Volume XXI, Number 24 (Issue 1028) June 12, 2023
Fated, But Not Predetermined
I have spent seventy-five percent of my career being either self-employed or as a named, at-risk partner in a professional services firm. Based on that single data point, you can conclude I enjoy being my own boss. Additionally, the average duration of the four intervals where I did work for someone else was three years. One can reasonably conclude therefore that I am confident in my own abilities (the occasional episode of imposter syndrome aside). I am willing to take risks where I feel I have a measure of control. I sometimes struggle when expected to play well with others.
Furthermore, since there have been no fewer than seven economic cycles since I graduated from college, one can feel certain I married a saint. That is because a lesser individual would not have put up with my assorted faults, not to mention my heavy travel schedule that frequently required her to raise our children almost single-handedly. Why she stuck with me during those trials – particularly in the lean years when the little cashflow we had was predominantly outbound – is beyond comprehension.
There is also the matter of my decision to allow a successful (and lucrative) consulting practice to wither on the vine while I spent two years retooling myself. Making matters worse, this abrupt change in direction took place at a time when we had college-age children. For the record, my rationale for choosing that risky course was two-fold. First, I had lost interest in what I was doing (burnout?). Secondly, I was feeling called to do something vastly different with my knowledge, talents, and gifts.
Another thing you should know about me: on three occasions I was asked to serve as a rainmaker for the firm I was with at the time. Though I was successful on all three occasions, it was never fully satisfying. As I have reflected on the highs and lows of my career, the best periods involved those times when I was able to engage in a long-term relationship with a client. Thus, what I eventually realized is that while I can enjoy success in a sales role, in my heart I am an individual contributor. Thus, every time I was asked to focus exclusively on sales, I would yearn for the day when I could return to collaborating with clients.
So, here I sit nearly five decades into my career feeling incredibly blessed. I have an incredible spouse who supports me unequivocally, four successful, grown children, thirteen grandchildren with a fourteenth on the way, clients I respect,
admire, and feel fortunate to know and work for, a vocation that makes a positive difference in the lives of others, friends and associates who enrich my life, and a faith foundation that informs my values and behaviors on a daily basis.
Is my life perfect? No, but I am genuinely happy. Am I finished? I hope not, but that is not entirely my call. Can things be better? Can I do better? Absolutely!
Those last questions are the crux of today’s message. Each of us has received a set of gifts meant to be used for the benefit of others. Whether you and I discover them at twenty-five, forty-five, or sixty-five is not as important as whether we acknowledge, hone, and apply them. That is what really matters!
Soli Deo Gloria
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
J. Keith Hughey
Web site: www.jkeithhughey.com
Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2023 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.