Looking back there was a lot to be thankful for. My faith and dependence on others was tested while I was recovering. I learned a lot (and was humbled) by working with two serial entrepreneurs. I’m now comfortable pursuing a position, then eventually swinging my business on the side. One of the highlights of 2011 was starting a monthly network event geared towards young professionals, called Career Synergy. There I’ve experienced the power of networking and met some great people I respect both professionally and personally. I look forward to 2012 with much optimism, but take time to pause and thank God for all I’ve experienced this year. What did you learn in 2011?
2011 was the year of change. New experiences forged a range of emotions, but there is much to learn from the previously unknown. Let me share with you my takeaways:
Achilles Injury: In late January I tore my left Achilles tendon playing basketball. It wasn’t painful when it happened, but immediately I knew something was wrong. After resting it for a couple of days I got a couple of opinions and if I ever wanted to play sports again, I had to have surgery. The next two months were spent in a cast and I felt helpless. I fought to be independent, but needed care especially from my wife. I figured my business would be on hold for a while, but to my amazement I was provided a couple of opportunities in the next several months.
Serial Entrepreneurs: During a monthly network event that I started at the beginning of the year, a friend who owns several companies asked if I would consider helping him out. At first I thought he was kidding, but after confirming, I took the opportunity. Limping around from meeting to meeting was a chore, yet I was able to sit with numerous entrepreneurs and hear stories that you can’t read in a book. A couple of months later I stepped down and tried a new venture, joining a sales team for a new product. Being part of a strategic new launch is exciting and tedious at the same time. In the end, both weren’t a good fit, but I took the blame for my skill set not being a good “fit” and maintained my professional and personal relationships with two men I consider business mentors.
Shift in Mindset: One of the main reasons I’ve wanted to have my own business is for freedom and flexibility of schedule. What I’ve learned over the past 4 years is businesses survive and thrive based on cash flow. Since selling isn’t a natural strength of mine I’ve been applying to university positions in hopes to land a more stable position and expand my current platform. It took me a while to tame my ego and fully pursue a job that would essentially replace my own business. I now understand what it feels like to be in my clients’ shoes (I’m a career coach). Through networking I have some leads and will continue to build my connections because that is what I believe is your greatest career asset.