After barely graduating high school, I was wide open to the idea of new experiences and new places–how fast can I get out of this town? Over the next few years, I ended up traveling to a few different states, experiencing new and different places, people and jobs. At 21, I ended up back in my hometown of Randolph, Vermont, and my parents told me with great relief that only a few years ago they said to themselves “If Mark Miller just lives until he turns 21, he will turn out ok.” I don’t know what they were thinking, but it was still life in the fast lane for me.
The Wide-Open Road
I drove a tractor-trailer truck for the next eight years in 23 states. At that age and stage in my life, the freedom and wide-open road was the place for me. In 1986, with a growing family, I decided to get off the road and start a painting and cleaning business in Glens Falls. Starting Americlean (now Performance Industrial) was very time-consuming – I was in a new element with a lot to learn. A lot just simply had to get done. I buried myself in the business. I just kept doing it and doing it and doing it. It was life wide open all the time. Over the years, at times, it seemed out of control, and I headed towards trouble.
To help, I used something I learned while aggressive trail-riding snowmobiles in Vermont and Quebec. My friends and I rode wide open and many times were right on the edge of losing control. We all had near-misses, and the one thing we concentrated on if we started heading towards trouble–a tree, another sled or an animal–was to focus on the way through and not to focus on the obstacle. If you focus on the obstacle, guess where you’re going to go? Right at it! I learned to do the same thing in business and life. If you think there is trouble coming, focus on how to avoid it; don’t focus on the trouble.
Bumps in the Road
As my business grew and my life became busier, my wide-open approach didn’t always work. At one point, I was like an out-of-control freight train. I was running over people’s feelings, I was squashing their ideas, I wouldn’t slow down enough to listen to anyone, learn anything new or consider how I was effecting feelings of others who were close to me in my personal and business life. Personally, I started spiraling downward– I ruined some relationships; I thought that people who were working for me were incompetent; I didn’t like going to work anymore; revenue and profit dropped to an all-time low.
A Map to Guide the Way
Luckily there was a part of my mind that was still open. I got introduced to the world’s greatest inspirational, transformational, and motivational speakers and writers such as Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, T. Harv Eker, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Michael Gerber, Jim Bunch and Tony Robbins, to name a few. I started reading their material, and pretty soon, I was traveling around the country listening to and participating in their programs. I met some wonderful people who taught me a different meaning of Living Life Wide Open. Not too far off from my infant years of being open to anything, curious, inspecting, trying new foods, meeting new people, seeing new places, etc.
Having an open mind allowed me to realize that it wasn’t my business that sucked, it wasn’t the employees that sucked, it wasn’t the customers that sucked–it was ME. Being inspired by the world’s finest along with thousands of people just like me, I was able to turn myself around. Thanks to the help of others and surrounding myself with other confident people, business is now great, my circles of influence are growing, my most important relationships have improved and my personal life is fantastic.
I have learned that living my life this way is a blast and better than ever!
Open your mind
Open your heart
Open your arms
Open your life
LIVE LIFE WIDE OPEN
I still live life in the fast lane, but at least now I know where I am going!!