Who would have thought that a preschooler would take with him a life lesson from a childhood game of arm wrestling and apply it years later in the business world? It’s true! John La Macchia, 29, a Long Island New Yorker, recalls how as a child he would win some arm wrestling matches despite the fact that he was 4 and I was 11 at the time. Back then it was a major victory but looking back he knew that I helped in his quest to become the short-yellow-bus-arm-wrestling champion of the Human Resources School now known as the Henry Viscardi Center in Albertson, New York. But all kidding aside, he realized that in life you win some and you lose some.
We lost touch after grammar school and didn’t meet up again until 1997 when he was an up and coming financial advisor. A financial advisor’s goal is to ultimately make money for their clients and themselves. Over the course of a year, John taught me a thing or two about attitude and work ethics. I saw him go from nothing to having money in the bank, buying a brand new Mustang Saleen (power in the hands of a few), and reaching financial independence despite many obstacles along the way.
From the onset, his first firm went bust and he had to move and reestablish himself in another firm. Then he put in the long 12 to 17 hour work days, six days a week with little time for meals much less healthy ones. The work hours took a toll on his body as well as his mind. Yet, that didn’t hinder him from getting up every morning even on snowy days to build a financial business. While he could have taken the easy way out and sat at home collecting government assistance he chose the rougher road.
One obstacle John knew he had to put to rest was the stereotype that physically disabled people were not as mentally adept as able bodied people. He established credibility with his colleagues and superiors with his no nonsense approach. At times he came across as overly aggressive because that went against the stereotype that disabled people are passive. According to John, critics at the workplace grew more silent as the size of the trades grew. The more money he raised the happier everybody was.
His hard work finally paid off and paid off in a big way. He earned the respect of colleagues within the financial industry and gained financial independence. He stopped receiving government assistance six years ago. In fact, John was able to purchase the Mustang Saleen, a car that immediately struck his eye, without having to worry about the price tag. From personal experience, the car rides like a dream: 365 ponies under the hood, turbo kit, recarro leather interior and a kick ass sound system not to mention that it is a limited edition.
In the end, you win some and you lose some. So far, John is winning.