In the story of your life, some days matter more than others. A lot more. In fact, in most careers, there are ten days that make all the difference. The actions you take on those 10 pivotal days not only have an outsized impact on your career, but they also have a transformational impact on your life. These are the days that songs, books and movies are written about. These are the days that will help the actor playing you in the movie about your life win the big awards. So make sure to take good notes for them.
If you take a little time to reflect on your career it is not hard to find your 10 pivotal days. The days that changed the trajectory or accelerated the velocity of your career. The days that earned you new respect, new responsibility and made you more money. The days that you didn’t have vomit on your sweater. (Mom’s spaghetti.)
Here are my 10 Pivotal Days.
- The day I got off the couch and called Paul Counsell, The CEO of Cramer Krasselt, and asked for an informational interview. This was the first domino to fall in my career. I got an interview. It lasted 5 hours. I made people laugh. I got a job. Everything else happened because of this call.
- The first new business pitch I was in. The client started the meeting by telling our agency we had no chance of winning the account. But I had seen the movie The Secret of My Success. I knew I was the Michael J Fox character. And I had prepared as if this was the biggest moment of my career. Which it was. We won the account. Boom goes the dynamite.
- The day I met my wife Dawn. We met at work. The impact she has had on my career growth and entrepreneurial journey can’t be overstated. She is my greatest cheerleader. Like the Toni Basil to my Mickey.
- The day I accepted the job as the Creative Director at Engauge. Taking on a new job with new responsibilities in a new jack city with all new coworkers and clients turbocharged my growth and development. It changed my family’s lives too.
- The day of my first Nationwide TV commercial shoot. We filmed a Corvette doing donuts in a cul-de-sac in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 100-degree heat. The new clients that I met that day, the challenges of the shoot that we overcame together and the strong friendships I developed with them had a huge influence on me both professionally and personally. But this day was as important for what I didn’t do as it was for what I did do. (Which I know sounds like a lot of do-do.) I wrote a story about that day here.
- The day I became Chief Creative Officer of Engauge. The new level of responsibility and opportunity to impact an organization was monumental. My learning, exposure and influence increased tremendously. I was ready to leave Engauge for this kind of opportunity. So when it came to me, it felt like like the end of the book The Alchemist. (Which you should read if you haven’t.)
- The day I was picked to be part of the pitch team when Engauge was being sold. Being part of the 4-person leadership team that met with all of our potential buyers offered me an advanced degree in business. That process taught me critical lessons that prepared me for my entrepreneurial journey. Like Jamal Malik in Slumdog Millionaire.
- The day I was encouraged to start my own agency. I got 2 calls the same day in August of 2015 from former clients. In both conversations, the callers talked about wanting to work with me, but not wanting to work with my current agency. Which led to a discussion of starting my own agency. All the other dominoes had led to this. (Except for the Domino’s that delivers pizza.)
- The day I left my job at Moxie to start The Weaponry. It is one thing to think about or talk about starting your own agency. It’s another thing to do it. I had been ramping up The Weaponry by doing night and weekend side work for 5 months. But jumping made everything different. Like Camp Randall Stadium before the 4th Quarter.
- The day that The Weaponry signed its first retainer client. The Weaponry had generated significant cash flow over its first year and a half. But it wasn’t predictable. Once we landed our first retainer client we had the stability to hire staff and lease an office. It was when we Pinocchioed from a startup to a real business.
Know your pivotal days. They are valuable to identify. Because they provide clues to your success. They show you what matters most along your career journey and your story. By knowing your pivotal days, you are also able to recognize when the next pivotal days come along. When you understand how situations and opportunities lead to transformation you better prepare to make sure those opportunities go your way.
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