Episode #104 Take A Roadtrip

Over the next five weeks, Dr. Michael Brown will travel the country to introduce us to new faces, places, and stories. In the aptly named first episode of Three Words On The Road, Unique Venues CEO Chuck Salem gives us a glimpse of his personal and professional journey.

Show Notes

The way my journey plays out is I start the journey thinking I’m doing one thing and then I land some place that’s like, "How did I get here?" Now I can see when I look back that what I really did was pursue a passion.
Chuck Salem

Three Problems

  • We often reject incredible professional opportunities because of the fear that we don’t have everything planned out.
  • We squander our potential when we pursue pleasure over passion.
  • A pain-free life is typically a mediocre life characterized by merely coasting.

Five Principles

  • Though each of us has a distinct and unique journey, there is something we have in common: we are all on a roadtrip.
  • When it comes to paving the pathway of our lives, character is more important than degree or professional certification.
  • Our passions growing up inform and shape the professionals we are becoming today.
  • We can choose to be motivated equally by both our cheerleaders and our critics.
  • This world needs more leaders who are both profoundly driven and deeply caring.

Chuck Salem’s Pathway

  • “When I was in 8th grade, I would get in trouble a lot, and I would be sent to the guidance counselor’s office. I would have to watch film strips, and I always gravitated toward the hospitality film strips – hotel manager, restaurant manager.”
  • “I got up every morning, got in the car with my friends to go to school, partied in the parking lot, went to school, partied the second I got out of school, went home, did my chores, did homework, made dinner, and as soon as it was over, I went out and partied all night – seven nights a week.”
  • “I got to a point where I realized that I was becoming a person I didn’t necessarily want to be. When I really thought about what I hoped and dreamed for myself, my pathway wasn’t getting me anywhere near there. My pathway was getting me more like – you’re gonna waste your life here… your life is going down a very dark path.”
  • “My mentor gave me responsibility. He paid me to cut his grass and he brought me into his home life.”
  • “My supervisor said to me, ‘Chuck, I want you to start a summer conference program at the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown.’ I said, ‘Sure, I can do that,’ and then I thought, ‘How do I do that?’”
  • “We had one office with one typewriter, one desk. We literally had a cardboard box that served as our second desk. Myself and the student employee took turns sitting at the desk or the box to develop the program. And here we are today.”
  • “Coming out of the closet, coming to terms with the reality of who I am as a human being… and having to make the decision to either live an authentic life or cause sadness, hurt, or pain is a really difficult decision to make.”
  • “I bought any book I could find at the bookstore at the mall about prostate cancer, packed them up, packed my bag, didn’t tell any of my kids what had happened. And I drove, and I sat at the beach for a week. Breathing, relaxing, reading. And setting my fight plan up.”
  • “Surviving COVID as a company… that was an incredibly big fight. My personal road trip in leading the company through COVID felt a lot at times like I was on a cliffside road without a guardrail winding down a bumpy road at night without lights. It was the most challenging fight of my life.”
  • “I often tell myself, ‘You’ve dealt with losing a child; you can deal with COVID. You survived cancer; you can survive this.’”

Three Practices

  • Take the trip that you’ve always wanted to take, and embark upon the adventure that you’ve always dreamed about.
  • Conceptualize your journey as a road trip by drawing the map of your life so far.
  • Pause to reflect on all that you have overcome both personally and professionally in order to regain the strength to drive your next difficult mile.