How Young Men Succeed in Life

Savvy Dad is usually about what we learn from our dads. Today is different. It’s what we learn from our kids.

Corey, doing what he never imagined -- loving each day.

Corey, doing what he never imagined —
loving each day.

I could write glowingly of each of my sons. In fact, I plan to. How they’ve handled their challenges in life. How far they’ve come, and how proud I am.

I’m starting with Corey. He’s incredibly smart and a really great guy. I feel certain his brothers agree.

Most young people have a burning desire to make it, but don’t know how. Or, they think they do, but really don’t. The latter is probably more often the case.  

Corey believes to “make it big” you must:

  • Figure out what you want out of life.
  • Decide what you need to do to make it happen.
  • Focus on those things every spare hour of every day.

Corey did just that. As I see it, here are his priorities:

  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Freedom


A few days ago, I asked my sons and nephew for a favor. Would they write a LinkedIn recommendation for me? Corey had his completed and posted the next day.

Last Thursday, I asked if they would like to write a chapter for my upcoming book, How Fathers Change Lives. Corey called with a question the next day. He had already written his intro.

Last week, our son Casey flew in to visit from San Diego. He had just taken the tough California bar exam and wanted to spend time with the “Fam.” His plane arrived around 10:00 p.m. That’s really late for me. Without me asking, Corey offered to pick his brother up at the airport.

When you need help with a chore, a ride to the airport or a job done right, Corey’s the man. Corey’s life is rich with great friends. It’s no wonder why. Corey works at being a good guy.


I don’t call Corey between 6:00 & 7:00 p.m. I know he’s in his garage, out of breath, sweating his buns off. Corey understands that it takes a strong, healthy body to enjoy your life.

FREEDOM (pay attention- this is good)

Money is freedom. It’s the power to do as you like. Corey saw that from day one. He’s not into having lots of stuff. Corey is into having lots of freedom. Money buys both.

Money often gets a bad rap. “Follow your dreams and the money will follow.” That’s not always true. In some endeavors, it’s hard to make the big bucks.

People go wrong in one of two ways:

  • Some are content with a salary. They don’t look for an entrepreneurial big $$ escape. That’s OK, if that’s what they want. Corey did not.
  • Others “go for it,” but believe “if you follow your passion the money will follow.” That’s not always true. Why?
    • First, you may not have the talent to be great at what you like. In this world, you had better be great if you expect people to “show you the money.”
    • Second, some things are ridiculously tough to monetize. They’re a long shot. It’s foolish to try. Earn the money first. Then, do what you like for the rest of your life.

Corey is wise. He saw the answer. Look first at what has the potential to make bucks and set you free. There are many.

With each, decide if you can excel. It’s amazing how quickly you become passionate when you do something well and earn a boatload of money in the process.

As a Santa Clara graduate, I’m 100% sure installing rubber was not how Corey envisioned his life. Yet that’s what he does. It’s now what he loves.

A few years ago, Corey and three partners started Flexground. They install rubberized protective playground surfacing. That’s the stuff where kids bounce instead of break when they fall off of swings, slides and such.

Corey works from daybreak to dark. It’s the centerpiece of his life. He won’t allow a customer to be anything but thrilled. Corey saw this as a chance (not a guarantee) to earn his freedom in life.

He knew nothing at first. He learned the business. He went “all in”. He put his other interests aside. It paid off. The company is now worth millions. Corey went from doing what he never imagined to what he loves every day.

He’s earning the freedom to do what he chooses for the rest of his life.

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