When I turned 30 back in 2001, I had some kind of epiphany or early mid-life crisis and found myself desperately wanting to change careers. Actually, I didn’t really have a “career”, I was bartending at the Hard Rock Cafe in Denver, Colorado.

I had spent 12 years working in the restaurant industry, and while it was fun and put cash in my hand every night, it wasn’t enough. I felt as though there was something bigger and better that I needed to be doing.

I was not going to be the 40 year old waiter, you know the one that you see at Ruby Tuesday’s and thank God that it’s not you.

So, on my 30th birthday, I made a decision to become stock broker. Why? Because I had always envisioned myself in a suit and tie doing something important, I was good at sales, I knew that I could make a lot of money, it was prestigious (or so I thought), and it was a real career.

The Career Switch


So, I had made my decision. Now what? I had no contacts in the finance world and absolutely no experience in it either. That didn’t matter to me though.

Well, it just so happens that my girlfriend at the time (now wife), had a friend who worked at Chevy Chase Bank. The problem was that she worked in Maryland and I was living in Colorado.

We got in contact and after a few conversations, I decided to move to Maryland and make a run at it. Well, I got an interview, thought I did well, and promptly did not get hired.

Strike 1.

I was however, referred to the branch manager of Merrill Lynch in Washington DC. Back in 2002, Merrill was still a powerhouse (and still solvent), and I wanted in. Badly.

So I show up to my interview in my only suit, which was a hideous olive green double breasted one that was much too small. As I walked in, I came upon wall to wall windows, luxurious offices, and a big screen tv showing real time stock quotes. My heart started pounding and I felt like turning around and running.

Yea, you could say I was intimidated. I was way in over my head and I knew it. Didn’t matter. I had made my decision to work in finance.

The branch manager was a well dressed man in his forties who could not have looked any less interested to see me. When we got to his corner office overlooking downtown DC, he leans back, kicks his feet up on his mahogany desk, looks out the window and asks “why should I hire you”?

In my head, I’m thinking of all the things I want to say; I’ll work harder than anyone else, I’m a fast learner, I’ll do whatever it takes to succeed, and a million other things. So what did I say? “uhhh..well…uhhh”<insert buzzer sound>.

Strike 2

I’m Not Giving Up!

As it turns out, I got a call a few days later from the HR person at Chevy Chase telling me how sorry she was that they didn’t hire me but that her fiancee, who worked for First Union Securities, was looking for a junior broker.

Ding, ding, ding!

I’m fired up now! I call the broker, set up an interview and head back into the line of fire.

I show up to my interview wearing that same ugly suit, still with zero experience, and having been turned down for two jobs already.

Guess what? I told myself that I WAS gong to get this job, period. So I walked in to my interview, sold the shit out of myself, and walked out with a $50,000 a year job plus commission.

More importantly, I had a career and I had made it happen.

I worked with First Union/Wachovia Securities until 2004 when I was ironically offered a position with Merrill Lynch. I took it. Fate? I don’t think so….

Don’t Ever Quit On Your Dream


There were plenty of times that I could have given up and gone back to the restaurant biz, but I had committed myself to working in the financial services industry. Did it matter that I had no experience and was in over my head? Not at all.

It’s funny how things work out when you make that commitment.

The power behind making a decision and committing to it 100% is awesome. Many people are scared of failing or being disappointed, but we cannot allow that to stand in our way.

If you want something in your life, I mean really, truly want it, then make that decision to have it. There is nothing that can stop you if you commit to it with your heart and soul.

I share this story not to brag about my accomplishment, but rather to illustrate a point about the power of commitment. You see, anyone is capable of achieving what they want. It’s all about making that decision, committing to it, and believing you can do it!

I didn’t have any special talents nor was I exceptionally gifted with financial wisdom. I simply followed a process, which was basically as follows:

  • I made a definite decision to work as a stock broker
  • I committed myself to making it happen
  • I took action towards my goal
  • I honestly believed that I would become a stock broker
  • It then became a reality

It’s amazing what happens when we commit. Things just seem to fall into place and work out for us. Our minds are incredibly powerful things, so never underestimate what you can achieve!

Our minds are also the only things holding us back from achieving our goals, passions, and dreams.

As William Arthur Ward once said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; If you can dream it, you can become it”.

What are you committed to? What are your dreams?

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