Are you successful? Are you pleased with your personal and professional achievements? If the answer is yes, you may have a problem.
If there is one thing I learned from my experience in the workforce, it’s that “good enough” is NEVER good enough. If you are satisfied with your status, your cash flow, your market position, or anything for that matter…. it’s just a matter of time until the next dude who is more hungry knocks you off your high horse.
I head up web marketing at NextStudent– currently director and angling for a VP position (and feeling good about the probability). To be honest, I never, ever thought I would be corporate. I just assumed I would be a dotcommer who eventually sells a few start ups and rides off in my yacht a la P-Diddy white party style. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and if you adjust your swing, you can hit it out of the park.
But one home run does not make a hall of famer.
I get a lot of credit for NextStudent’s rise to the top end of the student loan industry, but credit where credit is due, Chris Sauer runs the operations. He’s my boss’ boss. He’s the NextStudent’s COO, and a guy that probably none of you know (except my employees who read this blog).
There are other guys at our company who are probably equally as impressive (like our CEO Don Fenstermaker for his vision and sheer brainpower, Jack Wallace for his connections and ability to insert the phrase “boom boom” and / or “sloppy seconds” into any corporate meeting without getting even an eyebrow raise, etc). But Chris Sauer probably had the most influence over my ability to push NextStudent’s market position. He’s the guy who decided to pay me on performance, which basically converted me from a consultant / contractor to a pretty dedicated corporate marketing dude. Subsequently, that’s also the reason for my personal successes which are driving this very blog post.
So why is this post titled “Stay Hungry” and it’s basically a fan boy post for my boss’ boss? Well for one, if he reads this I might get a nice cigar out of it. But more importantly, it’s because he is the hungriest dude out there. Even if his 8 digit bankroll (*note- that figure is pure speculation) could / should pacify him, he keeps pushing us to keep getting better personally and professionally.
He might be a hard ass, but it’s because he’s a bad ass. On a daily basis I leech off of him the following lessons:
- Never accept sub par performance. Never.
- It’s better to rub somebody the wrong way then to let them bend you over
- Math is easy, and everything is math if you can figure out the variables and work out the solution
- Most importantly: Stay Hungry.
Being in the top of our marketplace is not enough. Being well known is not enough. Having personal wealth is not enough. If I’m not building a legacy for my future family, then why the hell am I even working a day job?
Fact is I am building something big here, so I have something to be proud of and somebody helping steer the ship who doesn’t let us get fat and lazy when we see good results.
So cheers to the guys who made my success in 2006 possible. Here’s to doing bigger and better things in 2007. I’m hungry.