My head was throbbing. I could hardly breathe. I felt weak.
It was my first day as a self-employed person.
I was in the middle of a wicked bout of pneumonia, and at that point, all I knew was that I no longer could keep up the grueling pace of full-time corporate manager by day and non-profit Executive Director and martial arts instructor by night and weekend.
I had no idea that the choice to get back to good health would lead to some of the most exhilarating years of my life.
In fifteen years, my path has led me from consultant to large corporations to coach to hundreds of individuals wanting career change, to teacher to thousands who want to start a business, to author and speaker about leading in the new world of work.
I have learned a few things in these fifteen years, and most have nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of business plans.
Your biggest weakness can become your greatest asset.
Let’s face it, I am a hippy. I like to do good in the world. I like to build meaningful relationships. I reduce, reuse and recycle. And I believe in reciprocity — giving at least as much as I get. At various stages in my career, mentors have chided me for not being more “hard,” caring less about impact and more about the bottom line. I have carefully weighed their advice and made significant shifts in my sales process and business strategy to make sure I am getting good value back for my investment in energy. I have also learned that focusing on more than the “hard” side of business has been a tremendous strategic advantage as I have built a large community of friendly, supportive blog readers and clients who care as much about making meaning in the world as they do about making money. My friend Dave Rendall calls this your Freak Factor in his excellent book of the same name.
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