Follow Your Dreams

The irony of my graduate school experience was that by the time I received my MBA, I was also through with my corporate job. It wasn’t that it wasn’t a great position. It was. I was the sales leader running the sales and customer service teams in a billion-dollar region. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t meeting the hefty expectations that corporate had placed on my shoulders. I was exceeding them.

My decision to leave BFI Waste Services was based simply on the fact that I knew I could never find at this corporate job what I really wanted most: ownership. The company that employed me was already a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.  Building my own company from the bottom up was my new, highly-defined dream.

When I turned in my notice, the news of my imminent departure created some very deep ripples in the corporate pond. Before I knew it, I was meeting with the CEO of BFI at the company’s headquarters in Texas.

It was early in the morning and I was waiting for the CEO, just looking out over the Houston skyline as the sun was coming up. Breathtaking. All of a sudden, I heard the CEO behind me. “Someday all of this could be yours.”  At that moment, everything became crystal clear.

Most people would have heard those encouraging words and immediately rethought their plans to leave the company. A comment like that from the big boss is what almost every corporate player likely dreams of throughout their career. But not me.

First featured on Forbes.com