Andrew McDonald began his professional career in information technology as a systems analyst, but along the way has realized he could make a bigger impact on the world.
While growing up comfortable in a middle-class family, Andrew’s life changed dramatically when his parent’s marriage came to an end. Besides the emotional toll of the divorce itself, Andrew’s living situation wasn’t so comfortable anymore.
Money became tight and his mother’s health made it hard for her to work. This left Andrew with increased responsibilities at home. Even when he was away at college and struggling to pay his tuition, Andrew had a financial obligation to provide for his mother and brother back home.
It was during those times when Andrew resolved to never live in poverty again. Instead, he would master the skills of emotional intelligence, personal finance, as well as the technical skills of his profession.
Andrew set his sights on personal and professional success. His future family would never live with the financial insecurity he experienced as a teen.
Having worked his way up in the world of IT since earning his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and earning an MBA from Georgia State University, Andrew is now in transition to a career as a full-time entrepreneur.
Andrew is currently developing a platform meant to teach others to achieve the same kind of success he’s achieved. Through his company, Possess Your Success, Andrew is inspiring people to succeed in their careers, and their personal finances as he’s learned to do.
Active in his community, Andrew is a volunteer with the Atlanta chapter of INROADS, a leadership development and internship non-profit. He is also a founding member of a personal finance mastermind.
Career Success Q&A
What do you do for work?
[BRENDAN’S NOTES] Fruition Partners is a consulting firm that helps service based companies improve efficiency and lower costs by leveraging the ServiceNow enterprise cloud platform.
How long have you worked in this role?
2 years as a speaker, 6 years as a [business analyst].
What do you like most about your job?
Being able to interface with both technical and non-technical people to break concepts down and help them perform their functions better.
What kind of formal schooling have you had?[An undergraduate degree] in information technology from Florida State University, as well as an MBA from Georgia State University. I am also ITIL v3 Foundation certified.
What kind of experience did you have before you began your current position?
In 2008, I graduated with 4 job offers, one of which was at Lockheed Martin. [Lockheed was] my dream company at the time.
I was to be a software engineer. But because of lengthy background check delays, my offer was rescinded.
By that time I had already rejected the other [offers]… fortunately I found a position as a business systems analyst at another firm.
I was [there] 5 years [before] I took a more technical role at a gift card and transaction processing firm. [But, it] was never really my thing.
In 2015 I left for a contracting role as a pure business analyst. I’ve loved it and have been a [business analyst] ever since.[Back] in 2011 I started a blog to document the successes and struggles I’d encounter on the path to achieving my goals. That blog led me to motivational speaking, a book, and a real passion to see others succeed in their personal development goals.
Do you have a mission statement or a guiding philosophy for your career?
Think it. Speak it. Do it!
What excites you most about your career right now?
The fact that there is so much opportunity. [As an independent contractor] I have flexibility in what I do and don’t do, and I don’t have to care so much about losing my job or not being able to provide for my family.
I am blessed now more than ever in my abilities to generate income. I have retirement accounts, savings accounts, a full-time job, investments, and a motivational speaking company with my first book coming out in the next month.
What excites you about the future of your career?
I have been positioning my household for multiple streams of income, so I don’t have to rely on my job as my main source. I’m also excited about the transition from full-time employee to full-time entrepreneur.
How often do you read?
I enjoy reading, but it is difficult for me to commit to a book when I am at my busiest. I try to read two books per year at the least, but I always end up with a bunch of half-read books.
What books would you recommend to other people trying to improve themselves professionally?
Other than my upcoming book, Possess Your Success, I recommend reading…
Is there another type of media you regularly consume as a means of continuing your professional education?
I listen to a ton of podcasts nowadays. I read blogs on occasion, but mainly podcasts are my thing.
Do you have a regular routine or set of fundamental principles you follow as a conscious way of ensuring you’re always improving yourself professionally?
I follow the Miracle Morning principle of starting my mornings off early, and I try to listen to as many podcasts as possible per week.
I wake up, do a morning affirmation, stretch, pray, a daily devotional, bible study, check e-mail, and then work on some aspect of my business. Then I begin work for the day.
[BRENDAN’S NOTES] I was first introduced to Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning, by Blaine Coury of Krazywake Productions.
The premise of The Miracle Morning is that a person’s productivity can be propelled through momentum and initiated by rising early to practice what Hal Elrod has coined the S.A.V.E.R.S.
S.A.V.E.R.S is an acronym for silence, affirmation, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing. A dedicated practice of the S.A.V.E.R.S. is designed to promote personal growth, a healthy mind and body, as well a sense of early morning accomplishment. That accomplishment is capable of fueling high levels of energy, productivity, and positivity throughout the rest of your day.
In my experience, that is exactly what happens.
The reflection and personal growth the takes place as part of practicing the S.A.V.E.R.S. is what helped me launch StartInPhx. The principles of The Miracle Morning are also how I formed the strategy that I’ve used to facilitate some of my biggest leaps in professional growth.
Ultimately, that strategy became the blueprint for professional success that I discuss in my book, READ WRITE DO Professional Development and Career Success Playbook.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
“Do what’s best for you, not what’s best for the company.”
This doesn’t mean that you can act shady and use your company for personal gain, but instead that you must represent your own best interests, and always expect the company to represent theirs.
It’s only when those two interests are aligned that you can experience true career success.
Who are your most influential mentors and why do you admire them?
Hal Elrod – I admire him because he overcame a fatal car crash (he actually died for a few seconds) and brain damage to become a huge success.
Shannaan Dawda – He is a good friend and fellow speaker who inspires me because he is my age and did what it took to achieve his entrepreneurial goals. If he can do it, why can’t I?
Elon Musk – He dares to dream [things] beyond the possible, but would be brilliant if they actually happen. With his trajectory (no pun intended), I believe they will.
Oprah – She inspires me to give, give, and give some more. It seems her life has been all about giving and providing value to her audience, and yet she is a billionaire. I think there’s a lesson to be learned there.
What are a few of your short-term and long-term career goals?
One short term goal is to deliver 1,000 copies of my upcoming book to disadvantaged high school youth across the country using my indiegogo campaign.
A long-term goal of mine is to book and/or give 10 paid speaking presentations by the end of 2017.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced over the course of your career?
The biggest challenge has been to determine the path that I wanted to choose. I’ve been interested in many facets of IT from development to web design to databases to management.
Because of that, it was challenging up until a couple years ago to decide on one career to focus my energy towards: business analysis.
Have you overcome this challenge?
I did. I took a really hard look at what my skill-sets were, and whether I desired to be a more technical or more business-oriented individual. Resolving to maximize my strongest skills (business acumen, communication, analytical skills) and building on the skills necessary (high-level technical knowledge, certifications) to become an effective [business analyst] have led me to accelerated career growth ever since.
What have you found to work really well for fostering your own professional growth?
Always have a desire to learn. Technology changes so fast that you must always change with it. And to change you must grow. To grow, you must learn.
Experience new things, take risks, and meet new people. These are the best ways to learn in my experience.
What is a professional challenge you’re still looking for a solutions to?
I’m having a challenge with paid speaking opportunities for my motivational speaking side business. I am looking for a great way to share my experiences with young, like-minded individuals between the ages of 18-24.
In my career as a [business analyst], my biggest challenge is confidence in my judgment. I know I have the right answers in my head, but I have struggled with coming up with creative solutions on my own. I’ve always looked to proven strategies, but I’d like to start coming up with strategies of my own.
Are you currently working on any projects we should be aware of?
I am coming out with a book, Possess Your Success: Mastering the Limitless Success Method, which discusses the three steps you need to take to break free from your limits and achieve your personal development goals.
Your readers can get the first two chapters free at www.possessyoursuccess.com/freechapters
What is the best way for people to connect with you?
You can also e-mail me at AMcDonald@PossessYourSuccess.com
Have questions about your own professional development or the details of Andrew’s career success?
Ask your questions in the comments below and we’ll be sure to help in anyway we can!
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