by Jason Grant CEO/Principal, Managing Member
How do you define success? I can think back to a time when all I wanted was to work for a leading corporation—to put my head down and work. For a long time, this was my definition of success: 17 years at one of the world’s most reputable corporations, winning the highest awards for impacting profitability and quality processes. I gave up years of my life grinding it out in the field, working 80 hours a week to climb the corporate ladder and get to corporate headquarters and work at an easier pace with greater impact. Eventually, I realized it was not my calling and dream. I became disillusioned with corporate America and the dreams that it promised.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Back when I was a worker bee, I knew that if I wanted to make a real impact and earn a position with my corporation’s headquarters, I needed to understand its customers, inside and out, and prove my worth through results. As an individual contributor and leader, my deep understanding of customer and my consultative selling impact opened up an opportunity to move to headquarters, where I became part of the team developing training for the entire organization. After 13 years of consultative selling for the company, I was ready to make a real difference at headquarters. The culture and the people were special. I witnessed many retirement celebrations of people who had worked for the company for 30, even 40, plus years, and met many people who deeply cared about the organization and its mission. By this time, I was settling down. I got married, had my first child, and I was ready to make a profound impact at my company. I was ready to connect the war room to the battlefield.
But it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. I expected more. I expected more people to be truly connected to the corporate social responsibility element of our mission, like I was. It was not that they were not hard-working, dedicated people; I was called to impact people directly, both in my company and across the globe. However, I wasn’t in a position where my work had a direct impact on its end beneficiary. After grinding all those years, pouring my soul into the job, I simply didn’t have the patience to climb the ladder again, all while dealing with the delicate layers of corporate relationships. To those I worked with during those times, I ask for your forgiveness for the moments when I didn’t deal with situations kindly and respectfully. My results got me into headquarters. Now, I had to build my reputation all over again, with a new crowd. When I accomplished what I set out to do, I realized that was not what I wanted my life to amount to. I had a greater calling.
At the end of each day, I left my office feeling unfulfilled. I wanted to see my work create impact. I wanted to see, and more importantly feel, the genuine, positive impact I knew I was capable of delivering in people’s lives. The fact that I couldn’t live out that dream in one of America’s highest-deemed corporate offices made me feel stuck. I felt suffocated, and sometimes my frustrations may not have displayed my gratitude for the security the company had provided me.
My heart had been somewhere else. My soul knew that. I wanted to focus on projects that create impact and help others understand how to reach their potential through capacity building.
I don’t see my time in that world as a waste. I met some of the best people and learned from some of the best leaders. The plethora of skills I learned is invaluable. I will forever be grateful.
Today, I am living that dream. At Covenant Consulting, the capacity building and training firm I cofounded with my wife, I am able to make meaningful impact in two ways.
I make a direct impact on my people by being a positive source of encouragement and learning for those around me, serving as a pillar of support for personal and professional growth. I also make a direct impact on the companies and organizations I work with that are looking to improve their people and their beneficiaries.
The organizations we work with prioritize investing in the growth of people. The transition from corporate America allowed me to pursue my dream of empowering the globe through capacity building and training. As signatories to the International Finance Corporation’s Principles for learning, we are excited to embody these principles by building scalable, sustainable, inclusive, and impactful capacity building for clients domestically in our eight regions and around the world, including several projects with IFC. This finally aligns with my promise (covenant) that I made to be committed to using my gifts and resources to serve others. I now know that the disconnect I felt in corporate America hinged on that–I could not fully live out my covenant.
I am so excited to continue empowering the globe through high-impact capacity building and training, respecting all faiths, and investing in people. For those in need…We’re coming!
CEO/Principal, Managing Member firstname.lastname@example.org
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