One of the things I like best about my “job” is getting to know the owners behind all the successful businesses in Kansas City. They are energetic, passionate, intelligent and also very giving. And, although their stories are as diverse as their businesses, a commonality that emerges when I speak with them is persistence. I’m not talking about a run-of-the-mill, get-out-of-bed-every-day-and-chip-away-at-it persistence. I’m talking about a much more visceral kind of persistence that won’t die in spite of the objective pictures painted by financial statements, the “reasoned” observations of naysayers, or initial failures. It’s a feel-it-in-your-bones, tug-in-your-gut kind of driver that just won’t let them give up. For some of these entrepreneurs, it’s true not just of their businesses, but of their lives as well.
Local entrepreneur Jeanne Johnson is a case in point . . .
She sold her business Server Centric Consulting, LLC, a boutique information technology consulting firm to World Wide Technology, Inc. last week. To truly appreciate Jeanne’s accomplishments, you have to know Jeanne’s personal story. She’s given me permission to publish the blog she wrote about the sale. It’s reprinted below. Congratulations, Jeanne!
Yes, in fact, we can.
Friday, August 28, 2009
It ended, much as it began, with me in the rolling chair at the computer: Tank top, jeans, and barefoot…hair pinned up….coffee hot.
With the scanning of a signature, and the successful receipt of an email – the dream was realized.
America is a wonderful land of opportunity and possibility.
In this age of negativity and fear – sometimes we forget – but let me tell you this:
I got pregnant at 18 out of wedlock and married a man I barely knew. With no formal education I worked low-paying jobs for nearly two decades. Three kids, a divorce, and a cancer diagnosis rocked me to my core. Seven years ago I was waiting tables at nights and on the weekends to make ends meet, while working two other jobs, and struggling with all the trials and tribulations the divorce and the illness and a lifetime of dysfunction can bring.
At that time, my biggest dream was that my kids might some day have their very own beds.
Then – right here on the internet – blogging my heart into the ether – I figured out that people will only do to you – what you let them do.
I also realized that I believed something that many considered naive and unenlightened – but that I found to be truly true: that you can do good – and do well – in the same endeavor.
At some point – I made a small decision, that led to another small decision…and another and another. Each little ray of hope emboldended me. Each step I took with purpose made a bigger difference.
I am not that much different than you.
I cried and fretted and worried – was filled with self-doubt and self disdain – even self- loathing.
But – I began to eliminate the negative influences in my world. And the positive influences from the people I replaced them with – including those right here made me brave.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am so pleased to announce that I just sold a company that consisted of a handful of laptops, some good ideas, and a small group of good people, to a great big enormous organization – for a number with a crap-ton of zeroes on it – that would only have been a giggly hallucination 5 years ago.
The very best part is that both parties think they got a GREAT deal.
Oh – it was a struggle – and there are some real snakes in business, let me tell you….but it’s not that much different than the snakes I met working and sitting in the break room at Wal-Mart back in the 80’s – it’s just bigger…and maybe a little more insidious…with a different vocabulary….but it is pretty much the same.
The advice I got was the guiding light:
“You better know where you want that bull to go before you jump in the ring waving your arms…”
“Two wrongs never made a right”
“Just because everyone jumped off a bridge isn’t the reason you should” etc., etc.
And the most crass – but most important bit of advice I ever got: “If you’re tired of getting sh*t on…crawl out from under the a**hole.”
I also learned this: All the degrees, classes, training, certifications, preparation in the world cannot compare to a clear eyed determination and some common sense with a plan.
And you should never, EVER, pay someone to tell you the obvious more than once.
The magic lies in you..and in your circle of influence. Our single most important task is to get in touch with it, believe in our ability to execute on it, and do it…and to help those around us do it, too.
So – If you are down, or hurt, or sick, or struggling…take heart.
Yes we can.
I am living proof.