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. Even worse, 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 after a series of unfortunate events. I was diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumors. My life was saved, thanks to the brilliant neurosurgeons at Mayo Clinic. But much was lost along the path to recovery. Losing my house and most everything in it paled in comparison to losing my job title. When I lost my title, I lost my identity and my purpose.
Until I realized… I AM NOT A JOB TITLE.
Which led me to where I am today – living the dream of helping others realize their dream. 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 – through the power of their personal brand and impact.
You already have a “brand.” You’ve been building it over time with every word, action, and impact you make, intentionally or not. The question is, what happens because of you – what is your impact on people and business? What do you want it to be?
This is what I do – help people understand and leverage what they are known for (or want to be known for) and the impact it makes – on purpose. Some people need a brand “refresh.” Some need to take a hard left turn, jump off the track, or burn all the boats and start from scratch. Some simply need to know what others experience (through feedback), overcome the modesty factor, and either elevate or shine a bigger light on what differentiates them from others. 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 their impact. I am living the dream. I am here to share everything I learned in this life so far.
Writing: It’s the gift I was given at birth. I love to help people articulate what they are known for and their impact on others and 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.”
Music. Especially live music in small venues. Blues and classic rock particularly, but I also love funk and southern rock. Music filters through my house and office every minute I am awake. I play records on a turntable and love hanging out in record stores. Mill City Records in Hopkins is my favorite.
Favorite musicians: The Black Crowes and lead singer Chris Robinson – a prolific, soulful singer-songwriter. I love The Samples, Marcus King Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Davy Knowles, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Joe Walsh, Roxy Music, Marc Ford, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, and David Gilmore. 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.” Soul Singing by The Black Crowes.
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 also recommend Business Model You by the fabulous Tim Clark (a generous soul who recorded and sent a moving intro video 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.