From a very young age I realized that I was never one to follow the pack. I would often describe myself as a loner to a certain degree; I knew to set goals, I figured out a path to get to those goals and I would never let anyone else distract or influence me in ways that would cause me lose focus and deviate from that path. This has been a common theme in both my professional and personal life for as long as I can possibly remember.
As an example, anybody who knows me well will agree that I’ve always been very curious as to the way things work in the world. When I was a child I had gone through many different obsessions learning about the inner workings of various things – locomotives, planes, telephones, cars, computers, you name it. I always possessed a need to know how the world around me operated and never would I just accept others telling me “that’s just the way it works” and that it was too complicated to figure out. I would do whatever it took to get the answers to the questions I had.
Fast forward to middle school and high school years, this need only intensified. I remember re-wiring my family home in order to install a business class data network and office phone system just because it was intriguing and fun for me to figure out. As I became older and more capable, I started to take full advantage of this knowledge and began applying it to make something useful of it. As a result, by the time my friends were struggling to find first time jobs as store clerks and grocery baggers, I decided this wasn’t an option for me – doing work I wasn’t interested in, working for someone else for minimum wage. This led me to establish a business of my very own which subsequently charted out a clear path for college and future career, working on projects and initiatives far bigger than myself.
As my career progresses, not only am I of course gaining more and more valuable work experience but I continue to notice just how my mindset has evolved with respect to approaching challenges and addressing them in the most efficient ways possible, even challenges completely outside the domain of business. For example I’ve learned that nearly every situation you find yourself in, even the most unfavorable ones, can still present you with a new opportunity of some kind. From a tragic situation – resilience and motivation to influence change. From failure – valuable insight and important lessons learned. From rejection – a chance for deep reflection and re-evaluation. For me, this mindset has given me the confidence to face substantial challenges and to make critical decisions in high pressure situations. It’s also quickly taught me the value of identifying and taking calculated risks in scenarios where they count the most, embracing key opportunities and diligently acting upon them when they present themselves with the purpose of archiving the greatest outcome. I personally found this approach to be very effective in ensuring I reach my goals and determining where to set my sights for the future.
One other key concept that continues to serve as a cornerstone of my thought process and how I conduct myself is the idea of perspective. After a while, you begin to realize the world really is a big place, filled with different people, different cultures, different beliefs and an endless number of ideas. Through collaborating and just casually conversing with people over the years, you very quickly realize just how valuable having someone else’s input and viewpoint on a given topic can lend to your own understanding, foster out-of-the-box thinking and promote new innovative approaches in doing things. No matter what stage you’re at in life, it’s an inevitability you will encounter others you disagree with and have indifferences with. I find it’s absolutely critical to be respectful of these indifferences and always remaining open to learning more about why someone sees something differently. It provides you with a chance to enlighten others with your views and vice versa. If nothing else, it may provide an opportunity to further expand your own perspective, refine your comprehension and perhaps even adopt a whole new viewpoint yourself.
At the end of the day, finding fulfillment in what you do, establishing a set of core values and finding those things you are most passionate about are what really count. In my opinion this is what enables us to do what we do with passion, do it sustainably and provides the motivation to keep striving for bigger better goals each and everyday.