Looking back, 2014 was a most rewarding year, one of risk, credibility, friendships and new horizons.
I did something I had been contemplating for a number of years: Ending a long career in the news business and venturing out to do my own thing.
It was hard to leave. For the past 15 years I had the privilege of being publisher of the Phoenix Business Journal, which provided me a platform that was hard to leave.
I enjoyed working with my team there; I was well connected to the business community and its leaders; and I had an audience to promote the positive side of life that make this region so attractive.
Over those years a handful of close friends knew of my desire to go independent. We talked about it a lot. But that was it. Just talk. Though most of them don’t know it, they were the motivating force in making my solo jump last spring. I could not look them in the eye any more and share such intentions without putting action behind them. I was losing credibility when it came to that idea.
The journey has exceeded my expectations.
The biggest reason: friends. So many have proved that their friendships are sincere – staying in touch, offering advice and support and going out of their way to be, well, just friends. To say I feel blessed would be an understatement.
Even better, is the amazing number of new relationships that I have developed in the six months of my solo express. It proves that if you are willing to engage others with intentions that are sincere, there is no limit to the number of new relationships that are just waiting to take off.
You can’t ask much more of life than that.
Many of you have asked what I’ve been up to in this six-month journey.
Here’s a snapshot:
I am fortunate to have three great clients: Maricopa Community Colleges, the Arizona Commerce Authority and Valley Leadership. I am doing a variety of projects for those organizations, all of which focus on various aspects of building leadership and expanding networks.
I am working with a tech start-up, GiveWrite.com, which is ready to go to market with a print-on-demand business that will be a big help to the non-profit community as well as become a very profitable venture along the way.
I am developing a process to help companies that should be exporting their products and services to provide a support system that will give them resources, relationships and the means to help achieve those goals. I have a number of partners in this effort, including the new Global Chamber of Commerce, which I also serving as an advisor.
I am working to create a private senior leadership group that will help members grow their personal and professional relationships and look for ways that they can do things to help the overall community improve.
I am having conversations with people offering a concierge service, working with new companies (or new executives) to provide an on-boarding service, advising them on who and what they should know about the Phoenix business landscape and how to make strategic connections quickly ... all with the intent of accelerating their success.
There are a number of other ventures I am in early discussions with, too. And my guess is that as the journey continues in 2105, more opportunities will pop up along the way.
People ask me how I have liked “retiring.” I say quite the opposite, I have very much enjoyed “refiring” my engines in new directions.
I have talked to a number of leaders in the community who say they are thinking about doing the same thing – going solo after long and successful careers. I hope my story gives them – and perhaps others – a little spark of confidence that may be the final step they need in their “refiring” process
For all, my wish is that 2015 brings out the best in you. I hope to see you along the road as my journey continues to take twists and turns – perhaps in some directions that may cross paths with you!