This has been an interesting week. I’m back working with my friends in Asheville, North Carolina talking to advertisers about using my creative services for their ad campaigns. I learn so much from the business owners I meet. Every once in awhile I meet someone who opens up and tells me what they really want to do has very little with what they’re doing presently. When prodded their frustration bursts through their veneer like a chick out of it’s shell. This week I met three such people.
The conversations went something like this:
“I’m doing ‘X,’ but what I want to do is ‘Y.’”
“Why aren’t you doing Y?”
There’s usually a reason or two, maybe an excuse given. I understand completely. Four years ago I was doing X dreaming of doing Y myself.
On September 15th 2005 I quit my day job and became one of Roy Williams’ Wizard Partners. Occasionally, an acquaintance or ex-employee will comment about how “Lucky” I am to be doing what I want, where I want every day. “Luck” has nothing to do with it. Being willing to take baby steps toward achieving big dreams has everything to do with it.
Madison, Wisconsin October 2000 – The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association brings Roy Williams in to speak to Radio Salespeople and Managers. I’d read some of Roy’s articles and skimmed “Wizard Of Ads,” but seeing it live was something else. I remember calling my wife on the cell phone on the drive back home telling her that I needed to spend $3,000 we didn’t have to go to a place called Buda, Texas for three days. One look when I walked through the door told her I wasn’t kidding.
Buda, Texas November 2000 – The Wizard Academy – 3 days that shook my world. I sat in front of 14 brilliant people who would become friends and told them that, “I think I’d like to have my own advertising business someday.”
Sometime in early 2002 my boss, Kira asked me what I’d do if I could do anything. Simple answer, “Give up managing 12 salespeople, and takeover management of the radio station’s creative services division. Three months later we completed the transition.
For the next two years I had the unbelievable fortune to travel around the country meeting hundreds of business people helping those I could to improve their advertising, and offering as much free marketing advice as anyone cared to take. One thing was clear; advising was a heck of a lot more fun than selling or managing.
October 2004 – I became one of the first 25 Wizard Partners without much of an idea of what to do next so I kept traveling, working with any radio station managers who got the concept of helping their clients build brands.
Chicago, IL December 15th, 2005 – The O’Hare Hilton. The CEO of the company I worked for asked why I was writing ads for stations he didn’t own. I had permission but he said I shouldn’t do that anymore. Put a fork in it boys and girls. That was the moment it became a matter of when not if I was going to go do my own thing.
Nine months to the day (hmm never thought of it that way before) I received my last direct deposit from the radio guys and completed that stage of my career evolution.
I’m still working with a select number of brilliant radio station managers (I’d mention their names but it would embarrass them) and am building up a list of clients that I consult. I have room for a few more clients if you’re interested.
Where are you in your career? Are you doing exactly what you want to be doing, if not, why not?
It seems that people almost need permission to follow their dreams. So here it is. If you have big dreams and are willing to take baby steps to get there I give you permission on behalf of everyone else on earth.