Everybody wants to live their dream life. For each one the dreams may be different, but most of us have a vision of what is the perfect life for us.
I had a choice. Either I wanted to be a Corporate executive or I wanted to be an entrepreneur. What made this choice possible was that I had a spouse who was very successful in the medical field in the 1980-2000 era. And I was in a position to take risks. I asked many people who I respected on what choice I should make. Here is what I learned.
There are two types of Corporate leaders. Type one - that exercise power over others and truly lead. And type two - who are miserable every day of their lives and barely survive in their jobs. So for me the answer emerged either be the type one corporate leader or leave the corporate world (and the life of misery behind) and become an entrepreneur.
There are many benefits of succeeding in the corporate world. The income is high, the work is much more creative and the power is great. It is truly the lifestyle of the rich and famous people. That was my dream of the perfect life.
I observed that most successful entrepreneurs work much longer hours, do much more work and make much less money and endure hardships for many years. A few strike it rich at the end but for every success story there are many more failed start up companies.
I spent 35 years in the corporate world. It took me about 15 years to reach the executive suite and then I spent 20 years in various executive positions. In that period, I travelled extensively over 6 continents and interacted with people from many different cultures and backgrounds. During this period, I was deeply involved in increasing shareholder value by 25 times. This was a remarkable feat of our management team, specially in the food industry.
For most minority people and women, this is an impossible dream. Most of them get shut out in middle management. The reasons may vary but it is seldom because they are less talented than the ones who get ahead. Mainly what they are lacking is an understanding that life is not a level playing field and what works for one person to get ahead does not work for the rest.
So how did I get ahead? I learned the skills to tilt the field in my favor from other people. I was coached for seven years, in which period I got four levels of advancement and my income rose about 10 fold.
The skills that get you to the executive suite are different than the ones required to succeed at the top levels of management. Also things change rapidly and one has to learn how to adapt in a constantly changing world. These skills that teach us how to succeed in the real world are not taught in any college curriculum. These are what we call street skills.
Whether your passion is for a corporate life or a life as an entrepreneur, everybody who wants to learn how to get what they want out of life, should learn street skills. For some that are fortunate, these skills come naturally, the rest have to make the effort to learn them.
Street skills are about succeeding in the real world. They teach you things like - how to get the dream job, how to get promoted, how to sell, how to manage peers.
In essence they teach you the hidden rules of success.
They start with the realization that most wealth is not made through hard work, instead it requires the ability to work with people and work with ideas. Reading intentions of people and building trust require a lifetime of effort and skill. When one senior executive changes, the entire team changes. How do you anticipate these changes and land on your feet when the tide changes and not outside the company, is an important skill.
The journey begins with the realization that these skills must be learned and there is no college that teaches them.