If You Can Take it, You Will Make It
If you can take it, you will make it.
For the second time in my life, I found myself entrenched in Unbroken - The story of Louis Zamperini. The trials and tribulations, being stranded at sea for nearly 50 days; the perseverance, enduring the prisoner of war; the loyalty, refusing to turn his back on his beloved nation and brothers; the triumph, outlasting the POW camp and outlasting his competitors on the track. Everything about the movie inspires me.
While nothing will compare to the hardships Louis had to endure, I believe the lasting message encapsulates entrepreneurship: if you can take it, you will make it.
I once had a high school baseball coach tell me, " Whether it's the classroom, weight room, baseball field, a true work ethic doesn't discriminate." The message has stuck with me.
As I reflect, I see the parallel between both messages, Louis' and my coaches. The glue that connects the two is sacrifice. A true work ethic will, at some point, require sacrifice if an individual plans on achieving his or her goals - or simply, if an individual plans on making it.
When I started Z Beans, I never thought I'd find someone willing to sacrifice as much as I do. Would anyone else be willing to forego a higher paying job? Would anyone else be willing to get 5 hours of sleep a night? Would anyone else be willing to take a 15 hour bus ride? Would anyone else be willing to live in the office? Would anyone be willing to take it, so Z Beans can make it?
Luckily, for Z Beans, we found that individual, Carter Varga.
From the moment Carter started his 'internship' with Z Beans, we both knew he was never an intern. He spoke as highly about the project as I did; he believed in Z Beans; but, most importantly, he believed in me. He knew that I'd never ask him to do something I wouldn't do. He knew that I'd always have his back.
The end of Carter's 'internship' was just the beginning. We formed a partnership, agreeing that he'd focus on our coffee shop expansionary endeavors while I maintained my original vocation - to import and sell as much Ecuadorian coffee as possible.
Now, the partnership is as strong as it has ever been. While we both know there will be good times and bad times, we can never question each others' work ethic, intelligence, and most importantly, sacrifice.
The part of Unbroken that inspired me the most was when Louis was with the officers, and they offered him a deal to speak on the radio about all the benefits of living in Japan. Had Louis accepted the offer, he would have never had to return to the POW camp. But, instead, Louis declined the offer, refusing to turn his back on his nation, his brothers.
Carter turned down multiple job offers to sacrifice with me - to live minimally - to forego comfort in order to achieve something greater.
Next week, you will have the opportunity to read Carter's story. One of failure yet accomplishment, one of sadness yet happiness, and one of taking it and making it.