If ever there was someone who wasn’t interested in talking about himself, it’s me. But, I know that you are wondering what makes me the expert I say that I am. Well, here it is. When I turned 43 (now 48), I made a career out of being myself. I am an executive advisor, business coach, and founder/Chief Executive Officer of The Jon Dwoskin Experience. I grow businesses big. Very Big!
When I was 18, my dad gave me Brian Tracy’s audiotape series called The Psychology of Success. My dad said, “I know you’ll do well in college, but I think you will get more out of these tapes than you will school.” At that moment, my car became a university on wheels, and my Walkman a mobile classroom. I became obsessed with self-learning. I have spent every day since then studying business, life and how to grow.
When I was 21, I attended a Billy Joel-Elton John concert. I remember one moment when both artists came onstage and the entire audience erupted. I had a voice inside me saying, one day you will fill this arena with your words and you will inspire others. I always knew this was my calling, my purpose, my passion.
Something remarkable and life-altering happened to me when I was 31. I realized that the way I was learning and recalling was unusual. I was tested and learned that I was dyslexic. It was second nature for me to figure out different ways to learn and problem solve outside the box. Upon hearing the diagnosis, I set out on a mission to fully understand how I learn, thus providing a deep insight into how other people learn. I began to master this strategy in order to become more effective in business and in my personal life. It gave me mental clarity and the ability to understand not only how I learn but how to morph my creative thinking with my business thinking and to apply it in my success with growing businesses, companies and, most importantly, myself. I had no choice but to figure out the right and wrong ways of learning and growing for myself. And this now helps me grow others. I have made a career out of my passion. I understand how the businessperson functions, and the tools each one needs to grow not only their art, but the business of their organization. I’ve turned this passion into a career as a specialist in growing business big. Very Big!
My goals were not achieved without some challenges. When I was 30 and unsure of my next steps, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I remember thinking that from this point forward in my life, I was always going to follow my heart. Life is just too short and I vowed to not only live it, but to do my part to make it a better place for as many people as possible. Having been recently married and with thoughts of starting a family, this diagnosis was nothing short of terrifying. I underwent 17 radiation treatments and regular checkups for the first five years, plus yearly checkups for an additional five years. At my 10-year checkup, the doctor told me the cancer had returned and was riddled throughout my entire body. He said he had NO good news for me. He also said that he had never seen a case this bad in the history of his career. Around the corner, I would be facing chemo and, most likely, death. I begged him to retake my blood. I needed both of us to be absolutely certain. He agreed to a new blood sample, but emergency CAT scans, ultrasounds and follow-up appointments were arranged. For 48 hours, I was certain that I was dying. My wife and I were at Starbucks when my doctor called with the results. He said, “Jon, you were right. They messed up the test. All your tests came back fine. You are fine. Go live your life.” My wife and I broke down crying. At this very moment, my fear of death was wiped away and a new perspective was made clear to me. I embarked on an aggressive search to get in alignment with my soul.
In Gary Zukav’s book, The Seat of the Soul, he discusses the idea that the ideal human being cannot tell where their personality ends and their soul begins. I remember at this moment feeling just how out of alignment I was. I refreshed my quest for learning and personal growth to get back into alignment and make a career out of bringing the best out of people and helping them achieve their goals and live a better, more balanced, fun life. I had a taste of what it was like to face the end of life and I had a second chance. It was my rebirth. It was my time to be authentic. And this is the path I chose. I will be the first to tell you what I am not good at. But, I am good at many things. This one thing is very true and comes intuitively to me: I have the ability to see what is not being seen, hear what is not being heard and ask questions that are not being asked. In short, I provide critical guidance needed for making the next pivotal business decision. I am a go-to solution expert that businesspeople turn to for advice, high-level strategy and accountability, to grow their companies and achieve their own personal growth. I’m not a “corporate” guy, but I learned a lot and played the game to win at a high degree … and loved it all. Every day in corporate life came with valuable lessons, and for that I am grateful. I’m also grateful for this chance to return to my entrepreneurial roots. It really seemed like it was never going to happen. But, with courage, the proper advisors around me, a lot of faith, and a great wife supporting me, I made the leap. Go big, or go home! (Easier said than done.)
And, yes, I have had a successful professional career. I was recently the Chief Operating Officer of The Hayman Company and partnered with the firm in its restructuring. Previously, I was a Vice-President of Investments with Marcus & Millichap, specializing in negotiating the sales of multi-family investment properties. After selling nearly 5,000 units valued at nearly $250 million, I was named the Regional Manager of the Detroit Marcus & Millichap office. I took over the office in August, 2008, and the recession that followed nearly obliterated us all the following month. Despite the toll that the recession took, I successfully oversaw more than $4 billion in investment commercial transactions, building the Detroit office into one of the most profitable offices of 76 offices nationwide. I expanded the office to 45 agents by actively working with them to grow their agent teams and increase their bottom lines. I strategized, trained and improved their skill-sets and held them accountable to their business plans. I was a regional and national trainer, assisted in turning around other branch offices, and was part of the CEO Advisory Committee. At that point, six years had passed and I knew it was time to move on.
That chapter was complete for me. Before my successful career in real estate, I created one of the first online marketing companies in the United States. This was one of the first times I remember tuning in to my instincts. The Internet didn’t exist, yet I knew it was going to be huge. Many people thought we were crazy, but I knew we were onto something new, uncharted and very big. It was 1995. I was 23 years old and leading the sales team. I sold the company in 1997 to USWeb, the largest Internet professional service firm in the world. My brother and I, along with a friend, started this in our parents’ basement, working 100-hour weeks for years.
Being part of the Silicon Valley boom was phenomenal, but looking back, I wish I took more time to breathe it all in. Everything was moving so fast; I was so young. And I loved every second of it. I’m honored to have been awarded the prestigious Crain’s “40 Under 40” aware and to have received the Eastern Michigan University Alumnus of the Year Award, having graduated from there with a double major in Economics and Journalism.
Through it all, I have always had business coaches – as an agent, as a manager, always. Even before I knew about “coaching,” I had advisors to whom I could turn for advice and inspiration to support and fuel the drive I had within me. At times, I have had two coaches. It’s true! In fact, I currently have two coaches and use co-coaching with other coaches in the industry. It is through coaching that I found my voice, especially when I took over at Marcus & Millichap. I learned how to more effectively communicate with all the different agents, both locally and nationally, and how to work with and communicate more effectively with the C-level people of the company. I continue to use coaches because they hold me accountable and facilitate my own growth. After all, even us coaches have dreams and aspirations!
I have a big heart and a long history of giving back. I have sat on the board of directors of nearly a dozen organizations in the past 20 years, served as a mentor to many, and continue to do so as my way of giving back and paying it forward. I want to share one more important thought with you. As a cancer survivor, I am a mentor with Imerman Angels (imermanangels.org). I am a 16-year cancer survivor (and counting!) with every intention of staying that way. I mentor men who are, unfortunately, going through a very scary experience. If you or someone you know are in need of support, please email me and know that I will be there for you in a heartbeat. When I was going through my own diagnosis and treatment, my mentor was Jonny Imerman. His support was life-changing for me.
Last, I want to tell you that I have a personal life. I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan with my wife, Joanna, who makes true the old saying that behind every strong man is a stronger woman. She is a nurse and Reiki energy healer when she is not driving carpools, supervising homework, making meals, and raising our kids – all of which she does selflessly. Our son, Jacob, is an awesome basketball and tennis player with a kind heart. Our daughter, Aria, is an amazing singer, dancer, and pianist with a heart every bit as kind as her brother’s. When I’m not busy growing businesses or guiding people through their next endeavours, I am playing tennis or basketball with friends or the kids, skiing, golfing, reading or listening to books, writing, or focussing on self-development.
want to tell you that I have a personal life. I live in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan with my wife, Joanna, who makes true the old saying that behind every strong man is a stronger woman. She is a nurse and Reiki energy healer when she is not driving carpools, supervising homework, making meals, and raising our kids – all of which she does selflessly. Our son, Jacob, is an awesome basketball and tennis player with a kind heart. Our daughter, Aria, is an amazing singer, dancer, and pianist with a heart every bit as kind as her brother’s. When I’m not busy growing businesses or guiding people through their next endeavours, I am playing tennis or basketball with friends or the kids, skiing, golfing, reading or listening to books, writing, or focussing on self-development.
Jonathan Crandall, CSP is the Chief Visionary of JC Grounds Management, a commercial landscaping and snow removal management company in Danvers MA. Jonathan entered into the world of entrepreneurship 25 […]