As a child, I was that kid who got excited about selling gift wrap, chocolate bars and magazines to raise money for school. Admittedly, I was always beaten by the kid whose parents just dropped the list off at their work and crushed me in sales.
Meanwhile, I went from door to door trying to sell what I could to make a difference. I loved starting businesses. I set up lemonade stands, ran car washes, mowed lawns, started a sign company and opened a rad 80s DJ company.
What motivated me to make sales and run my own businesses wasn’t profit. It was people. I love talking to people, working with people, giving people what they want and making a sale that satisfies them. As an adult, the consulting business continues to be less about the sale and more about helping clients solve tough problems. It’s also about creating a workplace where people can develop into their best, most genuine selves.
The same urges I felt as a child drove me even when I worked for others. I spent a good portion of my early career at a large consulting firm. As my tenure grew, the question of my ability to become a partner came up. The partner I worked for said he didn’t think I had what it took, which surprised me. But I listened to him and convinced myself he was right.
Hold On to Your Dreams
A few years later, I left that firm and went to work for amazing people who believed I could bring in business and gave me chances to prove myself. Motivated and energized, I went back to doing what made me happy. I met people, talked about the challenges they faced, then delivered what I sold. Backed by an amazing team that shared my vision of successful consulting, I ended up closing millions in deals. I was back to being the guy I always knew I was at my core: someone who loves making clients happy and creating a workplace where remarkable teams thrive.
Who Are You at Your Core?
Today, as the CEO of Rivet, I sometimes reflect on how I got where I am. Sure, I’m here because I’m creative and passionate about what I do, hate the word “no,” talk a lot, prefer to not follow the standards, like to try new things and relationships are critical to me. But deep down, the real reason I’m where I am today is because someone gave me the opportunity to be my genuine self.
I like to think I’m paying the universe back by creating a workplace where others can be who they are, too. I hope you’re working for someone who values who you are at your core. And if not, I encourage you to do what I did – find someone who does. You alone know better than anyone what you need to be your genuine self.