I was now an angel investor. I had one company which was kind of working, one not working, and one which was failing. The money was going out. Nothing was coming in. This was the result of my first two years of my reimagined career. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure I was on the right track.
But I could always go back, right?
The corporate life provided a good income. I was surrounded by really bright, hard-working people. The mission was always clear and so were the measurements. But I was on the road all the time. Kathy and I were distant. The kids were growing up, and I was missing it. When I finally got home, I was tired and cranky. On Monday, I would hit the road again. The corporate life was a mix of good and bad.
This was my fallback plan.
If I couldn’t make a go of this angel investing thing, I could go back to corporate and run a division. I did it just a couple of years ago. I still had my network, and I was sure I could find my way back. Then I’d have the title, responsibility, and comp plan. All would be well again, just like that!
Then I got the call.
One of my former peers was in Atlanta, and he wanted to catch up over a drink. I hadn’t talked to him for a couple of years. It was great to get the call. He didn’t know it at the time, but he was my ace in the hole, so to speak.
We met at a restaurant and bar. He looked great, and it was wonderful to see him. As soon as we sat down, he said, “Tell me what’s been happening in your life.”
I insisted he go first.
He said, “We are in the midst of a large transaction. I was going up the elevator to the corporate offices of the company we are about to acquire. The elevator doors opened. I saw her and she saw me. I knew right then and there.”
“Knew what?” I asked.
“I was going to marry that girl,” he answered.
“What about your wife, Alexa?”
“We’ve been married a long time, and we’ve always had our problems. Sure. There were good times over the years, but I think it is time we both moved on,” he explained.
“What do the people you work with think about all this? I assume they know what is going on,” I said.
“They just want what makes me happy,” he said.
“Do you think they want you to be happy because you are paying each of them $500k a year?” I asked, not realizing just how offensive a question this was.
“Good point. I never thought about it that way,” he said.
He then asked, “So what’s been happening in your life?”
I was thinking, Should I tell him?
Suddenly I blurted out, “Two years ago I decided I was an alcoholic. I started attending AA meetings. Then I gave my life to Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”
He looked at me slack-jawed.
Then she showed up. This was the other woman.
We chatted for a little bit. It seemed like an eternity because I was so uncomfortable. After all, I knew his wife, and this new girlfriend thing came at me pretty fast.
He then said, “We have a lot to do to integrate this new business into our business. Maybe you can come join us again and help us out.”
Now that is what I was waiting for. Or was it?
My mind raced. He said it. He wants me back.
But I found out he didn’t quite see me coming back to the same position and responsibility I had when we last worked together. In fact, it sounded pretty uninteresting to me.
I told him I had to go and that we’d talk soon.
As I was walking to my car, I realized two things.
First, the company I worked for, which I thought I could go back to, had moved on. It wasn’t the same company with the same people and same opportunities.
Second, and more importantly, I had moved on. I was not the same guy I was when I worked there. I couldn’t be quiet anymore about what the boss was doing. His happiness and my acceptance would no longer keep me silent.
The next day I walked into my office. I sat in my chair, looked out the window, and thought, This has got to work. There is no going back. You have to be successful right here at this desk doing what you are doing.
It was in that moment with those words that I realized I had burned the ships. There was no going back. There was only forward. The three companies, the entrepreneurs, the investment thesis, the funds I had available to invest, it all had to get rationalized and make sense. It had to work. My life, my family, and others’ lives and families depended on it.
The reimagining process was complete.
I was a disciple of Jesus Christ and an angel investor. I was a new man with a new career. I was heads-down again, focused on building a new life and a new career serving entrepreneurs, helping them achieve their dream of starting and owning their own business.
A new adventure had begun!