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What I’ve Learned In The Past 19.5 After Years In Business

Written by: Simon T. Bailey, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


After two years of interviews and a psychological analysis from the Gallup organization, I was finally hired to work at the Walt Disney World Resort. I had four different jobs in seven years. It was a magical experience. However, in 2003, after being promoted to Sales Director and New Business Development Director for Disney Institute, I decided to throw caution to the wind and walk away. Was I crazy? Yes. Was I nervous? Yes. Here’s the bottom line. I turned down four juicy job opportunities to bet on myself.

I am forever grateful for my Disney experience. It expanded my imagination and gave me the impetus to risk it all with no promises of success. Here’s what I’ve learned since going for it.

Be an ally for women in business. Four years ago, Karen Allen (author of Stop & Shift) connected with me via a friend and asked if I could meet for a cup of coffee. She was just starting out in the speaking business and wanted to know the ins and outs. I said yes to coffee and answered all of her questions.

Take a risk. You never know until you go for it. During the heart of the pandemic, we were introduced to the wonderful team at BizLibrary. We pitched them on carrying our Be the Spark – Creating Customers for Life content and they said yes. I flew to St. Louis, Mo., and did the taping in one day. They made my job so easy.

Relationships are the currency of the present and future. As I look back over the couple of decades since leaving Disney, I am convinced now more than ever before that being intentional about cultivating relationships is priceless. I met LeeAnn Norton 25 years ago in another job and helped her organization with their needs at Walt Disney World. When I decided to venture out on my own, she kept me on her radar screen. She was so kind to book me at her major event, and she purchased 500 copies of Be the Spark to give to all her attendees. I am forever grateful that she believed in me then and now. What are you doing today to build relationships? Make sure you are doing good work and watch what happens.

Keep Your Word. It means everything to do what you say you are going to do. This is especially true in a world of chaos, conflict, and change. In January 2020, we booked Big Speak – Speakers Bureau to give a full-day presentation in September 2020 in Switzerland.

Well, we could’ve never predicted the pandemic. The client reached out in July 2020 to verify if I was still planning to come. We said a resounding YES. We didn’t know how in the world we were going to do it since the international travel restrictions were changing by the day.

We got creative and I ended up flying to London and quarantined for 14 days. Then I took a plane from Gatwick Airport to Milan, Italy. The client sent a private car service to pick me up from Milan and drove me to Switzerland. I shared in a full-day session. The client was so wonderful to me and, as a result of saying yes, invited me to work with them in Europe. All because of remembering what I was taught at the Ritz-Carlton Learning Center via Master Connection Associates. The answer is YES, now what’s the question?

Never Give Up. You belong in the room. One relationship can change the trajectory of your career. In one of my darkest and most challenging times in business, I was on the verge of quitting and crawling back to Disney to beg for my old job. A friend introduced me to a guardian angel who showed up in the nick of time. His name is David Wildasin, publisher at Sound Wisdom. He believed in my book Vuja de Moment and suggested that we change the title to Shift Your Brilliance. We did, and the rest is history.

When we attended the National Speakers Association’s annual Influence conference, I met his beautiful family and was able to say thank you for the impact that he had on my life.

David was kind enough to make critical introductions for me, and I am forever grateful. As a result of his belief in all that we were doing, I was introduced to Mel Robbins and Brendon Burchard.

Wherever you are on your journey, I encourage you to stay the course and trust God. The bottom line is that I would’ve never made it without God’s help. He has divinely orchestrated everything.

In business, how you do everything determines the outcomes that you will receive. Start with God and you will never go wrong.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Simon T. Bailey, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

SUCCESS magazine calls Simon T. Bailey one of the top 25 people who will help you reach your business and life goals. He joins a list that includes Oprah Winfrey, Brene Brown, and Tony Robbins. Washington Speakers Bureau recognized him as one of the 12 business speakers who emboldened audiences to think big and lead with purpose. Simon was the first Black American sales director for the Disney Institute based at Walt Disney World Resort. Since leaving Disney, he has served more than 2,100 organizations in 50 countries. His three LinkedIn Learning courses have been viewed by 250,000 individuals in 100 countries. He’s also written 10 books and has one of the 100 most-read motivational and successful blogs.



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