Career Catalyst & Inspiration

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My Career Catalyst

I spent the first 30 years of my career crawling up the ladder in public relations and advertising agencies. Despite the warning signs – the little whispers and incidents that scream, “You are in the wrong job… on the wrong path… living someone else’s life!” – I was relentless in my pursuit of getting to the top and my identity hinged on a title I worked two decades to acquire: Senior Vice President at the world’s largest PR firm.

In 2002, after ignoring all the warnings, I was finally forced to do a stop, drop and roll with a series of unfortunate events. I was diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumors that threatened to cut my life short, which triggered the loss of everything I owned and my so-called purpose. My life was saved, thanks to the brilliant neurosurgeons at Mayo Clinic. But much was lost along the path to health. Losing my house and most everything in my house paled in comparison to losing my job title. When I lost my title, I lost my identity.

Until I realized… I AM NOT A JOB TITLE.

Which led me to where I am today – living my purpose and my dreams.  The series of unfortunate events had to happen to finally wake me up and steer me to what I was born to do: bring people brands to life – bring people to life – when they know what their brand really is and choose to intentionally bring it to life… to their life.

You and everyone else already have a “brand.” You’ve been building your brand over time with every word, every action, and every impact you make on other people and in business. The question is, what happens because of you – what is your impact? Even more important, what do you want your impact to be?

I help people understand and leverage what they are known for (or want to be known for) and what happens because of that to get what they desire in work and life. Some people need a brand “refresh.” Some need to take a hard left turn, jump off the track, burn all the boats. Some simply need to know what others experience (through feedback), overcome the modesty factor, and either elevate or shine a bigger light on their greatness. Modesty, as it turns out, is often at the core of our limits – modesty can cost us the dream job and everything that comes with it.

It is an honor and privilege to help people tell their story and understand the impact. I am living the dream. I am here to share everything I learned in this life so far.

My Inspiration

Writing: It’s the gift I was given at birth. I love to help people land on the message that defines who they are at their core and their impact on others. I am at my best when helping people get clear on their impact. I come to life when I help people turn words into a compelling story.

Adventures: I take random road trips, near and far. I seek out life adventures. I am known for my quote, “Journey is a rock band. I’m on an adventure.” You can get a tee-shirt on the way out once I get it in the store!

Music. Especially live music in small venues. Blues and classic rock particularly, but I also love funk and classical. Music filters through my house and office every minute I am awake. I play records on a turntable and love hanging out it record stores. Mill City Records in Hopkins is my favorite.

Favorite musicians: The Black Crowes (now defunct, but I have hope they will reunite), Chris Robinson (former lead singer of The Black Crowes) and one of the most prolific soul singers and songwriters I’ve experienced. I love Davy Knowles (amazing blues guitarist), Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Joe Walsh, Roxy Music, Widespread Panic, Marc Ford, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan, David Gilmore, and Tedeschi Trucks Band. And hundreds more.

Favorite songs: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin and the line “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” The other is Soul Singing by The Black Crowes. Instant happyness (that is not a typo). Never gets old.

Favorite books:  Danielle LaPorte is by far my favorite career butt-kicker and Fire Starter. She is the author of Desire Map, The Fire Starter Sessions, White Hot Truth and is relentless and generous in helping people come to life. I read a chapter of The Fire Starter Sessions every single morning. Not lying. I also recommend Business Model You by the fabulous Tim Clark (a generous soul who recorded and sent a moving intro video for me for one of my big keynotes out of the goodness of his heart.) His book will rock your world with one- and two-page exercises. I read his book and do or redo an exercise every other day.  I have a big list of books I love to recommend – just ask.