Leadership secrets from a Gen Y perspective. Here’s where the story begins.
A Young CEO’s Journey: The Events… The Lessons
An excerpt from Daniel Newman’s new book, The Millennial CEO, to be published by Marie Street Press later this year.
As I reflect on the journey to CEO at a spry 29 years of age, I was able to point to five critical events that shaped my path and made me the person I am today.
I would like to share these events with you, as they have been such important moments in my journey.
Event #1: The Surprise of a Lifetime
When I was 19 years old, and a Sophomore at Truman State University, I enjoyed participating on the men’s soccer team, attending functions for my fraternity, and occasionally I even studied.
Late in my Sophomore year, I was informed by my wife (then girlfriend) that we were going to be parents. She was a senior at that time, and I remember the moment like it was yesterday.
For a split second time stood still. It was upon returning from a weekend soccer tournament. She came over almost immediately upon my return and basically just dropped the news.
This moment was life changing for me; it was in that instant that I had to decide whether or not to quickly grow up and become a father and a man, or to walk away from the situation like so many others do.
The Lesson: In all of our paths towards whatever we deem to be success, we are going to have to hurdle adversity. This situation,for me, was the first major adversity I had to face. And the decision would last a life time. Obviously the decision I made was to take on the responsibility, and I can proudly say it may be the best decision that I ever made.
Event #2: The Path of Least Resistance
My father was a lifetime entrepreneur. He built his business without a college education and much parental support to speak of. He built a successful trucking company in Chicago. When I was finishing college (as a father and husband) I wasn’t exactly sure what the career road map was going to be. As many in a family business do, I worked for my father because it provided two things I needed at the time; a job and money. While still in school, finding a career seemed daunting and difficult.
After a few years the discussion started arising about me taking over the business. I was told I would have to learn trucking from the ground up, but it could someday be mine. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have any passion for the trucking business whatsoever, and regardless of the great financial opportunity it may provide me, it wasn’t for me.
A mere 18 months later, my father sold the business and the decision became permanent.
The Lesson: While I do not subscribe to the “You can be anything” mentality, I do believe that real success is founded in doing something you are passionate about. I knew I wasn’t passionate about the trucking business and the decision to take another route provided different challenges. By entering an industry (technology) that I was passionate about, my career has proven much more fulfilling.
Three more points to go, plus an entire book devoted to helping you to tap into your inner leader.
Would you like to know more? Find out about Daniel Newman on his blog, The Millennial CEO.