I've heard many people say that they want to give their children more than they had growing up. That never entered my mind. I grew up poor and I grew up fine.

When I was in middle school, I had two pairs of jeans. I would wear one pair to school, while my mom was washing the other pair for the next day. I see too many children just handed stuff for nothing. Here's a fancy car--here's this or that - and the kids just turn into useless losers.

As both a CEO and a father, I'm a big believer in tough love. I challenged my son, Danny, from the very beginning and he will tell you that I made him work for everything. If he wanted to go to the amusement park with his friends, I would never just hand over money. I made him do chores, like mow the lawn, to earn his own way.

I want my children, my franchisees, and all of my employees to understand the value of hard work and a winning attitude.

Be Like Julio

When Danny was 5 years old, watching his soccer games were like watching a swarm of bees. The only two players that sometimes stayed in position were the goalies. The others ran around the field, wearing their shin guards, kicking each other.

Danny shied away from that (acting like a wimp, like most of the kids on the team) because he didn't want to get kicked. So I would try to bribe him to be more aggressive by paying him 25 cents every time he just touched the ball.

Danny went from milquetoast to maniac in middle school, and I believe I have a kid named Julio Rodriguez to thank for that. By this time, Danny switched from soccer to basketball and there was this crazy scrapper, Julio, who dominated the court.

As parents, we couldn't take our eyes off of him. He wasn't the biggest kid on the team or the fastest, but he would rather die than lose. You see it in players like Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman,  a win- or die-trying attitude. Julio had that. He was fanatically committed to winning on the basketball court and I used to tell Danny, "look at Julio, watch Julio, be like Julio." Danny finally got it.

Winning is a choice: to focus, work harder than anyone, and become a crazy scrapper in the game of basketball or the game of business. Just like Julio.

My favorite phrase in the whole world is, "only losers need excuses," so I try to never give excuses for any mistake I make.

When I do something wrong, I own up to it and learn to make better decisions the next time. I don't bother giving excuses. Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser because they've had so much practice.

I'm incredibly driven and I'm a horrible loser. I think this is fairly common among people who are successful. When you set out on a path to achieve something, in my opinion, you either win or you lose. There is the joy of winning or the despicable, loathing feeling of losing. To me, the joy of winning is great-;but it's not as emotional. On a scale of 1-to-10, winning is an emotional 8, but losing is a 10 because it's so much worse to lose. It's more emotional for me to lose. So I'm being driven twice-;the joy of winning and the loathing of how I feel when I lose.

How will you play like Julio in your business?

Becoming a small business owner in 1982, I had a win- or die-trying attitude. Perseverance is the number one most important ingredient in success. My family's future was on the line, as well as our investors' money.

This was game time on a whole different level.

As I look back on those first five years as a business owner, I realize that we were all passionate, intense scrappers playing a game that naysayers told us we would never win. In the game of business, we were like Julio, fighting for our place at the top. Win or die trying. No excuses.

How can you be like Julio to win your game? Only losers need excuses. Lose the excuses and find your success.

Published on: May 17, 2016
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