Be prepared to be judged — and not take it personally. This was the hardest lesson I had to learn. I read a book from a business leader who said, “Everyone judges — all the time.” This thought hit me hard; I realized it is human nature to judge. Even more so to form an opinion with little knowledge on a subject. I could not afford to have my naysayers in my head, I had to stay clear from their points of view being personal attacks. Know that I am doing my best every time I put something out there, and remember my goal was to help people.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in 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 Thadeus Parkland.
After serving as Director of Business Development for a contract manufacturing group in Dallas, Tx, Thadeus Parkland left the Pharma industry in 2018. His extensive leadership over project management, customer relations, and operations provided him the necessary tools to establish his own company doing what he loves. In the Fall of 2018, he formed Parkland1 Entertainment Group, comprised of a publishing house, a production company, and a photography group.
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?
I was raised in a family with nine siblings, ages spanning 25 years from oldest to youngest. Not to imply anything negative, but the best description of my childhood was chaos. Typical of a home in the South, abuse was rampant but ignored, and acts of cruelty were dismissed as God’s will. Number six in the children’s lineup, I was left to my own devices and made my own entertainment. It was lonely, but it taught me to be resilient and resourceful.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death.”
This quote became my mantra for living and learning everything I could. My life became an adventure in discovery.
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.
- Tough but Fair
- In my work life, I took opportunities I could fully commit to and grew alongside the business. I was loyal to the company and owners, always striving to do my best for the benefit of the organization and myself. This commitment opened doors for growth and provided leadership opportunities to take me to the next level. The first company I was with, I went from a bottom-level service provider to an executive position at the top. This achievement set me up for future roles
- I process information quickly — making decisions to resolve issues rapidly, expedited my growth as a leader, resulting in a greater perspective. While developing a hair care line for a well-known stylist to the stars, he told me how much he appreciated the quick responses from me and that I always spoke my truth to him. He never had to guess where I stood; he appreciated the approach.
- Interviewing a job candidate alongside a supervisor in one of my teams, I was caught off guard to hear the supervisor describe me to the candidate as “Tough but Fair.” Part of our interviewing ritual was to discuss the culture of our organization. I wanted to ensure prospective employees understood our work ethic and if they were willing to commit to the challenge. During our feedback loop after the candidate had left, I asked why she felt it was important to share that detail. She responded by saying I was always straightforward with staff, and often the feedback was hard to hear; it was usually fair and without judgment.
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 began in the workforce as a hairstylist in an upscale salon with an excellent reputation. As I mentioned earlier, during my 15 years with them, I worked my way upwards to the role of director of the multi-location business, reporting directly to the owners. As director of the organization, I was able to meet and work with one of the premier chemists in the cosmetics industry. He invited me to join his group as GM. For product development, having a leader with business knowledge and practical insight into product application was a win to grow the business. Within five years, the company tripled in sales and volume output. Leaving there, I joined a contract manufacturing group, initially, as part of their business development team. As the business migrated into pharmaceutical contract manufacturing, the opportunity to become a shareholder presented itself. Utilizing the skills I had acquired from my two previous companies, I took on a leadership role, tying business development and manufacturing into a cohesive process. All of these activities led to a buyout setting me up for the next adventure.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
Reinvention occurred as a result of freedom from the day to day constraints of traditional employment. Utilizing what I had learned through the years and diving into new arenas, learning everything I could to move me forward.
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?
When a major global player purchased the last company I worked for , the cash buyout allowed me the luxury to leave the corporate structure and pursue my dream of writing a novel. I now had the time to pursue this endeavor without interruption (of sorts).
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?
The primary skillset I had not honed was business creation. Having always worked for others, I assisted them in defining their dreams; I followed in this area, never led. After finishing my first novel, the hard part occurred — publishing. Publishing a book was an alien world to me, and after hitting several obstacles, it made the most sense to develop my own company that would support others like me. People who had a story they wanted to share but were overwhelmed by the process of how. I spent a few months researching and developing a business model that worked.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
It has been amazing the tackle writing a business plan from the ground up and creating a vision that was all mine. Out of this process, I discovered my real desire was to help others achieve their dreams by supporting their efforts and giving them knowledge I had acquired; we would discover what we didn’t know, together. I also found I had a voice for writing “self help” books for people in the business industry.
The next step in growing the business is two-fold. The first one is expansion into the support of the arts in the theater and movie arena. One of my books is currently being adapted for a movie; simultaneously, the musical adaptation score is underway.
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?
There are many people to thank for my success along this journey. First off, I would offer thanks to Linda and Shelton Ogle. They taught me how to analyze situations and put plans into action. Without their guidance, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I had. During my fifteen years with them, they took the time and initiative to have the necessary conversations for me to grow. They invested in me and set me up to find success. Secondly, I would thank the leadership team at my last company; their ability to guide me taught me to take a pause and assess before acting.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
While publishing my first novel, I became fascinated with the printing process. Coming from a manufacturing world, I was intrigued by how the product goes from writer’s concept to print and circulation. This led me to meet a staff proof-reader who had read my book; she sought me out to tell me how much the story touched her and what it meant to her. My book sparked an emotion in her; I helped her with the words I wrote. This interaction solidified my commitment to pursue this adventure further.
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?
Absolutely — every day the question if I was doing the right thing pops into my head. I began by heavily investing in a world I knew nothing about, and if it failed, I would need to alter my standard of living in the future. Each time I begin to pull back or get distracted, the “forces” around me pushed me back in line. Reading reviews from our published works, learning how someone’s life had been touched — well, that’s all it takes to realign my vision.
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?
I have a mentor to bounce ideas off. She is the president of a large company; I assess where I need to go to find the answers and meet the right people by using her feedback. For example, she recommended finding a printing house I could partner with. When I selected our printing partner, they introduced me to a local writer’s group.
My process is more organic and after the fact, but like I said before, living in a constant state of discovery opens doors for me all the time. My support system grows out of this continually.
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?
I was lucky; moving out of my comfort zone didn’t require me to seriously alter my way of living. Having secure finances removed the fear factor of supporting my family — allowed complete freedom away from the usual stresses associated with doing something new. That said, moving into a world I knew little of created a new path to learn things I didn’t know.
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.
- It’s all up to you! Effectively I spent my career in the middle — someone below me to do the work, someone above me to provide guidance. Now — it was all my responsibility.
- Don’t self sabotage. I caught myself in an interview, undermining my process and commitment. The host pointed out how my statements came off negative (after the show was over, thank goodness). I realized my attempt to be “transparent” wasn’t a good sale.
- Dedicate Self Time. I was always a big proponent of work/home life balance. All of a sudden, I was 24/7 work. One day, a friend commented how he never saw me out with my partner anymore. I realized I let my focus shift away from personal to being all in with the business. It turns out I was way better at work if I spent time with family and friends — it opened unexpected doors.
- Accept being quirky. Gaining media exposure and PR is a constant uphill battle. I attended a seminar where the moderator suggested letting my quirky side out of the bag. In retrospect, I was so concerned about “Professionalism,” I wasn’t authentic with people, and it was a turn-off — once I let my quirky self show — people became interested in what I was doing.
- Be prepared to be judged — and not take it personally. This was the hardest lesson I had to learn. I read a book from a business leader who said, “Everyone judges — all the time.” This thought hit me hard; I realized it is human nature to judge. Even more so to form an opinion with little knowledge on a subject. I could not afford to have my naysayers in my head, I had to stay clear from their points of view being personal attacks. Know that I am doing my best every time I put something out there, and remember my goal was to help people.
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?
Help those less fortunate than ourselves. There is so much need in the world, especially now. I want people to look in their communities and see how they can help others. Society appears to believe if we elevate others, we diminish our own importance in the world. Everyone in the world wants to be seen; the actions individuals are taking to accomplish notoriety is creating the ultimate “look at me” society.
Social media posts are often attempting to draw attention to oneself — no matter the event.
It reminds me of something my grandmother said, “It’ll be my funeral, but your sister will make her event!”
In my reality, if you shift that focus to helping others and move away from self-promotion, amazing things will begin to happen around you.
As a whole, let’s step back and put some effort into lifting others up — without our stealing the spotlight.
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. 🙂
Dolly Parton — her generosity and genuine kindness inspires me. From humble beginnings to amazing wealth, she continues to show her love to her family and friends while supporting the greater good. Besides — she is funny as hell! I would love to have her wit!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
@p1press or p1eg.co
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!