Charles D. Vega: “Education is a journey, not a destination, so I enjoy learning”

Education is a journey, not a destination, so I enjoy learning. Law school improved many of my skill sets which would be applied to my law practice, such as written and oral communications. The better you get anything, the more confidence you have to achieve it! Many successful people reinvented themselves at a later period in […]

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Education is a journey, not a destination, so I enjoy learning. Law school improved many of my skill sets which would be applied to my law practice, such as written and oral communications. The better you get anything, the more confidence you have to achieve it!

Many successful people reinvented themselves at a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.

How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?

In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles D. Vega, Attorney at Law.

Charles D. Vega is a Florida licensed attorney, owner of the Law Firm of Charles Vega P.A. serving Central, North and South Florida. Areas of practice: Personal Injury, Automobile Accidents, Probate, Businesses, Estate Planning, Real Estate. Mr. Vega is a trained Arbitrator, and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil/Circuit and Appellate Mediator.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

My dad was a New York City Police officer, and my mom was a stay-at-home housewife. I was blessed to have wonderful parents. I learned early on respect, integrity, and the value of hard work. Like most kids played baseball, football and then in my teens started martial arts training. Very fortunate to have had a loving family.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have a saying that “everyone gets kicked in the head many times in life, but it is what you do about it that defines you”. Meaning everyone has times in their life that do not work out in their favor. Some very serious others not so, but it is important to realize that to overcome those obstacles that you have to get back up and do something about it.

You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. Dedication: The harder you work, the luckier you get!
  2. Honesty: Integrity is earned. Always maintain your integrity, no one can give that away except you.
  3. Professionalism: Product knowledge, always be on time, earned your reputation.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?

I worked in sales, management, and marketing for Siemens, AT&T, and the United States Postal Service. I earned just about every award for outstanding achievement in each company! I had the honor to present at the White House conference room five times and the opportunity to make a difference professionally and personally in so many ways.

And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?

I took an assessment of my skill sets and applied those to my law practice. Professionalism, written and oral communication, presentation ability, listening, and marketing my business.

Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?

It was a matter of my age (55) and reassessment of my career at that time in my life. I started to look back at my career, what I had done, and what I still wanted to accomplish. On the top of the list was, I always wanted to be an attorney. Previously in my sales and marketing roles I traveled often and would be unable to attend class on a regular basis. Law school online is limited to 9 credits so this was not a viable option. When my role changed to a job that did not travel, now was my chance to go to law school.

What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?

Education is a journey, not a destination, so I enjoy learning. Law school improved many of my skill sets which would be applied to my law practice, such as written and oral communications. The better you get anything, the more confidence you have to achieve it!

How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.

As a practicing attorney with my own law firm, I feel this new endeavor is going well. It is interesting how your reputation precedes you. People that know me and know my work ethic call me for legal advice and recommend my firm often. In fact, most of my business is from referrals, other attorneys, friends, family, business associates and previous clients.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Going to law school and working full time takes a village of people to support you. Of all the family members, friends, professors and so many more, my wife took on the largest role. She had to take on many of the household chores I normally did, provide a quiet environment for me to study, be understanding of the demand of law school, and do many things on her own that we may have previously done together.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

As an attorney, you have a moral obligation to help people. By providing consultations you end up talking to a lot of people, and sometimes you have a few stories that just make you laugh. We had a caller who wanted to sue a pharmacy. When asked what happened he said that he took his cat to a veterinarian who wrote a prescription for the cat. After he had the prescription was filled his cat was getting junk mail.

Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?

I think everyone struggles with confidence in themselves once in and while. That is a good thing because that means you are reevaluating yourself. When I first started thinking about going back to school after 20 years, I questioned whether I could make it through law school or even get accepted. The way to get around those obstacles is to take the first step, create a plan, be prepared, and go for it!

In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?

What I did is consult with many people who have first-hand knowledge of the legal industry and law school so I would an idea of what to expect. My support mostly came from family and friends.

Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?

Going to law school after being out of school for more than 20 years is certainly out of your comfort zone, especially when most students are much younger, a totally different generation. The way you do that with any initiative you have not done before is, if possible, ask for advice, learn what needs to be done to reach that goal, be prepared and then make that first step.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

I do not have five things that I wish someone would have told before I started my business, but I do have five things that I wish someone would have told me before I started law school.

  1. How important the law school admission test score was for admission.
  2. How important the first-year classes were to passing the bar exam.
  3. How much more time was needed to study compared to undergraduate school.
  4. Since grades are curved how much competition there would be between students.
  5. The failure rate of students.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Treat people like you would want to be treated.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon — I admire the fact that he understands how important it is to be customer centric. His company is designed around what the customer wants, his processes are simplified to accommodate customers with busy schedules, and he provides value to his customers.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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