Success is Like Driving a Car

By Terri MaxwellHonda-S2000-Front-AP2

Success is one of the most elusive and least understood concepts in our world. Second only to “love”, success is written about, preached, taught, and lusted after by millions, yet it remains one of the most difficult concepts to explain.

Much like love, success is relative and each of us defines it differently. For me, Success is Freedom. To work when I want, from where I want, and with whom I want. It’s the freedom to travel, dine at fine restaurants and enjoy the “toys” that come with success.

My favorite toy is my car. It’s no secret that I like to drive fast, and doing so in a car that is the epitome of high-performance luxury is the ultimate expression of freedom.

I’ve learned, however, that driving a car is a perfect metaphor for achieving success. After all, much like with success, not understanding the nuances of driving a car will cause you to steer off course. These two driving lessons I learned changed the trajectory of my success and still apply today.

1) Look Where You Want to Go:

In 1999, I bought a Honda S2000, in one of the most hyped car introductions in history. The S2000 had the first red start button. It was simple really, but that change from turning a key to pushing a single button literally put the power at your fingertips.

My employees at FlashNet gifted me with a driving lesson at Motor Sports Ranch for my birthday, which is a race track for fast, every day cars. You strap in with a race car instructor, and take your fast car on a track to experience speeds up to 150 miles an hour. I was in heaven.

The race car instructor drives your car around the track first, teaches you a few important lessons, and then straps you in to see how well you learn these lessons, as you race around the track at speeds one can only dream about.

One of the lessons I learned on the track changed my life.

The instructor said “Your car will follow your eyes. Wherever you look, the car will go. If you look at the wall (as we are racing over 100 miles an hour!), you’ll hit the wall. If you look to the left of the wall (good idea by the way), the car will veer left. Always place your vision on where you want to go, rather than where you are.”

Place your vision on where you want to go, rather than where you are. Wow. I’ve heard that before! My grandfather had taught me that “You get what you focus on.”

Needless to say, I knew that lesson well, but to experience it in the driver’s seat and to feel the car physically follow my focus was a visceral, life-changing experience. As we neared a hairpin turn, my tendency was to focus on where I didn’t want to go…into the wall. We tend to focus on our fears, and on the problems of life, and that wall was creating a problem as my car came closer to it at breath-taking speeds!

“Shift your focus to where you want to go. If you look at the wall, you’ll hit the wall.” the instructor commanded.

Hard as I tried, I could not stop looking at the wall. The fear in my chest was overwhelming until finally, less than 3 inches from the wall, the driver grabbed the steering wheel and navigated us to safety.

“Stop the car,” he said.

“Terri, the car follows your eyes. It goes…where you look. Focus on where you want to go, not where you’re afraid you’ll end up.”

Something snapped. I GOT it.

I revved the engine, and sped off down the straight-away, breaking the 100 mile an hour mark, as I neared the next turn.

As I leaned into the turn, the car naturally moved closer to the wall. I felt the urge to look, but my instructor reminded me: “Put your focus on where you want to go.”

As I shifted my focus to the left, I could see the inner rim of the track and the next point in the turn, and instantly the car moved away from the wall!

So lesson one for driving a car, and achieving success: Keep your focus on where you want to go, not where you are afraid you’ll end up.

2) Your Perspective Changes with the View

I was about to head off to college, and had saved enough money to buy my first car, a Datsun B210. I loved that little car! Although I knew how to drive, my grandfather wanted to give me a few grandfatherly tips since he was about to send his beloved granddaughter off to college in that little car.

I could sense the driving lesson was bigger than safety 101, and any time spent with my grandpa was always a good investment, so I eagerly obliged.

We got into the car, and he talked to me about the basics: the importance of the seat belt, to keep the radio noise at safe levels, all of that kind of stuff.

But then, as we were driving down the highway he said, “I want to show you something. Do you notice how big the windshield is?

I said, “Yes. So…”

He followed, “If you knew where you wanted to go, would you use the windshield or the other mirrors?”

“The windshield, Gramps. That’s the only way to see where I am going.”

He said, “Good. Now look in the rearview mirror. What do you see?”

I was getting a little nervous, because cars were whizzing past me, and I wasn’t totally comfortable yet driving on the highway.

“I see stuff behind me. What’s the point, Gramps?”

“Stay with me. Now look in the side view mirrors. What do you see?

“I see the stuff behind me, and the cars that are passing me.”

He pressed, “Does the stuff behind you look the same?”

I responded, still not getting it. “Yes. Well…No, actually, it doesn’t. It’s from a different perspective.”

He said, “Great, pull over for a second.”

And then he grabbed my face and made me look him straight in the eyes, with his steel blue eyes piercing my soul.

“Terri, driving a car is the same as achieving success. The first step is to spend more time looking out the windshield at where you want to go.

The second step is to occasionally look at the smaller rearview mirror to remind yourself where you’ve been. The key is to not spend too much time there, because where you’ve been is behind you.

But the third key is to also view your past from a new perspective. The past won’t guide you to where you want to go, but if you use the side view mirrors, you’ll gain a different perspective on your past, and it will help you navigate both where you want to go, and anything blocking you from getting there.”

And, with that perspective, I headed off to college with new found wisdom on how to achieve success:

1) Spend more time looking forward, at where you want to go, then looking back at the past.

2) Occasionally, check the rear-view mirror to remind yourself where you’ve been, but more importantly, how far you’ve come.

3) Use the side view mirrors to look at the past from a different perspective, and to observe what’s passing you by, WITHOUT taking your eyes off of where you’re going.

Success is like driving a car. And, just as my love affair with luxurious, fast cars, so it is with success. I prefer ridiculous abundance, and I want it fast. Unfortunately, success doesn’t always show up that way, but the key is to remember to “look where you want to go.”

The Talent Revolution – Are You Prepared?

Talent Revolution

You’ve heard us say it before, but it’s worth repeating: There is a revolution happening that is creating a new way of work. The jobs “lost” during the recent recession are not coming back. The work is there, but now it’s in the cloud. Jobs are being fractionalized and virtualized.

So why this shift and why now?

Work skills are changing faster than ever before just to stay in alignment with the rapidly shifting technology available today. Businesses are hard pressed to predict the types of skills they will need in six months. Rather than incurring expenses recruiting, hiring and training a full-time employee, many businesses find it more effective to hire freelancers. And, many of these freelancers work virtually.

The Talented Have Choices

Because technology has provided the ability for talented people to work whenever, where ever and however they like, there is now a new breed of worker, a new business model and a new job marketplace. The talented worker can demand more freedom, perform work that he or she is passionate about, and choose the companies they want to work for, rather than the other way around.

The reality is that talent is in high demand, and now businesses can recruit on a global scale to find the best talent for the best price. Furthermore, the fractionalization of work creates an opportunity to outsource in a way that was never before possible. Think of it this way:

As a small business owner I need marketing help, but prefer to not hire a generalist. In the new world of work I can take the 40 hours I might have given to that person and give:

  • 10 hours to a social media person
  • 10 hours to a content person
  • 10 hours to a researcher
  • 10 hours to a communications expert

My business benefits because I’ve hired people highly skilled in those areas who are passionate about the work, rather than a jack-of-all-trades who may have some but not all the skills needed to perform a stellar job. My business benefits because I’ve got truly passionate talent, and my costs are minimized through a virtual freelancer model.

Maximize the Talent Revolution

There are shifts required in current thinking and business models to maximize the talent revolution. First, define your culture as being less about location and more about performance and goals. Set key performance indicators and ensure that they are being met by all contributors – virtual and on premise. Second, infuse the culture with a healthy dose of freedom. It’s not about where your team is at what time, but rather if the job is getting done and done well. Finally, reward performance with freedom so that the culture continues to move in a positive direction.

Freedom is a primary motivator for these virtualized workers, as well as gratifying work. Taking steps to ensure your organization can maximize this global pool will certainly provide a competitive advantage while also giving you better work products and higher performance. The revolution is here, so take steps to maximize your organization’s ability to take advantage of this new world of work!

For more tips on making the most of the new world of work, visit www.newworldofwork.com. Learn more about our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud.

You are NOT Your Business – The Top 3 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Building a business is harder than it looks, despite the unbelievable rewards a successful business can bring. Second only to raising children, building a business is a roller coaster ride of extreme highs and gut-wrenching lows.

It’s easy to think that we’re alone in facing the challenges of building a business. The truth is…many have gone before us, and they not only paved the way, but successful founders can teach new entrepreneurs how to avoid the pitfalls of business ownership.

As one of those pioneers with a track record of launching and growing numerous start-ups, there are 3 key pitfalls to avoid.

1) The BIGGEST mistake entrepreneurs make is that they BECOME their business. They allow themselves to be defined by their business’ performance, from revenue, profit, employee and client satisfaction. They work harder than the need, and they make things more complicated then they have to be…all to prove that they are good enough. You are NOT your business. Your business comes from your passion, but it is not who you are. Just like your children have a mind of their own, your business has a life of its own, and you can’t BECOME the business. Build your business, but don’t become your business.

2) The second pitfall business owners make is that they confuse quality with perfection. Entrepreneurs have a deep desire for quality, control and excellence. They were born to set the standard and they are relentless perfectionists who obsess over every detail. They think their obsession is a commitment to quality, but it’s actually an illusion of perfection. Quality is relative, subjective and situational. What the entrepreneur thinks is a “quality product” a customer may devalue. Perfectionism is NOT quality, and in many cases, by needlessly chasing perfection, the entrepreneur will take his focus off of the things that matter. Business owners chase perfection when they make that all-time faux pas of becoming the business. When we unknowingly believe our value rests in the perfection of our business, we are doomed to fail. Business is perfectly imperfect. Get used to it.

3) The third mistake business owners make is they obsess and minute details versus spending time prioritizing the things that really matter to making a business grow. There are ONLY 3 priorities for business success, and all resources (including the entrepreneur’s time) should be allocated against these priorities.

a. Generating New Business: By focusing on lead generation and sales activities with more than 50% of the business owner’s time, the business will maintain its growth. Businesses, like people, are either growing or dying, so if the entrepreneur’s focus isn’t on growing the business, it will start to die.
b. Growing and Serving the Business You Have: 40% of all prioritization of resources should be placed on growing the existing business, by providing the best possible experience and ensuring customers are delighted. In addition, spend time thinking of ways to GROW with your customers. How can they become champions of your business, and tell your story.
c. Driving Efficiency: Believe it or now, only 10% of a business owner’s time should be spent here, even though most entrepreneurs obsess about details with time that would be better spent elsewhere. Building a business is messy. Make it better AS YOU GO. The reason why entrepreneurs spend too much time driving efficiency is because of the next two pit-falls.

So, regardless of where your business is on the scale of perfection, rethink your priorities, remind yourself that business is perfectly imperfect, and separate your value from your business. You are MORE than your business.

Respect the Empowered Customer

Over the last several years, there has been a rather dramatic shift in the way that customers interact with companies. The rapid rise of internet technology has put the customer in a position of power – both when it comes to doing business and to speaking out about those purchases. Now it is the norm for customers to research purchases and want to know everything about the product or service, the company, the brand and what you stand for.

Customers have rapidly become accustomed to instant telephone and electronic communication, and the ability to watch television programs on-demand. They often have more information than a company’s sales team or support staff. They can wallop brands from their smart phone, with video even, while waiting impatiently in line for the company’s employ­ees to answer their questions. They can get recommendations from people in their business networks while listening to advertising or sales pitches. Businesses must face the facts—the customer has control.

Indeed, an unhappy customer in today’s constantly connected environment can create significant problems for any business.  So what should an organization do to ensure happy customers?

Empower High Caliber Agents with Customer-Centric Tools

You may be wondering how your company can avoid any negative impacts brought about by unhappy customers who are also highly tech savvy. The only real solution is to employ a well maintained support system managed by agents who know how to use the latest technologies and possess high levels of emotional intelligence so they can quickly and accurately address customer concerns.

Agents that are proficient in the use of social media, chat and messaging software, and other popular communication mediums, will naturally interact with your customers on their preferred medium while providing exemplary customer service. When you recognize the need for a multi-channel savvy support team with excellent customer service skills, you can then and only then begin to reap the benefits of the empowered customer.

Respect the Empowered Customer

If you’re willing to take a more customer-oriented approach to business now, and continually make sure that your support team is well versed in the latest technological trends, you will garner a real edge over your competition. You’ll become the go-to company in your industry because of the social proof provided by many satisfied customers.

Customer feedback has become the most trusted form of consumer-behavior influence. As a result, they tend to make purchasing decisions based on the reputations of the companies they come in contact with. It is imperative to ensure your company’s good reputation stays intact by building a customer-centric support team on a multi-channel response platform. Then you can tap into a jet stream of positive exposure, allowing your brand to reap the benefits of the empowered customer.

For more tips on making the most of the new world of work, visit www.newworldofwork.com. Learn more about our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud.

 

There’s a New Breed of Workers Changing the World of Work

By now you’ve heard something about the new world of work, and probably have sensed my passion about the topic.

But there is something you don’t know…that will either strike fear in your heart, or put joy in your step.

What is powering the new world of work isn’t the economy, or the disruptive technologies sending work into the cloud. No…those are just enablers. What is powering the new world of work is a new breed of worker who has turned talent into a marketplace, rather than a workplace.

This new worker is intrinsically motivated, rather than seeking motivation externally. This new worker puts passion for work, above rewards for work. This new worker knows they can command better pay, and won’t buy into the old corporate system that used benefits, and regular pay checks as a drug that got workers trapped in doing jobs they didn’t enjoy for people they didn’t trust or even like.

That’s what the new world of work is about: workers who shed the old system, and in their search for freedom and meaning, they changed the game by turning talent into a marketplace. In this new marketplace the best pay goes to the highest quality work, to the workers filled with passion and to skills that the market values. Think about it: in a marketplace, the MARKET sets the price, not the supplier. So, in the new world of work, your compensation is set by the market, not the employer. It’s a totally new game!

This article from Inc. Magazine outlines the leadership characteristics of this new worker.

In the new world of work, leadership is essential, but passion and internal drive are the fuel to success. Those professionals who “take what they are given” will settle for less, while the professionals who “create what they want” will win the game.

Enjoy!

The New World of Work Empowers Customers. Are You Prepared?

Practically every business model since the birth of free enterprise has been customer focused. The only way a new model is effective is if customers receive a benefit. Truly disruptive business models are created when the customer becomes the catalyst for change, such as in the case of digital music or smart-phone technology. It was the customer in the center of the decisions made during R&D analyses, as well as having significant input into product innovation.

The fact is that the New World of Work supports the empowered customer requiring all organizations to have a good understanding of what creates customer loyalty.

Customers are Loyal to Customers

Consumers are becoming less loyal to big brands as they discover that the voice of the customer empowers them to get what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. In its 2011 Global Consumer Research Study, research consultancy Accen­ture found that “only one in four consumers feels ‘very loyal’ to his or her providers across industries, and just as many profess no loyalty at all.

Furthermore, two-thirds of consumers switched providers in at least one industry in the past year due to poor customer service. Forty-four percent of consumers said their expectations today are higher than they were just a year ago.”

Technology Creates Empowered Customers

Unlike many technology innovations of the past, the digital age has empowered the customer as fast as it has corporations and leagues of personnel. At any time, consumers and businesses have access to social, mobile, video and cloud services including Facebook, Android, iPad, Foursquare, Google, YouTube, Office web Apps and Twitter; the list is endless and growing every day. Empowering technologies like these have never been so readily available to users. This technology puts tremendous power directly into the hands of customers, who are happy to use it.

There is one constant of technology: it changes all the time. With this change, so increases customer demand. Customers have rapidly become accustomed to instant telephone and electronic communication, and the ability to watch television programs on-demand. Therefore, expectations are quite high that businesses instantly resolve problems and make whatever demand the customer has a reality. This environment of instant gratification, instant communication and instant results allows a customer to make demands, and publicly shout to anyone who will listen, if they are not met.

Customer Service Must Go Multi

With an empowered customer in a position of strength, companies are now viewing customer service as a primary differentiator. Labeled as “delivering a branded experience,” businesses in every industry are step­ping up efforts to provide superior customer service. Fueled by continually improving technology and a hunger for instantaneous results, the customer has become more demanding.

Bottom line – these empowered customers don’t just want great service; they want an integrated customer service experience, whether they call into a customer service center, send an email, make a Facebook post or tweet or conduct an online chat session. Multi-channel communication is now part of our daily lives, so the company that makes the customer’s life easier, more convenient and more organized through fully connected access to the company, will win the hearts of the empowered customer.

 

Find out more by checking out our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud. Visit www.newworldofwork.com.

No Buildings. No Fear.™ The Rise of the Virtualpreneur™.

In order to compete, more and more organizations are turning to a contingent workforce that supplies specified tasks required to complete larger, more complex projects. This workforce, which we call virtualpreneurs, will be the future for every company that desires access to the best talent – talent that is now globalized. Therefore, senior executives will have to change their mindset away from people management to one of task and project management. The best talent, after all, has moved out of the building and into the virtual realm.

Beyond the Four Walls

Smart companies are already using freelancers to fulfill their needs, thereby enhancing operational flexibility so they can expand or shrink on demand. The new contingent workforce is laying the groundwork for the new virtual corporation that is no longer tied to the office building. The cost benefit allows employers to tap into an experienced, educated workforce-on-demand as needed—to support project work and seasonal growth spikes.

In order to fully leverage the new workforce, companies should address the advantages and disadvantages of why this new workforce is emerging.

ads and dis

 Even considering these disadvantages, the advantages are still tilting the scales to a new virtual contingent workforce, creating a mutually ben­eficial relationship between the employer and worker. And there is no longer a stigma attached to working in this capacity.

Today, the cloud helps us deliver the same connectivity and productiv­ity you would find in a brick-and-mortar office. The entrepreneurial spirit has surfaced and the new professionals earn respect by working for themselves in fields they are passionate about and on their own terms.

Bottom line: The four walls that once kept people captive are gone. Over the last decade, technological and social changes have given rise to new, borderless business models. That means you, as a professional or a business manager, have more freedom. Freedom to choose your profession – freedom to choose the best talent – freedom to work however and whenever you desire. There are no buildings, no boundaries, no fear. It’s time to embrace the virtualpreneur.

For more tips on making the most of the new world of work, visit www.newworldofwork.com. Learn more about our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud.

Thriving in the New World of Work Requires Finding Your Why

The most important question for businesses and professionals attempting to navigate the New World of Work isn’t where we are going, but why it matters in the first place. The ever-increasing pace that sets the tone for our life and livelihood puts many in a situation to wonder why they do what they do. From a business standpoint, competition for talent is immense, and that talent wants to know why your business is important. The talent is also looking for why they matter and how all that can align to create a positive solution for everyone involved.

It comes down to searching and learning one thing – why they matter. Truly, it’s a quest to find their purpose.

Purpose Matters for Business

Purpose is a definitive statement about the difference a business makes in the world. If a company has a purpose and can articulate it with clarity and passion, employees are better able to understand WHY the company exists and how they can add value.

Management is aligned, employees know why their business matters and everyone is clear about how to achieve the purpose. When companies find employees aligned with their purpose, these employees are intrinsically passionate about the work.

With the New World of Work, businesses can source talent from vir­tually anywhere. On one hand, it may seem as if the business has the power. However, the real benefit of the New World of Work is that talent can find work anywhere. There are no boundaries to job searches, and they can literally pick up projects globally. The best talent, both salaried and contract, will be attracted to companies that have a clear sense of purpose—a clear why.

Professionals and Purpose

For professionals, you too must know your purpose – who you are as opposed to what you do. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Which areas of your work do you truly excel?
  • What are your passions?
  • How do they serve?

The more clearly you understand your purpose—your why—the easier it will be to evaluate work opportunities as you chart your path in the New World of Work.

Purpose isn’t something you do when you retire. Purpose is who you are.

Your purpose was the same when you were a six-year-old, and was what probably attracted you to a particular field of study in college. If most of us had been left alone to follow our passions, our careers would have looked dramatically different. Your purpose will be the same when you die. The question is whether or not we will live our purpose in-between our life and our death.

Purpose is your personal and professional why. It’s who you are, and it’s what you’re meant to bring the world. It’s your unique gift, and it can be the best compass for charting a path in this New World of Work.

 

For more tips on making the most of the new world of work, visit www.newworldofwork.com. Learn more about our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud.

Do You Fear “Slacker Telecommuters?” Rethink Your Virtual Work Strategy

By Tim Houlne

All the conversation around Yahoo’s return to the old-fashioned way of working in an office is enough to make one consider how the telecommuting workforce in your company is performing. After all, out of sight means they can do what they want, when they want.

As we discussed in our previous blog post on Virtualpreneurs™, it’s not where they work but who you hire. But even the most dedicated, professionally mature individual will struggle without the correct virtual infrastructure. Before considering a radical, and potentially costly, move of returning your entire workforce to a cube, evaluate your virtual work strategy.

A corollary to the New World of Work is the new world of management. If you want to take advantage of the fractionalized work and global talent reach afforded by this new world of work, it is time to rethink your internal processes – both technical and managerial.

Step 1 – Set Up the Virtual Management Team

The most effective virtual workforces are combined as a cohesive unit. Rather than have a single individual or even small team that manages technology, think about the type of internal resources the virtual team needs. For example, consider assembling an outsource liaison team consisting of key people who have major impact over the virtual environment, including:

  • Technology management
  • Project management
  • Program management

Step 2 – Outline Appropriate Roles

These people, or teams depending upon the size of the virtual team supported, focus on creating a positive virtual environment that encompasses the technology needed to be productive, project management to stay on task and program management to ensure alignment with company goals. Each role has specific tasks to ensure the virtual environment is friendly, easy to use and effective.

  • Technology Management – Network security – to ensure that corporate data remains safe and still provide appropriate access for virtualpreneurs and freelancers requires a rethinking of the network hierarchy and security. Identify the appropriate levels of access and determine the best means to secure each level. For example, a freelancer performing a small task for a project, say a logo design, would get basic access to the team in order to learn the information required to best perform her job. However, an organization that brings a multiple set of freelancers to perform ongoing tasks for a longer term will receive a higher access level. By creating DMZ networks and specialized extranets, companies can ensure that their data remains secure while still allowing for appropriate access to those working virtually. The technology has matured to the point that even smart devices can be rendered secure with the appropriate software, so maintaining data security is no longer a problem.

Another important role for the technology management team is to design or acquire cloud technology that supports collaboration, communication and effective interaction. Virtual teams can easily work together with the right technology in place.

  • Project Management – making sure deadlines are met, benchmarks are kept and teams are on track are still important roles of the project management team. However, project managers will now ensure that the work happens across multiple vendors, varied time zones and more aggressive time lines. This role will become bigger as managing the project will also encompass creating a friendly virtual environment where contractors and employees can seamlessly collaborate on deliverables.
  • Program Management – to coordinate all projects tied to a specific initiative will still be the role of a program manager. However, now this person must ensure that the virtual environment meets the needs of business objectives, and think more strategically on how to keep all the projects aligned. This person or team will also provide feedback through project managers regarding performance, continuing to build a strong alliance with various contractors and freelancers so that a long-standing team can remain in place throughout various projects.

The reality is that this team will create an environment that is friendly for the new world of work contractors.

Step 3 – Revise Your Thinking

To embrace the new world of work requires a fundamental shift at the top. Contractors are not to be used and thrown out. Now they will be an integral part of a major deliverable and will need to be provided an environment in which they can thrive.

The trick is to create this environment without crossing the lines of contractor versus employee. By creating a specialized team with the primary role of serving the contractor and virtualpreneur community, your organization will create a friendly, effective, productive environment that rewards these high-producers with what they want most – freedom and to be taken seriously.

Developing a solid virtual strategy ensures consistent productivity, less interruptions and high levels of service. It also provides companies who embrace this strategy with a strong competitive advantage. So, to make telecommuters, virtual workers and contractors truly effective, rethink your virtual work strategy. Don’t send them back to the cube.

For more tips on making the most of the new world of work, visit www.newworldofwork.com. Learn more about our new book, The New World of Work: From Cube to the Cloud.

What Duck Dynasty Can Teach Us About the New World of Work

By Terri Maxwell

You’ve probably heard of the reality show Duck Dynasty. For the last year, several Succeed on Purpose team members have talked up the series as if it’s the best replacement for The Cosby Show.  Wait? Is the Cosby show still on, or am I dating my TV watching days?  :-)

At any rate, I finally watched Duck Dynasty over the holidays.  The show is quite reminiscent of my Central Florida days. Much like the show, many of the folks in my hometown of Crystal River, FL loved fishing and hunting more than anything else, especially in and around the island of Ozello, where “fish fry Fridays” are the place to be, and air boats replace to yacht.

As with any cultural phenomenon, Duck Dynasty can teach us a LOT about the New World of Work, particularly the importance of following your passion.  Yep, I am officially promoting Duck Dynasty as a role model for the New World of Work!  In the old world, we chose the professions our parents recommended, or careers our college professors told us were the most financially viable.  Clearly, that old system doesn’t work anymore.  Hint: in the New World of Work…do one thing: Follow Passion.

And believe it or not, one of the best role models for following your passion is Phil Robertson (66 years young), the millionaire star of Duck Dynasty, and inventor of the Duck Commander Duck Call. Phil Robertson was a star quarterback for Louisiana Tech for two seasons, and his back-up quarterback was none other than NFL star Terry Bradshaw (Terry Bradshaw is a hall of fame quarterback and former Pittsburgh Steelers QB who took the Steelers to multiple Super Bowls, and yes beat the Cowboys once or twice).

Phil, who was considered more talented as a quarterback than the now-famous Terry Bradshaw, also has a Masters in Education.  When faced with the choice of joining the NFL, which pro-scouts and his coaches were urging him to do, Phil contemplated his passion.  He liked football, but he LOVED fishing and hunting.  His teammates and coaches recall a talented outdoors-obsessed character who walked away from a wealthy NFL career to spend more time hunting and fishing!  By all accounts, he had the talent to play in the NFL, but despite his strengths (throwing a football), Phil believed then, as he does now, that life is about pursuing passion!

Phil told ESPN: “The choice came down to me in the woods hunting ducks, or getting in a situation, a lifestyle, whereby large, violent men are paid huge sums of money to do one thing, stomp me in the dirt. I said, you know, I think it would be less stressful to go after ducks.”

He lived the fundamental truth about success in the New World of Work. Phil is proof that money follows passion.  He decided to not play football his final year of college, instead making room for Terry Bradshaw to start. Finishing his education, he spent the next few years doing what he loved.  At the time, there were no professional career paths for a Duck Call product inventor, much less a duck-hunting reality show star.  Despite of that, Phil did two things that are critical in the New World of Work:

  1. He followed his passion no matter how scary the path.
  2. He expected to be happy and fulfilled, which led to success.

You see, it’s our passion (or purpose as we like to say), that fuels the desire to work harder and learn more about your craft so you can excel at it.  But, it’s also our expectations that determine success.  It takes both. Expectations are critical because “we get what we EXPECT, not what we want.” (Pat Mussiex said that)

So, the next time you’re channel surfing and come across Duck Dynasty…remember, if this guy can become a millionaire doing what he loves, surely we can make a career change and follow passion!

Here’s to the Duck Dynasty way!