Sunday, May 19, 2024
CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Insights - How Getting Fired & Becoming a Monster Jam Driver Become the Greatest Career Gift

CEO Insights

How Getting Fired & Becoming a Monster Jam Driver Become the Greatest Career Gift

Bryce Kenny

I backflip a 12,000-pound Monster Jam truck for a living. You read that correctly. And before you ask, yes, I’ll help you draft a strongly worded letter to your high school guidance counselor for leaving that off the list of career options! Even though I’ve set a Guinness World Record, performed in front of over a million fans in stadiums across the country, spoken to over 100,000 people at conferences and written a book, I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t exactly a first-round draft choice in life. But the critical shift I made came in a way nobody could’ve seen coming.

If you were to judge me off my resume, you’d think I was a disaster. You’d start by reading about my collegiate athletic career being cut short by an injury, then move on to my failed attempt at professional drag racing, to getting fired from my first “real” job in a state soccer organization, to a corporate headhunting firm where I placed c-suite executives into private equity-backed companies, and finish with a description of my current profession as a Monster Jam driver. Not exactly an A-player CV if you ask me. I don’t think your HR department would’ve brought my profile to you for any job on the docket. I wouldn’t blame them since I’ve judged more resumes in my recruiting background than I’d care to admit. 

But I’ll admit that I stopped believing in coincidences a long time ago. I’ve always believed my purpose on earth is to use the platform of motorsports to impact this world, but there were still plenty of sleepless nights along the way that left me questioning “is this really all there is to life?” After my drag racing career came to a halt, a guy I hosted a few years prior on his soccer recruiting trip to Campbell University named Morgan Kane messaged me to say I should talk to Monster Jam. He had grown up with the Anderson family who started the infamous Grave Digger truck and had started a career with Monster Jam of his own. I appreciated his idea, but Monster Jam wasn’t interested in me at the time. Since I was ready to settle down a bit, I got married, bought a house, and we started a family. I needed a “big boy” job and put these childish dreams aside… or so I thought.

Getting Fired Was the First Step

I got a call from a soccer organization who needed an administrator for recreation soccer for the state of North Carolina. I rebranded the entire department and established policies still in use today. I wore soccer shorts to work every day and helped train coaches. It was awesome. The Monday before I got fired, I got a call from the President of an executive recruiting firm who was in one of my coaching clinics a few weeks prior. He loved how I ran the meeting and handled some issues that arose, and he asked if I could come meet him to discuss working for his firm. I jumped at the chance and scheduled it for 5 days later on a Wednesday. I walked into my office Monday morning and was fired for apparently not being bought into the direction of the organization. Without sharing all the details, I can assure you there is no way this could have been the real reason. Looking back, I needed to be fired so it would force me into the recruiting position. I’m not sure I would’ve left the soccer organization since it gave me such flexibility, and I knew the world of soccer. I didn’t know recruiting! 

Finding Knowledge in Those Around Me

I spent the next four years getting a real-world master’s in business by talking to CEO’s every day and seeing how companies of all sizes were run. To this day, I can effectively communicate and partner with brands all across the motorsports industry because of this critical chapter of my career. There’s not a board room or CEO in the country that would intimidate me as a result. I love watching the executives act surprised now when I walk in as a monster truck driver but don’t sound like Larry the Cable Guy as they were expecting! Today I partner with multi-billion-dollar companies to deliver unprecedented value in the motorsports space at a level the world is not familiar with. I’m not just playing the motorsports game – I’m changing the way the game is played! And every stop of my career equipped me with a skillset and motivation to not waste my chance to become the best version of myself – someone who uses the platform of motorsports to impact the world.

Finding Purpose in my Career

While corporate boardrooms are fun, the real impact has come from helping families create memories together at a Monster Jam event or encouraging a family going through a life-threatening illness to keep pressing forward. I love crowdfunding through my social media platform to fill specific needs for families going through pediatric cancer to let them know that there are total strangers in the world who have their backs. When a child amid cancer treatments asks his parents to cut his hair into a mohawk before it all falls out so he can pretend to be me (Mohawk Warrior) for a day, how could I not be moved? I’d rotate the earth for him. I know you would do the same. 

But I guess that’s the message, isn’t it? You don’t have to be a Monster Jam driver to make a difference. Maybe the twists and turns of your career path, however tumultuous yours has been, equipped you with the knowledge and motivation to become built for others. Maybe you’ve been through hell and back, suffered disappointments and trauma. But the most critical shift you’ll make in life is the commitment to not waste your pain, and to turn your experiences into making the biggest impact on the world you can. So, go make your shift and find that next gear you never knew you had!

Written by Bryce Kenny.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Insights - How Getting Fired & Becoming a Monster Jam Driver Become the Greatest Career Gift
Bryce Kenny
Bryce Kenny is a professional Monster Jam driver as the Great Clips Mohawk Warrior. Since his 2016 debut, Bryce has earned multiple awards including the 2021 Outreach Award for his work helping those in need and making positive contributions to the community. He also set a Guinness World Record in 2021 for the fastest speed in a monster truck and was the first driver to hit triple mile per hour digits in the sport.

In recent years, Bryce has become an inspirational speaker and travels the country speaking to audiences of all ages about finding the courage to chase your dreams and overcome fear. His newest book, Geared for Life (Dexterity, 2023), guides readers to become unstuck in life and shift into the next gear to make a lasting impact on the world. Bryce also participates in national conferences and corporate events through his sponsorship with the international hair salon chain, Great Clips. His new book, Geared for Life: Making the Shift Into Your Full Potential (Dexterity) is now available.

Bryce Kenny is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn, for more information, visit the author’s website CLICK HERE.