Two years ago I walked into an office and didn’t know a soul. I was tasked to be the Manager of Marketing and Communications for a state-wide organization and didn’t know how to send out a press release (don’t tell them that).
I Googled a lot in my first six months on the job (“how to send out a proper press release”, “how to start a social media account”, “what does a NDA mean?”). It was the best learning experience someone could ask for. I always said ‘absolutely‘; I never said ‘no‘. I kept focused and learned as much as I could by asking questions, reading blogs or books, and asking other Marketing Managers what they did. I wanted this job so I did everything I could to not only keep it, but excel at it and make the organization grow.
Time passed and after rereading Marketing For Dummies four times, I started to know what I was doing. Like any normal office we had our differences and communication issues and after most of them got over my age (I was the “little brother” in the office) we started to connect. I connected with everyone in different ways. Some more than others, but overall every one of my teammates and I connected on some level. They all taught me something. They all showed me something new. They helped me understand things differently, and for that, all I can say to them is: Thank you.
These past two years at Special Olympics Oregon have been some of the best years of my life so far. I have met quality people, traveled to fun places and even fueled a fighter jet plane while flying mid air. I feel like I have received a masters in marketing from all the lessons and mistakes I made at SOOR. Last year I was training for the World Championship of Public Speaking and during my training all of my teammates were willing to help. They were willing to listen, provide feedback, even take a lunch break or two to hear my revised speech.Where else do you get that?
That’s what makes this transition so hard for me. After I won the World Championship of Public Speaking in August, I started to speak a lot more. I mean more than I thought and it became another full time job. I was working more than 90 hours a week for Special Olympics Oregon and AveryToday, Inc for months. No weekends. No stopping, just work and speaking.
I am all for being busy. I am all in when it comes to going for your goals but when it compromises your family dynamics and work performance it’s time to reevaluate what you’re doing. Things needed to change. I was not being the best husband I could be, I was not being the best speaker I knew I wanted to be and energy was lacking at Special Olympics Oregon.
I knew it was a time in my life to make a decision that was going to inflict massive amounts of change. Do I take the risk to leave my fantastic job with Special Olympics Oregon, my wonderful teammates, my heath insurance, my steady paycheck, my friends, the mission, the flexibility, the vacation hours, the adventures…all for trying out my public speaking career?
The answer was formed by two thoughts:
1) When I tell my son or daughter one day to go for their dreams, I want them to know that their Dad tried.
2) I am in a partnership with Chelsea. I promised her years ago we would do things together. We would make life decisions together because I want to remain together. I needed to consult with her and to see if she was willing and able to take this giant leap (or as she would say call it a run, jump and paraglide of a cliff jump) with me to take my speaking full time. If she was on board, we could do this.
After several months of talking, planning and preparing for the new changes, we decided to say yes to going for my dream to become a full time speaker. It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make, leaving my teammates at work, leaving a steady paycheck, leaving a fulfilling job. Change. Is. Hard.
In life we need to make decisions. As leaders we need to know when to take a risk and when to make things happen. I will always remember the wonderful things I learned at Special Olympics Oregon, I will never forget the people I worked with (you should have seen the details and quality they put into my going away party, it was a memory that will last a lifetime) and I am proud of what I was able to do there in my short two years. But it is time for me to take a risk. Time for me to dig deep and go for it. Go for something BIG.
What is your goal? What is your dream? What are you doing right now to make that happen and go for it? Change is hard but it is necessary. Changes must be made in order to grow and change must occur in order for you to develop.
How to Be a Speaker: Find something worth failing and excelling at and although change is hard… believe in yourself and go for it!