Interview by Nicole Ballengee
Your book is titled, Don’t F*** This Up!. That is pretty direct. What exactly do you mean by it and how did you decide on it?
Due to this pandemic students and graduates will be facing one of the bleakest employment environments in generations. Opportunities will be limited, and the margin of error is much less than in former times. While the title is visceral, I wanted to emphasize the importance to my target audience that now, more than ever, it is critical to be prepared and get it right the first time.
You have excelled in sports, the military and in business. What is the key piece of advice you have gained from this trifecta of experience that you want to give to those making a fresh start in this bad economy?
Nothing gets accomplished without discipline, commitment, and a team working together. Your discipline will ensure you follow through on your plan; that firm commitment in your mission will ensure you have the resiliency to stay the course when adversity strikes; and everyone has each other’s back.
How is your book unique from other self-help books out there?
Success is not one dimensional, it entails a number of issues which must converge. The absence or weakness in one area of more will impact your ability to reach your full potential. To the best of my knowledge there isn’t a book out there that comprehensively and specifically addresses the entire range of issues for someone to be successful by telling them WHAT is important, WHY it is important, and HOW you do something about it.
You say that your advice may be hard for people to hear. Why is that?
You are responsible for you and accountable for yourself. You are not a victim of circumstances. The life you are living is based on the habits you have formed, the decisions you made, and the people you associate with. If you want a better life, develop better habits, make better decisions, and re-evaluate who you are hanging out with.
Can you go over a couple of the core ideas for success that you outline in the book?
In order to be motivated and fulfilled there are two issues which are important – alignment and filling in the gaps. When I say alignment you have to understand what motivates you and match those beliefs with your personality, skillset, interests, and values. The other issue is the gaps – you need to understand what areas you fall short in and work on improving your skills in those areas. You also have to be honest with yourself, and don’t try to be something you are not. Otherwise you have a mismatch which ultimately will result in dissatisfaction, stress, burn-out, and spill over into your personal life.
You say that the margin for error is narrowing for people starting out in the workforce. What do you mean by that?
Many companies are streamlining, cutting costs, or putting plans on hold until they are better able to gauge the impact COVID19 will have on the economy and their business. As a result, there will be fewer jobs available which will translate into fewer opportunities for them. This may also translate to new business models where companies revert to a hybrid version of their former self from both an expense and staffing standpoint. They say “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. The same holds true here.
COVID-19 has decimated the economy. For those who have been laid off, what is your biggest piece of advice as they look for a fresh start?
Your mindset, preparation, and commitment will carry you through. Be prepared, be positive, and persevere. Understand there will be rejection and frustration, don’t take it personally, it is part of the process, so put it behind you. Learn from it and move on. Your determination and zeal will ultimately resonate with someone, so never give up, never surrender, and always move forward, even if it is one small step at a time.
Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from your book?
Your achievement in life will be determined by the belief and confidence you have in yourself and what you do. You need to develop the right mindset, develop good habits, and make good decisions. To make those decisions you need to know what questions to ask, how to get the answers, and a process to follow. This book is a roadmap to do exactly that and will be a valuable ongoing reference.
How/where can readers purchase Don’t F*** This Up?
It is available in hard copy and eBook through a number of sources such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. You can also go to my website https://fredstuvek.com, where the purchase tab on my home page will direct you to a number of sources where you can purchase either version.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about the book?
What is laid out in my book is not based on theory. What I recommend is proven, it works.