If you are a leader, role model, coach, mentor, advisor or someone who recognizes the gifts in another person and inspires them to greatness, at Acton we believe you are a teacher. If you are someone who longs to change the world in a profound way, someone who has the courage to find your most precious gifts and the dedication to master a discipline, at Acton we believe you are an aspiring entrepreneur. The Acton Foundation serves both teachers and aspiring entrepreneurs. We attract, train and inspire master teachers, equipping them with the courses and learning tools they need to help aspiring entrepreneurs. Our Advising and Mentoring Guides offer “teachers” ways to be more intentional and effective in assisting those looking for career advice and searching for their calling. Our Stars & Steppingstones and Job Search Guides offer “aspiring entrepreneurs” a path to discover their calling and to live a life of meaning. Our case-based entrepreneurship curriculum allows both teachers and aspiring entrepreneurs to step into the shoes of real entrepreneurs and learn how to make the tough calls required for success. The curriculum is taught in its entirety at the Acton School of Business, an intensive one-year MBA program in Austin, Texas, taught exclusively by practicing entrepreneurs. The Princeton Review ranks Acton as one of the “Best MBA Classroom Experiences” in the country and, for the fourth year in a row, ranks Acton’s teachers among the top five business faculties in the nation. To learn more please visit ActonMBA.org. Additional tools and resources for advising, mentoring, teaching and finding a career and life of meaning are available at ActonFoundation.org.
Jeff Sandefer is a successful entrepreneur and a Master Teacher at the Acton School of Business. Sandefer started his first company at the age of 16 and went on to found a number of successful businesses, most recently Sandefer Capital Partners, a firm with several billion dollars in assets. BusinessWeek named Sandefer one of the top twelve entrepreneurship teachers in the United States. Copyright © 2008 by the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence. 515 Congress Avenue, Suite 1875 Austin, TX 78701 actonfoundation.org
Stars & Steppingstones: Some choices only come around once. By Jeff Sandefer
As a teacher of bright, motivated MBA students at a top Texas university, I was often approached by a student and asked: “I have to choose between a $100,000 a year job with Consulting Firm A or a $120,000 a year job with Private Equity Firm B? Which one should I accept?” I almost always responded by asking: “What is important to you? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What do you want to have accomplished by the time you are seventy?” All too often, the response was: “I don’t know. I just want to take the best job.” I would sigh and flip a coin. It was the best I could do. Steven Covey advises “to begin with the end in mind.” This is sound advice. Each of us has a spark of divine inspiration that can lead to lifelong goals. Once you have discovered these goals and your end purpose is clear, you can begin to set a life plan, backing up decade by decade from the end, examining each stage of your life. By viewing your life as a continuous journey, you can identify the achievements at each stage that will act as steppingstones toward your final goal. As you near the present, today’s questions and alternatives will become clearer. This note is written to help you consider your long-term goals in life (your “star”) and how to keep steadily advancing toward that vision. It is about thinking for the long-term, picking a direction and charging ahead; charging confidently ahead, but remembering to look...