You ever heard of the song “Binary Sunset?” It’s the song that plays in the background during the scene in the original Star Wars movie when Luke Skywalker really, really wants to go to the Academy and live a life of adventure…but realizes that he’s got to stay home and help his uncle work the farm.
It’s a dramatic song. A melancholy song. A song that is meant to convey two main emotions: disappointment and depression. And as the song plays, the scene unfolds with Luke looking out over the horizon watching not one, but two suns going down (Binary Sunset!) and the look on his face says it all:
“My hopes are dashed. My dreams are in the toilet. I. Am. Screwed."
Well…I remember driving out from St. Louis to rural southern Illinois almost four years ago. It was a February day. Bleak. Butt cold. Snow and ice everywhere.
And I was looking out my windshield….gazing without hope at the grey horizon…watching the sun go down and I *swear* to you that I started humming Binary Sunset to myself.
See, less than two years prior, I had made a tough decision to leave the ministry. But you know what? I still wanted to make a huge difference in the world. I wanted to write. I wanted to speak. At that time, I wanted to be a college professor.
For a variety of reasons, my wife and I moved to St. Louis and our initial experience was devastatingly disappointing. She joined a startup family medicine practice and got paid about ¼ of her market value. I thought I was going to have an easy time finding a job working for a college – I was that confident. But I was wrong. I couldn’t get any potential employers to respond! The only real bright spot was that I was able to write for a new local magazine. But it was pay-per-article, not salary.
I had the idea to start up my own business as a ghost writer, but I needed money to help support my family. And I needed it NOW. So I took the only job offered to me: selling water purification systems at Tri-County Water and Air.
Nothing wrong with being a water purification system salesman. But when you are 2 years from 40, you have to completely hit the reset button on your career, and you really believe you’re meant for something else and all your experience and gifts are perfectly suited for a completely different life…well, it can feel pretty depressing and hopeless.
And that’s how I felt at that moment, driving out to my first sales call in Breese, Illinois.
Binary sunset, y’all. Binary Freaking Sunset.
And then my cell phone rang. It was the editor of the local magazine I had written articles for.
“Hey,” he said. “We fired our editor. Would you like to be the new editor? We’re a startup, so we can’t pay you a lot. But it is salary.”
I said “yes” before he finished his sentence. A sense of hope rose in my heart.
“Great,” he said. “And I need you to write an article for me—this week, if possible.”
“I want you to interview a local entrepreneur…very successful business man who has built a multi-million-dollar empire in the nutritional supplement business.”
“His name is Andy Frisella.”
And the rest, as they say, is history...
I met Andy and wrote the article about him. He loved it. We talked about me helping him write a book. We started meeting together. He decided to start The MFCEO Project podcast and asked me to be his co-host. Now it has millions of listeners every month. He gave me nicknames: Vaughn the Impaler, the Pastor of Disaster. I learned about 1st Phorm, the greatest supplement company on the planet. Later came The Arete Syndicate. Over the years, I met incredible people like Tim Grover and Jocko Willink and the Diesel Brothers and above all, Ed Mylett.
The experiences I’ve had. The things I learned. The skills I’ve gained.
I’m incredibly grateful. I can’t even describe it.
So guys…if you’re looking out at the horizon and hearing Binary Sunset in your ears, don’t lose hope.
Power through. Do the next thing. Even if you can’t see how the next thing connects to the Big Thing you want to accomplish.
I can tell you from experience…that if your dreams seem to be approaching dusk, don’t assume the darkness is going to last. Remember this: it’s an incontrovertible fact of nature: when the sun goes down...
...it’s only a matter of time before it rises again.
Your job is to stay vigilant through the night and be ready to act when the dawn finally breaks.