We are all accountable for our destiny. But sometimes it all comes together at one time and you never forget it. In this Billboard Mastery podcast we’re going to talk about the exact moment that I had to choose between success and mediocrity, and how that impacted my billboard career. In the current economic chaos that has become America, you can still gain an edge when you understand how you really do control how your life turns out.
Episode 25: The Exact Moment I Got Serious About My Future Transcript
We all have life changing moments, things that happen that we never forget and one day I suddenly learned the fact that I was fully accountable for my future. This is Frank Rolfe with the Billboard Mastery Podcast. I want to tell you the story about how I suddenly became accountable, and when I really became a very potent force in the billboard industry.
Here's what happened. In my early twenties, started my billboard company from scratch. Didn't have much going on, really trying hard to get in the business, and I happened upon a guy that owned several properties that I thought were legal for billboards. I did all the work. I went to him and he promised me if I would go out and obtain the permits and do everything, that he would sign my lease. So that's what I did; I trusted the guy. I went out there and did everything. Everything I agreed to, did my part of the bargain. Showed up over at his house. The guy's name was King, apropos name. So I showed him all the work that I got everything done, I gave him my lease to sign, to which he said, "Nah, I think I'll just go ahead and do it myself." I said, "Well you promised me if I did the work you'd sign the least." He said, "Yeah, I know, but you know how business is. I just decided I don't need you. Now that you've done all the work, I'll just go do it myself."
Well I realized that day, with my dealings with that guy, that the only chance I had to succeed was I would just have to do it, and I was not going to let a jerk like that guy stand in the way of my success. So I decided then and there I would go ahead and I would be the most aggressive billboard guy the world had ever seen, because you only live once. Whether I succeeded or failed, it was all going to be based on me and what I did. I didn't let even a single day delay. Immediately I got much more serious about all the other sign locations I had been looking at. I ramped up my intensity. I decided to work extra hours because I did not want to let myself down. I had already faced that little bit of disappointment early in my career, and I decided I was never going to let it happen again. I was going to be based on volume. I was going to be looking harder for billboard locations than ever before, and I was not ever going to look back and say, "Gosh, if only I had tried a little harder and put in a little more effort." Because I realized the only chance I had, the only chance of success would be for me in my actions. All of us have this opportunity.
All of us have the ability to choose two paths. One person once said the key in life is when successful people do what unsuccessful people don't. So what it means is you need to make a list of the perfect world of how you would get into the billboard business. What would you do? What would those locations look like? And then come up with action steps for each line item of how you're going to get from point A to point B, and then you need to dedicate yourself to following those action steps. You can't let yourself down. There's no worse feeling than years from now, when you look back and say, "Gosh if I had only-" fill in the blank. I didn't want that to ever occur. I didn't want to look back on my life and say, "Oh yeah, well you know when King screwed me out of that deal I just kind of lost hope," or, "You know, after King did that to me I just thought forget billboards, I give up." So really the meaning to it all is if you want to get what you want out of life, you have to go get it.
I know right now in America there's a lot of people who approach things differently. They look at themselves kind of as victims, and I'm just a cog in the wheel, and all that. I don't buy that stuff. I've seen too many people do amazing things starting from nothing. I used to have a sign painter named Herman. Herman had an amazing quality of life. Herman had a really nice two story house on a bunch of land. He had a Jaguar XKE. His wife had Jaguar XKE. His kids all had sports car, they had a pool, they had it all. Herman started with literally nothing. I knew his story because he painted signs for me and he built signs for me, and he had literally created this amazing quality of life from literally nothing. He dedicated himself to being a good business person, building a nice business. He wanted to have nice things. And he did that.
And over and over again I'm constantly reminded when I look around at people and their life stories, and what they have accomplished, that still in America today you can get anything done if you will really truly devote yourself to it. We see those stories in the media all the time, but they don't get any attention any more. They always want to talk about stories of people who get something for nothing, someone who would spend $1 on a lottery ticket and wins $50 million on a Power Ball. Problem is based on math the odds of that ever happening to you are just about zero. If that's your plan, that plan is not going to work. The only thing that works in America today, or really in America of the past, is for you to put out the effort, for you to harness all that energy and ambition and drive you have to get out there and meet that commitment you have to yourself.
So I urge everyone this very year, the year of 2021, you've got over half the year to go and many years beyond that. Make those lists of action steps. Make a commitment with yourself to meet those action steps. And don't let yourself down. Be a hard boss with yourself. Don't let yourself cop out and say, "Well, I didn't have time," or, "I was tired." That's not true and you know it's not true. We all have time to do things. We can all summon a little more energy. Look at how many hours of your day are not spent really doing productive things. If you look back on handbooks from the 1920s on how people spent their time, this is how it looked. They were at the job at the office 10 hours a day, Monday through Saturday. They had very, very little free time. Many of these people not only worked a job, but then they made their own food, handled their own farm. Sunday was mostly spent on church, and then again working on the farm. Today we're so spoiled, we have so much free time.
Think about a typical day in America. On a weekday, 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of recreation. That's just Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday is 8 hours of sleep and 16 hours of recreation. What if you harnessed that recreation time into something more productive? What if instead of devoting 8 hours to watching TV, watching a football game, playing golf, you instead devoted that to starting a business, perhaps starting a billboard business? Think what all you could achieve in just one year of redirecting your free time. It's absolutely amazing what could be done. Yet so many people think I put in the hours, I did my 8 hours of work today, so I don't need to do any more. That is not going to get you ahead. Instead, think of your 8 hours a day as one commitment you have, that's your day job, but then let's take the other 8 hours and make that into your other commitment to yourself as kind of your night job, your second job, your way to build an income stream that's safe and secure no matter what happens in that is unstable America.
Basically just make a commitment to yourself to really be accountable for your destiny and what happens to you. If you will just grab the world by the horns, there's amazing things that can be accomplished. The world is basically a giant buffet and you can take whatever you want, and you can get all the good stuff if you just put in the effort to do it. This is Frank Rolfe, the Billboard Mastery Podcast. Just want to send this message to everybody, thinking back recently on that guy King and how basically he forced me to become accountable, and I'm certainly glad he did. Hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.