Thanks to Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership team for a new QBQ! interview!
Lowell, a frustrated headhunter, said to me, “John, do you think Enrico loves black, fizzy water???”
It was 1985 and he was trying to sell me on accepting a specific sales position. I was 27, still with my first employer after graduating from Cornell in 1980, and none-too-happy.
I spent most days staring at my watch. 🙁
What Lowell was asking me was, did I really believe the CEO of Pepsi’s beverage division—Roger Enrico, a famous executive at the time—wakes up dreaming of … Pepsi?
I didn’t know.
But I did know this: I would never wake up dreaming of …
Plastic grocery bags.
Yes, this headhunter wanted me to take a job selling what was a brand new item in 1985.
I’m not saying it wasn’t right for somebody. It just surely wasn’t right for me.
Days later, a man named Jim offered me a position selling sales and management training to corporations. I wasn’t sure what it entailed, but the product intrigued me and I was ready for the challenge of pursuing, persuading, and phoning busy, hard-charging, pinstripe-suit and cufflink adorned executives!
It was, after all, the ‘80s.
When I called my father—coach and pastor Jimmy—1,200 miles away in Ithaca, N.Y. to inform him I was leaving The Big Company in Minneapolis to sell training, he asked, “What will you be doing?”
“Well, Dad, as I understand it, I’ll be calling on people all day long who don’t want to talk to me.”
After a pause, Mr. Optimist himself brightly offered, “Well, son, I think you’ll be very good at that!”
So, with my 25-year-old wife, Karen, saying GO FOR IT!—I am forever thankful for her encouragement—I left the security of salary and benefits, and with two little girls under three, accepted Jim’s offer of the “job.”
The job that became the career that evolved into my life’s work. And here’s exactly what happens for those who do find their “life’s work”:
Mondays become Fridays and Fridays become Mondays and Hump Days are gone forever!
Are you still searching for your life’s work? If so, let’s explore my story to see what might be in it to help you.
4 Key Words:
Timing: I was 27 and had five years behind me of sitting at a desk bored out of my mind, living with corporate politics, and being “the victim” of some inept people management. I was ready to bolt. Plus, Karen had a secure job as an RN—so the TIMING was awfully good for the Millers.
Trust: I trusted Jim at “hello” and by signing on, I found the skilled people manager I sought, as well as a life mentor. I trusted Karen’s instincts, my dad’s wisdom, and myself. And, to take this much risk, Karen and I needed to be trusting in God’s plan. Life is just too difficult to navigate without TRUST.
Talent: I had the natural ability—combined with endless energy—to succeed. With training, I could cold-call, sell, and pursue prospects—relentlessly. I was able to deal with sales rejection. I could train and teach, too. I didn’t have the aptitude to be a CPA, engineer, or dentist—but I did possess the raw TALENT to succeed in the training industry.
Thrilling: Yes, a strong word, but days can be long when they’re dull. The only time I felt thrilled getting paid prior to selling training was when working at a funeral home during college. I definitely found that THRILLING feeling again closing executives on training sales and conducting the sessions. Trust me, that thrill never existed behind that corporate desk. I’d found something I could believe in.
Making It Practical: 4 Key Questions for Finding a Career You Believe In
Okay, so … if your Mondays are blue, you’re waiting for Hump Day, and you live for the weekend, here are 4 critical questions to ask:
Timing: Is it the right time for me (loved ones, too) to make a life change?
Trust: Do I have trust in myself/others—and enough faith—to incur the risk?
Talent: My God-given aptitude makes me best-suited to do _______________?
Thrilling: What “work” would be so exciting I’d never watch the clock again?
Which question is the most critical for you right now?
If you’ve found your “life’s work,” tell us your story!