Know Who You Are

Your business will test you, but you can pass when you know yourself well.

The year was 1996, and life was good. I had a comfortable career with Procter & Gamble (P&G) working in my hometown of Cincinnati. And then came the opportunity that changed my life. P&G offered me an expatriate position in the former Soviet Union.

It was still the early days of modern globalization, and I had never been out of the U.S. In fact, I didn’t even have a passport. I didn’t know the language, and all I knew about Russian culture was pretty much vodka and Tolstoy. Virtually everyone I knew thought it would be a bad idea, and too much of a risk to take given my comfortable situation.

I jumped at the opportunity and spent the next 10 years living in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. Turns out, it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.

Embrace uncertainty

It’s not unusual to be unsure about what we want in life and to not know exactly how we define success and happiness for ourselves. This uncertainty makes us less likely to take chances and accept risk in life. But taking chances and accepting risk are often opportunities for personal growth that aren’t otherwise easy to come by.

Fortunately for me, I knew myself well enough to jump on a life-changing opportunity when it was presented. Because I often do 360-degree self-assessments, I understood that I look at life as a series of possibilities for happiness. Certainly, the risk of uprooting my life and moving halfway around the world was great, but I knew myself well enough to know that the reward would be well worth it.

Know yourself

One quote that has always stayed with me is: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” It’s those breathtaking moments that give meaning to my life, and that’s why I knew that heading to Russia was the right choice for me.

In running your business, you, too, will be faced with major decisions about the future. Knowing your options is important, but so is knowing yourself. You know what makes you successful and happy. Let that be your guide when planning for the future.

For more information, please visit

About The Author

Jeff Wuest

Jeff Wuest is a business strategist and visionary, and he helps companies to achieve extraordinary growth. Today’s environment demands the right blend of innovation, strategy, and risk-taking to define new opportunities, be first to market and lead the industry. Jeff works with leaders to push the boundary of what they think is possible, make big strategy bets without risking it all, and create an environment where they can achieve 10x growth. Jeff ’s expertise includes strategic planning, rapid market expansion and operational scaleup. He’s an entrepreneur with experience mentoring startups and emerging companies, as well as a strategic advisor to multi-billion-dollar corporations. Jeff has over 30 years of experience developing game- changing strategies across different industries, categories, products and services. His focus is helping forward-thinking leaders succeed with breakthrough strategy, execution and operations. Currently, Jeff is the CEO of SynFiny Advisors, a global business consultancy firm, which was recognized by Inc Magazine’s, Inc. 5000, and ranked in the top 500 of the nation’s fastest- growing private companies.