“What’s the best advice you ever got?” At the end of a recent podcast interview, the host asked me, “What’s the best advice you ever got?” Before I tell you what I said allow me to rewind to 2007 when I had another career decision to make: hold on to a large, steady paycheck as the vice president of a global PR firm or commit full-time to my growing writing and public speaking business. At the time I was doing some freelance writing and I interviewed the real-life Chris Gardner, the man who actor Will Smith portrayed in the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness (‘happyness’ is purposely misspelled in the title. You’ll have to read the book or watch the movie to find out why). Gardner told me the true story of how he spent nights in the bathroom of a subway station along with his 2-year-old son. In the daytime Gardner would put on his one suit, drop off his kid at daycare and take unpaid classes to become a stockbroker. You can guess how the story ends. Gardner rose to the top of his firm and became a multi-millionaire.
The secret to happiness, in life and in business. I knew the Oakland, California subway station Gardner had slept in because I passed it each day on my train trip into San Francisco. I had plenty of time to contemplate the advice he gave, words that changed the course of my career. “How did you find the strength, the spirit, to keep going?” I asked Gardner. “Carmine, here’s the secret to success: find something you love to do so much, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.”