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Living Life To Its Fullest

Updated on August 2, 2009

The Carson Clan

And Making Lemonade When Life Calls For Lemons

I just recently came across a bunch of pictures that were packed away and I found myself laughing at a lot of the crazy pictures of myself and all of my friends through high school, my three different colleges, and beyond.  I found myself laughing outloud as my mind drifted back to the places and moment that I kept finding.  I was sitting in my den with a smile on my face, scanning the images into my labtop so that I could post them on Facebook to share with my friends.  

I started thinking about some of the great things that I've been blessed to experience.  I've had ups and downs just like anyone else, but I truly believe that my down's have made my ups that much sweeter. Life can be scary some times, and it can throw us curve balls.  There are times that we all strike out.  Those that succeed in life are the ones that keep swinging, even when the count is against them.

I have to say that ultimately, a lot of my success as an adolescent and adult has come from my amazing parents.  My parents love for one another and us kids, along with their work ethic, taught me to work hard, be honest, and treat others with respect.  While my friends were off at the beach or playing video games, I spent my summers working with my parents in our hardware store or around the house.  My parents never told me that I couldn't accomplish anything and they've always supported any course or anything that us kids have chosen to do. I count my parents as my closest of friends.  My mom has one of the biggest hearts you will ever find and is an amazing lady.  My dad was the hardest working man that I know and I get my stubbornes, work ethic, and sense of humor from him.  My dad passed away several years and I miss my best friend and my hero on a daily basis.  It's when I'm going through my hardest times or the valleys in my life that the voice of my parents resonate through my head helping me through tough times. Thank you Mom and Dad for instilling in me my work ethic, faith, and support through out the years.

I've been a pretty lucky guy, even from the time I was young.  I was picked to be the loan represenative to break ground at the Naval Station Ingleside opening ceremony.  I was also aboard the USS Lexington for its docking in Ingleside and the last official tour of the ship by its captain and chaplain.  Those are pretty big events for a middle school kid. 

Moving on to high school, I wasn't the most popular kid but I fit in with the jocks (being a three sport and theater letter) and the smart kids.  Our graduating class of 85 for 1995 at Ingleside High School was a unique and special class.  Everyone got along with just about everyone.  The popular kids got along with the dorks, the jocks got along with the band geeks, and it wasn't rare to see everyone meeting at a party or helping someone out if they weren't in your immediate circle.  

High school was a lot of fun.  I had the rare fortune to be a two-time captain of my football team and play on two playoff bound baseball teams along with a district runner up playoff basketball team.  While my junior and senior years were a lot of fun, I did have to spend nine months recovering from a blown Anterior Cruciate Ligament in my right knee.  Those days and weeks of going through rehab and spending hours on the stairmaster, stationary bike, and weight machine taught me a lot about being dedicated and working hard to achieve something and fight my way back into stepping back on the football field and helping lead our team to its best record in over 10 years and helping lay the foundation for the following years' playoff bound team.  

I was the only student of my graduating class to achieve both an academic and athletic scholarship and one of those rare individuals who gets to experience college as a student athelete.  While I didn't finish four years as a jock, I enjoyed the time, the comradary, and the experience at being part of a college playoff team.  

I've experienced the joy of having your school paid for and the stress that comes with footing the bill yourself.  With stops in Commerce, San Angelo and ending up in San Marcos, I'm the first of my dad's 10 kids to have a bachelor's degree.  I've experienced both "super secret probation" and almost getting kicked out of Southwest Texas State to making the Dean's list two times.  

I found love in high school, lost it in college, and found it again.   My last two years of college were extremely special.  I found myself surrounded by a new group of friends, but luckily stayed in contact with my high school buddies and we always seemed to pick up where we left off.  My college friends are still close today as most of us worked together and sweated, lost blood and spilled enough queso and margarita mix to feed half of San Antonio.  I had probably the sweetest job as a bartender, not only making good money, but meeting and experiencing some of the top musical talent in the country.

From delivering breakfast tacos to Willie Nelson, to making margarita's for the Dixie Chicks, along with moving Jerry Lee Lewis's baby grand piano and cooking Mathew McConoughay a burger after hours, life at the Gristmill was a blast.  What made is sweet was that there ended up being double digit marriages from our group of friends. Kari and I were the first of our friends followed by: Richard and Aryn, Danny and Cammille, Eric and Lisa, George and Adrian, Sydney and Steve, to just name a few.  

My experiences in college led me to land a job before I graduated.  Short lived as it may have been, I'm glad I spent those 3 months at Enterprise as it taught me that I knew I had bigger hopes and dreams for my life.  I enjoyed my time at Verizon where I set all sorts of sales records and completed the first perfect score in the Austin market along with recieving the largest commission check on record at the time.  I learned that I enjoyed sales and that I was good at it. 

I think that's why I jumped at the chance to learn the finance business.  Jumping into Primerica and becoming a financial expert seemed like such a stretch for the kid who spent his weekends mowing grass, building fences, and battling ostriches and emus.  While I had always been great at math, numbers seemed to haunt my dreams in a good way.  While my tenure at Primerica was never in the black, I learned how not to run a business along with really learning what I was made up of.  When you can't pay your bills and you face loosing your home, you really get to know what kind of individual you are.  I'm glad to say that I tried to find the Lemonade in the lemons during that low time and that period of my life has made me strong as steal.  Maybe it was having to wait tables or work as a delivery driver in between the other odd jobs that I had to help pay the bills. I just found a way to survive.

If it hadn't made me strong, I don't know if I would have made it through my year at Cirrus Logic.  I learned several things about myself during my tenure in high tech.  One being that I hated a cubicule job and the second was that I missed working with people and being in sales and helping people.  I found myself at the end of that year again and vowed never to take a job that I would hate.  

As life has always done for me, it presented a wonderful opportunity and the next step up the ladder in taking the job with Chase Bank.  I'm proud to say that I left a mark a positive mark on the bank and central Texas market as the company did with me.  I was back in sales, dealing with people and numbers and thrived.  I helped open several branches and helped to build the mental foundation that I would build upon.  My mental foundation had been built during my tough times, but now I was doing something that would launch me into other arenas.

I guess the entrepreneurial spirit is born into some of us. I look back at my friends growing up and the two parents that were the entrepreneurs of the time, there kids have turned into entrepreneurs as well.  I have to say that my friend, Jason Byrd and I, have come along way from the days of eating water melon, riding go carts and playing duct tape baseball on his parents used car lot or my families store.  We've both been up and down, but the valleys are becoming fewer and far in between the older we get.  We have both mentioned before that we are not envious of the 40 hour work week and the working hard for a pay raise and 2-3 weeks of vacation a year just isn't enough.  While we both work extremely hard like our parents did, we play hard and enjoy life a lot more than the mass majority of our high school and college mates.  

It was during my time at Chase, and after getting beaten down by some of the red tape, that the call of the proverbial wild called.  I've always looked to maintain bridges with my past and friends and such a bridge presented itself one day.  I met my current business partners, mentors, and great friends, Bob and Jayme through a previous mentor by the name of Boyd.  I knew what they were doing and teaching was something that I had longed for and dreamed of doing.  I seized the opportunity and drank up as much education as I could get my hands on.  They were willing teachers and as time passed, I became an asset to them when my friend Boyd no longer was.  Fortunately, my parents hard work ethic and my dreams helped me not to be swayed by emotion and to stay the course.  It also allowed for me to see the writing on the wall and prepare myself for change.  

I'm proud of how I've learned from Bob and Jayme the ability to make money during up and down times while continueing to work in my dream job.  My passion, love, and natural abilities have allowed me to work in something that I don't view as work.  I've viewed what I do and the opportunities to learn and meet some of the best investors in the business along with applying what I've learned in my own investing as a non stop graduate course to achieving what every American dreams about.  While the majority of my friends don't completely understand what I do, they all know that I drink life in and live life to the fullest on a daily basis instead of just a weekend to weekend event.

While I'm still not where I want to be financially, and somewhere along the process my love stopped loving me, I know that the days ahead of me are to be sweeter and more fulfilling than what I've already experienced.  While I seem to have had the luck to travel abroad, along with checking off numerous "bucket list" items and events, my list and luck continues to grow each day as I work harder and harder to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.  I've had the good fortune to work with people who are of like mind for the most part, which makes the celebration of good times sweeter, and the support during low times stronger.  

I'm very blessed to see my network of friends and colleagues spread across this great country and my "family" grow exponentially as well.  While I haven't found love for the third time, I feel that its around the corner.  God knows that my numerous mom's (Mom, Jayme, Lorena, Ann, Kari, DeAnne, and Lindsay) help keep me in line, especially when it comes to my dating life.  I'm excited at what the future holds and what fruit new relationships will bear.  I've met someone recently that I'm truly grateful and blessed to have her a part of my life and to hear her echo those same words.  While I don't know where it will go, we both feel that we have a hand in each other's future victories and growth.  It's truly refreshing to have someone challenge you and make you a better person, so thank you "Haburguesa Pistola!"

While we all strive for passions and something bigger than us as individuals, I am truly proud of the challenge that I have laid down to many of my friends and students.  I feel like the momentum being built and the lives that I'm helping change on a daily basis is something that will catapult me to a new level that no one from the small town of Ingleside would have ever expected that I become.  Watch out world! You aint seen nothing yet!


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      I have found your story very inspirational and I enjoyed it very much. You are very ambitious which is good in addition to having an excellent head on your shoulders. Excellent hub!


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