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Like many children growing up, I learned from the School of Hard Knocks. I overcame my fair share of obstacles and learned to be resilient; a strong internal constitution as one friend observed. This served me well through my teenage and early adult years.
By the time I was 37, I thought I had it all. A family. A wife. Three kids. A beautiful home. I owned a successful recruiting business and had been fortunate to travel in 25 countries. Life couldn’t be better.
Then everything changed.
Three years later my recruiting business evaporated during the great recession. My wife decided she did not want to be married anymore. I moved out of my house leaving my kids and virtually everything I owned behind. By my 40th birthday I was living in a small, worn-out apartment. I slept on a borrowed couch and saw my children once a week. I was alone, broken and confused.
This was the beginning of the fight of my life.
What do you do when you are desperate but refuse to give up? You search for answers. I challenged everything I knew and looked for answers everywhere I went.
With my recruiting firm on life support and no other means of supporting my family I started writing resumes. With well-honed interviewing skills and my natural curiosity, I unexpectedly unearthed powerful, often painful, stories about clients’ personal lives. These stories were not part of the resumes I wrote, but they helped me understand the person behind each resume. What they taught me was profound.
One client, when he was a teenager, was driving a car which was involved in a head-on collision that killed his twin brother and nearly paralyzed him. His year-long recovery forged in him a zest for life and he went on to become highly successful in sales. Another client was a brilliant real estate negotiator because of his ability to read micro-expressions on faces – a skill he mastered as a child watching his dad walk into a room. He learned to anticipate his dad’s moods as self-protection because his dad routinely beat him.
Explaining to clients the connection between their personal stories and their career achievements left them astonished, if not speechless. I watched, in them, the birth or renewal of an unshakeable confidence; confidence that came from seeing themselves for the first time.
After two years of professional intimate conversations with my resume and career coaching clients I began to see myself for the first time. I uncovered in myself capacity I had not previously known – the ability to see in other people what they don’t see in themselves.
People hired me because they knew I could write a solid resume. What they did not know is I was in intense personal pain and was drawing strength and wisdom from their life stories. I was awakening the professional souls of my clients. They were awakening mine.
This was the tip of the iceberg. Once I realized these incredible stories can never be discussed in a job interview I started to see the paradox of hiring and recruiting. Companies want to hire for character but managers can’t ask about the life events that have forged a candidate’s character.
I realized the interviewing, hiring and recruiting process is broken largely because those processes have become inhumane. And thus, the Awaken Your Professional Soul platform was born.
Awaken Your Professional Soul teaches organizations the value of human connection. It also challenges conventional wisdom in the areas of hiring, recruiting, succession planning and professional development.
Awaken Your Professional Soul was birthed during the most intense fight of my life. The fight for my kids. It took seven years of custody litigation and cost virtually every dollar I had.”