I was at a business conference many years ago, and the speaker during one of the sessions made the following statement, “… you can’t steer a parked car. ”
It’s one of those things that just kind of blows your brain when you hear it for the first time. I was so busy scribbling all kinds of notes from other things he was saying. But that stuck with me. “You can’t steer a parked car.” Hmmm. “You can’t steer a parked car.”
Over the years, I have thought that to be such a profound statement. I can’t even remember one other thing he said that day. As a matter of fact, I don’t even remember his name. I think in pictures. I think this is such a wonderful visual of how life plays out, particularly in the area of business and work. 18 years ago, in February 2003, I had grown completely frustrated and discouraged with my career in the healthcare industry. I had worked predominately in our private mental health system up until that time. I was a home health nurse that had a specialty psychiatric nursing practice, and I was also teaching for Maricopa county community colleges in their colleges of nursing. I had a nice career. I just had no control over the amount of time it took to earn a living. I literally had to work two jobs for my family to make ends meet. I wanted more than anything to be my own boss, but I had no idea how to get that done. This business idea of helping families research and select senior living was brand new to me. Very few people were on the ground actually involved in this endeavor. It was certainly not an industry or a business that people thought highly of as we do now. Placement agents at that time were referenced as “body brokers” and “bounty hunters.” It was lots of cash paid out of the table and many practices that we would consider corrupt now. But I had control over myself and my effort. I remembered, “you can’t steer a parked car.” If I was going to make it happen, it had to be me. I wanted the outcomes so badly that I was willing to take the car out of park and drive it.
I began to understand this universal principle. “You can’t steer a parked car. ”
Suppose we are willing to pick up the phone and make appointments.; If you are willing to call people and tell them what you are doing and offer yourself as a resource; if you are willing to get way outside your comfort zone, then good things can come. Nothing was going to change if I didn’t put that car in the drive and start applying myself. I began applying myself on a very part-time basis. I quickly replaced my income and quit my full-time job with the home health agency. I spent 20 hours a week working on what became Options for Senior Living. Within a couple of years, I was able to quit my part-time job as an educator and dedicate all of my effort to Options.
March 1 is the day I celebrate the anniversary of Options For Senior Living. This year makes 18 years. Starting with the premise of “you can’t steer a parked car,” I know the truth of what I’m gonna ask next. Am I the only one that was fortunate enough to be able to do something like this? Am I so unique that this worked for me but wouldn’t work for anybody else? And the answer is obviously no. We live in a world where opportunity is all around us. I get the pandemic. I get economic challenge. I get the social injustices. I get the inequality that exists in the world. I also get this. We live in the land of opportunity. If anyone wants to get up and create something, you can create it. We are only held back by the size of our dreams and our willingness to put forth the effort. Fear and a negative self-image have a lot to do with keeping people stuck. I had people around me in 2003 that believed in me and encouraged me. They didn’t do it for me, but they were in my corner. I still have a wonderful tribe of friends and family that are always in my corner, encouraging me and supporting me in the journey.
As Options has evolved over the years, I wanted to create a platform where others could join me to build a business that would afford them the same gifts of life I’ve been able to be blessed with. Tammy was the first to join me. Followed by Nathan and then Kerri Ann. Subsequently, Lanie, Glenda, then Stephanie, and Barbara have joined the crew over the last two years. 18 years ago, I never could’ve foreseen that I will be joined by professionals who loved their work and wanted to positively impact the lives of families during a very difficult time.
I’m grateful to all of them as well as my current Client service manager, Kim Metzler and her predecessor, Amy Dirks. I would never have gotten to 18 years without a phenomenal team. I’m also so grateful for my wife, Stacey, for her everyday love and support. She spent three years with Options from 2015 to 2018, helping us become the company we are today. Her impact is unmeasurable.
I hope you take away the idea that I took away so many years ago that you can’t steer a parked car.
Make something great happen for yourself and for the people that you may touch by simply taking the car out of park and putting it into drive.