I have mixed emotions on this perfect July evening as the sun goes down. Tomorrow marks the end of an era. The most recent 20% of my life, the chapter right after finishing college and right before taking a giant leap of faith, is writing its final words this week. It’s odd, but I don’t feel like I’m at the end of anything.

In case you haven’t heard yet, tomorrow is my last day of work at my job. I decided now was the time to close that door and open a new one where I utilize the f-you money I’ve built up over the past several years of living like a poor person, when I wasn’t. Of course, I didn’t say f-you to anybody, but what I did do is decide that I’m going to do this and that’s that. That’s the joy of living below your means. When you have options because you gave yourself them, then you, well, have options. July of 2013 was the time to execute one of those options, and that was to buy myself time and energy for doing what I’ve always dreamed of, going out and starting something on my own.

Six years ago, I graduated college with a B.S. in Business. I walked out of my last final and felt the same feeling I have right now, the feeling of accomplishment. I had, after all, gotten through 4.75 years of college and finally graduated. At 15-16 years old, I had it in my mind that I’d never graduate from college. I just wasn’t “book smart” and honestly, I just didn’t think I had it in me. Six years ago, I walked out of that last final and knew that I had done it. I graduated and it was final. Today, I know that I did it again. I learned an incredible amount about life, business, working with others, leadership, my values and myself. I know that I actually am a leader, which is something I didn’t know six years ago. Back then, it was a business school buzzword. Today, it’s something I learned that I have in me.

Today, I felt that from people. I felt the difference I made to them. When you make a difference on people, no matter what it is, you are a leader. Am I a great one? I wouldn’t go that far. Am I over confident in myself, no. I’m scared of failure and nervous about not being able to make it going forward. Do I believe I can positively impact people? That’s something I do feel confident in because of the last six years. I did it and it wasn’t easy. There were times where I failed at it. If there was only one thing I learned from all of it though, it’s this: If you want to make an impact, you HAVE to care about each and every person. And by care I don’t mean by just saying it every blue moon. I mean consistently being there for their best interest, not yours.

That’s really it. Six years of working at a full time job and what I pulled out of it is, care about people. That will be my plan going forward. I hope to get much better at it. I think it could lead me to finding some success. I hope you will all be with me on helping. I get the feeling that you will be. By the way, I’m sorry that I haven’t replied to every one of your emails yet. It’s a busy week and I’m doing my best to get through it all successfully. I’ll be in touch soon, I promise.

Tomorrow, I turn in my company phone, company credit card and company laptop. I’ll walk out of there feeling like that chapter of my life is unfinished. It will likely feel like one of the last 300+ Fridays that I’ve walked out of there on. But this time, it’s for good. Along with walking out the door, I’ll lose my paychecks. Those paychecks, with the final coming next week, enabled me to increase my net worth by $100,000 over the past six years. Gosh, it’s been a successful run. I never imagined that I’d do what I did there. I worked with CEOs of giant companies. I formed teams, created company-wide systems that revolutionized the way our company operated, I developed what may become lifelong relationships, I traveled to awesome places, I traveled like a corporate executive, flying first class once, eating at very high end places and have lead high level business meetings while wearing an expensive suit. I built up a good income from a small one in a short time period. I helped grow something small into something much larger. I feel accomplished to an extent that comforts me.

Ahead of me is uncertainty. It’s like the time when I graduated college six years ago, although now I have much more wisdom and many more resources. Back then, I sat home on a night similar to this, dreamed about starting a business, but considered doing it in a different way. I had a $20,000 limit on my credit card. I thought I might be able to make that jump and create something. Today, I have almost 5 years of living expenses in reserves. I also have values that stop me from ever considering borrowing money. Any venture I create will be done in cash and from the ground up.

I’m jumping in it this time knowing what leadership really is, knowing how to manage money, knowing what really matters in life and knowing that if I work hard enough at it, I will make it. I made it this far, didn’t I? It’s on to that next chapter now. I have one more day left. Tomorrow, after work, I’ll attend a party thrown in my honor. As I reflect on it all, what people have said and done today and during recent days, I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness for everyone who has helped me and has been supportive of me. That does include my boss, who took a chance on little ole me six years ago, my family and friends who supported me throughout all of it, my co-workers for allowing me to make a real difference to them and all of you who have been with me for the past year and a half and who will hopefully continue to be there. Thank you, everyone. It’s time to make the next 6 years a success and I can’t wait to share the experience with you!

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