I have known Peter for a few years now and one of the most sincere and genuine person I know. Very astute and knowledgeable about the industry, he is one of the very few individuals I hold in high regard. He has a story worth sharing so here we go:
Hey Peter, can you briefly tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the ultimate Gemini in that I am equally creative and analytical, good natured and evil genius, hard-working and playful…and actually a twin. I love sports, the outdoors, summer, amazing beer/wine and cigars as semi-aficionado, and especially being with my two daughters, Jessica (8) and Amanda (5). I was born and raised in Queens and Long Island, the latter where I live today.
Do you think you achieved everything in Life or do you believe in saying “there are miles to go before I sleep”?
While I am very happy with my life, I do believe work is never done. I am a “type A” in work and a “type B” in fun, going back to the Gemini theory. It is hard for me to rest if I know there is work to be done and shouldn’t be put off until the next day. This goes for business and private life. The sight of a “bold” (unread) email before turning in, or open items on a post-it note can be frustrating. You have to enjoy life, but you have to get things done – this helps fuel my sense of accomplishment.
What was the turning point of your life?
I’d say I have a few major turning points. When I was 17, a (hit and run) sedan cut off our car, forcing us into a telephone pole, in which I was sitting in the front passenger seat. I have a large scar across my forehead and jaw (which was broken) and took several months to heal. Then I would say 10 years ago giving up a Fortune 500 job full time to stop moonlighting as an affiliate. And most recently, having two daughters, as previously mentioned. All of the above taught me to be humble, realize that life can change in the blink of an eye, and nothing you have is a given if you don’t continue to preserve and enjoy it. Above all, just have fun and be a wisea$$ as much as possible. I don’t want to be cliché, as I disagree that you can’t always “take life too seriously” since we all get caught up in our worlds. But one thing I do is make sure to inject humor into even the tensest situations.
In your struggling days, did you ever think of giving-up?
Never. I really have a strong distaste for quitters. If you try your best and fall, so be it. I respect anyone as long as they try their best – same goes for the kids even with food. But if quit before you start, or because challenges present themselves, then you are the 99% of the world that those Occupy Wall Street protesters mentioned. I prefer to be the 1%. Sometimes tenacity can be too much, be it people, offers, sports, etc., but I’d rather be too much than too little. Success can be mild or great, doesn’t matter – either way it is success.
How has life changed after touching the feet of success?
Success really hasn’t changed me personally. I am not into material things. As an example, I have 2 cars for our family that are both 10 years old. On a mental level it helps me be more confident knowing that I can apply that success recipe into other things. The fact that I have the ability to help myself and others try their best – and hopefully succeed – is a great feeling.
What are your qualities that make yourself different from other?
I think the way I apply humor to ever situation, even really awful ones, makes me very different. I can diffuse a situation as easily as I can start it. Also, the fact that I push others to work as hard as I do (lead by example) and get my hands dirty, then be the first one to lead the troops out to a party scene as rare. I have boundless energy. As I like to say, G-d didn’t give me height, but he gave me a lot of energy.
Which personality/figurehead has influenced you and your life? And how?
I have never been into real role modeling. I’d say if I had to target anyone that has made me think differently, it would be my grandma Celia. She died almost a decade ago, but took care of me most of my life. She had so many ailments and surgeries and laughed in the face of pain and suffering, never complained once. Any time I have a bad situation I think of her words “Peter, I have all these issues and pain, but who am I going to give it to?” Basically she taught me to deal with the worst of things and shut my mouth, and appreciate the finer things.
Which is your favorite quote and why?
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana. I feel like I quote this every other month. Too many people claim that you shouldn’t live in the past. I agree with that, but you should never forget it. It rings true in personal and professional life. I never forget where I came from, the good and bad times, and the fact this separates us from the rest of Earth’s inhabitants. Learning isn’t studying books, it is application. Utilize what you studied and don’t just memorize, recall that the stove is hot when you put your hand on it, that you drank too much and got sick, or that you enjoyed helping the homeless at the holidays. All situations teach us something and we should apply the best of it to future situations.
You are involved with some charitable organizations, can you tell us a bit about them and more importantly how you decided on that particular one?
I used to do a lot more charity work but still participate, including donating to societies like MS and Breast Cancer, walkathons, Adopt-a-Highway, tutoring underprivileged kids, interviewing prospect for my college, and donating clothes to good will like St Vincent de Paul, Lupus, and Veterans. My favorite one has to be tutoring children that come from difficult homes. They really need a parental figure and you can see this in their wildness. You can also see that they are smart and want to learn, so trying to structure them and force them to focus after years of bad habits is a challenge that both sides eventually appreciate. Then seeing them do better in school is the icing on the cake. Sometimes it’s even easier than dealing with your own children!
Hey Peter, your participation in this interview will not only help me to enrich my personnel blog but bring to light your achievements to everyday people and hopefully inspire them as it did me. Thank you so much! Here’s to an inspired life, and as I always say – Be Good. Do Spectacular.