Congratulations to our entire team for winning DP&L's 2017 First Year Channel Partner award!
It is an honor to be selected for this award from Dayton Power and Light. DP&L provides power to over half a million customers in West Central Ohio. The award is recognition of our commitment to energy efficiency through the use of LED lighting solutions.
As our company expands, our commitment to energy efficiency and new technologies deepens. "We are excited about what the future holds. Through e2green we offer LED lighting solutions that help commercial and industrial customers update their energy use infrastructure while saving money.
"Our vision includes exploring new technologies and helping our customers implement solutions that boost their bottom line, benefit their market, and also contribute to good stewardship of our energy resources."
We look forward to continue serving all our valued customers in 2018 and beyond!
Being an entrepreneur is what I imagine skydiving is like. Standing on the ground gazing up skydiving looks exciting. But when I’ve watched those videos of people in the plane getting ready to jump . . . I can only wonder what they must be feeling! One step out of the plane and it’s too late to chicken out. People who have sky dived talk about the initial rush and then the euphoria they experience during the free fall. You have probably seen skydivers start to do tricks playing like otters in the wind. Crazy. I remember one guy describing the sense of freedom and abandon.
These videos also show the ground approaching quickly. With a thud people land and take some running steps and stop. That’s when the newbies yelp with delight. For me it’s a virtual experience but it still makes my heart beat fast just thinking about it.
I read somewhere that you can tell a happy skydiver by the bugs on his teeth.
I would rather eat Mexican food.
A colleague and I were enjoying a Mexican meal when surprisingly a waiter sat down at our table with a plate full of food. Seriously! I’m sure my jaw fell. Without comment he started to eat his meal with us. My colleague just stared. Who does that?
The waiter broke the silence and asked if we would like to try his food. I quickly assumed this was some sort of marketing thing to get people’s reactions to new menu offerings. I reached over and stuck my fork into a piece of steak and took a bite. Boy, am I glad I did! Delicious! The flavors were so good. In between bites we were free falling in our conversation laced with laughter and feedback.
I asked, “How do I get some more of that!?”
He responded, “You don’t. I made this homemade for our staff. I wanted you to try some authentic Mexican cooking to see what we eat every day.” That’s it. No marketing thing at all. He just wanted us to enjoy a little piece of his culture. Gutsy move on his part to just sit down at our table.
To step out of a plane or to sit down with strangers requires something greater than the risk involved. The promise of adventure. The joy of sharing your life with someone.
That's kind of like what entrepreneurship is like. Sure it can be risky and stressful. Happy entrepreneurs have their own bug stained teeth. But the thrill and reward outweigh the risk.
Whether you are a business owner or an employee, it is important to find the thrill in what you do. Maybe it is chasing after the next big sale and taking a new approach. Perhaps it is the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. It might be just stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. With risk comes promise and potential reward.
Step out. Enjoy the free fall. And don’t forget your toothbrush.
The ancient Greeks had a phrase to describe a common malady: to rest on your laurels.
Laurel wreaths were symbols of victory and status. But once a victor won his prize, the temptation was to stop growing and achieving. Stop striving and start resting. Resting on one’s laurels is not considered at all a praiseworthy strategy—it suggests a decline into laziness and lack of application.
All the drive and passion that pushes a person to begin a career journey can diminish. I have put in the time, effort, “blood, sweat, and tears” over 21 years in sales and different businesses and have achieved top-notch sales skills. I have the accolades and awards, the “salesman of the month” plaques and certificates. But there have been times when I felt the temptation to just rest in my achievements. Time for a change!
A New Challenge
I have been given the opportunity to develop a training program for our sales team to grow. E2green just recently expanded and opened an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As I began the process to develop the training course, all the memories from my trips all over the country to different sales seminars and presentations came rushing back to me like a giant wave. My brain was flooded with a sea of information. The challenge switched from absorbing information and putting into practice to passing the knowledge and skills on to others and, more than that, to develop a team that works together.
Together as a team our sales people have a little bit of every aspect of sales that one can imagine. The diversity of experience and skills is a blessing. My challenge is to bring them all together and coach them into a highly functioning team of Commercial LED Lighting Sales Reps.
I searched YouTube for tips and pointers on how to do this. I watched some stuff to see if I have been left out in the cold since my last Zig Ziglar seminar. After a while it dawned on me that these videos weren’t sharing any new profound knowledge or any trade secrets that I hadn’t already practiced in years past. It was time to coach others to sell well.
Time to Coach
We had a two-day training window and I wanted to make an impact. I need my trainees to “always look up” wherever they go, and when the conversation about lighting needs to be had they need to get excited. I want them to become LED nerds . . . like me. LED Lighting makes me happy, it is a simple thing, but it is changing the world as we have known it. I get to speak to business customers daily and provide them with something that they all need. E2green takes pride in providing our customers with the best quality solutions that meets their business needs.
Step One: Provide information and knowledge.
Time to explain the difference between kelvin temps, wattages, identifying existing systems and proposed solutions, clear or frosted lens, rebates, kwh, etc. Understanding precedes passion.
Step Two: Review the Sales Process
I created a 15-page PowerPoint and started with the customer sales cycle. The training comprised of so many things I have learned to be successful through the years. Reviewing the process was like hitting the gym again for me and exercising sales muscles that I had forgotten I had. I took some things for granted and skipped steps in the process that I have known for years. Over time with all the successes that I was having, I started taking short cuts because LED lights sometimes sell themselves. Reviewing the Sales Process with a skilled team invigorated our discussion.
Step Three: Model
Actions speak louder than words. Information is one thing but attitude and character are caught and not taught. Teaching sales staff to be humble and take the time to develop a business relationship with each customer we touch is the most valuable thing. It is about the building of relationships and long-term customer service. So, on top of the LED 101 knowledge that we drilled over and over, I had the opportunity to discuss with them how we do things differently than our competitors. Then we did it together.
There is a myriad of companies that offer LED lighting solutions and electrical services. The e2green approach is different. We teach our team to make it personal. We are developing partnerships with all our customers. We have developed a sales team and a service division that reflects our values. The reviews, and call-in thank you messages, and the cards we have received from our customers let us know that this is more than just business for us, it is personal. We take pride and get excited with every new opportunity we get to serve the public and our customers.
How do we take a naturally competitive market and create a culture packed full of collaboration? Can the two coexist?
As leaders or employees, we need to intentionally seek to understand how to apply both concepts at various points of business so that we all can be a success.
The law of supply and demand is a core principle behind any business interaction. It is simple. When supply is low, buyers compete. When demand is low, suppliers compete. The housing market is a common example. Suppose 100 homes are for sale, but 200 families are looking for a home. The 200 families looking to purchase are competing for a low supply of homes.
When home owners see a neighbor selling a house at a fantastic price, they too list their home to maximize the sale price. At some point, 400 homes become available for sale, but only 300 families are looking to purchase. There are more homes available than buyers. Sellers will have to compete more to attract a buyer in an overly saturated buyers’ market.
This dynamic is why competition will never go away in a free market. Competition is why we are in business and why we have employment.
If competition is essential to business, why are social media platforms, politics, corporations, even families talking about collaboration these days? Why do we care so much about collaborating?
Collaboration speaks to a win-win mindset. Competition can be very one sided: I win, you lose. It’s me versus you.
I am naturally competitive and self-centered. I bet you are, too. If we were both starving and there was only one piece of bread left in the world, we would both naturally want to eat that piece of bread before the other person. It’s about survival instincts (Another law of supply and demand).
People who work in collaboration see the problem and work towards a mutually beneficial solution. They say things like: what are the win-win options? Maybe the bread isn’t the only food source. Maybe we just need to make more bread. Maybe we could work together on this problem to find a solution so that both of us survive. Community is stronger when there is a culture of collaboration.
Let’s Discuss a Real Business Problem
It’s no secret that today’s pool of trade workers is inadequate. Speak with any owner of a trade business and they will tell you that their biggest problem is lack of human resources. The abundance of work is high (demand), but the people to do the work is low (supply). Hence the problem. How do I stay in business if my supply is short? To keep my supply of workers, I need to pay higher wages.
Every trade business faces this today, and we are all in natural competition for workers to keep our businesses thriving. This problem is good for workers; it raises wage rates, places a higher value on trade jobs, and eventually more workers will join the field. The real question is, which companies will survive until that point of equilibrium?
Early on in this venture, I had the pleasure of becoming friends with someone who understands this problem and does something about it. Laura Bachman is a fantastic collaborator but also works for our competitor, Sparks Electric. She knows how to coexist in both competition and collaboration.
Laura has dedicated an incredible amount of time in the evenings and weekends developing an apprenticeship program that I believe raises the best electricians in the nation. How do I know? The program she leads trains our apprentices. I see the results first hand. Our customers give raving reviews about the apprentices her team trains. Instead of limiting her training skills to the Sparks’ team, she has collaborated with other competitors, inspectors, apprenticeship programs and recruiting teams to make sure that the program grows and provides the best education for students for the industry.
Recently, Laura asked me to join the Board for MECA. What an honor! There are a group of leaders in Dayton, Ohio who care about the future of our students and she asked me to be a part of it. We at E2 Companies are very excited about the future of the program Laura is leading.
Thank you: Laura, teachers, inspectors, other business owners like Sparks and students, for dedicating your time and resources to the future!
In your business, what is a real-world problem that requires a solution? How can you collaborate with your competition to solve that problem?
If you have not yet met Laura, but would like to learn more about The Master Electrical Contractors Association in Dayton, OH, please go to http://www.iec-dayton-meca.com/ for more info.
Have you wondered what is it like to be an electrician for E2? You could find out by becoming one yourself and joining our awesome team! Below, Jonathan Burks details out some fun and facts during a day at our company.
Keep in mind, however, that no day at E2 is a replica of the next day. Every day has its own set of challenges, delights, tasks, and surprises. Each day is fresh and new, where a different physically challenging or mentally stimulating electrical job awaits. I look forward to working with my wonderful team to install brand new panels, outlets, lighting fixtures, and much more for our friendly customers.
7:00 am: The commute to Dayton. It takes me approximately 15 minutes to drive my company van to work at E2’s shop near downtown Dayton. I love the small highway that goes straight to the medium Midwestern city. It is called State Route 4, and it very rarely has any traffic issues. Are you jealous yet? As I approach the city of Dayton, the sun is just coming up behind me in a beautiful sunrise, and reflecting brightly on the Dayton skyline.
7:20 am: Arrive at the Shop. I get to the E2 headquarters in excellent time. I walk through the garage into the lobby where I am greeted by my coworkers. If I were a coffee drinker, I would use this time to get my Joe, but I fill up my water bottle instead for future thirst quenching.
7:30 am: The Clock Starts! Its time to get ready for the job ahead. I talk to my supervisor, Kenny, about where to go, what needs to be done, and what material I will need. Today, I am going to upgrade a customer’s house from a 100 amp service to a 200 amp service. The upgrade will include a brand new breaker panel, meter socket, weather head, ground rod, and run of service cable. It is a challenging job with a lot of steps, but I will team up with Matt, one our residential electric experts to tackle the task.
8:00am: Arrive at the customer’s home. We arrive at the house, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work, but first, we need to meet our customers, and cordially remind them that we will be turning their power off. Our customers are usually very nice about this, despite the enormous inconvenience.
8:15am: Disconnect the Power. Once the occupants of the house are ready, it’s time to turn off the power. This is very important because we want to upgrade the service without risking any electrical accidents that could easily occur with the electric on. We first take the strong and insulated fiberglass extension ladder off the work van, and set it up against the house where the electrical service is located at. We then make sure all disconnects are off and the meter is out. Now it’s time to disconnect the service from the utility. We do this by cutting each wire very carefully with specially insulated ratchet cutters.
9:00 am: Remove the old Service. Once we cut and cap off the utility service drop properly, we are ready to start removing the old service equipment. Matt goes into the house to start removing the outdated 100amp panel while I begin to extract the worn service cable, straps, meter hub, and weather head. The service cable’s insulation is peeling everywhere as I tear it off. It sure needed to be replaced! Also, inside the old meter hub, I notice that the main phase terminals are starting to corrode. This could have resulted in the customer losing power all the sudden or worse, so I am glad they chose to upgrade their service. Meanwhile, Matt is busy taking out the unreliable Federal Pacific panel. He is expertly sliding each circuit out of it so that, when empty, he can unfasten it.
10:30am: Prepare and install new weather head and service cable. Back outside, I am done removing the old stuff. Phew! That was some nasty cable. Now I can begin working with the new and smooth 4/0 aluminum service cable. I start by unrolling the cable so that it is flat and straight for a crisp, professional, installation. I then mount the weather head at the end of the cable with the individual wires hanging out. This is called the drip loop, which is where the electric from the utility attaches to the electric throughout the house. Now I can hang the weather head with the cable attached to it near the peak of the house next to the utility drop. When that is finished, I carefully run the service cable down to where the new meter will be.
11:30am: lunch: The best part of the day! Today, Matt is feeling very generous, so he orders two pizzas for both of us. Food tastes so good when you’ve been working hard!
12:00pm: New Panel and New Meter Socket. It’s time to go back to work for the final stretch. Inside, Matt got all the wires out of the old panel and removed it from the wall. Now he can start putting wires into the new panel, but first, he must cut some drywall so that the larger, roomier breaker panel will fit inside the wall. Back outside, I mount the new meter socket where the old one used to be. The difference is huge: all the terminals are shiny and new with anti-corrosion material, and the enclosure is smooth with a sparkling silver finish. I go ahead and pull the cable from the weather head into the meter socket. I do the same with a shorter piece going through the wall to Matt’s panel.
1:30pm: Terminations and Grounding. Once Matt has his wires in the new panel, he can make terminations on lugs and breakers. There are numerous rules in the NEC on terminating wires, so Matt is careful to do everything according to code. Doing otherwise could result in bad stuff. He also makes sure the proper grounding electrodes are being bonded in the panel. If need be, we will have to run a wire to the main water pipe and the ground rod that we install. Outside, I strip the wire inside the meter socket, and make my terminations. I coat my wires with a special anti-oxidation compound that prevents corrosion before I set them in the lugs, and tighten them down.
2:30pm: Finishing touches and Reconnecting the service: We are almost done! Matt is putting the last breakers in the panel and I am done with the meter. Now it’s time to re-energize the service. On the insulated extension ladder, I carefully connected the wires using a special crimp tool. Then, I put special covers on the connections. I check the meter hub with a multi-meter. We have power! Now we just have to snap on the meter, turn on the breakers, and label the panel, and we’re finished! Matt and I made a great team on this job: we checked each other’s work to make sure we didn’t make any small errors and we helped each other out to get the job done quickly, carefully, and efficiently.
3:30pm: Clean up. The job is not done until we clean up. We take clean up very seriously at E2. We make sure everything is picked up, and all the floors, surfaces, and grounds are all as good as they were when we got here. We then take our tools, materials, and trash to the vans.
4:00pm: Go Home. We have officially finished! Now for the fun time of the work day: the drive home with the satisfaction of the work well done.
You have probably heard the term “measure twice, cut once;” the obvious meaning to avoid making mistakes. Many carpenters have learned the hard way by ruining costly materials. Through years of experience, tradesmen have found ways to perfect their skills and become as efficient as possible through less re-work and making the best use out of all their materials. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find ways to do this in every industry?
When it comes to your place of business, proper lighting matters. Believe it or not, a poor lighting design can cause re-work or cost you big money.
At some point, a consultant might have investigated LED lighting with you for your place of business. And if you went through this process, you saw several options with varying prices, brands, and quality. After reviewing the results of your ROI analysis with a sales rep, you probably left the meeting feeling like you needed to be a rocket scientist just to figure out all the differences between wattages, kelvin temp, foot candles, lumens, etc. Truth be told, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a 4’ fluorescent tube that uses 32 watts of power needs to be replaced with something that still provides you the right amount of light and hopefully saves money in the process.
This week, we sat with a customer that cared about the quality of light more than energy savings. It was an unseen value that would never show on a quote or on an ROI. The graphics sign artist used light to confirm exact colors printed on products sold to customers. They explained their issue of improper lighting or shadows caused perceptions of art to skew prior to printing. Once it was sent to the printer, products would come out in different shades or colors than what was expected. Literally, they would print material, take it outside in the sun to confirm the color, and if it was incorrect they would go back to the drawing board. Through LED technology, we are consulting with this customer to provide lights that will eliminate the need to use the sun for reference. They will measure twice to print once!
If your place of business has inspection areas, color matching, painting, finishing, stamping, or cutting areas, you probably relate. We can’t place a value on that large contract your company just landed last month. Your crew worked double shifts to complete the order for the customer, and you are all “hi-fiving” as the order ships out on a freight truck full of pallets. Several days later you get a call from your customer. There are flaws in the materials, the color doesn’t match, or the lines aren't cut as precisely as requested by the contract. Now that order has more than doubled your costs because of re-work.
Consider when you started your business. You found the perfect location or building to grow your enterprise. The setup met your standards then. Now, your business has changed. Machines have been moved around, new offices had to be added for your expanding payroll, and new products are being offered. These are some of the reasons you do re-work.
Do you have to walk outside to look at finished materials to see what color they really look like? When you pull a vehicle out of the garage after you just had it wrapped, do the colors look the same outside as they do inside? Did the 5,000 pieces of metal you had powder coated and shipped out get sent back because they originally passed your inspection, but are now not approved by your customer? How many work days a year do your employees miss due to migraines? The constant pulsing that is emitted from a fluorescent light not only distorts true colors, it influences your eyes. Your employees can experience eye fatigue from long days in the office.
We have had the luxury of working with many types of companies to help fix these issues. From graphic designers, machinists, auto body shops, and printers, they have all saved thousands of dollars in re-work.
We can show you how you can benefit from LED lighting by the energy savings. We know you will see an immediate impact on your next month’s electric bill. We can also show you the maintenance savings you will benefit from by upgrading to LED lighting over the lifespan of your new lamps. BUT, only you know the real value that LED lighting can do for your business when it comes to your labor and material cost savings by getting the job done right the first time.
Earlier this year, our management team at Evans Electric sat down to create our annual goals. We knew that growth in our organization would come from a few different areas including selling high quality LED Lights at a fraction of the cost currently available. This new division is e2green, and our team is building quickly to meet the demand.
About a week ago, one of our apprentices (Josh Jordan), came to me with a cool idea. To grow in his area of focus, he wanted to research LEDs and share what he learned through our blog. An apprentice taking initiatives like this is a dream come true for us! We are very proud to have Josh on our team!
This is what Josh Jordan had to say:
LED is an acronym that stands for light-emitting diode. Some of you reading this might be thinking, “What in the world does that mean?”
LED technology produces its light from diodes. A diode is simply a semiconductor device that allows the flow of a current in one direction. So LEDs are just another form of a light. I have learned that LEDs are more than just lights to a business.
What makes LEDs so different from fluorescent or other types of lighting? Why do light bulbs really matter to your business?
Here are the 3 key reasons to choose LED lights:
LEDs are compact and versatile. In the earlier years of LED technology, they required lots of wiring and soldering. Today, we have plug and play systems. Modular systems are available as well. In other words, LEDs look better and are easy to install.
At e2green we offer you this technology at a more affordable rate than our competitors. Prior to even selling you one LED though, we like to perform an audit. This audit is an evaluation of your current lighting system and the energy those lights produce. We walk through your building and use your energy bill to determine this information. Once we have gathered what we need, we provide you with a side by side comparison of your current system to LED technology. You then receive an estimate for cost and your return on investment. It is just that simple!
A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.
"Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh.
"Yes," replied the Tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run you a race and prove it."
And so, the story goes. The great and fast hare with obvious talents, challenged by the much slower tortoise to a race, and loses. The moral: “Slow and steady wins the race.” Interestingly, many of us have grown up hearing this story; know the moral of the story; probably even agree with the moral in the story; but naturally compare success in today’s world to speed. If business were the race, we would assume the hare would win. Why? Technology pushes us to be faster and more automated. Competition demands efficiencies. Marketing shouts, “YOU NEED THIS NOW.”
This year I learned something about myself. “My name is Dave, and I am addicted to speed.” It almost sounds like a drug, doesn’t it? I graduated from college, married my sweetheart, became a Director in a company, bought two new cars, and loaded up on all the new furnishings for my new house all by the age twenty-five. People would tell me I was a success, and I truly believed it. It was my bragging right. The problem was that nothing was ever good enough. I remember setting a goal for myself in my early twenties, “Once I hit a certain threshold in my salary by a specific age, I will be happy.” I also remember hitting that target much sooner than expected, just to find myself wanting more. My focus was distorted.
You probably admit that peace and happiness are more valuable than money and fame, but so many of us spend our energy pursuing money and fame instead. As someone trained to run a race like the hare, I find myself slowing down to converse with people winning the race like the tortoise. Three people (Who have no idea I was watching or listening to them) have taught me a new kind of success.
I had a boss who built a skillset that made her very successful. She was promoted into a new position as Vice President after the company parted ways with her predecessor. As with any change in leadership, questions about the new leader’s abilities naturally rise. Since I was a hare racing to the next glamorous promotion, I found myself challenging her abilities every time a problem surfaced. I could do it better. I would do it differently. I let people know.
Now, I regret it. It is easy to shoot arrows at a target. It is not easy to be the target. Anyone on that team could voice an opinion without effort. The skillset she had built with incredible strength is a phrase I now call Fearless Consistency. She knew there were problems and knew she did not have all the answers. Things could have been done differently, maybe even better. But, she did not quit. She took one step at a time, led a team out of fear and into the future. Problems will always be everywhere. Arrows will fly. Fast resolutions will always be demanded. The tortoise did not grow tired. He just took one step at a time and never quit.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Last week, I was meeting with someone about a potential business opportunity. This would be a new venture that I know nothing about. The individual sitting across the table from me, had thirty-plus years of experience doing it. He is no rookie, but he is not someone I know too well yet. I had my doubts.
As we sat at a table drinking coffee and discussing the cool new potential initiatives, all my insecurities in the matter bubbled to the surface. Anything he spoke about, I questioned. I was not capable to do this for many reasons. At one point in the conversation, he, in all his experience doing this, stopped me in my tracks to say something so simple, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
In the famous fable, both the Tortoise and the Hare knew who was faster. After all, turtles are slow without skillsets to win races. But, they did not know what they did not know. Since the tortoise could understand this concept, he was able to take on a challenge most turtles would have passed up.
You Already Matter
In 1981, a movie called Chariots of Fire was released. The story is about two Olympic runners, Harrold Abraham and Eric Liddell. Each of them approaches their passions from different perspectives. During one scene after losing a couple races, Harrold is getting a massage to prepare for his final race. His famous line states, “I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my whole existence. But WILL I?” Eric Liddell also has a moment before his race, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. When I run I feel His pleasure.”
I heard a speaker recently simplify both messages. You can either run in order to matter OR you matter already, therefore, you run. Confidence breeds when you already know you matter. And if you already matter, you can be fearlessly consistent. You don’t even have to know all the answers yet.
At Evans Electric and E2Green, we have set some goals for our company that will be a stretch. Not because we justify our existence, but because we love doing what we do. We believe that with our team we can continue to accomplish great challenges. We admit that we don’t know what we don’t know, but we will take one step at a time, do what it takes to find the answers and implement consistent solutions that last for our customers.
One year ago today marks the start of an adventure that changed my life. As a career focused HR executive making a great salary and living in Atlanta, GA, I did something crazy. I somehow convinced my wife, toddler, and new born baby that we needed a bit more excitement in our lives… As if we didn’t have enough stress already. Once my wife was onboard with me, I called up her dad in Dayton, OH to ask him a question that would change us all forever.
ME: “Tom, what would you think about selling your company to me? We will move from Atlanta to Dayton as soon as possible.”
TOM: “I like the idea. Why don’t you come up here next week, check things out, and see if you are still interested.”
Road trip! My daughter and I set off on an 8 hour drive. How exciting? We are buying a business. Of course, to anyone who has ever started or purchased a business, you probably have a good idea of what the next year truly entailed. The blog posts to follow will tell the stories of some of our challenges, victories, emotions, insecurities, peace and flat out grace periods. But, for today’s post I want to rewind an additional 25 years to a moment in life that I will never forget.
At 8 years old, standing on an elementary school football field during recess, a friend leaned over to me and asked, “What is your favorite football team?” I had nothing. I didn’t even know much about football. He confidently told me the Dallas Cowboys were his team. Keep in mind, these were their glory years with Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin. That year I became obsessed with the team of superstars. I remember thinking that I could build a team of football superstars. All I needed was people. Without much effort, I gathered all the neighborhood kids together, divided us into five teams of two, created playbooks, organized practices, launched a season, playoffs, and a Super Bowl. We played every day. In the sun. In the rain. In the snow. With broken legs and skinned up knees. It was so fun, and we were only eight years old. My childhood has taught me and continues to teach me quite a bit.
Your natural childhood self tells a lot about who you were designed to be.
At 8 years old, I built teams to do cool things and have fun doing it. Guess what? It did not stop at eight. From starting bands in high school, organizing entrepreneur groups in college, managing HR teams in corporations, to now purchasing a business in 2017, building teams is in my blood. It’s what makes me happy. Think back to what you did as a kid so naturally. It is probably what makes you happy too. “Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘All the Things That Could Go Wrong.’” – Marianne Williamson.
Your job does not define you.
I was not a football player playing with football superstars. I was just a kid bringing other kids together to play a game. About 5 years ago I tried starting a different business. It was a consulting business consisting of one employee, me. It failed. Miserably. Not one customer paid. Looking back on that stressful year, many things went wrong. One lesson stands out the most though. I thought what would make me successful at business was the product/service offered by my business. The problem is that I am not much of a sales person when I do not have a team to sell. Take a guy that likes to naturally build teams, place him in a room all by himself, and tell him to sell. Failure was inevitable. My dad came to visit me at one of my lowest points. We sat at a restaurant table enjoying the breeze and wings while I explained to him all the great things I could do for organizations if they would just buy my service.
His response: “You're arrogant. You think that what you are good is something you are just okay at doing.”
Wow. Brutal. Knife to the heart. How could a father say that to a son? He continued though, reminding me of my childhood and the countless times I didn’t even have to try to bring people together, it just naturally happened. The specific task I knew how to perform so well in that business was not what defined me. I bet if you evaluate your job today too, what makes you a success is not the job itself. And, if you are unhappy at work, it might be that you are not doing what you naturally know how to do so well.
Pass it on.
The picture above was taken on the initial road trip to buy the businesses I own today. My daughter was three. I was thirty-three. We are two different people at two very different points in our life, but we have one thing in common. We were both designed to play a part in a story bigger than anything we could ever imagine. Our designs are great. No job title or salary will ever be greater. Now that I know that, it is my job to teach her the same thing, just like my dad taught me five years ago at a restaurant while I was failing at business. When you can pinpoint the natural thing you have always been good at in life, you will find happiness that can never be taken away from you. It is in you. I can confidently say that.
As a business owner, my job is clearer now than ever before. I bring people together to do cool things and have fun doing it. At Evans Electric and E2Green, we do more than just electricity and lighting. Every day each team member serves our customer through their unique designs and talents. And, we have fun doing it!