Have you ever lost a business opportunity and thought to yourself, ‘If they only knew WHO I was. If they only knew what they were missing”. . .

Well, I have. I was in my opinion, ‘it’. I was THE guy, but I didn’t know who I was.

It was 1994, and at the age of 26, I was already the Director of International Sales for a healthcare manufacturer.

Folks, it was my dream job.

Well, one morning, I was told by the CEO, Gerry Graham, to go to Mexico City. Actually, get my butt on the next plane to Mexico City and not come back until I had a purchase order for a substantial sale that would have meant a lot to the company.

Now, let me tell you, I had done good work for the company up to that point AND I knew this trip was not critical. So you know what I did? I didn’t take that trip.

When I strolled into the office the next day, you could have heard a pin drop. My coworkers couldn’t believe I was there, and just as they suspected, you know what Gerry said to me? You’re fired!

I’m fired?! Well, you know what? Gerry didn’t know WHO I was. You want to know something else? Neither did I. I may not have followed a directive, but he didn’t know what was inside of me and I didn’t either.

The best thing that could have happened to me at age 26, was Gerry Graham firing me. It made me look at things a bit differently. The cocky 26 year old became a much more aware 27 year old.

Now at the age of 51, I understand what 26 year-old Darren was thinking. Age 26 Darren had way too much pride to understand where Gerry was coming from. At age 51, I not only understand where Gerry was coming from, I appreciate it. I also know it’s my obligation to share it with others.

Neither Gerry nor I knew WHO I was… and we both lost.

This story plays-out everyday on a micro-level between individuals and on a macro-level between organizations because we don’t have the relationships we think we do.

What if you spent 30 minutes a month with your key 3 to 5 business relationships? What would the implications be?

To be continued next week. . .

This story is part of a series of posts from my keynote speech – The Business 2.0 Loop: Connecting Strategy & Culture for Optimal Results, Cut to the Heart of What Business is Meant to be… Get in The Loop!

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