Realizing My Unexpected

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By Mike Gugat

I guess I’m proof that it’s never too late to realize your unexpected value.  I spent the first 20 years of my professional life working my way up the proverbial ladder in the athletic and outdoor industry.  The more I sold, the more I made, and the more doors were opened for new opportunities. Unfortunately, I was very unsatisfied. 

This last year has been spent traveling, consulting for others, and a tremendous amount of time self-reflecting.  The major discovery was that I was killing my inner-creative.  I’m convinced that creativity requires conditioning like that of a performance athlete.  If an athlete isn’t training, their muscle will atrophy.

I began letting my creative muscle atrophy in college when I succumbed to the notion that if I didn’t get a degree in business, I’d never get ahead in life.  I gave up on a double major in art and psychology, ultimately killing my desire of becoming an art therapist for children.  I’d spend two years taking finance, accounting, and general business courses never fully appreciating what was being taught. Ultimately, I’d get a degree in International Studies as I didn’t have the attention span for the business school.

Fortunately for me, I needed a full-time job to assist my parents in paying for my college education.  I would learn more about business working in that retail store than in all the classes I took.  My strong business acumen was developed working in sales and marketing roles for and with globally recognized brands.  The lack of a business degree didn’t prevent me from becoming an executive. I’m convinced I made up for that business degree by reading hundreds of books applicable to business, leadership, and critical thinking. I often joke that my subscription to The Harvard Business Review was the equivalent of an MBA and my devotion to and sponsorship of NPR was a cheaper substitute to an advance degree in the humanities.

I genuinely believe that relationships matter. I often found myself networking outside my profession with media professionals, artists, creatives, and even political operatives.  To this day, I seek out people smarter than me and persuade them to be mentors.  These mentors have inspired me to realize that my unexpected value is the ability to bring people together around a purpose and inspire them to do the unexpected.

This brings me to this intersection in my life where I’m again conditioning my creative muscle with The GÜ-GAT Collective.  We’re a full service agency, backed by a collective of top creatives.  I'm hoping you will join us.