By Michael Gunther

I have always considered myself a relentless learner – thriving in learning environments whether in an academic or business setting. In fact, as a young child, I always thought I would be a teacher and achieve an advanced degree. As my life journey unfolded it took me in many different directions as I pursued various career and personal goals. Now I have come full circle from my early life pursuits of obtaining my doctorate, however, my desire in obtaining this degree has shifted dramatically from thirty years ago.

At fifty years old, many people wonder why on earth I would want to pursue my PhD this late in life. I am passionate about inspiring, educating and empowering individuals in reaching their potential.  Over the last twenty years, I have built a consulting firm that has helped start over 300 businesses and assisted another 200+ organizations in growing their enterprises. In addition, my organization has trained thousands of individuals on management, leadership and communication skills. This journey has provided an incredible opportunity to explore the dynamics of various organizational cultures, management styles and industries. I have been able to assess and hypothesize on what makes a successful organization – one that is not only profitable, but more importantly has high employee and customer satisfaction levels.

While building other people’s businesses, I have also had my own struggles as a business leader trying to grow my firm. Teaching others how to be better leaders brings a microscope on my own skills and abilities. There have been many times where I felt inadequate in my abilities, but had to push forward to resolve a situation or grow my team. I am constantly trying to enhance my own leadership and learn from my mistakes.

Through my experience of being a consultant and a business owner, I developed a list of unanswered questions:

  • Why do some business owners achieve their goals while others working just as hard struggle to even grow to the next level?
  • Can you grow a thriving business and still have work-life balance for you and your team?
  • Beyond behavioral traits, what are the other characteristics of successful leaders?
  • With all the changing dynamics of technology, millennial workforce and global marketplace; how do these impact the traditional organizational structures?

The pursuit of an advanced degree is more than just about obtaining my PhD, which was my goal as a child. Today it stands for so much more – it allows me to explore the above questions and grow my expertise. It permits me to research my theories and develop new areas of understanding that could benefit not just me, but also my current and future clients. It feeds my relentless learning passion and surrounds me with others that are also focused on growing and improving themselves.

I always wanted to be a teacher. Ten years ago, I realized I am a teacher, but not in how I traditionally defined the role. I teach every day and recognize I need additional comprehension, tools and experiences that will permit me to continue being relevant as a teacher, consultant and leader.

Bottom Line

Life is short, but often we let life get in the way of our goals or dreams. Do you have a goal you always wanted to pursue but haven’t started yet? What are you waiting for – the stars to all align just right? I encourage you to start today with a simple step of discussing your goal with other people. You will be amazed how it will begin to unfold.

 

This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family and his belief in creating a growth company with a work-to-live mentality has influenced his career.  Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration LLC, a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education and consulting services. 

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