How I Went from Selling Donuts to Selling Drugs (& why that’s a good thing)

When I was 16, I stopped selling donuts and started selling drugs, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Strange way to start a post? Let me explain…

After several months of interning at a shop that repaired electronic typewriters, I applied for and got my first ever “real” job: running the Dunkin Donuts counter at our neighborhood gas station.

It was a good job, really, with flexible hours, fun people, and plenty of donuts to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I was only 16 and hadn’t thought much about what I wanted to do with my life, so being the “donut boy” paid the bills, passed the time, and nothing more.

Then, on a sleepy weekday morning just like any other, something happened that changed my career forever.

George was a wealthy member of our community. He was always well dressed and drove a sporty BMW (his wife had one, too.) He was a regular at the shop, and he and I always had good interactions.

On that fateful day, after I served George his regular coffee and donut combo he asked me a question:

“Why don’t you come work for me?”

He told me he liked the way I interacted with customers, how I always did my job with excellence, and how I took initiative and did my best without being told. 

He said those were the kind of skills and qualities he was looking for in his team, and that I would make more money and gain better experience if I left the donut counter behind and joined him.

What did George do? He provided “controlled substances” to people who needed them, for a price.

Operating in a community with lower income and higher traffic than ours, George sold drugs out of the corner of a local food and household essentials store.

Every day without fail, people lined up to buy what George was selling: just the right fix for whatever need they had…

…as long as they also had a doctors’ prescription.

You see, George was the head pharmacist at our local Walmart, and his offer to me was to run the register at the prescription counter.

Now, before you stop reading after that anti-climax, let me share with you the reason why I told you that story, and the principal I learned from it that’s made all the difference since then.

Remember how I applied for the job at the donut counter? That was the only time I’ve ever gone looking for a job in my life.

I didn’t know it at the time, but when George saw my work and offered me something better, he was only the first in what would be a chain of many people through the years coming to me and offering me bigger and better opportunities.

There was the Photo Editor at our local newspaper who invited me to join his department, which taught me how the media industry works and gave me press access to the 2000 presidential race, the 9/11 attacks, and Super Bowl XXXV.

There was the Internet Marketing firm owner who asked me to bring my hobbyist web design skills to his company to start serving actual clients.

There was the millionaire entrepreneur who invited me to join him first as a small-business owner in his development program, then as a sales trainer and resource creator for the whole company.

The point here isn’t to toot my own horn, but simply to illustrate the power of this principle: 

When you go for what’s BEYOND, what’s BEHIND will come along.

I call this the “Go Beyond Principle,” and while it’s certainly not unique to me, applying it has had a uniquely powerful impact in my life.

You see, I never set out to be a media person, an internet marketing person, or even a sales trainer and entrepreneur.

I simply wanted to live my life and do my work (whatever it was) in such a way that genuinely changed lives, and that pursuit is what opened all the other doors for me.

I learned early on from both my family and my faith that focusing on making money can give you a fine life, but focusing on making a difference can give you a FULFILLING life…

…and the money and opportunities usually follow.

When you go for what’s BEYOND, what’s BEHIND will come along.

Of course, your rightful question is, “Great story, but how does this make MY life better?“


When you aim to “go beyond”

  • in your customer service,
  • in your product delivery
  • in whatever you offer your customers, your market, your employees or anyone else, 

you’ll discover they usually “go beyond” for you in return.

This means more loyalty from your customers and your team, more sales in your market, and more opportunities to expand and grow.

Not only that, but when you switch your goal from just making dollars to also making a difference, you’ll discover a level of satisfaction and fulfillment that most people miss out on completely.

Here’s more good news: chances are you can embrace the “Go Beyond Principle” without changing much of WHAT you’re doing at all, simply WHY and HOW you do it.

So, start looking for the “go beyond” moments in your life and business.

Look for the people whose expectations you can surpass.

Look for the needs you can meet in ways that are above and beyond your competitors.

When you do, you’ll be aiming the ship of your life in a direction that leads not only to better business, but also to bigger purpose and True Success…

…and that’s a feeling no amount of dollars, donuts or drugs can give you.



Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash


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