It was September 2005.

In just six months the Super Bowl would be returning to Detroit for the first time in almost 25 years.

I was working in a corporate marketing job at the time, and our team was charged with organizing the Super Bowl festivities for the Canadian side of the border in Windsor, Ontario.

I hated the job.

I hated the commute.

Every day I’d drive almost an hour to my dark, dreary office without a window. The walls were painted a dark plum purple…

Seriously, who would paint an office with no natural light, dark plum purple?

Anyways, as much as I couldn’t stand this job (and it would be my last stint as an employee) I learned a valuable lesson on that rainy September day.

The same lesson I’ve used while working with CEOs and senior executives looking to grow their companies with effective sales and marketing.

So here I was sitting in my office six months before the biggest event in professional sports was coming to town, and besides the rain, this day in particular wasn’t so bad actually….I had even met the Budweiser Clydesdales that morning!

But that was the day I realized I was settling for mediocrity.

I was tired, stressed, and unsure what to do next. I kept asking myself – Was this really what the next 30 years of my career looked like?

When I talk to CEOs and executives I hear a similar story. In today’s competitive environment they’re tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed. They’re trying to juggle numerous balls at once. No matter what they do, they can’t seem to get ahead.

That’s when I realized two of the missing ingredients: Vision & Courage.

There was no way I would last another 30 years in a career like this, but I had never spent the time developing and articulating a clear vision of what my future SHOULD actually look like.

CEOs almost always have a vision of what they don’t want for the future of their company – but not nearly enough time is spent on what an ideal future looks like.

Finally, I needed courage.

I needed the courage to walk away from the status quo (get a degree, get a job, climb the corporate ladder) and wade into unknown waters.

I had to have the courage to follow my own path…to walk to the beat of my own drum…to head towards my newly defined vision.

In today’s market, it’s simply too easy for companies to follow the status quo, or respond to a competitor’s moves with matching ones.

It’s too easy for organizations to market themselves like everyone else does – because that feels right…

CEOs and Business Owners need the same kind of courage. Thankfully, only a few CEOs I’ve worked with are content with the remaining part of the status quo.

Which type are you?

And more importantly, are you spending your days in an office without a window?