For Goldman, that dream was to make a success of himself — even though in the beginning, he wasn't quite sure what that would entail.
Goldman says he's often been told how lucky he is. But it takes more than just luck to achieve what he's achieved over the years, starting with his decision in 1975 to sink $3,000 into the stock of a three-store retail company called Men's Warehouse.
After attending Rutgers University, the native of Hazleton, Pa., went back home to work in his dad's hardware store.
"But I didn't seem to be growing. I was bored and wanted a taste for something else," he recalls. "So although my father was against it, my gut told me I should move on and try something else. I listened to my gut."
Moving to Houston in 1973, seeking work in advertising, and believing in himself and his abilities, Goldman accepted a mediocre job with a free advertising circular concern.
One day, he happened to meet George Zimmer, the founder of Men's Warehouse. Zimmer saw the potential in Goldman and offered him a job, but Goldman had his heart set on advertising.
"I was offered a job in an ad agency and took it, but it didn't take long for me to realize I had made a mistake," he explains.
Once gain, Goldman's gut instincts kicked in, and he went back to Zimmer, who offered to make him a partner with an option to buy $3,000 in stock — a decision Goldman has obviously never regretted.
Trust Your Gut
Today, more than 30 years and hundreds of stores later, Goldman not only looks back on his successful career, but decides to share what he learned with others struggling to find and fulfill their dreams.
To that end, he has written Luck by Design: Certain Success in an Uncertain World.
His book focuses on "how to make your own luck by making fundamental decisions and learning to trust your own gut. Also, how to learn to interact successfully with other people, remembering that everything counts, and everything you do in life is a reflection of you.
"Through my research," he continues, "I've realized that as parents, you try to do your best, but the generation of baby-boomer parents have scared their kids, telling them about how hard it is to make it in the world.
"But we have to teach kids not to be afraid or always listen to others. They have to learn how to trust themselves and do what they think is right. I think one of the keys to success is turning off the outside world. When you do that, you can learn to access your own internal self."
Admitting that he wrote his book mainly for those ages 18 to 35, Goldman says that while older readers probably have children in this age group, there is a lesson here for them as well.
And he insists that "no one is ever too old to learn and try new ideas. As I look at baby-boomers, I realize not only their kids will be entering the work place, but in this unstable world, they, too, might have to learn new tricks to keep themselves current and desirable."
Goldman's book offers topics such as getting out of your own way and how to overcome the mental blocks holding you back. He tells stories of valuing integrity over greed.
And he examines the importance of never taking the value of knowledge for granted — the secrets to overcoming problems and uncovering solutions in life and business.
"Lucky people," he concludes, "aren't born, they're made."