Life exists in stages. We move from stage to stage—public school to high school to university or college, or right to full-time employment. There may be some travel in there. Then there is career development, marriage, and children with their public, high school and university, and then empty nesting/retirement, and ultimately, we fade off into the sunset!
I am reaching one of those milestones. I know many of you are thinking that at my young age, I must be looking at something unique, because the little girl I often spoke about could not be much more than 10 or 11 now. And I am sure some of you are thinking, “He must be retiring. He started selling broadcast sponsorship in hockey when Marconi was still alive!” Well neither of those things are true. I am a long way from retiring and my kid is not 11!
My wife Coryna and I are entering our next stage of our life together as part of parenthood. This Friday, our daughter Brooklyn graduates (cap and gown ceremony) from grade 12! Saturday, she has her graduation prom, and in under a month, she will be 18! Where has the time gone? And what happens next for us?
This August, she will pack her bags and head off to school in another province. It will be just the two of us at home. What will life be like without the child in the house? What will we focus on? How will our life be different and what do we plan to do with the freedom we will have? I don’t have any answers as yet, but I know it is just another stage in a long journey. I have done my best to take each stage of this life journey (schooling, career to career, running a business, having lived in five different provinces, 12 cities, and over 19 different homes since the age of 13 when I went away to boarding school) in stride and one day at a time. I know it will all be good. I just have to adapt to what comes my way and I look forward to that as I have all my life.
I have tried to keep that perspective, not only in my personal life, but also in my professional life. In my careers, there were ups and downs. There were peaks and low points. Since being in the sponsorship game, I have had to deal with win/loss records (when selling pro sport sponsorship), and since owning and operating the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists® for the last 21+ years, it has been the same. We have had great years and years where you dip into your personal RRSPs to cover payroll for a few weeks. But I have always looked to the horizon versus the curb. Our industry is about relationships and the long game. It is about helping partners meet their goals through investments with their partners that are fair and deliver positive ROI or ROO. It is about ensuring that a property has the cash flow to be successful and innovative enough to stay ahead of the properties it competes against in the sponsorship arena. And it is about ensuring that the audiences who support the charities, go to the galas, subscribe to the arts, buy season tickets to the sports team, and attend the festivals, conferences, and events get value added benefit from the sponsor’s association with those properties. These things don’t happen overnight. They don’t happen on a whim. They are nurtured and cultivated. They are planned and collaborated on. They take time, trust, and relationships. The most important thing about them is that, when done right, they are satisfying. They make you feel good. When a property excels, when a sponsor exceeds expectations, and a fan leaves happy, you know it was all worth it. You wake up tomorrow and do it all over again and that is what makes this career and sector so great.
Likewise, as Coryna and I enter this next stage, it will bring new relationships, rejuvenation of existing relationships, and excitement every day going forward. They say it is the next stage in life and parenthood, but for me, it is just a new day like every other new day I have experienced for over 61 years!
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