Many people say ‘it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know’ and although we all know connections are great…this statement isn’t always true. Perhaps passion with persistent energy spark is even better??
Why do I say this? Something happened yesterday with great friend of mine. He started a new job. I won’t use his real name because although he said he was cool with me sharing this story, he told me he’s a bit private about his name so lets call him Trent. Trent and I last worked together 6-7 years ago and have kept in touch. We’d meet up from time to time for lunch in downtown Detroit just to catch up and talk.
Back in the day, we both worked at a company for ~5 years and he was my boss for a couple of those years. That company ended up selling and I left just before the sell off…while Trent stayed on and helped with transition. Since then Trent went to go work for a large software services company in a sales role. I remember him saying it was out of his comfort zone but he’d give it a try…and he needed something to keep the food on the table so why not sales?!
We met up for lunch every couple of months or so and I noticed this new place was progressively getting worse for him. He realized sales just wasn’t for him and we’d sometimes reminisce the entire lunch hour talking about when he was managing & leading people. After about 2 years in that sales role, he started looking and reached out to his network, but nothing was coming his way.
About 2 years ago I passed him a contact at a cool small company much closer to his house, lets call that company Glexcie just to keep it private. I turned down talking with them about a product marketing position for that it just wasn’t the right time, but Trent took that HR contact and engaged them. He was persistent but not pushy…I like to call him ‘sparky’…he’d drop a line or email every so often to the HR contact…and most of his voicemails or emails went unnoticed…at least that what he thought…
After almost 18 months of virtually ‘dropping in’, his company downsized and he found himself laid off….Glexcie slipped his mind and he had not reached out to them in about 3-4 months. Ironically after a week of being unemployed, he was contacted by that HR person at Glexcie out of the blue. Glexcie was expanding and he was one of the people they first thought of. They had 2 positions they thought he’d be great at and they were back in what he loved to do — leading and managing consulting services resources. He jumped at the opportunity. Trent landed an interview and went in and focused on articulating how his energy sparks things (proven by his almost 2 years of ‘sparking’ with Glaxcie’s HR person), focuses on others results and simply delivers by doing what he says…remember that passion formula TEDx talk???!
Three weeks later he landed an offer and took the job.
I remember Trent calling me right after the interview and he was super excited. He was cautiously optimistic and I remember him saying ‘can you believe that I started talking with these guys almost 2 years ago? I think the passion formula worked….it’s all about passion with a lot of spark!’ he said sarcastically…
He started this week.
Monday morning I texted him wishing him well, encouraged him to go at it and not to look back. his response ‘Let’s go conquer a small piece of the world today!’ He’s energized and is diving in.
This story reminded me of how the passion formula puts new opportunities in front of you you’d never expect, but Trent heavily focused on the spark element to start a completely new engagement in a new company. Trent landed this position and has a mountain to climb for sure, but at the end of the day he knew no one in that company. His network didn’t extend into Glexcie, other than an HR contact. No one ‘got him in’ and even if they did, he’d had to win the position…but at the end of the day his passion and constant spark uncovered a great opportunity and won him an offer. It wasn’t luck, it wasn’t connections, it was passion.
Now he just has to deliver and only time will tell if Trent’s successful there but regardless I love hearing real stories like this…and of course sharing them as well!
send me a note if you have a similar story to share!
Catch you again in a couple of weeks!