Once, while I was fly fishing on the Weber River, a fawn forded the river and walked up to me nestling her neck into my side. She and I stood still sharing that moment as I stroked her neck watching the morning mist rise off of the water. Autumn leaves lined the bank. I had stopped fishing. Something more purposeful was happening.
Yes, office time, spreadsheets, billing, marketing, sales, and speaking are necessary and even rewarding. Budgets, networking, and meetings are important. Yet, don’t you feel most alive when you breach the gap and connect to something larger, more purposeful? This is why I work. Living is found in the balance. The clever question “Do you live to work or work to live?” has depth in its meaning.
With changes in the economy and downturns in real estate, several years ago I reinvented my career. I returned to my roots and rekindled a lifelong dream. I forged into motivational speaking and executive coaching.
All of my life I have enjoyed building and lifting others–listening to their aspirations and helping them sort them out. Much of my background has centered on teaching, business development,sales, and networking; and all along, it was the people that drove my interest. I am fascinated by the growth and development of individuals. As early as eight years old I had taken interest in that arena.
Having completed my talk in church as a youth, a grey-haired man approached me and stated that he was the Dean of Communication at the local college. He said that I had a gift. He said that if I remembered what he had told me and pursued my college career in that direction, I would use my gift to earn a great living. He smiled and walked out of the chapel. I never saw him again. Twenty years later having received my M.Ed. degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction, I taught religious studies courses in the Church Educational System for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for eight amazing years. I then entered the business world and contributed in many related ways.
Several years ago, an acquaintance invited me to lunch. As the conversation drew toward the purpose of the meeting, he asked me if I would be interested in coaching him. “I want what you have” he said. Quite taken back by the invitation and the desired outcome, I asked “What is it that I have?” He explained that he had watched the way that I interact with others, the way I treat them. The way I listen. He stated that he desired to give respect the same way and increase his influence. I told him that I would give it some thought. Over the next few weeks, I would be approached by three other business people inviting me to coach them. One individual, Jeff Poulton, founder of Rocketmade.com, even shouted across a restaurant patio “Hey Jeff, when are you going to start your own business?” I began hearing them. “Today!” I responded enthusiastically. At the conclusion of my lunch, I walked into the office of a great man and friend Gaydon Leavitt, president of Innovation Simple, to inform him of my career shift. “What can I do to help?” he replied. ShermanSpeaks, LLC was launched.
What are you doing to slow down and listen to the dreams within you? Where are you headed? Is there something more purposeful in your life? It may not necessarily be a career change. It might be a fly-fishing trip. It might be balance within your home life. For me, seeking balance is making all of the difference. Find a quiet bank lined with autumn leaves. Stop fishing for a moment. Listen.