The Purpose of Mr Doe

The vessel started to pitch and roll. “I still have some time to talk to you” he said. We were on board. The sun was continuing to set. The wind started blowing harder and filled the sails. “How did you come to this” I asked him. “Y’know,” he said, “Adverse conditions wake up my mind.”

“So you want to know about me” he said. “Yes please”, I said. “I want a chance to find out how it all began.”

“Sometimes I like to remember my past… the silly questions and thoughts that piled into my mind just before facing a series of interviews to get hired by the Big4, several years ago, when all began.”

“Y’know, kind of like, did I straighten my tie? What about the shirt? Are you cool enough? Can you? Yes I can, come on, don’t make a fuss, you can make it! – “I was a rookie at that time, my parents didn’t give me any money. They said: we have laid the right foundations, now it’s up to you. Despite all that, I headed out into the glare, into my future”, he said.”We all want to build a future” he continued, “If you really want something in this life reach out and grab it! You have to make it happen!

Life Purpose

He told me he spent most of his working life in Consulting. “I have a background in business process, performance improvement,  eMarketing and what we call now Digital Strategy”. He said. “I worked with a lot of people and I delivered a number of projects and reviews with new entrants, start-ups and major players in various places throughout the world. It was fundamental for my professional growth”.

“I like to bring other player’s ships into safe harbor, no matter how rough the sea is – a journey as a metaphor for the life, and the way you are”, he said. – “Once you have embarked on a journey, you really have no choice but to complete it” he continued, “To Get The Job Done, and I like it, in all things. Life is not just a wake spreading out behind the ship of your life”.

“After 10 years I had to move on, I had to discover unknown shores. I like the challenges, I like to challenge myself. Even when the “weather forecast” does not look promising. I wanted to rediscover the wonderful richness of our complementarities, the sense of the human person. The sharp-looking suit effect was making me forget who I am, my authenticity” he said.

“I am not alone, I am not the center of the universe, there are Others, and I like to do things for others. High Ego does not offer good advice!” he said, “I had to see things from a different perspective.”

“Y’know,”he went on, “In every-day society with the pressures of time, appointments, responsibilities, and the mad dash to cash for profit and to profit for cash, that involves external factors from the self, it can be easier to forget about what is important to you inside, or truly understand what makes you happy.”

“I had to broaden my horizons” he said. “I embraced entrepreneurship.”

“I needed something that had as its objective the emergence of new ideas through well-upstream creativity” he continued, “The development of competencies and relations, people with human qualities, and the right partnerships. I needed something well-outside main stream thought. Something consistently different. “Y’know,” he said, “times were not ripe and things were not that far advanced. They didn’t say it, but they clearly thought I was crazy. Which I am not. Madness is having a ship in high seas with no GPS”.

“My brain is called GPS, it is made of trasparent glass, it makes mistakes but has an extra green button with a dual functionality – Passion to win & Courage to assume responsibility. I surrounded myself with people who had tremendous potential and started a company”.

“Roughly two years after startup”, he said, “the company was too strong to be harnessed by me, eight associates and 24 consultants. Can you imagine a situation in which you have more than 300,000 web visitors in the first operational year, and more than 120 clients in two years? – Science fiction for a small company in the early 2000s in my country” he said. “When I think about that, I still don’t believe it myself”.

“The engine was the People. “Y’know”, people is all, he went on, “Their talent, their human qualities is all. Then the Passion and an highly effective engagement/customer-based strategy” he continued, “online, – long before the term digital strategy was used – made the rest of it”.

“The company got bought by a software giant. It was a physiological consequence, and actually resulted in the happiness of all of us.”

“I had brought my ship and my sailors into harbour, unscathed, in pretty wrapping paper.”

I had done what I had set myself.” He continued. “I got the job done – “I was happy”, he went on, “cause I made my life and that of my people better!”.

purpose 2He went on excitedly. “One night we were all together to celebrate. No, Y’know how it is,- If my memory serves me right, they said: “You never wanted to lower the performance expectation bar, but you never put yourself above us – You always sought to shine the spotlight on us, not just on you. You are not exactly a huge fan of the status quo, but you created such a friendly atmosphere, you energized us with your enthusiasm, you boosted our confidence. You sweated and made us sweat, but your advice as a mentor, was always there for us, and you delivered the vision we had –

“You helped us reach a place we didn’t know we could go. That’s why we respect you – Y’know, just half of their words would have sufficed to make me happy” he said. “But that was music to my ears”.

“Years later, I remember thinking about those words “Gee, this would make me look very clever, I thought to myself” he said. “I should ask them to put those words on LinkedIn – But they’ve already said that! What d’you want, a movie poster? Who’d you think you are? George Clooney? C’mon, are you gasping for praise? D’you really need this thing?” – “Y’know” he said, “Truth will out, with or without praise.”

“Then…the wind changed direction suddenly in my life. One of my kids went away for ever. Such is life. Something that can kill you”, he went on, “I had achieved something big with my life, so maybe life had to take something big away from me. A sort of compensation. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” he said, looking straight into my eyes , “stronger than ever. It gives you the strength to keep a foothold when the tide of events turns against you, and to continue to climb upward in the face of obstacles and harshness of life”.

“You never find yourself until you face the truth of yourself!”.

“I started another venture”, he said, “but I realized I needed fresh air, I needed the room to reevaluate my life. I needed my small “Seven Years in Tibet”. I needed to invent a temporary space of my own”, he went on, “But here too, I have fulfilled my responsibility, apart from any other personal consideration” – “I never left anyone behind”, he said proudly, “Most of my former colleagues are leaders now, and have their own companies”.

“I always loved to be carried away by the wind, rocked by the waves and then discover amazing places to explore the underwater world. It was time to move. I left. Roughly 24 months sailing around the world. I went offline for a while, but I have never really been able to unplug, no matter the place I was. I remember once” he continued, “we berthed in Canary Islands, I was onboard and the phone rang, it was the Big Blue. They wanted me to develop a training program for their managers in a few countries of former Eastern Europe. I left and I did it. I remember another time, few months later, when an American global consulting firm wanted me to deliver in Europe, a series of “Digital Bootcamp”. I rushed and I did it. I couldn’t unplug, I couldn’t resist”, he said.

“I love to help others discover unknown shores”, he continued. “The unknown shores of the writer Henri Laborit in his Eulogy to Flight, d’you know that book?” he asked, “Shores that will remain a mystery to those who fool themselves into thinking they’re lucky to be able to follow the routes of the petrol tankers and cargo ships, the routes set in stone by the shipping companies.”

“I didn’t always win, I also failed in my life, not just once. Nothing can hit you as hard as life. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! he said. “I quickly learned the hard lesson, raised and set out again on the right path. I have deep scars, but I did put them in the backpack” he said, “I love the life, and everything that comes with it”, he went on, “I like and appreciate the people I meet, the places I go, the hours I keep, small things of life, a sporting lifestyle, and the spontaneity in every relation, and most of all, I love my family and my kids more than ever.”

“I always feel creative and alive”, he went on, “’cause I’m free inside. I realized that any barriers I feel in so-called every-day society are ones that I create for myself”.

“I am often on the go”, he continued, “helping companies and persons build an unparalleled presence on the Internet, gain big of a head start, and overcome the walls of mind to unleash their potential and achieve Success – If you really have inner strenght in the depths of yourself, you can give it to others as well”, he said, “That’s what I do best.”

“I live on purpose and I do it with a smile.The Purpose of Mr Doe

My way of living is an unstoppable paean to always look on the bright side of life and Succeed” he said.

“I always look for the best in people and things, I love to convey this positive message to other people”.

“So please”, he went on, smiling, “if you see me founding another company, turning words into action, starting a groundswell of support for a huge head start in life, motivating and mentoring People about Humanized Leadership and Digital Strategy, sailing or smiling and walking down the street as I sing, don’t be alarmed”.

I had listened to him without saying a word, I was lost in thought. “Ok it’s time to go” I thought to myself. I was about to get up. I looked around, and there was nobody there, but me, and my reflection in the glass screen of the bridge. I was with myself, Mr Doe.

Mr Doe. An ordinary man. An ordinary man who changed his life, despite the ups and downs of Life. Everybody can change his/her own life and win. It depends on how you approach the challenge.

I realized few things in my entrepreneurial life quite clearly, that have nothing to do with MBA or Academy. Just real life. Perhaps these 5 real-world points, when read in context, will help other people get a clearer picture about entrepreneurship, and succeed.

1) People is all. Your people IS ALL. If you have ideas, capacity to deal with problems and challenges in spite of the difficulties, and you surround yourself with positive talents, you have a decent chance to win.

2) Moreover, if you have a purpose that goes beyond yourself, and a certain something by which you can give others the same purpose, by which you can make them feel truly valued, important, respected, with you, not behind you, then you have an excellent chance to win, and your goal is absolutely achievable.

3) Hard work, talent, and luck are undoubtedly important elements of success, but there is a fourth factor, the most important one, one that’s really critical but often neglected: success depends heavily on how we approach our interactions with other people, and without the people you have nothing to lead.

4) You become successful by understanding people, by conveying to them purpose, passion, motivation, enthusiasm, by getting the job done, by getting results.

5) Be a giver not just a taker, strive to be generous in sharing your energy, knowledge, skills, insights, and connections with other people who can benefit from them. There are different ways of pursuing a goal in life. We have givers, takers, and matchers, and they all can. But there’s something different that happens when givers win: it spreads and flows. When givers win, people are rooting for them and supporting them, rather than envying or hating them. Givers achieve their target in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them. When takers win, there’s always someone else who loses, and in life you reap what you sow, in all things. Don’t forget it.

Leadership is a team and a strong-will sport. You don’t need to be a superhero to achieve something significant. You need to surround yourself with people who are smart from a human and social point of view, not only professional.You need to trigger a shared Vision/Leadership/Sense of Belonging towards a Result, by means of Human Qualities and Inner Strenght. It is only then that people realise they can achieve what they would never have thought of achieving, regardless of salary or badge.

That’s how I managed to pass the exam of Life, and that’s the reason why I firmly believe in Humanized Leadership. Forget all-powerful, know-it-all, self-righteous people, or at-any-cost takers. Forget the Badge choreography.

Self-knowledge, collaboration, strong determination, harmony, honesty, authentic relationships, friendly atmosphere are a multiplier of positive engagement that goes well beyond a single talent. These are the keys that will unlock the door to excellence. Yours and that of other people. I could not have done that on my own.

What are your thoughts ?

Do you ever get a urge to reach your full potential and create a breakthrough experience in your life ?

If you do, Diactica is the answer.

Massimo Scalzo