Building a Foundation Daily

Everything we go through in life is preparation for what is to follow.

I wrote down this remark from a recent video because it told my life story. It probably tells yours too.

If I got mulligans for my life thus far, there are definitely actions / lack of actions / words / reactions / attitudes / choices / thoughts / priorities / relationships / etc. that I would change. You can probably think of some for yourself.

However, who I am and what I’m doing today would be different if any of those pivotal (or seemingly trivial) moments in my life were different. If I had read one less book along the way, the context for how I analyze information would be different. If I had said “no” instead of “yes” … or “yes” instead of “no” … there would have been a lesson missed. If I had been born to different parents in a different country or culture, I would have had different choices and decision-making process. All these experiences, positive or negative or neutral, created my foundation. If any of those voluntary or involuntary foundational inputs were different, even slightly, the result would have likewise been different.

The “butterfly effect” is where “minuscule changes in a starting condition could mean an enormous difference in later events.” It’s not only an interesting movie, but also axiomatic.

Since I began my business career in 1980, I’ve been a …

  1. Mainframe computer operations
  2. Software developer
  3. Project manager
  4. Business analyst
  5. Management
  6. Product development
  7. Sales and account management
  8. Marketing
  9. Lobbyist
  10. Content creator (speaker, writer)

Each of those could be broken down into several phases (e.g. I did software development on mainframes, Vax and PC computers in JCL, Assembler, COBOL, Basic, C, C++ and SQL).

Many of these skills built upon a previous “version” of myself (e.g. proper business analysis only comes from knowing the questions to ask). Some were concurrent (e.g. I didn’t think I could sell or knew how to market until I was the creator of the product being offered).

Most of them have been reused (e.g. the detail orientation, strategic viewpoint, consensus building, and accountability enforcement required in project management has been constantly applicable).

All were discoveries (e.g. public speaking was not on my teenaged BINGO card).

None of these account for the influences from leading / being led by family, community, church and any number of other personal activities.

All of this has created Mark Pew version 11Provost and business owner. Leading the development of all our curriculum as Provost has utilized almost every skill I’ve developed over my career. My varied experiences have given me the ability to wear the multiple hats required of a business owner. If I had not been through those ten prior versions of me or had not crossed paths with thousands of people who added diverse context to my perspective, I would not have been prepared for what I’m doing in June 2024.

If you had asked me in 1980 what I would be doing in 2024, I would have been drastically wrong. Chances are your youthful self would be surprised at your adult self too. All our experiences have been individual pieces of a puzzle that we are still putting together to reveal our purpose.

Whether you’re on v1, v11, or v500, embrace opportunity by being adaptable. Each new step emerges from a necessary past footprint. Unless you take that step, in context with your past, you’ll never know what you are meant to be.