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12 Lessons From The End of The Road

When I was working with the City of Bradenton Beach as the Chair of Planning and Zoning about 15 years ago, I met my friend Bill Shearon who was about to become a Mayor. But Bill was not your typical politician. He wasn’t a politician at all actually. What’s more, he was also blind.

Bill was born 73 years ago in a Chicago suburb to a family with a very strong father who made sure to teach him the value of hard work from early childhood. Bill had to earn his pocket money. But even though his father wanted him to get the right education, Bill just didn’t seem to agree with school. So, after just one year at the University of Tampa, he flunked out.

After this, Bill moved back to Illinois and started working on the family farm, moving grain and shoveling corn, something that, he discovered, he really enjoyed. This encouraged him to start learning more about accounting and commodity exchange. In the end, he bought his father out and successfully grew the grain business.

His next big project was the oil business. Bill started out by driving trucks and delivering oil only to grow into the USA’s 8th largest lubricant distributor.

When he was close to his 50th birthday and his sight started deteriorating more rapidly, Bill sold his business and retired.

What Bill Learned

So, why is Bill’s story so important that I’m writing about it here? Bill is no longer with us, but he has left us with his own advice on building a successful life as well as the things that he has learned along the road.

  1. Get an education and learn as much as you can to make more knowledgeable decisions later
  2. Always listen more than you talk
  3. Who you know is important, so continue networking
  4. Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from taking a risk
  5. Create a strong work ethic and work hard
  6. However, never let your work get in the way of your family and relationships
  7. Listen to what your parents have to say
  8. Whatever you decide to do, try to be the best you can at it
  9. Surround yourself with smart(er) people
  10. Luck is what you make of it
  11. The only thing you can truly control are your actions
  12. Practice gratitude and say “thank you” whenever you can

And when I asked Bill about any regrets that he may have, he said “Well, I always wanted to own a helicopter, but I never did. Other than that, my bucket list is complete, and I am ready for what is next.” 

To get the full benefits of my interview with Bill and hopefully implement his life lessons to your own, click here for the whole Franchisegator article. 

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