Day after day, millions sit at jobs that make them unhappy. What’s the best job for me? Can I truly be happy at work? Career coach Marion E. Brooks has written the book to answer those questions. His What You Don’t Know Is Hurting You: 4 Keys To A Phenomenal Career is making major noise and we had the opportunity to dive in deeper with the author.
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m an internationally certified executive coach, keynote speaker, business executive, entrepreneur, and Best-selling author of What You Don’t Know Is Hurting You: 4 Keys To A Phenomenal Career. I have more than 20 years of experience building and leading award-winning teams in one of the top medical companies in the world, including a team that generates nearly $1 billion dollars in annual sales. I was the first African-American man in the organization to hold the title, Head of Marketing, and was recently promoted to Vice President & US Country Head role. I have a BA in Marketing and an MBA in Management.
All of that sounds great today, but if you know where I come from, none of those accomplishments would have seemed possible. I was discounted and counted out early in life because of my family situation. My mother was a single parent with three children by three different fathers. My father has 11 children by 10 different women. My grandparents took in my sisters, brother, me and raised us. I remember one time, there were some people over visiting and I overheard one of them ask about my parents. When they told them whose child I was, I heard them say, “Oh, he doesn’t have a chance; he’ll never be anything.” I went into another room and was crying. My grandmother came and asked me what I was crying about. I told her I didn’t want to get in trouble but I heard what they said about me and I didn’t understand why they said it. I asked if it was something I had done to make them say that. My grandmother said, ‘You know, people will put their limitations on you, but it only matters if you accept them.’ She told me, ‘There are no limits on anything you want to be. The only limits are the ones you accept. I’m a black woman born in 1915 and I went to college. You’re going to go to college and far beyond”.
Where did the idea for “What You Don’t Know Is Hurting You: 4 Keys to A Phenomenal Career” come from and why did you feel it was the perfect time to release it?
The idea for the book was birthed when I was working with a young woman in major media who came to me for coaching. She had a new boss that she believed was trying to get rid of her. She had been with the organization for over a decade and had always received good reviews but this was different. I worked with her for six months. During that time she received two promotions and her “bad boss” got fired. I had nothing to do with her boss getting fired (lol). In the end, she said, ”You have to write a book. I didn’t know what I didn’t know and it was hurting me. I had no idea because no one told me, you’re going to help so many people”. That’s where the title comes from.
I felt it was important to write the book because according to the Harvard Business review, only 5% of people in business are identified as high potentials. High potentials get access to training, resources and support that the other 95% of people do not receive. Now, if you are a woman or person of color, the numbers are much lower than 5%. Early in my career, I was identified as a high potential and given ACCESS. Now I’m granting access to the information the elite few receive coupled with my years of experience as a business executive and executive coach. The goal of the book is to pull the veil back on what the high potentials get and outline it for everyone else.
What do you hope people gain from the book, the experience and the book signing event?
I want people to be enlightened, empowered, inspired and motivated to take back their power, and control of their careers or businesses. If someone is feeling stuck I want them to leave with new tools to accelerate their career!
Do you believe when people say “you are a product of your community”?
I absolutely believe we are a product of our community. The thing I think most people miss is the power of choice as it relates to who we engage with in our community. In my book, I talk about giraffes and turtles and the benefits of surrounding yourself with success minded people no matter what your circumstances are. My bother and cousin who if grew up in the same house and room with both ended up in prison. They aligned themselves with a different set of people than I aligned with. I’m not saying its easy, but we have a choice. I took all the positives from my community and upbringing and learned from the cautionary tales versus indulging in them.
As we know education is important in our community, how do you think we can continue to grow and enrich our lives and the lives of those around us?
Education unlocks opportunities. I think it is essential to stay dedicated to learning if you want to grow and enrich the lives of others. I read at least 15 books a year because I’m always seeking new insights and knowledge to help me grow and to be a better resource to my clients. As soon as you stop growing, you start regressing because someone else is always growing. I also believe it is critical to seek the counsel of mentors who have already been successful in the area or field you are in. I have mentors for every part of my career and life.
What does it mean to be a Quintessential Gentleman?
To me a quintessential gentleman is someone who embodies leadership, compassion, respect, and support for others, who is always looking to make himself better as well as the people around him.
Anything else that you’d like to share with us?
Always look for opportunities and lessons in your obstacles. What you focus on grows, the more you focus on the obstacle the bigger it gets. Shift your focus to what you learned from the situation, and you will move from what happened, to making things happen. If it’s possible for me, it’s possible for you. Sometimes they just need access to information that will help them.
To stay connected with Marion, visit his website.