Let me begin by saying that New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays each year. That of course along with my birthday, Christmas, and Independence Day. New Year’s for 2017 was different. I would like to rank it up there with one of the worst New Year’s but honestly it might have been my saving grace. New Year’s Eve itself was fine. I was enjoying the night with friends at a neighborhood house party but something inside of me felt off; I felt unbalanced if that makes sense. We watched the ball drop, Mariah Carey make a memorable performance, and called it a night. Now just like most people, I’ve had my fair share of peaks and valleys in life but I wouldn’t consider myself depressed. Ginger Zee says so poetically in her latest book Natural Disaster: I cover them. I am one that storms don’t last forever and the sun will always shine again. Often times, we don’t know what we are truly made of until we have nothing else to lose. That night I fell asleep and in my dream I had glimpses of suicidal thoughts; thoughts that have never even crossed my mind before. I woke up in a cold sweat, with feelings I can’t even describe. I do know one thing though; after a few minutes of thoughts and trying to make sense of everything I settled one final thought, goal, promise, resolution: “Not this year 2017; you will not win. I. Am. The. Storm.”
2016 was a year where I needed to figure out the next step was for me, both professionally and personally. I knew there could be a chance that a promotion would open at my current institution but I wasn’t so sure that’s what I necessarily wanted. The universe had been working its magic for me and I began getting calls from national and international companies discussing national director positions with me and if I was interested in them. Some even dangled carrots in front of me such as more than 3 times my current salary, company cars, private jets, tour buses, and a life of luxury. All of these positions were great but would have only been stepping stones to get me closer to my dream, becoming an entrepreneur. I thought I should take one of these and once I saved enough money for 2-3 years then I would open my own company. I remember one company discussing how they liked to “hire to retire;” my heart skipped a beat. I had a flashback to participating in a study that another university’s IO Psych graduate department was doing on my department. One of the questions they asked was “How likely are you to see yourself retiring from this department?” and my Likert Scale response was strongly disagree. It’s not that I disliked my job, department, university, career, or that I was a flight risk but it was more that I couldn’t imagine seeing myself anywhere for 30 years. I am in my low 30s and I want to see the world; I’ve got goals and ambitions which include having a larger impact by working with multiple locations not just one institution. This makes perfect sense when you look at all the external committees, contracts, and speaking engagements I was already doing. I remember what I told myself when I came back to my institution in 2014 “Steven, you are going back for 3 years, save money, get out of debt, then move back to the beach and open a business or gym.” I was in the middle of year 3 and wasn’t completely out of debt yet but knew that sometimes you just have to jump and you’ll learn how to fly or as we like to say in the south, “shit or get off the pot.”
Who we are
Just a team of round pegs in a square hole changing the world one interaction at a time.
Look back at it