to stay healthy and how not devoting time and attention to this area can hurt all the other areas of our lives. As a medical professional, I have seen firsthand the impact of poor health, not to mention the incredible costs associated with it. I truly believe that health is the underlying foundation of all the other areas of our lives. Without good health, we do not have the energy to maximize the other areas. It is vital to make sure that we take care of ourselves so we can then take care of others. I am also a firm believer that health is not only physical but also mental and spiritual.
It seems, in this information age or, as I like to call it, the ”age of distraction,” that our mental and spiritual health is suffering right along with our physical health. The percentage of obesity continues to increase and, along with it, chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. But we are also experiencing a chronic deprivation of spirituality and increasing mental stress. Our health needs to be a complete package.
Finally, I believe it is vital to get involved in the communities we live in and seek out opportunities to help others. The world is waiting for people to step up and get involved, and it’s amazing the difference a little creativity mixed with action can make. I have helped to start two non-profit foundations. The League of Dreams, which is a recreational sports league for children with disabilities (www.ourleagueofdreams.com), and one that we just started working on, the Nathan Garcia Childhood Cancer Foundation.
It has been an amazing journey so far, and there is a lot left to accomplish but, then again, that is the path of a Life Pioneer! It doesn’t matter where you are starting; the most important thing is to begin the journey and set sail to the edge of possibility …