My grandfather is a fisherman.
No… not a, stand at the end of a pier, cast a line out, type of fisherman.
He’s provided for his family, and to this day is highly sought after for his knowledge, after catching tons and tons of fish, type of fisherman.
I remember clearly, as a child being allowed to go out to sea with him.
Standing next to him, looking up as he captained this mighty vessel.
With myself and his crews lives in his hands as we’re in the middle of the ocean.
Him teaching me how to navigate the seas by reading the stars and constellations.
I look up to the skies and the cosmos talks back to me.
I think this was my first experience of awe.
Sitting beside my grandfather aboard his massive fishing ship in the dead of night was more than just a childhood adventure.
It was a masterclass in the art of life and entrepreneurship, delivered not in a classroom, but in the wild, unpredictable waves of the open sea.
My grandfathers ability was honed through a passion to the craft, by doing it day in-day out.
Literally blood, sweat, tears and endless nights of sleep deprivation.
He’s an old school captain, tough on himself and of his crew, and with a sixth sense ability always acutely aware of what was happening.
He’s faced traumatic experiences on the ocean seas, from illnesses and accidents and waves bigger than 6 stores high buildings.
Yet, it is his warmth and tenderness that was so impressive.
Being able to harmonise with both the brute captain that gets the job done, to the open hearted husband, father and grandfather.
You see, to be an entrepreneur isn’t just about selling a product or turning a profit.
Much like my grandfather’s quest for fish, it’s a deep, often treacherous journey into the heart of life’s unpredictability.
When I look at myself today, I spend much time thinking of who I want to be, how I want to show up in this world…
What are the character traits that are the bedrock of the man that creates the success, meaning and impact that I want?!
What is the essence of the man that moves mountains, traverses seas and can let go of his last breath knowing it was a life worth living?!
When I was sitting on the plane flying from Sydney to Dubai 11 years ago, I felt a connection to my grandfather.
He packed up everything in Chile and with his wife (my Tata) and 3 children, immigrated to Australia back in the August 1960.
He did what he knew was best.
It wasn’t what was easiest.
It wasn’t what people thought was the right thing to do.
It’s a vision that brings fourth the best of us.
We need to be able to see the unseen.
As we sailed, my grandfather would often point upwards, teaching me how to navigate using the stars.
To the untrained eye, the night sky is just a pretty tapestry.
But to the seasoned sailor, it’s a map.
This is the power of vision.
Entrepreneurs, much like my grandfather, must be able to see what others can’t.
Where others see just stars, they see a path. It’s this vision that enables them to anticipate market needs, innovate, and stay the course when others are lost at sea.
And here I was…
After selling my house, my car, giving all my clients and business away. With my wife already 6 months pregnant with our first child.
I was going to a land I had never been to before, only knowing one person on the other side.
I had three months to get a business up and running.
To have everything so I can serve, support and provide for my new family.
Sleeping on a couch for 3 months, working from 6am to 6pm most days.
Was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
The ocean, with its unpredictable moods, can mirror life itself.
At one moment, it’s a gentle lullaby, cradling you in its rhythmic embrace.
Then, without warning, it becomes a tempestuous beast, hurling skyscraper-high waves at you, challenging every ounce of your courage.
My grandfather, in these moments, never faltered. Instead, he danced with the tempest, harnessing its energy, using it to propel him forward.
Such is the essence of resilience. Entrepreneurs too will face their metaphorical storms: a business setback, a market downturn, or a chorus of skeptics singing doom.
Yet, it’s this tenacity, this will to dance even when the music gets frenzied, that sets the successful apart.
Resilience is not just about enduring; it’s about turning adversity into an ally, a guide.
But resilience without wisdom, self awareness or adaptability is only stupidity certain for failure.
I kept the faith when many said “you can’t do that” or “dude, you’re crazy”.
Whether it was moving from Sydney to Dubai to start a personal training business.
Whether it was moving from Dubai to Bali to start an online fitness business.
Whether it was working my arse off wanting to sell a coaching business.
If too many people believe in you,
Your idea is not good enough.
Success as an entrepreneur (and in life)
Calls for you to have the appropriate level of delusion.
But not too much.
You need the tenacity of a freight train when pursuing an idea.
Whist simultaneously the ability to turn on a dime as soon as you see good evidence to the contrary.
As a child, I was in awe of how seamlessly my grandfather switched roles.
From a stern captain who wouldn’t be trifled with, to the loving patriarch who’d tell me jokes in Spanish that still to this day bring a smile to my face.
The seas of business, much like the actual seas, are in constant flux. Entrepreneurs must, therefore, be malleable, adapting their strategies to ever-changing conditions.
But here’s the trap…
You think you’re working hard.
You think all you need is your lucky break.
You haven’t done what’s necessary at all.
You haven’t made the sacrifices.
You haven’t put in the time.
You haven’t bled enough.
You haven’t learned the lessons.
Not for when it really counts.
You’ve bullshitted yourself.
You’re being foolish.
Foolishness is when you know what the right thing to do is, but you lack the strength of character to follow through.
You want the glory, not the suffering.
You want the respect, not the humiliation.
You want the triumph, not the trauma.
Why did this happen to you?
Because you’ve self deceived yourself.
You dropped to the cultural norm.
You made compromises.
And it’s insanity to think you can achieve extraordinary things by doing the ordinary.
As I look back at my journey from starting my first business at 18, to living a life today that was beyond my dreams, I realise that I didn’t just inherit my grandfather’s tales.
I inherited his spirit – that potent blend of resilience, vision, and adaptability. Whether you’re navigating the vast expanse of the sea or the tumultuous world of business, these are the traits that truly define success.
In the end, it’s not about how much you earn or how high you climb. It’s about the journey, the dance of life with its ups and downs.
So to you, the budding entrepreneur: Cast your nets wide, set your sights on the stars, and may you find your true north in the vast ocean of opportunity.
Will you win?
Will you get what you want?
Life offers no promises.
Life owes you nothing.
But one things for sure.
Unless you do the work.
Unless you step up today.
Unless you eliminate excuses from your vocabulary.
…you don’t even stand a chance.