The Little Title Change that Could…


When you’re a kid, you believe you can do anything. Some of us, like Beyoncé or the Kennedys, are born into any environment where someone quickly nurtures these early beliefs in a way that offers a leg up in self-actualization. For others, we get the benefit of some additional self-engineering.

In both cases, we become who we create. Before our degrees, titles, and any accolades, most of who we want to be starts out as a small notion. Those notions, if nurtured, are enough to change the world.

The Facts: You Get to Call It

At some point recently, I realized that I haven’t held a job, consulting position, or, in too many cases, volunteer role that existed before I arrived.

My four “biggest” career wins were a result of a connecting with companies and people who needed someone to venture into the unknown and turn it into buzz-generated business.

While I loved each of these jobs in the end, when this trend started I hated them… all of them… every-single-one… until one day someone helped me get it.

I’ve got a mentor/sunshine ray/career angel/fairy happy hour buddy, who we’ll call G.  One early morning in an empty office, I was venting to G about my job frustration and this trend of unknown.

G let me go on for a few minutes, looked at me, and said something that would forever alter my perspective, “I think you’re looking at this all wrong. People trust you with the unknown. That’s big.”  

The Latest Notion: Call Me World-Changer

That one, simple moment was a huge deal for achievement-oriented me who was starving for a little acknowledgement. It was the beginning of me realizing what’s true for all of us: We get to call “it” and honoring what’s on the inside can change the world.

I’m the guy who’s usually in the roles that should come with capes. Whether I like to admit it or not, I chose them. I called them.

I like creating the change that makes “things” (whatever the things) in the world better.

That’s why this latest title change, in some ways, means the most.

[Shameless plug alert – Click all the links that follow]

This morning, I got to announce two things on LinkedIn. First, I’m the Head of Engagement & Advocacy for an incredible startup, Student Loan Genius. Second, I finally get to let the cat out of the bag that I’m a founding member of the Student Debt Reduction Coalition, a growing community of companies who are working with legislators to help solve America’s $1.3 Trillion student loan problem.

Why the Little LinkedIn Update is a Huge Deal?

If you hung on until now in this post, thanks. Here’s where the word-lover tries to truncate something he could talk about all day.

When I was a kid, for a few years I wanted to be a judge and a police officer. My 5-year old notion was that I wanted to help make laws, that’s what I thought judges did, and make sure they were enforced.

Today’s update is a little-big proof that those notions we all have can pay off big if we pay attention and nurture them. While I’m not quite law enforcement or a legislator, these days I am living that early dream.

As we start to model the savings for millions of student loan borrowers and years companies and legislators can cut off student loan repayment, I realize I’m one of the luckiest guys on earth.

To imagine that the day-to-day uphill startup climb and the hours of meetings with brains from the Aspen Institute and Americans for Student Assistance, who were kind enough to educate me on policy matters, could turn into actual laws that help the friends, family, and neighbors I see struggling is huge.

Today, I’m thankful for the little, early notion that turned into my latest opportunity to have an impact. Also, I want to encourage everyone to celebrate those notions and small changes that get you a step closer to the dream.

In the grand scheme of things, my title change is little. But, I’m saying cheers in advance to the size and impact of change I hope it helps create. Here’s to (more) crushing of student loans…

Note: I still get to lead the marketing and PR all-stars that help make Student Loan Genius happen. We just have a new set of things to high-five about these days.