I don’t know about you, but I am becoming more reflective and sentimental as I get older. Here’s my story, what I have learned and why it just may matter to you.
This weekend my wife and I were cleaning up the downstairs office. I came across some papers that reminded me about the weird and wonderful journey I’ve been on the past few years.
The papers were in a binder from the Province of Manitoba's Self-Employment Program (run by the YMCA) I completed about five years ago. It listed the various attendees, and coaches they were assigned to work with. I could have been assigned any of the coaches, but fortunately for me, I was paired with Frank Atnikov of Frank Growth Solutions. Before I go further and explain why this is so key, I want to go back in time.
In 1994 I joined a young group of professionals at a new company, Sprint Canada. Over the next many years, I learned a lot about sales and leadership while working with so many great people here in Winnipeg and across the country. One of those people was the Founder & CEO of Envision Group International, Pat Lipovski in Calgary.
Fast forward to 2009 and I am looking for a change. Well into my early 40’s, and after 15 years in the telecom industry, I sensed I needed to do something different if I was going to grow professionally. Pat knew that his former sales leader at Sprint Canada moved on to become the National Director of Sales at KPMG – one of the big four global accounting firms. Pat informed me that KPMG was looking for a Director of Business Development. I managed to land the position, but with it came LOTS of uncertainty and trepidation. I didn’t know if I had what it takes to be effective in this role and was pretty sure I was in over my head. Oh, and I hate failure… so there’s that.
I worked hard in this role for three years and came to realize that I could in fact be effective in the role. It was tough and challenging, and it stretched me way beyond my comfort zone. I figure I grew as much in three years at KPMG as I did in 15 years at Sprint Canada. In the process, I learned a great deal about different aspects of business and professional services. Again, I met a lot of terrific people, including TDS’ Director of Client Services Mark Howe. A couple of years later Mark and I started an informal business networking and referral group, meeting monthly with a great group of local professionals.
Now it’s late 2015 and I am trying to figure out what I want to do ‘when I grow up’. One of the people in our business group, President/Founder of 6P Marketing Paul Provost, suggested I go out on my own and look into Manitoba’s Self Employment Program. And that’s where I met Frank Atnikov. We both liked working with nonprofits and felt we could help some of them by providing foundational sales and marketing training. Together, we built 2 unique ½ day training programs to support non-profits by giving them valuable tools for improved sales and marketing results.
I was nervous, again, but with some hard work and support from Frank, it went well and I realized:
The last few years have been a fun, rewarding, challenging, nerve-wracking, humbling, exciting and an incredible learning experience. Further, if you would have told me five years ago that I would be doing leadership and sales training and coaching, primarily within the energy sector, while spending most of the last year working ‘virtually’ from home in a nice shirt and pj pants (ok you didn't need to know that part), I would have thought you were wildly misinformed.
If that wasn’t enough, kicking off my own local practice at SBD Growth Strategies has given me even more to be excited and nervous about. But y’know what? I know I am going to make it work out. Someway, somehow I always have and I have the confidence to do it again. I think...
You may be thinking ‘great story Scott but what’s your point’? The point is:
Enjoy the journey, learn from others, focus on YOUR professional development, don’t be afraid to seek help along the way and if you’re wondering if you can do it, you probably can.
Good luck and here’s to a great 2021.