I’m cheating this week. This week’s blog is taken from my response to an interview question I answered earlier in the week. I thought it was interesting, though, so I figured I’d share it here.
Crippled CEO Blog #093:
Where are you from and how did your background and upbringing impact who you are today?
I was born at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach, FL. My parents lived in a townhouse in a neighborhood called Golf View Harbour — a funny name, considering that the subdivision has neither golf, view, nor harbor — less than a mile from the hospital I was born in.
As a baby, I moved with my parents to another house in Golf View Harbour. When I was 18, I moved out on my own — quite the feat for an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair — into a house I purchased, also in Golf View Harbour. A few years later, I upgraded to my current home, also in Golf View Harbour. I have lived my entire life in this tiny subdivision, in four different houses, a stone’s throw from the hospital I was born at. I’ve traveled extensively, from Europe to Hawaii, but Golf View Harbour in Boynton Beach, Florida has been my residence for four decades.
Being so firmly rooted in my hometown has shaped the way I have built my companies. I have ignored the old adage warning against hiring friends and family. In fact, I have done exactly the opposite. Almost all of the office staff here are related to me or friends going back years, if not decades — friends that I have because I’ve been in one place for so long.
While growing up in Golf View Harbour, my parents started and ran multiple businesses. It was established early on that the family identified as entrepreneurs and business owners, much in the same way that other families might identify as Yankees fans or inherit a religion. The identities we give ourselves heavily affect our direction in life, and there’s no question that this family identity is the reason that I do what I currently do now.
(Your mom knows all about Golf View Harbour, too. I just whisper her the blog, but you can get a link of it texted to you each week by texting the number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message.)