When is it too late?
Curt Mercadante never considered such a thing.
Too late? For what?
He was in the midst of running an extremely successful public relations/advertising agency and landing one big client after another. You move around a lot in that walk of life. Regular flights to catch meetings…conference calls and follow-ups…managing the collective anxieties of a demanding clientele base.
His family was growing and so was his bank account. Mercadante did what he could to embrace the little moments that matter whenever they cascaded into view, but he also had to contend with the next thing: the next meeting, the next fire to put out, the next brand to promote. A carousel ride that continued in seeming perpetuity, Mercadante was satisfied with the growth of his business — because, why wouldn’t he have been? — though he couldn’t help but feel that there was something missing from the rush a surging career is supposed to offer.
Then he remembered what a superhero looks like.
Nicholas Mercadante, Curt’s father, was that superhero, almost quite literally. After graduating with an engineering degree from the University of Notre Dame, the elder Mercadante embarked on a career path that would be tough for any child to live up to. When your dad helps design electronic systems on space craft and fighter jets — you needn’t pine for comic book characters to save the day. All you have to do is look across the dining room table if you want to catch a glimpse of someone who boasts actual interstellar superpowers.
But that wasn’t the primary reason why Mercadante’s father set such a high standard. What it really came down to was work ethic. Doing what needed to be done. When Nick Mercadante found himself facing a career switch later in life, he got a paper route. A paper route! Why? Simple: income was necessary. If there was going to be a gap in employment, that gap had to be filled. There wasn’t time for the ego to obstruct necessity, especially when there were mouths to feed.
Eventually, Nick Mercadante wound up resuming his trajectory. In the 1970’s, he joined the Singer Corporation and played a vital role in the development of the first digital sewing machine to hit the market. Another breakthrough arrived while working for Illinois Tool Works throughout the ‘90’s. Boeing’s 777 airliner, the massive twinjet recognized for its capability to cover over 5,000 nautical miles, saw Mercadante directly involved with its initial launch.
Such was the bar in the Mercadante household. You were actively encouraged to bravely stare down your goals and responsibilities — along with the obligatory pursuit of a life’s work done well. Adversity was seen as nothing more than a temporary disruption en-route to greater conquests. It was okay to get knocked down every once in a while. But to not bounce back up to your feet? Unthinkable.
So you fast-forward back to Curt, and what his life looked like in late 2012. Whatever your determining factors for success represent, his day-to-day checked all the boxes. Sure, the manner in which he was operating could be construed as taking part in the “rat race” — but there was also a consistent feeling of satisfaction that arrived in concert with successfully escorting clients to the promised land.
The only problem was time. There just never seemed to be enough of it.
Minutes gobbled up by client calls and meetings, hours spent setting up more calls, more meetings. It’s not a clock-in, clock-out lifestyle. Rather, it is one, giant tail-chasing endeavor. Demand was high. So was the frustration of stymied productivity. Curt never minded putting in the hours, he just wanted a reasonable return on investment, a concept that hit all too close to home soon enough.
In 2010, Nick Mercadante was given six months to live. Bladder cancer. His cells had been invaded, the diseased proliferated, and his doctors recommended a half-hearted course of treatment that was designed more to reduce discomfort than actually make a run at this thing. Nick, 81 when informed of the grim news, quietly smirked as if to say, We’ll see.
And when six months were up, he was still fighting. How about six more months? Nope, there he was, looking forward to the dawn of another season of Notre Dame football. It went on like this, and before you knew it, two years had gone by with Nick managing to answer the bell for each and every round.
But by December of 2012, the fight was over. You don’t see it as Nick succumbing to cancer. It’s more like he and cancer both had enough of beating each other’s brains in and it simply was time to exit the ring.
Curt, humbled by the fight he had witnessed for two years, was also hollowed. A toll had been taken on him, too. He was simultaneously grieving the loss of his father and the realization, that maybe, he had missed the point.
His father was a superhero, a man who literally helped change the world. Curt, for all of his strides made professionally, did not feel as though he was contributing to the verifiable betterment of anyone’s lives. He was a skilled distributor of information, sure. But just because he was successful did not mean he was particularly proud. Or fulfilled.
A change was coming. Not right away, not in one fell swoop. Time, precious and fleeting, you could watch the seconds fall from the clock all while wishing you were doing something else somewhere else. Curt needed some of that time to reestablish his direction without letting too much of it go to waste. He began by informally coaching clients, friends, and colleagues.
It was a natural fit. Curt had a snowglobe perspective of what his charges were dealing with. He could see the avenues in which they were misdirecting their energy, the biggest hurdle that causes most professionals to stumble. Indecision is another trap most fall victim to, be it due to a lack of confidence or woeful procrastination. Curt cut through the noise and guided his fledgling clientele away from their self-destructive habits and watched as they reached new heights at a pace so rapid, even he was surprised.
This felt good.
It felt fulfilling.
Imagine that? Fulfilling? Isn’t that the real dream everyone is chasing?
Curt’s base of coaching clients quickly expanded. So too did his desire to shut down the PR agency and focus on helping entrepreneurs build their businesses. The prospect of continuing down the same path he felt was now a dead-end increasingly gnawed at him. Curt knew he had discovered his true calling, yet, he still required a catalyst to seal the deal once and for all.
Upon waking up one morning, he contemplated a scenario. You know how this goes, right? You’re in bed, about to sit up, but catch yourself bearing witness to the theater of the mind. For Curt, it wasn’t a convoluted stream of thought keeping him from fully arising. Instead, it was all quite basic.
“If my plane goes down next week on the way to a client meeting, would I feel like I’m fulfilled with where my life is right now?” he pondered.
And that was definitively that.
From then on, Curt started devoting himself entirely to helping entrepreneurs and small business reach their potential. His availability soon resulted in a groundswell of outside interest. More and more clients wanted in and he was happy to offer his services. Eventually, the buzz grew significantly enough to where Curt’s words started being passed around on social media by marketers as sources of inspiration.
Those who have gotten on board with Curt’s programs do not come from any one occupation or industry. That’s because regardless of what someone does for a living — or the type of business they own — the fire to achieve goals and the ability to live a life of passionate experiences are transcendent.
Here’s how he helps his clients grow:
- YOUThority Branding System: By helping them increase their authority brand exposure to the right clients so they can make more money.
- Merc Performance Institute: Helping individuals and teams boost productivity, increase engagement, and become more profitable.
Visit Merc.Enterprises to learn how he can help you.