Two Phone Calls Lead to a Life Lived With Reckless Abandon

While researching a magazine article I was writing, I found myself talking to Scott Clemente, the president of St. Louis Park, Minnesota-based Mulberrys Garment Care. Scott had a great story about how disappointment can actually steer you toward your destiny. When he lost his job, he momentarily lost hope . . . until his dad uttered two words that sent Scott’s life spiraling off in an exciting new direction. I interviewed Scott and wrote up his story. I trust you’ll find it as inspiring and uplifting as I did.

Scott Clemente

In August 2001, I was twenty-six and working in an investment bank in London. I wanted to make a career move so I accepted a job at a private equity firm, also in London. Before beginning my new job, I took a month off to travel. While I was in Italy, September 11 happened. A week after that, I was sitting in a cafe in Bologna when I got a call from my new boss to be. He informed me that the majority of assets had been pulled from their fund and the company was shutting down. He wished me luck and hung up. Losing my job just added to the hopeless feeling I had after 9/11. 

I called my father from the cafe and recounted what had happened, lamenting my incredible bad luck. He listened for a few minutes, then told me to get over it. “Do what you love and the money will follow, “ he said. “You need to stop worrying and attack life with reckless abandon.”

I sat in that coffee shop the rest of the afternoon. I wasn’t sure what I loved to do but I knew I had loved the time I spent in Italy. In an impulsive move, I left the café, walked over to a “Language School for Foreigners” and enrolled. Over the next several months I learned Italian and had the time of my life. While there I met a guy who was about to start his own business. He offered me a job and I took it. After a year, I went back to business school so I could help run a startup instead of just working for one. It didn’t make sense financially but it was in line with the “Reckless Abandon” philosophy I had adopted. While at school I met my fiancee. She was from Minneapolis so I moved here with her after we graduated. A friend of hers in the Twin Cities had started a toxin-free dry cleaner called Mulberrys Garment Care and was looking to grow the business. I started working for him and things went great. At the beginning of 2011 I moved into the role of president.

I often think back to the day when two phone calls set off an unbelievable chain of events that culminated with me, a kid from New York, winding up in Minneapolis by way of London and Italy. My father passed away a week before I graduated from business school but not a day goes by when I don’t think of the advice he gave me. I have no idea where I’d be right now if I hadn’t followed it, but I can’t imagine being happier and more satisfied, both professionally and personally, than I am today.


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2 Responses to “Two Phone Calls Lead to a Life Lived With Reckless Abandon”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Yea! This is super helpful for where I’m at. =)

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Super glad to hear that, Rachel!

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