It’s funny how fast time flies and how fast things can change when you’re dedicated to making an impact within your craft. Fresh off leaving school early with my business department’s blessing to run my concert promotions company full time, the economy tanked and gas went up over four dollars per gallon for the first time, eliminating family entertainment budgets and spurring promoters around the country to declare bankruptcy.
While I was blessed to avoid bankruptcy, I didn’t come out unscathed. At age twenty-one, I came to the harsh realization that part of what I had considered to be my calling simply wasn’t going to work. I had to hang it up and even ended up helping out a neighbor’s farmhands harvesting watermelons for extra cash to scrape by (yes, chucking watermelons is just as hard and unpleasant as it sounds, in case you were wondering).
Among everything I did while figuring out what was next, what’s more important is the one thing I didn’t do: cave in to the pressure to go back to school, hat in hand, or to find a “real job” out in the work force. Eventually I caught on as a concert promotions consultant for an outfit out of Florida, which led to the foundation of the organization now known as Fidelitas.
Obviously, I’m extremely blessed to have ended up where I have, but leaders must remember that some of our greatest opportunities for impact come after our greatest failures. Leaders must look for new opportunities and seize them in order to turn momentum back in their favor without caving to unqualified advice from external sources. A leader’s actions matter most when the spotlight is brightest, and the spotlight is never brighter than after a failure.