Over the past two decades, my personal secret to success has been a simple one. To outwork and outlearn everyone else as best I can. This is so much a part of me; therefore, it is also a part of our Placers DNA. Part of our purpose at Placers is to serve our customers, including our workforce and the companies we work with. It is to help as many people as possible and to create a memorable experience, as they navigate the world of work. We call this an “nth degree” experience.

I have attempted to live my best life. I have been my own boss or in the family business since my mid-20s. My advantage has been a work ethic that was instilled at a very young age by my parents (and their parents before them). My approach has been to build equity by the hour, the more hours of hard work I put in would translate into value created within our Placers community. I used every opportunity to learn more about what I didn’t know, which was a lot. No topic was off-limits. For example, when I didn’t know a thing about accounting, I found a retired CFO to be my mentor.

Although I had the advantage of a family of entrepreneurs to inspire me and to learn from, I faced my share of challenges along the way. Generally speaking, what did not kill me made me stronger. I started my first company on the morning of 9/11. Our company has been devastated by fires and floods. At the time, these things seemed like insurmountable hurdles. By persevering, we were able to learn, grow, and overcome.

Having lived through several recessions and now a pandemic, I have learned is that we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you’re not uncomfortable then you are probably not learning, not growing, and not aware of the need to evolve and change to adapt to the world around you.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin

I want to thank you for allowing me to tell you part of my story. Although it seems indulgent, I share it with you today in the hopes that you get comfortable with what you don’t know. But don’t get too comfortable because now is the time to get to work. Admit what you don’t know and start the learning process.

You must be open to change, which can be hard, especially right now. You may not recognize the gain immediately, that will come later. Change is coming regardless, you can let it happen to you or you can exploit that change to your benefit. Don’t be the victim of change, be the driver of change.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

President Barack Obama

Keep in mind that part of learning and growing is making mistakes. These are learning opportunities. Embrace them. A failure in something is only a bad thing if you don’t learn something in the process. So, in closing, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.