Making a Difference…

As many of you know from reading this blog and following me on Twitter that about a week a ago I left the company that I had previously been CEO and moved to South Carolina to become a partner in a private equity technology accelerator firm...

I don't do things half-way.  That's probably what has put me in the Emergency Room a couple times in the last six months (I still need to to share with you about my most recent half-a-week in ICU).  The point is that in leaving ACCESS, I was leaving a large part of the last five years of my life.

....website creation... brand management...  tagline ideas...  writing whitepapers...  policy manuals...  software development and design... and it seems like a million other little things...

When you leave that all behind, you leave behind a piece of you!  My last day as I walked out the door I saw our booth getting prepped for the Masters Conference.  Just seeing the booth, with the cool logo and the foreign language message, brought a tear to my eye.  I was feeling the emotions of years of passion about "changing the world" in the legal space.

A part of me was wondering if anything I had worked for would last...  Another part of me was wondering if I had even made a difference...  Would anyone's life be different?

I guess you call this a legacy...  At 29, and still trying to get my shoes on the right foot consistently, I guess it matters to me that I might be investing my efforts into something that transcends building a fortune or having a fancy title...  It's the people that matter.  (...a fortune's not bad either)

AND...  then I got some great encouragement.  I got a flood of email from team members and industry colleagues.  I wanted to share part of an email that I got from one my rising stars:

"I heard that you have decided to move on to other business ventures. It’s going to be hard but I am going to miss you a lot.  You are the one that hired me here at ACCESS and you gave me a chance just like someone once gave you a chance.  I hope I haven’t let you down one bit.  You always pushed me to fight for what I want and always gave words of encouragement and ideas to ponder and seriously think about.  You were there for me and fought for me when no one else would.  That is so much appreciated, even when the company was acquired, you still managed to fight for me to make sure I was taken care of as well as ______ and ______.  I am going to miss you a lot and we all know that change has occur but I will make sure that ACCESS still provides exceptional quality work because you started this company and made it to what it is today.  I sincerely hope we keep in touch and that you know how much you have change my life.  Whatever you need, you have my cell phone number. Once again I just want to say thank you."

That email was the perfect remedy for my sadness.  I felt like I had made a difference in at least one person's life.  And then another email:

"BOOYAH!!!!! To a great CEO and Best of all… A Friend…. May I (O.D.) on energy drinks till I pass out dude in the your memory…"

I realize that I made friends with great people who are every day making a different creating their own legacy at ACCESS.  This team of technology professionals is fighting to create memories for clients and for each other.  That's awesome!  It's amazing that I was able to share in that experience.

And then I got an email from one of my IT guys that really made me smile:

"So Long Chief!  'There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.' ~ Everett, Douglas"

I took a second to think about that.  I have dreamed big dreams!  A lot of people told me to be REALISTIC.  That I should just get in line and stop trying to "change the world" - stop being a market antagonist!  ...AND I seriously considered STOPPING!  I am just glad that I didn't!  It was the quiet moments alone (or on a treadmill) where I had to muster a little extra resolve.

It did come back to people again.  As I looked around at the team around me, I couldn't imagine letting all those people down.  I also felt like we offered something to our clients that NO ONE ELSE was offering.  I wanted to fight for our clients.

WHY DOES ALL THIS MATTER?

On my desk sits a picture from my friend, Ron Taylor, of a goalie diving with outstretched arms for a soccer ball.  Here is what the picture says:

COMMITMENT: To be a Winner... All you Need to Give is ALL You Have.

I have had the picture in my office(s) for the past 10 years as I fought to create a legacy in each role that I took on.  It's on my desk now and a constant reminder that even if I didn't get any emails or kind words from my team, living passionately is the only way to live!

I will continue to do that in my new role at GNOSO, Inc.

Cheers to the past and those of you who have read about here on The DEW VIEW!

Going Forward, I look forward to sharing real life SALES and BRAND MANAGEMENT strategies from the start-up world.

(And of course, if you aren't reading the best sales blog on the internet from my buddy, Shamus Brown, you need to check it out...)