Last week, Sam’s Dream Blog featured Vanessa Chandler, a co-founder, general manager and a creative writer at media production company Red Arrow Media. Vanessa graciously helped arrange an interview with one of her company's authors, Mike Frank.
Mike Frank has three-plus decades of senior-level executive experience at several companies, including Mutual of Omaha, PepsiCo and The Walt Disney Company. More recently, Mike founded a coaching and executive development company - Frank Consulting. He is the author of "Prosperity with Purpose: An Executive's Search for Significance."
Sam's Dream Blog: You start your book with a quote from Albert Einstein: Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value. What does that mean to you?
Mike Frank: Well, I think that a man of value, in the long term, is somebody who has a contribution to make to other people. A lot of times when you only focus on success, it’s all about yourself and your own consumption. It doesn’t necessarily benefit mankind. I’m a big believer if you have been given certain gifts and certain talents and the ability to make money or to build organizations, you really ought to do it with a higher purpose than just, 'How do I make something I can consume?'
SDB: How does somebody stop going through the motions?
Mike Frank: I think what happens is people have some defeats or they get wounded in some way. If they don’t know how to process those kinds of things, what happens is people shut down. I see that so much, especially in men who are above 40 years old. They just kind of give up in a way, and they wait until it’s time to retire. That’s pretty sad. With the life expectancy today, for men it’s near 80. To shut down by the time you’re 40? That’s half your life. I tell people to get past those emotional issues and get back on to the track of living again.
SDB: If you seem to be doing well by outward appearances, but if you know in your heart something is wrong, how do you get out of it?
Mike Frank: You have to have some confidence in yourself. Steve Jobs gave an address to the Stanford class in 2005. He said, don’t settle for something you’re not really called to or you don’t have a passion for. Otherwise you’re going to end up living somebody else’s life. How sad is that? That way you don’t really live the life you were intended to live. There’s a book out there I really like called "Leap!" It’s basically, have the courage to leap off the edge. Then the net will appear.
SDB: What’s a piece of advice you would give to somebody in his or her twenties?
Mike Frank: Here’s the deal: Many of you are going to live until you’re in your eighties. The reality is for most of you, you’re going to reinvent yourself four or five times in your lifespan. Don’t get scared when you’re in your twenties, because you will miss out on a whole bunch of fun and adventure if you’re not willing to take some chances. Take a risk once in a while.