My Early Years as a Thief. Confessions of A Complete and Total Thief!

Morning Folks!!

Not always easy to admit things in life. But I stole things for a living early on and to be 100% honest, I still do! I started with an empty basket and a good heart and a strong desire not to dig ditches in 100 degree heat. So I needed an easier path.

I was listening to Ken Langone, who is one of the co-founders of Home Depot, the other day. He said something interesting and I can apply it. "There are a lot of self made people out there. I am not one of them.".

It made me think. Personally, I am a collection of the great people I met along the way. Starts with mother, father, brothers, grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins. I stole their unwavering character and honesty no matter the situation. Just do the right thing and do it all the time.

In business it started with my jobs and people I met along the way.

They didn't know it at the time, but I went out of my way to steal the best of whatever it was they had going for them.

I learned their strengths and stole them. I learned their weaknesses and avoided them.

I am simply a collection of all those people along the way.

That includes Stella and Emma. They were waitresses at a place in Miami called the "Rascal House."

I learned things from people like Deacon who pumped gas for a living but may have been the happiest person I ever met.

But the biggest boost in life came during 9 month period when I was 19 in which I sold retail bedroom furniture for  a southern California Mattress store.

Dave Thomas, Al Heller, Frank Critelli, Bob Hayden. Those 4 men changed my destiny. What they taught me in life was priceless. Each one a different contribution with a common thread, paid dividends for a lifetime.

I parlayed that and learned from Andy and George in the early 1970's. They taught me good and bad. I saw the good and lived thru the bad. I stole the good and discarded, avoided and was wise to the bad. Then Sam and Carlos who were their mortal enemies in business. When I jumped ship it was game on!

My Pal Richard O from Finger Furniture in Houston. Damn is he smooth! He turned me from a salesman to a "Presenter" and Polished me up. We were known as the "Odd Couple" in the Furniture Industry. He was polished and cool and good! I was the opposite. I would always ask him, "Why the hell are you hanging out with me? It's not good for your career". But together we forged a great business partnership as he became my best customer and I became his best source. I stole more from Richard than perhaps anyone. I stopped selling, starting making presentations and closed everyone from then on with ease.

I called on furniture stores from coast to coast and boarder to boarder. Many owners were immigrants that came with nothing and were living the American Dream. They shared their stories and wisdom and I stole their wisdom and learned from their stories. They lived the peril and were challenged more than words could tell. Whenever I would be depressed or feel sorry for myself, I would simply think of one of their stories and within seconds I would be fixed.

One story I remember is a father and his 2 sons that got on a raft to escape from Cuba back in the 1960's. They were headed for Miami but they washed up in Central America. They literally walked and hitch hiked to Miami with nothing but their ripped shirts on their back. They want on to open a furniture store and today their showrooms are the largest in all of Florida. Their warehouses are measured in acres not square feet.

I learned a lot from wives and girlfriends along the way. Never a regret. Always a dividend. Even if some were a bit costly.

So I am a collection of people. A collage of their best and strongest traits that I simply stole. Saw their weak points too. Knew what to avoid. Glued it all together and voila. Here I am. Anything but self made. But what I did was work hard, work smart and achieved. That my friends was what prepared me to recognize domains so early on and act on it. (Thanks Tony Robbins) . I thank them all and in life I was actually able to go back and thank most of them personally. They were the ones that inspired me and I owe them all for my success in life and in domaining. Thank you one and all! Thank you to all the folks I did not mention. There are dozens more and you are ALL part of me since I stole part of you!

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz