A Dream Come True – Actuary to Professional Poker Pro
Everyone loves successful career transition stories especially ones that truly demonstrate that anything is possible. I think that one of the reasons we love them so much is that it gives us compelling evidence that we also can reach for the stars and win. This story has to do with my own son Russell who was employed as an actuary for a large insurance company…er… up until last week.
So, when I got news that my son, Russell Thomas reached the Final Table in the World Series of Poker, I was stunned. I thought to myself, “is this for real???” I mean the odds of getting there are ridiculously low. And, in this case, there were nearly 7,000 entrants to this competition. As the story goes, he catapulted himself to “rock star” status by becoming one of the October Nine in a week-long tournament.
I remember those days at Temple University where he majored in actuarial science. I would get reports after the weekend about how much money he was making. Never did I really understand how much he loved this game. In fact, I was not on board for quite awhile.
However, after a couple of years of playing online, and with the help of his brother, he started to enter the annual World Series of Poker tournament out in Las Vegas. Many of us in the family sort of just went along with the adventure never realizing the passion and drive he had for the game. We really had no clue of how serious an endeavor this was for him. In fact, he was pretty darn quiet about his dream of leaving his actuary job to play professional poker full time and travel the world.
So when Russell made that Final Table on July 16th (with nine other poker players), he immediately hired Jason Somerville, a well known poker player and coach. For months, he worked with Jason’s team to build his skills, strengths and strategies. Finally, on October 26th while Hurricane Sandy ravaged our east coast, Russell competed for the title and ultimately achieved 4th place and a whopping $2.8M in prize money . . . in spite of being “card dead” for 60 straight hands.
While I am thrilled for him and his new found success, my hat goes off to Russell in transitioning his life and making his dream come true. I congratulate him on being able to take his talent for numbers and his passion for the game of poker and, as my dear friend Peter Weddle would say, ” intersect them.” Not to mention he can actually earn a living at it.
When you consider what you want in your life, do you ever think about becoming really clear about your goals? I ask that because Anthony Robbins, one of the most masterful coaches in the world, preaches that successful people have a four step success formula that they consciously or unconsciously follow and it all begins with deciding what you want. This very simplistic formula goes like this:
Decide What You Want. Clarity is Power.
Take Action. It’s not enough to know what you want, you have to take action to get there.
Notice what’s working and what’s not.
Change your approach until you get what you want. Flexibility is power.
Here’s to your success in making your very own career transition dreams come true. Again, hats off to Russell for making his dream come through in living “technicolor.” You gave us not just a wonderful memory, but such compelling evidence, that anything is possible with lots of hard work and a little luck.