In 2 days I will be speaking to a large group of students at George Mason University about my story of how I started integrateIT and provide them with tips as they prepare to enter the work force. I am extremely excited to speak to the students and I know the professor and dean of the program are extremely excited to have me there to share my story as well. This 45 minute speech in the grand scheme of things is really not a huge deal as it won’t make our company a penny, it isn’t a connection that will bring us future business contracts but yet I find myself feeling as if it brings with it a huge sense of personal accomplishment. I feel as if I don’t usually get this way too often. This time is a little different so let me explain why.
This is a story that not many people know about me. About 8 years ago shortly after I had started integrateIT, I actually applied to grad school at GMU to get my MBA with Katie. We thought it would be something cool to do together as at the time we didn’t have kids and we figured it couldn’t hurt for us to get our MBA’s. So we studied up and took the entry test, filled out our applications, and wrote our entry essays. A few months later we got our letters. Katie opened hers and was excited to see she had been accepted. Me, declined. I was actually pretty hurt by the news although I tried to play it off as no big deal. Now, I will be the last person to make the argument that I am smarter than my wife. She has a degree in Chemical Engineering from RPI and graduated with like a 3.8 GPA. Me, I played soccer at RPI…and got a degree in Management. Nevertheless, I was hurt. I felt that here I was someone that had started a company and had completed a prestigious GE Leadership Training program and they were crazy to not accept me into their program. I even went as far as to write an appeal letter that went unanswered. I made Katie enroll in the program even though I could tell she felt weird about still going through with it since we wanted to do this together. At times it was hard to hear stories about her class projects, or the interesting people she was meeting and working on projects with.
I told Katie then and there (half tongue in cheek) that my goal was going to be to make integrateIT so successful that I was someday not a student at GMU but rather someday speaking to students at GMU. This is a true story, you can ask my mom or Katie as they have heard me talk about this goal for years now.
So as I prepare for my remarks on Thursday with great excitement, I post this entry as a reminder to all, don’t let anyone else impact what you want to do or be in life. And take the detrours in the road as motivation to push that much harder to make your goals realities. Of course they will hurt and make you doubt yourself at times but they also make life challenging and I can tell you first hand this week that they also make the times when you do achieve one of those goals feel that much more special.
Being an avid sports fan, sports analogies work best for me. Sometimes life throws you a curveball that hits you and leaves you with a nice welt. You got two choices, lay there and cry about your bruise or brush it off and jog to first base and then later tell everyone about the 99mph fastball that almost took your life!