In celebration of LinkedIn's 15th anniversary...here's where I was at 15!
Attending Madison High School in northern Ohio I came into my guidance counselors office, Mr. Doug Winton and sat down. I was about to be asked the most important question of my young life, a question that the answer to would shape the rest of my existence and define who I became.
That question: What do you want to do for a living?
What do I want to do for a living? You're asking me to make a decision about the rest of my life right now? Right now when I'm 15 years old? When I'm growing hair in places I never had before? When strange things are happening to my body? When girls are starting to look more appealing?
That's when you want me to decide what my career path will be for the rest of my life? Really? REALLY?
I looked Mr. Winton right in the eye and said "I want to be a magician".
To his credit he didn't laugh at me, he didn't discourage me and he never said "you can't do that!" What he did say was: "oh (awkward pause) well (another awkward pause) good luck with that!"
Looking back on this moment I realize that I caught him off guard. Up to that point I can pretty much guarantee that NOBODY had ever said those words to him. I was almost like a child answering "when I grow up I want to be a cowboy or an astronaut".
But he knew I meant it, I wanted to make a living by doing magic for people. Did he know how I could do that? Nope. Did I know how to do that? Nope. Did I even really know how to do magic? Kind of...
I don't recall the exact advice he gave me, but he did the best that he could. He pointed me in the right direction for sure, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to make my living doing something I love...Magic!
Has it been easy? Nope. But then nothing worthwhile is ever easy to get. Has it been worth it? What to live my dream, travel to more than 30 countries, entertain thousands of people and put a smile on their faces? Um, yeah!
So thank you Doug Winton for NOT telling me I was crazy, for NOT telling me it was a bad idea and for letting a 15 year old kid dream.