I am excited about the feedback I’ve received for Motivation Monday! Several bloggers have contacted me with their very own touching stories of achieved dreams. I’m looking forward to sharing their adventures with you each week. If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed, please contact me.
Today’s interview is with a man who will, without a doubt, leave a prodigious impression on anyone who is in the business of making their dreams come true.
Bucket List [buhk-it list] – noun
- a wish list of things to do before one ”kicks the bucket.”
Mike: Here are the vitals. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and am now 63 years of age. I was married for 37 years to my childhood sweetheart (I was 15; she was 14 when we met) until cancer took her away from me in 2005. I have two wonderful children, a son 39, and a daughter 34. And they have given me three incredible grandsons. I recently divorced my second wife and am in a warm, wonderful relationship with a woman right now.
I served in the USAF for nearly 11 years and among many jobs and occupations, have enjoyed the labors and fruits of entrepreneurship twice, most recently with the opening of Dad’s Grilled Cheese in Las Vegas.
Melody: What is one item you’ve checked off your bucket list?
Mike: Actually, I’ve checked off several. I always wanted to be in broadcasting and the Air Force granted that wish and I was able to satisfy my desires over a twenty year military and civilian career. I wanted to be an actor/entertainer and was able to do that by both acting in and directing little theater productions – many Neil Simon plays – both overseas and stateside. I also always wanted to write a book. I had made several attempts over the years, but never quite crossed the finish line. But in September 2008 I published my novel Collusion on the Felt and that was a very satisfying achievement. Not to mention the fact that the story is excellent! My bucket list also included the invention and development of a casino table game. In 1995, while waiting for my wife to get her hair done, I sketched out on an envelope my idea for a casino table game that incorporated baseball and poker. The game became known as Grand Slam Poker and has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. I always wanted to own a restaurant – but not just any restaurant – and Dad’s Grilled Cheese is a monument to that wish.
Mike: About six years ago, I was growing tired of “working for someone else” again and began thinking about what opportunities there were in developing a restaurant. I did not want to do chicken or tacos or burgers or pizza. I wanted something unique. The idea of a grilled cheese enterprise came to me and I dusted it off last Fall.
Melody: I can definitely relate to not wanting to work for someone else. Being your own boss is so rewarding. Other than being the boss, why was reaching this goal so important to you?
Mike: I love a challenge. The first question people ask you when you’re opening a restaurant is “have you done this before?” They’re intimating that you must be out of your mind if you haven’t done it before. My feeling is – everyone has a first time. But the challenge here is having total say in how my business operates and is run. In the past, I’ve had a business partner – and we’re still great friends today – but compromise can be just a little tiring. It’s great to be on my very own.
Melody: “Everyone has a first time.” I love that quote…and I’ll be keeping that in the back of my mind. Very inspiring! At any point, did you think you wouldn’t be able to reach your dream?
Mike: Well, just because I got the restaurant open and running, I don’t know that I’ve actually accomplished the goal. The goal is really to have a lot of franchises of Dad’s Grilled Cheese all over the country. And the jury is certainly still out on that.
Melody: I’d like to place a bet on the jury’s verdict on this one. 😉 What has kept you going?
Mike: Lots of things. I received a lot of encouragement from my lady friend and I wanted to show her what kind of guy I am, so success was important to me. My kids were a driving factor, though they don’t necessarily know that. My son was out of work for nearly a year and had difficulty making ends meet. I thought that if I could invest my money in a venture like this, it would give him a job and an opportunity to flourish after I’m gone. I guess I figured I could leave them a sum of money or give them an opportunity to make a lot of money. Sort of like the Rich Dad; Poor Dad book I read a few years ago. So, their welfare and love kept me going, and continues to keep me going.
Melody: What advice would you have for people striving to reach their goals?
Mike: Get ready for lots of people to wish you ill. I’m serious. There are an awful lot of people out there who don’t like seeing others become successful. That’s a grim reality of life. It’s those people who drain the enthusiasm out of the rest of us – if we let them. My advice is to totally ignore the negativity that is inevitable. If you need an emotion, feel sorry for those people. The other advice I would give is do it for the right reasons. Whatever the right reasons are, let that be the motivator. If you don’t truly love the idea and if you don’t want to pour your heart and soul into it, don’t attempt it. Because success requires heart and soul.
Melody: What is one more thing on your bucket list you still have yet to accomplish?
Mike: Stand-up comedy! I would love to be a stand-up comedian. I dabbled in it a bit in high school and performing in comedies brought me closer. But that’s one thing I still have on my bucket list.
Melody: I’m putting in my order for front row seats at our first performance! What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Mike: I have two of them. “If you haven’t got time to do it right, how will you find time to do it again?” and “If I continue to do what I’ve always done, I’ll continue to get what I’ve already got.”
Dad’s Grilled Cheese is located at 5255 So. Decatur Blvd. Suite 115, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Mike, thank you for taking the time out of your full schedule to share your story in order to inspire others. Your drive and determination to pursue your dreams has ignited my passion to strive ever harder to reach mine!
©2010 Melody G. Fritchley