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The story we tell ourselves about who we are and what we can do starts before we ever set foot in school.


Fascination with people and success came early in my life. It started with my family—wondering what made my dad want to work for someone else when three of my uncles worked for themselves at different points in their lives.

Our family dynamic and the world I grew up in gave me a lifetime of lessons and case studies in what we know today as “mindset.” In other words – I was a nerdy kid who loved to watch people and try to figure out why they did what they did.


My Dad was a creative at heart.


He loved art, music, and dancing.  Dad was happiest with a paintbrush in hand, cigarette in an ashtray, and music blaring in the background.

He believed all artists starved, so he chose not to make it his living. With me – an asthmatic daughter to support, the health insurance plan at the factory was a no-brainer for him. Unfortunately, the job offered zero creativity, and it left him unhappy.

Uncle Joe was in the service during WWII. He had the discipline to get up at O’Dark thirty and the last thing he wanted was to take orders. Like Dad, he was a creative at heart. He could free-hand design plans, sculpt with clay, and was a singer before he lost his hearing during the war.

Back in the day, he started a local magazine and created all content, ads, design, and photography. The magazine filled a need, and he believed in it enough to keep it running for several years.

He continued to work for himself but over time drifted away from creative work into another love–restoring classic cars and then, the work that just paid the bills. The more he drifted from his creative side, the unhappier he became.

Uncle Frank was somewhere in between. His creativity came out in story-telling. That man could spin a yarn as well as Frank McCourt. He worked for GM in Quality Control and sold real estate on the side. That gave him the ability to control what he earned while getting the benefits GM offered and the stability of a regular paycheck.


He enjoyed and took pride in both areas of his work.


It allowed him to buy a cabin on the lake and the freedom to escape into nature when he needed it.

Each of the brothers grew up in the same household with the same parents yet each held a different belief of what they were capable of. Their beliefs drove the career choices they made, which affected their quality of life, which touched the lives of everyone around them—including myself.

In following posts, I’ll delve deeper into the thoughts they held and how they contributed to the decisions they made and my lifelong fascination with mindset. What belief about yourself has helped you the most in life? Please share in the comments.