Are you a Black Sheep too?
For most people, the road to success starts in high school, with good grades, good attendance, and good manners. My freshman year I punched a teacher. Yeah, I guess I am a black sheep.
There are a lot of people following the road to “success”. Our parents, schools, peers, and media reinforce the right way to get there, and define what success should look like. Books and the web and our institutions have many great ideas to help you get on THE road. But traffic, detours, or lost directions can take you off the road, and leave you on your own to find where you need to go.
That teacher? He totally had it coming. I was at school, talking to friends between classes, on the road my parents and teachers had mapped out, and the teacher tackled me. The bully teacher belligerently assumed a drama class prop was a weapon, and thought he was “bravely” defending the school from a little kid. I thought a crazy grown-up was attacking me, so I beat him up. Of course, I was expelled from school, and the road to success.
Black sheep are different. Not bad or good, but certainly distinct. They stand out from the flock.
I went from the road to success and drove myself down the highway to Hell. I rebelled. I fell in with a tough crowd, ran around with gang members, dealt weed, and tried to be a bad boy. I was really good at doing the opposite of what society expected of me. The thing is, I came from a good family, working class Italian roots, with strong grandparents from both sides of the family in my life. I played sports, ate family dinners, and respected my elders. My actions brought shame on my family, they were disappointed in me. I am not a thug, I am a black sheep.
My stint as a wannabe gangster was short lived. I saw rock bottom. The kids I ran with had broken families, no goals, and a dangerous lifestyle. Their dads and brothers were in and out of jail, and a few in prison. They lived in dirty homes with empty pantries. They were 18 years old and failing tests in my 9th grade reform school classes. Alcohol and drugs drove both their career goals and leisure activities. This lifestyle was not for me. I was not sure what I wanted, or how I would get there, but I knew I could not follow this road either. I am a black sheep.
Ironically, the Godfather is one of my favorite films. I have seen real gang-life, and it is shabby and dim. But in the Godfather I think maybe something in Francis Ford Coppola’s vision spoke to me. When he was small, Vito Andolini, the future Don Corleone, was thought to me dumb and simple. Similarly, Francis Ford Coppola shares, “I was always the black sheep of the family and always told that I was dumb, and I had a low IQ and did badly in school.” It is not always easy for the little black lambs, but eventually they grow in to black rams.
After long, heartfelt discussions, my parents agreed the best thing for me would be to drop out of school, go to work, and get my GED on my own. So at age 14 I joined the work force. I went to work for my dad in construction, and when I was 18 took on more jobs in the building trades. Young, fit, and hardworking, I was assigned many grueling and dangerous tasks in, under, and over job sites. I worked hard, learned a lot, made money, and soon I had a new car and bought a house and had a steady girlfriend. I became a licensed real estate appraiser at 21 and never looked back. These were not my initial goals, but came along the way as I was working towards making ME better.
Black sheep are not always black. They can be purple, or teal, or plaid. The important thing is to embrace your individuality (and the uniquenesss of others) to let our differences be the driver towards success. Not our sameness.
Being a Black Sheep turned out OK for me. I am in my early 30s, married to the woman of my dreams, and have two amazing kids. Despite punching out of high school at age 14, I worked hard and studied hard to become my own boss by 21.
Success for ME is working really hard through Thursday, then spending a three day weekend at Disneyland with my family. Success for me is earning a buck, playing with the kids, reading a few chapters, snuggling down all night. Using balance as a measure of success, I have been very successful for many years. My happiness makes even the white sheep jealous.
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, coming from a large Italian family that has strong roots in my home town of Martinez, CA. My parents are both Italian immigrants, making me a first generation American. I have built a thriving real estate appraisal company, San Francisco Bay Appraisal. I am also is a real estate investor who personally manages the construction and renovation of my projects. This has allowed me to grow a real estate management and investment company with properties around the Bay Area. I am also a certified life coach helping others find balance as a black sheep.
As part of my work/life balance, and pursuit of happiness, I enjoy working with others on their goals for real estate, business, life, or balance. As a black sheep, I can not tell you what success is, but I can help you get there on your terms. I have likely gone through similar struggles to your own. I really enjoy working with people and talking about their passions and dreams. As a Certified High Performance Coach, I have learned from Brendon Burchard how to help people like you reach the success they are working towards.