Some decisions matter more than others. In the grand sweep of your life, which choices will lead to the greatest positive or negative impacts? The dominos always fall, but which is the first one?
When I was in design school in the late 1980s, I took a series of entrepreneurship courses in the MBA faculty. I've always been interested in the connection to good design and effective entrepreneurial leadership. The two together seemed usually to lead to wiser judgements that turned out the best for all involved.
In that class, our professor brought Hal Thompson in to share his magnificent life story. A gold medalist in both his engineering and business schools, Hal came into the business world fast and went on to have a very interesting experience. There was much to learn from his example. The lessons were big, both in what to do and in what not to do.
At the end of the class, Hal handed out his business card to the two-dozen students assembled, with an offer to spend an hour on any subject with anyone of us who called. I thought it was a no-brainer and made the call. Hal became a very important mentor through the very crucial formative stages of my business career.
One day, I was complaining to Hal about feeling a lack of purpose in my life. He took to an introductory session for a personal growth course called the "pursuit of excellence". It was the first course of its kind that I did and I quickly enrolled in the second of the series, called "the wall." There I met the woman who was my true soulmate and my wife now for almost 23 years. I also met the man who's been my coach for the last 20 years.
Along a series of relationship connections along that path I eventually met both Brett Wilson and John Francis, my collaborators on my fourth book (simplicity and freedom). Pretty much everyone I now coach–all the amazing people that make up my very valuable network–are connected in someway to these two gentlemen.
There is only ever one domino that is the first in a series of impactful events. Shortly after I started working with Hal, he told me that of all the students in the class that day (all MBA candidates and me from design school), I was the only one who called. I owe pretty much all I am and all I have today to that early work with Hal and the fateful decision to pick up his business card and dial the phone.