When I was a young teen, I started competing in pageants. The only event I ever won was the pageant that did NOT require a talent. (Go figure. I couldn’t sing or dance.) Anywho, I loved it. And having zero natural talent for singing and zero lessons to help me learn how to sing did NOT stop me from singing.
In front of thousands.
Why? Well, I’ve long admitted that my confidence far outweighs my actual abilities. (Thanks Mom!) But also because the song I was singing meant something to me. It was called “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn, a country music star. You can listen to HER singing it HERE. I still can’t listen to that song without tears welling up in my eyes. Because — as the lyrics go — you CAN, on my own Daddy’s hands:
“read quite a story in the calluses and lines… Years of work and worry had left their mark behind.”
Growing up, my Dad essentially worked two jobs, one of which was building houses — on the side — back before they had nail guns and other “fancy tools.” So many nights, he’d come home with bruised and bloodied hands from building. In the winter, I swear his hands felt like blocks of ice after working in the cold all day. I’d sit on his lap and rub his hands until they felt human again.
My Dad is still very much alive and kicking, but even on my OWN death bed, one thing I know I’ll remember as vividly as if they were right next to me is my Daddy’s hands. They have character — from years of blue collar work. Years of getting his hands dirty.
The first time I was away from home for any significant period of time was when I went to college at Virginia Tech. That first winter was the coldest the area had seen in two decades, and so — when I saw construction crews just outside of my dorm room — I’d spend over an hour heating up two cups of hot chocolate at a time, and bringing them downstairs (From the 11th floor!) until all of the men had a warm cup of hot chocolate. I did this because when I looked at them, I remembered my Daddy’s hands, and would say a quick prayer that someone would do the same for him… if at that moment he were somewhere working in the cold.
Now I’m getting off track. Let’s get back to it, shall we?
My Daddy’s hands were full of character because of the work he did. Blue collar work.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS is be willing to get your hands dirty. THE MOST PROFITABLE BUSINESS OWNERS I’ve ever had the privilege of working with or mentoring will do WHATEVER is required of them — regardless of their income level or celebrity status. And they did (and do) so without any guarantees of hitting the mark. As Henry Evans says in The Hour A Day Entrepreneur,
“This is blue collar work — just get your hands dirty by taking action and seeing what happens.”
Remember when I mentioned that my Dad would come home with hands that were bloodied or bruised? It was because he was using a hammer to build a house. MOST times, my Dad would hit the nail on the head (literally) and move on. Every so often, though, he’d miss the mark. (His thumb nail — which was always in various degrees of healing — still isn’t “quite right” even though he now proudly gets manicures, pedicures and massages — regularly!)
But he kept taking swings.
He didn’t come home when he whacked his thumb instead of the nail. He probably chose a few choice words, shook his hand a bit… and then, picked up another nail and got back to the work in front of him.
Are YOU willing to keep taking swings? Risk missing the mark? Fail? Wind up with egg on your face? Are you willing to — as Henry Evans said in his book — get your hands dirty through taking action? EVERY DAY?
For today, remember: Being entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s blue collar work, much of it. But do it anyway! Take a risk! Keep swinging! We can nurse your wounds later…