It was 16 years ago when I was sitting down with my family deciding which college I was going to attend to play college hockey and study media studies. I didn’t want to study technology because I wasn’t sure I could handle being locked in an office writing code and I had no interest studying business management or marketing because it was too general of a topic for me.
Fast-Forward 16 years and Things Have Changed
In those 16 years since deciding to attend Radford University in Southwestern Virginia not only has my life taken some interesting paths, but the most common theme of these past 16 years has been change. With that being said, two years ago I started to understand and analyze this change and embrace the fact that my passion and purpose in life is focused around change :teaching change, leading change and helping others change – be it with technology, social media, personal or career decisions.
I’m a proud Dad of 3 girls under the age of 6, I’ve been married 12 years and currently raising this house full of girls in the Phoenix, Arizona area. After college I struggled to find a job in my desired career even with a powerful network of fraternity brothers, college friends and ice hockey teammates. I worked what, still to this day, was the hardest and most disciplined job of my career right out of college, wearing brown shorts delivering packages as a union full time UPS driver. Although the pay was great, it wasn’t getting me towards my desired destination. I was able to leverage a college connection while taking a major pay cut to get a job in business technology,my desired industry, working for the Department of Defense.
I ended up working at this company supporting the Department of Defense for 9+ years in the booming field of cyber security and information assurance. I leveraged that entry-level help desk job I initially took into many different roles, eventually managing the largest social business training and cyber security deployment contract the Defense Information Systems Agency had ever issued. That role transformed my life. It gave me the chance to work with our active-duty military and to travel to every military base in the United States and 19+ countries, which included a dozen trips to the Middle East to countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
I eventually would decide that, although I loved supporting those in uniform and managing the enormous team of subject matter experts I had hired, I wanted to follow my passion and have a bigger impact in the social business and technology industries.
College Wasn’t Easy for Me but Life isn’t Easy
My journey since college isn’t what I predicted, but without question I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had without those four and half years of college. Yes, that might sound odd since I’m saying college wasn’t easy for me. But I’m also saying that it had a direct result on my current success.
How could that be? College for me was a great time in my life. I played 4 years of college hockey and became the assistant captain of the team my senior year. At the same time, I spent 4 years in the Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity and became the youngest president that chapter had ever voted in. On top of the college hockey and fraternity life I also worked many jobs at multiple different companies to cover my living expenses. So it’s no surprise that my studies suffered a bit being this active outside of the classroom. But looking back it wasn’t really my studies that suffered. Rather I struggled at times because of the forced curriculum and schedule that I was required to take.Throughout my life the one constant has been this: if I enjoy doing something, if I believe it will benefit me and if it’s something I care about, not only will I give 100% but I truly live by “Go Big or Go Home” like my high school yearbook quote said. So when I analyzed those struggles I had in college, they weren’t in the classes under my major or courses I elected to take in business or technology. Rather, they were the courses that were required for all majors and most of those classes were only offered at times least suited for my schedule and learning style.
Looking back at those college years there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t reference or leverage an experience or lesson from those 4 years. Often times it’s lessons like, “how to manage people older than me as I did as fraternity president” or “understanding and embracing the idea that if the subject is something I’m passionate about, I have no reason to be scared that I’ll fail.” As I know that I will never settle, therefore failure just becomes a step on the way to success. Those life lessons and the people I met in college are still a major part of my life 16 years later!
WHO You Know is as Important as WHAT You Know
Today I’m working with some of the worlds largest enterprise technology companies while also providing keynote speeches at business and technology events and co-hosting an extremely successful technology podcast. Although this wasn’t my desired destination when I first started college, the journey that has brought me here today has been one I wouldn’t trade for the world. Much of that has to do with what I’ve learned, but also whom I’ve met and now call friends, business partners and mentors.
As someone who will proudly say that his passion is change, much of my success can be linked directly to relationships, embracing new technologies and opportunities and my unwavering focus to always invest in my own learning and personal growth.
Change isn’t optional and to be able to embrace that change, you must invest in yourself while seeking flexible, innovative opportunities that will impact your journey, making your destination like mine: something you never could have dreamed of that will allow you to do things you never dreamed you’d have the opportunity to do!
Will you seize this opportunity?
Will you embrace this innovative flexible opportunity to invest in your own personal growth?
Will you transform your future destination?
This post was sponsored by Mount Washington College who believes you should enjoy the journey AND reach your destination. Earn your online business or IT degrees from this accredited college, for less. Click Here to learn more.
Originally posted on Linkedin Publisher: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/embrace-change-you-must-invest-your-own-personal-growth-brian-fanzo/