Tuesday, March 17, 2015

There's only one direction to go

Those of you who are friends, already know this. The rest of you are probably new to my blog.

Over the past year, I have been recruited no fewer than 9 times for other companies, at a salary quite a bit more than what I am currently making.

Every single time, I say, "No, thanks".

It's funny how life works isn't it?

When I was growing up, my goal in life wasn't to be the world's greatest suit salesperson. For years, I worked in corporate America.

I worked in financial services for over 10 years. I worked at a bank and then Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab.

During the start up internet boom, I made the jump to start up tech companies. I worked at one that is still around but very very small and another went out of business entirely.

After the start up bust, I moved to another high tech company, completely different product/service offering than I had been doing.

At every single job, I was frustrated. I felt like I was working well beneath my abilities. I absorbed every bit of information that I could, but still, I couldn't get ahead. No matter what I did, I was never selected for the big projects. I was always passed over by men. (The company that I worked did a ton of work with the military. I had engineers at the Pentagon and in the Towers during 9.11. This company was very old school and only had about 30% women on staff, and those women were primarily in HR).

The straw at the last company was finding out that a guy with a high school diploma and less experience was making the same amount of money that I was. To pour salt on the wound....I hired this guy. I had 10 years experience and an MBA.

When I found out, I left within a few months with no job lined up.

I look back now, 11 years later and realize that everything I went through was to put me where I am today.....at the helm of a company that has been growing at over +150% for the past few years.

At the time, I didn't know it. I never saw myself as a business owner or entrepreneur.

When I worked at those other companies, I had no idea how valuable those experiences would be in building my own company. In those positions, I'd learned about handling and investing money. I learned how to write code. I learned how to manage projects. I learned how to deal with difficult situations. I learned how to talk to engineers (which is an art form in itself).

Most importantly, I learned where my strengths and weaknesses were. I had strengths that were suffocated under job titles, and I had weaknesses that were hidden under job titles.

They both became exposed when we started this company. I wouldn't have it any other way. I know what I'm good at. I know what I'm BRILLIANT at. I know where I need to hire people to handle those things that I'm not at all good at.

Where you are now isn't where you will end up. It's a small piece of the pie. If you have BIG dreams and want to make them real, that means taking BIG risks. Not everyone is comfortable doing that.

The way I saw it, when I left the other company, I had hit rock bottom. I was an emotional mess.

BUT.....when you are at the bottom, there's only one direction you can go.

I had a level of desperation that I had never felt before. I was going to make this new company work and blow away everyone. I have a survival mechanism that if it could be tested....it would probably be off the charts.

I haven't felt that level of desperation again.....until now.....in a different way.

It's not a chip on my shoulder. It's a matter of wanting something so bad, you're willing to do things that few other people are willing to do.

Like my job, I look back now,10 years after starting triathlon and realize that every thing that I've gone through has put me where I am today, heading to the starting line of the AG National Championship.

THAT'S how I feel about qualifying for the AG World Championships.