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'I Would Probably Be Dead or in Jail.' How Dave Fox Went From Struggling With Addiction to Living Life on His Terms.

You can live like a victim or see every problem as an opportunity.
'I Would Probably Be Dead or in Jail.' How Dave Fox Went From Struggling With Addiction to Living Life on His Terms.
Image credit: Dave Fox
A mastermind group for top entrepreneurs
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Dave Fox, founder and CEO of IT staffing firm Focus Global Talent Solutions. It was condensed by The Oracles.

Who are you?
Dave Fox: I graduated in 2009 with a finance degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. After graduation, my wife, Brittany, and I moved to New York City because we wanted a challenge and an adventure. We had never been there before.

We both ended up working at Adult & Teen Challenge, which helps people struggling with addiction. Afterward, Brittany took a job in real estate, while I worked in recruiting for one of the world’s largest staffing and recruiting firms.

Over the next nine years, I became a partner in the firm and their top global producer. We eventually moved to Miami to open an office for the company but soon realized it would be better to start our own firm. That’s when Focus GTS was born.

How did your business get started?
Dave Fox: I didn’t intend to leave the firm when we moved to Miami, but a very experienced colleague approached me about becoming their partner.

I quit my job, only to realize afterward that the partnership wasn’t going to work. We didn't really have another option, so Brittany and I started Focus GTS in our second bedroom. We could’ve gone back to our jobs, but we wanted to create something special.

Share an interesting fact about yourself that not many people would know.
Dave Fox: I would probably be dead or in jail if I didn’t straighten out my life. I got into a ton of trouble as a teenager, from doing drugs to other crimes, and struggled with addiction for a long time. When I was 18, I spent a year in the Adult & Teen Challenge program, where I later worked.

What’s your favorite quote?
Dave Fox: My favorite quote is by Tony Robbins: “Life happens for you, not to you.” So many people look at their problems from a victim mentality. But if we could just begin to see every problem as an opportunity, I believe we can go much further.

What was your biggest challenge starting up? How did you overcome it?
Dave Fox: My biggest challenge was balancing priorities. There are so many things to do when starting out, but you have to prioritize what matters most — which is almost always sales. If you can't get money in the door, you won't have a company to work for.

How do you define great leadership?
Dave Fox: A great leader is someone who can inspire people with a vision of what's possible, motivate them to make that vision a reality, and guide them through the ups and downs of the journey. Great leaders are in the battle as much as those they lead.

How do you hire top talent?
Dave Fox: First, you have to know what you're looking for. You don't just need someone great; you need someone who’s great for your company where it is now. Then you need evidence that they’ll fit the role. At Focus GTS, everyone takes two psychological profile tests to make sure they have what it takes.

Which single habit gives you 80 percent of your results?
Dave Fox: The ability to focus. We live in a world where distractions are higher than ever before. We have email, text, clickbait, and more vying to distract us from the task at hand. Sometimes, you just need to silence it all until you accomplish what you need to.

Research shows that it takes more than 20 minutes to get back on track every time you change tasks. Imagine how much time we waste every day getting distracted!

What are you working on right now?
Dave Fox: Our goal is to build Focus GTS into a company that can be acquired. We strategically built our firm to find talent in areas of technology that are growing and will continue to, regardless of the economic climate. We want to sell the company by 2023.

What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Dave Fox: I want to be known as someone who never puts limits on what’s possible. At the end of my life, I don't want to wonder what could have been. I want to know that I got everything out of life that I could.

I've been a mixed martial arts fan for years. I have a motto: “Make life tap out.” Often, people go through life and just give in to whatever life gives them. I want life to submit to me!

Connect with Dave on LinkedIn or visit the Focus GTS website.

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