A friend once shared one of the hidden secrets to life he’d discovered.

“When I was doing handyman work, a lot times I would get a job because I was the only guy who would show up.”

My friend is right.

I also remember my mother saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” At the time, I thought she was explaining why some birds were bigger than others. Only years later did the words reveal themselves as a key marker on the road map to success.

Life is hard, but many times we make it harder by not giving it our all.

Looking back on life, I recognize the most anxious moments, or those that would try and drag me mentally down, were generally self-inflicted. Worrying without taking action is a dangerous cocktail.

I enjoy reading autobiographies. Doing so is like getting to live extra lives and experiences in what little time God decides is appropriate. And woven through most engaging biographies are stories of great failure — and what came next.

Right now, I am working my way through an autobiography of Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and a billionaire. And with nearly every chapter comes another example of him sticking his finger in an electrical outlet until he finds the one opportunity that hits. His business failures far exceed the number of those that went on to succeed. And the same is true with Bruce Springsteen’s biography and that of automotive manufacturer Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. All three showed up early, never let their vision be clouded by the periodic failures along the way, and changed their piece of the world.

Like most people in the world, each carries a vision. And like most people, they believe the world needs what they have or see.

But unlike most people, they act.

I have a friend who is saying the worst thing you can do in a crisis is to do nothing. He’s right. Doing nothing is pretty much a guarantee nothing will change or most likely the situation will worsen. And from that comes added anxiety, stress and almost an ironclad guarantee of a self-fulfilled failure.

Which brings me back to my first friend’s testimony of why he was able to be successful as a handyman.

I don’t need to look too far to see this play out in my daily life. Recently, I needed gutters on the house. I phoned three or four different people and companies. Guess who got the business — the one who showed up to offer a bid. And to top it off, he showed up on time the Sunday morning he said he would and his work was exceptional.

Look at the formula: he showed up, offered a bid, said when he’d do the work, and did the quality work as promised.

Life is hard when you don’t give it your all and can’t take a punch or three along the way. Get up, show up, make it happen.

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

President & Publisher of The Galveston County Daily News.

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