Discover Your Passions by Examining Your Past — Good to Great part 2

“Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life” says Bill Collins on the first page of his classic book, Good to Great. What does it take to make that move from the good life to the life of your dreams? That was the question that Greg and I asked ourselves when we began our journey together.
Two years ago, Greg and I were both at crossroads in almost every area of our respective lives.  For the first time in more than a decade, Greg was doing something other than working full time as a professional photographer.  I had been laid off after ten years as an executive in the financial services industry and was pondering my career options.  Circumstances had caused us to downsize our lifestyles and seriously re-evaluate what we wanted for our futures.  
The luckiest day of my life was July 8, 2009 when I met the man who would become my husband and everything I thought I knew about living the a good life was turned upside down.  It was clear from the start that this was a different relationship than anything either of us had ever known and it caused us to think about what other possibilities life might have in store for us.  Suddenly good wasn’t good enough…Greg and I both realized that GREAT was on our horizon.
Greg was worked for a year and a half as Recruiting Manager for the Census Bureau in what we knew would be a finite assignment.  I was on unemployment for a year as I pondered the next detour in my career path.  I knew that I absolutely did not want to return to financial services and Greg knew that he absolutely did want to return to photography but in a new and different way.  He signed up with RTV, Inc. the same month we met and we began researching the virtual tour business but honestly, I really didn’t see a way to make that his full time income.  After a year of unemployment, I began working as Assistant Director of Admissions at a therapeutic boarding school and shortly after that, Greg’s job at the Census came to an end.
The job at the school was a great fit for me in many ways because it allowed me to utilize my strengths in behavioral health and marketing.  While the laundry list of my weaknesses is quite long, there is a very distinct list of what I do well and selling something I believe in tops that list.  Looking back at the times when I had been happiest and most successful in my life revealed some clear truths and obvious patterns:
  • I am most alive when I feel like my work has a greater purpose.
  • I thrive in a role that allows me to help people and share my knowledge and experience.
  • I am competitive and I much prefer working to meet a challenging objective versus working to punch a clock.  Whether through commission sales, recruiting, sales management, or admissions,  closing the sale is my favorite way of keeping score.
  • It has been said that I can sell anything but that’s not true…I can only sell something I believe in strongly.
Greg excelled in his position at the Census but it was very clear that working for the government wasn’t going to be a career path for him. While working at the census, he began shooting virtual tours on the side.  The truths that were evident from that experience were just as obvious:
  • Greg is used to being responsible for his own success and is most comfortable with being self employed. 
  • Greg doesn’t have a clue how to punch a clock…while being paid for 40 hours for the census, he worked nights, weekends and early mornings because he knew that the job had to be done whether he was “on the clock” or not.
  • No matter what the paycheck is, doing a job for the sake of doing a job wasn’t enough for him…he needed to see the greater good in what he was doing.
  • Greg is most at home behind a camera and learning new technology is like unwrapping a Christmas present to him.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about how we came to realize that Vision Quest Virtual Tours was going to be the vehicle to take us to the GREAT life we dreamed about.