It’s Time to Dream Big
So for this week’s InspiredWork Inspiration, I wanted to share with you my takeaways from Trumps’ victory and Acceptance Speech. Whether you are an American or not or voted for Trump or not, I hope you find these insights useful.
InspiredWork Takeaways on Trump’s Victory Speech
1. The World is Constantly Changing and Creating New Opportunities
Only 10 days ago, the American press forecasted that there was no way that Donald Trump could win. All the polls indicated that Hillary Clinton would win easily. The media also claimed that Hillary Clinton was so sure of winning the election that she was busy selecting her Cabinet and preparing for her transition as the next President. But, as is so often the case, life happened. All of a sudden, the world changed and Donald Trump won the election.
Let us view Trump’s victory as a fresh reminder that the world is constantly changing and creating new opportunities. If you have lost your job, then remember that you won’t be out of work forever. The world is changing and creating new opportunities all the time. This can be an encouraging and inspiring thought to both job seekers and entrepreneurs.
2. It’s Time to Come Together and Seek Partnership
In Trump’s speech, he says, “It is time for us (Americans) to come together as one united people.” Later in the speech, he promises to the world community that “we will deal fairly with everyone…we will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.”
I sincerely hope that this will happen. All of us could benefit from more unity and more partnership, especially after this election. But, I also believe this is another fundamental career success principle. After all, business is a team sport. Whether you are an employee, job seeker or entrepreneur, it’s all about teamwork, building win-win relationships and delivering value.
3. It’s Time to Dream Big and Realize Your Full Potential
The third and most important takeaway from Trump’s victory speech is that it is time for all of us to dream big and realize our full potential. Like Donald Trump, I see there is so much talent in the U.S. and in the world. But, I also see that many talented professionals are not fully happy in their careers and life. Some settle for living someone else’s dreams. Others just settle for a paycheck because they don’t believe they can achieve their dreams because there is too much competition or they cannot make money doing what they love.
Let us follow Trump’s advice to “dream big and bold and daring.” Don’t let fear of competition deter you. Each of us has a different dream and only we can fill the gap with our special talents and personality. The world needs each of us to realize our full potential. The world needs each of us to step up, to dream big and to take inspired action.
I understand that it can be challenging to dream big. So, I want to share a little more about my story with you. Hopefully this will inspire you to dream bigger and to take inspired action now, even if it is only one small baby step.
My InspiredWork Journey
I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania about one hour west of Philadelphia. My parents taught my brother and I to believe in ourselves and that we could be whatever we wanted – even President. They encouraged me to get a good education and to dream big. Initially, I just wanted to do something internationally and I was fortunate to be able to attend and graduate from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. While in school, I did several internships – both in government and working for a startup. I liked working in the startup better than in a government agency plus I had to pay off my school loans. So, I looked for a job. But, there was a recession and after applying to 300 companies, I couldn’t find a job.
One Door Opened, But Not What I Thought It Would Be
Then, I got an interview for a management training opportunity at First National Bank of Chicago. To apply, I was required to apply to an MBA program at either the University of Chicago or Northwestern University. Since the deadline had already passed for Northwestern, I applied to University of Chicago. I was accepted in their MBA program, but didn’t get the job.
I moved to Chicago on January 2, 1990 in a U-Haul with all of my belongings and $300 in my bank account. The rent for my 700-square foot studio apartment was $450 and I needed to find a job that would cover my rent and also my tuition at the University of Chicago. You know the saying: “Everything Always Works Out for Your Highest Good.” Well, it miraculously did for me. I found a temp job and was offered a position at Oracle Corporation – a growing software company that had 8,000 employees at the time.
Luck and Hard Work Proved a Winning Formula Early In My Career
I was very lucky and I also worked very hard. I was promoted 5 times in 4 years, despite having 11 bosses. When I was promoted to Product Manager and had finished my MBA, I was transferred to Oracle Headquarters in Silicon Valley. But, Oracle didn’t have pay scales for each role back then, so my salary was 70-80% less than other Product Managers. After my latest boss left, I was offered a better position at Sun Microsystems where again I was lucky and worked hard. As a Software Product Manager in a hardware company, I was tapped to launch Java and 40 Java-based software products. Unfortunately, Sun didn’t invest properly in developing high quality Java-based products so I didn’t believe in what I was doing. So, I followed the Dot-Com lure to work at a startup where I thought I could help build and promote better products. Unfortunately, the Dot-Com bubble burst and I lost my job.
Bad Timing Can Really Create A Painful Career Path
After years of success and finally becoming a VP of Marketing at a startup, I was unable to find work in big or small high tech companies. No one was hiring. Big companies were doing layoffs. Small companies were not getting funding any longer. As the main breadwinner in my family, I needed to figure something out. What I discovered is that you can always find work if you are willing to do consulting work. So, I embraced being a consultant and had at least 6 “jobs” in six years. I learned a lot, but I craved more security and more empowerment.
It Can Take Some Time To Create Your Own Inspired Work
After 6 years as a consultant, I wanted to have a secure job at a growing company, be a VP of Marketing and an empowered department leader again. In addition, I wanted to work at a company that was fair, treated people well and had values that were the same as mine. Also, I wanted to work for a company whose products I believed in.
In 2005, I found a job as VP of Marketing at Saba Software. But the company was going through a lot of changes. When Saba merged with Centra software, my job was eliminated. So, I needed to go through another transition. I became VP of Marketing working for a software startup with a great boss who really valued by strategic approach to marketing. But, the company closed its San Francisco office and my boss and I lost our jobs.
After that job transition, I realized that it was not enough to just find another job. Although I liked being a VP of Marketing working at software startups, I never really felt empowered, secure or fulfilled. I finally understood that it was time to dream bigger and create my own inspired work.
My Initial Steps Toward Inspired Work
At that point, I took first real steps toward empowerment and creating my own inspired work. First, I created a 401k-backed real estate investment company. After losing two-thirds of my 401k twice (once during the Dot-Com Bust and again in 2008), I felt it was time to take more responsibility for my retirement funds. Also, I wanted to invest in something I knew and had more control over. Finally, I wanted to be able to create some reliable monthly cash flow and not be so dependent on startup jobs that weren’t secure.
The second step I took was to create a marketing agency that would enable me to do marketing projects for multiple companies and not be dependent on one employer. By doing these two steps together, I was able to have marketing profits fund additional real estate investments.
In hindsight, I realized that I had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. But when I had college loans to pay off and then commitments as a main breadwinner, I didn’t let myself dream big. I stayed small. However, I now understand that I was always taking baby steps toward my inspired work even when I spent 25 years working for others at high tech companies. I was learning how to be a leader, how to create a brand, and how to deliver value to customers. In addition, I was also learning about myself and I was learning about what really matters to me.
Creating InspiredWork for Myself and Others
After all I had learned, in May 2015 it was finally time to dream bigger than I had ever dared dream before AND take inspired action on my dream. That’s when I created InspiredWork.com, a business I really love that enables me to give back what I learned and help others find their own inspired work.
Today, InspiredWork has touched the lives of over 50,000 professionals and I am truly honored to be able to turn my personal pain into fuel that helps others be happy at work. Life is too short to be unhappy and work takes up too much of our time and energy not to be fulfilling. The key to creating your own inspired work is to dream big and then take inspired action, even if it is only small baby steps. Also, remember that inspired work is often a journey like mine was. Be kind to yourself along the way. But, also be willing to be big and share your gifts. The world needs each of us to realize our full potential.
Are you ready to dream big? If so, please share your big dream here so we can cheer you on. Now is a GREAT time to dream big. Set your intention for your big dream now as your first baby step towards success.