Before the Beginning
Nine years is a long time, but not really. I mean it sounds long, but the last nine years have also flown by. With all that’s happened in my professional, family, and personal life there’s no wonder why it’s flown by. To get the story right, we must go back before the beginning of the last nine years.
Ten years ago, I was working in the Banking Industry as a Region Manager for First Citizens Bank. I’d been in Financial Services for 10 years and was enjoying the ride. I was approached with an opportunity to take a new role in a totally different industry and of course, I said “No.” I mean who would give up what thye were good at and making pretty good money to do something you could fail at, right?
Six months went by and I kept getting the nudge for this same position. Thoughts crossed my mind about what this new job meant for my family. How would this work though? The prospect of moving seemed so impossible. I was thinking about our family and what it meant for them. This was going to be hard.
My wife, a twin, had recently lost her mom. She was struggling mightily as anyone would. As you can imagine, the loss was compounded by the separation of her twin sister. The twin sister that just happened to live in the same city of the company that had the job I was now considering.
I prayed to God for answers and as usual, the answers were found in the harder path. I applied for the role at Electrolux, interviewed, and landed the job. There was no shortage of miracles in that last sentence either. God showed up again and again.
Amber was able to stay home with the kids (no more daycare) and they paid for the move. Within six months we were living in a home that we had built in Charlotte. A home right across the street from her twin sister’s family. I said farewell to banking along with status, power, and control.
Over the next few years, I was traveling with the company, meeting customers, developing improvements, and adding to the bottom line in a way I had not been able to in banking. My family life was improving as a result of our proximity to my wife’s twin sister.
It wasn’t all roses though. I was missing my parents terribly and that longing was compounded by guilt. My mom had moved to Augusta where I was in banking and this move meant leaving her behind and feeling very lonely. More on that in a bit.
The number of people I was meeting and learning from (some, learning what to do; some, what NOT to do) was amazing. I began to realize that all of that hubbub about “Relationship Management” in banking was actually coming in very handy here in the world of manufacturing. Creating true friendships with people was not only great for the soul, it was paying off in spades in my work.
My work got noticed and soon I was promoted to Manager, then Sr. Manager. I was leading a team that was in charge of not only making sure the future numbers looked right, but created real processes and improved the bottom line. Lots of work. Big wins.
Getting Things Right
The kids were growing so fast. My roles as a husband and father are paramount to my professional career. It is very important to me to be there for my wife and kids. Probably a part of some inner vow to not let the accolades of industry dampen the impact of a family man. My father, a great man, and provider had to trade much of his time with me to provide for me. A paradox I was desperate to bust wide open.
One day, while playing with my kids in front of the house I realized how out of breath I was. Out of breath and out of shape. I hadn’t let my intentionality with family go while climbing this new professional ladder, but I had let my body go. I was 200lbs on a five-foot-10-inch frame. That may not sound too terrible, but I was 30-40lbs overweight. I had to do something about my health if I was going to be around for them.
I got serious about my food intake and energy output and in a few months, I was 30lbs leaner, healthier, and happier. It was a tough personal journey, but I was committed to keeping it off. I joined F3 (Fitness, Fellowship, & Faith), got my nickname ;), and haven’t gone back to my unhealthy ways. The F3 organization has made a HUGE impact on my life.
Now with my personal and family life at a high and my career growing I was ready for anything. Good thing too. The next few years were tough. The leadership at the time was no big fan of mine and the challenges in the industry were plentiful. My immediate boss was an advocate and friend, but he was moving on and I felt alone. Despite those challenges, I built a team, built a sustainable process, and created the impact again.
I prayed for God to bring a “Lid Lifter” into my life, a practice mentioned in John Maxwell’s book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. God answered my prayer with a new boss.
This new boss walked in on her first day of work and caught me journaling at my desk. She asked what I was doing and when I told here journaling you should have seen her face. We were going to be friends, she assured me, as journaling was a practice of hers as well. She was becoming certified as a Life Coach and was willing to do some pro bono work. Dreaded thoughts of a new boss turned to excitement as this friendship was born, Somehow I knew I had a lot to learn from this lady.
Over the next three years, I too became certified as a coach and began to see the impact that getting your personal life straight can have. That coupled with the family improvements, and leadership development I was getting in F3 I could see things coming into clear focus.
I began coaching during that time on nights and weekends. I built a leadership training course from my personal experiences that develop The Leader Within ™ through a focus on Personal, Family, and Professional development (in that order). There was no shortage of personal challenges to overcome to get there, but I was training, developing, and unlocking leaders. The impact of the leaders I worked with was astounding. They were mending relationships, building strong bonds, developing careers, leading themselves, growing their sales, launching businesses, and a ton more. I was truly feeling fulfilled. That’s when I realized it…
My long-term mission is to create an impact in the world by developing leaders. That means another hard road ahead. God put it in my heart to develop a coaching and consulting business that develops strong leaders and sustainable processes.
As much as I loved the people and the work, I needed to move on from Electrolux in order to advance forward in my strategy. I thought that meant leaving planning cold-turkey, but God had different plans. God answered my prayers once again by providing the opportunity to work with my old boss. My champion and advocate from earlier in my career had moved on to another company, iFit and was doing the work I loved. The relationship building, team building, and process development work we did before at Electrolux.
If I could do that work now with the added experience and training that would be amazing. Looks like God has done it again. He provided a path for that to happen. I joined the iFit team and am very excited about the new adventures. I cannot wait to meet the new team and get going. To work with a company that has a mission of self-improvement aligns with my core values. Now that I’ve learned a thing or two, I realize how important that is for me. The value and alignment is so important for me, my family, and the impact I create.
Ready for More
There will be challenges of course. I know I will miss things with my family in this new world of remote-ish working. That is going to hurt me a lot. I also know from own my personal development work that it’s really about the engagement and intentionality you have with your family that matter most; not the amount of time. The value lies in the experiences and connections you have.
This new adventure is clearly another step in the journey. This step is also one that is necessary for the long-term vision of being a business owner in the coaching and training world.
As I took the picture in this post, a wash of feelings came over me. Joy, gratitude, peace, understanding, relief, and a sense of a job well done. Sure, the team I’m leaving still has challenges to face. I do know the team I’m leaving behind can handle whatever comes their way.
I’m very proud of how this team has developed. I know they’re up for the challenge. As for me, bring it on.