Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Secret to Avoiding Failure...

broadstone balboa park
Leaving our new apartment building in San Diego
My first overnight motorcycle ride since ending our 2 1/2 year long Road Pickle motorcycle tour was a short two-nighter between San Diego to Phoenix and back. One of my clients, a gourmet beef jerky company known as Lawless Jerky, has its manufacturer facility in the Valley of the Sun, and its CEO was in town, visiting from New York.

And because I've been moonlighting the past several years as a beef jerky reviewer, I like meeting the players in the meat snacks industry.

The good news is that the weather in Phoenix is mild. It's sunny, but a comfy mid-70s to low-80s. This would be a solo trip for me, with Sash staying in San Diego.

By this time, however, I've become bored with the ride between San Diego and Phoenix. It's pretty much always Interstate 8. Yes, there are alternative routes in California, but not in Arizona. But even the alternative routes in California have become boring. I've ridden them all dozens and dozens of times over. I find myself falling into the attitude of just wanting to get there as fast as I can, and sacrificing any opportunity of new tales and chance meetings.

But I can honestly say, that I really have looked at Google Maps, and zoomed in to search for that lonely road that keeps getting ignored. But alas, there's no such road heading into the Grand Canyon State, at least none that I haven't ridden a few times already.

If anything, I did get a little bit of a fright when I discovered I was 60 minutes late to my meeting with Lawless Jerky. It seems this time of year, Arizona is one hour ahead of California. I panicked in my hotel room realizing my laptop's clock still showed Pacific Time. I texted my client, but was assured there wasn't a problem. I guess this sort of thing happens all the time when Californians visit Arizona.

"I think these are still smoking", Matt Tolnick, the CEO of Lawless Jerky pointed out to me, as he struggled to unlatch the massive, industrial sized smokers. The door cracked open a few inches, sending clouds of hickory smoke mixed with teriyaki marinade billowing out. My salivary glands stimulated into action. "Yeah, these still have a long ways to go", he said.

What amazed me is that I remember when Matt first started his business. He had just quit working as an attorney for a sports agency, determined to build a business from his jerky-making hobby. He was just like thousands of guys across the country trying to make a buck selling homemade jerky. Yet here he was, only three years later, standing inside his own USDA-inspected jerky factory. Trust me, after writing jerky reviews for 7 years now, I've seen a lot of entrepreneurs come and go.

The difference between success and failure, it seems, is simply avoiding failure.

"I think you have to fully invest yourself into what you're doing in order to succeed...", Matt explained over a capacola sandwich. "...so that you're in a sink or swim situation, so that you have no other option but to succeed."

matt tolnick lawless jerky
Matt Tolnick, CEO of Lawless Jerky, standing by a rack of marinated beef  ready to be smoked.
I nodded my head in approval.

It reminded me of a documentary called, "The Secret", which discusses the Law of Attraction. In short, it simply says that when you genuinely believe in something, you start to see those opportunities around you. Most of us instead hope and pray for a miracle, and rarely does that miracle come. Yet, if we tune our focus into believing success, we start seeing solutions. It then becomes a matter of just acting on them.

And I think Sash and I are starting to put ourselves in a similar boat as Matt. Having just signed a one-year lease on a fancy new apartment, we're determined to stay there for the full term, despite the challenge of finding new clients for our marketing business.

"We're going to make a lot of money in 2016", Sash keeps saying to me.

I know she's determined. It's time for me to put on my determination hat too.


  1. Some great advice that has applications outside of just business in this post. And I can sympathize about the lack of roads. Alaska has the same "issue". Only a handful of roads to anywhere else...

  2. I like these words from you "when you genuinely believe in something, you start to see those opportunities around you.". The other is your determination hat, it looks great. I should find me a determination hat too. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Through a motorcycle ride, you have an great experience about SUCCESS and FAILURE! I like it, like your way you take a trip by a motorcycle, search information by Google Maps... Sure as much many thoughts given about LIFE, you love ADVENTUROUS and live the best way you can. Thanks for your post!

  4. Thank you for your experience and advice. Love reading your blog.

  5. Just discovered this blog and really enjoy it. Hoping that your 2016 has been successful so far and looking forward to more posts in the near future.

  6. As an st 13 owner your story caught my eye, good read, just felt I should tell ya,
    Takes guts to throw stuff away, ride to Alaska, be self employed, share with the world.
    Thanks Dave a, Liberty lake wa.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)