164: When you get better at what you do, people will demand that you take on bigger roles with Mike Irvin

Happy February 12, 2018! I hope you enjoy this encore performance of Career Callings Radio from March 20, 2017. God bless! – Robbie Romeiser

Mike Irvin has been the Executive Director of the Upward Sports Foundation since its inception in 2014. Prior to that he was the Vice Chancellor for Advancement and the Executive Director of the Foundation at the University of South Carolina Upstate. He’s also held many fundraising leadership roles at other colleges as well as Habitat for Humanity International in Americus, Georgia, and the American Cancer Society.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


  • [1 min 58 sec] Tell us about your family and your career journey. Married for 38 years. Two children. Two grandchildren. Got saved at age 32. Currently Executive Director of the Upward Sports Foundation. Mission is to promote the discovery of Jesus through sports. Has been in the fund development business for 29 years. Began with the American Cancer Society in 1988. Came to Spartanburg in 2008 to the University of SC Upstate before moving to the Upward Sports Foundation.
  • [6 min 57 sec] Worst career failure? Earlier in career thought he was ready for advancement and tried to push his way forward. Those in authority over him told him that he wasn’t ready and that he needed to focus on getting better where he was at the time. Learned the lesson that when you get better, people will demand that you get bigger. Focus on getting better where you are. Do the best you can with what you’ve got today. Grow where you are planted. Failure is delayed success.


  • [15 min 58 sec] Biggest career success? The people that have benefited from his fundraising efforts over the years. Making an impact in the lives of others. The story of Viaricka.
  • [20 min 42 sec] How are you using your career to impact others for Christ? Living as closely to Christ as possible. People have recognized and will recognize he’s a child of God. Opens up conversations. Story of two college chancellors asking him about his faith.
  • [24 min 04 sec] Advice to high school seniors? 1) Don’t overlook the obvious. 2) Don’t just do the best you can do. Do the best that can be done, and then some more. 3) Don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown. Take a step of faith and trust The Lord. 4) Don’t give up what you want in life for what you want in the moment. 5) Be a person of character and unquestionable integrity.
  • [27 min 48 sec] How can people connect with you? mirvin@upward.org


  • [30 min 28 sec] Ever been confused about which career path to follow? How did God clear the smoke? Kind of fell into the business. At first saw it as raising money, and it wasn’t fun. Learned that it’s not so much about raising money. It’s about building relationships. When he learned that his position enabled him to be a minister not only to those being given to but also to those doing the giving, he realized that he “fell in to this world” at God’s prompting so that he could be a minister to those he came into contact with.
  • [35 min 26 sec] Have you ever been faced with a challenge to your faith in the workplace? If so, tell us about it. No real challenges, like in confrontational challenges. Some have asked about his faith. Lifestyle Evangelism by Joe Aldrich. Don’t fear confrontation when sharing faith. Such conversations rarely result in confrontations. We manufacture the fear of confrontation in our minds much more than we actually encounter it.
  • [39 min 13 sec] Ever been resistant to God’s calling in your life? Most of the time it was Mike wanting to go down a path that he didn’t involve God in. Such as, “Hey, God. I’m going this way. You wanna come?” God had to re-direct his steps a few times.
  • [42 min 36 sec] Personal habit that contributes to your success? Tries to be aware of those around him that need a hand-up, not a hand-out. Realizing that life isn’t about him; it’s about others. Constantly looking for opportunities to serve. Tries to write two cards each day to people to encourage them.
  • [44 min 32 sec] Business habit that contributes to your success? Reads a lot of books. Attends a lot of seminars/workshops. Consistently trying to learn more about what he does.
  • [46 min 16 sec] Productivity tool? Keeps a stack of quotes handy to keep motivated.
  • [49 min 40 sec] What three business tips can you offer to aspiring business owners? 1) The counsel of many is wise. Find some accountability partners. 2) Never stop learning. 3) Make sure that God is the CEO of your business.
  • [51 min 43 sec] What book would you recommend? 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. The Master Plan of Evangelism by Dr. Robert Coleman.

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imgRobbie Romeiser is a commercial real estate broker, real estate instructor, and author of the daily devotional Today’s Quote From God (www.TodaysQuoteFromGod.com). Desiring to help his own children follow God’s calling in their lives, Robbie founded Career Callings (www.CareerCallings.net) to help people find, prepare for, and pursue the work God has called them to do. To have Robbie speak at your church, business, professional association, or civic club, please email Robbie at robbie@careercallings.net.