Guest: Paul Rees is now the Director of Professional Services at Financial Force, the leading provider of ERP and Services Automation solutions on the Salesforce platform, based in San Francisco. Before this role, he was the co-founder of VFP Consulting, a fast-growing Salesforce and FinancialForce professional services firm based in Sacramento, California. Putting his business’s growth in front of his family and personal health, Paul was forced to look at his excessive drinking and absentee life when he had a debilitating breakdown due to burnout. In the end, he made the difficult choice to leave his company and focus on his health and rebuilding his family which led him to live a life of service and impact.
Episode in a Tweet: How the rise and fall of a career led one leader to a life of service and impact.
Quick Background: Paul Rees is a good friend of mine. I’ve known Paul since 2005, and I attribute so much of my personal and professional growth to him. We worked together in Austin, Texas, during my darkest moments in life, although he didn’t know it at the time. Paul introduced me to the Myers-Briggs personality assessment and the StrengthsFinder assessments, which profoundly impacted my life. My conversations with Paul helped me understand myself and allowed me to dig deep into why I made some of the decisions I made, especially some of those not-so-great decisions. These assessments and discussions with Paul set my life on a new course.
Paul has a fascinating story. Being deeply introverted and shy, he learned how to cope with chronic childhood illnesses and always being the new kid by creating personas through acting and music. When Paul started his career, he was miserable, always feeling exhausted at the end of the day because his job played to his weaknesses rather than his strengths. After learning more about himself through the Myer-Briggs and the StrengthsFinder assessments, his career took off, and he eventually started his own company, VFP Consulting. Quickly growing in the first few years, the desire to make the firm more successful consumed Paul. And he completely crashed and burned. Excessive drinking and complete burnout caused him to reevaluate his life, and he chose his marriage and his life over his business.
I believe Paul’s story will resonate with most of us. Why? Because so many of us focus on growing our careers and businesses at the expense of personal health and wellbeing. We don’t fully appreciate our families and the health of our relationships. We sacrifice what matters most but don’t always see it that way.
When Paul broke down, he had to choose between his family and health, and his business. He walked away from the company he built to find balance and happiness again. Now, he isn’t looking to advance his career. In fact, it’s his mission not to. He doesn’t want to be a CEO; instead, his mission is to stay healthy, balanced, and positively impact every person he interacts with. He finds daily satisfaction asking himself, “how can I make this person’s experience better in some way?” and then acting in service of others.
Paul is a profoundly brilliant and articulate person, and during this interview, you will gain so many insights and be inspired. I adore him, and I’m pleased to have gotten to reconnect with him during this interview.
You can find Paul on LinkedIn here.
Question of the Episode: “I am a CEO and am looking at building my brand, and I’m not sure how to get started. Is it worth doing myself, or should I hire someone?”
My Answer: YES! I think every CEO, leader, and professional should be using social media, particularly LinkedIn, to build a personal brand. People want to connect with you and get to know you. Social media is an excellent way to share your unique ideas and thoughts. I have not hired someone to do my social media, as I am the best person to convey my thoughts, ideas, and messages in my voice. Maybe someday I will hire it out, but creating my own content is rewarding and allows me to show up as my authentic self. If you have started putting out content that you craft (don’t just share other people’s content), today is the day to get started.
Here are a few articles to help you get started:
Like this podcast? Check out my blog on how to develop rock star employees by focusing on their strengths.