Warning: Graffiti Can Be Life Changing
I created the SelfChamp blog because I learned to champion myself and I want to teach others to do the same. I am the CEO of two six-figure businesses, but I did not start my life off that way. Most of us don’t.
I grew up poor, with a single mother, and three brothers. I lived in a bad part of town, went through a rough school system, and got into a lot of trouble. I was heavily involved in the art (or act) of graffiti. Most of what I did was illegal (defacing property), some of what I did was legal (for pleasure), and very little was commissioned (paid for).
I went through life just floating by.
No plans, no responsibilities, no schedule. I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it— unless it entailed money… I didn’t have much of that.
One pivotal week in my mid-twenties, when I was feeling depressed, I watched two inspirational movies at random. One was Finding Forrester. It is a movie about a scholar-athlete turned writer protege. The story really touched me. I was so happy that the kid had someone else who pushed him to become more. I never really had someone like that in my life.
In that same week I watched Dead Poets Society. This movie is about an eclectic teacher that pushes kids to seize the day and pursue their dreams. I also liked this story and realized again that I never really had anyone do that for me.
I looked around for what I had.
I found two brothers that were on and off of drugs, and a brother that was book smart but a hard-ass. We didn’t really see eye-to-eye. I also had my mom. She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. However, she didn’t excel in life other than raising 4 boys while religiously holding down an admin assistant job. I am sure she did what she thought she could do. I know she wanted more out of life.
I had another thought cross my mind. What if I was the person that would push myself to be great? Who better than me? It was a sound idea at the time but I let the typical invisible scripts (inner critic) talk me out of achieving anything great. I always had someone or something to blame for my misfortunes. Never myself.
When it came to doing graffiti I was ruthless.
I wanted my graffiti name to be everywhere and I made plans to do just that. I would start by writing my name on stickers and go around placing them everywhere. Once I had a good amount of my stickers around the city I would then move onto maker tags, then onto spray paint tags, bubble letters, and filled in bubble letters. To really spread my name further I would move onto freeway walls, freeway overpasses, and billboards. There is a nickname in the graffiti culture for someone who has their name up the most in a city, it is “All City King.” Society has a different nickname for graffiti writers that is less kind, and I get that.
One day when I was taking inventory of my life. I sat and thought about where I was in my life and I had an epiphany. If I could put this much effort into reaching my goals for defacing the city (at my own cost), there is no way that I could not set realistic life goals for myself and achieve those as well.
I quit doing graffiti cold turkey and almost immediately after that I enrolled into an art college for graphic design.
Here I would learn about branding, printed materials, packaging, and the basics of web design. I wanted to take what I had learned and use it in a real life setting. In school my passion was cycling, so while I was still in school I started a blog about cycling. It was called Heavy Pedal. Once it became an authoritative blog I pivoted it into a product. Heavy Pedal always sold cycling apparel. We once ventured into producing bicycles, however, to this day Heavy Pedal remains a successful cycling apparel brand that ships its products worldwide.
All it takes is an idea.
Ideas turn into action, and action makes your idea a reality. To prove this one more time… I loved the action of creating and building the Heavy Pedal brand. Thus, I decided that I wanted to help other people create successful brands of their own. I had the idea that I would start a web design and marketing company where I would help people excel online. I started an online marketing company called Brand Overture. In the first year of doing business, while adding value to every client I came into contact with, I grew the company to six-figures. The first time it took a few years to grow my company to six-figures, but the second time around it became all the more easier.
I am a SelfChamp.
I create goals for myself and I achieve them. SelfChamps do not look to defeat others, we look defeat our inner critics so we can continually thrive. I will continue to write on this topic so if you are interested in it or just need a motivational boost from time to time, be sure to check in.
If you have a moment to spare (and we all do), tell me in the comments about a time you set your mind to achieve something and you made it happen. It could be as small as traveling to San Diego to see the beach or as complicated as learning analytics in order to make better marketing decisions.
Remember, no matter how small or how large the accomplishment it all starts with an idea. You’re destined for greatness, I can feel it.