Is It Time to Re-Invent Yourself?

© National Museum of American History

It was 1977, and WBYG was the 50,000-watt rock-'n'-roll radio blowtorch of Chicago’s south suburbs. I was 16, and “The ‘BYG One in Kankakee” was not only my favorite station, it was the station I decided I was going to work for someday.

Through a stroke of good luck, I earned a part-time job as a weekend DJ. That was the start of a long, rewarding 25-year love affair with the radio industry.

I enjoyed working in south suburban radio in many capacities -- as news reporter, ad sales rep, sales manager and even general manager for a time. But about 10 years ago radio began to change. And for me, it wasn’t a change for the better.

Competing technologies began to whittle away radio’s ad revenues. Stations needed to operate leaner to stay afloat, which meant losing much of its local, more expensive-to-produce programming. Syndicated shows replaced local talent, and all of a sudden, true “local” radio became nonexistent.

It was time to re-invent myself. And several years ago, I did just that.

How about you? If you’ve wondered if it’s time to push the “reset” button on your career, here are three questions that would be good for you to answer:

Is the excitement missing in your career that you had at the start? For me, radio lost its luster, and I had vowed never to be the guy who dreaded going to work everyday.

Does something else in your life trip your trigger today in the same way your current career did when you began? I enjoyed writing and public speaking, so I found outlets to practice my skills -- at first speaking for our local chamber of commerce, and writing an article or two for the local newspaper.

Could you moonlight at the thing you love until you can determine if it’s possible to do it full-time? The writing and speaking eventually became full-time hobbies for me, until I could comfortably quit my day job. What an amazing day that was!

Today I’m an author of two books, and a full-time independent speaker and trainer. I’m a one-man company, and it’s an amazing feeling. When I think back about starting out on my own, I had plenty of self-doubts. But it can be done, and as long as you have the passion, the work ethic, and a viable market for your talents, it can happen for you as well.

For those who prefer that warm, safe, cubicle… maybe you’ll find enough inspiration in this (and other posts here from me) to leave the nest for good.

I’m rooting for you.

Bill Guertin is CEO (Chief Enthusiasm Officer) of The 800-Pound Gorilla, a sales training and consulting company based in Bourbonnais. He is the author of The 800-Pound Gorilla of Sales: How to Dominate Your Market, and can be reached at, or at

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