This advice from Dustin Sapp altered my career (and family)

For 4 years I’ve been trying to transition my management IT consulting firm into a scalable business. And during this time my wife, Erica, and I have been trying to start a family. Neither endeavor is working. Based on age and other fertility factors, our likelihood of naturally having a baby is 3%. After the 1st half of 2012 my business odds feel like they’re about the same.

Erica and I recently met with our second fertility specialist. He recommended in-vitro fertilization (IVF) after a surgery that Erica will undergo in June. The bill for IVF is $15,000 and its chance of success is 70-80%. Insurance doesn’t cover a lick of it.

A Strategic Inflection Point is that which causes you to make a fundamental change in strategy. Nothing less is sufficient.
Andrew Grove

Paying for fertility treatments out of pocket is what I would consider an inflection point. It’s financially, emotionally and physically taxing. So I have some concerns about trying to found a new company while I simultaneously tackle my personal life. That’s why I’ve put IVF off for a couple of years. But with business at a stand still it was time to seek wise counsel from other professionals, including Dustin Sapp.

Dustin and I hadn’t met prior to last week. But the coworking space I call home is in the same building as Dustin’s company, Tinderbox. So I stopped by his office to introduce myself and he gave me 45 minutes of his time to chat. If you haven’t met Dustin, he’s bright, insightful, humble, and refreshingly candid. My intention was to interview him about his career history and build a professional connection; but he beat me to the punch, asking one probing question after another. Eventually I spilled the whole story, fertility situation included. What Dustin said next will stick with me for a long time.

My wife and I are a team. She has been supportive for years, letting me pursue various ventures without pressure to settle into a “safe” career track. I’ve always said that family is super important. But Dustin’s words stopped me dead in my tracks: “Your family is your most important startup.” Boom. It suddenly dawned on me that my actions were not consistent with my stated beliefs. I was stalling on the family front in order to pursue personal ambitions. If family is really important to me then I should do whatever it takes to start one, even if that means giving up my dream to build my own company.

Releasing dreams creates space for new opportunities

Dustin’s wise counsel wasn’t the only take away from our meeting. He also suggested that I talk to a local entrepreneur in need of SaaS sales & marketing help. That single conversation simultaneously rocked my personal perspective and introduced me to an incredible under-the-radar opportunity.

Thanks, Dustin.

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