We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeffrey Kramer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeffrey, how do you define success?
I believe we should each define success in a way that is meaningful to us. Not to anyone else. My version of success may not be yours, and it may not be what Society views as successful, but it’s what I view as living a meaningful and rewarding life. For me success means my wife and daughters are all happy and pursuing things that are important to them. That when I speak to a group, write a book, or teach a program, at least one person walks away from their interaction with me thinking their time was well spent and they are better for it. That each night when I go lay in bed at the end of the day I can say I made a difference for someone somewhere today. And that when my time is done, my legacy will be that my daughters and grandchildren serve others and their communities in ways that are meaningful to them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was a civil engineer in the public works design and construction arena for 35 years, working mostly for government agencies or private firms supporting the government. I loved what I did for many years, and was an accomplished, award winning leader. Over that time I oversaw more than $2 billion in construction, supervised teams as large as 200+ staff, and led multiple award winning project teams. The industry saw me as a subject matter expert, recognized me with honors, and sought me out to teach others. But I was restless. I changed positions frequently, and was at times a challenge to understand or work for. What I never realized is that I was addicted to perfectionism in the worst ways, and as a result never thought myself worthy or capable enough.
What I realized, though, was I loved helping others, so I decided to make a shift from building things, to building people. I worked hard at learning to redirect and manage perfectionism into something productive, and changed my self image from unworthy failure to capable overcomer. Then I retired from my engineering career, and began a second career helping others as a coach and trainer.
It was not an easy road for me. To overcome my addiction to perfection and recast my mindset I studied extensively and sought out mentors personally and figuratively through reading and courses. I also sought out credentials, not to collect them like I did as an engineer, but because I truly wanted the knowledge and growth they represented.
Today I am a published author, my first book “The Perfection Paradox” released worldwide in early 2021. I am a Maxwell Leadership Certified Team member, Igniting Souls certified coach, Working Genius and DISC certified facilitator, and a licensed Empowered Living coach and facilitator. All providing tools and resources I use in my work as a speaker and coach helping others to Break the C.O.D.E. to Unhackability in Work, Life, and Play.
My business entity is called Ascension Leadership Group, LLC (ALG) – intentionally named to reflect ascending to new heights and thanks to God. I do business under my name, Jeffrey A. Kramer, and have several things in the works under the ALG umbrella including an online training portal for leadership and personal development, and online training portal for my former industry to help with improved project delivery, and additional books and resources as well.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Phoenix metropolitan area is so robust and diverse, but also so close to other incredible places. For starters, any time we have guests who are new here, we always make a day trip to Sedona a must. Red Rock country is gorgeous and a must see! Depending on what our guests like to do, we might also consider day trips to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum down by Tucson, or some of our other amazing spots like Montezuma’s Castle.
Around Phoenix we love to visit some of the unique spots like the Musical Instrument Museum or the Heard Museum. And as a lover of incredible construction, a visit to Taliesin West is a can’t miss. Favorite dining spots include the Queen Creek Olive Mill, La Casa Blanca in south Chandler for great Mexican food, or Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert – all locally owned and operated and fantastic. And for a little sweet fun, a visit to and tour of the Cerreta Candy Company in Glendale is in order.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many have helped and supported me along my journey. First and foremost, thanks to God for making all things possible. Thanks to my wife Sharon for her unwavering support, and to our four daughters (Arielle, Kelsey, Hayley and Emily) for accepting and putting up with me, and for pursuing their best lives. Throughout my life I’ve had some amazing bosses, mentors and coaches too, so thanks to Pamela Lowe, John Maxwell, Mark Miller, and my parents who were incredible mentors and role models. And to Kary Oberbrunner, who believed in me before I did.
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