Just like that, everything changes.
Despite the challenges detailed here ad nauseam, I am very fortunate. Because I am very open to the world and open to opportunities, interesting things fall into my lap. I am now on the cusp of something W described repeatedly as my “big comeback,” something so big and so public that it will immediately reestablish me as a power player.
This morning, W called with what he considered a strange message: an ex from more than a decade ago and his powerful prominent boss (let’s call her PPB and him PX) wanted to speak to us. I spoke to W in carefully measured tones, and he said, why aren’t you freaking out about this? Isn’t it bizarre? I reminded him that part of my job is hearing completely bizarre information and not reacting. He said, wow, you’re good. Yep.
After he finished relaying the message, I said to him, again, calmly, that the truly bizarre thing is that I had been thinking about PPB this weekend. Thoughts of her floated through my mind while I was on the trail and I envisioned introducing her to BFD at a function. My takeaway from it was rather wistful that I no longer could just ring her office and get in to see her.
I explained to W what I thought PPB wanted from us, why we could not do it (too short a time frame), and how we would use her inquiry to reestablish my strong connection to her.
After speaking to PX, it turns out I was wrong about her time frame and it is something we can do. In fact, it’s an enormous undertaking to which I, alone, am well-suited. I told PX that I wanted a face-to-face with them this week, verified how she currently prefers to be addressed (which of her titles should I use with her — he said “[first name]”), and asked just enough to let him know I would be taking the 4 or 5 biggest elements on myself. He was beyond thrilled.
After the call, W and I reconnected and spoke through next steps. I spoke freely to him under our usual “repeat this upon penalty of death” nda. W is technically my lawyer, but I prefer the belt and suspenders approach — the death threat is just an added inducement to do the right thing. I outlined to him my thoughts, and how we would steer the conversation with her.
His big focus throughout was that this is my “big comeback” and he cautioned me repeatedly to not get BP or anyone involved who has ever done wrong on a deal. This became a refrain throughout our conversation until I finally had to explain two things to him:
1. I am in control of this deal and no failure of any one person will derail what I will accomplish. I reminded him that there are multiple sources who can deliver, and the only person whose performance will not be duplicated is me. If I fail, I fail, but success depends on no one source or individual.
2. I am not going to work with anyone, including him, who is consistently negative. He said that this was a one-day “Jiminy Cricket” thing. He wanted me to be aware of the potential perils, etc. I said, okay, this is it. After today, you’re positive or you’re out.
I have felt so lost since my big deal collapsed this fall, thanks to the global financial crisis (and the idiocy of the principal who prevented us from closing in May before the entire financial system collapsed). I have had to focus on survival and not on achieving my goals. Without my goals, I have really been adrift.
This weekend, when I realized the dream project could happen, I started to get back in sync, with the gears slipping smoothly into place. I did work, I contacted people, and, more importantly, I was happy. Things were beginning to improve already, I suppose, but now I feel like me.
I have spent the day on the phone and the difference inside my own head is remarkable. The reactions from those to whom I am speaking demonstrates that something has clearly changed.
BP, with whom I spoke earlier, said, whatever you are doing, keep doing it. When I pitched him on the PPB project, he took a position I have never heard him take before: “how will you structure it? how do you see my role?” He did not presume he was in (he is, but as a role player). He could hear in my voice that this was my deal and he let me know that he was comfortable with however I chose to manage it. He suggested some assets that would be useful.
It is killing him to sit on the sidelines for this deal. He is giving me mentoring advice (like who to invite to the initial meeting), but he is very much on the sidelines. Everything I have been telling him has been met with his complete approval. The fact is, he has been training me for this for years. His training coupled with my experience has created an unstoppable combination of skills suited for this very thing.
I know I have made him proud all day. He told me how much he has changed his approach in business because of an edict I issued two years ago. He now is operating many things differently, and I can tell that is true.
The confidence I feel in knowing I can do something great for PPB, about whom I care deeply, make money for myself and my partners in the deal, and reclaim my place as a power player . . . it’s indescribable actually. I have no doubt that I will succeed. I see clearly what needs to happen. I know who to put where. I will be hiring a ton of people, including some of my long-time partners and some family members.
It will be difficult and challenging and I cannot wait to get started.
Even if I don’t land the project (although I cannot imagine how I would not, since I know how the PPB game is played and she knows I know what I am supposed to do without being told), I am back on track. My big comeback is happening, even if I am the only one who knows it.