Springboard: Book Review

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Springboard by Richard Shell reminded me of an intense experience I had back in 2009.  Springboard is a book that seeks to help individuals define the word ‘success.’  In 2009, I remember vividly meeting with my monthly peer group and sharing with them that I was well compensated, well off and unhappy.  The group began asking me questions such as: “What would make you happy?” “What do you love to do?” How do you define success?” and “What is your cause?”

Springboard states that success is not a place, it is however a journey and found inside ourselves.  There were a few great elements of the book I wanted to share with you.

1.) Odyssey Years:  From age 20 -35, these are the years where you set out to determine your set of values and goals for living.  You set out to understand who you are and what legacy you would like to leave for others.  A key question to ask yourself here is: “What do you do better than most people?”Unknown

In 2009, I was in the Odyssey Years.  I found myself in financial services to support my family, which is certainly a noble cause.  What I realized was that my values, interests and goals were not aligned with the business and this created great internal strife.


2.) Family Success Measures:  Your family by its very nature has instilled in each of us a cadre of success measures.  A critical element to consider is which ones do you want to retain and which ones do you wish to discard.  It is imperative that you avoid waking up at age 50 having lived out your family’s plan for you and you have lost yourself in the process.

In 2009, I realized that I wanted to retain the success measures of my family that included achievement and service.  My father achieved a great deal in the publishing business, while keeping his focus on the vision of helping individuals learn mathematics.

3.) There is Always More Pie: Shell shares a story of a business professional, that made partner at his firm and was well compensated.  He shared the story that his compensation continued to rise and that his professional life was like a pie eating contest.

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You eat one pie and then suddenly there is another right in front of you. It never ends.  So is the case in business for many people. One sales goal is reached and another is created.  One promotion reached and another level is right above you.



Back then, I was living the dream of being an executive, well compensated and facing the reality that there would just be more pie.  The thought of eating more pie for the rest of my life was not compelling for me.  I had to find a cause that I connected who I was with what I did.

Today, I am thrilled to be able to do what I think I do best and have a vision to see leaders flourish in Indianapolis.  This is possible for you as you seek to measure success.

Start with three questions:

1.) What do you do better than most people?

2.) How can you deploy this skill in the service of others?

3.) How will you measure your success moving forward? 

Shell uses the quote from Steve Jobs throughout the book:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.  And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”