I grew up without a lot of extras. After my parents divorced, extras became even more of a novelty. One thing I was rich in, never short on, was praise. My loudest cheerleaders were those who were themselves mostly settled into uncertain futures of their own, financial, career, or otherwise. Thinking back I had a bleacher full of cheerleaders during the most impressionable life stages. The pats on the back fueled me, geared me, steered me, and provided me a wholesome dose of YES YOU CAN during those times I most needed it....during the climb.
My success has not come easy. It sounds cliché perhaps, a bit over-used probably. But I am the first to admit no real measure of sustainable success comes easy. Hard means having and maintaining in perfect balance the act of the wanting of it and the coming into it of success. It is psychological, physical, dependent, cerebral, and it is at all times spiritual. At least it ought to be. When it is not, all of these working together, then the pursuit of success can become instead existential. That is, viewed through a lens of "I am solely responsible for creating my success independent of universal forces. I am alone." The danger of this existential approach is when one thinks they are alone, they stop caring about others and will act selfishly and self-centeredly to reach any goal.
Today, I own multiple businesses, I have degrees from two of the finest educational institutions in the free world. I have a loving family, amazing friendships and serve one God. I am defined not by any one of these. Instead my success rests in the bosom of all of these, threaded tightly around each; a reflection of their importance in my life.
My success helps define my values. It speaks to my ability and willingness to share my fruits with others. This to me is the debt I owe back to the universe. I did not come at it alone and I will not, can not bear my success alone. This I call, the great pay back!