What’s up CorrNation! I’m your host, Nicky Correa, CEO of CorrWealth Management and you’re listening to another episode of Coin for Thought.
I’m going to be really crude and say a lot of things in this episode that my mother would not approve of. She gets first dibs on hearing my podcasts before they come out but has zero authority on making edits. I guess I just really want to share what I was really thinking and feeling, unfiltered.
You know before I started my own firm, I used to work for another firm, and I wanted to share a story with you about my first day as an entrepreneur. But before I tell you about it, I need to rewind a bit, so you have some context. I need you to know where my head was at and exactly how I was feeling.
I had quit a really successful job as a Senior Business Analyst for a large corporation. I was responsible for triaging losses for this department that was bleeding money. I participated in working capital and had to work with all these departments to ensure that this part of the business thrived. And right when everything I was doing started to work, I quit. There’s no way to eloquently describe it but things started to clusterfuck all at once.
This department was a mess and my senior leadership team pushed me HARD. I was up for the challenge of making work my life, turning my husband into a single dad, barely ever sleeping, and seeing my kids on weekends with one eye open, exhausted from being ON 24/7. My husband used to take the kids out and I would see these beautiful, fun, happy photos pop up in our shared drive and I would make these jokes about my twins not having a mother. You know the kind of jokes that you laugh at but that aren’t so ha ha funny because they’re coming from a place of gut-wrenching pain? Yep, I made a lot of those kinds of jokes. Those photos made me so happy and so sad all at the same time.
Then I got this email on a Thursday night when the lights were off and my husband was sleeping soundly beside me. It was around midnight and for some reason, I decided to refresh my email before I finally hit the pillow. My boss had sent me a note, giving me a high five for the work I had done, all while telling me that I was not going to be receiving my bonus, despite the millions I had saved. I cracked. I cracked like Regina George, headed down to the basement, and let out a 4 hour long ugly Kim Kardashian cry rip.
A couple of weeks before this all happened, my mum left my dad and moved in with me, my husband, my twin boys, and my dogs. The kids moved into my office/closet, she moved into the kids’ room that they shared because it was bigger, and we did our best to all adjust to this new kind of normal. It was unexpected but we were just that family that rolled with the punches. And I was just one of those annoying people that tried to spin every negative into a positive while internally feeling crushed and overloaded. When people ask me whether this arrangement was okay for us all, I was just really happy to have my mum back. We all got along so well and her and my husband had a great relationship.
From being allowed to visit us every other Saturday, she was now… here with me, with us. Her time with us every other Saturday was her approved time for visitation by my father, with exclusions of course. She was to only leave after breakfast with him and she had to return before dinner. It made me feel like something dirty, only I was her kid.
I had given up this toxic relationship with my father a long time ago. It was over and I found the closure I so desperately needed to move on. We were not on speaking terms because we had tried the whole distance thing and it was still toxic and did not work. What made me say goodbye was my kids. I was raising boys and it was so important for me to surround them by strong men who did not treat women they claimed to love like garbage. I have not been a parent for very long but in my 4 years of experience raising twins, the one thing I realized is that kids really care more about what you do than what you say. There is a real possibility of confusing attachment with love. My mother found herself in that confusing conundrum and my greatest wish for her is for her to find that one beautiful love because I think that for all those years she was with my father, she wasn’t with him because she loved him. She was with him because she felt like she had no other choice and didn’t believe that she could make it on her own. I stopped loving my father before I even became a teenager. I was really young, and I knew I didn’t love him. But there was still a part of me that was willing to love him again if he changed and as I grew up, I realized how wrong that was. My father controlled my mother because he wanted to love a version of her that didn’t exist. My mother tried her best to change my father because she made a mistake marrying a man she shouldn’t have and felt like her only option was to make it her life’s mission to dedicate herself to his personal growth.
So, rewinding back to my breakdown, I gathered myself and made a decision. I was going to quit my job. I had spent a decade of my life helping businesses thrive and now I needed to create one that succeeded with my own advice. I was going to help my mother get through her divorce all while realizing that everything she was feeling was normal and that there was a real need in this area. I sat at the kitchen table drinking my coffee when my husband popped down that morning. He knew I hadn’t come to bed, and he was worried. I looked him in the eye, told him that I had drafted up my resignation letter and that I wasn’t going in on Monday. He said okay, gave me and hug and a kiss and he went to work. He was onboard, really supportive and he trusted me.
I called our financial advisor and told him that I had quit my job and before I could say another word, he asked me to come work for him. He was the president of an extremely successful wealth management firm and someone I really admired. He asked me to come over and meet him for coffee and we shook on it. And even though I told myself I wasn’t going in on Monday, I did. I handed in my resignation and actually gave these assholes my two weeks notice. Oh my gosh, you should have seen the smile on my face. I couldn’t have been happier. But in those two weeks, I studied, got the licenses I needed, and structured a business plan of the hows and whys of the kind of value I was going to offer.
Now let’s get to that first day. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful office, but if I could describe the shape of that office, I would say that it looked like a giant sperm. There was a giant circle area which had the main entrance, this open waiting room for clients, the president’s office, and the boardroom. Then there was this private area in the back with offices along a wonky hallway and at the end of that hallway, was an exit sign hanging from the ceiling and a back door leading to the elevator. The office was bright with windows taking up a whole wall. It was near the airport so you could always look out and see a plane flying by. There was always sun streaming in kissing just about every part of the room and when it was night, you could see the lights of the city in all its glory.
I’m pretty sure almost every one of you have read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and if you haven’t, I promise you, it’s worth every penny of your money and your time. The president of our firm was my financial advisor long before I became one and started working for him. He was the one that got me into the industry, and he was my rich dad, the father I never had, the mentor I longed for. I walked into the office on my first day and he greeted me with the biggest smile and a warm cup of tea. We would eventually spend a lot of time together drinking tea and chatting in a way that I never could with my father. I spent a lot of time in my head comparing him to my father and I really shouldn’t have. But I couldn’t help myself. It was a sickness.
And reflecting on those early days in the last couple of months I realized that while all my life I accepted that I didn’t have a dad, it didn’t change my need for one. I thought I was over it, but I wasn’t. But on that first day, while not knowing anyone else that worked at the firm, when I looked in his eyes, I knew that I was his favourite. I was my father’s only but never his favourite and being my rich dad’s favourite felt nice. He had picked me, and I had picked him.
But on that first day, he wasn’t going to let his favouritism of me get in the way of truly finding out whether I really had what it took. He had a great balance of heart and mind and so he led me past the beautiful waiting room, down the long winding back hallway, passing office after office until we reached the end. He opened the door to an office in the corner that I hadn’t realized existed. It wasn’t anything like the others. It was a dark box. It had a desk and a chair for me to sit on. It had no windows and right outside the door of my office hung the exit sign from the ceiling. It was the reality check I needed to shape up or ship out. If I failed at this, the door was staring me in the face but that wasn’t going to happen. So, I decided to be annoyingly positive about it all. No windows meant no distractions. I could work for as long as I needed, to focus on what I needed to get done without having to worry about the hour of the day or night. And my number one rule for myself was that I would come in before he came in for the day and I wouldn’t leave unless he left. I would pick his brain over lunch or in the minutes he had in between meetings or calls.
He taught me everything that my father couldn’t and spent the kind of time with me that I really needed, and we were alike in so many ways. We both had a certain charisma and shared a lot of the same jokes. We loved food and had the same loyalty for our families. But in a lot of ways, we were different too. He was conservative, I was not. He was more cautious and needed more time to make certain decisions and I was more of a risk-taker. He took on a lot of burdens and struggled with delegation while I did not. However, it never hurts to be a little more cautious or conservative in certain areas and take more time. In the end, we were both gunning for the crown and there wasn’t a place for the both of us under one roof because we had different callings, both beautiful and yet, opposite.
And while both he and my real father worked really hard to mould me into the likeness of themselves, I realized more than ever that I needed to raise myself. And while I knew early on was that I didn’t quite fit at the firm long term because my dreams were too massive for that 5000 sq ft sperm shaped office, it didn’t change the fact that I really wanted it to work because for the first time, I felt a sense of family that I hadn’t felt before.
And for the very first time, I had to say goodbye to someone I really loved. And I needed to find peace with that. It was the kind of hurt I had never felt before and until today, I always believe that leaving someone you love is the worst kind of goodbye because in that moment and perhaps many moments to follow, thriving in the way you should seems selfish, lost of all magic that you ever imagined.
Life has this way of pushing you in the right direction and heading in the right direction never ever comes easy. In the spirit of being open-hearted, this wasn’t my first rodeo at trying to become an entrepreneur. I had a list of failures that resulted in steppingstones to what is now a growing and thriving structure. Every time I lost, I always felt like I won. There was a lesson to be learned and, in that moment, I was better than I was yesterday. Failing at my previous business ventures allowed me to understand what I didn’t know which then led me to get successful jobs at incredible organizations that let me work in those departments. Corporations put in the time so that you can succeed for them but if you play your cards right, you can take all of what you’ve learned and design something beautiful for you.
Along the way, my relationships were far from perfect. I was estranged from most of my family. I had moved forward, and they were all somewhere in the back fighting over money. And it wasn’t even good money. It was scraps, at least to me. In my practise, I teach people how to fight, stay motivated and develop sustainable habits that result in the growth of their own wealth. This is a far cry from the mindset that I was raised with. If I could visually illustrate it to you, family members circled like hyenas around the weak and dying. People fought for what they felt was their place in the will and that level of entitlement was and is disgusting.
My father is in his mid 60’s and when his weaknesses get challenged, he blames the way he was raised all while refusing to change. He had 45 years to be able to live the life of his dreams but was that first 20 years of suffering from your parents’ weaknesses enough to refuse accountability forever? And what about me and where does the cycle really end? There’s a fine line between reasons and excuses and at what point do we need to shut up about them both and just execute?
On a side note, my therapist and I are working on me not adopting any more fathers. I’m getting the help I need to be the best version of me. But are you? I certainly hope so. Because I promise you, we all have our baggage. And as an adult, it is your responsibility to alter and adjust your environment accordingly. And believe it or not, really understanding this concept helped me turn a black thumb into a green one. Say you’re a flower and in this life, you really feel like you aren’t blooming. Have you checked your soil? Do you need a little more sun? Perhaps you need a few more nutrients?
Because at the end of the day, something you need to understand is that all the bad that happened to you does not own you and you might have voiced out loud, stating your need for change but do you really have a plan to get from Point A to Point B? Because an actionless plan is just a speech and you need to learn how to stand on your own two feet. And if the people in your circle are not contributing to your growth, then you’re not in the circle, you’re in a cage.
Thanks so much for listening in today. I hope that this podcast really gave you some food for thought. Know that whatever you’re going through in life, I’m rooting for your success. I hope you guys have a great day and until next time…. See ya!