From Doctor to Entrepreneur

What kind of person goes all the way through medical school, and NOT practice medicine? ( Another story in the book)

A person who realizes that they are not following their dreams. Ellie Drake promised her parents that if she made it to America from Iran she would become a doctor. Her parents knew that Doctors make a ‘lot of money’ seeing patients and dealing with insurance companies. Ellie felt that deep down, she was not going to be following her God given purpose.


A couple of years prior to graduation from medical school someone introduced her to the world of network marketing, direct sales, and financial freedom. She didn’t know what network marketing was, but she caught the vision of “financial freedom”. As a result, she graduated with $150,000 worth of student loans, went home, thanked her parents for bringing her to America, and handed them her diploma. When she said she didn’t want to practice, they were in shock. They thought she had lost her mind.

She became an entrepreneur in that network marketing business and became the number one earner, after a couple of years. When she was called to speak in front at the company convention as one of the leaders, “it clicked”, she remembered back to when she had to speak in middle and high school and even college. It felt natural to her, it was like she was destined to do that. She felt she was now following her passion; using the power of words, to inspire and help others. Now she just had to convince her parents that she done the right thing.

One time when she showed her parents her monthly check for $5,000 her parents complained. They said, “Ellie, we thought you were smart, you could be making more as a doctor”. A few months later she showed them her monthly check for $10,000. This time they said, “That’s what you SHOULD be making as a doctor”.

When she showed them another monthly check for $20,000 a few months later they changed their tune. They realized that as an entrepreneur, once you get started, the money gets crazy; it goes up and up. Dad said, “Ellie you are so smart”. Mom said to dad, “If she had followed your advice, she would be practicing medicine and making a lot less”.

David Wood one of the co-founders of the Empower Network was talking about his early exposure to network marketing and he was in a “huge audience” with one of the top producers for Amway. Bill Brit, The Diamond Distributor, asked all the doctors in the audience to stand up. About fifty stood up. He then asked how many would rather practice than do what he was doing, and they all sat down. Next, he asked all the lawyers to stand up. Again, about fifty stood up. He asked them the same question and they all sat down.

If doctors and lawyers, who make good money would rather get involved in something like network marketing and make the kind of money Bill Brit made, wouldn’t you be interested? Bill Brit was the leader of the largest organizations in Amway that did one billion dollars in business. And that was old school, face-to-face network marketing before the power of the internet. Would the possibility for making an additional $3,000 to $5,000 a month on a part time basics interest you? If so you need to get started looking now.

Don’t know where to start? Start with the basic core instructions, and give yourself time to learn the basics. then move to the Inner Circle to learn how to keep going, then pick up speed with the the other products in the product suite.. Tie it all together at the major events and you will be on your way. This has been straight talk, beast mode.

Internet comments

Shahidah Akbar
Great story Earl, so many times, we do what others want us to do, and not what we are called to do, and are passionate about. It takes courage and strength to follow your dreams to self- fulfillment, but the rewards are incredible.

Deirdre Powell
Great post Earl. Love the story of Ellie Drake. Live your purpose. Great message. Thanks for sharing.

Sue Price
I love the story Earl. It is amazing how people get stuck in their ideas of what people should do. I heard David tell that story many times and I love it every time. I am an accountant, and I used to work with a lot of dentist as clients. They used to tell me how much they hated what they did, as no one really wanted to see them. Sad really. Thanks for a great post.

Lynn Brown
It’s inspiring stories like you shared here Earl, that remind me, I made the right decision 2 years ago and am so glad to have left the stressed corporate robot job. I believe the more success we each have in this industry, we build a solid awareness about entrepreneurship and how the new rich aren’t just about the money, but to also have the freedom lifestyle. Thanks for sharing.

Sandy Zalecki
Funny how people don’t accept you even when you are making the money. I am glad she stuck to her guns and didn’t become a doctor.

Danny Yoon
Great post Earl for sharing your story of when someone went from going to school to become a doctor to an entrepreneur! Thanks!

Earl Hackett
Thanks for your comments. Ellie followed her heart, and ended up founding , a global, online network for women.


What happen to the little life lessons?


What happen to the little life lessons?
What happened to the life lessons we learned as children? Mike McGavick went one way, and his skateboard went through a neighbor’s basement window. As an eight-year-old he went home crying to mom expecting her to heal his wounds. What he got was a quick warning from mom to apologize for the window and a promise to fix it.

That skateboard incident was an early learning experience, Mike McGavick was explaining to Chris Widener in his Made for Success interview. He was also instructed to tell the neighbor that he would mow his lawn until the damage was paid for. The lesson on responsibility must have stuck, because he went on to become president and CEO of Safeco, and he brought the company back from the brink.

I remember when I was young and a neighbor saw me do something wrong. When I got home, I paid the price, twice. A call for the teacher meant, I got it again. I might be dating myself, but is there someone else who had the same experience? Now days, when the some of the parents get the call from the teacher, “the parents complain about the teacher”. Maybe these parents missed those little life lesson. I know several people including my daughter who teaches, and you would not believe some of the stories she tells me about some of the parents.

Another lesson Mike learned came from his grandfather. He was rough and tough and didn’t take time to talk to kids, even his own grand kids, but Mike would follow him around any way, and watch him work around the farm as a carpenter. Many years later after Mike received his journeyman’s permit, his grandfather showed up at the house and asked if he really knew how to drive nails.

“Follow me and show me what you got”, is what he said. He took Mike outside to a pile of wood and gave him a bucket of nails. Mike drove nails into an old board, long enough until his grandfather was finally satisfied. As his grandfather walked away he turned around, took off his tool belt and handed it to his grandson and said, “I hope you never have to use it”. It was his way of saying, get an education so you don’t have to work as hard as I did. Mike was learning another little life lessons, to pass down to his children

We live in a different time. Stress is all around us. I could talk about marketing techniques and how to do this or that. The Empower Network has educational products galore that will show you how to go from A to Z. I focused on mind-set because that is where everything begins. If you don’t have the right mind-set, you won’t focus on the right technique.

If you want to start an on-line business there are certain things you need to learn. The basic blogging program gets you started. I knew that I wanted to have enjoyable content, so I focused on what I learned from the master motivators; classic principles never get old, especially from people like Napoleon Hill, Les Brown and Jim Rohn. Chris Widener and his “Made for Success series” introduced me to some other leaders and speakers. And most of my source material comes from the Success Store. Recommend you give them a visit. Just the name sounds like a good place to shop.

There was a daily mastermind call that is covered Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. You can listen Monday through Friday mornings at 9:00 am EST (712) 432-0990 access code 565762#. Paul Hutchins is the founder and host. This has been straight talk, beast mode. If you like what you read, pass it on.

Internet Comments
Herschel E. Chalk
I’m not as old, but I too have memories of being a child and the life lessons that were learned. I believe in the past, where it takes a whole community to raise a child as their own, thus comes the saying that, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Rory Singh
Parents nowadays are letting their kids get away with murder. I am 44 and have issues with my kids (teens) but my wife seems to let much slide. She thinks she’s protecting them, but she was brought up in a very strict home. It seems like some kind of paradox… kids who were brought up strict become lenient. Thanks Earl!

Michelle Leith
It is amazing and sad the difference between generations. I was born in the wrong era lol…but good for me, my husband too. We are very old school with manners and etc. It breaks my heart to watch kids with broken homes go out of control, and some of the things that come out of their mouths, I would not have any teeth…I love the call with Paul Hutchins too 🙂

Helen Lingard
Ouch…gosh! I’m glad I was never like that when my kids were young…I do remember, however my son coming home with a bad report… fortunately, I knew better. The teacher got it all wrong – not my son. Glad I had great kids, both grown now. I have always been a firm but fair parent. Great blog Earl Thank you.

Earl Hackett
Thank you for your comments. Each generation has a different story to tell. How we are raised, determines how we parent; we follow suit or go in a totally different direction.

Do you have the discipline?


It all starts in the mind! DISCIPLINE according to the dictionary is the training of the mental, moral, and physical powers by instruction, control and exercise. It’s the state of mind that leads to a conditioned orderly life.


This is my dad who fought in WWII.

One of the eight core values of the Empower Network for success requires daily blogging. I started “this blog” with pen on paper today because my computer was in the shop. Must have something to do with that military mind-set.

Good habits are those small things you do every day, to move toward the direction you want to go. Guess what? I just had a flash back; I still remember reading “Fun with Dick and Jane,” That was a flash all the way back. Sometimes I think of myself as a dinosaur because of all the new tech stuff, but I have the heart of a dragon. The right words, still have the power to move people.


Me in Air Force blue.

Now we wake up, and check our email. We use, to wake up and read the newspaper, now its email. Young kids look at and operate little tablets, before they even start preschool. When I was in college, for our computer class, we used punch cards for the main frame. Now the students have computers for each desk. Because my lap top was still in the shop, I had to go to a friend’s house to use their computer.

Jim Rohn wrote a book titled Leading an Inspired Life and he said “Discipline is the bridge between though and accomplishment, between inspiration and achievement, between necessity and productivity”. To me discipline is that thing you do to get the job done without anyone watching over you. It’s being responsible for your own personal behavior.


Me again but in Army Green.

You never know who, or how ‘life change’ will come. My mentor Jim Rohn met his mentor, Earl Shoaff (a wealthy business man), when Jim was only 25 years old. At this time Jim had been working for six years, was married with children, and he was broke.

Earl Shoaff asked Jim several questions, that made him think a little different, and it changed his whole life. ” So, you been working six years, how is that working out for you?” Jim said, “Not too well. Things cost too much, and how can you take care of your family when the company only pays you so much”. Earl told him, it’s not that things cost too much, you just can’t afford them. The company pays more, but you must change to get the higher pay. You must make the internal changes, to get to where you want to go.

If you ever listen to Jim he always said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on a job, you can make a living. If you work on yourself, you can make a fortune.” Within a six-year period Jim Rohn made his first million dollars. In all his lectures, he always gave tribute to Earl, and this Earl gives tribute to Jim.

It was after Jim Rohn had moved to Beverly Hills and a friend of his asked him to speak at a Rotary Club event that he started his next adventure – lecturing and personal development. He titled that first lecture “Idaho farm boy makes it to Beverly Hills”.


On campus in front of military display with flags of all those students who have served.

As a results of Jim Rohn working on his self, and telling others, he traveled and lectured all over the world, and spoke to more than 6,000 audiences. His teaching and philosophy influenced a generation of personal development leaders. Google search Jim Rohn to see, or hear what others had to say about him.

He said we must bring something of value to the market place. What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Is it the spring, summer, fall, or winter of your life? Whatever period it is, you can change it. The opportunity is real the time is now.

Internet comments

Jimmylee Velez
GREAT STUFF!! Yes, I agree, and people are so scared of the word discipline, yet it yields MOST of our desires if applied. Amazing information here Earl! Thanks for sharing!

p.s. I love the part about writing this blog because your computer was in the shop! Fantastic!

Juanita Simpson
I love the story and how you didn’t stop blogging because your computer was unavailable, such discipline.

Anna Dabrowska
Personal development is what changed our life. Great post!

Having self-discipline is necessary.

Donna Gohn
Great post Earl, you’re right, discipline moves you in the direction you want to go.

Daphne Dobson
Great post Earl! I love Jim Rohn. He is one of my favorite mentors. Love what he said here; “Work harder on yourself, then you do on your job.” Discipline is so … key to everyone’s success. Thanks for sharing!

Nestor Nidome
I use to have such a hard time with discipline! Thanks for the tips

Earl Hackett
I guess discipline came a little easier, because of my military background.

Look beyond the present and see the potential

Robert Helms wanted to be a rocker, but ended up rocking


 the radio and talking about real estate on “The Real Estate Show”, which is one of the most downloaded shows on iTunes.

Funny how life’s little twist and turns, may take you in one direction, then another and before you know it, you just wind up going around the block. As one of the “top one percent of real estate agents” in the country in one of the largest real estate companies in the country, Robert ended up owning “the entire city block”.

In the Made for Success series hosted by Chris Widener, Robert said that when he was young, the last thing he wanted to do was to get into the real estate business. His father got the knack for real estate while he working, in another sales career. You can find your passion later in life, if you look, because it’s never too late. When he got into it, he bought and held on to his property so long, that he earned the title as the “God Father of Real Estate”.

Robert talked about the time his father bought his first piece of property. When Robert looked at it the first time, he was not impressed at what he saw. He was thinking that his dad had turned into just another slum lord. What he didn’t know, was his dad was a “man of vision”.

Over the summer they put in the work and restored the property to its former glory. His dad’s goal was to buy property, add value to it, and hold on for the long haul. The lesson learned: Don’t rush to judgment to soon. When you first look at something, sometimes you need to see pass the present and look to the future potential.

In the real estate business, you need to look at the bigger picture, beyond the actual physical property and look at the neighborhood, who should be living in the property in the future. When his father ventured into buying and selling he would look at who should be buying the house. Who would be the idea buyer, and how do you go out and find them? As a result, they became very good at selling whatever they listed. They used a very targeted approach and focused on the buyers.

Robert had an opportunity to work overnight at a radio station while he was in college. It kept him near the music that he loved, and it paid five dollars an hour, which back then, was not bad. But his dad made him a better offer, because he needed someone to help him list homes, so he offered him “ten dollars an hour” if he would go get his real estate license; so, he did! He liked showing houses so much, that he got the bug also. In one summer, he went from not knowing anything into knowing a whole lot. You will be surprised how well you adopt to new things when you are open minded.

Robert even went to a high school that had a little 10-watt radio station. It was so small that they would say, it’s time to rock the block; the city block. It seemed like the perfect fit for the shy little boy. When he got a chance to get on the radio it was only him and the mike in a little room. As a result, he relaxed and his personality bloomed in that little room. If you blog enough you just might blog your way into a book.

While he was in college working at the radio station he started helping his dad with the real estate business. You might say he got into his zone: Rocking on the radio and selling real estate. He would walk to school and manage all the buildings his father owned. Along the way he learned another valuable lesson; you can make a living selling real estate but you “make a fortune owning real estate”.

He looked beyond the present, and saw the potential. Someone may look beyond this blog and see the potential to start their own blog. If you think that the “free” Word Press Blog platform is enough, take the time and look farther. Invest in the “Premium Plan” if you can’t afford the “Business Plan”. Never start at the bottom. Start near the top. This has been straight talk beast mode.

Internet comments

Sherry Starnes
Awesome post Earl. The point you made about looking at the bigger picture is key! As a Realtor (not an investor) many of my clients can look and see the bigger picture… like what they can do with the house they are looking at. That’s what we need to do in our business. Thanks for sharing this Earl.


Sheena Yap Chan
Most people believe what they see, which means they never stretch their own visions and dreams. It’s up to us, to show them the way. Great job Earl.
Dragos Cibanu
What a powerful story Earl. So many lessons here to learn…patience, seeing the bigger picture, potential, reasons for anything life will bring in front of you. Thanks a lot for sharing this thoughtful article. Have a blessed day!

Earl Hackett
Thanks for your comments. I’m not sure how far I looked into my future, but I knew I had to get away from the plant. I looked at the older guys and didn’t want to be like them. Working all the time and living for the week-end was not the way I wanted to live my life. Blogging just brought back all the memories.

Blogging is a written record, that I was here. It’s more than a journal because the content lives in the cloud. Viola Davis, an Oscar,Tony and Emmy Award winner said in one of her acceptance speeches the following: “The greatest stories will never be told. They are buried in the graveyards along with all the people who never told their story.” This is my story, my book and my legacy. What will be yours?

It’s not where you come from, but …


It’s not when you begin, but where you end.
It’s not where you came from, but where you end up that matters the most. Denis Waitley the well-respected author and speaker was talking about his childhood with Chris Widener, in the “Made For Success” series.

Denis said he grew up poor, but he never went to bed hungry. He said that when his mom made his lunch sandwiches for school, he had two slices of bread, mayo, lettuce with a little salt and pepper. When he asked what kind of sandwich he had, she told him it was a chicken sandwich without the chicken. My mom just called it like it was; a “mayo sandwich”.

When he asked, how do you get the chicken? She said, he would have to go mow some lawns, and make some money, then go to the store and bring the chicken home, so she would be able to put some in his sandwich.

Took me back to the time when I would have fried bologna sandwiches on white bread with mayo. And when it was lunch time and I finally got a chance to eat I would pull my little sandwiches out of a greasy brown paper bag because back in those days, plastic zip lock bags were not available and I didn’t have a lunch box.

Sometimes the early childhood struggles develop a certain mind set and work attitude. If you don’t have much to start off with, you try harder and work harder to make up the difference. You may be trying to prove something to yourself or to get the approval of your parents. When you see your parents struggle financially, you can take the approach that you will do whatever it takes, to overcome.

When you do achieve success, and overcome your circumstances you appreciate it even more than a person who may have had it easier. You remember where you came from, and the road you traveled. I think people who struggled and overcame, remember where they came from and are more willing to gave back to society.

When Denis was nine and it was bedtime, his dad came to his room and leaned up against the light switch and blew towards the ceiling, and the lights went out. How did you do that, asked Denis? His dad said it was because he had been drinking and he had bad breath. But when the lights out for you my son, the lights out all over the world. Don’t grow up like me. You don’t have to be like me. When you sleep, the world is sleeping in your dreams. When you wake up, the world stretches and wakes up with you.

When you are not feeling good, and the world is not a good place, the only world you will know, will be the world you see through your eyes. Those words stayed with Denis because later that year, his dad left for good.

The dream became reality, because Denis became the male of the house. He had to set the tone, assume responsibility at a young-age for his younger brother and sister. I was nine, when I was forced to go stay with my dad. Mom was sick and she had to go to the hospital so I was sent to live with my dad while my younger brother and sister were sent to live with their father. Mom said something that stuck with me. She said son, don’t make a lot of babies, do something with your life.

When she got out of the hospital, she let me continue to stay with my dad. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but, it was the best thing for me. Suddenly, I felt like an only child, but I was given discipline and structure which I really needed. I became responsible for me with some firm guidance from my dad. She moved a lot over the years but I would always find her. Riding my bike, is how I always stayed in touch. I could always get a warm hug and a hot meal, and when I left she always told me to be safe and stay out of trouble.

Mom did the best she could with what she had, and I must have been a hand full. I take my hat off to all the single parents that do the best that they can. I was blessed to be influenced by both. I spend the next nine years with dad. When I graduated from high school I left to join the military. Then Uncle Sam, guided my steps.

Training, became a turning point in my life. I got love and support from mom, structure and discipline from dad and more structure and discipline while in the military. Did you know that Denis Waitley was a US Naval Academy graduate and a former Navy pilot?

The Empower Network provides structure and training through their training modules. You don’t have to do push-ups and sit ups but you got to “blog daily”. The Viral Blogging program shows you how to effectively blog. The Inner Circle gives instructions and encouragement like a mom. All the other programs give more structure and discipline like the military.

The live events are like a family reunions, where we come together and learn how to help each other, even more. If you do the work you get the results. Remember everyone has a different learning curve. If you don’t stay, you miss your curve. If you want to win this game of success you got to stay in the game. This has been straight talk, no chaser.

Internet comments
Liz English
Thank you for sharing Earl. I remember fried bologna sandwiches. My mom would make them for us for dinner when my dad worked the night shift. I also used a paper bag when plastic bags weren’t yet created yet. Everything does begin, when you begin. But as you have said the whole point is where you want to end up, and what you did with your life along the way.

Daphne Dobson
Great post Earl! I love the “mayo sandwich” story and your story. I can certainly relate to both. I love that you say here, “It’s not where you come from but where you end up that matters”. If the dream is big enough, the facts doesn’t count. Thanks for sharing!

Earl Hackett
Thanks for your comments. I still wonder why, some who had so much, end up losing it all, later in life. While others who have nothing, end up well off. And then there are some, who never escape their former situation.

Born into Abundance


I was born poor in a land of abundance. Others come from distance lands and only see opportunity.

I didn’t realize I was poor until I went to school and saw my classmates. I never missed a meal, and I always had a roof over my head. Mom did the best she could with what she had. She did something right, by instilling in me the desire to do more, and to be more.

That was a long time ago and now because of the economy there are still kids growing up poor, but some don’t have a stable family to guide them through life, or a roof over their head, for the security of a stable home environment. How will they get their inspiration?

I listened to the story of Albert Mensah and the struggle he went through, just to get to America. Now his kids are born as citizens of the United States and they have shoes, where he had none. They don’t just have shoes, they want the latest celebrity sport shoes. They have their own rooms, where he had to share space on the floor of a hut in a village in Ghana West Africa. His kids have their own computers, where he barely had books at school. Now kids walk around with computers in their back pockets in the form of smart phones.

Mensah would take his kids back home to Ghana to remind them of their roots. He would tell them his stories of growing up poor, to inspire them to do the best they could, with the opportunity they were given. As parents, we try to pass on the stories of our struggles so our kids will do better than us. They say, “That was back then, this is now.”

Sometimes kids don’t understand until later in life, what we were trying to tell them. It is a privilege to have a lot of the things we have, not a right. In America, we have the freedom to be whatever we want. As parents, we should inspire our kids to do more than us.

As parents, if we are persistent and focused and live with purpose, our kids will pick up on that. They look at what we do, sometimes more than what we say. If we go to work every day and complain about our job, they pick up on that to. So, how do we instill in them, to become prepared for the future during uncertain times? The world has changed and there is no job security. We must lead by example.

If we start a part time business and stick with it long enough to have success, the kids will see that. They will learn the value of persistence and determination. Tracy Walker was telling her story of moving towards joining the millionaires club with the Empower Network on the Monday Night call. Tracy bought into the concept that if we go to school, get a degree, and get a job we are on our way to the American dream.

She found herself in debt, and jobs what didn’t pay enough. And when she found a decent job, it fell apart because of the economy. She found herself building a business on line, to start over. The industrial age required many people to fill new jobs. Getting a degree meant starting a little farther up the ladder, as part of the industrial complex.

What are you going to do? If you start a part time business on line realize that it will take time to get to where you want to go. Is an additional $3,000 to $5,000 per month a good starting point? To most people it would bring a change in lifestyle. Are you working on your personal development? Your job only requires you to show up to do your assigned task.

If you venture into the entrepreneurial world you become the boss of you. Back in the day, when I went to business school, there were no entrepreneurial classes.We were being groomed for corporate America. I learned what I know, by listening to some of the best motivational speakers and thinkers of today and yesterday, and by having an open mind, which meant I soaked it up.

Life is strange, and we never really know what is going to happen. I’ve learned to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. It served me well in the military. In fact, in the military, we are taught to think of the worst case scenarios, because in the heat of battle quick action is critical.
Internet comments
Pablos Carognas
This is a beautiful story Earl. We grew up with very little and my mother was the inspiration that drove us to do more………
PS you look a little like Forrest Whitaker 😉


Sherry Starnes
Great post Earl! I was raised to believe there was only one way and that was hard work, live day-today and everything would be alright. Don’t get me wrong … I was raised in a Christian family… lots of love… not a lot of money. One of the things missing in my childhood was a positive attitude. Lots of negativity, and I didn’t even realize it was happening or that it took place until my adult years. I look at things differently now, and that’s due to my positive mindset. Thanks for sharing your insights with this awesome post.

Lynn Brown
Awesome post and message Earl. It goes to show most of us have been raised to believe there is only one way to live our lives and because there are so many different kinds of family situations it makes it tough for some kids to grow up with a positive mindset. Thanks for sharing your insight. Always enjoy your writing!

Laura Parrish

Great post Earl. On the flip side, of the mindset on this, I choose to remember that abundance and wealth are a mindset …” poor” doesn’t always have to do ANYTHING to do with money. You may not have had a lot of the materialistic things that other kids had, but you had a roof, cloths and a family that LOVED you. That’s more than a lot of kids have today. They might have all the “goodies”, but they have parents who have “checked out” or “tuned out” of their lives. Giving your kids every materialist thing in the world isn’t truly what they want or need…all they really want is love, support, and approval of their parents! This business can GIVE THEM all that because time freedom is the TRUE gift! Thanks for the awesome post! 

Earl Hackett

Thank you for your comments. Where we begin, does not have to be our end. We all come from different social-economic backgrounds. I didn’t have the material things, but I was nurtured and loved and inspired to do more. I could have gone left, but I went right. And Uncle Sam kept me straight. The next post talks about determination and continues the story. Now we have a generation that has some of the material things, but they are missing the most important things they need, which is love and guidance. Thanks for the engagement.

What will be your defining moment?


Once you learn how to scrap, you know how to bounce back from adversity.
Dr. Tony Alessandra, started his story off with “fighting his way out of New York City”. Tony went all the way back, to his childhood as he talked to Chris Widener, in the Made for Success interview, to when he was a kid living in the projects, and he got into his first fight, when he was about seven or eight years old. He came home crying and it just so happen, that his cab driving father was home. His dad asked what happened and Tony told him.
Dad told him to go back down and fight and that he couldn’t live in the projects of New York, and not know how to protect himself. Tony tried to protest, but when dad pulled off his belt, Tony made a quick decision, and went down to win the fight. Sometimes, you just need the right incentives, to win in life.
I remember when I was about Tony’s age before my mom had to go to the hospital. She always told me to do something with my life. Her mother, my grandmother died when she was only eight years old and she was forced to live with her Aunt and Uncle. She knew about her father, but never really saw him.
To get away from the rough farm life in Mississippi she dropped out of school in the fifth grade, got married and started having babies. Her defining moment came when she was forced to leave her five kids and flee in the middle of the night with her one suitcase and travel north. To her it was a point of basic survival.
Many years later when she was starting over as a single mother on welfare in Detroit with four more kids and she had to go to the hospital, I was forced to go live with my father on the other side of town. She did the best she could, with what she had. I wasn’t a juvenile delinquent but I was a hand full. I was introduced to his belt and I buckled down and ‘got right, real fast’.

There is a fine line between discipline and abuse and he never crossed it. He was in the Army during World War II and knew about proper discipline. Too many young men, are missing that firm hand, and too many young parents, cross the line. I was forced to study, do homework, read and get good grades. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was a defining moment for me.
Tony had to fight physically for his survival and became a pretty good street fighter. In fact, he fought all the way until college. I was forced to read and study and stay out of trouble and graduated from high school and went into the Air Force while my class mates were being drafted and sent off to fight in the Vietnam War.
Tony’s fighting went on so long, because his cousin Joey would brag on him and bring kids over for Tony to defend his reputation as a street fighter. I stayed out of trouble in fear/respect of my dad. That was my incentive!
When you learn how to scrap at a young age, whether physically or mentally, some of the habits carry over. The never quit, never give in attitude can be channeled into success. Tony’s mom also drove him to always do better. Tony told a story in which he got the highest grade on a test and he had only missed one question. Instead of saying good job. His mom focused on the one, he missed. My mom talked about me doing better, but the point was driven home by my father who instilled the work habits, that influenced my life later.
Mom would buy me stuff to shut me up. Dad wouldn’t, to toughen me up. As a result, I got a job as soon as I could, so I would have my own money. I became independent at an early age but I was realistic and knew I was not ready to step out there, by myself before time.
Mom maintained her independence and started working at the time most people retire. She said that after watching kids and grand kids for so long, it was a pleasure to get up and get out. In fact, she worked until she was in her mid-eighties.

Maybe in the back of my mind, I was also thinking about what my mom had gone through, during her early years, when I got a full-time job, second shift on the auto assembly line at Chrysler, during my last year of high school. My grades went down a little, but I still graduated. I doubled up for six months before I went off into the military. Another defining moment. This has been straight talk, no chaser. What will be your moment?

Internet comments
Sue Price
I loved learning more about you and your family, Earl. Wow your mom did have a tough life. But good for her, working into her eighties. I guess starting late and doing something for herself was a good time for her. I can’t think of one defining moment in my life. There are several, and when I read your story, I had a pretty-easy time growing up. You have me thinking though 🙂 Thanks for sharing this, and I love the way you write Earl.

Rory Singh
My defining moment was having a head injury, that prevented me from getting back behind the wheel of my 18-wheeler rig. I got in this industry back in 2005 and had my share of victories and failures. My problem was going back and forth between this industry and my job when the going got tough here. I had to stay focused on my online business. Isn’t it funny how things work out sometimes? Thanks for the post Earl.

Earl Hackett
Thanks for your comments. Life is strange. Sometimes, something can happen in a second, to change the direction of your life, and other times it’s a series of decisions you make. Tony Alessandra developed that scrappy attitude at an early age and carried it into adult life. I could have gone left but I went right. I never planned to do two branches of the military, but I did, and I’m still here to tell my story. I believe mom found some peace, through her purpose, later in life.