As I sit here in Hvar Croatia with my wife on vacation after spending a few days in Rome, I am recalling the teamwork that it took to get here. In 1999 we took a trip to the South of France which, until today, was at the top of my list of our vacations together. I remember sitting on the Mediteranian looking at huge yachts and expensive cars and wondering what people did to accumulate so much wealth. I came to the conclusion that it was either old money or new wealth created by owning one’s own company. Right or wrong, I left France and incorporated Transformation Point a few months later.12 Years later, here we sit. We are not rich or wealthy (especially compared to the standard I observed in France). However, we are happy and we work very hard at supporting each other as we achieve our goals. That has been the case throughout our our 16 year marriage which we are celebrating here on the Adriatic Sea. Simply one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen (so far).
Over the past 12 years, the journey to get Transformation Point to be a sustainable entity has been the road less traveled. The genesis was when I was laid off for the first time in my carrier. I had taken increasingly risky positions in the later part of my corporate carrier until I finally found myself at a crossroads. Get a big payday working for someone else or start my own company. My employer made the decision easy. They went under and I didn’t have to make the conscious decision to walk away from a significant salary and face Lisa with three college tuitions staring us in the face.
So, I found myself with no income for the first time in my career shortly after buying our then dream house (not home) and my then dream car within 6 months of acquiring them. Lisa yelled at me about buying the car but that was the extent of the conflict. She has not once asked me what was going to do or lost faith in my commitment to keep up my end of our financial relationship. She has never questioned my personal accountability or my drive to live up to my responsibilities. We have trust in our commitment to work together and support each other over the long-term. We recognize and anticipate that there will be changes that we may not expect as we each continue to discover ourselves. She also stepped up and lead financially and otherwise during difficult periods in the business. Just as I did during the years we were building our foundation. Together, here we are and together we will get to where we will be.
I immediately dove into creating our T-Leadership Program which was then called the Introspection Course. You can imagine how many of those I sold. As I worked on this, I also starting doing some part-time subcontractor work, reengaged in my Ph.D. coursework, and renewed my adjunct teaching relationships. I had started teaching graduate and undergraduate courses back in 1991.
Before I knew it, I was working 7 days a week either consulting, delivering college courses, or grading papers. I was surviving but I was not living my passion in they way I imagined. I was doing what I was good at to make a living but not what I was designed to do.
Over the next few years I realized I liked delivering content, but I hated grading papers. I also found time to write my first book. I was very proud of at the time, but later decided to rewrite it as a business book upon advice of a few professional editors (a few years too late). You will see some of the excerpts as blog posts, but we are no longer producing the original book. The new book is in process.
Now, I no longer teach. We deliver T-Leadership on a worldwide basis, and I have very successful and sustainable relationships with our clients delivering our leadership and management programs, doing team and organizational turnaround consulting, and advising and coaching managers and leaders. Most of the growth started when I incorporated the Birkman Method Assessment into the business and integrated it into the T-Leadership Program.
This brings me back to teamwork. As Lisa and I sit here reflecting on our journey to date together, we realize the important role our support for each other has played in our relationship, our career success, and our happiness.
Lisa and I both took the Birkman Assesssment back in the late 90’s. Our reports are in our nightstand drawer. Often, when we are having our coffee talks together, we pull them out to explain how we are similar and different and why we drive each other crazy at times. We leverage these similarities and differences to help us in supporting each other and our attempts to give each other what we need. This insight helps us to depersonalize conflict and to negotiate with each other. This continues to be an important part of our journey together, but we are far better for it.
All this said, the journey of growing together and creating the life we want with each other is a work in progress. It is filled with collaboration, compromise, and accomodation. It requires a sustained focus on the big picture and the greater good of our relationship. No amount of money or material wealth can overshadow the importance of being connected, sharing time with each other, an being each other’s greatest champions.
I gave up being motivated by material things years ago. It was a great motivator to get started but not a sustainable motivator. Feeding that beast just reduced the time and energy available to do what I love versus do what I have to do to feed the beast.
I am just not wired that way. Instead I am driven to build relationships and to help people get out of their own way. To be the best they can be leveraging their natural strengths and motivators not attempting to be something they are not. To connect with each other and embrace differences. Helping them to work effectively with others while still being true to their own needs.
This is the nature of the teamwork that Lisa and I have created with each other. For example, she likes the sun and I like the shade. We find a spot with both sun and shade. As much as we would naturally like to create the other in our own image, we know that it would just not be natural or effective.