Steve Olsher – Reinvention Engineer, Bold Enterprises – Featured on Navallo.net

1. How do you define success?
One of my favorite definitions of success comes from George Sheehan who said, ”Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you were meant to be.” I wholeheartedly agree. Once you discover your WHAT – that is, the ONE thing you were born to do – and pursue your WHAT with strategic abandon, literally everything else falls into place.

2. What is the key to success?
The key to success, or the secret of life as I refer to it, is identifying and pursuing what you’re good at, what you love to do, and what someone will pay you for. And, yes, all three elements are necessary as a tripod – if you take out any of the three elements, the whole equation falters. And, you should be paid extraordinarily well for what your natural gifts are. If a ball player can earn millions for hitting a ball with a stick, you should be able to do the same, without apology. Doing good and doing well do not have to be mutually exclusive.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I did not always know I’d be successful and, as of this writing, I still do not consider myself to be successful. My life is continually evolving and every day I have to renew my spirit and beckon the energy required to have the courage, determination and will to become the person I was meant to be.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Adversity is a part of the human condition. It appears near every moment of every single day. When we face that moment, we have a choice – I call it a YaNo (pronounced Yay – No) moment – where one path will lead us towards fulfilling our obligations to impact the lives of others, and the other leads away from who we inherently are. It’s important to set deep anchors into your soul to avoid being a windsock and being blown in the direction that others’ whims and agendas want to take you. By focusing on where I’m headed and, most importantly, on those I’m most compelled to serve, adversity reveals itself for what it truly is – a temporary distraction.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
The greatest lesson I ever learned is that when you look back on your life, you will most regret failing to act than taking action and realizing what weak-minded people term as failure. In reality, failure doesn’t exist. It’s simply a term of ignorance that others have the nerve to throw out at those who dare to soar in an attempt to bring them down. I choose to view failure as ”success, with an unintended ending.” Simply because you attempted to bring something to fruition and things did not go exactly to plan doesn’t mean by any stretch you’ve failed. It simply means that your ultimate objective was not realized. How you internalize what happens in life and the dialogue you associate with those events will ultimately determine the quality of your existence.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spare time? Oh yes, what I do when I’m not working. I love spending time with my family, writing, and learning. And, since 2000, I’ve trained in Brazilian Jiujitsu under Carlson Gracie. At my ripe old age of 43 (almost 44), I get injured just looking at the mats so I’ve definitely slowed down with my training since I received my brown belt, but I still enjoy the occasional roll.

7. What makes a great leader?
As for what makes a great leader, truth be told, I’m not sure. I’ve seen dictator-like leaders create billion-dollar companies and the nicest people in the world go broke. Therefore, I’ve concluded that there is no simple definition for effective leadership. That said, I do believe that a great leader is someone who can inspire others to realize their full potential. If a leader does nothing else other than encourage his followers, employees, and/or associates to discover their WHAT and pursue what they were born to do with strategic abandon, they can build a world-class organization or movement.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
As for what advice I would give to a college student entering the workforce, this is an interesting question. I am a firm believer that, with rare exception, college is the single worst investment a parent can make. College is a social experiment gone wrong. For the most part, it doesn’t work. All we’re doing is moving children from the sheltered environment of getting the bottle from their mother to the sheltered environment of getting the bottle from the bartender. Fact is, most kids go there, have fun, party, and choose a major because they HAVE to. The stats are staggering: more than 85% of those who graduate with a four year degree do NOT work in their field of study within five years of graduation; 50% secure jobs that do not require a 4-year degree; and, almost 30% move back in with their parents after graduation. This is not the type of return I’m sure their parents had in mind. What we really need to do is send our kids out into the world, get them out of the restricted circle they’ve been living within, join the military, apprentice, get an internship, and God forbid, get a job. When they are clear on what it is they are compelled to do, then and only then, should they pursue and PAY FOR the education they’ll need to cultivate a career in that industry. And, that education does not necessarily require a four year degree. There are myriad options today for gaining the education needed to excel, including online learning, getting a coach, on the job training, etc. The above said, if they’ve already earned their degree and are entering the workforce, bust ass, exceed your boss’s expectations, and figure out what your WHAT is so you can shift from having a job to truly cultivating a career and having massive impact on your community, the environment, and our world.

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