My company name comes from a corporate relocation from Colorado to Florida by a company I was a VP for. The company HQ was moving to Florida and I was not interested in moving my family to the Southeast. After many days of persuasion and negotiation my new boss made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. “Move to Florida and if we get bought by a larger company, we commit to get you back to Colorado”. We made the move…and well, the rest is history.
Six months after we arrived my company acquired another company which triggered my “Change in Control Agreement”. Even after an offer to stay and help run the much larger organization’s HR department from Florida, I opted to return to Colorado.
My boss, the CEO, asked if I would at least stay on and consult until a replacement could be found and transitioned. I remember smiling and answering yes, as long as I could do it from higher ground (meaning from Colorado). He smiled, we agreed and my first corporate client was my former company. We moved back to Colorado 45 days after that conversation.
As I began to think about this Higher Ground ‘Branding’ it all started to make sense that this would be my the name of my practice. As the child of a dad who was a social worker and a mom who was a nurse, I had been raised to help and serve people, especially the underdogs. I came up with the purpose and value proposition/Mission for Higher Ground Consulting (HGC): Provide leaders, teams and organizations with coaching, consulting and training that results in increased motivation, satisfaction and effectiveness.
HGC serves people who are serving people. While we have a broad variety of clients, my favorite clients are those who have chosen to work as civil servants, first responders, leaders, educators and of course, the fine men and women of our armed forces. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working with my corporate clients as that’s where the bulk of my experience is from, but serving people who are not in it for fame or fortune is one of the sweet spots of my calling.
I remember getting an assignment from General Electric to be one of many coaches who were hand picked to coach members of the top 10 club. Those employees who represent the top 10% of the company’s performers. That’ when I met Jason.
I was his executive coach and we eventually became friends. Jason was soaring up the ranks of GE and eventually became a General Manager of a GE site in Puerto Rico. As was his custom, he threw himself into the role and conducted a major turnaround within just a few years. All the while continuing his passion to run marathons and run in fund raisers for kids with Autism, and, oh by the way, his eyesight was continuing to deteriorate from a condition called Retinosis Pigmentosa.
Jason had reached the higher ground of his career. He would have made it without me,but I felt compelled to help this young leader takes steps to accelerate his professional development and help him view his leadership and influence roles from different perspectives so that he was accurately assessing himself and his challenges. It was one of my most satisfying coaching roles. This guy was an amazing human being who was out to change the world for the better no matter where he landed and no matter what life threw at him.
Jason’s field of sight was literally closing in and he was losing his peripheral vision and was only able to see through a tunnel the size of a paper towel roll.
Jason returned to the U.S. and although he was in another CEO role, staying active with his kids and with running. Everything seemed to be falling apart. He even went into a season of depression and despair from a series of bad events that included, a divorce, loss of a job and continued loss of his eyesight.
One day when Jason was volunteering the homeless in Denver, he felt compelled, even called, to run across America to help show that people with disabilities can do anything.Only he can tell you how ominous this ‘calling’ felt, but he knew he had to do it. Long story short, not only did he make the run, but he did it in record time as the seventh fastest in history at that time and the only legally blind person to make the trek. The story of his run is amazing, inspiring and compelling.
His story makes me want to be a better person and to stop whining about how hard things are. It makes me want to wake up and try hard things that normally I would opt out of. And it also makes me examine myself to see if I am open to and responding to change in my life with a positive attitude, putting one foot in front of the other until change comes.
Jason invited me to join him on his journey of telling his story as a coach and facilitator of change to the audiences when he speaks. While he certainly does not need me to tell his amazing story, he as asked me to join him so that we can make a difference in the lives of those we get to speak with by reminding them that everyone has some sort of adversity or challenge and that sometimes, if we let them, these challenges can actually make us better and stronger that we would be if we tried to avoid them and take the easy route.
My young Jedi friend is now returning the favor of taking me to higher ground by stretching my faith, improving my attitude towards change and my calling to serve those who are serving others.
QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU TAKE YOUR NEXT STEPS:
Whose life are you impacting for good?
Who are you pouring in to with your gifts, strengths and
Who is trying to impact your life for good? Are you letting them?
Are you changing for the better?
Let’s choose to grow through life instead of just going through life.
While it does not take the loss of sight to change how we live, this story might be just what you need to jolt you and your team(s) into a new perspective. The waves of change will never stop washing up on the shores of our lives, so we might as well find ways to embrace the change and JUST GROW WITH IT!