The $100 Journey

Over 25 years ago my parents made a decision that probably saved my life, they gathered my brothers and sister and as a family coax me into leaving my home in El Salvador, and more importantly leaving behind everyone I loved. With the clothes on my back and $100 my parents gave me, I embarked in a journey full of hope and unknowns.

Truth be told, holding on to money has never been a trait of mine, but this $100 bill was special; it was a symbol of all the sacrifices my mother and father made to give me a new opportunity. Even though my sister and her family opened their home to me so I could study at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and I had no immediate needs, not soon after I arrived, I started toiling with the idea of spending the only $100 I had to my name. I felt conflicted on passing-on my parent’s hard-earned money to a stranger and have it disappear not to ever see it again. I learned quickly that I could not make a photocopy of the $100 bill, so I decided to draw it by hand; I have cherished the symbolic representation of this investment since then.

I wanted to spend the money but I couldn’t, I had a problem and while I came up with a solution, it took me a couple of weeks to draw the $100 bill on paper; once I finished the drawing I came to terms with parting ways with the money and spent it (not sure on what). There is a sense of accomplishment that comes to those that persevere on finding solutions to problems that initially feel unsurmountable, whether it was conviction or ignorance that allowed me to pursue completing the drawing to the end, today I am glad I did and can share with many of you in the cover of this book.

Throughout my life, family, friends, people I knew in addition to complete strangers have felt inclined to invest in my future; since those humble beginnings I have learned to recognize opportunities where everyone saw problems, I managed to identify potential in people where everyone saw shortcomings, and as my family and childhood friends did with me, I have learned to invest in people and became the voice for those who couldn’t be heard in the hopes they will reciprocate the same with others and pay-it-forward.

There is a sense of responsibility that comes with this type of investment that drives both parties to fulfill the unspoken agreement to succeed; with this I ask…what are you waiting for? You need to start investing in your family, friends, employees, and customers, help them solve their problems; 100 minutes, 100 hours, 100 days… a lifetime, and leave a legacy you can be proud of.