Friday, November 11, 2011

Grape Kool-Aid

Last night I was in something other than basketball shorts and a hoodie after 6pm, which is quite different for me.  After getting home from work I hurried off to the Indiana Small Business Expo.  For those not familiar with my story I’ll give you a brief taste:

I’ve been in insurance since I was 17 and always been successful and able to promote within easily.  I’ve always felt like I wasn’t doing what I wanted to, but just kept my head down and moved on.  Most recently this restlessness has come to a climax and I could no longer put addressing it aside.  I started meeting with a career counselor (and now close friend, who basically changed my life for the better) and taking all sorts of platform tests, like Meyers-Briggs, Strength Finder 2.0, KOLBE, etc.  We really focused in on finding what my strengths were and what my most natural habits were and how to optimize my strengths in a career.  We boiled it down to several things in which marketing/advertising/consulting seem to carry the most weight.  Having zero experience and zero network within these areas I’ve been committed to networking and meeting the right people.  I’ve met a lot of great people and am learning so much.  This exciting part of my journey is what led me to going to the Indiana Small Business Expo last night.

I am typically the life of the party, the guy most know in a group, able to carry on conversations with perfect strangers, and never afraid of new environments.  Typically is the keyword because last night I walked around feeling as small as a mouse.  I was a mouse among men(and women), which was a very foreign feeling for me.  I got home after the expo and was thinking aloud to my wife about all this and couldn’t quite connect the dots, it still didn’t make sense as to why I felt so uncomfortable in a situation that I typically have no problems with.  A good night’s rest and plenty of awful tasting cold medicine must have done the trick because I woke up this morning thinking of grape Kool-Aid.  If I were to end the blog here it would at least be entertaining and very odd, but I’ll spare you the time it would take you to connect grape Kool-Aid being the resolution to my night and continue. 

Susan Baroncini-Moe (founder and CEO of Business in Blue Jeans) spoke last night about the 7 lessons of being a mega-successful entrepreneur.  I’ll write more about those 7 lessons soon.  Her presentation started with a picture of a little girl at a “lemonade stand.“  I put quotation marks around lemonade stand not because I am one of those people who always do quotation makes when I talk, but actually with a point, it wasn’t an actual lemonade stand at all.  It was a picture of a little girl sitting at a table with an umbrella and pitcher full of grape Kool-Aid.  She went on to explain that she started as an entrepreneur by making her own path and being unique, not just doing lemonade like all the other kids.  She now sees this as part of how she arrived where she is now and her passion for helping other entrepreneurs become successful in their own way.  I realized that all I’ve been doing is looking at everyone doing their “lemonade stands” and trying to figure out a way to do my own “lemonade stand.”  I need to be comfortable that I’m on a journey and I’m young enough to not call it failure that I’m still trying to figure that out.  I’m not sure what my grape Kool-Aid is, but I know I’m on a journey trying to find it.  Maybe this is something others in my generation are experiencing, trying to duplicate others success instead of truly finding what they are going to be about.  The more I speak with and meet new people who are successful at things that interest me the more I learn that I’m doing what they did along their journey to success, exploring, learning, asking questions, and networking.  Making grape Kool-Aid used to be as simple as water, sugar, and a wooden spoon, but thinking about it this way makes life a bit more interesting and working more exciting.  So until I find out what my grape Kool-Aid is, I suppose I’ll meander around uncomfortably, but confident that it is a necessary step in the journey.  Here’s to progress!


  1. Great post, Adam. I suspect a lot of people ask themselves exactly the same questions you're asking right now. Keep asking. The answers will come. (and when we have our chat later, I'll have a few hints about where the answers will come from to share with you)

  2. Thanks for the inspiration and compliment Susan, i appreciate it. Looking forward to 1.