by Andrea Goeglein
“I never planned my career. I never planned to be president of Harvard. People would have thought I was crazy, probably, at the age of 8 or 10 or 20, if I had said that. So what I would say to people planning their careers is to be ready to improvise. Be ready to follow-up on opportunities as they unfold.”
We only get one life. How many careers we craft and successes we achieve during that lifetime, is up to us. Michael Graves, owner of Las Vegas Valley Community Management, is mastering the art of a perennial career mindset.
So far, he has been a U.S. Marine pilot, a financial advisor, a litigator and a business owner. His careers have been as diverse as his interests in travel, chess and voluminous reading. He has done all that in less than 30 years, with a minimum of another 30 to go!
Michael uses his hobbies to inform his career interests, shifts when his satisfaction with a job wanes, analyzes alternatives based on facts and treats those who work for him the way he wants to be treated. He values work-life balance, and the killer phrase that makes him stands out as a business owner for me is:
“I try to focus more on happy staff instead of happy customers, because if you do it the other way around, you don’t end up with either!”
Professionally, I have never been a big fan of the work/balance conversation. After being with Michael, however, I realized the conversation is not about achieving a 50/50 balance. Historically, the inclusion of personal interests, family relationships, community commitments, spiritual development and any other human thing that was not a task of a job, was totally excluded from consideration. Now ‘achieving balance’ comes from the recognition that all parts of the human experience can and do inform life success.
This short segment is filled with so many examples of how to do business and career success right. Some noted highlights for me:
1:50 – The importance of a balanced work experience.
2:12 – Numbers matter. Analyses, Act and Assess.
2:58 – Business Life Lesson from Marines: Don’t require your staff to do what you won’t do yourself.
3:12 – Business Life Lesson from Chess: Don’t wait for the perfect situation or solution. Act even when you are not 100% sure of the outcome.
3:70 – Business Life Lesson from Hobbies: Work is easy when you play hard.
5:00 – Business Life Lesson from Books: One of Michael’s top 5 Values in Action is Love of Learning. He uses his reading to inform all parts of his life.
5:22 – Business Life Lesson: If you seek advice, use it![i]
6:50 – How to find a business no matter what your age! (I promise I was not drunk when I said the word ‘shineeeeeeee’.)
[i] Michael came into my business life when he ‘purchased’ me – or more correctly – purchased my consulting services in an NPR Auction. Contributing my services as an auction item is something I do several times a year for NPR. It is how I share my talents with community organizations that contribute positively to my community.