"Thanks for helping me think through this", "I feel so much better now that I have this plan", "What a great suggestion. That makes so much sense"...people have been telling me things like this my whole life. However, it wasn't until I got Bell's Palsy in 2013 that I really began to think about what the hell my purpose was and whether I’m happy or just going thru the motions. Waking with one side of your face paralyzed really does change things! I decided to leave my comfortable job at PBS and try to turn the consulting I was doing on the side into a full-time effort. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and now I had the motivation like never before. Everyone told me I was crazy to quit my job. But I did. So what happened next? I soared to success in a year? No. Not even close. It hit the fan. When I left my job, I had no back up plan, $10,000 in my bank account and didn’t really know how to run a business. I lost everything. I ended up moving back in with my family, picked up smoking again, and worked hard to figure out my purpose. I was desperate. So, I began to read voraciously. Something I had always enjoyed doing. As a kid I would ask my mom to drop me off at the library and I would literally stay there from the time they opened until the time they closed. I even found my mother’s estranged father, whom she had been looking for since long before I was born, during one of my stints in the library. I went through countless public records and used the payphone to call the prospects I had narrowed down. One of them was him! They have a great relationship to this day and I’m so happy to have a grandfather. Reading and acquiring knowledge has always been my first love. So in this time of desperation, I returned to it. As Dan Lok says, “motivation is great, but desperation is better”. It really makes you dig deep and push yourself to limits you never knew were possible, but reaching these limits is the only way to your success. For me it couldn’t be more true. I used Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept to discover the convergence between 1) what I am deeply passionate about 2) what I can be the best in the world at and 3) what can drive my economic engine. I arrived at my passion for helping people work through their problems, my skill in marketing, brand development and connecting with customers, and the fact that I was able to successfully monetize this skill while working my 9-5, just on a smaller scale. This time when I dived in, I knew how to navigate the waters! My company went from making $5,000 its first year to making over $18,000 in the first 6 months of it's second year. While that may not be much to some, it was a huge victory and point of realization for me. It required getting narrow in my vision, working smart and delivering exceptional results. By the way, I made a full recovery from my Bell’s Palsy, which took exactly 12 months – one of the most important years of my life. Now, as CEO of Gratent Branding, I help clients develop effective marketing and branding strategies by getting laser-focused on the customer experience. Having an amazing customer experience facilitates the growth of a strong, long-term relationship with your customers. I am also known for providing exceptional support and implementation services, which greatly helps those who understand the importance of the customer experience, but may not have the team to make it happen. So, i'm still reading, still learning, and still pushing myself to the limit. Growth never stops once you get to a different level, you just set new goals. There is always more to learn and always someone inspirational to learn from. Thats how I approach life and business and always will.
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