I was recently talking with my dad about education and career development, and he told me about an opportunity he was given early in his career. The opportunity was definitely interesting, but his response is what really struck me as so notable.
He was taking summer classes at a small state university a few years after graduating. One of his classes was taught by a visiting professor from UCLA who quickly recognized that my dad was an exceptional thinker and could quickly analyze and create strategy. The professor thought he should pursue this gift and study for his doctorate. The professor offered him a teaching assistant position to help cover some of the high costs he would have to incur – namely moving to LA with my mom and brother (I was yet to be born).
Well, he didn’t go.
When I heard this, I was absolutely shocked. He was never someone to shy away from an intellectual challenge, and this was one of the greatest. So why didn’t he accept this one? Then it hit me:
He didn’t have anyone in his inner circle that had more faith in his abilities to transcend his current circumstances than he had in himself.
He didn’t have someone who could see beyond the required sacrifice to recognize the investment that this would be. He and my mom both grew up with modest means. Education and hard work were valued, but they weren’t risk takers. They were encouraged to get good jobs and hopefully raise their standard of living, but a steady job was definitely the goal.
I looked at him with this realization and said, “You didn’t have anyone to push you to do it. I would have pushed you. I would have made sure you did it.” He smiled, nodded and said, “Yes, I have no doubt you would have.”
I really would have because that’s what I do when I see talent. And that’s what we do every day here at BGN. We see the talent, we see the opportunity. We have an objective perspective and many comparatives. We know what success looks like, and we really can see the potential for achievement in individuals and in agencies.
We push people to step up to the challenge and set higher goals, not just for revenue, but also for skills and knowledge. We want to see them blow away their own expectations for themselves. And we want them to take that same level of expectation to their own clients.
Because we see beyond current circumstances for other people, we make it our job to help those people surpass their own modest expectations.
My challenge to you is to review your inner circle, and see who you’ve got on your personal team that believes even more in your capabilities than you do for yourself. And encourages and pushes you to achieve more. If you’ve got someone, then listen very carefully to his or her advice. And ask a lot of questions.
If you don’t currently have someone, then I highly recommend you do some searching and open yourself to the possibility. Growth comes by challenging the status quo, and sometimes it can be hard to do that all on your own.
Having someone else believe in you and encourage you to do something even bigger than you imagined is positively exhilarating and can be life changing. And hopefully then you can pass that gift on to someone else.
Now, in the end, I should be glad my dad didn’t go because I probably wouldn’t be here otherwise!
Photo by C.P. Storm.