The World Needs You
Hello, I’m Boyd Falconer. I’m pretty good at tackling issues like strategy, focus, leadership and purpose. In contrast, I suck at tackling Excel spreadsheets, supply chain, football, marketing, painting and golf. Let’s throw in singing too. So why listen to me?
Because the world needs you!
The effort and resources I put into this website are for one reason only—to convince you and remind you that the world needs you. Every muscle, every neuron. Engaged and fully committed regardless of obstacles or distractions. Fully yourself.
Say this quietly to yourself, right now (it’s OK, I will wait): “The world needs me”. Say it again, but a little louder: “The world needs me”.
What did you feel as you said the phrase? Worry and anxiety, or pure excitement? Either way, you and I have work to do.
Who am I?
But first, let me tell you a bit about myself. I grew up in a family of five, in Sydney, Australia. But before your head fills with images of Bondi Beach, the Opera House, or the spectacular Australian flat white espresso, let me explain that I don’t come from that Sydney. I was born and raised in Sydney’s western suburbs – the home of the “westie” – a suburban, Aussie version of the somewhat similar “redneck” in America.
Neither of my parents went to university. My father was a suburban milkman while he went to community college to become a CPA, eventually launching and running a successful small accounting business. These days we would call him a cool entrepreneur, and his business a hot start-up. But I laugh when I think of my father as an entrepreneur. He would look stupid sporting a handlebar mustache, sipping a macchiato and wearing a beanie.
My mother was an only child. She cared for us kids before and after school, while also helping to run the milk delivery business. My parents created a successful little empire over time, with several milk-runs and drivers under their umbrella. I would even deliver milk during the afternoon run if I got home from school early enough. I was around 7 years old. I remember it being a valuable first lesson in service, and jumping onto the roadway before the vehicle came to a complete stop.
Yes, there were injuries. All in all, life as a young westie in the west was pretty good. Until it went south.
Life goes south.
In my mid teens, my world took a sharp dive as my parents separated. My mother, siblings and I moved into a drab fibro-cement rental home. It had a single eucalyptus tree in the backyard and overgrown buffalo grass.
My parents divorced about two years later, after tying up family court with a mix of absenteeism by my father, disputed child-care payments and some matters that weren’t worth fighting over. I recall a second-hand piano being part of a small claim case by my grandparents against my mother. The collateral damage of all these shenanigans blew apart practically all close relationships in my family, and many distant ones.
Death of my parents.
My mother died of colon cancer nine years ago, and my father died of a blood clot a few years later. I am convinced they both left this earth with their hearts choked by resentment, regret, alcoholism and depression, along with large doses of victimhood.
This livelihood – or lack thereof – was so strange to me, and remains so to this day. Because so much of what I remember from their guidance during my childhood was founded upon not being a victim: being practiced in seeing beyond a challenge, and being comfortable taking your own path. Simply, trying to be the best version of yourself.
Gratitude and ‘the reset button’.
That’s why I’m so profoundly grateful for the life that I have had. I’m grateful for the big lesson that the universe has shown me among the mix of joy and the vitriol: what you focus on grows.
In the years between their divorce and their deaths I’ve done my best to push the reset button on my family legacy and serve others. I place a huge value on service and self-reliance. But I also know I’m not perfect. As one of my valued readers, you will come to know that about me as we spend more time together. I don’t crave perfection. I crave progress. On the DiSC leadership profile, I am what’s known as a “resolute leader”. This category skillfully balances quality and progress. Simply put, I love big goals and want to get the job done, especially if the job requires significant stretch.
What I took from my parents’ passing was a renewed sense of who I am. “The World Needs You” was more powerful than ever.
Strategy, leadership and purpose come to light.
After scraping my way to the teenager-with-freshly-divorced-parents finish line in high school, I was fortunate to be selected for pilot training along with a science degree in mathematics at the nation’s rigorous officer training academy. My self-reliance and taste for service was cemented into place at the academy and during the years of my operational air force flying that followed.
As any pilot will tell you, especially a pilot that has many hours of flying solo, the “buck stops with me” attitude is what will get you to your peak performance. Not only through my decision-making itself, but the order of the decisions you make.
Service beyond self.
My desire to serve following my flying years took me to the Federal Parliament, where I served a prominent elected representative handling the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary portfolio – mostly policy, strategy and communications. While there were many long hours, it was a ton of fun and an excellent learning experience. I also undertook my first long-distance cycling fundraiser at that time – the ‘Pollie Pedal’ led by Australia’s most recent Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.
From there I served at one of Australia’s leading universities as a researcher and lecturer. I also created my first consulting company in order to serve clients outside the education sector. As you can see, I was weaving a strong service thread in my life. But I was still a long way from embracing it fully, as I do today.
Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.
In 2006 I moved to the United States armed with my freshly minted PhD and was fortunate to be selected to join Russell Reynolds – arguably the world’s best privately held executive search and assessment firm- and then on to Korn Ferry. I was thrilled to serve countless C-suite clients for several years there – mostly from cool sectors like advanced technology, cyber-security, aerospace and biotechnology.
Since that time I’ve married a patient, talented and loving woman, moved from downtown Chicago to leafy Ann Arbor, and started my second consulting company. I have spent recent years serving entrepreneurs, faculty, investors and alum at arguably the top public university in the United States.
Now enough about me, you and I both know there is more of you.
You have unfair advantages, though you may not be using them. I can help you find them, and I can help you deploy them in the most powerful way possible. I am here to serve you, because I live for bold challenges and bold improvement. I live for big steps forward in the face of massive obstacles.
The world needs your leadership. It needs your experiences. It needs your failures and your greatness. It needs more of you. When you’re ready to go after the dream you’ve been denying yourself, I’ll be ready to talk.
As Emerson made clear more than a century ago, “our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.”
I will make you do what you can.