Eric Konovalov – The Goal Guide
He was just a young boy – too young to fully grasp what was happening when a security guard ransacked his family’s belongings at the airport. Eric Konovalov didn’t know he was a Jewish refugee fleeing the former USSR. He just knew the mean man took his family’s things before he let them get on a plane. That’s the last memory Eric has of his birth land, and he’s never looked back.
He’s a grown man now. He has a family of his own. He’s a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who’s found his new purpose in helping individuals and organizations excel at what they do and achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves.
Eric Konovalov works in two leadership positions today.
One as the Director of Sales for DCA Imaging and the other as CEO of Goal Guide, Inc. His self-instilled work ethic, coupled with the discipline he picked up in the Marines, allows him to manage the large workload while still being present with his family. He’s come a long way since he transitioned out of the military 9 years ago, and he wants to use the insight he’s gained to help anyone else walking through big periods of change or uncertainty in their lives.
Eric didn’t plan on enlisting in the Marines. He didn’t even know what the Marine Corps was. He was just a 17-year-old boy who knew college was not the way for him and decided to take a drastic step in a positive direction before life lured him in the wrong direction.
So he ambled on down to the recruiting office in town, only to find an Army recruiter who looked like everything Eric didn’t want to be, an empty office where the Navy recruiter should have been, and a closed door at the Air Force recruiter. It was only when he turned away in discouragement that he became aware of another presence in the hallway. “Hey. What – are you too chickenshit to come in here?” the voice goaded.
Eric didn’t know who the voice belonged to but he responded quicker to it than a small child would, if invited to see a van full of puppies. The memory still cracks him up today as he recalls walking into that office and seeing a man who looked like Johnny Bravo – “His muscles had muscles!”
The Marine recruiter bulged out of his chair and his presence filled the small office. Sergeant Patrick “Animal” Griffin glared out from his chair and stared Eric down from pictures on the walls -pictures of himself and his buddies on exotic beaches holding manly weapons. “Yeah, this is me,” thought Eric.
That visit was on a Saturday. Eric had gone home to think it over and on Monday, “Animal” showed up in Eric’s high school. One look at the girls swooning over the massive Marine was enough to seal the deal for him. “Okay, I’m going to be a Marine,” he decided.
Eric enlisted in the Marines well before 9/11. He remembers the military in times before this country was constantly at war and he was right there with it as it evolved into the machine it is today. His service was not easy but he loved it. There was only one thing he loved more, and she had a bigger grip on his heart.
Military life is hard on relationships. It’s not for everybody and for the love of Eric’s life, he agreed to leave the Marines. As certain as he was about that decision, he was uncertain about what to do next. He’d been a teenager when he became a Marine. It was all he knew. Now he was about to be a civilian with no idea how to provide for the family he wanted. He turned to the Commanding Officer he’d grown close to. “Sir,” he asked,” What do I do?” The answer was immediate and sure. “With all the bullshit you’ve sold me over the years, you should get into sales!”Perhaps it wasn’t the precise type of response he’d anticipated but in hindsight, it made sense.
Eric Konovalov is a natural salesman in both the conventional and unconventional terms.
His God-given charm is put to good use as he cracks jokes and puts people at ease in his presence before he follows up with the message he has for them. He’s as quick to laugh at himself as he is about any number of things he finds amusement in. This is especially true when he remembers his unglamorous start to what is now a shining career.
“I got my ass handed to me,” he laughs, as he shares his first attempt to sell a copier, which he knew nothing about. His target of choice? A copier store! He cringes as if he can still feel the tongue lashing the owner of that store gave to the young salesman who knew absolutely nothing about his product.
It was a humbling experience for Eric, and a huge eye-opener. He turned around and attacked his job with a new fire, studying and learning not just about the product his livelihood depended upon selling, but about the people who needed his product.
“If someone asks you to sell a pen,” he teaches his clients today, “Don’t instantly start talking about the pen! Ask them what they need in a pen!”
It’s a simple premise but it is the foundation upon which he’s grown into a leader in the company and upon which he predicates his own coaching business. Eric understands that a key principle of success in any type of professional relationship is understanding what the other person needs and how you can fill that need. This in turn, allows you to teach a client how you can meet that need.
The same holds true personally. He’s applied the concept to relationships in his life and he’s turned it on himself. This is the area of expertise he’s suffered the most bumps in and the one in which he has great clarity now.
His first leadership position in sales placed him above men and women who were older and more experienced than him. They were totally unimpressed by the young brash salesman who thought he knew better than them. “I’d say Hey let’s go left! And they’re like… We don’t even hear you!”
Rather than attempt to strongarm his subordinates, Eric drew upon a principle of leadership that many would-be-leaders resist; Accountability.I thought, it’s not them, it’s me. What can I do to improve my leadership ability? – Eric Konovalov Click To Tweet
That question he posed himself was the catalyst for his career today. Eric didn’t just ponder the question halfheartedly. He invested wholly in understanding the answer. He became a student of leadership, studying in the esteemed John Maxwell Program. He applies those principles to everything he does today, and even hired another personal coach later, to continue understanding how to meet his own life’s potential.
In time the very people who ignored him at work invited him to family barbeques. Productivity at work increased and Eric’s reputation began to build. Much as he hadn’t intended to become a Marine, he never fully planned on being a life coach, but life decided that for him.
A free mastermind he offered to 10 people turned into the gateway to his current career. Those 10 people found such value in that mastermind that they hired Eric to come to their businesses to train their employees. Then other people reached out to him for personal coaching, and the Goal Guide, Inc was born.
Eric’s first book, “Let Me Sell You Something!” is as much about personal development as it is about sales training. His techniques – learned and customized from other leaders – are what guided him to success and continue to lead him upward. He is passionate about helping others, especially his fellow veterans, remove fear and uncertainty from any large life change and replace them with purpose and determination.
Prayer, meditation, exercise, and journaling are some of the practices Eric applies in his own life. He encourages others to do the same and helps people find whatever version of these practices they are best suited for, so they may benefit from them too.
By all means Eric Konovalov is living the American Dream.
He’s got a home, a beautiful family, and a successful career. This is enough to satiate a lot of people’s thirst for success. But to people like Eric, a glass that’s half-full still has room for more. Now he’s pouring more life into his own glass while helping others top theirs off, too.
Eric is content with where he’s arrived in life and locked on to his own goals for himself and his family. He’s well aware of how different life would have been if his mother and stepfather had not had the courage to move their family to America. He has a special appreciation for this country and the opportunities it offers, and he’s earned the right to grab on to those opportunities.
Could he have remained in the Marine Corps for the full 20 years? Yes, he says, but he knows he made the right decision, and he savors every day with his family.
“No regrets,” he’s quick to say, “I’m right where I belong.”