My first professional career was in the insurance industry – I was 20 years old, had no sales background and little knowledge of the insurance industry. And, although I struggled early on with the ‘insurance agent’ persona; I had the blind ambition to do what great entrepreneurs do – contribute to the success and happiness of others. I quickly realized that in order to play a bigger game, I needed to build more influential relationships. Living in Washington DC at the time, I turned to the Washingtonian Magazine for its list of the most powerful Washingtonians. I set a goal to connect with as many of them as I could and luckily, I stumbled on a powerful banker who agreed to meet with me. To protect his identity, I’ll refer to him as Jay – and since our first meeting in December, 1987; Jay has been a guiding influence in my life. Towards the end of that December meeting, he left me with perhaps the most important piece of wisdom that I had ever received, he told me “You’re in a tough business; what will give you the greatest chance to succeed is for you to take a far sighted view of what you want to accomplish and to make sure that everyone you meet, trusts you, respects you and needs you”. It goes without saying, that I live with that mantra each day. I was blessed to have an influential figure in my life and so was entrepreneur Eric Sinoway, who followed the advice of the iconic Howard Stevenson of the Harvard Business School. Not only was professor Stevenson a highly successful entrepreneur, his greatest contribution was the advice he openly shared with thousands of the world’s most successful professionals. Here’s a glimpse of Howard’s Gift …..