By I. Am. Verboten
We see them in the occasional news feed. That "other" company that kind of does what we do...succeeding! How dare they! I mean shouldn't they... They couldn't have... and there it is. The moment.
We all have it sooner or later. Maybe not at first, while we're still blinded by our own awesomeness, but some day. After a lot of fruitless labour; in a weak moment we all question why others seem to make it as we struggle along.
It may be impossible to truly describe how hopeful I felt when I sold my first program that would run nationally. It was called the Coast 2 Coast Classifieds and it was 2002. I was suddenly working with the Leader Post. Very polite people, very civilized compared to my experience. They were paying me more than I was used to and everyone seemed excited to work with me. I bet I looked pretty successful.
It was my first real experience as the flavour of the week. It lasted about as long as one could expect of such things and it was awesome. I felt important, my software mattered. There were news stories about me in the paper and I was even nominated for a Paragon award with the Regina Chamber of Commerce. It was the project I could brag about, something to lead me to more sales and even greater achievements.
People got promotions because of this project, careers were made, jobs saved...
How much of that was true I'll never know, but it got pretty big over 10 years. It did make millions of dollars for Canwest and then Post Media. However, that big pay day never really arrived for me. The big sales didn't come. I made a living and opened a couple offices, moved around the city, tried different venues, shows, advertising. Hired people, fired people. You know, ran a business.
As Canwest began to tank nationally on the print side, its interest in the Coast 2 Coast Classifieds disappeared virtually overnight. Half the people I knew at Leader Post lost their jobs. Even as it declined it always made money though, so they didn't officially end it until 2013. Ultimately it had brought in only a trickle of income; hardly the career breakthrough I had so foolishly expected. Had I succeeded at all or had I just failed very slowly?
I made a conscious decision a long time ago to change my sense of success. I needed something more concrete than fixating on personal commercial achievements. I wasn't going to let my ever growing ambition lead me away from the things I value. Being a stubborn man who refused to move my company away from my beloved Saskatchewan was suddenly an advantage. I concluded that if I wanted to "keep myself" and if I have something worth contributing to the world, then I can do it from here.
I now base my sense of success on my programmatic creativity which is in turn based on developing my highest inner potential. The Saskatchewan experience is critical to this process, I can't remove it from my identity; I only wish to share it. This is something I can practice all my life and I truly love it. Ironically I now have an amazing base of customers all across Canada and a few in the states and better revenue flow than I ever have. It just took a little longer and a lot more care.
When we look upon the endless green pastures that some other company seems to have found elsewhere consider this.
Consider the benefit of loving what you do and where you do it. Consider how you enjoy the lakes, the small town hash browns, and snow shoeing in the parks. Consider every time you ever went to some place hot with cold people and came back to a stranger's smile and a warm welcome.
Saskatchewan is a kind of simple paradise. I stayed here when it mattered most...that's why I'm a success.
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