Following 14 years in a wide variety of roles in a wide variety of industries, I entered the worlds of entrepreneurship and consulting 20 years ago. Experience and many of you have taught me a lot over those years.
My Dad, who hated his job but couldn’t leave it with 4 hungry kids to support, taught me to never be in the position he was in. Live in a way where you always maintain freedom of choice on everything important to you. With that knowledge, I left the “safety” of traditional employment for the “uncertainty” of running my own business, and have never looked back. For each of us, real security is in our skills, knowledge, work ethic, and respect for others. It is not in the hands of anyone else.
My first clients taught me that I didn’t have to know everything; I only had to be honest with myself about what I did and did not know, and willing to learn about the latter. They helped me understand that client and consultant are a team working for common purpose in a mutually beneficial alliance. Any other relationship between client and consultant is simply wrong. I will never forget that.
Professional associates along the way taught me new ways to think, to interact, and to learn. They’ve helped round out my skill set in ways that continue to benefit both me and my clients. I am a much better person and professional today than I would have been without them.
Every client helped, every plant visited, every workshop and conference attended, every “you ought to know him/her” meeting, and every volunteer role accepted has further developed my vision, awareness, empathy, and listening skills.
Twenty years into this adventure, I thank each of you, while eagerly moving toward the experiences yet to come. I hope your ride is as enjoyable.