We met with a great guy yesterday that exemplifies “The American Dream”. Here’s a brief rundown of his story.

Adopted at age two. Abused by adoptive family. Second to last in high school graduating class. Joins the Army. Goes to Iraq. Gets out of the Army. Gets low paying job. Fired from low paying job on Christmas Eve. Married, then divorced. Homeless.

Today, he’s a successful entrepreneur having won numerous awards, franchised his company, and is recognized on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies.

Cool story, that to me at least, exemplifies him finding his American Dream. The idea that you have the opportunity to achieve anything you desire, no matter your circumstance or background. One need not have a dream of being an entrepreneur to live the American Dream. You get to name your American Dream and claim it.

It is important to really know and believe that you’re able to craft the life and opportunity you desire. Yes, to do so requires hard work, dedication, belief, a clear vision, mistakes, setbacks, disaster, tough times, and perseverance through it all.

Sergey Brin (Google), John Paul Dejoria (Paul Mitchell & House of Blues), Oprah Winfrey, and Elon Musk, Damon John (FUBU, Shark Tank). Examples of hardship, perseverance, and success abound all around us. Every Day. You must open your eyes, and your mind. Guard against negative thoughts and dream killing fear. Stop listening to negative people and naysayers.

Critical to achieving the American Dream is; a) That you have one, and b) that you believe you’ll get there.