If you’ve read my blog, you know that several years ago I started to write a book called ‘Defining Moments’. It was going to be about those moments in the lives of very successful people when they reached a crossroads, or made a decision that affected the rest of their lives. I never completed the book, and sadly, the subject of the first chapter of Defining Moments, Mr. Marvin Traub, passed away in July 2012.
I hadn’t really thought much about my book project in quite a while until I heard about Mr. Traub’s passing. Lately, I’ve been thinking more about it, but I’d like to change the focus somewhat. What about the defining moments of ordinary people, who are successful in their own way, but aren’t famous or have the notoriety of a prestigious job.
I’d like to know, dear blog readers, what are your defining moments?
I’ll tell you a few of my own:
Wait! – the phrase that changed my life
Back in 1998, when my wife and I ware first dating, we were going through a rough time. We had gone on a date that evening and then went back to my apartment. The date hadn’t gone well, and since this was very early on in our relationship, she was ready to end it. And, in fact, the relationship could have ended right there. As she left the apartment, she waiting for the elevator to arrive – the elevator door was right in front of my apartment door. We didn’t have much to say at that point. Then the elevator arrived and she stepped on, pressed the button to go down, and as the door started to close, I called out “Wait!”
The door closed, but she came back upstairs a couple of minutes later. We made up that day, and worked through the issues we had. Today, fourteen years later, we’re happily married and have two wonderful children.
I see that “Wait!” as a defining moment in my life.
Knowing when to switch
In early 2004, I had been working at a new job for a couple of months at an investor relations/communications agency, and I wasn’t happy there. I was feeling unappreciated and was starting to lose confidence in myself. At the time, my wife was pregnant with our second child, so I really needed the job. I would wake in the morning dreading going to the office, yet I convinced myself that I should just ‘grin and bear it’ for the benefit of my growing family.
Then the day arrived. I had worked quite hard that day on writing a few documents for one of the clients. That evening, at about 9:30 p.m., I got a call from my boss telling me that the work I had done was garbage and had to be rewritten. I was expected, I was told, to be at the office early the next to fix it. Now, at the time, I had been writing for a living for close to 15 years and no-one had ever complained about the quality of my work. Still, I got to the office early the next day to ‘fix’ the documents. As it turns out, what my boss called ‘garbage’ was really a question of writing style… his style was different from mine and I guess anything different from his was ‘garbage’.
I knew that day that I wanted to quit, but didn’t want to make an emotional decision. So, I took the weekend to think about it and then the following Monday, I told him that I would be leaving the company. Two weeks later, I established MCG Media, and never looked back.
It’s now been eight and a half years since I set out on my own and I have had the privilege of working with a wide range of companies and a fantastic group of people.
That phone call from my former boss was the catalyst, but the defining moment for me was taking the decision and having the courage to leave a full-time job for the unknown of being self-employed. I’m happy I did it.
So, please, leave a comment below and let me know about your defining moments!