I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve been reading something, or talking to someone, or perhaps just simply daydreaming about something different I might do to make a living. The daydreaming part is pretty simple for me. It was always about sports … team sports specifically. I still to this day can’t fathom what it would feel like to be a part of a world-class championship team, like the German national soccer team which just one the World Cup minutes before I started to write this post.
I do recognize that as fantasy, as I’m not that gifted an athlete. But it has occurred to me on occasion that I may define my realm of work too tightly. I might see other people working at things that catch my interest deeply, or I might harken back to my teenage years when I was more idealistic about what a career might be and wonder what would have happened if I actually had become a marine biologist.
I have a colleague who is a highly successful technical consultant in the IT world. When I first met him, he was a finishing carpenter. I was co-leading a small but highly technical IT services company when a customer asked me to interview him. You can imagine my skepticism. “You want me to consider hiring a finishing carpenter to be an enterprise storage management consultant?” The only answer I got was “you need to talk to this guy”.
Fast forward one week and one interview and I was sitting in my partner’s office answering the question: “You want me to consider hiring a finishing carpenter to be an enterprise storage management consultant?” After one more interview, we decide to employ him because we just knew from his own quiet faith in himself that he would be successful.
My guess is that he was a bit concerned by his greatly reduced income at first … we had told him that we thought we would have to invest in training him for at least six months before we could start to get a return on our investment. But lo and behold! Within three months he had proven to us that he could provide value to our clients and was billing at a good rate allowing us to make a profit. His successful career as an IT consultant and blogger with good following was launched!
That was several jobs ago for me, but when the opportunity came to have this same
man join my current company I was his most enthusiastic supporter. He’s been with us for five years now and it is so great to still be associated with him.
My question for all of us is: can we also believe in ourselves as my friend did when he traded in his miter saw and air gun and become a much sought after storage consultant? What would that take? What would need to happen for each of us to believe in ourselves that much?
I don’t often stop to congratulate myself, but I certainly do when I think of my initial decision to take a chance on this guy. It has paid off many times over! What I wonder is whether it was a stroke of genius or a stroke of luck.
How attuned am I as a leader to those talents of my team members beyond their assigned responsibilities? What would it take for me to see everyone for their potential using a wide-angle lens? How can I encourage more people to speak their dreams and then encourage them, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard, to “make it so”!
Here’s the really amazing thing for those that read my post last week. This post is once again about my colleague Pierre Dorion … a person with no self-imposed limits. Pierre you amaze me with how you innately know how to be all you can be!
4 thoughts on “Professional Makeover”
That is a pretty amazing story. I read a similar story about the guy who invented the touch screen for iPads / iPhones whose idea was initially rejected by Apple executives but he sat out in the corridor and waited until he could show his idea to Steve Jobs personally.
Success stories like that do make you feel you can make a success of any of your dreams. However, it does help a lot if there is at least one other person who has faith in you.
BTW, marine biology is a difficult career as it largely relies on government funding for research.
Thank you for your thoughts! I agree that it helps when others have faith. That is the redponsibility of leaders. The most important part is that the individual believes in themselves and who they are.
Way to go Pierre!
My question for all of us is: can we also believe in ourselves as my friend did when he traded in his miter saw and air gun and become a much sought after storage consultant? I love this question. And I want to believe in myself at this level. You’ve given me something to think about once again Ian!
Happy Sunday! 😀
Thanks Diana. I believe we all have this capability in ourselves. It is often a matter of stepping out of our comfort zone into the learning zone to see what’s possible!
On Sun, Jul 20, 2014 at 9:21 AM, Leading Essentially wrote: