Friday, November 2, 2012

Nostalgia: An Open Letter to My Family and Cookie Monster

In honor of cookie monster’s birthday, I started to think about the things that may have shaped me in my childhood. I LOVED Sesame Street, and I honestly think it taught me a lot about life.  In the modern era, cookie monster is more of a fruit monster, with cookies as a “sometimes food.” When I was growing up, he (and others from Sesame Street) was a great source for learning little lessons and preparing me to be an adult.

Sometime ago, I posted about how to instill entrepreneurial spirit in your children. Teaching kids to do what they love and succeed as adults is a difficult task; it takes a bit more than Sesame Street, I suppose. Well, I think my parents did something right. I might be biased, but I think my siblings and I took a little bit of Sesame Street, a little bit of Clarissa Explains it All, and a lot of my family’s influence, and all really ended up with a similar spirit. 

Even though the three of us do vastly different things, we have a similarity—we figured out how to live as productive adults, in careers that require an inner drive to succeed, and to do what we really love.

My brother, Greg, is a filmmaker. He’s the artist of the family.  He isn’t necessarily Steven Spielberg yet, but he writes and directs independent films and submits them to festivals. He also manages a local movie theater, as his "day job.” He has to make some money to support his real passion, a necessary component that he has never questioned. He continues to operate in a way that always assumes he will do what he loves and then whatever it takes to keep being a self-sustaining productive adult. 

My other brother, Mike, is an assistant superintendent at a well-known private golf club. He has spent his entire life (since age 12) working on and around a golf course. He is a scratch golfer, and loves to work to make golf courses beautiful. He has never considered anything else.  Getting the degree was a necessary evil to get to do what he loves but, like Greg, he never really considered another path.

I think drive and commitment are necessary elements to a successful entrepreneur. That, and plenty of good mentors, and examples to keep you going. My family apparently did some things right. Whether that was watching Sesame Street or not, we all ended up with that internal drive necessary to be productive entrepreneurial adults. 

Or it could be the reason I eat cookies without taking a breath…one of the two.


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