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It’s Getting Back Up That Matters

I count about 25 people who disproportionately affected how my 45+ years career played out. One was named Terri, the other Jim.

When I met Terri, she was a young VP at Wells Fargo. You could tell she had it all going on. She also saw something in me. Our careers intersected many times over the next 35 years, and I would estimate that half my lifetime earnings are directly, or one degree separated, from Terri.

Jim was charismatic and magnetic, and I’m sure half of his stories were true or nearly that. At one point in our business relationship, he compared me to a quarterback who famously flamed out. He said the only way I would amount to anything in life was to become his acolyte.

Talk about a roundhouse kick to the gut.

Terri passed away a few years ago. I did some of my best work for her. She knew my regard and gratitude well. Life doesn’t give us many Terri’s.

Jim’s are another thing entirely. Sometimes, it feels like they’re everywhere.

The question is always, “Now what?”

Working with Terri, the answer was easy. “Do great work.”

So, riddle me this. Why would the answer be any different when Jim kicks you in the gut?

It’s not getting knocked down that’s the story. It’s getting back up.

I never saw that particular Jim again after that. We were done. I decided to show him who and what I was.

That story had a fun ending. A few years later, he called me and asked if I would buy his business.

I should probably seek out Jim and thank him. I turned that kick in the gut into a kick in the butt and didn’t look back.

Take your motivation where you find it.

Get back up.