Promoted to District Manager at age 25, I’ve enjoyed a fantastic career and still LOVE doing what I do and LOVE the company I work for.
That being said, I want to spread my teachings and tactics to EVEN MORE than the 200+ employees that I oversee now.
Origin Leadership was born to reach more people, and I’m glad you’re here to read…THANK YOU SO MUCH 🙂
So since you’re here, let me take a moment to introduce myself…
Meet Nick Glassett
Let me start by going rapid fire here…I’m a soccer player, mountain biker, a member of Toastmasters, a graduate of 2 of the 4 courses in the Landmark Worldwide Curriculum for Living, I’m an avid reader, and what I call an Infinite Learner. I have a beautiful wife named Michelle (pictured below) and a little boy named Boston who we named after the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox, and our youngest little girl is about to turn 1. Her name is Brodie, and she’s named after Brody Dalle, the front woman in the punk band The Distillers.
Ok so…here is the story of how I got to where I am, and some key events that helped shape me, and lead me to start this blog.
Format of this “Story”
I’ll put a subtitle in there about what you are going to read about, and then in parentheses I’m going to have the lesson that I learned from it.
So for example the next section of my story is titled “Soccer is LIFE” and the lesson that I learned from it is that I found my passion and dedication to honing my craft.
Soccer is LIFE (Passion and Dedication)
I started playing soccer at age 4 and played until I graduated high school. I could write a book about all those experiences, so I’ll make the soccer part quick…
Loved to score goals as a striker, and was pretty dang good at it.
Got a disease in my knees as a 13 year old called Osgood-Schlatter, which I had until I was in my early 20’s.
All my speed went away, and I had to adjust my game.
Spent the next 5 years trying to figure out where I fit in.
Had a few scholarship offers to play college soccer.
Decided against it because the fun had left the sport for me.
Rekindled my love of the game when I was 31 playing indoor.
Now I play in 2 adult leagues.
Outgrew that silly named knee disease so I’m fast again!
I score a lot of goals.
Of course I learned a ton of lessons playing soccer, and yes some do apply to the business world, but that knee thing was a real bummer, so I’m going to leave the soccer thing at that for now.
Ok on the the REAL life lessons…
“I’ll pay for half of the bike” -My Dad
(Discipline + Hard Work)
I was a mountain biker. Not just for fun, I was a competitive mountain biker, racing in two local race series. I was pretty good too! However, I was riding an entry level GT from 1996 and having decent success. I needed a better bike to really compete. The bike I REALLY wanted was a Specialized Stumpjumper M2. It was $1200. My dad told me that if I made half the money, he’d pay the other half. This was a defining moment for me. This marked the first time in my life that I had something that I really wanted that cost a lot of money, and I had some financial backing. It took the seemingly huge $1200 and chopped it in half. I had a goal in mind, and I had the motivation to make it happen. The marriage of those two things introduced me to something that I had been lacking my whole life; Discipline. To buy this new bike, I had to do what it took to get the money no matter what it took.
My Nana Buys a Blimpie Franchize (Customer Service)
This was my first real job where I was on a payroll, had co-workers, a posted schedule etc. Granted I was the owners grandson, but the experience I gained here was invaluable.
I remember my first Saturday on the line making sandwiches for customers. It was busy and I was only 14 years old. I felt a HUGE obligation to really do a great job because this was someones food! It was here that I learned about customer service. To do everything in your power to have a happy customer. I discovered the high standards that were engrained in me, but working with food was the key that unlocked it.
I could only work Sundays because I played soccer so many days a week, but I was determined to buy that Stumpjumper, so I picked up others shifts, worked doubles and did what I had to do to make the money for that bike.
Not only did I buy the bike, I still have it 18 years later. I won MANY races on those two wheels, including the Utah State Championship for my age group when I was in 9th grade (for the record that scene was VERY different than it is now).
Highest paid K-Mart employee at age 15
(Hack the System)
I got hired as a checker at K-Mart when I was 15 years old in the winter of 2000. I had a buddy that worked there, and after landing the job, and watching the training VHS tapes, I was put up front running a cash register. It was a complex machine that was old, and NOT user friendly. I remember feeling under a lot of pressure because I wanted to do a great job and leave the customers happy. That said, I really didn’t know what I was doing, and I certainly didn’t have any goals or aspirations.
Then one day leaving the break room my buddy that worked there with me asked what my “rings-per-minute” were last week. I had no idea what he was talking about. He walked me to a wall of papers hung on bulletin boards that I’d walked by 100 times, not noticing it, and hung there were the stats for all the cashiers. The main one was the average of how many items you could rang through your register in one minute, or “rings per minute”. I was middle of the pack.
Within three weeks I was number one in the store. I analyzed the process, experimented with how the timing system worked, and came up with set behaviors to use on every transaction to minimize my down time, and speed customers through my line.
I was approached by the GM, and instead of moving me to Sporting Goods like I had wanted, he offered me a 50% raise to stay on the registers. I gave a little push back because I really wanted to get moved off the registers. He then told me that I actually had the highest rings-per-minute in the entire western US! I accepted the raise, and was now the highest paid non-management employee in the whole region, at age 15.
Started at the Bottom (Humble Yourself)
I graduated High School in 2003, and needed a job because I decided not to take any of the scholarship offers to play soccer in college. I was going to keep living at home with my parents, and got into the University of Utah. My mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and numerous aunts and uncles all graduated from The U of U.
My best friend’s girlfriend was the assistant manager at the Journeys in the mall near my house. On June 14th, 2003 my whole life changed with one phone call, that at the time seemed small…
She called my cell phone and said, “Do you want the job or not?” I had no clue what she was talking about. Apparently the word hadn’t gotten to me that she got me a job there! She said “If you want the job, you have to come up here right now. If you don’t I’m calling Kyle to give him the job.” Kyle was driving the car that I was riding in! I told him to turn around and head to the mall so I could get this job!
I didn’t really get an interview, and the Store Manager, (who would later be the best man in my wedding) hired me on the spot. I started as a Part-Time Sales Associate the next day, and my main job was handling the large shipments of shoes that we got weekly. This is the lowest possible position that you can have at Journeys.
I was the Worst Journeys Employee (Lack of Effort)
“You need to fire that guy”.
That’s what my boss’s DM told him after meeting me at Journeys. I didn’t really like this job, but I did like working for the MG, so I did the bare minimum to get by. The DM, (who was also later a groomsman in my wedding) was there for a visit on a day that I had been working. He was far less than impressed and told the manager to fire me.
The DM was right… I was a bad salesman. BAD.
The MG pulled me aside on the next shift that I worked and told me that the DM had told him to fire me.
Now this seems counterintuitive, but I was EXTREMELY thankful for this! It meant I had to step up or get a new job…and I did NOT want to go through that. Plus I really loved working for him.
Learning and Promotion (ASK. FOR. HELP.)
So I had two options. Step up, or move on. I realized that I was a failure and it bugged me. So I went to mt MG and did something that would change my life forever. I asked for help.
And guess what he shows me? My stats. Deja vu from my Kmart days! These lists were on the bulletin board posted weekly and I had simply chosen to ignore them..just like the Kmart days. Now what was unlike Kmart was that I was the worst in the whole store!
So the MG started teaching me how to sell so I could save my job, and in doing so, he actually taught me one of the most important things about ,myself…
I’m an innovator.
I don’t generally come up with ideas, I take other ideas and elevate them, and then take them in a new direction. He teaches me how to sell, and I just copy him as close as I can. Guess what? RESULTS! Now after a few days, I don’t like being a mini-me, so I tweak, and breakdown what he’s doing, and rebuild it my own way, and then success starts to come easier and easier!
I work hard, and grow. I start to REALLY like this job. This selling thing has it’s hooks in me and I’m good at it!
All My Hard Work Pays Off (Hard Work Pays Off)
One day, our DM is at the store, and he approaches me. He says, “What are you doing man?” A little worried, I asked what he was talking about…
He says, “You’re better than every assistant manager that I have, and your a part timer? What are you doing?”
This is an amazing opportunity that most people don’t get. This is where I tell him that I’ve been pushing hard, hitting my numbers so I can get a promotion! He was excited to hear that.
“I’ve got a store for you.” (Proud, Surprised Myself)
So, a month or so later, I get promoted to assistant manager of a store that does over $1,000,000 in sales and I’m only 19. I’m ecstatic.
6 days after my promotion, the phone rings. It’s the DM. He says something that I’ll never forget. He says, “I’ve got store for you, man.”
He wants to make me a store manager.
I think about it and talk to my parents, and the next day I call him back and gladly say yes.
Epic Failure (A Chance at a Defining Moment)
I’m running my own store for 5 months, and doing great. Sales are up double digits, and all the other metrics are not only up, they are way up. It feels like I found my calling.
In this time I meet a girl that would become my first girlfiried. We’ve been dating for 3 months, and being as young as we are, our relationship goes from great, to a rocky patch quick. It’s tearing me up…bad. Then my mom calls me and tells me that my Nana has cancer and her doctor thinks she’s not going to live much longer.
My store begins to fall apart, starting with the partnership that I have with my assistant manager. I’m distracted, and just not ready to handle real life on top of these large responsibilities of management and leadership in my young age. I change on the inside become resigned in nature, and I just lose focus all together.
Here’s the first failure of my life…
I ask my DM for a demotion to move back to Salt Lake City so I can be near my family, and try to patch things up with my girlfriend.
My nana pulls through and beats the cancer after a few surgeries and is truly cured. I was young, but I remember feeling like the doctors blew things out of proportion. Not being an open person by nature, and especially not being open at this time in my life, I hold those feelings inside, and am just thankful that she’s not only alive, but able to be herself…her quirky, goofy, self!
The Defining Moment (Find Your Grit. It’s There)
Now my relationship…that doesn’t make it no matter how hard I try. Those few months experiencing my first ever heartache, and breakup do something to me.
They alter me.
They harden me.
I get to truly see, for the first time, that life can hurt, and hurt bad. But even when it does… even when you don’t want to get out of bed, you still do. And you pull yourself through. And when you dig deep for the courage to overcome something that has got you tied up in knots, you realize that you have the ability to be invincible. You have the power to rise up against the pain and say, NO MORE. No more moping. No more depression. NO MORE. I do realize that this revelation was brought about by what seems like a rather trivial, teenage relationship that lasted roughly 6 months…
But it’s not the journey that is important. It’s the lesson. The moral. And as I look back at this time on my life, I can honestly say that it altered my entire path going forward. It gave me courage, in areas that I had no experience. It offered some edge to what had been a pretty rosy life. It allowed me to experience deep emotions that I had been void of my whole life to that point. I went in a naive teen, and I emerged a laser focused, highly driven, MAN.
Career Reboot (Only You Decide It’s Over)
I was drinking pretty heavily from the time I moved back to Salt Lake in October.
I’m working for a manager in the area that I had never worked for, and she teaches me about how to hold people accountable for high standards, not just having them for myself. She also tells me something that lights a fire under me…
She says that there’s a rumor going around that I’m now… “an Assistant Manager for life”… I failed at my shot of being a store manager and it will be the only one I ever get.
I work hard again, and lucky for me, I have someone looking out for me again. He gets our DM to agree to transfer me back to work under him again. We’re reunited and it’s time to stand up, and prove my worth.
I stop drinking, cut my hair, and go shopping so I can start dressing for the job I want not the job I’ve got. I trade in my band tees for button downs, and start working 55+ hours a week, often coming in on my days off. I help out at other stores as often as I can, and through sheer hustle alone, accomplish what I set out to do…I prove my worth!
Shot at Redemption (Investing in Others is the Highest Reward)
So I hear wind that we have a manager that needs to be trained at the same store that I failed 6 months earlier. A city that I didn’t like, a store that left so much idle time for my mind to run wild, a mall with no food court…It’s calling to me again.
I told my DM to send me. I’m the guy!
He was shocked that I wanted to go back to Logan UT to train this young manager, Justin, but I knew that I wasn’t getting any better shots to redeem myself than this.
So I moved up there for 8 weeks and stayed in the room that, believe it or not, I had still been paying rent on. I lived with my buddy Cole, and we had a good time while I trained Justin.
This is where I developed my love for teaching. Knowing that he was taking the store from me soon meant there was a deadline, and I had mere weeks to teach him all that he need to know. Teach him HOW TO WIN.
I developed a whole training plan for him, and it really lays the foundation for what I would do later in life that put me on the map.
This second trip to Logan UT was VERY important in my Journey!
How to Team Build (It’s a WHO, not a HOW)
I fired my first employee when I was running a Journeys store in South Dakota, and MAN did I do a poor job of it.
That girl probably still hates me for how I handled that situation.
She was my assistant manager, and I knew that she couldn’t take the store from me and keep it winning like I had it going.
If I left the store with her, it would begin to fail, and the only way I was going to get out of South Dakota was to find someone that I can promote that could be even better than me!
So, I start doing interviews. First applicant that I hire is PERFECT for the job. Tons of experience, older than me, loud, funny…too good to be true!
When things are too good to be true, they generally are.
She works a week, then quits.
I interview another guy. He’s been working in the mall for a while, and I know he’s a hard worker and driven. He knows some of my friends and people say good things about him.
My head says yes, my gut says no.
I hire him anyway because I talk myself into it. I’m desperate!
The day before he starts, he gets into a fight in the mall right outside my store. If that isn’t proof that my gut is right I don’t know what is.
I still let him start anyways. Man such a mistake!! He works one day and quits. One day.
Hire Someone Better Than You (The Path to Promotion)
So now I’m left with one applicant, that I had passed over to hire the guy that got into the fight. Her name is Makayon, and she was the obvious choice all along.
I didn’t know this at the time, but I didn’t hire her first because she made me nervous. She was a better sales person than I was!
But I was out of options, so I offer her the job, she accepts, and I get to work training her. She’s incredible! I hadn’t worked with a salesperson that naturally talented before in my life. I had to learn to sell, she just sold.
I remember thinking for the first time in my life two very important things with team building:
- Holy crap, SHE IS better than me
- This is awesome!
That’s right. “This is awesome.”
When you hire someone better than you, what happens?
They over shadow you, beat you, and take your job from you? NO.
They push you out of your comfort zone. They add value to the teammates around you. They contribute to the success of the team. Your boss will notice this, and you know what they say? “Wow where did you find this girl?”
They give you credit. It makes you look better, not worse. They do end up taking your job from you…that’s because you get promoted!
So now with my right hand woman on staff, we become a wrecking crew, crushing every number there is to be crushed!
I start to put Mak, as we called her, through the same “boot camp” that I gave Justin back in Logan UT. She shines. It’s like magic!
With her doing so well, I turn my attention to the sales associates, and together Mak and I build a truly special team with young talent, big personalities, and strong bond that is like a pro sports team.
Learning How to Lose (Training for the Recession)
I move back to Salt Lake and run a few stores in the area before taking over my first BIG store in Sandy UT. And man does it put me to the test! I take it over, get it cleaned up, start hiring, and we are winning. Business as usual.
Then all the sudden the state starts ripping up the roads in front of the mall. This is road construction on a level that I’ve never seen before. Our foot traffic takes a huge hit!
Winning stops. For the first time ever in my life, I’m missing days, weeks, and months!
We stay super positive, and we fight for every damn sale. Our losing streak continues, but even three day visits from my DM can’t turn things around.
Business is tough. But I learn to be tougher!
This losing streak shows me that we don’t really lose, unless we give up. AND THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!
I’m now 22 years old, and I get thrust into a leadership role as the Area Manager of Northern California. It puts me in a ton of uncomfortable situations and these years are truly to thank for building me into the leader I am today.
I’m working for the MG that had hired me 5 years ago has been promoted to DM here, and Journeys sent me out to help him take over and build his culture.
This is where I form many of my philosophies and theories that I still use to this day. I had always had them, I had just never formalized them.
From the day I take the store over, winning begins, and the wins are big, because the store I’m running is BIG. I would take that store to be, at the time, the second highest volume store in the western US.
The Wifey (Love will Find YOU)
This is where I meet the girl that would become my wife 5 years later, the beautiful Michelle.
She actually was working for Journeys when we met! I was at the time being trained to be a District Manager, so I initially wouldn’t date her. I thought it was unprofessional!
But she was a charmer, and she kept calling my store for fake product checks so she could talk to me…and eventually we began dating, and got serious.
The Recession (Find a Place to Play)
The mall that I worked at was a high end mall that had just expanded and opened more competition, AND the recession hit at the same time. Double Whammy.
This is the toughest times that I ever encounter. Anyone that works in sales can vouch that this was a rough time.
Earlier when I said “Learn to Lose” it was something that at the time of learning the lesson, I hadn’t realized that I learned it.
So just how do you lose? You never give up, and you fight! All the meanwhile, you find an area that you can contribute. Losing won’t last forever because the tough conditions don’t last forever.
So what area did I contribute in? PEOPLE.
I went on a sales losing streak that tested my confidence. Meanwhile I built the entire rest of the district with my DM.
Hire People that Are Like You (Different. Special)
I had some hiring skills. I had some training skills. I had some leadership skills.
Over the next two years all three of those skills grow exponentially! I found my knack for building a team that is truly special!
As my team starts comes together, my DM’s work in the rest of the stores has the district coming together.
He starts feeding me Assistant Managers to train and promote, and I keep hiring talented person after talented person to build the farm system.
It’s during this time that I learn that I’m different than most other people. And that people that are different are HARD AS HELL TO FIND…but they are out there. And they want a shot at being special.
I hone my hiring skills and raise my expectations. What happens is that I personally trained and/or promoted 2/3rds of the managers in our district.
It’s THIS skillset that lands me my promotion to District Manager at age 25, working for sales company where my store’s sales were down.
The company I worked saw that not only was I different, but I could build teams full of people that are different. The VP took a chance on me, and I am forever thankful for his decision!
Promoted to DM (I put 52,503 miles on my car in 1 year)
I’m now a District Manager based out New Orleans, and I oversee 22 stores across all of Louisiana, most of Mississippi, and the coast of Alabama. This year was a blur.
To be exact, I put 52,503 miles on my car.
That year I made 33 store manager changes. 150% turnover rate.
The Hardest Lesson (It’s not just about ME)
While these early times of being a DM were crazy and fun at the same time, this period had the opposite effect on my relationship with Michelle.
I had just moved this California girl across the country to Louisiana, which is like another universe compared to California, and I’m working and traveling most of the week, working 6.5 days a week, and having a blast doing it.
Meanwhile, she’s bored, lonely, and in a strange place that she didn’t like (at the time) and she gave up her career with Nordstrom so I could become a DM.
This was a long year, and I learned how to have balance. How to give my full self to work when I was there, and then separate that for quality time with Michelle.
It took a while to learn that lesson for the record…I’m a workaholic by nature.
But the lesson is that it’s not really the AMOUNT of time, it’s the QUALITY of time.
This period laid the foundation for what would later become a major part of my career and life success, which is that trying to pay attention to two things at once meanie your’e nat paying attention to anything.
OK So Now We’re Going to Fast Forward…
So obviously running a high sales volume district for a retail company for eight years has taught me a TON of lessons. And just like my soccer career THAT could be a book in and of itself. That said, all those lessons (most of them HARD) are what enable me to help others. So, that whole story and all that knowledge will be represented in the blog posts, handouts, freebies, that is done here.
So a very big thank you for reading, and I’m now going to point you in the direction of my favorite blog post to date, What I Got Out of the Landmark Forum (And What You Can Expect).