Since I was a kid, I’ve always fashioned myself a bit of a writer. It’s likely what led me to my career in marketing, communications, advertising. I was invited to have lunch in Philadelphia in spring 2019 with the Dean of Penn State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. I thought the lunch would be for a group of ten to twenty other alums in the area but learned it was a lunch for just me. I was flattered but also puzzled as to why the dean would be interested in meeting with me solo. I mean, heck, who am I?
During the course of our lunch and conversation, the Dean said that my story was interesting in that it’s so much like that of most of the college’s alums. Okay, maybe it’s a story worth sharing in a lunchtime conversation but a book? Who’d be interested? Why would anyone care?
I still see myself as that kid raised from very middle-class surroundings in Northeast Philly. I’ve built a good, satisfying life and career. But really, I’m just a very normal guy leading a very normal life. Or maybe my life is so ordinary that it’s extraordinary?
I’m fortunate to have a strong memory. That memory has allowed me to recall with detail the events of my life from childhood through the present day, chronicling the things that have happened that have helped build me, define me, and make me better. I thought these stories were unique to me. The fears, struggles, concerns, joys, anxieties, successes, and failures of life and career were all distinctly mine. Except that they weren’t. The more people I speak with, the more I learn that what I’ve gone through is what others have gone through or are experiencing in their lives right now.
The stories found within my book (Relevant, Different, Better) have been shared over the years on other communications channels and in one-on-one discussions. And all these stories have resonated with many people in varying occupations at various stages of their careers. My book collects those stories and categorizes them into four sections: Personal Development, Professional Development, Life, and Career. After all, these categories are inexorably intertwined.
Each story is a quick read of a different step, event, or observation in my progression through life and career. As you flip through the pages, maybe you’ll see yourself in some of the stories of my childhood development or adulthood. Or maybe you’ll resonate with the stories from my neighborhood, classroom, or office. Consider the lessons and learnings I’m sharing. Look for ways to apply them to your own personal and professional development. Then move forward, doing your best to help make other people better along the way.